Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 12, 2019

Turbographx 16 Mini!!!

I’m more excited about this than BoW “Wow!” 2 and anything else. Hopefully the emulation is good.

You guys don’t know how hard it is deal with the PC Engine hardware. The hardware is also fairly pricey now. And to play in HMDI, I don’t want to take Wii U everywhere.

  • R-Type
  • New Adventure Island
  • Ninja Spirit
  • Ys Book I & II
  • Dungeon Explorer
  • Alien Crush

Six games announced so far. They are good games. To those who don’t know, Turbographx 16 is like the 16-bit Atlantis. You know SNES games. You know Genesis games. But do you know the third 16 bit console of PC-Engine where Hudson (maker of Bomberman) was the first party?

I even started reviewing them. It is easy to tell which are my favorites. I should continue those reviews…

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Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 11, 2019

Email: Cat pics?

Master Malstrom,

‘Tis tradition!!!

 

WordPress didn’t like one of your cat photos (must have been too cute).
For those who don’t know, during an Iwata Asks series, one of the developers was very nervous. The other developer found a way to calm him: emailing him pictures of kittens. Iwata roared, “You shouldn’t be using company email to do that!” But the developer protested: “It helped him!”
Iwata has come and gone, and I have no idea if Nintendo still bans pictures of kittens being passed in email. Assuming this is still the case, and knowing that E3 is a very stressful time for all Nintendo developers, I have taken the step to calm anxious Nintendo developers with cute pictures of kittens. They can just come to this page, get their fill of kitten goodness, and not risk the wrath of their boss.
 
 
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Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 11, 2019

BoW “WoW” 2 is probably ‘PART TWO’

Looking at people’s reactions to BoW “WoW” 2 trailer, I am pleased to report that I have differing opinions so therefore I have something to write. (There is no point to write posts if it is what everyone else believes.)

I hear people gushing, “Majora’s Mask!” etc. and such. This might be true as I do not have insider knowledge. i just have my instinct and what Nintendo had done before.

Here is why I do NOT believe it will be Majora Mask direction: Breath of the Wild was intentionally a ‘reboot’ of Zelda away from the Aonuma cycle. It is the Aonuma style that has doomed Zelda as a franchise.

Above: Why Aonuma style had to die.

What was the solution? To go back to the basic concepts of the original Zelda. You are a guy who got a sword, and you are alone in this big, vast world. BoW “Wow”‘s prototype was the actual 8-bit game engine.

In the old interview of Miyamoto for Link to the Past, Miyamoto said he wanted to add fire spreading and being able to dig canals. Fire spreading was tested in the BoW prototype and was in final game. But there were no canal building (spreading water around). I HIGHLY suspect that will be a new Link ability in BoW “WoW” 2.

Anyway, so there will not be Majora’s Mask style because that is Aonuma Style.

Zelda 2, the actual sequel to Legend of Zelda, is a candidate of how BoW “WoW” 2 might go. The problem here is that Nintendo hates Zelda 2. I’m not sure Aonuma even tried to play that game before he joined Nintendo.

You know where I think Zelda BoW “WoW” 2 is going?

Ultima VII Serpent Isle box.jpg

Ultima VII: The Black Gate essentially defined the open-world experience and the ‘sandbox’ experience. However, Ultima 7 did not have much of an ending aside from stopping the big bad guy.

Serpent Isle, or Ultima VII Part 2, was re-using the game engine (because the true Ultima sequel would have a brand new engine which took YEARS and tons of money to make even back in the early 1990s) in order to hold off fans of the franchise and to make more money. I believe BoW “Wow” 2 is following this same business maneuver. How is it not?

It is not Ultima VII: 2 but Ultima VII Part 2 which signals a literal and linear continuation of the first game. I highly suspect BoW “Wow” 2 is really ‘Part 2’ of the first game.

What did Serpent Isle do? Well, the game takes the hero to another continent to explore. The game world is MUCH SMALLER than the original but might tighter in how it was done. When Zelda BoW “Wow!” came out, Nintendo said after making the biggest Zelda ever that they want to make the smallest Zelda. Perhaps they were referring to Link’s Awakening remake. But I think this is a signal that they want to do the BoW formula but not just put out more ‘land’, more ‘mass’. It may be smaller in land mass but more sophisticated in other ways (perhaps NPC exploration).

Zelda Breath of the Wild already uses some things from the Ultima series which made Time magazine writer think of Ultima 6 when playing BoW “Wow!”. One of these elements was wearing warm clothes such as furs in arctic environments (or you’d freeze) and being unable to enter volcanic environments unless you had ‘coolness’ protection. These elements are straight from Serpent Isle as I cannot think of another RPG since then that included them (I don’t play every RPG so maybe i missed one).

Miyamoto cited Ultima as being one of the influencers of the original Zelda. This isn’t saying much as Ultima was also a big influencer of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy.

I am going to make a guess. I believe BoW “Wow!” 2 is going to counter BoW “Wow!” 1 in this particular fashion: BoW “Wow!” 1 is a very large ‘mass’ of a game, an ocean wide but an inch deep. You can’t do much with the NPCs. There is very little ‘story’ aside walk around and take pictures. The dungeons are giant 3d rubik’s cubes. BoW “Wow!” 2 will differentiate itself by perhaps a more restrained mass of land, more sophistication with NPCs (schedules and changes in behavior), and the dungeons will be more like Ganon’s castle in BoW than just ‘puzzles’. BoW 2 will take place outside Hyrule or an ancient place on Hyrule that is suddenly accessible. BoW 2 will be more linear with intricate story telling, but it will be done in Serpent Isle fashion. Serpent Isle is unique in that the game is linear but is an open world type game. It’s kinda hard to describe. I can see Nintendo developers wanting to take on that challenge especially when a common complaint was ‘lack of story’ in BoW 1. But how do you do story in an open world? Serpent Isle shows how. [Final Fantasy 6 may be another example, yet that game was strictly linear until the world blew up. Then it opened up.]

Nintendo doesn’t do things unless they can do them ‘new’ and ‘better’ to show everyone up. Nintendo showed the world they can make open world games with BoW “Wow!” With BoW “Wow!” 2, I believe Nintendo is going to show how to make an Open World Game with an engaging story.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 11, 2019

Nintendo E3 immediate impressions

My own game making keeps me away from the blog, but I’m always here for E3.

I missed the first initial opening of their stream due to work, but I caught the rest of it. The E3 stream is… professional. The Nintendo people are all wearing blazers so no cringe ‘hoodie’ wearing moments there. Everything looks classy. The games are being presented fine.

The problem with these streams as the presentation is they are so sterile. Thankfully, chat makes it interesting as seeing people react to things.

There isn’t too much going on that I’d want for Switch. Most of the games are ports from game consoles I don’t buy, or collections of games that I already have.  That Contra game looks…. odd? I was hoping for some Metroid news, but oh well.

Aw fuck it, it is that last announcement that got me excited: BoW “Wow!” 2!

Why is Nintendo doing it? First, they are re-using the game engine which means costs are WAY down (also they get to re-use the assets). My suspicion is that this game will be more linear seeing those story cutscenes. The darker feel I am hoping is spiritually more like Zelda 2 (which was the original Zelda sequel).

Nintendo has a unique opportunity here for the Zelda franchise. Each Zelda game is the same tropes over and over again. This means while Zelda has a ‘universe’, it is a repeating cycle which is very predictable and not layered. A sequel is able to add layers. As an analogy, think of Star Trek. Awesome concept with ship flying around, but it cycles over and over and there is no ‘layering’. Star Trek: The Next Generation is essentially Star Trek redone decades later with some new tropes but old tropes moved around. It wasn’t really until Deep Space Nine that we got a true Star Trek sequel (with a much layered universe that it created). [Voyager and Enterprise are Star Trek recycles.]

The point is that BoW “Wow!’ 2 can give us a more layered universe instead of doing the same old Link/Zelda/Ganon paradigm nonsense we always see.

Another opportunity is for better visuals since BoW “Wow!” was actually a Wii U game BoW “Wow!” 2 will be for Switch, not Wii U. This is actually the first new Switch game. This is the first Zelda game that will not be available on the Wii U! (Every Zelda game is playable on Wii U.)

This also gives Nintendo the opportunity to clean up BoW’s flaws. I hope for MORE ENEMY TYPES and for less WEAPON DURABILITY. Again, I hope the direction is more Zelda 2 ish which means a further exploration of Hyrule and adding more to the mythos instead of recycling it.

My biggest fear is that Aonuma will try to make BoW “Wow!” into ‘cinematic masterpiece’ which would be the exact opposite of original BoW “Wow!” The problem with original BoW “Wow!’ were the dungeons being lame. Hyrule Castle was perfect and shows how dungeons SHOULD be… nasty with many monsters. Dungeons in BoW “Wow!” were 3d Rubik’s Cubes which is not what we want.

Anyway, more updates coming soon. Time for me to get back to work (and I am actually at my work as I write this…. sigh… short lunch break).

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 9, 2019

Email: What makes a good game?

Dear Master Malstrom,

I like your recent post in which you said:

Good game: You play it.
Bad game: It plays you.

I really think this is true. A good example of this is Astro Duel Deluxe which is probably my favorite Switch game as I play it pretty much every day. When I showed this game to 2 different kids, they both loved it so much they wanted to get a Switch. The game has that “arcade magic” that so few games today have. It has awesome multiplayer but is also fun in single player. And there is no leveling up, no unlockables or upgrades, no story or cutscenes.

Now, I’m not saying that no game should ever have leveling up, unlockables, upgrades or a story. Some games are better with these features (i.e. Zelda BoW). But too often these are unnecessarily thrown into games, and the end result is that the gameplay feels like a chore. In other words, you aren’t playing the game. The game is playing you.

What I think developers miss is that the entire game should be fun from start to finish. It shouldn’t feel like work. And it shouldn’t feel like you are playing a gimped version of the game until you manage to unlock everything.

Also, Astro Duel Deluxe has no online mode, and I don’t believe it’s a lesser game for it. I may be in the minority, but I resent the rise of online gaming. The main problem with online gaming is that you can’t control the difficulty level which often results in games that are either way too hard or way too easy. Some people who enter the game don’t even make an effort and just goof around. And then there is lag which can be really frustrating and ruin the experience when your opponent is a second or two ahead of you. And, of course, games that are online only have an expiration date. Once the servers for the game are turned off, the game is worthless. So much for owning a game forever.

But the worst part of the rise of online gaming is that it has given developers the freedom to be lazy to the point where they don’t bother to create AI for their games. Take Towerfall and Duck Game. These two games are immense fun in local multiplayer, but you better have someone to play with because there is no single player when it comes to the main matches. Duck Game has online, but it just isn’t fun when there aren’t people sitting around you.

Now, I realize that online gaming is really big and isn’t going to ever go away, but I just wish that developers would realize that there is an audience for a great single player experience and include competent AI for their games. Online is fine, but give people a choice! Of course, I might as well be wishing for the moon.

My sure-proof measurement for detecting quality in games is one that developers DESPISE. Oh yes, they DESPISE it. It is the game’s replayability over time. If a game is still very fun after twenty years, well, it is a Very Good Game.

“OMG, Malstrom! No one holds on to games for decades!”

Wanna bet? Besides, with the Game Industry embracing ‘remasters’ and re-releases of older games, the market trend proves the point.

Here is the question: are games nothing more than CGI Cotton Candy that are disposable as junkfood? The Game Industry says, “Yes, this is what gaming is.” But we don’t treat books that way or movies. No one buys a movie with the intention of watching it once and never watching it again.

It is not about collecting games, it is about replaying them. This is something the Game Industry and the Developer Mafia (what else to call those group thinkers?) do not understand. I want to OWN a copy of the game because I may want to REPLAY it.

I would rather replay a GOOD game than take a chance on a new game from spotty reputations of various companies. I replay a GOOD game precisely because my time is limited. Why take a chance on a bad game when I know the good one will satisfy?

If you look at the gaming market, you will say one thing: TOO MANY GAMES! I cannot even get a handle of all the games that are flooding out on Switch let alone on the other two consoles and on PC. There are so many free games too! If there are so many games, why would anyone get excited about new ones?

Here’s the rub: the excitement (mostly artificial hype) is about finding ‘new classics’. This is what people want. They want new ‘great’ games. They want games that match the awesomeness of, say, Super Mario Brothers 3 or Super Metroid or Final Fantasy 6.

I think the biggest mistake the Developer Mafia makes (what else to call these clue-less fools?) is that they have to play every game out there. Most gamers do not even behave that way. Developer Mafia should replay classics more and play new games less. This would create a gaming renaissance.

Remember when game review sites, such as IGN, had a metric that said ‘replayabiility?’ That’s gone. Game Industry doesn’t want you to think about replayability. The new definition of replayability is rogue games. But once you beat the game or unlock everything, do you want to do it again? No. Hence, it is not a good game.

Can you imagine selling table top board games that ‘are not intended to be replayable’ because ‘who would ever replay a table top board game’? The Developer Mafia would look at that sentence and say, “What’s a table top game?” Bahahahahahaha! Anyway, can you imagine people buying these expensive table top games, playing it once, and then throwing it all away because ‘games are not repayable’? If the table top game industry had their customers doing that, they would probably like that! More sales.

The Game Industry squealing when people talk about replayability really reveals how ill the game industry is.

I have noticed the perception of gamers has dramatically changed over the decades. In the past, gamers, especially PC gamers, were seen as Uber Nerds or Elite Neckbeards. They were mocked, made fun of, but damn did everyone acknowledge they were smart and knew everything about computers. Today, even the PC gamers, are now considered dumbasses because gamers are now associate with tools. They are given the reputation of people being used for others for financial game. They are given the status of losers. Believe me, this wasn’t always the case.

Since the Internet loves its binary, there really are two types of gamers today. There are people who enjoy playing the game where there are others who enjoy having the game play them. I cannot relate to ‘gamers’ who enjoy being used, who like ‘bad games’. But one thing is clear that there seems to be some sort of identity with it… you know all those green keyboards and ‘gamerz gearz’ accessories? Marketers found that a group of consumers rallies around the ‘gamerz gearz’ green light bullshit.

Even the word ‘developer’ is a foreign one to me. In the eighties and early nineties, no one called themselves ‘developers’. Everyone was a ‘gamer’. The makers of games identified as being a gamer. They loved playing games so much that they made their own! (If you don’t believe me, go look at Iwata’s first speech where he identifies himself first, and foremost, as a gamer, not developer, not president of the company).

Now, everyone in the Developer Mafia identify as ‘developer’ and not gamer. You know why? I suspect it is because of lack of talent. Most game making talent revolves around programming or art. But since so many people ‘want to be in this business’, they kinda suck in both so they proudly wear the label of ‘developer’. “I’m a developer, dude!” I wonder if they watch Steve Ballmer’s “Developers! Developers! Developers!” video over and over again.

I think we are fast approaching a future where media companies, concentrated in high production values, will be topsized with a democratization of ‘development’. In the near future, when we watch TV, it will be TV shows you or your friends made. When you play games, it will be games you or your friends have made.

“But that would change ALL of gaming!” screams the reader.

No. It will take gaming back to its beginning, to its roots.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 5, 2019

Email: The Arcade Mindset

Hey Sean, it’s been awhile since I sent you an email. Like, several years actually, lol.

There’s actually a really old article that I still go back to that talks about the Japanese Arcade Scene (it’s so old that only the wayback machine has it now), and why this particular mindset was lost upon anyone growing up here in the United States today:

https://web.archive.org/web/20110205092155/http://insomnia.ac/commentary/arcade_culture/

The article’s kind of long, so here’s the bullet-point version of the entire thing:

– Players wanted to enjoy the flashiest arcade games for as long as possible; if controls felt off, or they believed the game was too unfair, or if one particular section of the game experience was lame, it’d be easy for them to choose to play another arcade machine on the floor instead

– Arcade operators wanted to have their patrons dumping in as much cash as possible into the machines they bought, and the easiest way to accomplish this was to have difficult games that would end their sessions as fast as possible

– Arcade game developers had to figure out how to churn out games that would appeal to both of these demographics; in a way, the arcade game industry was a lot more competitively brutal than the home console market because all the player had to do if they didn’t like their game was to stop playing it and immediately go to another one right beside it, and arcade operators would take their game off the floor if that happened too many times, and no massive marketing campaign is going to save them from something like that

– The 1-credit mentality (once you ran out of lives on an arcade game, you do not continue, even if you were on the last boss and all it took was a button press to finish them off at that point) was an end result of all this: to get the most value of your money as a player, it’d make more sense to start from the very beginning instead of continuing where you ran out of lives because you’d just keep getting wrecked from that point on in the game instead of starting over from the beginning and working your way back there again, and hopefully by then you’d have learned more of the nuances of the game to be able to overcome that part you were having trouble the first time.

It’s actually quite amazing this article is still relevant after all of these years. You should read it sometime in its entirety if you have the chance to since these are only some of the key points I mentioned. He goes through a lot more than that in the article itself.

I think it actually misses the mark. Of course, the goal was to make money and to get as many people playing the game. None of that explains the *MAGIC*. If you compare arcade games of the 80s and early 90s with games designed for consoles for that time period, the difference can be seen even there. There is so much more energy in the arcade game.

Indie games are mimicking old console games. I don’t think they’ve even begun to scratch the surface for arcade gaming elements.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 5, 2019

Extrinsic rewards creating hunger for intrinsic rewards?

Here is an interesting video. This is streamer Asmondgold (of WoW) watching a, in gaming circles, a viral video [which has him on the thumbnail] about extrinsic rewards being the cause of the modern gaming decline.

Aside from the subject material being interesting, I wonder about the legality of streamers watching other people’s videos on their stream. Isn’t this violating their copyrights? I mean, you can’t stream yourself watching a movie without movie company declaring their rights. But who knows these days…

I’ll give another reason why gaming becomes bad. It is because game analysis becomes bad which creates bad games. I consider this ‘extrinsic rewards’ destroying gaming to be ‘bad game analysis’.

But wait! Why is it popular? Why do people cheer it? It is because I’ve noticed game analysis, well the popular type, defines it in a binary. If there was a third or more choice, it would upset the apple-cart apparently. In this case, you have EXTRINSIC REWARDS versus INTRINSIC REWARDS with one being ‘good’ and the other ‘bad’.

I will go so far to say that the video will be sooo influential that this entire generation will be re-defined between ‘extrinsic gaming’ and ‘instrinsic gaming’. I shit you not. The reason why is that this same exact joke of ‘analysis’ occurred during the 7th generation. No Blue Ocean. No distruption. It was HARDCORE GAMING and CASUAL GAMING. Again, a binary. And the entire fucking generation was shoved through that binary. That is going to happen here. Just watch!

I can think of extrinsic rewards working well with, say…

-Competitive gaming

-Arcade games where you can win prizes.

-High scores in Nintendo Power (remember those?)

-Score screens in general.

-Community fame.

I will make the definition between bad game and good even easier. And I will even make it a binary so people will then consider it ‘incredible game analysis’. Ready, reader? Here we go!

Good game: You play it.

Bad game: It plays you.

That’s it. It is as simple as that.

I don’t even consider bad games to be games. They are approximations of games. You think it is a game, but it just resembles one. It tricked you into buying it. How often has this occurred with games with ‘amazing graphics’, big franchise title, or Internet hype? All the time.

What is a bad game? A con job. E.T. for Atari was a bad game. It was a con job. So was the terrible Pac-Man port for the Atari 2600. You thought it was Pac-Man, but it wasn’t! The Pac-Man was a lie!

There are many game types we do not like. I do not like football games. Do I get angry at football games? No. Do I consider them bad games? No. They just aren’t fun FOR ME. But among football games, there are GOOD games and BAD games. The difference is that the BAD games are all trying to play the player instead of the other way around.

What is ironic about Vanilla WoW is that it is a flagship title for CASUAL and ALL-INCLUSIVE gaming. Vanilla WoW is to Hardcore MMO gaming what Wii Sports is to console hardcore gaming. You want a hard and wild MMO? Try Ultima Online. Vanilla WoW is very noob friendly. It is hilarious we’ve reached a point where people call it ‘hard’.

Today, they call NES games hard. Yet, six year olds were beating the NES games all the time.

It is amazing that the so-called ‘classics’ of gaming are always games that expanded the audience for that genre (or defined it). Yet, decades later, they are called ‘hardcore gaming’. Space Invaders is considered ‘hardcore gaming’ now. Or Super Mario Brothers. Or Sonic the Hedgehog. Or Tetris! Heck, even moms played Tetris.

I think the game analysis needs to stop revolving around the game and revolve around the player. Ask yourself: How does the player manipulate the game? Not: how does the game manipulate the player?

I bet you could go wild with modding Breath of the Wild.

https://kotaku.com/breath-of-the-wild-now-supports-custom-dungeons-and-map-1834877760

Looks way more fun than another 2d Mario editor.

If I had enough time for another project, I would love to make a spiritual successor to Zelda 2. It would play out in a similar way with the map view and the side view. It, of course, wouldn’t just be ‘more Zelda 2’ but it would do things you wouldn’t expect. But I will keep that secret for now.

It is annoying that there are genres of games missing not because of lack of interest but because the developers just don’t ‘want to make them’. I really despise that word: developer. It separates you from the people. It is why you see so many ‘games’ that are made trying to impress other ‘developers’. Because of all the ‘developing’, no one is actually playing the game. This is why developers are all ‘omg’ for a game that is truly terrible.

I feel like games today are giant time wasters because they are so bloated. I would rather have fun concentrated like in a short arcade game than these 100+ hour games filled with terrible ‘stories’.

It is interesting to note that there didn’t seem to be any interest in ‘modding’ Aonuma Zeldas. Who wants to mod ‘story’ and ‘puzzles’? Thank goodness for BoTW. Now if we could only get a good Metroid game…

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 27, 2019

“You think you do, but you don’t…”

 

Take a look at this, reader:

Blizzard employees have a tradition of eating their own words. “Didn’t Falstaff die?” “Fuck that [D2 developer] loser!”

“You think you do, but you don’t” will stick to Brack for the rest of his career. What is even scarier is that this guy is now the new president of Blizzard.

Former Blizzard developer Kern points out that Brack is not given a CEO title. This means that Activision is now treating Blizzard as a studio and not as a co-equal company. But if the new president of Blizzard was against WoW Classic, why is it coming out now? Did Activision push it through? Or did Blizzard’s dire (for them) financial trends change direction? Or was the issue simply technological in nature that Blizzard needed to know how Nostrodomus (sp) put up their private server?

Brack’s answer signals that he thought the customers would not like Classic WoW.

I have been gaming for a long while. Like you, the beautiful reader, I have moments when a game is ‘special’ as in how it ‘takes over’. You remember it forever. In many ways, these games are the same for us.

Super Mario Brothers was a very special game. It not only popularized background music, it popularized non-black backgrounds. It gave us the Mushroom Kingdom. So special!

You can add Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Contra, Final Fantasy (I, IV, VI), Chrono Trigger, and on and on and on. On PC side, I would look at a game like a mainline Ultima or, especially, Wing Commander and be like that gladiator in Gladiator looking up at the Roman coliseum to say, “I didn’t know man could make such things…”

I already became a huge fan of Blizzard games with Warcraft. Especially Warcraft 2. Warcraft 2 was amazing. I loved Westood’s Command and Conquer series too. I would play Warcraft 2 all day, everyday. When Starcraft came out, I played Starcraft all day, everyday. Eventually, I got addicted to Warcraft 3. Diablo 1 and 2 were good too.

I noticed I developed a Blizzard cycle. I would dislike the Blizzard game at first. “Too different!” “Weird gameplay!” But then I would find myself being unable to stop playing it. I actually considered Starcraft a failure because it didn’t grip me the way it did Warcraft 2. But Starcraft, then, was 1.0, and it took Blizzard to tweak the game more as well as Malstrom to adapt to the game’s complexity. With Warcraft 3, I initially hated. Why was there a ‘tax’ on the number of units I could make? What is with all the heroes? It took tweaking on Blizzard’s end, and time on my end to fully adjust.

(Today, my Blizzard Cycle has flipped around. I really think the game is awesome at first but then slowly begin to loathe it more and more. Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, Heroes of the Storm.)

When World of Warcraft was coming out, I thought it was a stupid idea. “Who in their right mind would pay a service fee for a game you cannot own!?” However, it was a Blizzard game which meant then they had insanely high value. I should, at least, try it. So when Blizzard held an open stress test for WoW, I tried it. I think I got to level 15 before they killed the servers, but it was enough. I was addicted.

I drove to the closest Wal-Mart on midnight on release day. Why? Wal-Mart was 24 hours. That Wal-Mart did not have WoW. Scary, other PC gamers were coming in AT MIDNIGHT to get WoW. Someone heard a remote Wal-Mart had it. So we all fled to our cars, and it was like a giant caravan heading to an obscure Wal-Mart, in the boonies, at now 12:30 AM. I got the second to last copy. They sold out before 1 AM.

I go home. I install the game (which takes a while since it was like 4 or 6 discs). Then I make my character which I would eventually abandon (a warrior on Tychondrius). I played until I passed out. I woke up from my computer to see the login screen and the familiar music.

Above: I would wake up to this! hahaha

I eventually stopped playing WoW when Burning Crusade came out. I noticed how destructive WoW was to my life. I would later jump back in for Cataclysm, not being pleased with the changes the game had, I quit for good.

Could it be? Has a video game been made that was SOOOOO good that it would destroy one’s life? Certainly, any game could do that. Blizzard’s games were already crazy addictive. But WoW was BETTER than Starcraft, BETTER than Diablo 2. It was on another level… a level I don’t think I’ve seen any game be now or since.

I kept saying, “I’d rather play Vanilla WoW than what is out now…” and be hit with accusations of ‘nostalgia’ and such.

But I was right about classic 2d Mario when Nintendo, channeling Brack, said that no one wanted to play old 2d Mario.

My instinct to keep playing NES and SNES games told me they were still fun and could be sold. Nintendo, dealing with the Wii U apocalypse, put out Classic NES and SNES minis which sold spectacularly well… better than Nintendo even suspected. Reggie Fils-aime revealed that Nintendo wasn’t shocked the classic hardware would sell well to the NES generation. They were shocked that they were selling well to the younger generations who were born after the NES.

They thought it was nostalgia. They were wrong. Younger people want those games because they want quality games. Quality gaming transcends time!!!

Classic WoW will be big not just with former WoW players (which are the majority of WoW people) but with those who never touch Vanilla… but are curious!

Check out this video:

One streamer says, “Classic WoW is like Game of Thrones Season 1, Retail WoW is like Game of Thrones Season 8.”

People are even re-discovering how much fun massive PvP can be too in Classic WoW:

Even watching that is more fun than watching current WoW.

What I am hoping is that Classic WoW is like a time capsule that re-invigorates innovation and awesomeness throughout all of Blizzard. However, I know from the Nintendo experience that will not be the case.

There will not be any deep soul searching inside Blizzard. There will not be any analysis of Classic WoW and why it is fun. There will only be bitterness and anger directed towards the gamers. “They reject our NEW stuff to play this shitty old thing!?”

The reader interrupts this blog post: “How can you say that, Malstrom? Aren’t you being too cynical?”

I believe this will be Blizzard’s reaction because it was Nintendo’s reaction. NSMB DS came at the right time to propel DS way ahead of PSP in all markets and literally save Nintendo’s platform. Reggie Fils-Aime said that he expected Wii’s sales to be a downward trend due to the lifecycle, but then NSMB Wii comes out and sells four million Wii in the United States within December of 2009… the most of any home game console ever in a month. Thinking 2d Mario as nothing more than a training wheels for new developers (though I think the old developers said that as an excuse not to work on it), 2d Mario got put out to ‘save the game platform’ which didn’t exactly work the same way for 3DS and Wii U. And yet, the games keep selling.

Nintendo and/or Miyamoto has no interest in soul searching or making good 2d Mario games. There is only bitterness (Miyamoto’s words) of the market rejection. Today, 2d Mario is nothing but an ‘editor’ while all the production money goes to endless 3d Marios.

Zelda recently got resurrected with BoW by looking at original Legend of Zelda. BoW’s success will likely also lead to bitterness. A remake of Link’s Adventure tells me that Nintendo doesn’t get it or doesn’t want to get the lessons of BoW’s success.

And let’s look at Metroid. We want classic Metroid, more like Super Metroid. Sakamoto doesn’t like that. We got Other M which was insane. Then we got Samus Returns which shows Sakamoto doesn’t understand why people like Metroid. The game is like “Here is the 2d Metroid with some things… yeah…And here is melee combat too because SHE IS A NINJA NOT A ROBOT!”

It’s not that hard to understand the market reaction. These developers aren’t stupid. They can’t believe they are so off in the market reaction. Even luminaries like Miyamoto are off. Their reaction: hatred, not humility.

Based on this experience, I believe Classic WoW will be nothing but a Blizzard cash grab. Retail WoW will put in superficial things that the developers think aligns retail WoW more like classic such as ‘here are original talent trees back’, but they will keep going further from the mark.

Another video:

I have leveled 2 characters to level 10 over the years. I stopped because I don’t want to invest time in a private server that can go away. But I did it to test the hypothesis that Classic WoW is still fun… and it is. The aged graphics will hopefully make it easier to peel off from the game.

Above: E3 2004 trailer for WoW

When I got done playing WoW, I started this website. I recommend people try out Classic WoW if you never did… it is probably the best RPG ever made. Just don’t let it destroy your life…

Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 27, 2019

Upcoming disrupted industries

I do not agree with everything this guy is saying, but it will make you think.

 

You know how Youtube has all those ‘related’ or ‘recommended’ videos that tempt you? I clicked on this guy because I saw the words ‘business’ and ‘disruption’ and that Mario T-shirt. I’m like “WTF, that is not me,” and this guy looks like Reggie Fils-Aime’s long lost son hahahaha.

Let’s talk about the shirt for a moment. This guy is doing a Youtube business presentation on disruption… and he is wearing a Mario T-shirt. I have to take a moment and ponder this…

Over ten years ago, what did you hear about business concerning video games? You heard rantings from Wedbush Analyst Michael Pachter, primarily, and a few other analysts. Whatever they said was treated as gospel. They were not challenged. Game journalists acted as scribes for them. Anything they said, they put it on the front page. After all, they were the business ‘experts’. And since they wore suits, they certainly didn’t have any self-interests at all, did they? (hahahaha)

Business analysis was always, always presented with someone in a suit or in a blazer. Yet, this gentleman is wearing a Mario T-shirt! This is quite novel. In the old days, wearing a video game T-shirt would have disqualified you from anything you said business-wise. Maybe that guy doesn’t care, but I think there is something more going on here. Businessmen or analysts are above average in communication skills. Clothes are not just put ‘on’. They know distinctly what clothes communicate.

What do I see when I see this man in a Mario T-shirt? Do I see a giant man-child? Not at all. The style of the shirt appears from the 1980s. The 1980s was a period of massive economic growth. Mario is not only the biggest cultural icon of that time, a time of cultural revolution for those below the age of 40 during that time, Mario is also a Napoleon of business disruption. From that generation’s perspective, Mario was suddenly ‘everywhere’. And with Mario comes the tightest and most joyful moments of their childhood as well as feelings of discovery. Mario is the representative of not just Nintendo but of the NES revolution. The NES revolution was, in large part, a Japanese cultural invasion into America at the time. The quality of video games during the NES era jumped up significantly. This is hard to illustrate to people today. NES games absolutely destroyed Atari Era gaming and PC gaming at the time. The quality of gaming that NES was bringing was radical.

Remember that nearly every big video game franchise and ‘genre’ began during the NES era. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Castlevania, Mega Man, Metal Gear, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and so on and so forth.

The point that THAT Mario shirt means ‘man child’ to those that were old during the 1980s, bt it does not have that same definition to those forty or younger today. Today, that Mario shirt means ‘Revolution’.

Ahh, the old Nintendo ON trailer. The beginning, especially, encapsulates that generational view. The sentiment here, or behind that guy’s red Mario shirt, is not ‘Nintendo fan’ or ‘sentimentalism’, but it is a special moment of the 1980s and early 1990s crystallized forward in time: of technological, cultural, and business revolution. When this generation thinks of Nintendo, they think of THAT. In a similar way, it is how the watershed moment for computer guys was the Apple II or Windows 95 which makes Apple and Microsoft, whether they deserve it or not, talismans of disruption.

But Apple and Microsoft did not create a childhood. But Nintendo, Atari, Sega, and Hudson did. And that generation now belongs to me.

Can you believe it, reader? You are in the future where wearing a Mario T-shirt CONFIRMS your business credentials and solidifies your disruptive instinct! Oh, what have we done? Sees Mario T-shirts spring up everywhere.

 

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