Wonkyman / Member

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Retro Games Retcon part 1: NES

So as I mentioned in my last post, I'll be using this generation to collect retro games. More specifically, NES, SNES, and random titles for Sega Genesis, Gameboy Advance, and PS1 and PS2.

I have 27 games on my NES wish list. Mostly from my childhood. Either games I once owned, games my aunt owned (she had a great collection), games my brothers and I rented, or games I always wanted to play. My goal is to create the ultimate retro collection. (Ultimate for me. I'm not going to turn into the AVGN here.) With that in mind, any suggestions are appreciated.

Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers
Darkwing Duck
Duck Tales
Duck Tales 2
Galaga
Gyromite
Gyruss
Kid Icarus
The Legend of Zelda
Lolo
Lolo 2
Lolo 3 
Marble Madness
Mario Bros.
Mega Man
Mega Man 2
Mega Man 3
Mega Man 4
Mega Man 5
Mega Man 6
Punch-Out!!
Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
TMNT 2: The Arcade Game
TMNT 3: The Manhattan Project
Tetris
Yo Noid

Edit: Added Gyruss to the list.

Cans of Beans

So, some of you are probably wondering where I've been. And by some of you, I mean none of you. But that's okay. In late 2010, my life began a slow descent into horribleness. I won't bore you with details. The economy. Family stuff. Blah blah. Suffice it to say, I've had bigger fish to fry than posting blogs on an antiquated gaming site (Oh come on, admit it.)

No, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. Readjusting my priorities, that sort of thing. And I realized something gamey, which led to a few interesting decisions. I'm not interested in all this. This gamer culture.. thing.. that festers on sites like Gamespot. I'm just not a gamer.

Literally.

I traded in my PS3 the other day. I sold off all my games for it. All.. 6? The PS3 never had much that interested me. It was a blu-ray player, and a dusty one at that. So I made a bunch of money selling my games and my system and I bought an actual blu-ray player. Takes up a lot less space and uses a lot less power. And my blu-ray remote doesn't run out of power every time we have movie night.

But yeah. I'm just not part of this culture anymore. I'm not a gamer. I still love Nintendo to bits. Got my Wii U and my Pikachu 3DS, looking forward to continued instalments of my favourite franchises. Wind Waker HD is high on my radar, as is the Wonderful 101. And I'll be taking the day off to watch the Nintendo Direct on the morning of E3. But after the reveal of the XBone and PS4, I'm just finding it hard to give a shite.

Now my usual two-console home will not be Wii U and PS4 and it certainly won't be Wii U and XBone. Nope, I've gotten to work already on a much better investment. A RetroN 5. The thing plays NES, SNES, Genesis and GBA from all regions. Over HDMI. And has original controller ports. Here's my logic. I could buy a system that's always watching you with its creepy robot eyes, that won't play used games, isn't backwards compatible and forces you to check in like it's a minimum security prison. I could play the system that looks favourable by comparison. The one that also isn't backwards compatible, not that I kept any titles from its library anyway, and certainly isn't backwards compatible with the generation that had fun, innovative and experimental games. Or! I could get on eBay and start picking up games from a simpler time. An era when you put the game in the machine, turn it on, and BAM. There's your game. No menus. No online. No DLC. Just pure gaming, with all its pulpy difficulty.New is old again.

This is what grandmas play.

And frankly, if Microsoft and Sony and going to keep duking it out over raw power, raising the price of games another $10, removing features and adding tighter security, and promoting their consoles as home theatre management centers (just like McDonald's who wants to be Starbucks), I can't see the industry as we know it lasting very long. They'll take each other down, and they'll drag EA, Ubisoft, Activision and all those boutique developers down with them. Good time to stock up on games that work. Like cans of beans during the zombie apocalypse.

Wind Waker Multiplayer?

So how about that Nintendo Direct?

I've heard lots of speculation about what was shown, but I don't think nobody noticed one interesting tidbit. In the Wind Waker HD stills, both times you see Link, Tetra is there with him. They said they were planning on making a couple changes to Wind Waker. I wonder if they're adding multiplayer.

Think about it.

Rambly Bambles (Watch My Train of Thought Derail.)

I felt pretty encouraged to hear Nintendo is going to be losing money on each Wii U sale. Not that I want them to hurt, financially. But it seems to me that if they aren't making money on their console, they'll work extra hard to make sure their software sales are big hits. Not only that, but that there's plenty of software TO be sold. I know people love to complain about New Super Mario U, but I seriously want them to do the same with Zelda and Metroid. Polish up the look of games like Link to the Past and Super Mets, and give us brand new 2D adventures. Also, longtime readers of my blarg ought to remember how badly I want the Paper Mario series to branch off into other franchises. We sort of got that too, with Kirby's Epic Yarn. So if Mario gets paper and Kirby gets fabric, what material could Zelda get? I'd be happy if we just got Paper Zelda, but then I'm not a game designer. I've also often thought it would be wise to use A list characters to beef up the roster in Mario Kart, instead of using Funky Kong of all characters. I mean, I realise Link and Fox aren't cannonical Mario Universe characters, and that Funky is sort of connected, given Donkey Kong and Mario got their start simultaneously, but really? Nobody was playing Mario Kart Double Dash (seriously, nobody was.) Nobody was playing Mario Kart Double Dash and saying "Man, if only this game had FUNKY Kong." Really. Come to think of it, if Nintendo really was against the idea of creating a Smash Kart, and definitely had to stick to Mario Universe characters, there are plenty of minor enemies that could get Karts. Kamek, Shy Guy, Wart, The Koopa Kids, Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy.. still better than Funky. So lots of potential for games here. And you can bet your sweet, sweet ass that we'll be getting plenty of HD remakes of classic games. Things like Wind Waker and Mario Sunshine are almost a given, but I'd love to see them pull a Mighty Switch Force HD and HDify more pixelly games into crisp, beautiful, cartoony goodness. On that note, I really wish games were multi-platform between 3DS and Wii U. We have the 2 screen experience on consoles now. We should get the option between having a handheld version or an HD console version. Since I never buy handhelds out of the joy of owning handhelds (blah, they taste like plastic!), I buy handhelds because the software on them is too tempting to pass up. You know what sold me on a DS? Phoenix Wright. And now I'll end up buying a 3DS because of Phoenix Wright 5. And Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton. And Professor Layton 5. And Zero Escape 2. And Adventure Time: Hey Ice King, Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?! Where was I? Oh yeah. Nintendo's gonna have to make a lot of awesome games to recoup the loss of selling heaps of Wii Us. I think they should hire me. I want to be a professional idea man.

Nintendo's Sequel Snatching Fever

Just a quick thought.

When the immature legions of Bayonetta fans exploded their hate across Twitter, the more interesting news about that particular announcement sort of got sidelined. That news being that Nintendo is funding sequels the fans want, in order to draw in fans that wandered away from them. And it just now occurred to me, what sequel have fans been demanding for a very long time?

Psychonauts 2.

Can we not suggest that to Nintendo? I think Raz's psychic powers would be pretty amazing on a touchscreen, if handled correctly.

Bayonetta Twice

I hope everyone is aware of this situation, because I'm just going to jump right in.

I think this is hilarious. Here we have a game that was cancelled fast February, which was rescued and funded by a company that everyone says is "doomed unless they get more exclusive, hardcore third party" software. And when that happens? Mt. Vesuvius loses it. It's like Nintendo was listening to every loud-mouthed internet troll, but the loud-mouthed internet trolls don't want to be catered to, they just want to hate indefinitely.

What's even funnier to me is a basic fundemental about marketing. It's even quite quotable and you may have heard it.

"There's no such thing as bad press."

So, errupt away, Mt. Vesuvius. Errupt until your little hearts give out. The more you create buzz about Bayonetta 2, the better it will sell. You're giving Nintendo and Platinum free advertising. And that's great news for me, because I happen to love both companies.

In my pants.

I Might Anger Someone Today. My Apologies.

So the Wii U. (Anyone angry yet? No? Just making sure.) We're on the eve of the big September 13 Nintendo Direct event and we're about to get some answers. I've been noticing the same opinions around pretty much every game message board and news outlet. It needs third party support to survive. It needs graphical parity with the upcoming offerings from the dynamic duo. Everyone seems to be saying the Wii U needs to stop being the Wii to be a hit. And I think they're kidding themselves.

Let me just air an unpopular opinion or two.

The Wii was a massive success for Nintendo.

It's hard for many gamers to really understand this, because of the reality in which gamers exist. You know when you're in high school, and five days a week you spend hours and hours with other teenagers? And in a Lord of the Flies sort of way, the students create a pseudo societal structure? And all the drama and hormones and rage and angst that is the teenage experience is amplified one hundred fold because you're surrounded by nothing but people who are also dramatic, hormonal angsty rage-bags? Then you graduate and all of a sudden you're surrounded by a palette of life, of all age and belief and level of maturity? (Well, for those of you still in high school, that happens.)

Well I find the gaming community to be exactly that. So caught up in their own very narrow opinion of the games industry, that it's impossible for them to see the bigger picture. The Wii was a success, like it or not. In the last couple years, support for the console has dropped off, but don't be fooled into thinking Microsoft and Sony didn't notice how much money Nintendo made. Between the Playstation Move, the Kinect and most recentlySmart Glass and Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, you can tell the fathers of the HD Twins are very carefully watching Nintendo's every move. They see a company that created a modestly powered console, and marketed it so well that it knocked down their processing behemoths.

Do you really think they're both stupid enough to go down that road again?

Games for the HD Twins cost a bloody fortune to make. And guess what. If Sony really does create a 4K system, they will cost significantly more. At the moment, these blockbuster games of theirs need to sell upwards of five million copies to break even. At sixty bucks a pop. Both companies spend a megaton on marketing (Liminal, subliminal, and SUPERliminal) because they absolutely need the demand for these games to be huge. They need it badly because the games cost so much to make. Can you really imagine a console with the power needed to run native 4K resolution to be a mass market success? The games would MSRP for even more, and the marketing push behind those games would be even stronger.

Which would lead to less innovation in games. Businessmen are only interested in one thing: Will the product make money. People complain about the oversaturation of Call of Duty. Or earlier this generation, Guitar Hero/Rock Band. In this hypothetical world where Microsoft and Sony have released 4K systems during the Wii U generation, the massive cost of making a game would also mean bigger injury if the game fails to sell. Which means companies will take less risk. Which means more of the same.

So I've carried on for a while now, but here's my point..

I don't believe Microsoft and Sony are run by buffoons. I believe at least one, if not both companies, will release a modestly powered console next generation. I believe that the Wii U may be comparatively underpowered, but not significantly so. I believe Sony is more likely to push for a 4K system, because they just unveiled a 4K TV. But I also know their stock has been in trouble for a while now and probably can't afford to sell a console at a loss.

And not to anger anyone (if I haven't already done so), but I believe the gaming community is gauging the merits of the Wii U based on the criteria of the Wii's generation. Things are going to change. The situation the Wii U will be in won't be the same as the Wii. As a consumer, my role will be to vote with my wallet. And I would ask you all to do the same in the coming years.

This is going to be a very interesting generation. Make sure to keep your eyes on that Nintendo Direct tomorrow. Because you know Sony and Microsoft will be.

How Nintendo Could Have Won E3

It's simple really. At least, they would have won it from my point of view.

Okay, here's what they do. They cut down on the 20 minutes describing a single level of Nintendo Land, and in it's place, have someone from Platinum Games reveal Project P-100 and show it off a bit. Then Reggie comes back and reveals that Fire Emblem is coming to North America. That Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask is coming to North America. He then talks about the Kirby 20th Anniversary collection. And then at the end of the conference, instead of "fireworks", show us the 3DS XL.

What gets me is that a lot of really interesting announcements were done quietly outside of E3 and could have been announced at the show. But weren't. What the screaming eff is up with that?

Hey Kids!

So I didn't get to write an end-of-year post. And I didn't write an E3 predictions post. And apparently I haven't blogged since September last year. But I'm alive, and I watched all the E3 press conferences for Monday.

And let me just ask this.. question.. to you..

Am I getting too old for video games? Am I not the target market anymore? Or do games, in general, suck? Please let me know, this is not rhetorical.

Out of Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and Sony combined, I was interested in a grand total of 3, maybe 4 games. (I say that because if Rabbids Wii U is a mini-game collection, it's off my radar.)

EA was doing their thing, and I got so bored, I got back to playing Pikmin. It seems as though nobody's interested in making games that aren't shooters. The host at the Ubisoft show (seriously, do they train these people to be obnoxious?) even said, "I only play shooters, and I don't know what was going on" after seeing Rayman Legends.

Right, so, I got lost there. Four games, in order of appearance.

South Park: The Stick of Destiny (360) - I've been saying for years that the technology is there to make games into living breathing cartoons. But we put all our money into making everything look dirty and diseased, and finding new ways to splatter blood while the enemy flings the f-bomb at us. (Also, Ubisoft's presser had boobies.) So I was very excited to see a game that actually looks like an episode of South Park.I know Tokitowa is coming too, that's definitely on my radar. It's just nice to see, especially admidst all that freaking violence.

The EA conference had a grand total of NOTHING! NOTHING at all! And after seeing today's show, I can safely say EA is bloated and self-obsessed, believing it steers the entire market. I wish you nothing but stormy weather and plague, EA.

Rayman Legends (Wii U) - Looks amazing. I'm actually in the middle of playing Origins on the Wii with my buddy, and we can't get enough of it. Game of the show, actually. That's what I'm calling Legends. Game of the Effing Show, until Nintendo's conference changes my mind.

As I mentionned above, Rabbids Land (Wii U) - Now kids.. settle down. The Rabbids are the harbinger of mini-game compilations, yes. But did anyone actually play Rabbids Go Home? It was an adventure game. It was a comedy. It was a racing game. It was freaking amazing. Bring me more of that, sez I. So! If Rabbids Land is an adventure game, I'm in. If it's a mini-game collection, I'm out. That simple.

Beyond Two Souls (PS3) - I never played Heavy Rain, but I always thought I might someday. This game looks really interesting. But we'll see. I liked how it spanned 30 years of one person's life. And I liked how the main character was a woman and yet not DOA Beach Volleyball. Or even Ubisoft's new Lara Croft. She was actually real. Which is funny. Because I was talking to a friend of mine during the Sony show and we were commenting on how men are starting to be objectified and idealized. Every protagonist in, say, a Naughty Dog game? Seems to be six feet, dark, rugged.. It's still a new medium. How about we have the same problems that infest movies!

So right! My question for you. The gaming masses who stumble across my humble little blarg. The fact that I couldn't care less about Splinter Cell, Halo 4, ZombiU, Assassin's Creed 3, Far Cry.. does that mean I'm old and should get out of the way? Does it mean I'm casual, especially now that a new Rayman platformer excites me infinitely more than The Last of Us? Or has the gaming industry simply lost sight of what it's market wants?

Let me know, huh?

By the way? Pikmin was amazing. Finished it while EA was telling us about sports or something.