Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 4, 2017

Email: Will ARMS be a breakout hit for the Switch or a flop?

Hi Malstrom,

I wanted to talk about Nintendo’s upcoming fighting game, ARMS.

I’ve been noticing that ARMS seems to be gaining a lot of favorable responses, especially from those who have had a chance to try out the game.

I know your initial feeling towards the game was skeptical, but has that view changed in recent weeks, or do you still feel that ARMS will be a weak performer on the Switch?


Let us define ‘weak performance’. I complained about Aonuma Zelda and called them ‘weak performers’ despite Aonuma Zelda games selling consistently several million. Observers would scratch their head and wonder why I would say Aonuma Zelda is not selling as Zelda should. Three issues with Zelda that I don’t think the observers saw was the phenomenon, competition, and larger market.

Let’s start with larger market. Someone saying Halo is a ‘more popular’ game than PONG because Halo sold more than PONG is someone who is an idiot. The macro-economics of the 1970s were very different than the 2000s. The population size was different too. Also, there is the warm market versus cold market element. PONG had cold market because no one knew what a video game was. Halo did not have that problem. Halo also had a market who knew what the FPS game is. It was a warm market.

Look at phenomenon. Early Zelda games created a phenomenon. There was Zelda cartoons, Zelda cereal, clearly Zelda was big in consumers’ imaginations. You never saw Aonuma Zelda create such a phenomenon. The only thing about Aonuma Zelda was where it fit into the timeline which that trend started after Ocarina of Time (where Aonuma was confined to making bad dungeons).

Look at competition. The reason why Aonuma Zelda has no competition (aside from Okami which bankrupted the company that made it) is because Aonuma Zelda is terrible and doesn’t bring in the money. Zelda 1, 2, Link to the Past were cloned and copied despite them having a colder market. Link to the Past appeared on the SNES. Gee, what other RPG or action-RPG was on the SNES? I couldn’t even list them because there were too many. But go to the N64, you have a hard time naming any RPG or action-RPG outside of Ocarina of Time. Its near monopoly helped sell Ocarina of Time.

Now let us look at Breath of the Wild. We see the phenomenon. We see people buying hardware to get to the game (be it Switch or Wii U). Right now, Breath of the Wild has no same-console competition so I am curious to see its sales once Skyrim appears on Switch. Breath of the Wild is an actual Zelda game. Aonuma Zelda is Aonuma spin-offs (which are strangely chained to Ocarina of Time since Aonuma can’t seem to make something that stands on its own and sell well).

I don’t think Splatoon was a ‘big hit’ though people disagree. You want to see a ‘big hit’? Look at Overwatch. Spaltoon is nothing compared to Overwatch. Worse, Splatoon seems stuck in a certain demographic of younger players… mostly Japanese. Nintendo games are supposed to be for everyone.

Personally, I find nothing appealing about ARMS aside from its production values. Cue the music.

Woahohohooohhooh oh oh oh woaohohohohohohoh….

Join me reader.

Reader sings, “Woahohohohooohhoho oh oh oh woaoohohohohohoh!”

Very good, reader.

“Thank you.”

The game fucking creeps me out. The slinky arms just makes me hate all the characters. ARMS is bubbling with the anime, and Twinkette or whatever the pingtail girl is for the Otaku. The characters don’t seem interesting or original to me.

What is ARMS? It is boxing. Sports is a game of adrenaline, of even masculinity, a type of ‘must win’ attitude. ARMS makes me cringe. I would feel embarrassed to be seen buying ARMS due to it being anime flavored with Otaku Girls in it.

Worse, I passionately despise ARMS because ARMS is not about ‘new IP’. ARMS is about DESTROYING a beloved IP: Punch-out.

Punch-Out is the video game version of Rocky. Punch-Out drips with testosterone and is a great game, a classic. Punch-out is hilarious with its stereotyping of crazy boxers you must defeat.

Above: Decades from now, no one will give shit about anime ARMS like they do Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!

Nintendo used to make games with masculinity. Mario was a blue-collar worker being a plumber. Zelda had Link being a badass with sword and shield killing nasty monsters. Punch-Out! was Rocky. Metroid was Alien. Nintendo even made a game about duck hunting. Yes, Nintendo made a game where you HUNTED ANIMALS. Nintendo would never make these games today. The only reason why they are made today is because of sequels. Nintendo doesn’t know how to make games of such content.

A big, big problem is NOA. NOA being in Seattle has created a culture of latte drinkers who actually thought the Wonderful 101 was going to be a killer app for the Wii U (hahahahaha). NOA wouldn’t bring over Xenoblade until a customer revolt was at their hands. NOA is completely divorced from American culture. Thank goodness Retro is in Austin and not Seattle. Austin is closer to the American mainstream than Seattle.

I want a game where I feel like a man. I don’t think ARMS will deliver that. Punch-Out delivers that.

ARMS will sell, but it will sell to anime fans and Otaku.

If people want multiplayer fun, they will pick up Smash or Mario Kart. ARMS is just WEIRD.



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