NoctisDragonGamer - is a gamer who has been playing video game for most of his life. Hailing from the magical land of England, though he considers himself British, he is a gamer with too much time on his hands and is just enough of a snob to make, hopefully, interesting points about gaming, both pass and present, and the culture that surrounds it.
In his spare time, when he's not forgetting that he needs to eat and sleep to survive, he is writing novels, creating and designing games of his own, and trying to get through his university course, where he is studying games design. He also likes to edit Wikipedia, so lazy secondary school student will fail their GCSE.
His favourite game series include, but are not limited to, The Legend of Zelda, Civilization, Mario, Half-Life, Time Splitters, The Gaia Trilogy, Probotector/Contra, Metroid, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Pokemon, Fire Emblem, Mother, and Silent Hill.
I’ll be the first to admit that at my gaming blog, whenever I can get round to updating it, there tends to be something of a Nintendo friendly vibe here. Anyone who read any of my one of few articles will notice that I do tend to favour the big N. Funnily enough, it’s not because of any sense of loyalty or devotion to the company (at least not entirely).
I can easily quantify what it is about the company that I like so much. I’m fan of many of franchises, which continue to be a high calibre and standard. I respect them as games designers and experience crafters (in much the same way I respect Valve). I also fully understand that Nintendo were a core part of my childhood and adolescence as they were for many other lucky children. That being said, I also fully understand how my relationship Nintendo is one of pure, cold, capitalistic business. They make products I want; I give them money for those products. I may express disappointment if the product is not up my standard, but then I am free to do what I wish with it.
That’s it. Nintendo aren’t my friend. I’m not going to get a “get well” card from them, nor am I going to get present from them on my birthday (unless it’s possibly part of a marketing scheme or a means for them to deal with some loose assets).
That all said, I do feel somewhat compelled to offer some defense for Nintendo, if only to offer a counter point to usual anti-Nintendo vibe of the internet. This industry, particularly its journalistic side, is not only brimming with double standards, but is also openly hostile to one of the most venerable and oldest companies.
There are also certain people who are never satisfied and seem sustained themselves on whining. Perhaps they were never cuddled enough?
Cast in point, Nintendo shows it’s committed to reaching all audiences with its new console. Yes, they’ll offer games to the “DREADED CASUALS” and the loyal Nintendo veterans, but now they’re trying to offer another kind of products to the gamers who might not like the company’s first party offerings like Zelda or Mario. That's perfectly fair right? In doing so, they try to address some of the major criticisms against them. So, they save a franchise like Bayonetta, put money behind it and support it and what do they get? People pissing, moaning, crying, and even death threats not only against themselves, but against the developer of game as well. Oh gamers...
Yet, I suppose a weak defense could be offered. If the internet is constant in one thing above all else, it is showing that video game fans can be incredibly stupid, illogical, and petty. But, at the end of the day, they are only fans. Many of them will either leave gaming when real life starts demanding they make tough choices, or grow up when they realise they were acting like children (optimistic, I know). And for those who don’t, may I offer you this cyanide coated biscuit?
However, while the fans could be excused, the same defense may not be offer to the “professional journalists” of this medium. I’ve lost count of the number of articles that claim Nintendo is doomed, or that the company should go third party, or that because the company's stock dropped they are doomed to be like Sega.
Much like creationists and other religious zealots, no matter how much evidence keeps pointing to the contrary, they march onward, wearing ignorance as badge of honour. It’s got the point where fans of Nintendo, having become so used to seeing such articles, have begun to openly mock them, ironically throwing the “Nintendoom” around in comments or saying “Nintendo, doomed since 1987”. Even Sterling, and a lot of Destructoid, laugh at this mantra.
That is what I want to focus on for this entry in my often neglected blog. However, in doing so, I will also be looking at Sony and Microsoft, partly so I can attempt to put industry as a whole in context, but also point out the hypocrisy of apparently “respectable” and “honest” gaming sites.
Before I press any further I’d like to offer a warning for the sensitive fans of Sony. This article is going to point out a lot of unpleasant facts about your brand. I would ask you to be mature, to approach your favourite company in much the way I do with Valve and Nintnedo. However, if all you’re going to do is screech, cry, pound your greasy fists on your keyboard, may I propose the radical idea that you leave?
Keep in mind, I’m not criticising anyone for preferring a certain brand or product (unless it’s a Michael Bay movie) over another. If you like Microsoft over Apple, or Sony over Samsung, or Valve or Bethesda, that’s no skin of my teeth, but I would ask that don’t you scream like a howler monkey when someone offers fair and reasonable criticism (that also applies to Nintendo fans).
With that all said, let us begin. A few weeks backs, Nintendo finally unveiled the price of the Wii U. Predictably the gaming pressed did what it did best, immediately nay say Nintendo’s latest product. In his article entitled “The Wii U Melt Down” writers Mike D begins his piece with a line I think basically summarises where most of the gaming press stands in regards to Nintendo –
“I suppose it was inevitable.”
The article in question then goes on to detail some of the head scratching complaints against the system, with my personal favourite being Slash Gear claiming that because the games on the Wii U now cost $60, you shouldn’t buy it.
“Chief among those concerns is how much the Wii U’s games will cost. Nintendo has said that its console will have about 50 games available to customers between launch day and the end of March, and it has even said that a new Super Mario game will be available, but those titles will cost $60.
[i]That’s a problem. Nintendo customers have been conditioned to pay less for games for the last two generations.
(Noctisdragon: Really? Though it’s been a while, I’m pretty sure my Gamecube games were the same price as Playstation 2 games. Speaking of which, does anyone remember how expensive N64 games were?)
Now they’re paying the same as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 customers for graphics that really don’t seem all that much better than what we’ve seen to this point? That’s a problem if I’ve ever seen one.”[/i]
Let’s not dwell too much on this boneheaded statement, or fact that it doesn’t make a lick of sense, instead let’s move onto some wonderful cherries of gold from IGN.
[i]“Mitch Dyer, Associate Editor says Nintendo’s done little to win me over in the last six months. Everything about Wii U so far has been predictable. It’s hard for me to get excited about another Mario game, charming and entertaining as they always are, because they do very little to shake up the gameplay. Third-party stuff like ZombiU is interesting, but hardly alluring when Xbox 360, PS3, and PC have considerably more games I’m interested in.
This week's big press conference did two things: First, it convinced me the Wii U finally has substance; second, that I absolutely won’t be buying one. Oh, and theTekken characters look awesome in Mario costumes.
Greg Miller, Executive Editor of IGN PlayStation says - Zombie U is a really cool survival game, The Wonderful 101 looks like this DC Comics fanboy's cup of tea, and Wii TVii's live sports integration seems interesting. All of that is cool, but not $300 cool
(Noctisdragon: but a console, which you’re the editor of news for, retailing at $599 on its launch wasn’t a problem, right?).
I'm letdown with this price point. Nintendo has been so guarded about Wii U information, but what has leaked out hasn't been the best buzz builder -- the machine is only slightly more powerful than the PS3 and 360, so when Sony and Microsoft's new consoles come out next year, this will already be an out of date system.
(Noctis: Because you have the specs of those systems and can make such a claim, right?)
When the Wii was announced, I was floored, hooked, and ready to pick my console up at its midnight launch. But as the years have gone by and I've seen my Wii age into a PS3 controller charger, I've lost my Nintendo faith. It's a great company with amazing exclusives, but it's not one that speaks to me. The Wii U is going to sell and Nintendo fans are going to love it, but I'll wait for the inevitable price drop and Mario Kart, Mario Golf, or Zelda.[/i]
An interesting point of note about this article is that the editor for Nintendo on IGN tweeted
“There’s also this Wii U opinion article, in which many of my co-workers predictably act insane.”
Now you might, rightfully, point out that these are just opinions. You know what? I can buy that... to a degree. Look, healthy scepticism, backed up with reasonable data, is one thing, but these comments reek of genuine bias, from apparent professionals within industry. Most of these comments, opinion or no, smack of excuse making. I also have to wonder... what if this was the new Microsoft machine, would we be seeing the same kind of comments?
In fact, when Nintendo unveiled the Wii U and its tablet controller most of the gaming expressed their “professional scepticism,” many dismissing it as a “gimmicky”. However, when Microsoft unveils something like Smartglass, then there isn’t quite the same scepticism within the professional circles.
Even Sony's Move and Kinect were met with more positive buzz then the Wii was. It's worth remembering the Wii was openly mocked and spat upon by large sections of the gaming press; remember when Gamespot wrote that satirical article where they claimed the Wii would be a runaway hit? Incidentally, the editors of Gamespot learnt the meaning of irony that day.
That’s the thing that gets to me, and one of the reasons I tend to write largely pro Nintendo articles. Perhaps it’s just me, but there does seem to be an insidious undercurrent behind a lot of story regarding Nintendo, a desire to see them fail.
Now, let me just stress that I do fully understand that the word “bias” is often thrown around without any real substance. Having said that, I do feel in Nintendo's case it’s a little hard to shrug it away.
As I've already mentioned, within the press and community, there seems to be a rather curious fantasy where Nintendo collapses and becomes 3rd party like Sega. Let's look at another example of this.
When the 3DS encountered slow sales and had to be given a price drop, there was almost a savage glee within certain strata of gaming journalism. IGN wrote an article claiming that history says the 3DS is doomed. They weren’t the only ones.
However, surprise, surprise, Nintendo recovered and is now selling the unit at a profit. Furthermore, the software library for the 3DS has become more robust, and even its online service is getting some strong titles.
What is interesting to note, in contrast to this, is that Sony own portable, the Vita, is currently selling below expectations, yet the press seems very reluctant to run articles in the same manner that they did with the 3DS. It was something that Kotaku’s Domini N pointed out, prompting him to write an article asking that very question.
On the topic of Sony, this is the part of article I have feelings of trepidation for. I feel I should state for the record that I, unlike certain Nintendo and Microsoft fans, don’t take any pleasure in seeing Sony in its current state. Nevertheless, facts are facts, and its somewhat hard to ignore the elephant in the room, especially when it stumbles in drunk and starts swearing at you. In her article entitled “The Ten Year Decline of Sony”, Emily Rogers explores the problems that the company is facing. All in all, it’s pretty bleak reading all around, but there are interesting pieces of info in there, such as -
Since total assets include everything that Sony owns (cash, buildings, divisions, intellectual property, etc.)…Sony would have to sell over 80 percent of their total assets (Total Assets = Every single thing Sony owns including cash) just to pay off their total liabilities.
As I said, I find that quite sad, and I don’t relish such news, however, this does beg the question, where are all the articles asking if Sony's games division should go third party? Where are journalists wondering if Sony IPs such as Killzone, Uncharted, God of War and Little Big Planet should be appearing on Microsoft, Apple, and Nintendo products? In fact, why are there not more stories on sites like IGN and Gamespot wondering about Sony's future?
By contrast, Nintendo's own finances are in better shape, pretty impressive, considering that they are company dealing only in games. With £6.7 billion sitting in the bank, and little to no debt, they’re in a better position than Microsoft’s gaming division, considering that Nintendo is making a profit on their hardware. Yet, the nay saying and insistence that they should go third party continues.
Now, contrary what you might think, none of the above means that I think Nintendo should never be criticised, or is somehow above criticism; not at all. Like every corporation, Nintendo should be examined and scrutinised. If they screw up, or pull a huge anti-consumer move, then they should be called out and held accountable for it. I will also acknowledge that many Nintendo fans need to get a clue and realise that Nintendo is not their buddy, nor should they delighted in the news of Sony's difficulties.
There are plenty of genuine points that can be made against Nintendo. Its 3DS software at launch was tepid. It might have been wise for Nintendo to consider creating some new “core” (for lack of a better word) IPs for the Wii. Also, they should have done more to counter the droughts that Wii owners were met with (though lazy 3rd parties can also be blamed for that one), and not localizing games like Xenoblade, Last Story, and Pandora's Tower was stupid.
Furthermore, there are some reasonable concerns for their new console. A lot of 3rd party titles seem like quick and dirty ports, with token touch pad gimmickry thrown in. It would also be fair to wonder how well Nintendo will handle its online service. Also, companies like Bethesda and 2K saying they’re not interested in the console (at least at the moment) doesn’t help and does throw shadow over whether or not Nintendo has done enough to woo the 3rd parties.
All of that is true, and even reasonable, but baying for the company’s blood, and ignoring its software and hardware, and meeting its efforts to take its critics head on with cynicism you will not show to others, is, particularly if you’re a paid gaming journalist, just disingenuous and foolish.
I guess what I would like it for people to be a little more even in their approach. Don’t be so quick to dismiss, or turn your nose up. I mean, I can’t be only one that gets tired of hearing “Nintendo is doom” right? Look console wars are kinda of cute when you're six to twelve years old, but when in your twenties and thirties, perhaps you need to consider your life choices?
There is reasons for doubt for Nintendo's new machine, but it's far to early to honestly tell.
Regardless of what the future might hold, I’m still getting the system (Zombi U pack, with Mario in case you’re wondering), and I’ll enjoy it and I hope you will to.
Hey, can you guess what came in the post today? Well, I would hope so considering you read the title. So, I'm now the proud owner of Project Zero 2: Wii Edition. I much as I would like to own the 4th game, this is still a fantastic treat from Nintendo and Temco and will sit nicely along side my copy of Shattered Memories, Obscure 2, and, I guess, Resident Evil 4.
This was actually my introduction to the series. At the time me and best friend were going through a massive obsession with horror games, which I'd always enjoyed anyway (Resident Evil 2, Dino Crisis, and Silent Hill in particular), so when saw this with it's cover we were curious and brought it - or rather I brought it and my friend came over that night.
You two are going to haunt my dreams aren't you?
My god, it was glorious. Genuinely scary, fantastic atmosphere, great and engaging story that makes you want to keep pressing on, with some nice twists. However, it did have issues, overly dark environments, very stiff controls (even by survival horror standards), confusing level design, which wasn't helped by the fix environmental camera, and some bullshit puzzle which had you pressing X on everything before you found the right item to solve it.
So, anyway, now Nintendo (whom it turns out actually co-owns the right to the franchise) has released the Project Zero 2: Wii Edition. I was thought, since I had it a day early, it might be fun to go through it and see how it compares to the original. How does this remark improve (or perhaps ruin) the Playstation version. So, consider this another test blog - so without any delay - enjoy this read!
Project Zero 2 Compare
Playstation 2/Nintendo Wii
Cover art – Playstation version is better, simple and striking. It’s ominous and intimidating – those twins freak me the fuck out! The Wii version and generic and boring – poor show designers! Japanese version isn’t too bad, but that’s only because it comes in a black box – speaking of which – where the fuck is the special edition version? You let me down Nintendo! That all said, the back of the box has a terrifying face staring at you – which is freaky – remember that pant-wetting scary cover of the Japanese ring? Sort of like that.
best cover, hands down Striking and unnerving!
Come on guys, you can do better than this!
Not bad, but not great either.
Manuals (fuck you, manuals are awesome!): Nice and full in the Playstation version, with 19 pages for the English instruction. The Nintendo version is sparse, but coloured. From a presentation and layout stand point, Wii is better. From a content stand point – Playstation version is better – though it does give some minor spoilers – bad Playsation!
Wii version of the game has a new mode, the Haunted House Feature – that’ll be fun :P
• FMV Playstation has an odd glow over the faces and screen – too bright, with a weird haze quality – some might prefer it this way, but for my money is give an odd, surreal quality to the game, rather than offering a contrast.
• FMV Wii muted, looks natural, no flitters. Animation is also much better. The contrast has effect when you enter the Village.
• Nintendo version breaks the game into chapters with a style not too dissimilar from Resident Evil 4. Playstation version has a little title appear in the lower left hand corner.
• Text boxes are presented in the same way.
• Little prompt telling you the name of each house for the Wii version, which is a nice touch considering how much back tracking there is.
• First major cut screen is much grainer and the dirtier on the Playstation version. I prefer it that way, Nintendo version is a little too clean and crisp. Also, the Playstation version has fantastic shot of the Mayu’s face as she having the version. Half her face is covered in shadow, save for her eye which it far more striking. This is work really well and comes across as quick unnerving. Good stuff.
• As far as character animation goes Nintendo Wii version wins hand down. It’s the little touches, like seeing Mio and Mayu drawing her arms around herself and slightly crouches in a fearful motion. Facial animations are also better, conveying more emotion – you can see when the characters are scared. The character movements are also more natural, giving a great juxta-potion to the unnatural movements of the ghost, making them feeling more intimating.
• Oddly the camera zooms in really closely to the player character on the Wii version, thankful this is fixed when you start moving. Still odd mind. Scratch that – Camera is control by the point. Moving it up or down with adjust the position. Actually, this grants an excellent level of depth and freedom when scanning the environments. Definitely a plus.
• Opening door in the Wii version requires you to make a little motion as if you were opening the sliding door. Oddly enough though, this really affective. There is a feeling trepidation as your character places her hands on the door and waits for you to open it. Because of the excellent sound design you can hear something on the other side. I can’t really put this into words, you need to play it to understand it. On the Playstation version, you press the button and that’s it – it’s a disconnected motion. Not so on the Wii version. I think I can put it best like this. Happy Video Game Nerd once said
“A great horror movie is when you shout at screen – “What are you fucking doing? Don’t go in there! A great horror game makes you realise you have to go in there!”
That’s what this game does, but that little detail of physical movement from you, it suddenly has so much more impact. However, if you think this might get tedious, you’d be wrong. Once it’s been done once, then it will automatically open. It’s the first time that game smile and waits for you. Fan-fucking-tastic.
• So far the voice acting for the Playstation 2 version is much better, sounds more natural
• Lip synching off on both versions.
• Voice acting much better in Playstation version.
• Music and sound is stellar on both version, really helping create a creepy and tense atmosphere. Hearing the soft frighten cries and whimpers in the house is genuinely unsettling and creepy; the Wii version seems to slightly more presence in the sound department but not by anything major.
• Seriously, the sound design in the Wii version is fantastic, so very oppressive and foreboding.
Intro and Game Mechanic Conveyance
• Instruction prompts on the Nintendo Version, giving you a run through the basic controls. You have new moves, including the ability to side step. A flick either the remote or nunchaku will cause your character to turn 180. The controls in the Wii version are, unsurprisingly better, offering more control. On the Playstation, square and triangle are the only real buttons compares prior to getting the camera.
• Because of the over the shoulder view, it much easier to see where you are going, moving path finding not as tedious.
• The Playstation screen is too dark – making it very hard to see things. No prompts what so ever, must press the buttons and find out how the game works.
• Nintendo Version has a save point at the beginning and a prompt to tell you pick up. Do think a prompt is needed, considering the object glow should be enough indication that it is of interest – still this is but a minor gripe. Playstation plays a small ingame cut screen. Oddly in the Playstation you find a handbag with the news paper cutting inside. In the Wii game you find a news paper cutting and no handback.
• Playstation environments are very, very dark – it’s a very hard to see anything.
• News paper cutting click in the Wii version is 2 text boxes, Playstation 2 has 2, but they are separated into two sections with an image of the cutting as a dividing point. Here is what they say –
Wii: - Newspaper Cuttings – P1
Fears Mount for Missing Surveyor
Concern was growing yesterday for a surveyor who appears to have gone missing while visiting the proposed site for the Mizukami Dam.
Masumi Makimura, 26, is believed to have gone to survey historical landmark die to be flooded by the construction of a dam. It is now five days since he was last seen.
Wii: - Newspaper Cuttings – P2
The search for Masumi Makumura (26), the surveyor who has been missing since the 4th, was abandoned yesterday. Yesterday marked the ten days since Mr Makimura went missing while surveying the proposed site of the new Mizukami Dam.
Playstation 2 – Newspaper Cutting 1 –
With start for All God’s Dam approaching, Masumi Makimura (26), a geological surveyor dispatched to the area, has gone missing. Mr Makimura went to the area to investigate the site that would be submerged once the dam was built, but hasn’t been heard from for five days.
Playstation 2 – Newspaper Cutting 2 –
The Search for Masumi Makumura (26), the surveyor who has been missing since the 4th this month, came to a close yesterday. Mr Makimura had been helping to conduct a deological survey for All God’s Damn. As of yesterday, he has been missing for the ten days.
After reading these papers extracts you get a picture of a couple, which the Playstation version identifies as “Couple” the Wii Version Indentifies them as a “Young Couple”
• If you leave the game, Wii version, running and not do anything you get a cool little static effect over the screen. Same with the Playstation version. Once you’ve entered the village you’ll get a freaky face appearing and disappearing. In the Playstation version is a women face staring briefly at you. In the Nintendo version you get glimpses of what looks like the face from the original Project Zero box.
• Another prompt from the explaining the menu. Bring up map toggle by pressing, brings up the menu by pressing -.
• Playstation version by pressing triangle for menu and select for map.
• Slight Dialogue chance after reading the extracts, nothing too major though.
• When character sees a scare sight, a slight static filter goes over the screen. If this increases, similar to Eternal Darkness and their sanity effect, I don’t know.
• More Dialogue chance – so far, Playstation dialogue and script seems better.
• Playstation has fantastic atmosphere, but Christ I had forgotten how hard it was to see... anything. These environments are darker than Eric Cartman’s soul!
• Osaka house, Wii version has a new cut screen.
• Wii atmosphere is also very good and it’s also nice to be able to see where I’m actually going. Actually, I never how nicely designed this house was on the Playstation version, but I guess that’s fixed cameras for you.
• Difference again, in Playstation version you find “Women’s Notebook 1” in the main room for the Osaka house. Not so in the Wii version.
• The touch is found really early on Wii version, this should be very helpful – in fact, it used to find
hidden items. Considering some of the later puzzles in the game, this could add a nice dimension. Touch is found with the Camera on the Playstation version. However, I still got there yet, meaning more dark environments for me – how the hell did I navigate these levels way back when? Curse you fixed environment camera, CURSE YOUUUUUUU!!!
• Enter new room on Wii version, new prompt. Investigating Objects – press A to Investigate curious points! Oh really? I’m glad you’re here to tell me these things – because, you know, it’s not like it’s fucking obvious. A little common sense dear designers, it’s all I’m asking – I’ve been pressing A to interact with objects – in fact there is no read why you couldn’t have had this prompt when I was back in the forest and found the new paper cuttings.
• Okay, find designers you win! So this is a little bizarre. Turns out you have to hold A and watch the character reach out for the object. This might seem odd, but given the animation, I have a suspicion that this will be used later on to try and make me jump – geez, looking forward to that!
• Find Woman’s Notebook 3 – slight chance in what’s written but nothing too major.
• Find I can investigate a mirror in the Wii version. Sure enough, I was right. Actually, to the games credit, this does form tension really nicely. Again, I have to give props to the excellent sound direction.
• In the Wii version, we get a brief cut screen. By this I mean, we see one of the ghost pass in front of us. The character stops and back off, slightly. We have no control here. That might sound annoying, but it really isn’t. Mio and Mayu are scared. If you were in a cursed village I highly doubt you’d be rushing forward to investigate that apparition. Okay, perhaps you would if you Jonathon Holmes – but that’s only because there is nothing in existence that will want to hurt Holmes – he’s too nice!
• Hmm, okay, this is odd. Go to a door where Mayu said she saw a figure go into the room (see above). Rather than flee madly in opposite direction, I go to investigate. However, I get the hold A prompt? Perhaps, it’s because I know there is something there? Too early to say yet, but it’s an interesting choice.
• Door opens to reveal that.... nothing is there – however, I’ve played and beaten this game in the past so I know what’s coming next...
• Playstation version get stuck behind Mayu and can’t more, talk about annoying. Find herbs and camera. Jesus Christ on a Raptor is it dark – I cannot see for shit. I have to say, this was biggest compliant when I played it way back when and I’m glad Nintendo and Temco have fixed this problem, while retaining the important atmosphere.
• On the Wii version I enter the room and have cut scene play also immediately. However, this might be wrong. Since I’m writing this as I play it, both games at once, I’m having to pause the Wii game and take it to the home menu (static get annoying when you trying to write). Once I continued, the game seemed to think I was still holding A down – so it’s possible that that’s what triggered it. Cut scene was great and dramatic. I now have the Camera Obscura –Bring it ghoesties!
• Finally get free from Mayu on the Playstation version find Touch and Camera together (thank you!) cut scene play. Little change in dialogue, nothing major. But once again, the grainer and dirtier look of the Playstation game seems better – but I’ll agree that’s a subjective point – some might prefer the Wii cut scenes. Anyway, find herbs and Lady’s Note Book V.
• Camera controls are easy enough on the Playstation, press Circle, get into focus then tap R1 or X depending on which you prefer. Time to rumble with our first Ghost “The Door Lady!”. One snap dead.
You're going to be complete bitch, aren't you?
• I may now leave the room and Mayu says the smartest thing she’ll say all game, “Let’s get out of here!” – No shit Sherlock, do you have any other profound revelations for me? No? Okay then.
• Camera controls are bit odd for the Wii. Okay, see if can follow this. Hold B to bring Camera up, so far so good, use Wii point to move up and down, sounds standard. Okay to turn the Camera left or right, you need to use the analogue stick on the nunchuka. However, this is also how you move your character backwards and forward in Camera mode. Again, not a deal breaker just a little odd. Let’s see how that holds up. Tangle with the ghost (again the graphic are much, much, much better in this game). So is the interface for the camera. I can also hold Z to have lock on, smart choice by the designers there.
• Damn these whispers and this eerie are annoying as I'm writing right this... Hold on a second. Why is it still playing this music and those creepy whispers? I killed the ghost....
• OH FUCK YOU NINTENDO AND FUCK TEMCO! YOU CHANGED THE FIGHT!!! FUCK!!!! GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY SISTER!!! BACK! BACK I SAY!!! NO I DON’T WANT A FUCKING HUG!!!
Yep, you're a complete bitch.
• Ghost goes down with 2 shots. Fuck you Nintendo, that was mean, but well played at the same time! So you’re ghost encounter is changed. Bastard.
•Here is a good place to end I think.
Well there you have, seems Nintendo and Temco are serious about this remark. So far it’s very good. The controls feel fresh, the environments are much better and easier to navigate. Combat also feels nice and hectic. However, this only the beginning, what about those diaries I’ve been finding? Hmm.
If people want more of these kind of blog regarding comparing this remark to the original let me know and I’ll continue. In the mean time I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Till next time dear reader.
Recently Reggie Fils-Aime stated that he felt that gamers were “never satisfied” citing the reaction from the Nintendo’s E3.
Without going too much into details, I tend to mostly agree with Reggie on this issue. Nintendo fans, and gamers on a whole, are extremely bias (myself included of course), often highly irrational, and displaying the uncanny ability of totally missing the point on any given issue. They are also overly self-entitled, whiningly obnoxious, fantastically hypocritical and contradictory – okay, okay, I’ve made my point.
I touched upon this with my, totally mature, parody of Nintendo fans in a past blog post. Of particular note was my exasperation of the Nintendo fan bemoaning the lack of Zelda, despite having only been given a game last year. I can only conclude they must be suffering from a tragedy case of JRPG Amnesia, in which case we shouldn’t make too much fun of them.
Having said all this, putting aside my fangs and venom, it doesn’t mean that I don’t kind of get where the fans are coming from. I have a few things I’d like to see Nintendo do. I have a few demands that could be seen as unreasonable. The fact is, even if you are proud member of team N, you can deny there the thing the company does that are, well, shitty.
No, I’m not talking about daring to show things like Wii Fit or Brain Training at a trade show with their inventors watching (my god, it’s almost as if they’re a business!). The people who complain out those things are idiots – that’s a fact. The world of gaming does not solely revolve around you fictional gamer, and your tastes.
So, what are some of my demands from Nintendo? Well, conveniently, I’ve spend a few hours thinking and jotting down some things I’d like from Nintendo. These are my demands – eh, I mean – requests.
1: Grant more creative freedom to your studios and Designers. Without a doubt Nintendo has some of the finest and best creative minds and talents in the industry. They have a wide catalogue of IPs, many of which are gold standards of their genres. That all said, that doesn’t mean that they minds and talents should always be working on the same games. I’ll concede that not every one of them is mad genius like Miyamoto, but it would great if Nintendo wasn’t so constraining. For example, take this segment from Industry Gamer’s interview with Zelda Director Eiji Aonuma.
IG: Speaking of the personal side, do you wish at times that you could work on something other than Zelda? You’ve been sort of the go-to guy for the Zelda franchise for a long time now. Do you have a creative desire to maybe work on a brand new Nintendo franchise?
EA: Yeah, the truth of it is I always want to work on something new. It just turns out that as I’m coming up with these ideas along the way, I realize, “Y’know, this could really work on aZelda game.” And it sort filters back into it and in the end, we come back into another Zelda project. So in some ways, it’s a bit of a challenge for me personally that Zelda ends up becoming this pool of my ideas and it keeps absorbing the ideas I have and they get integrated back into Zelda games. But that’s just sort of the way it’s flown for me.
It would be nice if Nintendo would allow Aonuma and people such as him to develop these new ideas. Sure, one of the reason Nintendo games are usually as polished and complete as they are is because of how efficient Nintendo runs its business, but that doesn't mean every idea has to go into an existing property.
The one of the left has lots of freedom, why not the one on the right?
2: Be more willing to take chances with franchises. This sort of ties back with point one, but there is a difference that needs to be addressed. Before I go any further, let me state that there are few in this industry that are willing to innovate to the level and depth of Nintendo. In an industry where shameless ripping off is all too common place (Hiya Sony, how the hell are you, you little rascal?), it’s refreshing to see a company trying to push the envelope, seeing what can be done with gameplay and mechanics.
Sure, they stick with beloved franchises, but each game within that franchise has something distinctive about it, particularly from a mechanics stand point. Majora’s Mask is a very different experience to Windwaker and Twilight Princess, and Mario 64 is a very different experience Sunshine and Galaxy.
Now granted there is familiarly there, so if you’ve played it before you can jump right in, but there always something new to learn – a new way of interacting with the game, and I’m not just referring to motion controls.
So what do I mean by take chances? Well, I’m talking about taking chances from a narrative and setting point. Now, don’t misunderstand me, the last thing I would want is Nintendo to become “hardcore” and “mature” as prescribed by hugely insecure and childish individuals who have yet to understand what irony means. No, I don’t want that, but I would be willing and wanting to see Nintendo expand their characters and flesh them out.
To be fair, we began to see this with games like Other M, Pandora’s Tower, Xenoblade, the Last Story, and Skyward Sword, which had a more complex narrative than previous instalments and other Nintendo games. But I’d like to see Nintendo explore it more.
Now, I’m sure many of you would rightfully point out and cite games such as the Mother series and odd ball games like Majora’s Mask for past efforts. While you are absolutely right, let’s not kid ourselves, those titles are few and far between, and they’re really not on the same narrative level as say, the Ultima games (particularly Warriors of Destiny) or Deus Ex. I would like to see Nintendo go further with such things, and not withdraw their hands because of fanboy whining.
Perhaps explore concepts in style and setting to something akin to Grim Fandango or Beyond Good and Evil or Okami or Portal. Those are the kind of games that would be right house with Nintendo’s “games everyone can play” image.
If you have a new idea in the work, don’t feel as if you have to staple Mario, or Kirby, or Fox McCloud into it because you’re afraid it’s not going to sell.
I would like a balanced Nintendo, a Nintendo that can give good, unapologetic fun games like the Mario RPGs, Mario Party, Kirby and most the games into Nintendo’s considerable library. But I also like to start seeing games that seemed more in line with the likes of Terranigma or games by Ico.
Yeah, I love Fire Emblem, Golden Sun, Eternal Darkness, the Advance War series, Mario RPG/Paper series, and of course the Earthbound/Mother series.
Be a bit more like Valve, just without the whole not releasing games part.
Yes, I mad, I very, very, mad!
3: Release Earthbound/Mother. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen this begged and pleaded for. Really there is no reason to not release these games. Earthbound is translated, so is the first game, and the 3rd game, thanks to the dedicated team of fans. Why don’t you, pay those fans for their hard work, which would net you some great PR, and release the games. Mother 3 had an excuse when it was first released, however, with 3DS’s online store that excuse no longer holds up. Speaking of releasing games...
Do want, god I want.
4: Stop being so damn stingy about your overseas releases. I’m not just referring to Operation Rainfall, but to titles like Project Zero 4, Mother 3 (though I do sort of see your point on that), and Monster Hunter G. Those are just some of the titles that spring to mind, I know there are more.
I know video games are a business, but it's unreasonable to ask and expect every single game to million seller (or five million seller – EA). Also, sometime good will is worth more than money. People still talk fondly about Eternal Darkness, and games like Psychonauts and Baten Kaitos still have their fans, and let’s not get started on Atlus and Xseed’s catalogues. Even if the game is just a released on a limited run, with some advertisement, that fact you released those games and gave them a chance is worth something...
A great, but sadly largely forgotten, RPG from the Gamecube era.
Having said that, they did release charming and imaginative games like Little King Story, Sky Crawlers, Fragile Dreams and Lost in the Shadows, games which few people bothered to buy... hmm, on reflection I’m starting to see Nintendo’s point of view... hmm...
Be honest, now, how many of you brought and supported this game? Or Zack and Wiki?
Okay, let’s try this. If there is an audience demanding the game, as in the case of Mother 3, Project Zero 4 (Fatal Frame 4), and Pandora’s Tower (for you guys in the states), then release it, even if it can only be purchased through your website. Sure, you might lose some money, but the very fact that you listened to your consumer's request and provided them a service will often net good will point. Also, if you’d prefer it in my business way, it’s great PR.
Well, I think that’s enough for now, I’m sure I have more demands think that’s enough for the time being. I don’t want to seem too self-titled.
Well, I’ve got some stuff in the pipe lines at the moment of which you guys should be getting to glimpse very soon, once I’ve work a few bugs out. In the mean time let’s listen to some great video game music with the Notics Jukebox.
Title: Liar of the Blind Ones
Game: Turok 2
Console/Platform: Nintendo 64/PC
Eerie dread is probably the best way to describe this first piece of music. The thump of the drums and the beat of the bass do an excellent job of currying this piece. That underlining current, is probably the most noticeable thing about this, though that slow, and spine chilling, fill really bring this piece together. This is a surprisingly complex piece, with many little touches in it, such as the tub. Around the 2:40 mark, the song shifts, adding another dimension to the composition and keeps the listener engaged. Near the end it just builds and builds creating a great tension then, sudden, it just rolls out into dramatic march. An excellent piece of music, so sit back and appreciate.
Title: Pray, Pray, Play
Console: Sega Megadrive/Genesis
Ah, Ristar. A criminally underrated game that was release near the Megadrive’s end, Ristar has quite the catchy soundtrack. While perhaps not too memorable, compared to say Mario, there are still plenty of tracks that are worth a listen; such as the piece given here.
I love absolutely everything about this piece, the rolling drums fills, the bouncy chorus that makes it impossible to stay still, that great 16bit horn arrangement. It’s just unapologetically fun piece that could really do with an overclock remix or something (What do you say Dale?).
There are two version here, the original and then the fifteen minute version. Take your piece and enjoy!
Title: Track 5 (couldn’t find proper name :P)
Game: Mirco Machines 2: Turbo Tournament
Platform: Sega/ Super Nintendo/PC
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Noctis, you handsome devil, this sounds a lot like the Satch Boogie from Surfing with Alien!
Well of course it does, it was composed by Joe Satriani! Yeah – what now bee-ytch! Huh! HUH! Joe Satriani, that guy who taught Kirk Hammit and Steve Vai.... Yeah, YEAH... okay, fine, it wasn’t actually composed by Satriani but by Tim Bartlett. I have to admit it is bit hard to overlook that fact. Nonetheless it’s still a great little instrumental, if a little typical and a bit unremarkable. Sure it’s a basic balls to the wall, typical rock music you’d get with a racing – but that does mean it’s bad. It’s still got a good groove and that are some guitar chops on the display.
The Sega CD, while a ballsy gamble by Sega, isn’t too fondly remember. Sure it has it fans, but when gamers think of its catalogue of games not too many up (excluding some of the games available in Japan). However, there are a few noteworthy title including Snatcher and Sonic CD.
Today’s piece of music comes from Wacky Workshop: Present. Now, to all those who don’t know, there are two different soundtrack, the US version and the Jap/Euro version. While most people say the Jap/Euro is better, there are more than a few cuts I think American soundtrack did better.
Personally speaking I prefer this version of the song. Perhaps it’s groovy, funky rhythm of guitar accompanied by the swell of horns, or the sudden shift to the very ska-ish progression before swing back into driving funk. Whatever, it’s easy going and foot tappingly good.
Title: Phantom and a Rose
Game: Secret of Mana
Console: Super Nintendo
An enchanting piece from one of the greatest games on the Super Nintendo and, some might argue, one of the greatest games of all time. Phantom and a Rose showcases Square soft abilities to arrange a fantastic and soothing piece of music.
There is a sincerest and warmth to the piece that seems to make it glow. Perhaps it’s just the legendary sound chips of the Super Nintendo, but when those organs sweep in, the song suddenly gain a volume and presence that is both atmospheric and yet memorable.
Close your eyes and enjoy.
Game: Gunstar Heroes
Console: Sega Megadrive/Genesis
You know, people often give the Sega’s 16bit champion at lot of grief for its soundtracks. I mean, sure, there are songs do tend to sound tinny and buzzy, but sometimes that works. Take this next piece for example.
Empire has a thumping bass gallop and melodic lead that combine together to create surge that player can feedback off as they blast their way through all the cannon fodder. While a somewhat simplistic piece, it nonetheless conveys the feeling of the game to player – something that most videogames nowadays tend to avoid for most part. Damn shame that...
Title: Police Station Hall (Front Hall)
Game: Resident Evil 2
Console: Playstation/Nintendo 64/PC/Dreamcast/Gamecube/Playstation Network
Goddamn, does this game ever get around... Anyway, taken from my favourite RE game, this particular piece is something of a curiosity. While clearly a mainly ambient piece, there are enough little ascensions and flurries of music within to make it stand out. While not very long, this piece beautiful sets the haunting and tense mood of the game. Its foreboding, it’s eerie, and that drone throughout the piece just crawls up your spine.
Title: The Uggas
Game: Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Console: Nintendo 64
Yes? What? You want me to tell you about this piece? What can I say? Driving, pulse pumping rhythm, totally metal guitar flurries that are both bass arse and very cheesy – shut up, grab a shotgun, and kill everything that moves – such as it was back in the day...
Anyway, that’s it from me, catch you all next week.
Well, well, looks whose back? For the two of you that actually care, I’d like to offer a sincere apology for my absence. University and life can have a tendency to get on top of you and not let you go. That being said, I’m now back and this blog of mine should start coming back to life, so expect to start seeing a return to things like Noctis Jukebox and that articles I promised way back when, along with some news series I’m looking to start.
Anyway, now that E3 is wrapping up, I want to take this moment to reflect on one of the key conferences, partly because of how interesting I found it to be. I am of course referring to... Microsoft and their spellbinding, award-winning presentation. I mean how could I not be in awe of such new and interesting titles, like Gears of Wars, Halo 4 (So much for finishing the fight, eh?), Fable the Journey... ergh... ergh... that other game... yeah one... totally that one... okay, I’m fooling nobody, I’m actually talking about Nintendo.
It’s safe to say that once again all eyes were focused on Nintendo and the WiiU. The presentation got off to a brilliant start with unveiling of Pikimin 3. A part from the fact that the game looks fantastic and, if the reports are to be believed, plays fantastically, it should also be a key titles that shows the potential of WiiU as a house for RTS’s. I wouldn’t be surprised, given the nature of the tablet controller and the console’s power, if companies Blizzard were looking to see if they could bring something like Starcraft 2 or, better yet, a proper Warcraft to the system. Warcraft 4, now there’s something I’d buy in a heartbeat, that how about you?
To be fair, I understand where the fans were coming from. Nintendo has not only one of the best catalogues of IPs in the industry, but they also have one of the most extensive and varied. As I sat watching the conference I could see people begging for F-Zero, Eternal Darkness 2, Metroid, Starfox, and, oddly enough, Zelda... really? Did you forget you got one last year? You know, one of the best games in years. You know, the one with masterfully designed levels, the moving and touching narrative that didn’t required a shit-ton of exposition and overly done cut-scenes (hat-tip’s Mass Effect and Uncharted). You know that game? No? Really? Okay then...
As for me, I was hoping for a Fire Emblem game (I know there is one coming for the 3DS), or Golden Sun or, though I doubt I’ll ever see this considering Sega still owns the rights, A Shining Force Game.
Of course we didn’t get any of that. What we did get was Nintendo Land, a title that will most likely come free with the console and looks like it will be fun in small doses or for parties where it will be a star attraction. However, many people weren't, and aren't, happy. Some of it is just the usually stupidity and hypocrisy I’ve come to expect when Nintendo do... anything, and, in all honesty, I've long given up expecting rational thought from gamers on the internet - so I shall a total level of maturity that this subject warrants.
*Warning Satire Ahead*
Nintendo Fan: WAAAAA!!!! NO HARDCORE/MATURE TITLES!!!
Nintendo: Were you not watching? Okay, since you have a memory of gold fish, here.
Mario Bros U
Assassin’s Creed 3
ZombiU (don’t worry, wii know it’s a dumb title)
Aliens Colonial Marines
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Ninja Gaiden 3
Batman Arkham City (with expanded game play)
Trine 2 Director's Cut
Mass Effect 3: The Good Edition, where all your choices (as advertised) actually matter and the established lore isn’t contradicted and actually make Bioware do some actual fucking work rather phoning everything in*
*disclaimer: that will not happen, sorry :(
By the way, most of that will available at launch so you have a nice selection to pick from – and don’t get us started on what we have for the 3DS – do you feel better now?
Nintendo Fan: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I WANT NEW IP AND F-ZERO AND METROID AND STARFOX!!!!!!
Nintendo: Well, you know we’re just starting out with a new system, Retroware is working on something, rumour has it that Blizzard working on something, and there are talks that might see things like Watch Dog making an appearance. Also, don't forget games like Project P-100. Just give us a little time. You know can count on us, except for when you totally can’t.
Nintendo Fan: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! ZELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!
Okay, childish jokes aside, the fans do something of a point. I know shocking right? But there is a question I find myself asking, where were the big guns? Mario is a star attraction, but we knew Mario was coming. Pikmin was, as I said, a brilliant opening but let’s be honest, it’s something of niche game. Where was the big wow reveal? You know sort of like when Nintendo announced Donkey Kong Country Returns, or Golden Eye, Metroid: The Other M. That oh my fuck GAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW moment?
While I believe probably true or at least a factor, I can’t help but wonder if there is another element we’re over looking. Isn’t it interesting how much Nintendo giving their time over to 3rd parties, allowing them to promote their games? For me, this is what people are missing about this E3 and Nintendo’s E3 of last year. Nintendo is very much trying to show 3rd parties that they are willing to work with them, rather than against them.
What needs to be remembered is that to 3rd parties Nintendo, unlike Microsoft and Sony, is as much a rival as they are a partner. Let’s engage in some fun, I know some recoil at that word bare with me, role play fantasy for a second.
Imagine at this E3, Nintendo revealed not only a squeal to Eternal Darkness, but also two brand new IPs. One of this IP is... an open world game, similar to likes of Shenmue, GTA, and Sleeping Dogs, but with shades of Prototype, Infamous, and craziness of Saint Rows – how would that even work? It’s been designed by Suda51 okay?
The other IP can be an FPS series that seemed to be spiritual successor to games like Timesplitter’s, Perfect Dark (original one), with shades of Metroid prime series and the Thief series.
Now imagine if Reggie came up and said, “These games will available on launch, and can be played right here at E3, at the Nintendo booth”. What do think the press and the fans would be doing?
We’d be ecstatic, we’d be foaming at the mouth, we’ve be on forums raving about it, reviewers on sites Gamespot, IGN, and Blistered Thumbs, would be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of being paid to give 9.0 and 10.0, rather than actually review games (only joking guys... partly).
All our thoughts would be on that. News reports would be focusing on that, we’d be waiting for the reviews to come in, ears pressed down to hear any silver of news.
Do you know who wouldn’t be raving or ecstatic? 3rd parties, in fact I’d wagered they’d be pissed off. Not only would that be the buzz and focus of E3, pushing aside all their efforts to promote their own properties, but effectively Nintendo would be stealing their thunder.
Ubisoft revealed their new IP “Watch Dog” (which does look really good), and that’s what buzz is about for most part. But imagine Nintendo had done that reveal similar to what I’ve mentioned above, where do you think most of the focus would be? On the game that just had a trailer (cool as it was), or the brand new IP from Nintendo, that’s seems to show them branching out into a totally new and unexpected direction?
Just imagine it for second -
Capcom and Komani are showing their games off – who cares? Did you not hear about Eternal Darkness 2? OH FUCK GOD THAT LOOKS SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAT!!!
Oh what that’s, EA and Activision are promoting their games – don’t give a shit – tell me more about that Nintendo FPS that lets me travel through alternative histories, times, and dimensions, letting tackle the problems as I see fit and lets me create my own weapons.
Jim Sterling – I don’t care about your Jimpressions on Aliens – I WANT TO KNOW YOU’RE JIMPRESSIONS ON THAT OPEN WORLD GAME NINTENDO REVEALED!!!
Is it true that I get to have jet pack and bomb crime syndicates with explosive wind-up mechanical penguins, and what was that that about rocket launcher that fires Great White Sharks? There was also something about a magically power that transforms my character into a bear? Hmm...? Oh sorry, my mistake. A magically power that transforms my character into a bear, with Gatling guns for arms and chainsaws for legs.
I doubt we’ll ever see those games, which is shame – because I really want a bear with Gatling guns for arms and chainsaws for legs. Oh well.
Anyway, let’s rope this wandering entry back onto topic. My point is, if Nintendo were to do something like that, that’s where all the hype and attention would be, leaving 3rd parties and their efforts largely forgotten. Considering that some of these companies are finding themselves in difficult positions this is would not desirable. Furthermore it would leave the impression that Nintendo isn’t serious about working them and looks to upstage them and take their audience, leaving them in a dire position.
It worth remembering that Sony and Microsoft still rely heavily on 3rd parties, Microsoft moreso than Sony, granted, but they both still need the likes of EA, Activision, THQ, and Ubisoft. Nintendo, on the other hand, have gone for nearly 3 gens without serious 3rd party support and have managed to turn a profit, mainly because of their first party titles which are the best in business and often the gold standard for many genres.
To condense everything I’ve just said, Nintendo still needs to woo and convince 3rd parties that they are willing to work with them, in much the same manner as the likes of Sony and Microsoft. As a result Nintendo has to walk a fine line and do a hell of a balancing act, appeasing their fans (often a thankless task), courting and continuing to cultivate the new audiences they brought in, and convince 3rd parties and very bias press that they are in it for the win.
Finally, Nintendo isn’t stupid – though it may seem like it sometimes.
They are well aware that Microsoft is getting prepared to reveal their new system. Sony is also talking about their next system – though how far that’s going to go is anyone’s guess. Most importantly, both of those companies are going to looking at the WiiU – so they know what to rip-off for their new gen-systems (Fanboys, stop, I don’t want hear your excuses. You know it’s true, let’s leave it at that).
The point is this; a good company never shows all their cards. This is a fact Nintendo knows all too well. Why give your competition time to prepare and counter attack? It just doesn’t make sense.
This is what I imagine will most likely next. Next E3, Sony and Microsoft reveal their systems (complete with tablets and motion controls...). They get the first buzz of the week.
Nintendo’s presentation rolls around. They reveal that Starfox and F-Zero’s next instalments are coming to WiiU, also they show a trailer for Eternal Darkness 2, there is also talk of working with Sega to bring a new game in the Panzer Dragoon saga (yes, that’s fanboy’s dream! LET ME DREAM!).
They also welcome EA (spit here) and Activision representatives on the stage and let them talk their games. Before the end of the show, Nintendo reveals their true hand. Retroware has been working on a brand new IP, a spiritual successor to the cancelled Gamecube game, Raven Blade .
Bang! Nintendo is now the talk of the town, Microsoft and Sony find themselves rushing to bring up IPs at the next E3 to compete (though if Microsoft recent performance is anything to go by, perhaps not – what’s that? Gears or War and Halo, but now with better graphics? Oh you spoil us!).
Here’s the thing. Nintendo can start playing and revealing those big guns, however, can still can have the support of the 3rd parties. Nintendo has, and still is, giving them a stage and platform to market their work. They restrained themselves allowing the 3rd parties to feel comfortable and to feel that the WiiU (this joke is never going to get old!) is a platform they can make large profit on.
Oh course, this double edge sword and Nintendo must careful and not allow 3rd parties to hold them and their machine to ransom. Also, 3rd parties are a fickle thing, pretending to best friend on second, then processing to jam a knife in your back – but hey, such is business. Nonetheless, if Nintendo plays its cards rights and remains grounded, they can enter and leave generation 8 as champions, and possibly headed into the 9th as champions.