Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 26, 2015

Email: re: Video Game Music

Greetings Master Malstrom,

              I thought I’d share some newer video game music with you. Haven’t actually played a single one of these games, but who cares.

From Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmTs0SJOjqo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LICY7XMIye0

From Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtMSyLdk0Q8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Boqy0Q-4c_M

From Scribblenauts Unlimited

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax3FiOrEewM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT2NiR-XRv0

I like video game music. It’s got a bit more depth than pop, but it’s also less involving or fatiguing to listen to as classical symphonies or movie soundtracks.

Sincerely,

              Reader

 

Very nice, reader!

Master Malstrom,

It seems to me, based on your posts, that all of Nintendo’s hope for success lay on the next E3 and what they will reveal for the next generation (the NX). Having an agnostic platform, with an account system that allows you to pay once for games you can play on several platforms seems fine, but I fail to see how is that going to allow for gameplay innovation – the one thing you state Nintendo is lacking right now. Why isn’t the NX any different from any new hardware release? Why do you believe the NX will be able to bring gameplay innovation better than Wii U? I don’t see Sakamoto or Aonuma or Miyamoto getting sacked anytime soon…

 

Nintendo monitors what we all say on the Internet. From their monitoring, they began a series of statements saying “NX is the hardware.” hahaha. I think that may has more to do with the unveiling of the Wii U and that no one thought Wii U was a ‘new console’ since Nintendo didn’t promote the console box, just the controller.

There are business objectives that must be done. One of them is a unified account system. I can’t see how Nintendo can do anything in the gaming space without one. There is a reason why Nintendo bought that Internet company. I believe the ‘mobile games’ Nintendo is making was part of that deal. What Nintendo wants is someone to do the unified account system. Let’s take a look at the picture Iwata presented:

Yes, the NX is ‘new hardware’. But I know that software is what drives the hardware production. This membership service jointly serving all these systems has to come into play somehow. I think that has to be a big element of NX.

I think it might be a mistake to look at NX through the context of ‘game console’ but more as part of a ‘family’. We know that the NX isn’t going to replace your PC, smartphone and all. Will it replace your 3DS or Wii U?

Will it?

I don’t know. It will succeed it, yes, but will the NX do the same job as a home console? Or a handheld? Nintendo really isn’t saying. 3DS is old and Wii U has no sales, so why put those two on the ‘new membership service’? Seems like a waste of money.

I’m thinking NX is more positioned as a ‘third pillar’ type DS device. It is a successor, but it is not yet ‘another Gameboy’.

We just don’t have much information to go on. If we go based on Nintendo’s track record, then NX will be pushing 3d gaming in some fashion because we apparently can’t seem to get enough of 3d technology.

 

 

Just read, I do not believe this. Everything you said about Sakamoto and Aonuma wanting to insist that their horrid experiments are ‘good’ are beginning to take light.

‘What’s interesting is that now I’m hearing that the reaction to Blast Ball has been quite fabulous. So things are good.’ Ok Reggie, where exactly did you hear this information? The YouTube dislike bar, the petition to cancel the game (which is VERY rare to see in this day and age) and the big controversy surrounding it? Is he literally braindead? How can anyone be this stubborn?

 

I believe Metroid Prime Hunters sold pretty well on the DS. Nothing spectacular, but it was solid. I personally liked Hunters and thought it was a solid game with a strong Quake 3 type feel to it.

Above: To all the people who bitched about Metroid Prime Hunters not being ‘metroid enough’, after Federation Force, you owe us an apology… And I’m still waiting for Weavel to have his own game.

You want a Metroid spin-off? How about Metroid Prime Pinball. Oh yeah….

I love how the beginning of the video the reviewer says people were worried that Nintendo would start making all these Metroid spin-offs. Federation Force proves this to be true.

The truth is that good products do not have to be ‘explained’ to the customer. Every time Nintendo drops the ball, be it Virtual Boy, Wii U, or whatever, Miyamoto goes out there and demands new marketing. But the problem is that you cannot ‘explain’ a good product. Wii Sports was never ‘explained’. It was simply played live. Wii Fit was never explained. It was simply shown playing. Everyone got it.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 25, 2015

Email: Reggie pulls the Wind Waker excuse

Shame on you Reggie.  I don’t care if this is simply executive-level PR bullshit.
On Metroid Prime: Federation Force:

Fils-Aime: “Here’s what I would state: we know what our fans want. We will also push the envelope in developing something that we know is high-quality and that we know will deliver in the marketplace. The best example I can give you of this, and I think you will appreciate it, is Legend of Zelda Wind Waker. Remember when that art style was first shown. The uproar from the Zelda community was intensely negative. If there had been social media then, there probably would have been a petition to make that game go away.”

Fils-Aime: “So, the game is developed, becomes one of the most beloved games of all time, one of the most highly-rated games of all time, so I use that example to say: ‘We know what we’re doing, trust us, play the game and then we can have a conversation.’”

http://kotaku.com/nintendos-reggie-talks-metroid-amiibo-and-of-course-1713347550

But wait, we DID have that conversation after Wind Waker was released.

Here were the results of that “conversation.””At one point, I had heard that even Wind Waker, which had reached the million mark in sales, had become sluggish in North America, where the market was much healthier than in Japan. I asked NOA why this was. What I was told was that the toon-shading technique was, in fact, giving the impression that this Zelda was for a younger audience and that, for this reason, it alienated the upper teen audience that had represented the typical Zelda player. …”That’s when I decided that if we didn’t have an effective and immediate solution, the only thing we could do was to give the healthy North American market the Zelda that they wanted.”http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/feature/13087/eiji-aonumas-gdc-2007-presentation-the-fate-of-wind-waker-2

So no, it wasn’t one of the “most beloved games of all time.”  It was so bad Nintendo couldn’t make a direct sequel to it on a home console without killing the franchise.  Instead, Nintendo reluctantly gave us “the Zelda we wanted” and fled to the handhelds with their beloved Wind Waker style, where people ultimately decried those games as worst ones in the series.

Before the Wii was released, Nintendo started acknowledging that things were wrong.  This occurred at the executive level.  Nintendo is still not acknowledging things are wrong with their current mentality, and we already have mention of the next console.  This is scary.  In-your-face Nintendo is still hard at work.

Nintendo deserves the punishment it is receiving with the Wii U.

 

This is exactly it. Somewhere, somehow, Nintendo developers believe they are ‘geniuses’. Remember, ‘genius’ is not to be questioned!

I’m convinced the Wii was not about ‘expanding the market audience’. Well, it was that but only half that. The idea was to expand the market audience so they can buy games Nintendo wants to make. The Wii expanded audience was supposed to be converted to buyers of 3d Mario, to Aonuma Zelda, and to ‘storytime’ Sakamoto Metroid. This didn’t happen.

I would like to know what Nintendo’s intentions are. Nintendo certainly doesn’t seem interested in expanding its market. Why is Nintendo in the business of making video games then?

I’ll get to the emails in a second. Nintendo is just… lame. Their ‘interviews’ seem like nothing but excuses. Nintendo acts like gaming revolves around developers and their ‘visions’ and studios. Gaming actually revolves around games and gamers. The reason why the 2015 Nintendo World Championship was fun is because it revolved around GAMES and GAMERS. It did NOT revolve around developers. We did not have to watch a ‘developer’ talk about a game while surrounded by Yoshi dolls.

It’s not that Nintendo doesn’t understand this business. They do. They just don’t like it. They don’t like that they, their ‘developer visions’, do not guide or control the market. The Metroid: Other M vs Real Metroid is a perfect example of this. But you can see they want their franchises to go their way. This would make sense if their way actually sold copies. It doesn’t. They just blame the marketers and change their execution of the same wrong thing over and over again.

I seriously wonder if Metroid Prime Galactic Force (or whatever it is called) is a deliberate attempt to destroy the Metroid Prime IP. We know Sakamoto doesn’t like Metroid Prime and what it represents.

Meanwhile, I just got master level on Kerrigan in Heroes of the Storm. I’m still having a blast. And Blizzard is doing a huge Diablo event of multiple maps and heroes. But what I really like is NEW SOUNDTRACKS. Oh yes…

Above: It’s teh awesome!

 

I will keep playing my ‘casualized, Free-To-Play game’ while the hardcore keep being hardley-cores. I now have all the heroes and, due to gold gain, will likely get all future heroes for free.

I’m not sure who Nintendo is trying to sell their games and consoles to these days. All I know is that it is not for me.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 17, 2015

Email: E3

You’ve already talked about most of what I’ve felt already.  I just want to add that the Treehouse stuff is incredibly annoying in and of itself (without any little kids being added in).  While the gaming industry in general seems to be stuck on making cinematic games (because they all secretly want to be directors or something), Nintendo is now acting like they’re stars.  The developers are trying to turns themselves into rock stars, the executives are trying to behave like actors, and the lower-level Nintendo employees (the Treehouse people) are acting like every brain dead Youtube commentator out there.

During one part of the Treehouse stream I actually heard one of them try to insult the other by calling him a “casual gamer.”  Are you fucking kidding me?

Why can’t I just have Reggie walk on stage, mention the new game, and then show it off like E3 2010?  Is that so hard?  What the fuck is up with this company’s “philosophy”?  I’m sick of it!

 

That’s an interesting observation. The Treehouse people are enacting Youtube commentators.

I really liked E3 2006 and not for the reason of it being the big Wii unveiling. I liked it because it was the last of the oldschool E3 and wasn’t controlled. People would take videos of themselves playing the game (which is what a youtube or twitch broadcast is). Nintendo trying to emulate the same effect by using their staff to play the games is NOT the same!

Twitch and Youtube are so popular for gaming precisely because it doesn’t have employees playing their games. It is also why the World Championship 2015 for Nintendo was so well received because the players were not employees. They were like us. The guy at the final failing on the wall jumps could have been me. I sympathized with the guy.

Nintendo is not understanding the concept of ’empathy’ in commentary. When this site started, so many people could not believe someone like me existed. I was a ‘paid Nintendo employee’. People come to sites like these or Youtube or Twitch not because they ‘change opinons’ or anything but because they reflect views that are already present in the viewer. The viewer thinks, “This Youtube guy is like me in tastes, but I work all day and can’t try out these games. Therefore, I will go with the game he recommends.” That is how it works.

I do not relate or identify with any of the Treehouse people. They are all Nintendo employees. They are not the market. Their commentary is worthless. They might as well just only show the gameplay.

BTW, the Wii Sports videos of seeing people play Wii Sports for the first time was extremely powerful and worked very strongly when the Wii was released. We need more of that and less paid employees playing.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 17, 2015

Hardcore gamer orgasms

When I talk about the hardcore having orgasms, this is what I mean…

Above: Orgasms over a remake. Will anyone actually buy such a game? We will see.

 

Above: Orgasms over a sequel to a game that didn’t sell.

 

This is to prove to the reader that hardcore gamers do actually orgasm and squeal with tears.

Now, Nintendo could have had a similar reaction with, say, a new 2d Metroid. They get Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Shenmue III. Nintendo fans get…

Federation Force…

Above: “Behold my Metroid genius.”

Screw you, Sakamoto!

 

 

 

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 17, 2015

Is Nintendo a gameplay innovator?

During the start of Generation Seven, the belief within Nintendo and among gaming media was that there were ‘Mario games’. Super Mario 64 was the sequel to Super Mario World. They were all in one single line.

But when NSMB DS came out, we saw huge sales for 2d Mario. NSMB Wii also sold very well. The point is that Mario 64 did not make 2d Mario mechanics obsolete. People still enjoy it.

The question is whether or not Nintendo has other ‘blind spots’. These are spots that the reader and I can see, but Nintendo and ‘the Industry’ cannot. The reason why they might be blind to these spots is likely due to personal egos. They don’t want to see it. But with millions of dollars at stake, it is worth busting egos to see if another opportunity is before them.

One thing Nintendo’s gaming market keeps saying over and over is… “Nintendo is making the same games again and again.”

And one thing Nintendo, itself, keeps saying is… “We are brilliant gameplay innovators. Look at our brand new games!”

One of these entities is wrong. Which is it?

Let’s take a deeper look.

Once upon a time, Nintendo was an arcade game maker like Namco, Sega, and Atari. And like other arcade game makers, Nintendo was also a third party company. Nintendo released their games on other game makers consoles. One such game was ‘Donkey Kong’ for the ColecoVision. At this time, Nintendo did not identify itself as an ‘integrated hardware and software maker’. They were a video game maker.

I will not deny Nintendo’s great games at this time. Donkey Kong is a classic. Mario Brothers was great too. However, it is not understated to say that the 8-bit period, or Generation Three, was Nintendo’s heavy gameplay innovation period.

Super Mario Brothers is the flagship game. This gameplay innovation, or should I just say game innovation, popularized background music and non-black backgrounds. It popularized warp zones. The game literally made the platformer genre. There was really nothing quite like it. It went over land, in the sea, underground, in the sky, in castles, it was an ADVENTURE game!

The Legend of Zelda was also very notable. It combined RPG elements of the open world with arcade elements of fast combat. It was more successful in America because Westerners prefer the faster action combat compared to the slow turn based Dragon Quest combat.

Metroid is also notable. As was the home version of Duck Hunt, Punch-Out, and other NES classics.

I found the gameplay innovations to the NES sequels to be very interesting because no new console hardware was involved. Super Mario Brothers 3 had the world map for example. Zelda 2 did a split side view action gameplay mixed with Dragon Quest overworld (and random battles!).

It is important to note that no one thought of Gameboy games as ‘innovative’. Gameboy games were designed for the Gameboy. No one thought Super Mario Land was innovative over its home console brothers. It was a good game, but the hardware limited it. You could argue for Pokemon, but Pokemon occurs in the latter 16-bit generation.

With the Super Nintendo, we got ’16 bit graphics’ for everything. Nintendo’s primary gameplay innovations were 3d. Nintendo used Mode 7 effects (F-Zero and Super Mario Kart) or FX chips (Star Fox) to simulate 3d. Nintendo games didn’t really have any innovation aside from that.

With the Nintendo 64, it was 3d, 3d, 3d. Mario was in 3d. Zelda was in 3d. Everything was in 3d!

Gamecube had ‘more 3d’. Metroid was now in 3d.

Animal Crossing was innovative in its real-time based gameplay. I’ll grant that. But nearly everything Nintendo was doing was throwing 3d at established franchises.

Nintendo’s market is consistently shrinking.

The Wii was very successful. Or, to be more correct, Wii Sports was very successful. Wii Sports used a 3d controller (motion based) to play ‘sports’. Wii Fit was also very successful. It relied on the Balance Board. Games like Super Mario Galaxy were just ‘more 3d in different ways!’

The point is that Nintendo’s ‘innovations’ relied on their hardware. More 3d power means more 3d uses. New hardware means new controllers. Yet, Nintendo was not innovating on a software level. Nintendo is making the assumption that being an integrated hardware and software developer means they are ‘smarter’, but I think the new hardware is bailing out the stagnation of the software teams. The hardware has become a sort of crutch. To our horror, Nintendo was throwing motion controls in all its Wii games… just because. Donkey Kong Country Returns had motion controls for a 2d platformer for crying out loud! Nintendo thinks that is ‘innovative’. It is not. It is lazy and bad design.

The reason why so many people abandon Nintendo consoles is because this is how it goes…

*New hardware is released. Promises new gameplay.*

*New gameplay is nothing more than old games with the new hardware gimmick thrown in. This could be ‘more 3d’ to motion controls.*

*Nintendo goes through all their ‘franchises’ of +hardware to old games.*

*After a few years, the console is abandoned in favor of new hardware with new gimmick.*

*And it is all the same exact games as before but with new ‘hardware addition’*

I contend that Nintendo is not a great gameplay innovator but a very bad gameplay innovator. Nintendo relies on hardware to force any changes in the software instead of innovating the software on its own. Super Mario Brothers -> Super Mario Brothers 3 was gameplay innovation. Hell, Super Mario Brothers -> Doki Doki Panic was gameplay innovation. Even the game becoming 3d was gameplay innovation. But ‘more 3d’ is not innovative, it is stale. Adding motion controls to everything is lame.

There has also been no innovations to content. Nintendo is selling us Amiibos based on Nintendo characters. There hasn’t been too many new characters that people loved.

I have many problems with Starcraft 2 and its ‘story’. But it did give us characters like Abathur or Tychus. When was the last Zelda game that gave us any memorable characters?

Nintendo believes they are the best gameplay innovators on the planet and everyone should look up to them. What if this isn’t the case? Why is Nintendo’s market saying, “We are tired of buying the same games over again?”

Either the market is wrong, or Nintendo is wrong. What’s even sadder is that the definition of ‘gameplay innovation’ is stuff like ‘Blast Ball’ from Galactic Federation or ‘level design’ in the NSMB games.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 17, 2015

Email: About Super Mario Maker

This game is the first one that almost makes me want to go out and buy a Wii U. Almost. If Nintendo makes a Wii U bundle with it included (and they’d be dumb not to, especially around Christmas season), then I probably would.

I mean, it’s not perfect, but it’s something people have asked Nintendo for for 30 years and they’ve finally relented. That said, I do have some problems with it.

First, as you’ve said, there’s no way to make a map or anything like that. It looks like the most you can do is chain four levels together into a “world” that you can play yourself or share with others.

Next are the Amiibo-only features, one of which only works with a 8-bit Mario that will probably quickly sell out (it is included in a limited edition pack of the game though).

And finally, one big problem I have in the levels I’ve seen made are the over reliance on “puzzles”. Not the fun kind but the “kill you instantly if you do it wrong” ones that are all over the place, and I have the feeling that most of the downloaded levels will be this kind which will be especially irritating in “100 Mario Challenge”.

But one thing I can see with this Mario game, that I haven’t in a long time, is an actual sense of a soul and real fun with all the different things you can do.

 

It is very telling that the only thing that looks fun from Nintendo E3 is a 2d Mario level editor. It not only tells us that 2d Mario is consistently fun (much to Miyamoto’s disappointment), but that Nintendo has done little to nothing in terms of gameplay innovation for new game products.

It is 30 years later and the best Nintendo can offer is 2d Mario. Really now?

Other game companies can surpass their earlier games. To use Origin as an example, I thought Ultima III was the shit. Then Ultima IV came out. Then Ultima VII and Ultima Underworld. Then Wing Commander. Then Ultima Online. You get the point. Origin was not offering an ‘Ultima Editor’ using Ultima III graphics. They were investing in new gameplay.

Blizzard is another such company. I thought Warcraft 2 was the shit. Starcraft was great too. Diablo too. I thought that was the zenith of the company. Then World of Warcraft came out, and I said “Wow.” Right now, I am seeing the rise of such games like Hearthstone and even Heroes of the Storm which I never imagined the company would make.

And this brings us to the problem with Nintendo… (see post above)

I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet or not:
.
Basically, there’s over 5,000 people who are so angry about this game that they signed a petition to make Nintendo cancel the game.  Granted, these are probably people who are going to buy it anyway. (They have a WiiU and 3DS after all)
I was mad about Spirit Tracks.  What did I do? I put it down, gave it away, and haven’t bought a single thing from Nintendo since.  I didn’t start a petition to get Aonuma fired.  Guess it goes to show the quality of people that are still buying Nintendo.

 

This is hilarious. I can imagine what is going on in Sakamoto’s head. “These people do not understand my genius. Therefore, I will MAKE THEM understand!”

Federation Force looks like crap. Is anyone interested in this game at all? Anyone?

Look at the trailer of this game. It has like 90% dislikes. Ouch.

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