Wired has a great article up on Star Citizen. Go read it. The included videos are also quite delicious.

I really wish there was more written about Wing Commander in the business side of gaming. 1990 has to be the best year ever in gaming. 1990 was when Super Mario Brothers 3 was released in North America. 1990 was when the Super Nintendo was released in Japan. There was much going on at the time.

There are a few games that really rattled PC gaming and altered everything. Doom is such a game. Ultima Online or World of Warcraft is such a game. Minecraft is such a game. But Wing Commander is that game. I think Wing Commander is perhaps bigger then them all.

Video games used to be designed based. There were many old school developers who hated Wing Commander because they said, “Origin is just buying marketshare with it.” Wing Commander was an expensive game at the time. However, Wing Commander wasn’t so much a design based game but a production based game. Do you even know what other PC games Wing Commander was competing with at the time? Oh reader, prepare to have your world rocked.

Above: King’s Quest V

Above: Railroad Tycoon 1

Above: Alpha Waves

Above: Captive

Above: Ultima VI: The False Prophet

And then Wing Commander comes out, and you witness your computer doing this:

The speed is a little too fast and the music is synthesized midi, but you get the idea. The game is shockingly bold. While other games were getting graphically better, with very pretty colors, Wing Commander felt like a movie. Remember, this is 1990. This is the 8-bit Era for consoles where NES still reigns.

I haven’t paid any money for Star Citizen, and I will not until the game is released. It is not that I think Chris Roberts is a thief (I mistakenly typed his name as Christ Roberts which seems appropriate), it is that I do not think he has the experience to BALANCE such a game. Chris Roberts seems to be building a 1990s game with 2015 technology. This is awesome if you are a 1990s Era gamer. However, I think it is off.

How Roberts will pull off this epic is using the old game developer trip of modular systems talking to each other. The example is the RPG World x Dogfight Module x On Foot Module and so on. Wing Commander, or even Privateer, had different modules talking to each other to create an epic game.

Consider the old RPG. There was the overworld map. When you entered a city, you went to a city map. When you hit a random enemy encounter, you went to the battle screen. Older games got around the technology by having different modules talk to each other. Much gaming progress since then has been in eliminating those modules. Ultima VI, for example, has no separate ‘mode’ for city or overworld or battle. It is all on one screen. Meanwhile, Chris Roberts was still using modules talking to each other. Wing Commander III and IV had the game mode of the dogfighting talking to the movie module. The game took you back and forth and the modular modes talked to each other.

Other examples of such design would be Zelda 2 and Star Control 2. Zelda 2 has the overworld map and then the ‘side view’. The two modules talk to each other to create an epic game experience. The issue with such modules talking to each other is that it doesn’t age very well. Star Control 2, one of my favorite games, has modules stacked on top of modules. You have the melee mode of the ships as one mode, you have the overworld map as another mode, and you have the dialogue screen as yet another mode. You can even add in yet another mode with the planetary lander when you collect resources and aliens off of planets. All these modes would talk to each other and create a very epic experience despite the game (Star Control 2) being made by only two people.

Chris Roberts is relying on what has served him well. He is relying on these different modes that will ‘talk’ to each other to create the feeling of an epic game. He is not actually DESIGNING a universe like a MMORPG. This is how he pulls it off. He designs modules that talk to each other and create the ‘universe’ through such game conversation.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 31, 2015

Heroes craziness

This is a sign when you have too much free time on your hands:

I think I’m most ashamed I had watched that Bob Saget show. Oh dear, that was life twenty five years ago when cable wasn’t prevalent and the Internet didn’t do streaming.

But nothing is as crazy as this. Just what IS this? I do not understand it. I do not WANT to understand it!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 29, 2015

“If we work together, we will survive…”

Skill in Heroes of the Storm really isn’t about how fast you push buttons or do ‘mechanics’, it is mostly about working together as a team. It is also about not quitting.

Last night, I had a game where my team was behind four levels nearly throughout it. Our core got down to 5%. Then, we won. Looking at the profiles, my team were full of scrubs who had a dozen games or less. The enemy team were all up high in Hero league (Rank 5-20) and had played 500-900 games. We won because I had a conversation with the team about sticking together.

The game reminded me of this scene from Gladiator:

The more I play, the more I realize how the gameplay works. In Heroes, there is a belief that the game revolves around objectives and doing such things. This couldn’t be more wrong. You should never be split up from your team. The only exceptions to this is if you need to survive (dying is really, really bad as it turns your team battles into 4v5 and feeds xp to the enemy) or if you need to soak xp in lanes. Sometimes, it is to do objectives too.

Soaking xp in lanes is also quite different. You don’t actually have to kill the minions to get their xp. You just have to be NEAR them.

I watched Grubby do an interesting strategy with Lost Vikings that upholds the above view of how this game is supposed to be played. He split the vikings up to soak xp in two lanes while he told the team to group up as 4 in the very bottom lane. This meant the enemy had three choices:

1) Could counter the four player push at the bottom with four players of their own. However, Grubby’s team would be gaining more xp and going up faster in levels.

2) Could go after the vikings, but that would result in the bottom lane being pulverized.

3) Have four at the bottom but have one hero go back and forth between the two top lanes. Doable, but not easy.

The team went with choice one. The game was a slaughter as Grubby’s team had three levels or more and just steamrolled them.

The true objective in Heroes is really to kill the other heroes. The higher levels you are from the enemy, the easier this is. The ESL tournament games revolved around the high level teams isolating and picking off a team member or two turning the 5v5 into 5v4 or 5v3. And then they win.

Mercenaries and all matter, but it depends on the map. Blackheart’s Bay is extremely PvE dependent and mercenaries are too important. On other maps, this isn’t the case.

One thing no one in the Heroes community seems to realize yet is that they are going about the game all wrong in their tier lists. “This hero is Tier 1!” “This hero is Tier 2!” And so on.

“Are you saying the top players don’t know what they are talking about, Malstrom?”

Yes, I am. The heroes tier lists is a League of Legends or DOTA mentality. As players, it is easy to fall for it too because heroes are what we have control over to choose and to buy. Yet, we don’t control the maps. We don’t buy the maps.

The master variable is not the hero choice. The master variable is the map.  It is the map that will determine who are the best heroes. This will become more prevalent soon as the Heroes community realizes it and as the maps become more varied and the heroes more specialized. The idea of Hero tier lists will go away. What will replace it are tier lists for each individual map.

 

Above: THIS is the reason why anyone is buying Legacy of the Void: for the single player campaign. Starcraft 2’s multiplayer so overshot the market in both skill and loneliness (since when was RTS based around 1v1? It never has been), that everyone flocked to the MOBAs.

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I’ve explained here how (someone who works at Blizzard informed me) that during testing of Starcraft 2 there was a joke setting speed. Yet, this became the ‘default speed’ of the game to the surprise of many there. We can only speculate as to why Starcraft 2 is so fast. Perhaps it is to make the game more ‘exciting’ for e-sports? Maybe it is related to Dustin Browder who got much acclaim at designing Red Alert 2 to have fast gameplay compared to the slow as molasses Tiberian Sun. Either way, Starcraft 2 is MUCH MUCH faster than Starcraft 1. The game is very stressful as a result.

In the video for the Closed Video for Legacy of the Void (a fitting name to the end of the Starcraft 2 trilogy: a legacy of nothingness), the announcer speaks of ‘exciting ways to make the game even more fast paced for more micro opportunities’!

The comments are amazing. Let’s take a look:

The NUMBER ONE upvoted comment says:

I think Blizzard misses the point when intentionally making units or unit responses “more micro intensive”

Micro is going to happen regardless. Rather than build a fun game with potential for exploitation, they give us a game with a very high-end ceiling that requires an extreme amount of mechanics to be adept at. The result is that more casual gamers have scared away from the game.

SC:BW wasn’t designed to be more micro-intensive, it just worked out that way.

This also creates a strange multiplayer experience in non-high level play. In Starcraft 2, you can literally only build one military unit and win games because you have more APM and better mechanical fundamentals than the opponent. Starcraft 2 is RTS which stands for Real-Time Strategy. When people play, they want to do some strategy. It is humiliating when you realize that strategy doesn’t enter Starcraft 2 until the real-time differentiation of the opponents is even.

Starcraft 2 doesn’t have a high strategy ceiling. It has a high real-time ceiling. It is difficult to be consistent playing game after game throughout it with high APM while having a real job and life.

@Eirhead: 100% THIS. I just like building bases, making units, trying to guestimate what to build against the enemy build, etc.

Now the game just feels more stressful.

Frankly adding huge amounts of units created this same problem. I wonder if Blizzard will lose sales due to the fact that you have to spend huge amounts of time practicing and researching in order to even contend.

Starcraft 2 multiplayer is stressful. The aesthetics and everything else is fun, but the way how the game is being executed is not. The purpose of real-time was to eliminate the waiting of turns in strategy games. RTS doesn’t work as action-strategy.

@Eirhead: +1. Blizzard is effectively reducing the market size of this product to 1000 people who can play at this level of micro-ing. It basically means less casual players, smaller fan base, less e-sport sponsorship, less pro players and the downward spiral ensues.

I loved StarCraft from StarCraft 1 to HotS but after a long day at work, doing more high stress 110% focused work and getting creamed just doesn’t sound like anyone’s idea of fun anymore.

We all love watching pros pull off massive micro moves on Twitch but would love to be able to play the game ourselves as well. Perhaps the game needs a normal mode and an APM exhibition mode.

These are the most upvoted comments on that page.

@MaxDemian: This is my problem with the game. When SC2 first came out I went hard 24/7 to get High diamond it was a ton of fun. Then I took a break and could never get back into the game. I just couldn’t find the time to research and practice to have fun.

Even today, I want to play but I am too intimidated to play. There is just too much to relearn and it stresses me out when I play.

This was my experience. Yes, I can play at the ‘high level’. But why would I want to do so? If you take a break, because of ‘life’, then you have to re-learn, and it isn’t fun. The older you get, the stupider it all seems. Remember that Starcraft 2 came out about five years ago. I think many of the original Wings of Liberty fans have matured, graduated college, and saw what real life is. Starcraft 2 is not compatible with the real world.

@Eirhead: Fully agree. Main reason why a lot of guys I do know in person are not playing SC2 multiplayer consistently is because it’s way too stressful. Not saying one should have low skill-cap, but rather it should NOT be increased by making the game more hectic instead of more strategic. I’d like to be able to consistently get to exciting big army confrontations rather than guess which cute/flashy shenanigans my opponent is going to brutally murder me with, or get a bunch of situational units that I can’t use unless I can perform heart surgery with the speed of a professional piano player. Or at least, try to balance those options off a little. Do they feel simple+robust units are just too boring?

People want Starcraft 2 to focus more on strategy mechanics instead of real-time mechanics.

@Eirhead: Agree with you. I used to play some multiplayer, and almost never do anymore. In fact I have, for the most part, lost interest in this game. I’ll admit, the highest I’ve ever been is Silver, so I can’t really know what the higher leagues are like. I’ve always been a casual player. However, most of the reason I quit multiplayer almost entirely was that, as a casual player, I hit a wall where I just couldn’t win a game anymore. Now, before everyone jumps on me, I would just like to say that I understand that the differences in skill are there for a reason, and that “casual” players are known as such for a reason. But making the game this micro-intensive is going to eliminate the vast majority of players. I’m sorry, but the “people that want to be rewarded for their efforts” just isn’t a large enough segment to justify these changes. There is literally nobody I personally know who plays this game for ANYTHING but to have fun with it. For those of you who scoff at us casual players for not devoting ourselves to SC2, remember: Starcraft is a game. It’s not real, and it is by no stretch of the imagination an actual life. That’s why it’s called a game: NOT real life, NOT a career, but a game. It’s intended as entertainment – not as a lifestyle.

Oh no! It is a ‘filthy casual’ who expects a game to be fun and not be a lifestyle! Who makes video games into ‘lifestyles’? It would be our good friends, the hardcore.

@Eirhead: Completely agree! Part of what makes these games fun is the feeling of being “effective”. It’s very hard to feel effective at the low tiers when there are too many MINDLESS things you aren’t doing.

The above comment is interesting because he points out the gameplay experience of non-high-level games is simply because you are being able to do some ‘mindless’ tasks (non-strategy). Managing four bases isn’t strategic, it is real-time intensive. But this is not why we are playing the game to juggle things around with the mouse cursor. Starcraft 1 certainly wasn’t like this.

@Eirhead: Agreed. I watch micro-intensive games in awe, but I can’t waste that much of my life becoming a starcraft master, just so I can stand a chance in any given match. It’s not 100% Blizzard’s fault though. As Starcraft became more popular, more people played it professionally and more people studied the mechanics. The more people that studied the mechanics, the less fun the game became, because it’s now at the point that, the only way to win a match is to pick one of 2 or 3 winning strategies and stick to it with perfect timing. It’s no longer a strategy game, because the majority of the strategies will likely lead to a loss.

Ouch!

@Eirhead: I have to agree. The more I look at the proposed new units and how much Blizzard talks about being micro-focused, the less I want to play it. My favorite aspect is not the micro, but the chess and strategy part. Can I predict what or where they’re going to attack and adjust my play to counter it? The more that I’m focusing on clicking on individuals in my army and giving them individual commands, the less I get to focus on the big picture of the battle.

If this is the way to go for multiplayer, I’ll have to decide if it’s worth paying money for just the campaign mode or not. I only just picked the game back up after not playing for a little over a year. I might not come back to this.

It astonishes me how things have changed and how so many people agree that Starcraft 2’s multiplayer has gone too far. NO ONE was saying this years ago.

But what about ‘archon mode’? Shouldn’t that help the ‘filthy casuals’?

@SkyFire: “and you even have archon mode to play with your friend”Just to be clear, this isn’t something new they’re adding. This is something we had in Brood War and then they took away from us, possibly so that they could entice us into shelling out for the third expansion. While I’m glad they’re giving it back to us, it shouldn’t be viewed as a “feature” any more than being allowed a free carry-on to your airline should count as a feature.

 

I had forgotten about this. Brood War came out the same year as Starcraft 1, I think they just ran out of time. I do know that Warcraft 3 already had ‘archon mode’. Oh yes. You could share units.

During a 3v3 ladder, a few top players, along with a Blizzard employee, discovered an interesting strategy three people were using. They would share all their units and build off of one base. The resources were all shared. So what you had was one guy doing nothing but towering, another doing crazy micro with armies and heroes on one side, and another doing crazy micro and armies on another side. All the upgrades were shared since they were using one base. They stomped the Blizzard employee and friends. They didn’t mind being stomped as they were laughing too hard. Never did they dream Warcraft 3 to be played in such a fashion!

It is not Archon Mode that interests anyone. It is actually Allied Commander mode. The mode of competing AIs and getting new units using generals sounds very interesting.

I’m getting Legacy of the Void for the single player campaign. That is fun at least, and it is fun to replay. I just hope the RTS mechanics are more left in instead of being taken out like in the Zerg campaign.

@Eirhead: 100% agreed.

SC2 was my favorite game of all time. But this kind of aproach makes me feel lazy about it. I know SC2 isnt about being just noob friendly all the way. But you gotta consider lots of your fanbase just gets home tired from work and the last think they want is all that stress to handle with.

SC2 doesnt need to be a micro-intensive game. Micro, as the guy above just said, was just always there regardless of this aproach.

Maybe of you could launch units with more passive abilities (like the colossus mobility, chargelots etc) to make something different, or maybe even just more responsive fast n simple active skills (like Blink) would be more apropriate.

Just an old friend suggestion.

More! More!

@Eirhead: I spoke about this on the forums a few months ago. And I’m very happy to see I’m not the only one who came to the same conclusion.

Many die hard Starcraft fans who are passionate about the game have come to realize that ‘micro’ is a side effect of trying to squeeze the most out of a unit, it isn’t built into the design.

Units have to have layers. Sadly it seems the Starcraft II design team are trying to artificially recreate the micro seen in BW by making units specifically for micro engagement.
It didn’t work in Wings, it didn’t work in Heart of the Swarm, why is it going to suddenly work in Legacy of the Void?

I don’t get why the SC2 team are so out of touch with reality. No popular e-sport atm is driven by micro. Players like to be surprised, players like to be on the edge of their seats wanting to know what happens next. micro, micro, micro is going to desensitize the viewing experience. It would be like if CSGO had a crosshair, inside of a crosshair, inside of another crosshair, and you had to line them all up to get a headshot, yeah it would be COOL to see one time – but in the end nobody can relate to it – they will go back to playing CSGO with one crosshair (to explain the analogy would be SC2 micro pros vs SC2 A+move casuals).

More! More!

@Eirhead: I agree with you 110%. Brood War micro was designed in order to overcome the limitations of the units. SC2 micro is based on TRYING to use the unit to its designed potential, which is ALMOST impossible unless your are high master/ pro. SC2 is suffering, because the casual community can’t play it without ripping their hair out.

The comments do not end. It is amazing the turn-around regarding Starcraft 2 multiplayer.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 29, 2015

Game themed ice cube trays!

Oh you marketers. I thought frozen water in the shape of cubes was good enough, but no, apparently I must have Heroes themed ice cubes.

I do wonder what would happen if I put on that Starcraft 2 license plate.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 28, 2015

Upcoming heroes in Heroes of the Storm

Dehaka, Deathwing, Moira Thaurissan, Ragnaros, Gul’dan, Kil’jaeden, Magni Bronzebeard, Grommash Hellscream, Maiev Shadowsong, Azshara, Shandris Feathermoon, Brann Bronzebeard, Horace Warfield, Valerian Mengsk, Samuro, blade Master, Kael’thas Sunstrider, Rexxar, Skeleton King Leoric, King Varian Wrynn, The Butcher, Gelbin Mekkatorque, Garrosh Hellscream, Tosh, Fenix, Cho’gall, Zul’jin, Aggra, Artanis, Lady Vashj,  Arcturus Mengsk, Cenarius, Demoman, and The Overmind

Here is the source.

Some of these may not come out, but most of them will since the costs are already made with the sound files (the voice acting has to be the most expensive part of the heroes since they can’t easily bring in the voice actor to change or do lines like they can with an artist. Only one or two voice actors can do the voice acting while nearly any artist can update a character model).

Despite being old, it has already predicted: Jaina, Sylvanas, Thrall. Magni Bronzebeard may not be a hero, but they just use the voice file in some fashion. I’m not sure how Deathwing can come into the game.

Some are so obvious. Gul’dan has to come in if you played Warlocks in WoW or Warcraft 2. The blade master was the most popular hero in Warcraft 3, he has to come in. We already know the Diablo heroes of Skeleton King and Butcher are in the game. Fenix is a fan favorite. I’m curious how Arcturus Mengsk would be put in (I’m not a fan of the ‘prince’ son but he is coming into the game).

How would the Overmind work? Well, we already know how the Overmind will dance.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 28, 2015

Email: Experience bars

It looks like even some appliances have experience bars now, Volkswagen has a “Smiledrive” feature which may as well be an experience bar for your car:
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“Everytime you encounter another Volkswagen with SmileDrive, you get a punch. At the end of your drive, you’ll learn how many punches you’ve collected”
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“You’ll recieve stickers for special moments on the road such as late night rides, extra long hauls and crack of dawn commutes”
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Fortunately I don’t think this has caught on, people aren’t driving their Beetles 24-7 and bragging about it, most younger folk see driving (let alone car ownership) as a chore rather than “an expression of freedom”.
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Prior to this, some car companies would give you fine metal emblems for driving one of their cars so many miles, but no one really bragged about it. What gets peoples attention is something in good shape.

 

Oh dear.

 

Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 28, 2015

Robotech screen rights bought by Sony

Sony is going to make a movie based on Robotech. Oh boy.

I am more curious to see how they screw it up than anything. Robotech is the most misunderstood TV series that I know especially from its fans.

Robotech came out in 1985. It is responsible for popularizing anime in America.

The producer, Carl Macek, was bringing the Japanese anime series Macross over to America. However, it did not have enough episodes to fill the US requirement of 85 episodes for a TV show. Two other animes were added in. It wasn’t just three shows. What was done was much re-writing and the three shows became three generations. Macek explained what he had changed in the commentary in the Protoculture versions. The formatting had to change since Japanese TV used a different formatting. The nude shower scenes had to be cut because they would not fly on daytime TV cartoon showtime.

What became ‘Robotech’, this fusion of three shows into one, became more than the sum of its parts. I can watch it and actually jot down all the times they quote Shakespeare in it. More was re-written than what people think as I highly doubt Japanese anime quotes Shakespeare that often.

The way how people don’t understand it is thinking it is a ‘butchered’ or ‘cut and paste’ version of the original shows. But when you look at the original shows, they are TERRIBLE. They are just dreadful. Just listen to the music difference alone. In the Japanese versions, the only ‘music’ you would get would be some military drums. In Robotech, you would get something like this.

The three generations are the three Robotech Wars (a sci-fi version of world wars I guess). It is hard to determine who actually wins these wars because so many people die. Robotech is an absolute bloodbath. Yet, against the backdrop of all this carnage, they show the characters falling in love, getting married, and having kids. The main characters of Generation Two were the children of side characters from Generation One.  Ditto for Generation Three. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a TV series really go through such a spread of time of three generations like Robotech did. There might be some anime out there that did so, but Robotech feels more than an ensemble of characters but an ensemble of periods. It would be like if you read history, you would know World War 2 is connected to the events of World War 1 in some way. Most people have the first generation as their favorite. Some have the third generation. I’m one of the few that prefers the second generation. The second war was the most politicized where you had idiot politicians screwing up the war.

If you remember the battleship from Starcraft 1 that went ‘battlecruiser operational’ in a Russian accent, that is an homage to Robotech. I remember when Starcraft 1 came out that people immediately recognized Gloval as the Battlecruiser captain.

The fact that Sony is calling it a marriage of Western and Eastern ideas might show some promise that they get it, but I remain unconvinced.

After re-releasing it to DVD, Harmony Gold ‘remastered it’ and make it a complete mess. The audio was redone, and it sounded terrible. When the veritechs ‘morph’, they actually sound like transformers. Who thought this was a good idea? Worst of all, they edited the intro to only show just footage from that generation in it which tells me whoever did this did not understand Robtech.

The ‘sequel’ of Shadow Chronicles was written by a fan who didn’t understand Robotech either. He was clearly inspired by Babylon 5. Why would Shadow-like aliens suddenly arrive out of nowhere after the Third Generation? Dumbass writing.

I hear the comics are good. I can say the books are excellent and hold up well. They were written by two men who spent most of their life doing radio so it reads very well. The authors also had Macek’s scripts. The book series of Robotech is about 21 books I think. Six for Generation 1, three for Generation 2, three for Generation 3, five books for The Sentinels (Robotech II), and one book for the End of the Circle (Robotech III). They also had a couple books in between Generation 1 and 2 and 3 that filled in some story gaps.

If you watch Robtech today, you’ll wonder what the fuss is about. While the show came out in 1985, the animation quality is from 1980 or earlier. Even in Japan, they ‘re-made’ Macross and so because the animation had not aged well. Robotech, like many other shows, had deadlines and all so some of the episodes (especially the dream ones) make no sense and Minmei sings too damn much. Why did they not use her other songs? Maybe they weren’t done in time. Each episode as only a half hour long. Minus the intro and ending sequences, there wasn’t much time to do stuff. Enjoyment of Robotech depends on one willing to let the writing quality do its thing. The music is also fun.

Yeah, Sony is going to screw this movie up. How can they do a movie on Robotech? It’s three generations. Are they thinking of a trilogy? It makes no sense. The more people try to separate Robotech by each generation, the more they reveal they don’t get it. Robotech is about the interplay about those generations. Blatantly, the themes are the sins of parents falling onto their children (which is the last lines of The Tempest, Shakespeare’s last play), the actual might and power of music, and the entire arc revolves around the power of the flower. Every generation, there are two people who play out Romeo and Juliet (which might distress you if you watched the show when 14 years old). Robotech II and III go more into that, but it’s overall interesting.

Anyway, here is the original intro to Robotech. I love it how the generations are mixed up in it.

Above: No, the woman’s rifle does not blow up the alien spaceship. Two different scenes cut together.

The ending credits also has a similar reaction.

Above: The Japanese animation has the military battles move with a sort of grace and smoothness that cannot be duplicated using computer graphics. Or has technology come to the point where it can be done? I doubt it.

Now that I think about, Thundercats had an incredible introduction. Its power was in how graceful the animation was which is was unknown at the time in America. The NES and other japanese gaming also had a similar effect to the West.

At the very least, Aonuma is standing up there and telling you, the gamer, directly like a man.

“Oh my goodness, Malstrom! This means Zelda U will be delayed to do a split release for NX! OMG! OMG! OMG!”

I’m just shaking my head. Twilight Princess was revealed at 2004. Let’s take a look:

Now here is the trailer for Twilight Princess in 2005. Let’s take a look:

And here is the trailer for Twilight Princess in 2006. Let’s take a look:

Twilight Princess came out for both Gamecube and Wii at holidays 2006.

If Zelda U did a Twilight Princess, it would be released in 2016 when the NX launches. However, the NX is completely unknown. The Wiimote was shown at TGS 2005.

Nintendo sticks close to its six year cycle for consoles. 3DS launched in 2011. A successor would arrive in 2017 which is two years from now. NX may or may not be that successor. The 3DS is included in the new Nintendo account system that they bought DeMa for.

What is strange is the omission from E3 2015. Why not even a trailer? Something is really fishy.

It is good to hear from the video that the ‘open world exploration’ will not be gored. I was worried Aonuma would suddenly discover he was Japanese and go, “Hey, in Japan we don’t make open world games. We only make linear experiences,” and then make Spirit Tracks 2 which is a game literally on rails.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 27, 2015

Email: Iwata dislikes the “Free to play” model

I’m sure you’d like this article.
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Free to play really is a misnomer because it’s not free.  When you start out, you can play free for a while but eventually you hit a pay wall where you either have to wait for lives or whatever to reload or pay to continue.  Now not all games do this horribly.  Nintendo themselves rolled out two free to play games on the 3DS: Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball which I haven’t played and Pokémon Shuffle which is really just Candy Crush with Pokémon faces.  I’ve played the latter and basically you get five lives and when they’re out you can either buy more on the eshop or just wait a day for them to refill.  I expect these two games to show up as their first mobile games.
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But I don’t like how a lot of companies have abused the Free to Play model.  Some of the greatest offenders are the ones you see advertised a lot.  EA abused the name of Dungeon Keeper to try to cash in on some nostalgia to make an awful game designed to take everyone’s money and Square Enix abused fans love of the old sprite based Final Fantasy with All the Bravest.
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This describes Final Fantasy All the Bravest for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCgloIoELwM
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But of course the worst one is Clash of Clans.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQbcnIqjdOQ
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I downloaded Clash of Clans out of curiosity and deleted after a couple days. No way in hell I was spending money on it and I didn’t feel like sitting around waiting for stuff to refill or making the mistake of not logging on for too long and having all my troops die and I kept thinking “how is this popular?  Sure it’s free but surely people realize this is a scam and delete it?”  Then I saw a recent South Park episode that  had a good idea that the makers of the free to play games use the same strategy as casinos in that they use a lot of flashing lights and such and make it just fun enough to hook people in and that small amount gets addicted and throws money away. That and making money off kids whose parents forgot to lock out in app purchases.
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Maybe if Nintendo does start making mobile games with the same quality they made stuff like Wii Sports, it will take revenue away from Supercell and the like.

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The more I look at this, I think it is wrong to blame the software companies for the casino based pricing.

The real problem is the hardware companies such as Apple and Samsung. Both of them get their money from the hardware. They have NO INTEREST in making software expensive just as Microsoft had no interest in making hardware expensive. Microsoft convinced so many companies that computers should be as cheap as possible. All the computer companies bankrupted themselves by competing at the bottom. Now everything has flipped around with software companies bankrupting themselves by competing at the bottom.

The reason for the casino model, for in app purchases, is entirely due to the expectation that software be free. Who made this expectation? The hardware companies such as Apple and Samsung.

You know what Nintendo is saying? They are saying, “Fuck you. You should pay for software too. There is no free lunch.”

Iwata is right to avoid the phrase ‘free to play’ because it gives the expectation that the game is free, that the game is freeware.

So many problems of gaming business are solvable in gaming history. For example, the Wii came from looking at the Atari 2600 and NES which analysts, not enthusiasts, ignored which is why they missed the boom.

Has gaming always been paid for like a box in a retail store? The answer is a flat out NO!

This is from the wikipedia of Akalabeth:

When the game reached version D&D28b later that year (where “28b” refers to the revision), he demoed the game – now renamed to Akalabeth – for his boss at a Clear Lake City, Texas-area ComputerLand, who suggested he sell the game in the store. Garriott consented and spent $200 to package and sell the game for $20 inside Ziploc bags, with photocopied instructions and a cover drawn by his mother. It warned “BEWARE FOOLISH MORTAL, YOU TRESPASS IN AKALABETH, WORLD OF DOOM!!”, and claimed to offer “10 different Hi-Res Monsters combined with perfect perspective and infinite dungeon levels”. California Pacific Computer Company received a copy, and contacted Garriott to publish the game. Garriott flew to California with his parents and agreed to receive $5 for each copy sold. The retail price of the California Pacific version, with cover artwork by Denis Loubet, was $35; Garriot claims that the game sold 30,000 copies, with him receiving $150,000, and that Akalabeth had the best return on investment, with later games “all downhill from there”. The company suggested that for marketing purposes “Lord British” be credited as the author, and organized a contest for Softalk readers to figure out his true identity.

This is just one example out of many to show how PC games were sold. They were sold in a zip-loc bag.

I am actually currently in Clear Lake City, Texas, right in the area of the Space Center, writing to you this post. This is one reason why I chose that example.

Gaming looked to other industries for inspiration such as board games and music albums.

I remember some games being packaged like record disks. You had a huge square which opened up and the floppy disks were inside.

I don’t want to focus on the packaging though. The reason why games were sold at stores was because of distribution. However, disk systems meant games could be easily copied. This brought about copyprotection schemes.

But copying was used to some game companies’ advantage.

Ahh, Scorched Earth. It is the MOTHER OF ALL GAMES. “How do you know that, Malstrom?” It said so in the title screen:

Scorched Earth is a WORLD OF TANKS (does this sound familiar?). The game was ‘free’. You could pay to get a better tank. The point is that everything new has precedent before.

In the 1990s, there was FREEWARE which was software or games that were free or SHAREWARE which were games that were free but you paid money for more episodes and levels.

Doom, one of the most genre defining games ever, was FREE TO PLAY because it was SHAREWARE.

Epic was also making FREE TO PLAY games because the games were shareware. Jazz Jackrabbit, Jill of the Jungle, and Epic Pinball were shareware games. Above is Epic Pinball’s menu because the music is so damn awesome.

Here is the origin of how shareware and freeware for PCs came about in the first place. Interesting read.

One of the reasons why it says shareware became so popular is because of CLUBS. Clubs meaning like computer clubs where the nerds would meet at the library. With shareware, they could all use that software and play together.

DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? DOES THIS SOUND LIKE THE CYBER CAFE PHENOMENON IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE WORLD?

Evil id! Evil Epic! How dare they! They ought to be flayed alive!

“What now, Malstrom, is the problem?”

They only gave me one episode for free. They refuse to give me the rest of the game for free. Outrage! Outrage!

The only people who acted like this were eight year old kids. No one thought they were getting ‘screwed’ because only part of the game was free.

I don’t think these ‘Free to play’ companies are trying to do something sneaky. Due to the hardware market forces, this is the only way they can make a sustainable business.

Iwata’s ‘free to start’ comments coincide perfectly with shareware.

Did shareware destroy gaming?

Did id destroy gaming?

Did Epic destroy gaming?

No.

I think gaming is going to be OK. Free to play is not a new phenomenon, it is AN EXTREMELY OLD ONE. It is putting games in boxes and placing them on a store shelf which has less precedence.

 

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