Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 16, 2015

Email: NEW! Nintendo President was against Wii U

This twitter clip states according to Nikkei, New Nintendo President Kishimisha was against the decision of the Wii U, he felt that it was too similar to the Wii and predicted that it would fail greatly. He is right, and now with him at the helm, he will have a good reign to start focusing on the West than Japanese gamers.


Everyone knew the Wii U would fail. Miyamoto even revealed that they had market research that was bad or mixed for the Wii U.

The problem with the Wii U’s failure isn’t that it is too much like the Wii (aside from the aesthetic and brand), it is that it is too much like the Gamecube. The Wii U completely abandoned the Wii userbase. The Wii U was designed for the HARDCORE GAMER. And look at where its sales are at?

The Super Nintendo was ‘similar’ to the NES in so many ways. How’d that work out for Nintendo?

The Gameboy Advance was ‘similar’ to the Gameboy in so many ways. How’d that work out for Nintendo?

If the reasoning of the Wii U failing was because it was ‘too similar to the Wii’, then the person is an idiot. The only console that is similar to the Wii would be the NES.

Look, I’m a HUGE Wii fan. Yet, I still don’t own a Wii U. If the Wii U was like the Wii, I would get it. But it is nothing like the Wii. The Wii U seems like some home consoleized version of the DS. The Wii U betrays many of the advantages of having a home based console.

The reasons why Gameboy competitors failed because they tried to create a home console experience on handhelds is the inverse of why the Wii U failed. People do not want to have handheld console experiences on their home console. It’s that simple.

Kishimisha is, like others in Nintendo leadership, drinking the Innovation! kool-aid. “We need MORE innovation!” What innovation was that, Nintendo?

Nintendogs was only innovative if you never touched a tomogotchi before.

NSMB was only innovative if you’ve never touched a 2d Mario before.

Mario Kart DS was only innovative if you’ve never touched Super Mario Kart before.

Wii Sports was only innovative if you’ve never touched NES sports titles before.

You see where this is going…

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 16, 2015

The NEW! President of Nintendo

REDMOND, Wash., April 24, 2013 – Nintendo Co., Ltd. (NCL) today announced a planned promotion for Tatsumi Kimishima, current chairman and CEO of Nintendo of America (NOA) and a director of its parent Nintendo Co., Ltd. Subject to shareholder approval, he will become NCL managing director, and transfer from NOA in Redmond, Wash., to NCL headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. In his new position, he will assume the roles of general manager of Corporate Analysis and Administration, and general manager of the General Affairs Division. These titles are currently held by Yoshihiro Mori and Masaharu Matsumoto respectively, both of whom are retiring. Kimishima will assume his new duties in Kyoto later this summer.

There’s some general shaking up of things. Miyamoto is now ‘Creative Fellow’. Takeda is now ‘Technology Fellow’.

The two things to crystallize what is going on and why it is going on is…

…To know why Yamauchi chose Iwata to succeed him…

…and why Iwata’s death was such a disruption (and not of the good kind)…

Nintendo was effectively singularly owned by one family: Yamauchi. When Yamauchi retired, he picked Iwata to succeed him. While much has been made of Iwata’s developer/businessman hybrid abilities, the more important reason was that Iwata was young. Iwata was 42ish when he became Nintendo President. Do you people realize that? Do you hear anyone saying that?

Now, reader, answer me this: why is it important for the young CEO to be young?

Again, two reasons. One is for stability as the young CEO will be around for a long while. Young CEOs become old CEOs. Yamauchi became president of Nintendo at an extremely young age. In Japanese context, they think of their business strategies as well beyond the usual quarters. The second reason for a younger person was, as Yamauchi said, to have the stamina to go back and forth from Japan to the United States on a regular basis.

The CEO of Nintendo has to deal with America and, of course, the world. Iwata was young enough to globe trot. Yamauchi relied heavily on the input of his son-in-law (who founded Nintendo of America).

Now why did Iwata’s passing create such a disturbance for Nintendo? It is not unlike the issue of a popular TV show having risk that the lead actor could walk in front of a bus, and it’d be the end of the show. Yamauchi made an error in putting too much emphasis on one person. After all, it worked for Yamauchi, why not for Iwata? But what if Iwata walked in front of a bus one day? Sadly, a health issue took away Iwata far too soon. Even if they replaced Iwata with a NEW! Iwata or a NEW! Yamauchi, they too pose the risk of walking in front of a bus.

Here were the problems Nintendo had to address for their new CEO…

-Had to be able to deal with business outside of Japan (e.g. Nintendo of America)

-Had to be young.

-Have to create a collective leadership that was ‘future proof’ (this means more than one person, and this means having a pool of different generations to pull leadership talent from so everything is not at risk if a CEO or a ‘generation of leadership’ walks in front of a bus)

Kimishima does not qualify for solving these problems. Kimishima qualifies for some. Kimishima has run Nintendo of America and is well understood in how things go in the North America continent. Kimishima is not young. He is 65.

Nintendo already has a roadmap in place for Generation 9. They will follow that. But Kiminishima’s task, as is Nintendo’s task, is to create a multi-generational leadership pool. Miyamoto and Takeda will retire one day. People grow old and step down. It is the natural course of things. But where is the next generation of Miyamotos and Takedas? Where is the next generation of Iwatas? It is this which Nintendo will seek to cultivate throughout Generation Nine.

I think Nintendo would have kept kicking the CEO can down the road had it not been the critical holiday season approaching. Some say Kimishima is a ‘transitional’ CEO. In other words, once everything is put in place, they can choose the ‘right’ person since they need more time. I don’t believe that is what is going on. It is not about choosing the right person but establishing the right process.

Let me use an example. In the 1980s, there was an oil bust and many oil companies did not hire petroleum engineers during that time. As time went on, they discovered, to their horror, they had a generational gap. The young talent that would have been grown and guided into experienced engineers was missing for that time period. To this day, oil companies now know they need to ‘future proof their talent’. They can’t have everyone retire at once! That’d be ridiculous! The generational issue is a big one in the oil industry where computers took away many technical savvy people resulting in crew full of graying hair. Big money, big prizes, are thrown at new hires because the aim is to turn them into experienced workers. Schools are cultivated in order to obtain new talent.

While I am not sure what Nintendo’s approach is to game development talent, it is clear through their actions with Kimishima’s pick that they are seriously tackling the leadership generational gaps.

Kimishima was not Iwata’s choice.

“But Malstrom, why didn’t they pick Miyamoto or Takeda or someone else?” I recall reading that Miyamoto did want to become president prior to Iwata being chosen. But Iwata said, “Your biggest contribution to Nintendo is your creativity.” I don’t know what their board meetings are about. They certainly don’t let me listen in on them. They probably felt Kimishima could contribute better as president than other options at the board. Or, rather, Kimishima is useless as a creative person and useless as a technology person. So they chose the most talent-less guy as president! Now, that may be harsh, but not altogether inaccurate. Being president is doing a bunch of crap you don’t want to do. Kimishima may be better suited to do that crap and face whiny shareholders.

The NEW! Nintendo President doesn’t tell us anything about Nintendo’s Generation 9 direction aside that it is not changing. What will tell us about Generation 9 will be seeing what the NX is all about.

“What is NX, Malstrom? OMG!”

Oh yes, I’ve been playing the NX on my desk here all day… WTF is wrong with you, reader? Nintendo is not going to give me a NX. I haven’t a clue where they are headed. I don’t even know if they are going to be stubborn and keep going the Wii U route.

“But they changed after the Gamecube failure…” But they didn’t change after the 3d Mario failure, did they? They didn’t change after the failure of the Pikmin franchise, did they?

I will tell you one indication. Prior to the Wii release, Iwata and others talked about expanding the number of gamers. They no longer do this. Instead, they talk about ‘getting Nintendo profits again’. Well, wouldn’t making more Nintendo gamers create more Nintendo profits like during the DS and Wii (or NES and Gameboy)? I am scared that Nintendo will multiply the Amiibo route and target the idiotic hardcore gamer with endless DLC, stickers, collector’s editions, and all that rot for ‘high profits’.

You know what we call companies that target the highest profit user? The soon-to-be disrupted.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 14, 2015

Email: Perfect games

Hey Malstrom your recent and past articles on Contra 3 and TMNT: Turtles in Time and other “perfect games” (meaning games that never seem to lose their fun factor and thus have stood the test of time) has got me wondering if you’ve ever played Capcom’s excellent “Knights of the Round” hack n’ slash game for the SNES and arcade and if so what you think of it?

Personally I view the game as the greatest hack n’ slash ever created by the hands of gods or men but I’m again curious if you’ve ever played it and what you think of it if you have?

I could understand if this game somehow slipped through the cracks with you as a child since the SNES has such an enormous (or at least a sizeable) library with 700+ games in it’s catalogue.

So to my mind it’d be understandable if you somehow missed out on this title growing up.

The SNES port was I’d say almost better than arcade perfect although technically not so since you could only play it two player co-op on the SNES and not 3 player as in the arcade version, but I preferred the SNES version’s music over the arcade version personally anyway.

So to sum up in SNES Knights of the Round you levelled up and got better looking armor as you go along, you can play two player co-op, you can ride horses in this game (before OOT), there’s actual leaping tigers to fight (way before Russel Crowe ever fought one in Gladiator), you can parry attacks, do jump attacks, do swipe attacks, do special attacks and the soundtrack was very heroic and inspiring.

Whats not to love about it?

Well if you’re not a fan of hack n’ slash I suppose there’s that…but if you are it’s a truly awesome game.


I was well grown up before the SNES. I am well aware of Knights of the Round. It is currently $65 on the price chart.

I am not the biggest fan of brawlers. I can see why people like Streets of Rage, Final Fight, and such games, but they aren’t the most for me. I did really enjoy Double Dragon. Perhaps it was the intensity of the music. Double Dragon 2 was also super awesome but fuck Double Dragon 3. Fuck that game.

I actually don’t have *any* collection for my older consoles. I rented 95% of my games and only bought the best of the best (example: Mega Man games for the NES, Super Mario Kart for SNES, Final Fantasy for both, etc.). I *played* the entire library of the older consoles back in the day. However, I don’t *own* any of them. The Virtual Console turned out to be a huge flop since everything is tethered to hardware which inevitably dies. Virtual Console also felt ‘off’ for many games. You need the original hardware or it just isn’t the same.

I have 39 games for my NES and literally eight for my SNES (I had lost many of SNES games). Currently, I’m on a shoestring budget so I can’t buy much if anything. I find the NES to be much more intense gameplay wise but also too frustrating due to bad game design (given how early these games were made). SNES games have better game design but are much less intense. A great example of this phenomenon is Metroid VS. Super Metroid. Metroid is brilliantly intense. But it is SO AWFUL in its frustrating game design errors. Super Metroid is never intense (unless you were born past the arcade era and actually think Super Metroid is ‘hard’. “Phatoon is too hard. *cries*”). Super Metroid allows you to refill your health and missiles while Metroid does not. Do you know how MIND NUMBINGLY BORING it is to just shoot those insects from pipes all day? Another good example is SNES games having save paks and not relying on batteries. Then again, that means there are less NES games to solder batteries into.

My most played NES game? Contra and probably Millipede. My battery died in my Final Fantasy copy (alas). My battery is dead in my Zelda 2 copy too, but I can play that start to finish in one setting. Final Fantasy 1 is a little too scary to do so.

I’m doing insane stuff with my SNES. Friends come by and see me playing five player SNES games on US cartridges of games that never were released in the US. Then there are the mouse games. “Malstrom, you aren’t supposed to play Civilization on your SNES.” Oh, I’m not!? Too bad. And King Arthur’s World baby!



Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 13, 2015

Email: Playing old games with a friend

I have a friend of mine that has never played any Super Nintendo games. He grew up with a Sega Genesis. He came by because he was interested in checking out the SNES emulator I had on my computer, mainly because he had watched some people on Youtube talk about them. I got a bunch of ROMs of games I grew up with, or games that I had wanted to play but never did. It was very interesting.

We both played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4: Turtles In Time. This was one of the first SNES games I ever played and one of my favorites. I hadn’t played it in many years, yet playing it with a friend of mine was a complete blast. This game still holds up well, and is damn-near perfect. The game looks, plays, and sounds excellent, and there’s a lot of options for messing with the difficulty, or even with the graphics (can make the turtles look cartoonish or comic-looking). The game isn’t too brutally difficult either, which I like. The game is long enough without wearing out its welcome, and offers a huge variety in its stages, going through modern day New York, then the Technodrome, then going through time from the time of dinosaurs, pirates, the Wild West, then the near-future in a Blade Runner looking city, then the far future on a space colony. The humor is something I forgot about, with the stages all having names, and the historical ones having stuff like “Buried My Shell At Wounded Knee” which as a kid I never got. If you were fan of the series as a whole the game does a VERY good job of paying tribute not just to the cartoons, but also the movies and related media with enemies and characters drawn from all of it. And the music is just excellent from start to finish. The gameplay also isn’t too complicated but does feature some neat little nuances to give it some depth.

He really was shocked at how much fun it was. Recently, I let him play Star Fox. I myself hadn’t played it in a long time, but what’s funny is that recently he had played Star Fox 64 for the first time, and he initially struggled with it. He liked it but hated Fox’s wingmates, and REALLY hated Slippy. Playing Star Fox SNES we both agreed that 64 played better, but that this game had better music and your wingmates weren’t insufferable to listen to. I still think it holds up well, and is the template that Nintendo needs to go back to if they are serious about making the series viable again (I’m not holding my breath on that).

Contra 3. I like Contra, but I suck at it. We both sucked at it, haha. We’ve played it several times when he’s come by and we did get further at it each time. It’s not *as* hard as I remember it being as a kid. I DO NOT like the stupid overhead stages, and neither does he. The rest of the game is fun though, even though like I said, I’m not good at it.

I also let him borrow my PSP to play Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. He initially borrowed it to play for a night or two, but soon he was asking if it was alright to keep hanging on to it, until I just told him to hold onto it until he completely finished it. He got hooked on it. Eventually he finished it and returned it. He played the remake of Mega Man X for the PSP as well, and rather liked it.

My niece and nephew have both wanted to constantly play these games with my emulator (I have a separate laptop set up so that they can play it without using my desktop), and they play Mario Bros. constantly. My niece LOVES Donkey Kong Country. Her and my nephew also love Zombies Ate My Neighbors. I forgot how much I enjoyed Tiny Toons Adventures for the SNES (one of my favorite cartoons growing up).

What has surprised me is that a lot of these games I grew up with have aged well. I also got a bunch of games that I played but aren’t as well known such as Run Saber, or Alien 3 (for the SNES, which is actually better than the movie). Most of the SNES games I played all aged pretty well. Some aren’t spectacular, but they are still enjoyable to play.

I think something to point out is that even on the SNES, Nintendo’s first party games are leagues above what they are putting out today in terms of effort and ambition. Today, not so much. Miyamoto just recently mentioned making “3D Mario more accessible to 2D Mario fans” along with mentioning Pikmin 4. Well, I think we can safely say that Miyamoto is the George Lucas of gaming at this point.


First, you start with the roms. “Hey, these games have aged well!”

Then you try plugging in your original hardware with your limited games. “Hey, this is tons of fun!”

Then you discover the nearest retro game shop. Epiphany hits. “Hey, look at all these games I always wanted to get but couldn’t. Now, I can! And I will!”

Then after buying some games, you buy more games. “$200 for Earthbound? Sounds like a sweet deal!”

Then you become more maniacal and obsessed. “Hey, this NES isn’t doing it anymore. Let me mod it for RGB. Oh yeah!”

Then you buy a $400 Framemeister from Japan, $50 SCART adapters from Europe, all so you can play your old consoles on modern TVs. “Look how beautiful it all looks!”

Then you buy reproduction carts and homebrew carts. “Yes, I will buy Secret of Mana 2 and Final Fantasy 5 for the SNES. Oh, and River City Ransom 2 for the SNES as well. I will buy Final Fantasy 3 for the NES. Mr. Gimmick and Super Mario Brothers 2 [Japan] will be on my NES!”

Then you will be lost, sunk into the depths of El Diablo.

I’m not one to talk. I’m currently playing a Japanese only game reproduced in an American cartridge, translated, playing 5 players simultaneously on my SNES. 5 player games on the SNES! Eat your heart out, N64!



Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 13, 2015

Email: Pikmin again

Honestly, I don’t think it’s primarily a new Miyamoto project, I think they have the assets from the third game, engine, hd textures, etc and they really need games for the dying Wii U. Also it will become a virtual console game for the NX in the future.
For me is that, something quick to make on a console that’s already dead. I think we are going to see more weird projects on the last two years of this catastrophe called Wii U.


When gamers *think*, it is really what they *hope*.

Hey guys! I think Nintendo will make a new 2d Mario that doesn’t use the NSMB aesthetic and is a genuine ‘alice in wonderland’ type sequel to the early Mario games. I think Nintendo will make the next Zelda really like the original in its awesomeness. Then, I think Nintendo will make a proper 2d Metroid that will be soooo awesome that everyone will throw away their copies of Super Metroid. Then, I think Nintendo has a plan to bring all third party support back on board and then bring back cartridges!

After decades of doing that, I’m learned to expect the stupid from Nintendo. Let us ask, “What is the stupidest thing Nintendo can do right now?” I know! Nintendo can make their games espouse political and social messages. Since this is the stupidest thing Nintendo could do, we can be sure to expect it soon.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 12, 2015

Maddox angers game developers

This is something I would say. Game developers are all upset over it. “My story is amazing!” Sakamoto must be fuming.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 11, 2015

Contra 3 and Ducktales

I bought Contra 3 and Ducktales for my SNES and NES. I am not a video game collector, so I only buy to play. The going price for Ducktales is about $25 and Contra 3 is about $72. I paid much less than that.

I swear that Contra 3 is nearly perfect. This game is such a solid 10. There is nothing wrong with it. NOTHING. The aesthetic is perfect. The controls are perfect. Replayability is there. Level design is masterful. This game should be studied by aspiring game developers to see how it is done. Even has two player co-op. I haven’t gotten tired of this game in nearly 30 years, I don’t think I will soon.

Ducktales was ahead of its time. This game was brilliantly made. Multiple stage choice at beginning. The stages aren’t exactly linear as you go back and forth. The score is ‘money’ which is deposited into your vault when you leave (you lose your ‘score’ if you die but not what you put in your vault). Multiple difficulties for replayability. Fantastic game.

I think the price of Ducktales is going to skyrocket soon along with Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. Ducktales 2 averages around $200. Fortunately, Ducktales 1 is the better game.

People wonder why playing with the cartridge is more fun. It is because that is how a console is. Consoles today, including Nintendo ones, feel like PCs. Nintendo modern consoles aren’t even fun to collect for anymore.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 11, 2015

Email: Pikmin 4


Honestly, you and I are of the same mind on this. My immediate reaction from the news was a simple, stunned “Why the hell would they do that?”

Pikmin 3 was a sales disaster. A big, highly-promoted game that sold fewer than a million copies, whose sales were so poor that retailers refused to restock after the initial run. People point to the climbing prices of the game as some indicator of “quality”, more than the fact that it’s a title that was soundly rejected by the market.

This was a title that had a six-year development cycle (which certainly wasn’t cheap), and still managed to sell below Metroid: Other M – a title that seems to have *killed Metroid* entirely, relegating it to “circus sideshow” status in games like Metroid Prime: Federation Force. It’s a product that would, and should, be killed at any rational company.

To hear that Pikmin 4 was announced tells me that this was either a passion project by “The almighty Miyamoto”, or something that was snuck through approvals while the company hoped that the WiiU was still salvageable to some degree.

I’m only hoping that whoever takes the reins next at Nintendo has the balls to say “no” to crap like this These “quirky” experiences have proven time and time again to be cash sinks, unable to build a market for NIntendo and (more important) alienating audiences from the hardware entirely. Games like Pikmin, and Yarn Yoshi aren’t “under-appreciated classics.” They’re just worthless garbage, and it’s high time that Nintendo started taking out the trash.


I like your term ‘passion project’. We do know that Miyamoto will keep remaking the same game over and over because he believes it should sell. Look at 3d Mario. He just wouldn’t stop with it. Even today he keeps talking about ‘3d’. It’s like Miyamoto broke during the N64 Era and now he seems stuck in time of the late 1990s. “Virtual Boy could have worked…” “We need MORE 3D!!!!”

Pikmin 3 was announced out of the blue in an interview at E3 2008. I said then that I bet Pikmin 3 was not in development at all. Miyamoto just said it was to force Nintendo to start developing on it. The fact that the game took so long to come out points this to be true. The fact that Pikmin 3 is strangely missing from the Iwata Asks segments raises a huge red flag.

There is no demand for more Pikmin. I do wonder if this is going to be for the 3DS so Miyamoto can say, “See! See! Pikmin does sell! It just needed to be on a platform that wasn’t the Gamecube or Wii U.” But it is software that drives the hardware, not the other way around.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 9, 2015

Email: Why becuz….

My 4 year old son has the most hours of any Wii u game clocked into Pikmin 3 it is his favorite Wii u game according to actual hours played on the console. I am still baffled that my four year old finds Pikmin easier then any 2-d Mario game including Classic and New series. He also Finds 3-d World easier then 2-d games.

 You have to face it,you grew up in a different generation.
This email is an example of ‘Wrong Analyzing’. A person’s four year old liking something does not mean the product is popular or profitable. Anecdotal evidence has no actual value.
We must look at sales numbers. We can look at nothing else.
Pikmin is a failure of a franchise. Pikmin games are very expensive to make. Yet, they don’t sell. They don’t sell hardware which defeats the purpose of first party software. Pikmin 3 didn’t light any fires.
The fact that Pikmin 4 is being made should be reason enough to demote Miyamoto. However, no one is above him now. He has free reign to do anything he wants. Having Pikmin 4 being made now shows that Nintendo is not serious about winning in the near future.
The purpose of the NX is not supposed to be Miyamoto’s retirement machine. The purpose of NX is to make Nintendo money. Seriously, something has to be done about Miyamoto. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made him president and then the readers and I will laugh as all Nintendo burns due to his terrible decision making.
Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 8, 2015

Pikmin 4


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