Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 20, 2018

Email: PlayStation Classic Mini

Dear Master Malstrom,

It’s been announced that a Sony PlayStation classic mini console is going to be released. Do you think there is going to be strong demand for this? I’m kinda doubtful. Is anyone really nostalgic for PlayStation 1 games?

https://www.wired.com/story/sony-playstation-classic/

Compared to the NES or SNES? No. This product may do well at launch, but even this is due to people thinking it may become scalpable or a collector’s unit like the NES or SNES minis.

From what they have shown of the games so far, absolutely not. All the PlayStation games, if any good, have been ported or made remastered to other systems. Final Fantasy VII is not interesting when remastered versions of it are everywhere.

3d does not have the nostalgia or quality that 2d does. Sony is betting that it does.

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Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 17, 2018

Email: There is something special about installing a game from disc

Hello Malstrom,

I recently switched to a new PC and so I had to install my games all over again. My PC games come in two varieties: those with an actual physical box with a disc, and those that come as a download only. I don’t know how to explain it, but there is something special about going over to the shelf, picking up the box, opening it, taking out the disc, inserting it into the machine and installing it from there.

I don’t enjoy the patching, modding and configuring, especially if I have to go through through DOSBox and Wine, that part is tedious. The magic is in having the game move from the physical static box onto the computer where it become a world onto its own.

I especially like the old DOS-era or early Windows era boxes which came with huge manuals and other extras. You could flip through the manual as the game is installing, and if there is something you want to know you can look it up much quicker on paper than in an in-game help system or (even worse) a wiki.
There is also the fact that *I own* my games, they are in my home and I decide how and when I play them, not some online download service.

The same goes for console games as opposed to ROMs of course, but PC games always used to be much more wild because there was no one company enforcing a standard format.

There is something tangible to it all. My favorite is playing a cozy strategy PC game during cold winter months. Oooohhh! I always play Master of Magic when it is freezing outside!

What is also strange is that I get this same feeling when I watch disc movies. Steamign is one thing, but watching your own movie is another. There SHOULDN’T be a consumer difference, yet there is. Perhaps it is the fact that I am always in control. I also get this ‘magical feeling’ reading books as opposed to text on the Internet.

OK, I’m sleepy. I’ll get to the other emails soon.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 17, 2018

Email: Disappointed in New Super Mario Brothers U Deluxe

Dear Master Malstrom,

I’m starting to think that the creation of the Switch was not so much about turning Nintendo’s fortunes around as it was about giving the developers an excuse to do less work. Now that Nintendo has only one device to support, we should be getting more software output from Nintendo that ever, and yet we’re getting less than ever.

I played NSMB U on the Wii U, and I didn’t get far before I lost all interest. It wasn’t bad so much as uninteresting. Given how relatively inexpensive it is to make a 2D Mario game, there is no excuse to not make a new game for the Switch. What this means is that it will now be years before we get a brand new 2D Mario, assuming we ever do. We’ll get a port of Super Mario Maker before then.

This is a big mistake for Nintendo financially. NSMB U Deluxe will sell, but it probably won’t move the Switch hardware anywhere near as much as a great 2D Mario game would. Clearly, there is a lot of rot inside this company that needs to be removed.

Finally, I wrote to you awhile back saying that I wanted NES games on a cartridge, and you said it would be “silly” for Nintendo to do this. Yet all your comments since then have indicated Nintendo should let us own these games. Perhaps you could clarify?

It is ‘silly’ because it is outside realistic probability of Nintendo actually doing it. I would like a true NES Classic Mini with re-released cartridges. It’s not going to happen.

It is not an accident that a brand new 3d Mario was made exclusively for the Switch while the 2d Mario was ported over. Nintendo hates 2d Mario and loves 3d Mario. I blame Miyamoto’s sick, sick obsession with 3d. I’m now beginning to think that Miyamoto is more responsible for the massively wrong decisions Nintendo has made than his contributions to Nintendo’s rise.

I only realized this now while watching the VOD for the Direct. Whenever a big earthquake does damage, Japan treats it as a mini-9/11. I remember especially in 2012, and at least since then Japan has been very sensitive on this issue. I’ve seen television episodes and book releases delayed after an earthquake, and double so if they contain any imagery that may relate to urban devastation.

As for the Direct itself, remake, remake, remake and also online. If they really do backup saves automatically then I might spend the $20 for the yearly online (it’s pretty cheap…) or figure out a way to share it with friends. But honestly what they have on offer repulses me. The only game I might want badly enough to play online is Crystal Chronicles (actually managed to play that with friends when it was on GCN), but they didn’t mention anything about couch co-op which worries me.

The good news is that despite all the remakes and ports, they are stuffing the system with a little bit of everything this time. If you missed anything from Nintendo in the last 5-10 years that was worth keeping, you’ll get to play it in some form by the end of 2019. And Japanese third parties are massively getting on board too.

 

I’m outraged that Nintendo put out a direct during Hurricane Florence. How dare Nintendo! People are dying out there and have no electricity!

I joke, but you see the point. There is always a natural disaster somewhere. Actually, even if it was on 9/11/01, I would LOVE to have a Direct because it would give me something to watch outside of death, destruction, and carnage.

Does Nintendo not understand that entertainment needs to blossom during disasters instead of curling up and shrinking? What better response to disaster than entertainment?

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 17, 2018

Email: Growing FUD against Switch

Good day Malstrom,

Good day, emailer.

 

I’m not sure if you’ve heard but that last Direct sure was disappointing wasn’t it? I mean, never mind no Nintendo platform ever had this much software coming out for it. No no no, we should focus on that they’re all still ports Malstrom! PORTS! Oh the humanity!

That’s what quite a lot of people keep claiming and for the life of me, I can’t see what part of it is genuine in sentiment and what isn’t. I saw a Direct that had a lot of content. 2019 looks like a great year for Switch already gor me. But a lot of people seem way too invested in creating a certain narrative, don’t you agree?

If following forum discussion around the Switch/Nintendo wasn’t useless already, it sure is now. The amount of FUD being spread is reminding me of the Wii days.

Remember all the articles telling us how amazing the Wii U was?

Engadget: “Nintendo was right about the Wii U. We were wrong.”

The Verge: “The Wii U is definitely worth buying now”

Lifewire: “8 reasons why the Wii U is a success”

Even hardcore gamers began to wonder why everyone was talking up the Wii U.

For those who do not remember, the Gamecube was endlessly praised when the Wii came out (and Wii endlessly bashed). “Make more consoles like the Gamecube…” I’m surprised the game media do not praise the Virtual Boy more often! But I suspect they couldn’t even plausibly defend THAT.

When a Nintendo game doesn’t sell well, the game media also praises the shit out of it. Wind Waker was the BEST Zelda. Super Mario Sunshine was INCREDIBLE. Those New Super Mario Brothers games? Terrible. Never make those again, Nintendo!

And I know none of you would remember the constant hatred the game media would give to the NES and even Super Nintendo. Didn’t you know that Nintendo was leviathan, the huge bully? Hooray to Atari for stealing the lock-out chip code! I don’t think Nintendo got truly decent media coverage until around the DS and Wii.

For consoles, I use the NES as THE GOLD STANDARD. I’ve also said that a proper game console library is a three legged stool: one third of the games are classics (i.e. ports), one third are sequels, and the last third are brand new games. This is obviously a gross oversimplification, but it demonstrates the point.

For example, look at the 30 games for the NES Classic Mini:

BalloonFightnesboxart.jpg

Above: Arcade port to NES

Image result for bubble bobble nes

Above: Another arcade port to the NES

Castlevania was an original game.

Castlevania II was a sequel.

Image result for donkey kong nes box art

Above: Donkey Kong is an arcade port to the NES

Image result for donkey kong nes box art

Above: Donkey Kong Jr. is an arcade port to the NES

Image result for double dragon 2 nes

Above: Double Dragon II is an arcade port to the NES

Dr. Mario is a NEW GAME.

Excitebike is a NEW GAME.

Final Fantasy is a NEW GAME.

Image result for galaga nes

Above: Galaga is an arcade port to the NES

Image result for ghosts and goblins nes

Above: Ghosts and Goblins is an arcade port to the NES

Image result for gradius nes

Above: Gradius was an arcade port for the NES

Ice Climbers was a NEW GAME.

Kid Icarus was a NEW GAME.

Kirby’s Adventure was a NEW GAME.

Image result for mario brothers nes

Above: Mario Brothers was an arcade port to the NES.

Super Mario Brothers was a NEW GAME.

Super Mario Brothers 2 was a NEW GAME.

Super Mario Brothers 3 was a SEQUEL (no, I did not mess up SMB 2 and 3 here).

Mega Man 2 was a SEQUEL..

Metroid was a NEW GAME.

Image result for pacman nes

Above: Pac-man was an arcade game port to the NES.

Ninja Gaiden was remade as a NEW GAME for the NES.

Punch-Out!!

Above: Punch-out was an arcade port to the NES.

Star Tropics is a NEW GAME.

Super C is a SEQUEL.

Tecmo Bowl is a NEW GAME.

The Legend of Zelda is a NEW GAME.

Zelda 2 is a SEQUEL.

 

That is 30 of the ‘classic games’ on the NES Classic Mini. Let’s add it all up:

Ports- 11

Sequels- 5

New Games- 14

You can see Malstrom’s stool here in action. The interesting thing is that gamers today, especially of the hardcore variety, do not even recognize the NES ports. They were children when they played the NES. They think the NES ports were NEW GAMES. They were not!

And there were many popular computer game ports to the NES. Shadowgate was one of them.  Maniac Mansion was another.

People forget the bread and butter of home consoles were PORTS… especially ARCADE PORTS. Street Fighter 2 was not a new game for the SNES. It was a PORT.

I do not mind the ports to the Switch at this moment, although there are many. In 2019, I expect to see more new games designed for the system to appear. I expect the ratio of ports to go down and NEW GAMES and SEQUELS to go up.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 17, 2018

Email: Direct Delay

One thing not quite covered in the other email is the possibility that Nintendo canceled the direct because it would contain a trailer for Isaac from Golden Sun. Isaac can control earth, so a trailer likely would have depicted him causing tremors. A tagline of “Isaac Shakes the Earth!” would have fit.

If that’s the case, there’s a “funny” coincidence: one of the hurricanes off the east coast is called Isaac. Maybe you’ll get your “wish” and Nintendo will delay the hurricane for an American natural disaster (though Florence is the one causing evacuations.)

haha

 

 

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 15, 2018

I really do not like the direction Nintendo online is going…

Take a look:

Nintendo Switch Online service doesn’t guarantee cloud game backups if membership to the service expires. Nintendo Entertainment System games free with the paid service will require a once a week check-in to play offline. We won’t know the full list of games that will require the service to play online nor which games support cloud saves until the service’s launch next week.

The reason why it is confusing is because it is badly done. Well done services are not confusing. Bad services are.

I do not want digital only games. I do not want a console company to have control of my saves. I do not want to ‘check in’ my Switch to online just to play a 30 year old NES game. NES games are not even a megabyte. There is no need for it to be ‘streamed’. I very much disagree with the attempt to change the consumer relationship. I know WHY they are doing it, but I also know where they WANT to go with it.

I think this will be my last console generation. Honestly, I have enough video games over the consoles I have and PC to last me the rest of my life. Nintendo is putting out some extremely disappointing offerings. An example of this is New Super Mario Brothers U Deluxe. One can argue about the quality of the game, but you cannot argue that this ‘port’ can, in any way shape or form, compare to the ‘port’ of Super Mario Brother games to the SNES. And, if I recall, Super Mario All-Stars was at a more reduced price like $40. Despite being a generation old, they not only bundled the games, they added one you didn’t have before AND remastered it for 16-bit. With these ports, Nintendo is literally doing nothing.

Switch also shouldn’t be compared directly to other Nintendo consoles. Switch should be compared to the handheld + home console of that generation. Instead of comparing Switch and Wii U (which makes it easy since Wii U had nothing), compare Switch to Wii U + 3DS. Suddenly, the Switch isn’t looking as hot.  Compare Switch to Wii + DS. Or how about Gamecube + Gameboy Advance?

The hardware isn’t what we want; it is the software. By having one console, the Switch looks like it is more robust since it is combining both handheld + home console first/third party support. This is very illusionary. It would be as if there was only one console instead of three then that console would seem to have ‘more games than any console’ which is true only in the illusion. It has the same number of games just not the same number of hardware.

Anyway, I’ll remain depressed about where the Game Industry is going. You do realize there will be another recession, right? These salad days will not last forever.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 14, 2018

The Big Bull is coming…

Image result for bull is coming

Back when Switch launched, I said there would be a Small Bull and a Big Bull. The ‘bulls’ are the ‘bullish’ software markets the Switch will have. The Small Bull was easily seen quickly post launch when everyone was trying to throw stuff onto the system. Since Switch sells software, games were greenlit in development for it. It takes a couple of years for games to be made. Two years later will be 2019. This is why the Big Bull starts in 2019. If you had trouble keeping up with Switch software before, good luck.

The latest Direct hints at the Big Bull. What do we have for 2019? Quite a lot. I was amused at the Final Fantasy segment. It starts off showing Crystal Chronicles Remastered (snore….zzzzz… snork…. snork… zzzzzzz), Chocobo Friends or whatever shit it is, chibi Final Fantasy, Pocket Final Fantasy 15 (why!?), and then it gave us a surprise: Final Fantasy VII, IX, X/2 as a trilogy and Final Fantasy XII as well. Well, shit. IF they are on cartridge, consider them bought. If not, fuck that.

I don’t think Nintendo fans truly remember a time when a Nintendo console was so BUSY with releases. Aside from the NES, SNES, Wii, and DS, Nintendo consoles do not have a torrent of releases coming out for it like we’re seeing. The reason why there are so many ‘hidden gems’ in the 8-bit and 16-bit era is because no one could truly keep up with all the games. Great games slipped past the market.

Time for sleep…

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 12, 2018

Email: Blizzard has retroactively ruined their old games

Hello Malstrom,

The other day I was feeling like playing Starcraft 1 again, so I installed it from my CDs and connected to Battle.net to get the patches. It then started downloading and downloading, with no end in sight. So I looked things up to see what is going on, and here is what I found: Remember the Starcraft HD remaster? That’s what Blizzard were downloading onto my system, complete with the new Battle.net client. Once it’s done your game will swell up to over 6GB in size, complete with in-game advertising to buy the HD remaster. And by buy they mean pay to unlock the textures which are sitting on your hard drive already.

Starcraft was a game from the 90s which fit on one CD (two if you had the expansion), and I never asked for all this extra crap. To top it off, with the latest patch I could no longer run it in Wine (a compatibility layer to run Window programs on Linux), which was working fine previously. In the end I uninstalled everything, re-installed from CD again and applied the 1.16 patch (the last patch available as a standalone) manually. Thanks for wasting my time with that huge download I never asked for.

I wanted to see if this was limited to just Starcraft because of the remaster, and apparently Warcraft III has also such a bloated patch that breaks things.

Not as big as the one for Starcraft, but still. I yet have to check Diablo II.

You could argue that it’s my fault for having a slow internet connection, not using Windows, and that 6GB is not much in the current year, or that other games would not be getting any patches at all and that their online servers would have been shut down long ago. But I think that the message to take from this incident is that Blizzard no longer views their games as products, but rather as services. Services which always chase the current trend instead of just releasing a product and letting it settle in.

Warcraft 3 got a recent patch that fit the game to modern displays.

I don’t like how they put the bloated HD Starcraft if you are just trying to play the original.

I’m not sure what is up with Blizzard. Let’s see what they do for Blizzcon.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 12, 2018

Email: Earthquake/Direct

About the earthquake.
It should also be noted that the subsidiary ND Cube, which works in Super Mario Party, has employees and offices and studios in the affected region.
It would have been a bad thing not to postpone the event, even if it was pre-recorded.

Why?

Bad… to whom? To what?

None of this makes sense to me. Natural disasters occur EVERYWHERE. Why is a GLOBAL company allowing a localized natural disaster affect it? I  mean, the game is already done. It is already pre-recorded, right?

The reality is that the show must go on.

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