Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 3, 2016

Email: I just don’t understand you…

…and it’s driving me crazy.

I’ve been a reader of yours since this blog’s inception, and even before that when you posted your Birdmen and the Casual Fallacy essay on your old website. I’ve enjoyed your writings on Zelda throughout the years, from your impressions of Twilight Princess, while you were playing it, to your posts about the missing/crappy mythos in more Mario and Zelda games.

But lately some of your posts seem to be missing something: an air of reasonableness, of sophistication. You’ve long identified yourself with the Most Interesting Man in the World, but these types of posts come across as knee-jerk reactions from someone who is just being angry for anger’s sake–quite unlike Mr. Dos Equis. I used to be able to shrug off such posts, but since I still enjoy most of the content you put out on your blog, it’s frustrating when I come upon a post where you just seem to be angry about Zelda for no good reason. That’s why I’m writing this response to your recent post about the new Zelda trailer.

I have a full time job, and sometimes my posts appear when I am most sleepy and most loopy.

But yeah, I am pissed off about Zelda. I feel a constant ‘war’ against why we liked the original ones. I despise the anime influence, the ridiculous story crap they put in, and how they have turned the game into something completely different. Nintendo fans may be excited for Zelda, but not the gaming community. Other games have replaced Zelda such as the Elder Scroll Series as far as console gamers’ desire for an adventure game.

 

You write that the NPCs will probably be a bunch of retards, and go on to talk about the writing in Ultima VII and how they brought in a professional writer to write the NPCs. Your distaste for the NPCs in Aonuma games is nothing new, but you’ve never bothered to say *why* you think the NPCs is his Zelda games are retarded.

Wrong. I said there is a Giant Bird that plays an accordion. Look at the gameplay video. I don’t know or really care what the name of the Bird Race is, but there is a Giant Bird that Plays An Accordion. This is STUPID. Show that to any gamer without the Zelda rose-tinted goggles and they will also say it is stupid.

Zelda team is famous for doing bad, bad designs. They thought Wind Waker’s art style was a ‘fantastic idea’, and continue to believe so and go against market wishes despite what the market tells them.

The market says, “We like games like Skyrim,” and Nintendo appropriately says, “Let us look at Skyrim in how we can make the next Zelda.” This is what people really responded to well with the BoW reveal.  But now we get the other crap like a Giant Bird Playing An Accordion. Why is this even in the game? I have a hostile reaction just to it, and I am sure other gamers will as well. It shows me that Nintendo Treehouse are completely out of touch as they are the ones who should say, “Hey, this is ridiculous.” But no. They were the ones who thought the Wii U library killer-app was going to be The Marvelous 100 (or whatever that Platinum game was).

 

If you were just dumping on Wind Waker and its silly, cartoon-ish cast of characters I could understand, but there’s no Tingle in Twilight Princess, no goofy, bright-colored, weirdos in Ocarina of Time. And the NPCs in Majora’s Mask *do* have schedules and I would say most don’t seem two-dimensional (especially considering the stakes: everyone’s lives will end in three days if Link doesn’t do anything!). It’s not Shakespeare, but you don’t want Shakespeare, you want Hyrule. You want it to feel like a real, lived-in place, and OoT, MM, and TP more or less do just that.

Then you go off about the ‘animal’ races in Zelda. They’re stupid, you say. The people who make them are stupid, even. Why? I’ve read everything you’ve ever posted on Zelda, and I don’t even know. I’m 100% with you on the lack of Zelda II-esque towns in 3d Zelda, but it’s almost like you expect Nintendo to *not* make fantasy races for their fantasy video game series.

It’s a giant bird playing an accordion! WTF!!!

You write: “The developers are not geniuses with their ‘creativity’, they are creating garbage with these ‘races’”

I don’t know who said they were geniuses, but with creatures like Zoras and Gorons Nintendo is only borrowing from real literary mythology. Instead of mountain dwarves we get Gorons. Instead of mermaids and mermen, they give us Zoras. Forest fairies became Kokiri, etc. And now this new Zelda has some griffin/harpy-like species, and you lose your shit.

Why? You don’t owe me an explanation–you don’t owe any of your longtime readers anything–but it’s worth pointing out that you’re not explaining yourself very well at all.

Nintendo doesn’t give a shit about Western mythology. They are either going to pull stuff out of their ass or base it off of some Asian mythology. I do not mind that when done well.

Look, I LOVE the early Final Fantasy games with their mythos. But people at Square thought they were geniuses and went off the rails. They made Final Fantasy Spirits Within movie which nearly destroyed the company. They make atrocious modern Final Fantasy games which have lost the luster and appeal of what made the series great in the first place. Zelda is in the same place.

Zelda used to be the GOLD CARTRIDGE game. Now, no one cares about Zelda except for Nintendo fans (all those who bought a Wii U).

 

Why do “these stupid bird people and other animal races do not belong in Zelda? Why don’t they make sense? I’ll even grant that the Koroks were dumb and that those stupid little furry things in Skyward Sword were annoying as hell, but what are you even saying when you say that a race of bird people seems out of place in Zelda? It begs the question, what is Zelda to you in the first place–not the gameplay, but the mythos? Does Nintendo have to stick to stock genre characters like dwarves and trolls for you to be happy? I don’t think a Lord of the Rings-inspired Zelda game would be terrible by any means, but what fun would it be if Nintendo never tried anything different (yes, if Nintendo reigned in their ‘creativity’ we’d get fewer freaks like Tingle, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water).

Because they look stupid.

 

“And these ‘races’ seem to move like anime characters.”

Lately you’ve come to use ‘anime’ as a catch-all for Japanese weirdness which you hate, but 1) elsewhere on the blog you’ve celebrated Japanese weirdness in games, and 2) not all anime is shitty. The latter should go without saying, but still, you act as if you know for a fact that every anime out there is terrible, like they’re all a bunch of stiffly animated creepshows starring hyperactive teenagers with spiky hair, and… they’re not. While there’s a lot of truly, truly, TERRIBLE Japanese animation out there, logic dictates that out of thousands of Japanese cartoons out there, some of them have to be good, and that they don’t all look the same or suffer the same quality of animation. (Incidentally, the guy who designed Mario, Princess Toadstool, Link, and a bunch of other original Nintendo characters, Yoichi Kotabe, was hired by Miyamoto because of his work on anime).

But what does it even mean to say that they “move like anime characters”? Most NPCs don’t move around much at all, but for the ones that do, at least their movements make sense. Gorons lumber around because they’re big and slow. Bird people stand like people or fly like birds. I don’t know what you expect from Nintendo.

Western gamers will not buy a game if it is too Japanese influenced. Most gamers do not like anime. We like the DISNEY-esque cartoony design, but not the ANIME-esque design. Remember, anime was inspired from Disney cartoons (true!). I love old school Mario, but I have a problem when he becomes ‘anime’ like.

This is all just a silly teaser so nothing really matters. But I am not excited about a giant bird that plays an accordion. It feels like this game wasn’t made for my enjoyment but made for the developers’. Tingle is another great example of this.

And no, I never, ever drink the Hype Kool-Aide.

The game will be good or not when it is out. Arguing about it now is like arguing over Shrodinger’s cat before we take it out of the box. Let’s just see what comes out of the box.

 

Fair point about the airship, but we don’t yet whether the bird people are the ones flying it. It’s probably a spacecraft, anyway. The trailer seems to imply that it’s the one spreading those guardian robot things around.

In short, your rants about Zelda and your rants about anime are perplexing and frustrating to read because of how emotional you seem to get over these things without really explaining the why and the how you come to the conclusions you do. And I say that as someone who’s been reading from the beginning. Maybe I need to go back and re-read some old posts of yours; sorry if I’ve missed something. Even if you never respond to this, I’ll remain a fan of yours till the day you finally quit. Your commentaries are like a drug, and whenever there’s Nintendo news I keep on coming back for a fix.

Look at Metroid, OK? Metroid was a great series. A fine series. We all loved Metroid. We may have argued about which game was better, but we all believed in Metroid and glad it graced our lives. But what was the influence behind Sakamoto’s Other M or Federation Force? Anime. It is clearly anime. In Federation Force, I do not care about a ‘soap opera’ between the bounty hunters (as that is what Federation Force ends with).

Just as Western developers want to be movie directors, it seems these Japanese developers want to be making anime. Well, go make anime. Just leave it the hell out of our games. I do not want my game to be a movie. I also do not want it to be an anime.

How much ‘story’ has Metroid really had? None, really. The more ‘story’ guys like Sakamoto put in, the worse it got.

I think it is the same for Zelda. The more ‘story’ and ‘dialogue’ they put in, the worse the game gets. Can someone show me a great Zelda dialogue or story scene? The best dialogue comes from the NES games which are rampantly quoted.

I am not saying Zelda developers are bad story makers. I am saying they are no story makers at all. They have no talent for it. They need to stop. Like Metroid, the ‘story’ should be in its environment, in its ambiance. I do not want or need your stupid story scenes. They are ‘anti-gaming’ because there is no interaction from me, the player.

I still love BoW but I am still extremely guarded against it. I do not trust Aonuma. I’ve never seen someone so arrogant. “Let’s make a Zelda about trains because my child loves trains.” Iwata was shocked. “Let’s do more Wind Waker art style because FUCK YOU Western Market!”

There are people who are far more ’emotional’ about what I talk about with Zelda and Mario than I am. I’m giving voice to those ‘disinterested consumers’ because they do not appear on gaming message forums.

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