Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 2, 2015

Nintendo Like Profits

Iwata said the NX plan was to return to ‘Nintendo-Like profits’. What he is referring to is more like the above chart.

But if you noticed, the chart above is about operating income, not profit.

It’s time to… show me the money!


That clip has transcended that movie and should be a motto of your life, Glorious Reader. Then you can become like this guy:

Above: This guy could be an investor in Nintendo. You never know. Either way, guys like him make sure to read their Malstrom so you should too! (cracking up while I write this…) (Reading is always better with an indoor pool of fish nearby…. or you could just get a fish tank. ……. Or you could go to the gym for your basketball court / gym / and fitness rooms. You could go to movie theater to watch movies. Really, the only true difference between rich people stuff and your stuff is that their stuff has a much larger privacy sphere.)

I’m waiting for more information about Nintendo’s plans to say anything. The little tidbits leaking out are not saying much.

There is the notion going around that Nintendo intends to make ‘mad profits’ off mobile games. This is not a Nintendo way to look at it. Mobile games is only a… tentacle. We need to examine the squid. I think it is impossible to analyze Nintendo’s mobile games on their own because their strategy will not be an isolated one as is the case for most mobile games. When a game company, such as Square, makes a mobile game, they mean to sell the game as a product. I do not think this is Nintendo’s intention. I think Nintendo is using the mobile games as a marketing tool primarily. This marketing will be very sinister because it is ‘interactive’. It will be Interactive Marketing! That’s their great innovation for the upcoming generation! Hahahahahaha!

Back in Generation 7, it was easy to predict the Wii because we had the DS and tons of Nintendo statements (which no one took seriously except for pages like this).

We have no Generation 9 handheld to base the home version off of. But this, itself, is a signal of things to come.

Nintendo is most dangerous when they are quiet. They have been quiet for quite a while. I’ll go through their investor questions and answers when it is available in English. Other than that, it is better to be quiet than to ‘analyze’  off of no information. All the people talking and yakking right now about ‘Nintendo’s Plans’ are showing their idiocy because there is no real information out right now. You’re just pulling stuff from your ass.

Pulling Info From Ass = Conjecture from ‘Revolution’ name. What games you want. Basing off what Sony and Microsoft are doing.

Look at Correct Data = DS design, games, and momentum strategy. Blue Ocean Strategy. Christensen’s disruption. The Wii-mote controller (revealed TGS 2005).

We don’t have shit to base anything off at the moment. And Nintendo is intentionally keeping it that way.

Above: “No info for you, Malstrom!”

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 30, 2015

Email: NSMB U Has An Expiration Date

I can replay the older 2D platformers today and have a great time. It’s not just nostalgia, that’sbarely a part of it. The games are fine meals and are very high quality, their gameplay go beyond their technical and time limitations. The spectacle of them is being dropped into worlds that you get to explore and conquer with great controls and many, many ways to destroy it.

I felt that excitement with Mario Maker videos because of the new power-ups but quickly lost interest due to all of the focus on people trying to make levels are cruel and ridiculously challenging. I don’t want an easy game, I want something that seems fair and intuitive while courting my interest and imagination. I’m sitting back on it.

NSMB U is something that I would have argued is brilliant, but I remember too many dry spells in it. There are too many levels in the game that don’t stimulate me much as a gamer. It was definitely a blast playing through it the first time, but I stopped playing it after coming one coin short of being able to get the last level of the Super Star Road.

It’s a tough place to be in. It’s fun to play, but not to replay. The game is filled with content, even the recycled Luigi U stuff is fine if you’re ok with speedrunning being mixed into recycling already used content. It only gets a pass since it came with my copy of the game. There are nice challenges added to the game that seem reminiscent of the challenges from Mario Kart DS, but the main game has nowhere near as much love and work done to it as the main game modes of Mario Kart DS.

The only other Mario games (platforms that you actually play as Mario) that weren’t fun for me to replay were Super Mario Bros. 1 (Deluxe and Advance included), Land 1, Super Mario Sunshine and Galaxy 2. I have no plans to play 3D Land and plan to get 3D World when Nintendo eventually gives it away to promote some other future game on Wii U (or when it can be bought for less than $30).


It would be interesting to note why we replay games. NSMB is a dud for music and cool artwork. I still don’t think Nintendo understands the appeal of Classic 2d Mario. Hell, Nintendo still doesn’t get the appeal of classic Zelda either or Metroid!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 30, 2015

Email: Miitomo

Master Malstrom

While your retro gaming jaunts do amuse me, I am more interested in your Nintendo business acumen.Did you hear about “Miimoto”? No, that’s not a misspelling of “Miyamoto”. It’s Nintendo’s first foray into mobile apps. It appears to not be a game, but a social application involving Miis. In my reading I happened to stumble upon the following blog post about it.Miitomo: What’s Nintendo trying to do with its first smartphone app?

One paragraph in particular caught my attention.

“I think Miitomo is something of a Trojan Horse for Nintendo’s new “Nintendo Account” service, which will span smartphones, PCs, consoles, and handhelds, with a single login, trading data between them. Getting people excited about making Miis hooks them into that ecosystem — whether they love Nintendo or not.”

This of course reminded me of Yamauchi’s Trojan horse, which you may recall from the book Game Over. According to the book, Yamauchi thought he could get Famicoms into everyone’s homes via the kids’ games, and then get the adults in the family to buy more “mature” software like business applications. That’s why the Famicom was fitted with an expansion port for a modem or keyboard.

Except, could Miitomo actually be the REVERSE? In other words, Yamauchi’s Trojan Horse was intended to use games to sell non-game software, and it failed. Could Miimoto be the opposite, trying to get non-game software to eventually help Nintendo sell their games?

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you have an interesting take on Miimoto?


A Glorious Reader


In my world, there is no *time*. All the generations compete together. A game today still has to compete against Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers. Just because games are better than 8-bit does give it an advantage over Super Mario Brothers, but not a decisive one as they find out if they make a 2d platformer. Hell, it wasn’t long ago that Nintendo never even considered 2d platformers for home consoles. The entire Wii model was based off of the NES and Atari Eras. The Wii marketing was influenced by Atari’s marketing, for example. These ‘Retro jaunts’ are actually paving the way for the future. This is why when the Wii appeared, I could say, “Aha! There it is! There she is! The console that can do the same job as my Atari or NES!”

Technology won’t define the ultimate blockbuster. Despite all of the advances in gaming of the 1980s, Tetris was a simple game with blocks that outsold all. Today, that game is Minecraft. We buy these fancy consoles that do ‘crazy graphics’ yet we play simplistic games with blocks. It is too funny!

The more I am here, the more I feel at times as the Arilou from Star Control 2 (or in darker days, the Orz). I do not understand why people get the context wrong or see drama where it does not exist. Did you know that when Iwata’s successor was named, gaming forums screamed because Iwata’s successor (who we don’t know the name off hand because no one really cares) is a BUSINESSMAN. “What!? Did they hire a BUSINESSMAN to be the Nintendo president? How dare they!” There are gamers out there who actually believe Iwata was not a businessman and that his business skills was not THE REASON why Yamauchi chose him as Nintendo President. Of course, Iwata was a businessman. As for this generation, what is there to say? Everything runs into what we have seen before, but what is new for Generation Eight is ‘how do consoles sell in a financial depression?’ This is what we are seeing now. It is why Microsoft changed its success metric to Xbox Live subscriptions instead of hardware sold. It is why you don’t see analysts having orgasms over PS4’s ‘victory’. With Generation Nine, we will see how game consoles sell during a time of war. I don’t think we’ve seen that type of console market experience!

Anyway, the Nintendo mobile games are really no different than the Nintendo cartoons of the 80s or Nintendo Power. Nintendo makes things to reach out to audience to bring them to their products. Most people spend time in front of their smartphone. Therefore, Nintendo is making ‘games’ for it so people will want to buy Nintendo stuff. The value of mobile games to Nintendo is primarily in is marketing of Nintendo.

We don’t know much about the game to say much more.

We need to know more about the Nintendo NX. But Nintendo is not telling us about it yet. We are in the quiet time between generations for Nintendo.

There can be no analysis because there is nothing to analyze yet. Nintendo’s path will be the one that Iwata put in place before his passing. I expect the Nintendo NX to make money by reducing Nintendo costs. Cross development will be common.

Wait for more information to come out.


Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 30, 2015

Email: Are you kidding about 7th Saga?

I downloaded a ROM to give it a shot. At first it wasn’t that hard as long as you don’t expect to clear an area in one go. Standard stuff. So I made it to the first boss without problems, I got into the fight, attacked him and did one point of damage and he took away most of my health in one hit. I figured maybe it’s one of those bosses where you have to use magic instead. Two points of damage.

Fuck that, this isn’t hard, it’s statistically impossible. The developers expect me now to walk back and forth like an idiot fighting trivial encounters. It’s not a game, it’s a chore. There is no thought in that, no challenge, you just have to repeat the same thing until your stats are high enough so it isn’t impossible anymore. Instead of mindlessly grinding imaginary stats in a video game by repeating the same thing I’m just going to grind my real stats by repeating the same thing in a gym. It’s equally boring, but at least I get something out of it.

Is this some sort of experiment by you? Like “let’s see how many people will call the BS and how many will waste their time”. Icewind Dale is a challenging RPG because there are so many ways to approach an encounter and a fight that seemed impossible can actually be won by adjusting the strategy. There is no strategy in 7th Saga, I can attack, defend, cast fire and use a potion. None of it matters when I cannot heal more damage than the boss can deal out.

But hey, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m lacking some part of the brain that derives pleasure from doing repetitious tasks. I did like Final Fantasy III (the actual III, not VI) because they got the bosses right: the challenge was making it as far into the dungeon as possible and getting back out alive, and if you could make it to the boss you were good enough to beat him. 7th Saga just sets up a difficulty wall that says “you might be this level up to get past”. That’s just cheap.

First, don’t try to use ROMs. The experience is so much better with cartridge on actual hardware. I know that sounds strange, but it is the truth even for these turn based RPGs. Gamers haven’t discovered 7th Saga yet so the price is still pretty cheap on it.

Second, the first boss, I am assuming you were at, was Romus: the big dog. It is possible to beat him… at level 10. But you are meant to die when you get to Romus. Talk to the people in town again and the old lady gives you the whistle. Return to Romus, use the whistle, and instantly kill him. So easy!

Third, leveling up will not save your ass in this game. It will help you with overworld monsters and other map monsters, but the true bosses in this game are the other apprentices. The apprentice levels will always be ABOVE yours!!! I just killed one of the other six apprentices because he went bad and destroyed a town. The battle took half an hour! Very difficult battle! And I enjoyed every second of it. The game delivers such a high satisfaction level.

The more I play this game, the more I love it. This game is definitely a ‘passionately love’ or ‘passionately hate’ game.

I really enjoy the first Dragon Quest and first Final Fantasy. Those games can be difficult and very grindy. 7th Saga is Dragon Quest I on steroids but so much better. The grinding isn’t really that much. Much of the repetition of the game has been removed. Oh yes… The first crystal you get is the Wind Crystal which lets you fly instantly to any city you’ve already been at. The second crystal will heal your HP in battle…. for free. You can even convert your gold to gems so when you die, you don’t lose all your money. Aside from the apprentice battles, this game is not that hard.

And there are some decisions you can make that will make the game easier. The first one is what character to choose. Choose Esuna, the elf girl. She has nasty magic power and will make the game much easier. She is also the worst apprentice to fight against as well so choosing her means you can’t fight against her. Also, don’t get a companion. Stay by yourself. You level up much faster. Did you know the brains by the city of Gruntz drop nearly 500 xp per brain? AND they drop recovery potions! (A recovery potion is like an elixir in Final Fantasy, it heals all HP and MP.) It is easy to level fast if you go where the high xp monsters are.

You can even buy ‘exit’ thingies from the item shop which will transport you out of dungeons. Seriously, this game is not hard. But it does tap into the vibe of the 8-bit RPG.

I love how the game responds to you differently based on your character. If you are Esuna, you get someone to take you on a boat ride to a city to the north. Everyone else has to go through the tower or through a cave (hahaha). Lots of replay value here if you end up liking this type of game.

Leveling up will get you past overworld and dungeon monsters, but it will NOT help you with the apprentice battles. You will need skill and luck to beat the other apprentices.

And now let us watch a noob play 7th Saga:

This guy got his ass handed to him. The only real challenge one should face would be Pison, the hired henchman to take you out. Then it should be the apprentice battles.

I love this game! Going to go play more.

Above: That music! So much more memorable and other worldly than the crap today. 7th Saga is the Dark Souls of SNES JRPGs. Play it and grow hair on your chest!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 27, 2015

Email: 7th Saga

Oh jeez, screw 7th Saga! I did manage to beat that game as a kid, after something like years of playing it off and on. That game is too hard to be fun. I was pissed when I found out years later that the game had been increased in challenge for the US release, solely to prevent it from being beaten during a rental. I bought it, I shouldn’t have been punished.
The Japanese release is not easy mode, it’s normal mode; the US release is insane masochistic mode! I hope you have a lot of free time on your hands. At least with savestates it might not be as bad.


With 6 hours in, I’m finding the game to be fairly easy. However, I may be speaking too soon!

I’d play more but I’m being super busy by work and classes. I’m trying to dig up time to play the new Starcraft 2 expansion when it comes out. Can you believe it will be the last time we will play a new Starcraft expansion for the next decade or forever? We must savor it!

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 27, 2015

Email: NSMB Wii is an awesome game!

Dear Malstrom,

You recently said, “Who replays NSMB DS? NSMB Wii? Anyone? There’s no reason to do so.”

I can tell you that in my house NSMB Wii got far more play than any other Wii game, and there were several games we played a lot. But NSMB Wii got about 500 hours of play from us. Not only are the levels fun to go back and play, but coin battle is tons of fun too. The reason why we played so much is because my wife and I are much better than our daughter at these games, which makes Mario a better go to game than Mario Kart or Wii Sports or Smash Bros.

Now if you are asking “would I want to replay this game as a single player”, then no I wouldn’t. But Wii Sports is not really fun in single player either. We know that multi-player is what made Wii Sports a phenomenon. NSMB Wii is the same way.


I meant playing NSMB Wii like you would a classic Mario game: alone in single player.

2d platformers are not being what I want them to be: immersive experiences. The Classic Mario games were the definitive immersive experiences of their times. Can you think of a more immersive game of 1985 than Super Mario Brothers? No, you can’t. What about Super Mario Brothers 3? No NES game can touch it. Super Mario World, a launch SNES game, is still a giant in the console’s library for its immersion. Even the Donkey Kong Country games have great immeresion or else we would love the music so much. Super Metroid’s popularity is entirely due to its immersion.

When you look at classic Mario games, you might ask, “Why were these games popular?” You begin analyzing. You conclude: “Aha! The level design is awesome.” But you cannot understand the immersion power of games past. Remember when PS2 games were considered to be ‘very immersive’? It’s laughable today, but it sold many games back in that day.

You don’t get the sense of an immersive world to explore. Now, Nintendo will say, “We make gameplay, not worlds. Only idiot third party companies focus on making worlds.” This may be true. But what Nintendo needs to realize is that the video game experience begins with the customer, NEVER the developer. The taste of a dish begins when the diner eats it, not when the chef prepares it. Everything revolves around the customer’s experiences, not the developer’s experiences.

Mario games have always been a cohesive world for me. Yet, lately, nothing seems cohesive about it at all. It’s like the Mario game is being put together from parts of other games. Terrible!

Another interview he stated that  Mario Maker would not replace the 2-d games. He also dropped a hint that he may finally want to add some more depth to the 2-d series in the next couple years.

Nintendo’s prominent video game designer Takashi Tezuka has revealed in the latest edition of Famitsu that he would like the opportunity to work on something other than the Super Mario series. I’m sure more than a few of you would love to see him at the helm of a brand new Nintendo IP. Who knows what he wants to do next? But after Super Mario Maker he probably needs a well deserved break.

Tezuka: “We will continue to make 3D and 2D Mario games, but I want to make one that even exceeds New Super Mario Bros.”

Got a plan? Tezuka: “I can’t say anything concrete yet, but you may see it within a few years.”

Tezuka: “I also kind of want to seriously work on something other than Mario.”


I looked for the interview, and it seemed to be in a Famitsu magazine.

First of all, Nintendo says lots of stuff. I only care about what NINTENDO DOES. Aonuma is the proverbial Lucy holding the ball (Zelda) in front us (Charlie Brown). He keeps telling us that the next Zelda will get to the roots of what Zelda is and be wonderful. Then, he takes the ball away and goes full bore Otaku on us while laughing. How can we get a Zelda that gets to the classic’s roots when Aonuma, himself, was not a fan of those games? Nintendo has yet to address this. As far as I’m concerned, Zelda is a dead franchise.

I’m not sure where Tezuka is going with Mario. What I want is a definitive 2d Mario game. I still haven’t gotten it.

New Super Mario Brothers for the DS was awesome only because it was the first new 2d Mario in 16 years or so. Otherwise, the game kinda sucked.

NSMB Wii was awesome only because it was the first new 2d Mario on home console AND that it did four player. The four player thing was interesting. But still, the game kinda sucked.

I haven’t played NSMB 2 for 3DS and don’t care too.

NSMB Wii U screams ‘rushed launch title’. I’m staying away.

Mario Maker is interesting but not compelling. I’m not paying money to play other people’s shit.

Part of the fun of the classic Mario games were the beautiful drawings. Yes, the 3d makes things easy to do, but something is missing. Why has Donkey Kong Country, which used 3d imagery to build its sprites, been accepted and almost even iconic, but NSMB graphics have not?

It was likely due to technology, but the Japanese made games of the past were ‘earth grounded’. Link to the Past is cartoony, but it doesn’t scare us like Wind Waker does.

Some of this isn’t hard to figure out. Look at what the original Mario games presented:

Super Mario Brothers – Introduction to Mushroom Kingdom. First time we see the Goombas, hammer brothers, cheep cheeps, Bowser, etc.

Super Mario Brothers 2 – Introduction to Subcon. First time seeing shy guys, Wart, Mouser, Birdo, etc. Could choose 4 characters.

Super Mario Brothers 3 – Pioneered the map system. Introduced many new enemies, airships, Koopa Kids, and new power ups.

Super Mario World – Introduction to Dinosaur Land and its enemies. Introduced Yoshi.


And out of all these games, Super Mario World was the weakest in that it didn’t introduce much (yet, it introduced a TON compared to other games).

At the time of Mario Mania, a Mario game was more than its map design. A Mario game held a fantasy mythos. Playing the fantasy was a huge part of its appeal. If it wasn’t, then why did the blue background mattered so much in the original Mario? It is because you were in a new world. People love exploring a new world!

Mario! Mario! Mario!

You don’t hear ‘level design’ coming from the commercial. You hear how much more immersive the world will be.

2d Mario doesn’t do anything new anymore.

2d Mario used to be the pioneer of gaming and the 2d platformer was THE SHOWOFF of a new console. Genesis needed Sonic. Turbographx-16 needed Bonk.

Aside from 4 players at the same time, there is nothing new in Mario.

2d Mario doesn’t offer immersion anymore.

If people didn’t like immersion, then Super Metroid SNES cartridges would not be costing $70+ at the time of this post.

2d Mario is only challenging at the last stage of the game making a boring journey.

Not even the original Super Mario Brothers was this easy. Warp zones lose value if the game is so easy. It is bad enough that you can save anywhere.

2d Mario has lost its replayability.

Who replays NSMB DS? NSMB Wii? Anyone? There’s no reason to do so.

2d Mario doesn’t expand the mythos anymore.

2d Mario would define Mario’s universe which then the sports games, kart games, and such would then use. Without offering something new to the fabric of Mario universe, 2d Mario games feel uneventful. Bad analogy incoming:

Classic Mario games are to Mario as the early Star Trek movies were to Star Trek. But NSMB games are to Mario as ‘Insurrection’ or ‘Generations’ are to Star Trek. NSMB games are boring, uneventful, and lack the journey. NSMB feels as if Electronic Arts made a Mario game.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 25, 2015

Email: Of Egos and Stories

Hello Master Malstrom
I’ve been thinking over a few theories as to why videogames must have story, why we must sit through hours of lacking, why we cant just have the story be optional, it all came back to this:

We’ve seen the rise of the indie game scene, games made by those with a huge case of nostalgia who’re too alienated from todays games. Games that vary from either being a bit plagiarizing but fun, or managed to re-capture things that really should’ve stayed buried in the past (Five Nights at Night Trap).

But what about the gamers that preferred the “disc era”? Enter Metal Gear Solid, a game well remembered for its rich story and characters that managed to live a healthy franchise only until recently. Naturally everyones forgotten the clumsy combat, but everyone wants to be “The next Kojima”, everyone wants to be a “quirky genius” with “rich stories and quirky characters”, everyone wants to inject their games with “story”, everyone desires to feed into their ego.

I’m probably one of the only few who picked up the original MGS, couldnt be bothered to drink “story”, and found the game more frustrating than fun. It plays very much like a modern game with linear levels, “realistic” environments, and between infinite responding enemies you’re handed 10 min lectures that seriously should’ve been shelved for a film. Each time I heard a codec call, I felt inclined to simply let go of my controller but yet I couldnt, I must keep pressing X.

With how “story” has become in todays times I can no longer say “a story”, it is no longer a noun. It is a virus infecting all forms of entertainment. No longer do we talk about “good entertainment”, no longer do we laugh or react to our TVs, we sit zombie-fied with some bogus agenda ready to project “progressive social values”, “rich complex character and other such nonsense. Again, our bull-headed egos shame us at the thought of simple humor.

One has to look into TV animation to see this at work, we forgive geometric Flash-animated animation because “It has a rich character universe”, it has “rich story telling”, “the characterization is top-notch”. Instead of laughing at well-crafted humor, or in other cases enjoying energetic gameplay, we give in to our egos and talk about “character arcs”, “strong independent female women that dont need stupid men to help them and have attitude issues”. No longer is it hunters and Wabbits, its average-folk with dead moms going into huge fantasy worlds to find new mother-figures. If it isnt that, its a “comedy” written by writers who’re too scared to joke about society, wouldn’t want to hurt peoples egos after all.

We forgive MGS’s clumsy gameplay because “story” distracted us. The only change is that you can now no longer lose the game, we wouldn’t want you thinking our game is hard or anything, cant have you going to the forums getting frustrated with an actual challenge. We dont want to hurt your ego.
Thank you for reading, hopefully this e-mail will shed some light on the subject.


A question that I have been asking myself much more lately is “What is the type of person who is playing this game?” Yamauchi said that JRPGs were played by ‘depressed gamers’ who like ‘slow games’. This is funny and not completely untrue. One can go to WoW and see that the type of people who still play that game are… how should I put it… the underclass of society? If you do not have real achievements in the real world, you will be seeking achievements in a digital world.

I’m noticing that the consumer who is shelling out hundreds of dollars for Retro games are the Westernized version of the Otaku. They love anime and ‘Japanese culture’. They will pay $200 + for Mega Max X2 or Earthbound. Games that are not anime or ‘Japanese culture’, they completely ignore even if they are very good games. For example, F-Zero for the SNES is about $10. It’s a fantastic game! But it is a ‘hard’ game, it doesn’t celebrate Japanese culture (whatever that means), and it isn’t anime. Therefore, the Otaku Angels of Death pass over it. 7th Saga is another example.

I’m surprised that the Disney themed games haven’t skyrocketed in price. I’m talking about Ducktales (NES), Rescue Rangers (NES), Goof Troop (SNES), Mickey Mouse (16 bit), Aladdin (16 bit) or even the Star Wars games (which is now Disney). It isn’t the ‘beautiful drawings’ that the Otaku Angels of Death like. They are specifically targeting “Japanese cultured” games. These type of characters made temples on gaming message forums over games like Ico.

I believe games, specifically Nintendo games, are now deliberately being designed for the Otaku Angels of Death. Zelda is now Wind Waker style all the time. Mario and his stupid RPGs are all for the Otaku (who else could they be for?).

We might have made the mistake that Metroid Other M was Sakamoto’s love child. Otaku Angels of Deal LOVE game gods. The Sakamoto angle of Metroid Other M may have just been for marketing purposes for a game ENTIRELY DESIGNED for the Otaku Angels of Death. Metroid Other M has everything the Otaku Angels of Death would want. It has STORY. It has CHARACTER. It has ‘Japanese Culture’. It has MANGA. And yet, it is not Metroid.

The dirty little secret about early Nintendo games is that the vast majority of gamers had no idea they were from Japan. It’s true! Why would any American think an 8 bit game was from Japan? Donkey Kong was, culturally, King Kong, a Western movie. Mario wasn’t Japanese, he was a plumber from Brooklyn. Zelda was about westernized theme of fantasy of dragons and swords and castles and things. Metroid was about the movie Alien.

The truth is that every Nintendo commercial success has been devoid of ‘Japanese Culture’.

Iwata made a huge error in trying to get Nintendo to ‘export’ “Japanese Culture”. Has Japanese Culture ever sold in the West? Not even anime sells in the West. The people who consume such stuff are considered freaks by society (rightly or wrongly).

There is a reason why the HARDWARE was transformed into a shape that didn’t offend the Western nose. The Famicom does look like a piece of shit toy. The NES still looks cool and iconic. It is why the Gamecube was considered a toy, at best, while the Wii style was accepted. Yet the Wii U, offensively Japanese, completely rubbed the Western nose the wrong way. We don’t want our home console to be a handheld, Nintendo!

Nintendo has had a very hard time accepting the fact that people don’t give a shit about 3d. Now, they need to accept the fact that people don’t give a shit about ‘Japanese culture’. The type of people who work at Nintendo are not representative of the general population. We do not watch anime. We make fun of people who do watch it.

Iwata was very, very wrong about cultural gaming trends. It has been the Otaku Angel of Death legend that RPGs began in Japan and only became popularized with ‘Final Fantasy 7’. The truth is that RPGs began in the West and became popular in Japan with Dragon Quest / Zelda / Final Fantasy because they emulated the popular RPGs of the West like Ultima and Wizardry. The MMORPG was pioneered by the West and World of Warcraft was a western game. Skyrim, which showed how well RPG sales can be done, was a Western game.

Video games also originated from the West.

This doesn’t mean to besmirch the Japanese accomplishments to video games (especially their craftsmanship). But if you get the timeline wrong of the past, you cannot invest properly for the future. Why Nintendo keeps putting Japanese culture at us tells me they are not interested in selling.

Wii Sports sold so well because it was scrubbed clean of Japanese culture. But over time, Nintendo kept trying to put it back in with all this emphasis on the Miis and such making no one want to like it.

Anyways, I am going far off tangent. The Otaku Angels of Death (which is what they are, the locusts of gaming) are responsible for The Decline. Look. Fire Emblem will NEVER be a mainstream game. Why does Nintendo want to be a niche console? Investors should demand an answer.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 25, 2015

Email: Final Fantasy , Zelda and cheating

You something you didn’t mention about either the original Zelda Final Fantasy, is the fact you can “sequence break.” When I was playing through Final Fantasy on the NES there’s something awesome you can do after you get the canoe from the Sages at Cresent Lake. You’re supposed to take to the volcano OR you take the canoe, then take your ship north to the castle of Ordeals and do that first. It’s fairly easy as long as you avoid the Medusas and the Zombie Dragon boss is a fixed encounter whose really easy and drops tons of cash and XP so you can fight him over and over again. Then leave the Castle and go to the Ice Cave. Now this is harder because you have to run from half the baddies because a bunch of them do insta-kill attacks but once you get the floater there and you get the airship, then you can go see the Dragons to get your class upgrade THEN return and do the volcano and be a god and tear through the Fire Fiend lair. Modern Final Fantasy would never let you sequence break like this now because it would ruin their story progression.

Zelda 1 was the same way. Many who know the game well, will often do a ton of stuff before even touching the first temple. If you get bombs there are places to find Heart containers. Enough to gain you the White Sword before fighting a single boss. And if you’re really patient you can grind rupees for a while and get both the Magical Shield and Blue Ring and you can tear through the first four temples like nobody’s business. It was great in old games like this to find a way to “cheat” the game that didn’t involve exploiting a glitch. Link Between Worlds tried to do this by allowing you to buy all gear from the get go but you never feel that powerful because there’s still puzzles to deal with and no amount of grinding makes puzzles go by faster.

The closest a modern game came to this type of gameplay was Skyrim but it’s downside is eventually you aquire so much gear you spend more time finding shops to buy off your extra loot or just end up with so much money and nothing to do with it, even after you’re able to buy every piece of available property in Skyrim.

Modern games lack this fun of finding ways for the gamer to “cheat” the system. Modern Mario tries to have alternate hidden paths but the main games aren’t hard enough to need it. Shortcuts are only fun if it lets you bypass something that was a pain or tedious. Though some games have abused this desire to charge gamers. The latest Mortal Kombat lets you pay 99 cents for an easy fatality as opposed to old games that let you enter cheat codes you only found out about in gaming magazines.

Of course modern games are so easy that cheat codes have gone the way of paper manuals.


I’m playing through 7th Saga now (US version, not the easy ‘casual’ mode Japanese version [LOL, always wanted to say that]), and I do not agree about the magic of ‘sequence breaking’. I really think a huge part of the magic of games is the satisfaction of beating a challenge. Zelda 1 and Final Fantasy 1 are challenging games. By challenging, I mean there is some sort of challenge to overcome. It takes some practice or know-how to beat the games.

7th Saga (US version of course) is probably the most tedious SNES JRPG out there. Yet, the ‘easy version’ rom hack of 7th Saga (or Japanese version) is completely not fun. The challenge, artificial or not, was what put the game on the map and differentiated it from other SNES JRPGs.

Rubik’s Cubes loses their magic if everyone can beat them. Video games are the same way.

Master Malstrom,

I recently found this interview with Gunpei Yokoi only a short while before his death. You might want to take a look because–in a nutshell–he shares what many lapsed gamers feel about modern gaming, 18 years after he passed away…and 8 years before you started saying the same things.

An excerpt:

There’s a huge variety of console games out now, but to me, the majority of them aren’t actually “games”. The word “game” means something competitive, where you can win or you can lose. When I look at recent games, I see that quality has been declining, and what I’m seeing more and more of are games that want to give you the experience of a short story or a movie.

This is most obvious with role-playing games, where the “game” portion isn’t the main focus, and I get the feeling that the developers really just want you to experience the story they’ve written. So when you ask what I think of games today, well, it’s a very difficult question for me. I end up having to say that games today just aren’t games to me.”


Yokoi is right. The entire interview should be read. One thing that makes me sad is that with Iwata’s passing, there really are not many non-Miyamoto Nintendo ‘game gods’ left.

But let us go further than Yokoi and ask the next question. WHY do developers want us to experience their ‘story’? I thought they became game developers to make games, not stories. And why is ‘competition’, where you can lose, being taken out of games?

I’m more impressed with Yokoi’s commentary about the use of imagination in games. He is saying it s fine for TVs to be HD and all since they are informational devices. But games are not informational devices. We have these HD consoles that have all this graphical power, but the game everyone is playing is Minecraft… a game of blocks.


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