Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 15, 2017

S Minus 16 Days

Email: You sold me on Super Bomberman R

So my initial thought to the Bomberman Switch game was that I’d get bored of it fast. I couldn’t remember liking Bomberman, and so it was one less Switch game I was willing to buy, which also made me lean more on not buying a Switch until much later.

Then I watched the Bomberman videos you linked. And it all came flooding back to me. Bomberman 64 was the second game I was ever introduced to on the N64. I didn’t even own one back then, but I remembered the commercials and as they played with Saturday morning cartoons they were designed to be just as catchy and adventurous looking. Same with that Bomberman Hero game that later released.

Here’s that first commercial, done to the style of the old Spider-man theme song. I didn’t even know the Spider-man song back then, so Bomberman was stuck in my head for years.

When I finally did get an N64 some years later, one of the games that constantly got rented out from Blockbuster (remember those guys!) and eventually bought was Bomberman 64 2: The Second Attack. My little brother and I played that game to death. Don’t get me wrong, we sucked at the game. It also was very Zelda like with lots of puzzles, secrets, RPGish ways to grind out strength, and combat at nearly every step. The bosses were hard. At least for our young middle school selves. I can’t even remember if my brother and I ever beat the game.

Here’s a review that touches on everything that made the game special to us.

Pros: The game had co-op. Sadly, it only had that “second player plays as an invulernable pet,” but throughout the game you could make your partner stronger and stronger. The game was also very Megaman like, in that there were eight bosses and beating each boss gave you a new weapon. Which also added a few Metroid elements, as you could go back to earlier levels and find things using the different abilities those bombs had. And the bosses you had to beat were crazy. They’d dash, they’d drop explosions in their wake, they’d kick your bombs back at you, surviving was just half the battle! We played the game to death, and eventually would be able to beat one boss and unlock more of the game to us. Figuring out how to get your pet to evolve was great; you could even get them to evolve to a dragon. It got to the point where I wanted to play 2P as much as I wanted to play Bomberman.

I don’t think the game required a memory card, but because we would intermittedly rent it from Blockbuster, a year or two later we eventually bought one so we’d stop losing our progress! And progress was important because of the other major part of the game, the multiplayer! The multiplayer was much like it was in other Bomberman games, where you had the different grid reskins and different Bomberman colors you could use. But as you beat the story mode, you unlocked more types of levels, including levels that had multiple floors. You would unlock other game modes. You would even unlock the ability to use some of those cool bosses as your character, which was super cool even if mechanically you were just playing a different colored Bomberman. This game along with Smash Bros. were the primary reasons my brother and I eventually got a third and fourth controller for our N64, and would often invite our friends over to play with us. The game was so found that we eventually found another Bomberman game that was on the Playstation (the Playstation was a gift, the N64 we saved our allowances for almost a year to buy), and then that game was one of the reasons for us to get a multitap and four controllers for our Playstation!

The game was so fun that we actually looked for other Bomberman games once the N64 went out the back and was shot. The GCN had none (although it did have the Smash Bros) so we started looking at the portable games. There were a few here or there my brother tried out when we could rent them from Blockbuster, but they didn’t have any easy multiplayer, so they never lasted that long for me. The DS and Wii changed this. The DS came out with a Bomerman game that allowed single-pack multiplayer, which was an instant buy. The Wii had a Bomberman game on the VC (I think it was the Turbographix version?) that allowed more than 4 players, as long as you also had GCN controllers to plug in. We scooped that up as well.

So why did I forget how much I used to enjoy Bomberman? Because, I sucked at it. One of the reasons Bomberman was extra fun was because, like Smash Bros, my brother and I could go into the multiplayer mode, play against CPUs, and play team battles. So for Bomberman, in both Story and Multiplayer we could do co-op. Every Bomberman game I played after the Second Attack would neither have a co-op story mode, nor much in the way of team battle options. Since I sucked, I didn’t want to play FFA all that often, even though I could occasionally win or had the ability to practice more. For me, fun games, especially party games, are best as team games. You feel less bad when you lose with others, and you feel great when you manage to cooperate and win together.

I watched those videos you linked, and now I’m certain I want to get this game for Switch. It has a co-op story mode. It has 8-player multiplayer (I think). In my wildest dreams it would have single-pack play, but then again not everyone is going to have a Switch right away. Being able to play with a single Joycon, and being the right amount of complexity leads me to think I could even play this game with my girlfriend, and there’s a good chance she might love it!

Dammit Malstrom, now I want a Switch at launch. All the pre-orders have been sold out for weeks, you know! I actually wrote months beforehand, except now I remember that all of this hype started building just last month with the big presentation. This feels like the earlier years when Apple released a new iPhone with some new feature and how demand built up in just a few weeks. iPhones still sell like gangbusters, but now we expect them too. I wonder how people will feel about the Switch this time next year.

Games on my Switch to-buy list through Summer:
Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Super Bomberman R
Hasbeen Heroes
Splatoon 2 (w/ public testfire coming in March)
(maybe) Arms
(maybe) The Binding of Issac: Afterlife
There goes my wallet.

 

The only thing I worry about Super Bomberman R is the programming. I am sure Konami got the Hudson guys back to do it, but who is doing the technical stuff? Certainly not the Hudson veterans.

All that has been shown of the game: some multiplayer (where Konami says more maps are coming). Some single player (mostly the boring ass tutorial mode). And the intro. And that is it. The demo they are using for these events is old. The long load times will not be in the final version according to Konami.

Super Bomberman R is $50 on top of Switch $300 and Zelda $60 and a Pro Controller $70, So, yeah, I think I will wait a week on Super Bomberman R to see what initial impressions are so I don’t buy a turkey. I do not think it is a turkey. But you can see why I want to throttle back my expenses. I’ll most likely get it unless the game is somehow a disaster.

Super Bomberman R needs more hype though. Zelda is sucking all the hype from the room. The reason why Super Bomberman R will not be hyped is because it is Nintendo exclusive third party game. All the viral marketers can do is attack the beta version with the long load times (that is what the demo is since the game is not finished yet). How can bomberman go wrong? Unlikely!

Konami said Super Bomberman R is inspired by Super Bomberman III (from SNES) and Bomberman 64 (I assume the first N64 one?).

I think Bomberman is the finest console multiplayer and excellent single player franchise out there… a truly perfect game. To all these people saying, “OMG, it is Bomberman. IT IS NOT A REAL GAME.” Fuck these people. Bomberman is more fun and replayable than any Western AAA Game Industry game ever made.

 

Email: Zelda DLC killed my hype for the game

This has to be one of the most disgraceful things Nintendo has done in years. Hard mode as DLC!? Get out of here!

I also hate how this announcement was made before the game even released, if it was announced afterwards it might’ve been okay.

Once again you saw this blunder coming from a mile away, Aonuma never fails to impress.

“And up for the next Zelda game that’s sticking to its roots! Everyone liked the open world but me! So in that case, the new Zelda game will have puzzles and co-op with Toon Link in a linear setting with a predictable story line! Yes! You can even summon Tingle to help you on your quest! No adventures or mystery in this game. As for DLC? You get even more puzzles and you can have the options menu thrown in there as well! I am a genius!”

 

Yeah, I feel you. I seriously considered dropping my pre-order for Zelda and the Switch entirely. Nintendo has become awfully greedy lately.

Then I thought, “Well, I’d want a Switch ONE DAY especially since I have every other Nintendo home console (except for the N64 which I plan to pick up and a Wii U, which I never plan to pick up).” Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be good, and Bomberman and the RPGs look fun.

Zelda is completely overrated these days.

You know what I want? I want HD Remakes of Zelda 1, Zelda 2, Link to the Past, and let’s throw in Link’s Awakening too. Why do we get HD remakes of ONLY the 3d Zeldas? Why not the classic Zeldas? They need a HD remake more than anything! They are the most aged.

Even better, they can add DLC or new content to these games. Zelda 1 could have a THIRD QUEST. Maybe even a co-op quest. Zelda 2 could have an included easy mode for the weenies, but they could add an expansion to it. After Link gets the third triforce in Zelda 2, he goes to another continent and starts at level 8 and all spells and abilities but can upgrade more. Maybe level 16 for abilities? Maybe new sword techniques? Maybe new spells? And new palaces, towns, and lands to explore! Imagine Link to the Past with a Second Quest.

All this is much more exciting than Breath of the Wild DLC. Why don’t they re-release these classics in HD and give them new expansions?

“But Malstrom,” Nintendo cries, “that shit belongs in the 80s and 90s. People want new stuff.”

So why is your NES Classic Mini still selling out?

“Wahhhh. You found us out, Malstrom!”

I was seeing some youtube ‘lets play’ videos of some of these games and they have hundreds of thousands of views for only being a few months old. Geez. I think there is huge demand for something like this. Older gamers will buy it, of course, and younger gamers will buy it because it allows the classics to be accessible to them. It makes good business-sense as they would be easier to make. Zelda 1 and 2 were made with just ten people after all! A HD remake would not be expensive.

But Nintendo is not going to want that. It would allow a 2d Mario situation again. Remember, when the Wii came out that Nintendo saw Mario as only 3d Mario. 2d Mario was just the ancient past. But the massive sales of NSMB DS and NSMB Wii showed that people wanted 2d Mario.

I believe there is market strength for a new Zelda series to evolve from the gameplay of the classics (Zelda 1, 2, LTTP). This is NOT 2d Zelda. This is NOT Link Between Worlds or 4 Swords bullshit. This is Aonuma-free Zelda. This is puzzle free Zelda. This is Zelda as a RPG/arcade combat hybrid which is what the franchise is all about. No one played Zelda for the ‘story’. And puzzles were never part of the early Zelda games.

Instead of this Breath of the Wild bullshit where it is ‘trying to get back to the spirit of the original Zelda’, why not just remake the original in HD and give us the Third Quest? It would be MUCH CHEAPER than what Nintendo is doing with BoW.

I interpret Nintendo’s move here to co-opt the classic Zelda magic into the shit turd of Aonuma story/puzzle Zelda. It won’t work. Just give us what we want and realize that Aonuma was always the wrong person to be put in charge of Zelda. Let Aonuma make a non-Zelda game so the world can realize how talent-less he actually is. All Aonuma can do is keep stealing from the classics.

Email: Want to see something hilarious?

I actually like this guys movie reviews but if there was ever a whiny Nintendo hardcore fanboy video, here’s one.

Should in point out all the flaws or would you?
When MS abandons consoles the hardcore are going to lose their mind.

Most people still haven’t figured out Nintendo in the 7th Generation (and the video goes to shit). But at 4:10, he does make a really spectacular point: when we think of the pre-Wii Nintendo consoles, we think of the games. No one goes, “Man, that NES hardware was something else!” Well, you do if you remember the Atari era and the joysticks. The D-Pad was the biggest controller revolution of all time. Nintendo has been confusing game quality with hardware integration. Just because the DS has a microphone doesn’t mean we want to talk in it during a Zelda game.

 

Email: The purpose of puzzles in non-puzzle games

One of the things that really weirds me out about how Nintendo markets new Zelda games is that they always make it a point to mention the puzzles in the game. They make it seem like its completely natural for a Zelda game to have a heavy focus on puzzles, even though I don’t any gamer in their right mind would ever say that. Zelda, when I was a kid, was associated with adventure and swords and fighting monsters. The word puzzle never even entered my thought. I don’t think the emphasis on puzzles started until Phantom Hourglass (which I think is also the point where Aonuma became the primary person behind Zelda). It’s honestly feels Orwellian. Zelda has always been about puzzles, and Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.

Zelda has always HAD puzzles, of course. Even the first Zelda occasionally challenged players on a cerebral level. But I think the way those early Zelda used puzzle solving, the way they fit into the larger game, was completely different.

I’ve been replaying the PC version of Resident Evil 4 (I think this is the 4th time I’m playing this game!) No one would ever describe RE4 as a puzzle game, yet it does feature a number of them, some of them even pretty annoying. The difference is in how the puzzles are used. In games like RE4, and even other games like Metroid, Thief, and early Zeldas, the puzzles always served some other design purpose.

-They can break up the tension. After a super intense fight that you barely survived, a simple puzzle can be a good way to slow the game down and give the player a chance to relax before the game begins ramping up the intensity of the game.

-They can be a cheap means of ‘selling’ the environment to the player’s imagination. What better way to underscore that the castle belongs to a madman than for the door to be opened only by some ridiculously convoluted mechanism? What better way to sell an alien environment than to have weird contraptions that do not make any sense for a human? What better way to sell the dungeon of a monster than to have booby traps that can only be bypassed in an esoteric way? Puzzles can be an immersion booster when used at the right time in the right place.

-They can control player movement. Taking away control from the player in the middle of gameplay is a cardinal sin of gaming, yet, for example, the developer might want to have the player standing in a certain spot before the enemies are unleashed upon him. You can do this by forcing him to go to a switch or lever or something, and having him press it. Then, when the player turns around, he finds that tons of enemies have spawned on the pathway back to the door. Games like RE4 and Doom do this a lot. Also, tying a tough fight to a puzzle or switch can give the player time to adequately prepare himself for the next battle.

-They can be a way of quietly teaching a player how to use the tools he has in his inventory. Metroid and Zelda do this.

-They can interrupt monotony. If all the player has been doing for the last hour is swinging a sword or shooting guns, you might want to add a little bit of variety for a brief moment. Then, back to swinging the sword.

This, I think is that the proper use of puzzles in a non-puzzle game. In all of these cases, the puzzle is never meant to be about the puzzle itself. The puzzle serves the action and adventure, not the other way around.

The problem is that Aonuma Zeldas, the puzzles are the main attraction. One does not encounter puzzles on a journey, but rather one journeys to the puzzle. I think if I could use one word about puzzles in Aonuma Zeldas, it is that they feel unnatural. They do not fit the larger world around them. The puzzle is not small part of the world, the world is a backdrop to the puzzle. This leads to puzzles being put into places where they make no sense whatsoever.

I am bothered about the Shrines in BOTW. They’re technically optional, but they remind me too much of Portal. Here, the puzzles exist for the sake of existing. Aonuma talks about the Shrines as if they are the main attraction of BOTW, as if they are the motivation for players to travel around Hyrule. But if you look at what gamers are discussing when they talk about BOTW, they almost never mention the Shrines at all. They’re interested in the dungeons (and when people think of dungeons, they think difficult challenges, not puzzles), the towns, and the world itself. The Shrines are a MAJOR part of the game, yet no one cares about them.

I think BOTW will be good, but it will not be as good as it should have been. I predict this: BOTW will have great moment to moment game mechanics, it will have a great overworld that’ll be fun to explore, and it’ll have fun but not particularly deep or challenging combat. However, the game will be dragged down by the emphasis on the shrines. The Shrines are Aonuma’s handiwork. I think the rest of the game is just a concession to the business guys at Nintendo. That’s my prediction.

Aonuma needs to be removed from Zelda. I think the good parts of BOTW will be due to Miyamoto, the other many talented Nintendo developers, and business guys who put pressure on the developers to make this game.

 

The reason why puzzles are prevalent in indie games is because they require no talent to make. The early Zelda games were frequently imitated by competitors but never surpassed due to the sheer talent that made those games. Remember that back during those days, there was no such thing as a production budget advantage. Every NES game had about the same production budget to make. SNES it became a little more pronounced but not much.

What Nintendo is doing with Zelda is buying marketshare with flooding money into the production. There is no reason to have 300 people and half a decade to make a Zelda game. But they must pump up the production values, like morphine, to hide the effects of the cancer. The reason why there is such a big show about ‘going back to the original Zelda’s values’ is because the fans sense this cancer.

The cancer is Aonuma and his ‘definition’ of Zelda. How can Breath of the Wild have Zelda 1 values if Aonuma cannot even finish or enjoy Zelda 1? Six year olds enjoyed and finished Zelda 1 when it came out, but the head guy of Zelda cannot? Get him out. Out! Out! Out!

 

Email: Tetris Hype

Right guy is a professional e-sports player and the left guy is a grandmaster of the ARIKA Tetris arcade game (I think there are less than 10).

Awesome! Way more interesting than Western AAA gaming!

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