Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 15, 2017

Dead on Arrival

I like this montage of upcoming games. I just wish we had a list of PHYSICAL RELEASES. I don’t care for digital.

Nintendo Switch will have a monopoly on the handheld dedicated game console market. We haven’t seen this since… ever. Even the Gameboy had competitors. Switch is going to have a monstrous game library. You will see!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 15, 2017

S Minus 16 Days

Email: You sold me on Super Bomberman R

So my initial thought to the Bomberman Switch game was that I’d get bored of it fast. I couldn’t remember liking Bomberman, and so it was one less Switch game I was willing to buy, which also made me lean more on not buying a Switch until much later.

Then I watched the Bomberman videos you linked. And it all came flooding back to me. Bomberman 64 was the second game I was ever introduced to on the N64. I didn’t even own one back then, but I remembered the commercials and as they played with Saturday morning cartoons they were designed to be just as catchy and adventurous looking. Same with that Bomberman Hero game that later released.

Here’s that first commercial, done to the style of the old Spider-man theme song. I didn’t even know the Spider-man song back then, so Bomberman was stuck in my head for years.

When I finally did get an N64 some years later, one of the games that constantly got rented out from Blockbuster (remember those guys!) and eventually bought was Bomberman 64 2: The Second Attack. My little brother and I played that game to death. Don’t get me wrong, we sucked at the game. It also was very Zelda like with lots of puzzles, secrets, RPGish ways to grind out strength, and combat at nearly every step. The bosses were hard. At least for our young middle school selves. I can’t even remember if my brother and I ever beat the game.

Here’s a review that touches on everything that made the game special to us.

Pros: The game had co-op. Sadly, it only had that “second player plays as an invulernable pet,” but throughout the game you could make your partner stronger and stronger. The game was also very Megaman like, in that there were eight bosses and beating each boss gave you a new weapon. Which also added a few Metroid elements, as you could go back to earlier levels and find things using the different abilities those bombs had. And the bosses you had to beat were crazy. They’d dash, they’d drop explosions in their wake, they’d kick your bombs back at you, surviving was just half the battle! We played the game to death, and eventually would be able to beat one boss and unlock more of the game to us. Figuring out how to get your pet to evolve was great; you could even get them to evolve to a dragon. It got to the point where I wanted to play 2P as much as I wanted to play Bomberman.

I don’t think the game required a memory card, but because we would intermittedly rent it from Blockbuster, a year or two later we eventually bought one so we’d stop losing our progress! And progress was important because of the other major part of the game, the multiplayer! The multiplayer was much like it was in other Bomberman games, where you had the different grid reskins and different Bomberman colors you could use. But as you beat the story mode, you unlocked more types of levels, including levels that had multiple floors. You would unlock other game modes. You would even unlock the ability to use some of those cool bosses as your character, which was super cool even if mechanically you were just playing a different colored Bomberman. This game along with Smash Bros. were the primary reasons my brother and I eventually got a third and fourth controller for our N64, and would often invite our friends over to play with us. The game was so found that we eventually found another Bomberman game that was on the Playstation (the Playstation was a gift, the N64 we saved our allowances for almost a year to buy), and then that game was one of the reasons for us to get a multitap and four controllers for our Playstation!

The game was so fun that we actually looked for other Bomberman games once the N64 went out the back and was shot. The GCN had none (although it did have the Smash Bros) so we started looking at the portable games. There were a few here or there my brother tried out when we could rent them from Blockbuster, but they didn’t have any easy multiplayer, so they never lasted that long for me. The DS and Wii changed this. The DS came out with a Bomerman game that allowed single-pack multiplayer, which was an instant buy. The Wii had a Bomberman game on the VC (I think it was the Turbographix version?) that allowed more than 4 players, as long as you also had GCN controllers to plug in. We scooped that up as well.

So why did I forget how much I used to enjoy Bomberman? Because, I sucked at it. One of the reasons Bomberman was extra fun was because, like Smash Bros, my brother and I could go into the multiplayer mode, play against CPUs, and play team battles. So for Bomberman, in both Story and Multiplayer we could do co-op. Every Bomberman game I played after the Second Attack would neither have a co-op story mode, nor much in the way of team battle options. Since I sucked, I didn’t want to play FFA all that often, even though I could occasionally win or had the ability to practice more. For me, fun games, especially party games, are best as team games. You feel less bad when you lose with others, and you feel great when you manage to cooperate and win together.

I watched those videos you linked, and now I’m certain I want to get this game for Switch. It has a co-op story mode. It has 8-player multiplayer (I think). In my wildest dreams it would have single-pack play, but then again not everyone is going to have a Switch right away. Being able to play with a single Joycon, and being the right amount of complexity leads me to think I could even play this game with my girlfriend, and there’s a good chance she might love it!

Dammit Malstrom, now I want a Switch at launch. All the pre-orders have been sold out for weeks, you know! I actually wrote months beforehand, except now I remember that all of this hype started building just last month with the big presentation. This feels like the earlier years when Apple released a new iPhone with some new feature and how demand built up in just a few weeks. iPhones still sell like gangbusters, but now we expect them too. I wonder how people will feel about the Switch this time next year.

Games on my Switch to-buy list through Summer:
Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Super Bomberman R
Hasbeen Heroes
Splatoon 2 (w/ public testfire coming in March)
(maybe) Arms
(maybe) The Binding of Issac: Afterlife
There goes my wallet.

 

The only thing I worry about Super Bomberman R is the programming. I am sure Konami got the Hudson guys back to do it, but who is doing the technical stuff? Certainly not the Hudson veterans.

All that has been shown of the game: some multiplayer (where Konami says more maps are coming). Some single player (mostly the boring ass tutorial mode). And the intro. And that is it. The demo they are using for these events is old. The long load times will not be in the final version according to Konami.

Super Bomberman R is $50 on top of Switch $300 and Zelda $60 and a Pro Controller $70, So, yeah, I think I will wait a week on Super Bomberman R to see what initial impressions are so I don’t buy a turkey. I do not think it is a turkey. But you can see why I want to throttle back my expenses. I’ll most likely get it unless the game is somehow a disaster.

Super Bomberman R needs more hype though. Zelda is sucking all the hype from the room. The reason why Super Bomberman R will not be hyped is because it is Nintendo exclusive third party game. All the viral marketers can do is attack the beta version with the long load times (that is what the demo is since the game is not finished yet). How can bomberman go wrong? Unlikely!

Konami said Super Bomberman R is inspired by Super Bomberman III (from SNES) and Bomberman 64 (I assume the first N64 one?).

I think Bomberman is the finest console multiplayer and excellent single player franchise out there… a truly perfect game. To all these people saying, “OMG, it is Bomberman. IT IS NOT A REAL GAME.” Fuck these people. Bomberman is more fun and replayable than any Western AAA Game Industry game ever made.

 

Email: Zelda DLC killed my hype for the game

This has to be one of the most disgraceful things Nintendo has done in years. Hard mode as DLC!? Get out of here!

I also hate how this announcement was made before the game even released, if it was announced afterwards it might’ve been okay.

Once again you saw this blunder coming from a mile away, Aonuma never fails to impress.

“And up for the next Zelda game that’s sticking to its roots! Everyone liked the open world but me! So in that case, the new Zelda game will have puzzles and co-op with Toon Link in a linear setting with a predictable story line! Yes! You can even summon Tingle to help you on your quest! No adventures or mystery in this game. As for DLC? You get even more puzzles and you can have the options menu thrown in there as well! I am a genius!”

 

Yeah, I feel you. I seriously considered dropping my pre-order for Zelda and the Switch entirely. Nintendo has become awfully greedy lately.

Then I thought, “Well, I’d want a Switch ONE DAY especially since I have every other Nintendo home console (except for the N64 which I plan to pick up and a Wii U, which I never plan to pick up).” Mario Kart 8 Deluxe will be good, and Bomberman and the RPGs look fun.

Zelda is completely overrated these days.

You know what I want? I want HD Remakes of Zelda 1, Zelda 2, Link to the Past, and let’s throw in Link’s Awakening too. Why do we get HD remakes of ONLY the 3d Zeldas? Why not the classic Zeldas? They need a HD remake more than anything! They are the most aged.

Even better, they can add DLC or new content to these games. Zelda 1 could have a THIRD QUEST. Maybe even a co-op quest. Zelda 2 could have an included easy mode for the weenies, but they could add an expansion to it. After Link gets the third triforce in Zelda 2, he goes to another continent and starts at level 8 and all spells and abilities but can upgrade more. Maybe level 16 for abilities? Maybe new sword techniques? Maybe new spells? And new palaces, towns, and lands to explore! Imagine Link to the Past with a Second Quest.

All this is much more exciting than Breath of the Wild DLC. Why don’t they re-release these classics in HD and give them new expansions?

“But Malstrom,” Nintendo cries, “that shit belongs in the 80s and 90s. People want new stuff.”

So why is your NES Classic Mini still selling out?

“Wahhhh. You found us out, Malstrom!”

I was seeing some youtube ‘lets play’ videos of some of these games and they have hundreds of thousands of views for only being a few months old. Geez. I think there is huge demand for something like this. Older gamers will buy it, of course, and younger gamers will buy it because it allows the classics to be accessible to them. It makes good business-sense as they would be easier to make. Zelda 1 and 2 were made with just ten people after all! A HD remake would not be expensive.

But Nintendo is not going to want that. It would allow a 2d Mario situation again. Remember, when the Wii came out that Nintendo saw Mario as only 3d Mario. 2d Mario was just the ancient past. But the massive sales of NSMB DS and NSMB Wii showed that people wanted 2d Mario.

I believe there is market strength for a new Zelda series to evolve from the gameplay of the classics (Zelda 1, 2, LTTP). This is NOT 2d Zelda. This is NOT Link Between Worlds or 4 Swords bullshit. This is Aonuma-free Zelda. This is puzzle free Zelda. This is Zelda as a RPG/arcade combat hybrid which is what the franchise is all about. No one played Zelda for the ‘story’. And puzzles were never part of the early Zelda games.

Instead of this Breath of the Wild bullshit where it is ‘trying to get back to the spirit of the original Zelda’, why not just remake the original in HD and give us the Third Quest? It would be MUCH CHEAPER than what Nintendo is doing with BoW.

I interpret Nintendo’s move here to co-opt the classic Zelda magic into the shit turd of Aonuma story/puzzle Zelda. It won’t work. Just give us what we want and realize that Aonuma was always the wrong person to be put in charge of Zelda. Let Aonuma make a non-Zelda game so the world can realize how talent-less he actually is. All Aonuma can do is keep stealing from the classics.

Email: Want to see something hilarious?

I actually like this guys movie reviews but if there was ever a whiny Nintendo hardcore fanboy video, here’s one.

Should in point out all the flaws or would you?
When MS abandons consoles the hardcore are going to lose their mind.

Most people still haven’t figured out Nintendo in the 7th Generation (and the video goes to shit). But at 4:10, he does make a really spectacular point: when we think of the pre-Wii Nintendo consoles, we think of the games. No one goes, “Man, that NES hardware was something else!” Well, you do if you remember the Atari era and the joysticks. The D-Pad was the biggest controller revolution of all time. Nintendo has been confusing game quality with hardware integration. Just because the DS has a microphone doesn’t mean we want to talk in it during a Zelda game.

 

Email: The purpose of puzzles in non-puzzle games

One of the things that really weirds me out about how Nintendo markets new Zelda games is that they always make it a point to mention the puzzles in the game. They make it seem like its completely natural for a Zelda game to have a heavy focus on puzzles, even though I don’t any gamer in their right mind would ever say that. Zelda, when I was a kid, was associated with adventure and swords and fighting monsters. The word puzzle never even entered my thought. I don’t think the emphasis on puzzles started until Phantom Hourglass (which I think is also the point where Aonuma became the primary person behind Zelda). It’s honestly feels Orwellian. Zelda has always been about puzzles, and Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.

Zelda has always HAD puzzles, of course. Even the first Zelda occasionally challenged players on a cerebral level. But I think the way those early Zelda used puzzle solving, the way they fit into the larger game, was completely different.

I’ve been replaying the PC version of Resident Evil 4 (I think this is the 4th time I’m playing this game!) No one would ever describe RE4 as a puzzle game, yet it does feature a number of them, some of them even pretty annoying. The difference is in how the puzzles are used. In games like RE4, and even other games like Metroid, Thief, and early Zeldas, the puzzles always served some other design purpose.

-They can break up the tension. After a super intense fight that you barely survived, a simple puzzle can be a good way to slow the game down and give the player a chance to relax before the game begins ramping up the intensity of the game.

-They can be a cheap means of ‘selling’ the environment to the player’s imagination. What better way to underscore that the castle belongs to a madman than for the door to be opened only by some ridiculously convoluted mechanism? What better way to sell an alien environment than to have weird contraptions that do not make any sense for a human? What better way to sell the dungeon of a monster than to have booby traps that can only be bypassed in an esoteric way? Puzzles can be an immersion booster when used at the right time in the right place.

-They can control player movement. Taking away control from the player in the middle of gameplay is a cardinal sin of gaming, yet, for example, the developer might want to have the player standing in a certain spot before the enemies are unleashed upon him. You can do this by forcing him to go to a switch or lever or something, and having him press it. Then, when the player turns around, he finds that tons of enemies have spawned on the pathway back to the door. Games like RE4 and Doom do this a lot. Also, tying a tough fight to a puzzle or switch can give the player time to adequately prepare himself for the next battle.

-They can be a way of quietly teaching a player how to use the tools he has in his inventory. Metroid and Zelda do this.

-They can interrupt monotony. If all the player has been doing for the last hour is swinging a sword or shooting guns, you might want to add a little bit of variety for a brief moment. Then, back to swinging the sword.

This, I think is that the proper use of puzzles in a non-puzzle game. In all of these cases, the puzzle is never meant to be about the puzzle itself. The puzzle serves the action and adventure, not the other way around.

The problem is that Aonuma Zeldas, the puzzles are the main attraction. One does not encounter puzzles on a journey, but rather one journeys to the puzzle. I think if I could use one word about puzzles in Aonuma Zeldas, it is that they feel unnatural. They do not fit the larger world around them. The puzzle is not small part of the world, the world is a backdrop to the puzzle. This leads to puzzles being put into places where they make no sense whatsoever.

I am bothered about the Shrines in BOTW. They’re technically optional, but they remind me too much of Portal. Here, the puzzles exist for the sake of existing. Aonuma talks about the Shrines as if they are the main attraction of BOTW, as if they are the motivation for players to travel around Hyrule. But if you look at what gamers are discussing when they talk about BOTW, they almost never mention the Shrines at all. They’re interested in the dungeons (and when people think of dungeons, they think difficult challenges, not puzzles), the towns, and the world itself. The Shrines are a MAJOR part of the game, yet no one cares about them.

I think BOTW will be good, but it will not be as good as it should have been. I predict this: BOTW will have great moment to moment game mechanics, it will have a great overworld that’ll be fun to explore, and it’ll have fun but not particularly deep or challenging combat. However, the game will be dragged down by the emphasis on the shrines. The Shrines are Aonuma’s handiwork. I think the rest of the game is just a concession to the business guys at Nintendo. That’s my prediction.

Aonuma needs to be removed from Zelda. I think the good parts of BOTW will be due to Miyamoto, the other many talented Nintendo developers, and business guys who put pressure on the developers to make this game.

 

The reason why puzzles are prevalent in indie games is because they require no talent to make. The early Zelda games were frequently imitated by competitors but never surpassed due to the sheer talent that made those games. Remember that back during those days, there was no such thing as a production budget advantage. Every NES game had about the same production budget to make. SNES it became a little more pronounced but not much.

What Nintendo is doing with Zelda is buying marketshare with flooding money into the production. There is no reason to have 300 people and half a decade to make a Zelda game. But they must pump up the production values, like morphine, to hide the effects of the cancer. The reason why there is such a big show about ‘going back to the original Zelda’s values’ is because the fans sense this cancer.

The cancer is Aonuma and his ‘definition’ of Zelda. How can Breath of the Wild have Zelda 1 values if Aonuma cannot even finish or enjoy Zelda 1? Six year olds enjoyed and finished Zelda 1 when it came out, but the head guy of Zelda cannot? Get him out. Out! Out! Out!

 

Email: Tetris Hype

Right guy is a professional e-sports player and the left guy is a grandmaster of the ARIKA Tetris arcade game (I think there are less than 10).

Awesome! Way more interesting than Western AAA gaming!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 15, 2017

My email is so quiet today

Yesterday, my email was full of letters from unhappy people that I did anti-hype of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Today, we got the DLC announcement with Aonuma narrating! Oh!

“That Malstrom guy… how does he know?”

Here is what we know for sure…

HARD MODE BEHIND DLC WALL means… Breath of the Wild will not be a difficult game!

And those big, beautiful Breath of the Wild strategy guides you guys bought? Those are now incomplete with all the DLC. hahahahahahahahaah

Image result for aonuma

Above:  Aonuma strikes up his girlish pose. “Hello. I am Aonuma. I have fucked up your Zelda YET AGAIN! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Five years from now, I will say, ‘we have learned our lesson and will make a truly epic Zelda that takes inspiration from the old school Zelda.’ And you suckers will fall for it again and again! Now lets play some text adventure games! I need to make more puzzles! Water dungeons are the best!”

So why did Nintendo announce the DLC now? I actually suspect that Breath of the Wild has terrible, terrible replay value. All of Aonuma games do. The DLC helps prevent a negative backlash to the Switch’s flagship title. Instead of saying, “This game got old fast,” people will now say, “Wait for the DLC.” Nintendo can keep that up until Mario Odyssey launches and with the rest of the holiday games.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 14, 2017

S Minus 18 Days

Miyamoto has a wonderful interview in Time. Blue Ocean is even mentioned! Definite must read article.

I mentioned that Mr. Iwata, Mr. Takeda and myself provided feedback and made decisions, but ultimately Mr. Iwata was the head of development, so he put a lot of thought and time into Switch. I think that the idea of Nintendo Switch being a device you can take out and anywhere, and the idea of it being a system that really allows networking and communicating with people, I think that’s something Mr. Iwata put a lot of emphasis on.

Switch is Iwata’s baby!

Thank you, Iwata.

Satoru Iwata

“You’re welcome, Malstrom.”

*gasp* He speaks!

In terms of being together online in virtual reality, I think a lot of the problems have been solved or are starting to be solved. This is something that we’re looking into, too. But when I see people play virtual reality, it makes me worry, just as for example if a parent were to see their kid playing virtual reality, it would probably make them worry. Another issue and challenge that I think everybody faces is how to create an experience that’s both short enough while also fully fleshed out in virtual reality.

Don’t you see, beautiful reader? Nintendo is STILL pursuing Virtual Reality. If the Switch does well, Nintendo will go, “NOW is the TIME for VIRTUAL REALITY!” and Switch’s successor will not be Super Switch or Switch-Cube (lol), it will be VR Switch which no one ever asked for or ever wanted. They will even re-use Switch branding in order to push Virtual Reality like they did with Wii U and 3DS. I know this because I know Nintendo. They are chomping on the bit. Miyamoto wants to do it because he is old and Gen 10 will be his last chance. Such a console would destroy the company. But who cares? ALL HAIL THE VIRTUAL BOY! “It failed because of marketing,” -Miyamoto

And because we’re not tough, we can’t fight with other people. [Miyamoto holds up his fists and laughs.] I think this really coincides and equates to what the entertainment industry is like, anything with the creative industry, and it links to terms like blue ocean or red ocean. This is something that Mr. Iwata did, to really link the philosophy of Nintendo to some of the business and corporate jargon, while also being able to convey that to all of the employees at Nintendo.

Blue Ocean!

Oh, how I love it, reader! I just can’t get enough of it!

 

Email: Why did you change your mind on Breath of the Wild

Master Malstrom,

Just a month ago, you were calling Breath of the Wild “the most 3d, most interesting Zelda ever made. (source: https://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/email-second-impressions-of-the-switch/). You also said that we should give Aonuma a chance because he could change, and stuff like the following:

“Breath of the Wild is not for Ocarina of Time fans or Wind Waker fans. Breath of the Wild is for the original NES fans with its ‘open world’ and all. Don’t you see? This is the first Zelda made with ME in mind.” (source: https://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/was-the-switch-designed-for-the-malstrom-gamer/).

Now however, I see you’ve turned against the game and seem to think it’s not going to be great. My question is, what made you change your mind exactly? I know you don’t like all the hype around it right now (and it is a bit much), but was there anything else that put you off? Did you just re-think things one day and come to the conclusion that Aonuma would ruin this game like the others? Did you not like something in the previews? Are you just trying to de-hype yourself in case the game turns out to be a disappointment? Or was it something else? I find it interesting that you were (cautiously) bullish on the game just a month ago, and now you’re full on bearish on the game’s sales chances.

I won’t disagree about Minecraft becoming less interesting once you know the systems, but the same can be said with Skyrim and other open world games. I doubt Nintendo would be upset if Breath of the Wild ends up being as successful as Minecraft or Skyrim.

Anyway, the nature of controlling 3D open world games like Breath of the Wild or GTA means they will never be able to have the same intensity as was in the original or Zelda 2. It’s just impossible to replicate that intensity without the tightness of controls that a 2D environment(whether top down or side scrolling) provides. Open world games give up refinement in exchange for more content, and I don’t think Breath of the Wild will be any different in that regard.

The only way we’ll get a Zelda game with the same intensity as the original or Zelda 2 is if it’s a 2D top-down game or another side scroller.

-A Reader

Dear Reader,

Breath of the Wild will be here within days. Do you want to go into the game with hype or without hype? I’d rather go into a game with anti-hype. The game will either be good or bad, but I am not going to make-believe the game was ‘fun’ or great a week or two upon release to salvage my hype ego.

This game is receiving too much hype. It needs some anti-hype to help counter balance it so everyone remains grounded.

 

Email: What happened to your optimism on Breath of the Wild?

Aonuma is what happened.

Image result for aonuma

Above: “Hi guys! You want another Zelda? This time, we are going back to the roots of what made Zelda fun! I say this every Zelda, and you idiots never remember me saying it! Ha ha ha! I am so funny! Let us all gather around and watch Tingle together!

He has a terrible track record. Every Zelda we are told ‘this time it is different! This time, Aonuma understands…’ and we get the same shit. NPCs and Puzzles. Games with no edge, no challenge that a quick glance at a walkthrough can’t solve.

But I should share the email. Here it is:

It’s as if your opinion of the game just soured overnight–but why? I haven’t seen you do this kind of a 180 regarding a game since Splatoon (you were nothing but praise for Nintendo doing something fresh and original, then suddenly you were predicting it would flop).

To put it to perspective, here’s what you said just a little over three weeks ago concerning BotW’s ‘impact’:

“I think it is a mistake to automatically assume Breath of the Wild to follow the impact of past Zeldas. What if Breath of the Wild is a breakout hit like, say, Ocarina of Time? What if BoW “Wow!” has an impact of, say, Grand Theft Auto 3? “Not probable.” Most certainly not probable. But it is not impossible. Even I knew Twilight Princess wouldn’t hit it that big. But BoW “Wow!” has a quality element that could catch big sales fire in the West as Skyrim, Witcher 3, and other such open world games have done. The fact that BoW “Wow!” is only being discussed in a closed ‘only Nintendo Zelda fans will buy it’ certainly isn’t being analytically honest.” (https://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/switch-sells-out-in-japan-in-minutes/)
Regarding Aonuma Zelda:

“Zelda BoW “Wow” is also ditching the puzzle solving for problem solving.

[…]

Could all those years of bashing ‘Aonuma Zelda’ have provided feedback to contribute to these changes? Whose to know. This looks like the most interest modern Zelda yet.” (https://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/email-this-video-got-me-more-excited-for-zelda-than-any-other/)
And most shocking of all, here are some totally unpessimistic comments you made one month ago with regard to the story trailer:

“Speaking of Zelda crying, Nintendo is incredibly doing tragedy. What is tragedy? I will explain it in such a way that your Literature Professor will love.

Imagine a girl with cute pig tails skipping across the road. Then, a nasty semi-truck comes hurtling down and runs over the girl. The mother holds the girl’s body in her arms and screams.

“A tragic thing occurred today,” the news will say. But this is wrong. This was not tragedy. It is bad. But that is not tragic.

Now let us say the same thing occurred. The mother holds the girl’s body and blames herself. “I should have been watching! It is all my fault!” NOW you have tragedy.

Most of the tragedy in video games come from the player. “Why did I not go through the short cut pipe instead of going the hard way and dying stupidly? Why!?” cries the player dying in Super Mario Brothers. There is much tragedy in Civilization. “Why did I build my city there? What was I thinking!?”

It is unusual that the game content to be tragic. Usually, the destroyed world is a setting. Characters are not fleshed out enough to truly be tragic. They are pieces of the setting. One of the reasons why I love the Ultima games, especially VII Part I and II, is that the many of the NPCs become tragic figures. In this way, they truly become 3d.

This Breath of the Wild’s Zelda is the most 3d, most interesting Zelda ever made.” (https://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/email-second-impressions-of-the-switch/)
Now your expectations are puzzles and anime BS? You actually think this WON’T be the biggest thing to happen to Zelda since Ocarina of Time?

I’m tired of the hype. I want to go anti-hype now. It be good for the reader too!

Also, it disarms the hardcore!

“This game sucks. You just wander around, and you can get to the final boss in ten to fifteen minutes. Nintendo doesn’t know how to design games. But do you know who does? Western AAA gaming. Oh yes. Western AAA gaming is the Gold Standard of ALL GAMING, both PRESENT and PAST. Does the Turbografx 16 have Western AAA gaming on it? No. therefore, IT SUX. What about the NES? Then IT SUX. Switch has no Western AAA gaming so IT SUX BIGTIME. But PS4 has Western AAA gaming, therefore, it ROCKS.”

 

Email: I want to thank you

For deflating my Zelda hype.

No joke, you did me a service! I really had been taken in by Nintendo’s marketing and I let my imagination run wild about what sort of game it would be. I think I went too far calling it a “potential classic” in my last email to you, considering I haven’t played the game yet. It might be, but that’s hard to say at the moment since we’ve seen so little of the game so far.

I still am generally optimistic about how BOTW looks however. Nintendo has shown quite a lot of gameplay, and I’ve yet to see anything I greatly dislike. It definitely looks more fun than Skyrim, which is a game I enjoyed. If the rest of the game’s areas are like the Great Plateau, just tougher, then I think it will at least be a solid game.

I think the reason I’m more optimistic about BOTW, despite the fact that Aonuma’s Zeldas tend to be terrible games (and I’ve played Phantom Hourglass, so believe me I know they’re terrible), is because I think BOTW is another case where the business guys at Nintendo had more say in the how the game would be than normal. We’ve seen this before when they pushed for 2D Mario. Skyward Sword came out in 2011, at the same time Skyrim did. Yet Skyrim sold gangbusters, and sells to this day, while Skyward Sword barely outsold Wind Waker (3.41 million vs. 3.07 million, according to Wikipedia). I imagine that the bean counters looked at Skyrim, looked at SS, and demanded an explanation from the Zelda devs. This time around, Nintendo couldn’t blame the ‘art style’ or the install base for Zelda’s tepid sales. I imagine that the business guys at Nintendo got a lot more leverage over how the next Zelda would look. Aonuma mentioned in GameInformer that he did play Skyrim to see how other devs have done open world. I wonder if he was forced to.

I think BotW will be a good game, but it will be despite Aonuma’s influence. The best parts of BotW are where the game tries to hearken back to Zelda 1, or where the game shows off its physics and combat. The worst parts are where Aonuma’s influence is still obviously present (like the contrived puzzles or the weirdo NPCs).

I think that if Nintendo isn’t willing to get rid of Aonuma, they should ‘promote’ him. Free him from the shackles of the Zelda IP, and allow him to work on the puzzle-adventure game of his dreams. Aonuma would likely be happier working on a game like Myst or Portal, gamers would be happier, and investors would be happier. It’s win-win-win. Shoot, I think a slow paced, relaxing, uncompromised puzzle game would be a lot more enjoyable than the Frankenstein monster that is Aonuma Zelda.

Zelda will be good or bad despite anything said here at this site. But everyone is going super hype, so I will go anti-hype.

I think what makes classic games classic is how replayable they are. He just desire to replay it for whatever reason. How many times have you replayed Link to the Past, for example? I think Zelda 2 is the most replayable Zelda of them all.

Why would we replay Breath of the Wild? “Because of multiple story paths, OMG.” That tells me there isn’t much of a reason in the gameplay. It’s not like the world is randomized or anything.

Link would be more interesting if he had to choose a class. You could go Sword Link or maybe Magic Link. Or even have Item Link to satisfy Aonuma’s cravings.

I don’t find Aonuma’s zelda games to be replayable at all, and that really bothers me.

 

Email: I agree on Zelda

While it’s unpopular to go against the hype train, truth is, after Skyward Sword, why would anyone trust Nintendo again in regards to their ability to make a quality Zelda game? That game was trash. Tadtones? Gimme a break.

I’d love to be pleasantly surprised but that was the breaking point for me. Much like other M. Fuck hype. I believe in post hype not pre hype. Wii sports had post hype. Just as one example. But I’m with you. I’m not buying switch at launch. And am not planning on buying one any time soon. That can change with the right software. But as of yet. Nothing really moves me. Wii U was complete garbage. I’ll wait to see how Nintendo responds after this turd.

Always a pleasure.

I have an interview to help build a spaceship. If that doesn’t pan out, I will play Switch and Zelda and tell you guys how it is.

I’m very uncomfortable with all the BOTW hype. No game can live up to this. Instead, let’s hype up 1, 2 Switch!

Above: Game of the Forever. PERFECT SCORE! WILL CHANGE THE INDUSTRY! Sony and Microsoft will go bankrupt! Did I leave anything out?

 

Email: Bomberman R lighting

“Super Bomberman R looks like a ton of fun. I think what is putting people off is the real time lighting, but I think it is there for the 3d terrain.”

What’s bothering me is that gyrating fucking camera.

It’s like some developers are guilty about the simplicity of their game and want to make it look more lively, but it bugs the shit out of me to have follow things needlessly drifting about the screen.

That is for single player. We’ll see how that goes.

 

Fantastic plot! Incredible lore! THIS IS BOMBERMAN!

I love how they all have different personalities. This game is severely under-hyped which is a good thing. It means it can blow people away! Unlike Zelda which, even if it is the best video game ever made, will at most can meet expectations but never surpass them. You cannot surpass the perfection in your mind.

 

Quick Review: Shantae: Cursue of the Pirate Thing

I did buy and play Shantae Pirate edition from GOG. Does Shantae meet all the hype out there?

Shantae is an incredible AAA 2d Metroidvania with terrible, terrible editing. The ‘puzzles’ and backtracking get tedious while in Metroid it was interesting. I just stopped playing the game in the middle of it. I was too bored. Meanwhile, I happily grind in Rogue Legacy.

My expectations are higher than most, but Shantae felt very uneven good game.

 

More Commercials

Malstrom: Internet! Let us make 1, 2 Switch the ultimate E-Sport.

Internet: *crickets*

 

 

I’m already sick of 1, 2 Switch.

Breath of the Wild

You seem pretty pessimistic compared to others. I understand the distrust of Aunoma but I think this game will be much better than previous affairs. The fact that the game is basically a 180 from Skyward Sword in many ways gives me confidence. I also think you’re underselling the replay value of this game. It might not have the same arcade like qualities of the first few Zeldas, but I do think it has many of the qualities that give Elder Scrolls and Witcher games a lot of value. According to the GameInformer preview, the map is big (estimated to be 20 square kilometers bigger than Skyrim) and yet still pretty densely packed with content. A game guide suggested that there are like 120 shrines and 76 sidequests. There will be a lot of fun just exploring the world. Add to that the fact that there are multiple endings and the sandboxy systems driven gameplay, and I think we’re looking at a potential classic here. There will be many self-imposed challenges players will take on in BOTW. Some people have already exclaimed they want to take on Ganon while naked using only a mop!

I mean, it could suck given despite everything I’ve seen, but I am very optimistic for this game.

Bomberman R

I do not share your optimism for this game. The game only runs at 30FPS. Why is that a problem? One is that action games are always better at 60FPS. But to me it’s indicative that not a lot of effort is being put behind this game. This game is not optimized properly, and usually poor optimization is indicative of other issues in the game, like bugs and lack of polish. Zelda also runs at 30FPS, and there is no way that Bomberman is taxing the system the way Zelda is. I smell a rush job.

I could be wrong, I hope I’m wrong, but I’m in wait-and-see mode with this game for now.

Every Zelda game it is the same story: Aonuma has enlightenment and is giving us the Zelda game we have always wanted. Why, this Zelda will be incredible! It will be revolutionary! It will be like THE GOOD OLD DAYS ALL OVER AGAIN. People shake with their hype, play the game eagerly, and a week or two later, they merely say… “Zelda was fun,” and focus on other games.

With BOTW, once you learn the systems they have operating the world, I expect the game to become much less interesting. Minecraft was amazing to me until I eventually learned it systems. The real question is why are the classic games so interesting still despite them having such a less complicated system? I’d say it is due to arcade gameplay skills. You need arcade gameplay skills to finish Zelda 1 and 2.

Everything I loved about Zelda revolved around intensity. Zelda 1 in the later dungeons with the appearing and disappearing wizards who are firing shit at you… that is intense. Zelda 2 in just GETTING TO the final palace is extremely intense. Holy cow at those blue bird warriors inside the Final Palace. I still shiver when I get to them. Link to the Past has its moments.

Aonuma hates intensity. Aonuma style is blobby, edge-less. Think of a game like a car. People focus on the motor, the shape of the car, etc, but I want to know about the tires. I want to know about how the tires connect to the road. Where is the intensity? What is driving me to play this game? For Aonuma, it is two things: story and puzzles.

I think Aonuma is full of shit and a third rate game developer. BOTW having breakable weapons everywhere is nothing more than ‘puzzle combat’. Note that what is  upgraded is ‘stamina’, not actual firepower from Link. Stamina for what? For more puzzles. And what is the ‘story’? Shitty NPCs and worthless cutscenes. In the story trailer, we saw Link’s Shitty Friends and parts of Worthless Cutscenes.

Zelda’s gameplay is so bad that if it were not for Nintendo’s high production values, I can’t imagine anyone playing it. Zelda is AAA Puzzle Game. You want a real puzzle game? Try The Incredible Machine.

BOTW is supposed to be inspired from Zelda 1, yet Aonuma still can’t play Zelda 1. Stop believing Nintendo’s marketing bullshit. Aonuma despises The Legend of Zelda. He wants Zelda to be Puzzle Adventures with Anime Storylines.

We’ll see how the game is, of course, but why should I have any expectations after Aonuma does nothing but fail again and again and again.

As for Bomberman”s FPS issue, it was an earlier build (it had loading time and all). BOTW also ran like dogshit because it was earlier build.

I never, ever trust hype. Tell me a game that was heavily hyped that actually delivered. I can think of only one in my lifetime: Super Mario Brothers 3. No one had hype for the true movers and shakers. There was no hype for Minecraft. There was no hype for Metroid Prime. There was no hype for Grand Theft Auto 3. There was no hype for World of Warcraft. There was no hype for Wii Sports. These games come out and change everything. Yet, no one sees them coming. Instead, we get hyped about games that end up being completely forgotten. We try not to admit how worthless the hype is because that would prove how big of manipulated idiots we all are.

I’m shorting BOTW longterm because there is no way the game can live up to such hype. People will be bored of it within a week if not a few days.

I am more curious about the games that are getting no hype. Puyo Puyo Tetris isn’t getting hyped, but it should as you will be playing Tetris in a very different way than you had before.

There is no hype for Super Bomberman R which makes the game very, very interesting to me.  First, Super Bomberman R already has time tested gameplay and will be a multiplayer game of awesomeness. Second, Bomberman is now exclusive to Nintendo (not counting the absurd arcade game Bombergirl).

The single player for Super Bomberman R sounds cool and is co-op. It will be fun to unlock stuff. With Zelda, it will be dumb ass recipes and finding kokiri under rocks. I am a fan of Bomberman on the Turbografx 16 and SNES. I love my DS version of Bomberman to death. I will definitely be playing the game twenty years from now.

 

Super Bomberman R looks like a ton of fun. I think what is putting people off is the real time lighting, but I think it is there for the 3d terrain.

Out of all the Switch titles, Super Bomberman R is the only third party exclusive. If Super Bomberman R was also coming to the other consoles, it be praised like Puyo Puyo Tetris or Disagea 5.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 12, 2017

S Minus 19 Days

LAN is back! At least for Splatoon 2.

 

Email: Why are you excited about cartridges?

Half the game will be DLC anyway. During the Wii era I thought Nintendo was the only company that still had respect for the customer; when the AAA companies would nickel and dime their customers with map-packs, skins, project 10$ (a one-time 10$ worth DLC code was included with every game, devaluing every used copy) or season passes, Nintendo would release games that were bursting with content.

However, the Wii U era has shown that the only reason Nintendo had not hopped onto the DLC train was because they didn’t have the technology back then. The worst offender are amiibos, not only do you have to buy game content that had been cut out, you have to buy it in the form of an overpriced toy. Who even wants these figurines anyway? They are not action figures, so children can’t play with them, and as an adult I would never put them on up as decoration.

DLC and DRM is what has completely killed my interest in any modern games. I don’t mind an expansion like we used to have them on the PC, but this milking is just insulting to the customer. It’s not even just the large companies, even indie developers engage in it. At this point it doesn’t matter whether the game is on cartridge or DVD, half of it will be on a company’s server either way.

How ye of little faith!

I don’t expect online multiplayer to infinitely be there, but if I can have local multiplayer or LAN or single player without connecting to the internet, then I OWN THE GAME.

These aren’t cartridges. These are cards. But they are still awesome. Way better than discs.

It seems like all the complaints we have been giving out are being heard.

 

Email: Why people read your blog

I believe that articles such as this one, by one of the largest gaming sites, are why people read your blog– gaming “journalism” is a joke.

http://kotaku.com/how- nintendo-thinks-it-can-win- over-third-party-develop- 1792077806

80% of this are just quotes from the Q/A. It doesn’t explain anything about the new vs. old development tools, the few original lines are either summaries or unsupported opinions, and throughout the piece, the author inserts: “I feel” or “always seems”, or my favorite– “should hopefully.” There is no supporting info and no thoughtful (or thought provoking) analysis or insight. Is this piece news, opinion or analysis? It doesn’t do a good job at any of the three.

 

I think they get stuck in a tunnel mentality. “This thing called the Wii, who is going to buy that darn thing?”

You know, I heard someone say something (on a completely unrelated matter) that really struck a cord with me. The reason why there is so much failure of analysis is because you have people sit in rooms ‘full of data’. They only see the data, and not the actual people. They don’t interact with people.

Did you know that Nintendo of America did market research about whether or not the American market would be receptive to the console called NES? The market research was very negative. Focus groups of NES classic games such as Super Mario Brothers had kids yelling, “This game is crap!” “It sucks!” But NOA president went ahead and released the NES anyway, a HUGE gamble at the time. He saw the arcades were still busy. People were still playing games.

Forcing Nintendo to have events where people can play with the new console is not just good marketing, it is allowing Nintendo to see the gamers as actual people and not as data points.

 

Email: Miyamoto just owned Aonuma

Go to the 1:45 mark in this video. It is hilarious!

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2017/02/08/51-questions-and-answers-about-the-legend-of-zelda-breath-of-the-wild.aspx

Although this was meant to be a goofy interview, they actually asked some decent questions.

 

haha, that is awesome. The entire interview is worth seeing. Also, Aonuma still can’t play Zelda 1!

Aonuma style! Great video.

I am completely neutral over Breath of the Wild. It can go either way. To me, Switch launch is all about that Bomberman. Bomberman is way more fun than Western AAA gaming (but then again, what isn’t? Well, Aonuma Style Zelda isn’t).

 

Which Games Will Surprise?

With console launches, it is fun to go back in time to see what our expectations were and how the games held up. Games are expensive, and you want to buy games that you are still playing for a long time.

The year is 2037. You look back at the Switch launch. A game is either…

Dud– No one cares about this game in twenty years.

Neutral– Came in line with expectations. Nothing spectacular, nothing bad. So so to play today.

Classic– People still play this game twenty years from now as it never gets old!

 

Dud 1-2 Switch

No one gives a shit about this game today. No one will play it twenty years from now.

Classic Super Bomberman R

Bomberman games age very well. With how ageless the multiplayer is, I expect people to be playing Bomberman in 2037 just as we play Super Bomberman on the SNES today.

Neutral The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

There has never been a classic Zelda game made with Aonuma heavily involved. The great Zelda games such as the first four are due to lack of Aonuma’s control, not because of it. Twilight Princess, extremely hyped, was in the end to be a ‘it was fun’ and that was it. The game couldn’t live up to the hype and neither can BOTW. Once you learn the systems, is BOTW going to be any fun to play? The earlier zelda games are fun to replay because of the arcade gameplay. BOTW doesn’t have that.

Dud Skylanders Imaginators

I love Toys for Bob, but they are going against Bomberman and Zelda (they love their bomberman). I can’t see anyone playing Skylanders next year let alone next 20 years.

Classic The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth +

I expect Binding of Isaac to still be played twenty years from now.

Dud I am Setsuna

In 2037, people would rather play SNES Chrono Trigger than whatever this is.

Dud Disagea 5

Anime silliness will make it age poorly.

Neutral Has Been Heroes

This game will be greeted with curiosity in 2037 due to how different it is.

Classic Puyo Puyo Tetris

Tetris never gets old. This game is also licensed so this type of combination will not be seen again. Out of all the games here, Puyo Puyo Tetris will be played the longest.

Dud Just Dance 2017

No one cares about this game today.

Neutral Snipperclips

Snipperclips will also be seen as an interesting curiosity.

Classic Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart games always become classics and this is the definitive version of MK 8.

Dud Lego City Undercover

It will be surpassed by sequels and forgotten.

Dud Sonic Mania

There is no market desire for more Sonic.

Neutral Arms

Cool game, solid, but it will be surpassed and made obsolete by Arms 2.

Neutral Splatoon 2

Solid game, but surpassed by its sequels. Think of Splatoon 1. Will people still play it? Maybe. But Splatoon 2 took away any uniqueness the first one would have to classic status. Splatoon 3 and 4 will do the same to 2.

Classic Skyrim

Already half a decade old and people keep playing it. I expect this trend to continue.

Classic Ultra Street Fighter 2

It will sell terrible, but Street Fighter 2 never gets old.

 

19 More Days!

Wake up reader! The time is almost here! I expect the readers to be well rested and prepared for what is to come.

Above: Neat little internet video

Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 9, 2017

S Minus 22 Days

E3 is opening up to the public

Look, reader!

E3 has been in decline since they tightened up after E3 2006 (Otherwise known as The Year of Wii).

Above: Wii Stampede DAY THREE

E3 has to compete with PAX to stay relevant. All the game journalists (oh, that term!) will be complaining about ‘the mouth breathers’ infecting their little party. Oh noes!

Who does this benefit? The alternative game media such as Youtubers and those who don’t normally go to E3. One of the reasons E3 did tighten up is that they didn’t like how a random Internet guy (such as myself) can go in, chat a developer, have him saying he probably shouldn’t, and then mega-phone that tidbit on the Internet.

The company that will benefit from this the most will be (some indies) mostly Nintendo. No one has passion for Sony or Microsoft as they slow non-gaming giants. But Nintendo fans are different as seen in the video above!

 

New Puyo Puyo Tetris trailer

Don’t let the weird anime cutscene fool you. This is a very interesting game.

For those who don’t know, Puyo Puyo is big in Japan but has never really made an impact in the West (and many of its games have never been sent over). Puyo Puyo is huge because it took a Tetris like gameplay and made it into a fighting game. Puyo Puyo Tetris is not like old school Tetris or Dr. Mario. It is more of a fighting game using Tetris like gameplay. You choose a character, and your goal is to create combos that are like ‘attacks’ to the other side.

Above: Watch 26:36

The above is how the Japanese play it. I think the 26:36 (mentioned before here) of Shindobrawl versus Greentea is a great example of how this game is played. What is funny is that Shindobrawl can’t play Tetris worth crap. I think I’ll be much better at Tetris than at Puyo puyo. I’ve started practicing my puyo puyo with Dr. Robotnick’s Mean Bean Machine (or whatever it is called) on the Sega Genesis.

Puyo puyo Tetris is much better than Western AAA shovelware. But then again, what isn’t better than Western AAA shovelware?

 

More Zelda footage

I’m getting uncomfortable with the anime.

Above: Zelda bending over, zoom in on Zelda’s torso… totally for herbivore Japan?

I walked into a Barnes and Noble recently and was shocked. Some sections like the Philosophy section (I have been asked to be a professor philosophy at one school so I know my around it) are filled with books like ‘Harry Potter’s interpretation of philosophy’ and other stuff that makes you weep for mankind. In the Sci-fiction area, you see tons of lesbian porn and an entire aisle dedicated to… anime. I can understand LOOKING and WATCHING anime, but books of it?

Above: Western interpretation of Zelda gave her a nice ass.

 

Super Bomberman R 8 Players

Let us calculate the costs of playing Super Bomberman R for 8 players.

Switch + Game + 3 Pairs of Joycons = $630.

But who wants to play with joycons? This is bomberman! It is serious business! Let us use Pro Controllers instead!

Switch + Game + 8 Pro Controllers = $920

Oh, I am silly. The best way to play Bomberman R will be everyone using their own Switch inside the same room. And everyone using a Pro controller. How much would THAT cost?

8 Switch + 8 Games + 8 Pro Controllers = $3440

Switch hater seizes the moment. “It takes almost $3500 to properly play Super Bomberman R! OMG.” Throws up this pic:

How Could They Do Such A Thing

Bomberman is always worth those costs though.

 

How the Classics Became Classic

I’ve been wondering how some games become classics. Nintendo says, “It’s just nostalgia! LOL!” But they are stunned the NES Classic Mini is STILL sold out nation-wide.

Why do we love games? And why are we discarding many modern games?

I’ve realized the answer is actually very, very simple. We replay games we like over and over and over again. Hence, they become ‘classics’. The ‘better’ modern games we play once, sell back, or hardly ever touch it again.

NES classics we constantly replay. 8-bit and 16-bit classics we replay. It is a data point that cannot be measured by any sales data (except re-issues like VC maybe).

I guess there are people who replay Super Mario 64 or Ocarina of Time. Good for them.

I also love this Zelda 2 cartoon. And why do people call Zelda 2 hard? They must suck at life. It makes me scared that Zelda BoW is going to be a baby game. Zelda 2’s difficulty was ‘perfect’. Zelda 1 was good too (it gets so hard around dungeon 6!) and Zelda 1 had Second Quest. Link to the Past was WAY too easy.

I’m currently replaying Rogue Legacy. Still more fun than Western AAA shovelware.

Above: Full anime-ish BoW treatment of a Zelda 2 remake would work very well in Herbivore-Japan

 

Castlevania TV Show coming to Netflix

Looks interesting. No matter how it ends up, it will be more entertaining than Western AAA shovelware. Even Tic Tac Toe has more replayability than your typical Western AAA game.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 7, 2017

S Minus 25 Days

Is the Switch Half Console or Half Handheld? Or is the glass half full or half empty?

Switch as Home Console

Underpowered compared to PS4 and Xbox One.

Both PS4 and Xbox One have upgrade systems for it.

Both have established libraries that have been built up for years.

Switch has no AAA Western games.

Conclusion: Switch is a pretty shitty home console.

 

Switch as Handheld

Monopoly on dedicated gaming handheld market.

Successor to 3DS.

Successor to Vita.

Successor to Wii U.

The ultimate gaming handheld ever created.

Switch has all AAA Japanese games.

Conclusion: Switch is god tier handheld home console.

 

Switch is fascinating as a console to me because optimists tend to view the market in the handheld light while pessimists only see the home console side. We’ve never seen anything like this before.

The problem is that the home console market will no longer exist. Already, Microsoft seems to be putting in long term plans to be getting out. Sony couldn’t hack it in the handheld space so they are stuck in the home console side.

Handhelds will replace home consoles. I know it.

“How do you know it???”

Look at PCs. Go into any Best Buy and look. You just see smartphones and tablets. The PC still exists, yes, mostly for gaming, and because PC still does things that tablets can’t. But there is nothing the home console game systems can do that the Switch cannot.

I see a long term play here by Nintendo. Japan may be the future of where consumers are going. The era of the TV may be shrinking more and more.

Microsoft’s move is to consolidate PC gaming and Xbox gaming. Sony is already doing that. Eventually, PC gaming and home console gaming will have no difference between the two. Then it will just be PC gaming and console gaming. Console gaming will mean ‘handheld like Switch’ to Generation Twelve gamers as home consoles go the way of the arcades.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 6, 2017

Dear Switch indie developers

Put your games on cards if you wish them to sell.

They don’t have to go to retail. Even a mail order card would suffice.

Many, many Switch users will only buy physical.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 6, 2017

Email: Virtual Console predictions and wishes

I’m interested in how Nintendo will implement the Virtual Console this time around as well. Depending on how they do it, I might actually pay attention to it once more. But there are some things I need to see happen before I invest in it.

  1. Account tied games

This one is non-negotiable. If games are once tied to the hardware and not the account, then I will not even bother with the VC.

  1. More reasonable game prices

I did not like the pricing scheme on the Wii VC–$5 for any NES game? $8 for every SNES game? It’s not exactly that much, but it doesn’t entirely make sense. Games should be priced based on the value offered by the game, and not based on the hardware it appeared on. A game like Chrono Trigger offers more value to the player than, say, F-Zero,, yet they will be priced the same because they are both SNES games. I would also like to see way more sales and bundles offered.

On a related note, I want the ability to transfer my Wii VC games to the Switch. Preferably for free, or at least for only a flat cost.

  1. Virtual Console worthy Joycon

Right now, the left Joycon is not suitable for 2D gameplay due to it’s lack of a proper D-Pad. I understand why Nintendo made the Joycon the way they did, but it does not change the fact that it’s not that great for individual play. Thankfully, the Joycons are pretty modular and you can actually mix and match them as you please. I can foresee Nintendo making a left-Joycon that has a proper D-pad (preferably in the ‘primary’ position with the analog stick in the secondary). Until then, I’m likely to only use the Pro controller for VC games.

I also have some wishes with the Virtual Console:

  1. Game Boy line games

Nintendo offers Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on the 3DS, but not the Wii U (probably because the 3DS is a handheld), which only has GBA games for some reason (likely because the 3DS isn’t powerful enough to emulate a GBA). I’d like to see the entire Game Boy line available on the Switch.

  1. Nintendo DS emulation

This one might be tricky, but I think it’s doable. The big issue with DS emulation is interface. Many games rely on it’s touch screen, and just about everything makes use of the second screen in some fashion. A DS virtual console would likely only be playable while in handheld mode, since many games would need the touchscreen in order to function properly. The two screens would simply be both be displayed on the main screen, like a splitscreen game.

  1. Gamecube and Wii emulation

Probably the least likely and most challenging wish, since I am not sure the Switch would be powerful enough. According to this video, however, a Nvidia Shield can run a Gamecube emulator reasonably well, and the Switch is likely to have more powerful hardware. Not to mention, the Shield is an Android system, meaning the Android emulator does not have direct access to the hardware and has to be running an OS in the background as well.

What do you think?

 I think a more fundamental issue needs to be addressed: is the Switch going to prioritize consumers or developers?

With the NES, it was designed around consumers and not the developers. Nintendo had Japanese software to send over. American companies were outraged. EA was outraged and refused to put games on the system. Nintendo even implemented a rule where companies were limited to five games a year so the system wouldn’t be flooded with poor quality games. What happened was that the NES became very successful and the NES third parties became extremely wealthy. If you wish to prosper, allow the customer to prosper. For all the Game Industry talk about ‘third parties demands’, it should be realized that third parties are what caused the Great Atari Crash of 1983. Third parties can wreck consoles with their crap.

I am worried that Nintendo will throttle back the Virtual Console due to ‘developer whining’. Profit is obtained through the software. If you buy Third Party Game, they get money and are happy. But if you buy Link to the Past on Virtual Console, Nintendo gets that money but the development team that made that game is no more. They don’t need the support.

I say that if a game company cannot compete with games made decades ago, that game company should not be making games today. Wii had a substantial Virtual Console and Wii sold a massive amount of software. There is no correlation of Virtual Console killing software sales. If anything, it is the reverse.

What I want, and what you, the beautiful reader, want, is for there to be a Classic Library of games where we can get. Games should be introduced slowly, sure, but they all add up. Put as many consoles up there as possible.

The reality is that Nintendo doesn’t give a shit about our wishes which causes Nintendo to get into sales trouble. Right now, the successful launch of the Switch is Nintendo’s number one priority. Launching consoles is hard. I get why it will be their focus.

After Switch launches, the priority for Nintendo is, aside from continuing momentum for Switch, is to launch and sustain their online operation. The Virtual Console looks like it will be cannibalized specifically for sustaining that operation.

Nintendo says it will let us play a VC game each month with online multiplayer. Who asked for this? Is this the X-Band Nintendo service now? Costs about the same as the Nintendo service too!

No one wants to play VC sports games. As far as the great multiplayer VC games, we already have Switch versions of Bomberman, Street Fighter 2, Mario Kart and Tetris. Does anyone want to play co-op games online? Nah. I hate it in Contra or Life Force when the terrible second player would steal all your lives! They’ll probably put NES Ice Hockey up there first or something. I wonder if Nintendo would do something as insane as put up Urban Champion for us to play online.

What I think: Virtual Console will be weaponized to push Nintendo’s online service. You won’t be getting cool SNES RPGs here. You will be getting games like NES Ice Hockey.

I also expect the VC to be heavily throttled due to crybaby developers “We can’t compete against this 30 year old game!”.

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