Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 27, 2022

Email: About Yamauchi

Master Malstrom,

I’ve often heard you praise Yamauchi and his great instincts for knowing which games would be hits. However, I think we need to face facts. Yamauchi at one point clearly lost those great instincts. How else do you explain the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo’s 3D direction? How else do you explain Yamauchi allowing Miyamoto to discard 2D Mario for 3D Mario? It was also under Yamauchi that the Virtual Boy was released.

You’ve often criticized Miyamoto for Nintendo’s disastrous embrace of 3D, but I think you need to lay just as much blame, if not more, at Yamauchi’s feet as well.

You mean the man who took a card company and turned it into a toy company and then video game goliath?

The man who hired Shigeru Miyamoto and selected Satoru Iwata as his successor?

Virtual Boy was a ‘Christmas toy’ for Nintendo due to the delays of the Nintendo 64. And the Nintendo 64 was the result of direct competition with competitors. The Nintendo 64 did not fail in America. If you think the Nintendo 64 was a failure, may I direct you to the Sega Saturn which completely destroyed Sega?

At that time period, in a very competitive industry, the embrace of 3d was all the rage. Yamauchi would have gone with that as did everyone else.

Yamauchi was credited, at least in part, with the DS’s two screens. And the Gamecube’s motion controls and being dockable with handhelds (proto-Switch) might just have something to do with him too.

So no, Yamauchi is not to be blamed. He shall be revered here as the God-Man of video games. Yamauchi has been described by Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto as a ‘genius’.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 27, 2022

The Two Gamecube Successors…

Gamecube is an interesting console in Nintendo’s development. Apparently, Nintendo ran out of time, but the Gamecube was going to evolve or be developed into two different ways.

The first is with motion controls. From the wiki entry on Gamecube we read:

Long before the console’s launch, Nintendo had developed and patented an early prototype of motion controls for the GameCube, with which developer Factor 5 had experimented for its launch games.[26][17] An interview quoted Greg Thomas, Sega of America’s VP of Development as saying, “What does worry me is Dolphin’s sensory controllers [which are rumored to include microphones and headphone jacks] because there’s an example of someone thinking about something different.” These motion control concepts would not be deployed to consumers for several years, until the Wii Remote.[17]

Gamecube did experiment with various controls through its lifespan such as the bongos.

But Gamecube also was going to be designed another way too.

It’s possible that because its sales were relatively poor — less than 22 million — Nintendo was looking to revive the hardware with a portable iteration. As you may know, Nintendo has by and large found great success in the handheld space, so it’s possible this product was internally viewed as a safe bet and a way to revive the GameCube sub-brand.

Source

From Nintendo Life:

According to the leaked documents, Nintendo planned to create a portable GameCube which included a screen and a docking cradle. The machine would be playable using its built-in display, but could also be placed in the dock and connected to a TV. This could go some way to explaining the system’s diminutive size when compared to the PS2 and Xbox, as well as the existence of that iconic carry handle.

So that explains why the Gamecube had a handle.

The question is where did this development initiate from? Was it from Yamauchi’s direction? Or was it by the new Corporate President of the name of Satoru Iwata?

Above: Iwata. “Remember me?”

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 26, 2022

Finished Triangle Strategy for the THIRD time…

I am going to take a break. Then I will beat the game for a fourth time… the LAST time… for the GOLDEN ENDING.

I’m glad to see Happy Console Gamer woke up to this game (after, like me, initially not getting into it).

Triangle Strategy is a *very* tedious game where there is too much writing. However, the last quarter of the game is dynamite and the last few chapters are very gripping. Why? I believe it is because that is when the main characters stop REACTING to the world events and start ACTING. You do things that change the world, and it is fun to see the reactions of the nations.

First time I beat the game, I did the Frederica Ending. (Whoa! That ending surprised me.)

Second time I beat the game, I did the Roland Ending. (Lamest ending ever. Roland isn’t even competent to rule himself. Roland comes across as some derpy hippy whose political solution is about ‘equality’ which conveniently results in Roland abdicating from his responsibilities which he never wanted anyway.)

Third time, this time, I beat the game, I did the Benedict Ending. (Best ending so far. I thought this type of ending would be the Golden Path with Serenoa becoming king of, eventually, all of Norzellia. Although, the ending did say it was ‘bad’ because too much distance occurred between the ‘rich and poor’. Yeah.. so what? How is that different from any other time?)

And a nod to some decent writing, the Benedict Ending did have nuance to suggest that Serenoa was merely being Benedict’s puppet. Gustadolph literally says that the hawk isn’t free but is still caged. I surmise the ‘Golden Ending’ is Serenoa being the free hawk.

The writers try… they really do. But there is too much damn dialogue and then it repeats itself.

I think the big, big problem with Triangle Strategy is that they started the story TOO EARLY. A good skill of the writer is to know when to start the story. Triangle Strategy starts way too early. There is too much prologue. The first ten chapters DRAG.

Aside from a couple still at lvl 49, I have all characters level 50 and all powered up in weapons.

Triangle Strategy is a game where the more you play, the more fun it becomes. Unfortunately, there is way too much text. The actual gameplay is super solid however.

Triangle Strategy will be available digitally on other platforms soon enough, but I suspect the physical will remain Switch exclusive. I would get it before it becomes rare. I expect this game to go up in price over the decade.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 26, 2022

Email: Even Miyamoto hates WW art style LOL

https://www.videogameschronicle.com/news/miyamoto-initially-cringed-at-wind-wakers-art-style-and-asked-for-a-redesign-its-claimed/

He “literally cringed” when he first saw it. XD I laughed out loud when io read that 

Oh, this is so gold! It confirms to me that Miyamoto’s instincts are right and that people like Aonuma’s instincts are wrong. Guys like Aonuma shouldn’t even be game developers with such awful instincts. Aonuma’s entire career was underneath the umbrella of ‘peak Zelda’ (Ocarina of Time) and literally driving the franchise into the ground…

From the article:

This new information comes courtesy of old issues of Nintendo Dream magazine, a Japanese publication from the mid-2000s that has been translated by DidYouKnowGaming.

According to an interview with Wind Waker director, Eiji Aonuma cited by the video, he didn’t believe Miyamoto would like the redesign, so he waited as long as he could before showing it to his boss, saying that he “literally cringed” when he first saw it.

“If I had gone and talked to him from the very beginning, I think he would’ve said ‘How is that Zelda?’ Aonuma recalls. “Miyamoto had trouble letting go of the realistic link art style until the very end.

“At some point, he had to give a presentation against his will. That’s when he said something to me like ‘You know, it’s not too late to change course and make a realistic Zelda.”

Aonuma admits to anticipating the ‘cringe’ and kept it from his boss as long as possible! Holy shit.

Only after post Wii success did Nintendo clam up (because people like me were finding stuff and broadcasting it to the world). But Nintendo was very talkative in the past. They never thought anyone except the current fanbase and press would be looking at these interviews of the past. They give us a sense of reality of what was going on inside the development studios.

It’s what we suspected and feared. Aonuma and his team were doing their own thing and trying to slip stuff by Miyamoto. Now, if I were on the team, I would not want to slip stuff past Miyamoto. Miyamoto has many awesome game design instincts, and I would want to utilize them to make a better game. But this is not Aonuma’s desire which is so distressing.

Aonuma… and some of these art developers… are they even men? Or are they children? Yamauchi wouldn’t be putting up with this shit, that is for sure.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 22, 2022

Email: No more physical carts?

Master Malstrom,

You said the Switch successor will be an online platform. Do you mean that it will not use physical carts? I find it hard to believe that Nintendo could be that stupid. Then again, they did release the Wii U.

No moving parts is necessary for a handheld. Digital fulfills the need for cartridge as in having no moving parts. Discs do not.

Note how Best Buy is getting rid of their physical movie media. Gaming is still there for now… but for how much longer?

I don’t think Nintendo would do away with physical. But they are definitely going to de-emphasize it. They will do this by promoting the online platform. They will give away ‘free games’ on the online platform, perhaps exclusive DLC.

In the age of rampant inflation and rising fuel prices, there is every incentive for Nintendo (and every other company) to move away from physical.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 21, 2022

Email: Re: [New post] Email: Reggie: No more mini systems

Just to be on the opposite side of the reader who sent the email about N64 mini: Nintendo is not wrong about not releasing a N64 mini. Even today the price of a N64 in the used market is low. Only kids who grew up with a N64 miss the N64.


All the “3D” consoles had aged like milk, and N64 is the worst of them regarding the game library.

Sadly, I have to agree. N64 is the only Nintendo hardware I don’t own, and I still don’t want to own it. I still hate the controller. I thought the games looked bad BACK THEN.

Outside of a few first party titles like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, N64 was mostly a local player party system.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 21, 2022

Email: Nintendo’s Radio Silence

Hey Malstrom,

I was reflecting on your observation that Nintendo pays attention to the macro situation. Nintendo seems to be almost completely silent about what it’s going to do next.

What do you think they’re wanting for? What are they probably looking at?

Kind regards,

Reader

Switch successor will be out within 3-5 years. They are trying to figure out how to lessen the risk of the transition. Now, they have no handheld system to back them up.

It looks like Nintendo might be pivoting to the ‘online platform’ to lessen the transition phase risk. Will that work? No.

Nintendo no longer tells us what it is going to do. That was Wii Era stuff. NO ONE listened to them even when they did it. I was the only one who saw it, heard it, and AMPLIFIED it here. All the Gaming Sites ignored it because it was just ‘Nintendo Marketing’ because they were too stupid to see what was going on. However, that has changed now.

Today, everyone is Malstrom. At least, the 2005 version of Malstrom! hahahaha

Nintendo will make big indications with their software. Look at their games. They use games to trial test new things. An example would be Donkey Konga bongos which was testing new types of controllers preluding the Wii-mote. The Virtual Library was prologued by the NES Classics release on GBA and Animal Crossing Gamecube NES games.

Nintendo’s software seems to be slouching towards online… a worrisome trend.

I’m waiting for Breath of the Wild 2 to truly signal which direction Nintendo’s boat is headed.

When Nintendo chose to make Yoshi’s Island and Donkey Kong Country over Super Mario Brothers 5, I knew the decline was in and abandoned Nintendo. The N64 was a market disaster for Nintendo in any way you look at it. The later Wii and DS Nintendo games were so off the mark that it set the stage for the disaster their successor consoles would be.

Game consoles depend on games, games, and games. The ‘analysts’ will keep looking at the console, at the hardware, at the technology, ooh and ahh, but Nintendo hardware is dependent on Nintendo First Party software. What is the First Party software doing right now? That gives us a clue.

Nintendo appears to be pushing people onto their online platform. Why? While it is more profitable for Nintendo, it hides the cost of inflation. But I think it is also a strategy to lessen the risk of the transition phase. If you are invested online, Nintendo will say…

“Ohhh taddy doe, dear players! Your Online subscription can be continued on the new console, and you can download all the games you bought there on the new machine”

But can we play our physical cartridges, oh mighty Nintendo?

“Bah ha ha ha! Of course not. But because online carries over, we have checked the box of ‘backwards compatibility’. Now pay that Nintendo subscription today!”

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 20, 2022

Email: Reggie: No more mini systems

It’s just like you called it.  Nintendo isn’t interested in giving customers what they want, such as a Game Boy or N64 mini.  It’s all about leverage.  “How can we leverage our legacy content to force customers to do something we want (buy an online subscription)?”

On a related note, Sega is still hopelessly stupid.  Despite the success of their Sonic movies and Sonic Mania (which I own, by the way – great game), not to mention the recent, predictable backlash to Sonic Frontiers, Sega’s response is simply “too bad!  We’re doing this crap (bad 3D Sonic games) for at least 10 more years!”

Pay very close attention to Nintendo pushing their ‘online platform’. This is coming from the top, not the bottom.

The very reason why Switch is different from Xbox and PlayStation actually isn’t because Switch is portable. It is because Switch is OFFLINE. Xbox and PlayStation need to be tethered to the Internet. If Nintendo consoles become tethered to the Internet, Nintendo enters Red Ocean. Then Nintendo wonders why their marketshare literally evaporates with the new successor.

“That’s preposterous, Malstrom! Nintendo is led by the smartest of the smart, greatest of the great, and they would see this clearly and truly!”

Wii U and 3DS say hi.

As does Gamecube and N64.

I only buy physical games. I refuse to buy online shit. If Nintendo goes online, I stop buying Nintendo. Clear and simple.

I really do think Nintendo underestimates how big of an impact the physical carts have had on the software sales. I buy STACKS of Switch games precisely because they are physical and that they are OFFLINE.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 18, 2022

Email: Ur Quan Masters

Hello Master Malstrom

Took me some time, but I started playing The UrQuan Masters
Oh, Mass Effect definitely was inspired by it, the devs of ME could never deny it (not saying they did, they just can’t)
Going to planets in ME is just like in Star Control, but with more shooting and in 3D (and easier most of the time)

Haven’t gotten that far, just getting materials to improve my ship, before I help the trio of aliens asking for help around Rigel, but I’m already liking the game a lot

Just not a big fan of how to control the spaceship (but getting used to it) and still getting my ass kicked in battles

But I’m liking the world building so far, this game definitely will be an inspiration for my future rpg, alongside Mass Effect and others

Mass Effect is good, but has several issues
Your main character is one for starters, you can create male or female commander [your name] Shepard, and change his or her appearence
But this character is a Shepard that you only kinda control the choices during cutscenes and dialogues, not truly an avatar like the first Ultima games

Also the graphics try to be realistic, and while not too uncanny valley, the characters move and emote too often in a robotic way during talking and some scenes, which wouldn’t be an issue in 2D games

And each game got less like an rpg and more like a shooter, but seeing as Bioware became part of EA after the first game is not surprising at all

Anyway, I should get back to playing and writing down ideas for my own stuff

No one is making the perfect fantasy/scifi game I want to play, so I guess I better make it eventually

Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford are working for the actual sequel to the game. Finally! It’ll give us a glimpse as to what the next Mass Effect series will be [Editor’s note: Malstrom, must you really put a dig like that?] (Yes.)

Ur-Quan Masters (Star Control 2) is actually two games. There is the adventure mode and the Hyper Space Melee Mode. Both are amazing.

Make sure you realize there are TWO fire buttons. Many people play thinking there is only one fire button. No. Each ship has two abilities.

Hyper Space Melee Mode is ‘space-ship Smash Brothers of the early 1990s’. The computer is OK, but the true fun is playing against a human. The game is uniquely programmed for the keyboard to be played by two people on one computer. I think the Ur-Quan Masters allows controllers and maybe LAN/Internet play.

Hyper Space Melee is a must BEFORE Adventure Mode so you know how to play with the ships and how to fight them. The ships are NOT equal. They’re all given points. Some are stronger than others… intentionally. The Ur-Quan Dreadnought fires nasty shots and launches space fighters! Very nasty! The nastiest of all ships is the Chmmr with their satellites and evil laser.

With skill, lower point ships can easily decimate larger ships.

Spathi Eluder- You get one from Pluto. You DID go to Pluto, right? This ship has an annoying primary weapon but it’s secondary is the B.U.T.T. missile which can take down enemies.

Pkunk Fury- Fastest ship in the game. Secondary ability is the captain insulting the enemy which boosts its fuel! If the Fury dies, just hold down all the buttons at once and, if you time it correctly, the Fury reincarnates back to life! Halleluah!

Thraddish Ship- Use a fire trail for enemies to fly through.

Orz Nemesis- A ship with a turret like a tank! Fun ship! Has a third ability! Hit Primary and Secondary fire at same time to send out a flying ‘go go’ marine. If the marine gets into enemy ship, it will start shooting all the crew dead!

Some people are really skilled with the Druuge ship, but I always sucked with them. I was God-like with the four ships listed above.

I suggest saving before you land to a planet. This way if lander explodes, you can reload.

Do like Commander says and upgrade Ship Thrusters. Faster you are, the quicker you can run away from enemies.

Get tech upgrades from Melnorme. At first, the tech upgrades will suck. But then they become amazing like shields for your lander so they don’t die in certain hazards.

Keep in mind that there is a clock in the game. You have about four years in-game to win before the Death March occurs.

And never forget to ENJOY THE SAUCE!!!!

Above: “BRACK!!! Revolution!”

(There is no finer music. Here is another…)

Above: Turn up your speakers, reader. Turn them up!
Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 17, 2022

Email: Why Modern Multiplayer games suck

No one complains about the multiplayer experiences of private server games. What I remember was that the company might make an ‘official server’ where all the lamers would play. The better players would play somewhere else.

The real reason for removing private servers is for complete corporate control over the game. Blizzard hated how Warcraft 3 multiplayer could still be played on private servers.

Imagine if I bought a board game and could only play it at the company’s dedicated public spot. What’s the point of buying the board game if that is all I could do with it?

Multiplayer games are very similar in their use. Eventually, the game is stopped playing for other games or life stuff. Then, one day, the game is brought back out again for multiplayer fun. This is how it works with board games and multiplayer games.

Blizzard games lost tremendous value when they began doing this. I like Starcraft 2, but I despite that its multiplayer is tied into a central location.

“But the piracy, Malstrom!”

If the piracy was so bad, then how did the earlier Blizzard games succeed so much? Player experience is the product value.

I wish I had enough time and other testers to make my own RTS Internet game (because we really could use one). I would make it use private servers and give people tools to tweak the gameplay. Hell, I’d even include a MAP EDITOR. Remember when RTS games had those? Hahaha.

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