Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 16, 2019

Email: The Prodigal Malstrom Returns

Dear Sean,

I’m glad to hear from you.

I had to start analyzing events like, “what would Malstrom think?”.

My father passed away in October last year, so it was a bit of a double blow to also “lose” one of my favorite analysts too.

You need to train another Malstrom.

Take care,

Reader

I think there is much more interest and people doing analytical or historical or thought provoking pieces about gaming. This is how the situation was in 2005…

People looked at sales numbers but only in the context of ‘console horserace’.

Saying ‘power of console hardware doesn’t translate to sales’ was considered extremely provocative. It is not the power of the hardware that matters, it is the power of the console’s SOFTWARE. Software SELLS hardware, not vice versa. Today, no one argues these things, and they are accepted as background fact.

Liking ‘2d Mario’ was to be ridiculed. Don’t you know? That is OLD Mario. Get with the times! You only like that because of nostalgia! Then NSMB DS and NSMB Wii came and blew everything up. If THAT didn’t show 2d Mario wasn’t viable in selling software AND hardware, what was? You’d have to go to Wii Sports or Tetris to find more hardware selling power.

Complaining about 3d Mario got tomatoes thrown at me from the Nintendo crowd. Today, it is accepted there are people out there, even Nintendo fans, who prefer the 2d incarnations over the 3d.

Zelda was never truly criticized aside from ‘Wind Waker graphics’. Aonuma was always ‘genius’. And, of course, Ocarina of Time was the ‘best’ so every Zelda had to match that formula. Zelda got stuck in a rut that Zelda fans weren’t really seeing until Skyward Sword. With Breath of the Wild, they made a prototype of 8-bit Zelda and started the ‘gameplay’ roots from that. This was the right idea. This is what we’ve been screaming about forever. Breath of the Wild gives me that same feeling of original Zelda than any other Zelda. Zelda 2 is masochistic with awesome music and incredible combat. Link to the Past I was actually disappointed first time I played through it. “That’s it?” Still a great game, but it felt like the better graphics were retarding Zelda into linear tunnels with ‘puzzles’. Breath of the Wild is the step in the right direction. No one disputes this.

There is much more interest in gaming history today.

One thing more recent is the blowout hits of NES and SNES Classic Minis. Nintendo was stunned. Apparently, Nintendo obtained market data showing that YOUNG PEOPLE wanted the NES and SNES Classic Minis. They couldn’t believe it. They thought only nostalgia 30 year olds wanted those old consoles or older people. But it backed what you knew and what I’ve been hammering here forever: classic games are truly classic. They belong to the ages. Everyone wants to experience a genuine classic.

My challenge for this blog is to write things that no one else is saying. If other people are saying it, why bother reading the blog? Why would I bother writing a blog that says what other people are saying? So I must continually move the pillars. The way the pillars are moving is towards more interest in the ludology or deeper understanding of games. I think there is hunger to dive into the abyss of game making and why classic games are classic (and not because of the year they came out).

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