Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 1, 2018

Email: Master System vs. NES

Hello Master!

I’ve been playing some third generation games, trying to feel what was the NES and how it stood aside the other consoles of its time, and I’ve figured the following: the Sega Master System was the “OMG high definition graphics” of the third generation.

Seriously, have you ever played OutRun? Or After Burner? Those games are visually stunning! They’re so beautiful if compared to what was coming out on the NES at the same time. Generally, the games on the Master System were so colorful, so nicely drawn. Even the dumbest ones had some kind of visually interesting touch, be it an interesting Main Menu screen or a nice background. Why would people prefer the rougher NES? By now, we all know that answer.

I’m currently on the year 1987. By now, the NES has already two handfuls of killer titles (Super Mario Bros., Gradius, Castlevania, so on, so forth), while I can hardly pick one on the Master System. They both have about the same number of sports games (those on the Master are kind of pumped if compared to those on the NES, see NES Tennis and SMS Great Tennis, for instance). Alex Kidd in Miracle World is Sega’s response to Super Mario Bros. but Alex Kidd is SO CREEPY. Have you ever played that? My God.

Just wanted to bring that up.

Sorry for any English mistakes!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

This is a very clever emailer who looks at the games at the year they were released and comparing it to the universe of titles at that time.

If the reader played Super Mario Brothers today, you might wonder what the big deal is. But go play any other game of 1985 or earlier, and you will find out what the deal is. Think people make a fuss over Street Fighter 2? Go play any pre-Street Fighter 2 fighting game. I dare you.

Master System definitely gets looked over. I think Master System was non-existent in Japan, about 10% marketshare in the US and considered an absolute joke (grown up NES kids today can’t take the system seriously), but our European and South American friends have much more familiarity with the system.

I’d like to delve into the Master System in more detail soon… as well as the NES. I really, really love how short the games were and how free of BULLSHIT they were.

*Malstrom puts in 8-bit game*

*game loads straight up to title screen*

*Malstrom hits ‘start’*

*Game immediately starts, and Malstrom is controlling it*

THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED TODAY. You know what it is like when you put in a game today?

*Download Update*

*Ad to buy DLC*

*Spinning logos from the developmental team and publisher. Takes about twenty seconds total*

*Ridiculous 30 second intro before we even get to the title screen*

*You hit ‘start’*

*Choose a name*

*Configure the avatar you want for yourself*

*Watch five minute badly voiced, badly written story intro*

*Fumble around 25 minutes in a not-fun tutorial trying to be too clever*

*Watch another bad cutscene for five minutes*

*Wait 20 seconds of loading*

*Skip another ad for DLC*

*Start game. But you have 90% of your controls stripped away until game narrator tells you how to do them at certain checkpoints…*


It’s amazing how we didnt’ need all these spinning logos, long winded bullshit tutorials, intros, and such in the 1980s. Even kids today got along fine with Minecraft without ‘tutorials’ and cute character telling you what to do.

Look, editing is a huge part of entertainment. We edit the bullshit out. In movies, we cut boring scenes. In books, we remove any and all words that do not belong.

Yet, video games is the only medium where it seems everyone is interested in ADDING bullshit and removing any and all editing process. “It was too expensive to make, so we will throw it in there to add to the ‘value’ of content’.” Fuck that shit. You don’t leave words in a book to ‘add value to content’.

Games are LONGER today, but they are much less intense. If gaming were beer, today’s games are all watered down to add ‘more content’. Give me the hard stuff of the 1980s.

And you indie game makers, I know you are there. We don’t like the 1980s stuff because it was hard, we like it because it is bullshit free. There is absolutely no reason for any indie game to have TEXT in their games. “What about an RPG?” Fuck all that. If you want to write something, video games are the wrong medium for it. It is very rare we should have to read anything in a game. Before I get email on this, know that I am generally talking about the retro platformers where the characters won’t shut up. Remember Super Paper Mario for the Wii? Terrible!



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