Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 27, 2016

Email: IP focus is good when games are good

Hello Master Malstrom,

I think the focus on IP is actually good for Nintendo as long as they keep making good games. Walt Disney came out with comic books for his cartoon characters to tide people over until the next movie and cartoon short could be made. When Lucas came out with Star Wars toys in the 70’s, it made people love Star Wars even more!

An IP focus is good as long as the games are good, because it brings people back to that world. Pokémon and Zelda: BoW are good games, so Nintendo rides and merchandise about these games will make people happier. On the other hand Fire Emblem merchandizing will probably come off as obnoxious. But it is like those cloth maps that used to be enclosed with PC games. It is extra stuff that will bring you back into that world. That’s good as long as the game is good.


Are the Star Wars novels canon?

Are the Star Wars cartoons canon?

Only the Star Wars movies are canon.

Star Wars is the movies. The cartoons and novels are about what the movies started.

I dislike mumbo jumbo-ism especially in business and creativity. I want hardness. I want definition.

Behold the School of Athens from Raphael. If the reader happens to be a Hardcore Gamer, this will be the first time the reader has ever seen this art.

Image result for school of athens

Zoom in at the center.

Image result for school of athens

Who is this!? Why it is our dear friends Plato and Aristotle. Plato is pointing up while Aristotle is pointing down. What this is symbolizing is that Plato would believe that everything exists in a grander way like the chair has a perfect chair that exists in a void. Aristotle says this is nonsense and points to the tangible.

I am playing the role of Aristotle here. I am saying the idea that a video game or any product has a beautiful perfect image in heaven we call intellectual property is ridiculous. First off, intellectual property is a legal word, not a holy word. Your house is property, but we do not call it your property. You call it ‘your house’ or ‘home’. We know Nintendo is not referring to IP in its legal sense. What sense is IP being referenced here?

A philosophy. What is intellectual property but philosophy? Do video games have ‘philosophy’? Does a rocking chair have a ‘philosophy’? I say a chair is just a chair.

As with Mario, you cannot separate the ‘IP’ from the game. The rise and fall of Mario was entirely dependent on the mainline Super Mario Brothers games and in how well they carved out the Mushroom Kingdom. This is why each new Mario game was A Major Event. Each new Mario game meant more than a game, it was changing TV, books, cereal, etc.

How’s another way to explain this? I am not an artist. I can do some things, such as write, program some, but I do know that it all comes through the hands, not through the mind. If an author gives an outline to the publisher and says, “Behold my glorious genius for I shall write to you this book that shall follow this outline!” Inevitably, the author will change where the story goes through the process of writing the book. Is this because the author cannot follow the outline? No. It is because our hands and by doing creates the concept, not the concept that creates the doing and guides our hands. Do not underestimate the sculptor’s hands.

Part of the magic of the video game experience is that it is the player’s hands that generate the experience.

Here is what I know. The primary marketing success for the NES was not about ‘communicating ideas’ or any of that rotgut. It was about putting the controller in people’s hands and letting them play. The primary marketing success for the Wii was about ‘communicating IPs’ or such. It was putting the Wii-mote in people’s hands. Reggie Fils-Aime said he knew Wii would be big when he was on the E3 2006 stage playing Wii Sports and seeing people’s eyes get big.

There was none of this ‘IP’ super-philosophy crap. Playing is believing and touching is good.

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Above: Malstrom’s girl

Nintendo gets stuck in a box because it focuses on its IPs more than anything else. People then will think the Nintendo console is just a ‘Zelda Box’ or ‘Mario Box’.

Turning IP into a ‘super-philosophy’ is like trying to make video games based on concept art instead of gameplay.

What I believe: It is the games that made the IPs great. Nintendo’s mistake: believing IPs are what made the games great. If this was true, then Star Fox Adventures would have been a ‘good game’ because it has Star Fox in it!



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