It’s Karen!

Remember Karen from the rooftop?

Above: No one knows why Karen has four rings. It is a mystery!

Apparently, she plays 3d Mario until her friends call where she takes her Switch out to have rooftop parties! Who wouldn’t want to play with Karen?

Switch and Google


Last Generation Tunnel Syndrome

Polygon says Switch is doomed. Hey, at least there is a nice picture of Karen!

It can be summed up as “Wah, Nintendo is not telling us all the information of its online plans.”

Now, why would Nintendo not do that? Naughty Nintendo!

The first thing to realize is that launching a game console is hard. Very, very hard. It is hard for Sony. It is hard for Microsoft. Launching a game console worldwide is a billion dollar investment. It is so, so hard. One of the reasons why Nintendo isn’t launching their paid online service until later on in the year is because of how difficult it is to launch a console.What Nintendo has told us is that the online games are free until then. Good enough.

Second thing to realize is that Nintendo likes putting hidden features into their hardware to go ‘surprise’ later on. The DS went an entire year without online games despite having Wi-fi inside each DS. The Xbox 360, however, did not even have wi-fi. When Nintendo began putting out online games like Mario Kart DS, it was a ‘surprise’ to the market and a ‘wow’ that their DS could do something they didn’t know! From an entertainment standpoint, Nintendo does this. It also fits well because at launch, everyone wants to see what the hardware can do. By hiding it, Nintendo kicks the ball to when they are ready to deal with it with appropriate software.

The flagship launch title, Zelda: Breath of the Wild is not online. Neither is 1, 2 Switch. Bomberman is. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is. Puyo Puyo Tetris is. But these games’ online is already well known as two have been released on other consoles and Bomberman is going to be Bomberman.

The question is… what is the online components of Mario Odyssey? I bet there is something cooking in there! You think Nintendo would launch a paid online service without their main holiday game not using it? Doubtful! We know Splatoon 2 will be using it but that is during the summer.

What about the Virtual Console? We know Nintendo plays to upgrade the VC games to do online multiplayer. VC may be delayed until the paid online service is available.

We know the E-shop will be available with titles like I am Setsuna.

Nintendo probably will give more details, but these journalists whining about this are not the voice of consumers. What these journalists wish to do is to do write-ups about Nintendo’s online service which they cannot because there are no details.

Nintendo may also be keeping quiet due to competition reasons.

But the only online game for Switch’s launch is Super Bomberman R (maybe Skylanders?), and the press has already declared Super Bomberman R to be ‘cheap’, ‘terrible’, and a ‘failure’. Why? It is because Super Bomberman R is the first Switch third party exclusive. If Super Bomberman R was coming to Sony or Microsoft systems, they would be much more supportive of it.

Be prepared for trashing of every exclusive third party Switch game. They will all be declared ‘bad’. Mark. My. Words.

But you know what is not ‘bad’? Western AAA gaming. Every AAA Western game is ‘best game of all time’ and ‘revolutionizes the industry’. Each preview of Western AAA game is an orgasm, and each review is multiple orgasms. How could you possibly miss out on this incredible Western AAA game? Despite that it is loaded with DRM and shit because the value of the game collapses once the hype wears off.

Email: Nintendo the “toy”company

I loved your article on Nintendo’s long history. I knew they began making cards but it was neat to see all the toys they made before getting into video games.

It’s funny because when you go onto any hardcore gamer message forum, you see things like “Nintendo games are baby toys!” “Nintendo needs to stop making toys!”

Want to know how to really piss off hardcore gamers? Tell them all video games are toys.

What is the dictionary definition of a “toy?” Something you play with to be entertained. By this logic all video games are toys no matter how black and shiny you make it. Hardcore will throw a fit and say “only Nintendo makes toys! Sony and MS make sophisticated entertainment.”

Probably the biggest hypocrisy is the same hardcore gamers who complain about Nintendo making baby toys have shelves full of expensive collectible action figures.

Nintendo is very similar in philosophy to Disney. Disney is an extremely cheap ass company that has premium IPs. Mario is to Nintendo as Mickey Mouse is to Disney.

Above: Miyamoto says, “That’s right, Malstrom!

Yamauchi was responsible for turning Nintendo into a Disney-esque company. Miyamoto turning Mario into a ‘Mickey Mouse of gaming’ may have been at Yamauchi’s urging.

Email: Miyamoto’s perception of Zelda 2: Adventure of Link

Master Malstrom,

Take a look at the question around the 2:05 mark in the video below:


The gist of it: Miyamoto says that he sees Zelda 2 more of a spin-off, and that he focused more on the combat in the game because of that.

One of two possibilities are here:

1. Miyamoto is lying through his teeth and trying to separate Zelda 2 from the other games in the series, like you speculate.

2. There’s a disconnect between Miyamoto’s perception of Zelda 2 (it’s a spin-off, and not really meant to be part of the series) and the fan’s perspective (this game is a natural evolution of the Zelda series up to that point, and is a bonifide sequel). Maybe if Miyamoto understood that fans want Zelda to be “action-based” (as he seemed to put it), they would focus more on putting the combat of past games into new Zelda titles.

It could also be both.

In any case, to the Nintendo employee reading this blog, let me take this opportunity to say a Zelda 2 remake (or a game in the vein of Zelda 2) would sell like GANGBUSTERS.

-A reader

No, I think Miyamoto is being truthful here. The idea of a sequel in that time period was Super Mario Brothers 2 which we know as ‘the Lost Levels’. Think of other NES sequels such as Super C for Contra, Mega Man 2, Ninja Gaiden 2, etc. The gameplay is very much like the first.

Legend of Zelda 2 could not be made because the game already had The Second Quest.

Both Miyamoto and Aonuma agreed that Zelda 2 has been completely absorbed into Zelda. In other words, Zelda 2 is a mainline Zelda game despite it being a little different.

The question we need to ask is why do these game journalists have an obsession over Zelda 2? The game is 30 plus years old now. I think it is because they suck at the game so therefore ‘the game can’t be good’. I bet it is the only Zelda game they can’t beat. Weak sauce gamers.

Email: End of Moore’s Law

It’s a an age-old rule. Every two years, the power of computers doubles. It has been roughly true for decades. It’s why we can goo from the 3DS being weaker than a Wii to the Switch being a little weaker than a PS4 in 6 years.

But it’s ending. Processors already cheat by going multi-core, as increased speed of individual cores is limited by traits my layman’s understanding cannot explain. It’s predicted that by 2021, processors will be built on 5nm architecture — that is, a processors will be 5×5 atoms. If a circuit is a maze that electrical signals travel through, if you go any smaller, quantum physics come into play, and the electrons will go right through the walls of the maze. Quantum computing will be the solution then, but quantum computers, while very useful in some ways, will not be straight upgrades of computers as we know them.

How does this relate to gaming? Well, since GPUs as we know them won’t be helped by quantum computing, then the graphical power of PCs and other machines will possibly hit a limit within 10 years. Miniaturization of technology will slow down. Quantum computers should resume miniaturization, but there’s three problems there: 1. Quantum computers do not exist yet.

2. As the tech is not a linear upgrade on existing tech, it could take awhile for the benefits to reach consumer electronics. 3. Some aspects of computing are not significantly helped by the technology.

With this in mind, my questions to you are these: if in the 10th generation of gaming, all machines are at the max power and have to stay there for a potentially very long time, how is the industry affected? Will Nintendo’s competition, be they switch rip-offs or what have you, be at an advantage, as they can sell equal power consoles at a loss? Will the end of the raw power arms race lead to a new-way-to-play arms race? Will PCs profit from not having to be upgraded all the time, or will they lose out to plug and play consoles of equal power? Will consumer graphical demand be undershot by stagnant graphical improvement, leading to another gaming crash? Do any of Nintendo’s actions signal preparation for this? Or perhaps most importantly: am I asking this question far too early?

The PC revolution is symbolized by two companies: Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft got rich by making computers do old tasks more efficiently (such as airline terminals using Windows software). Apple got rich by making computers do new things and consolidating other things out of existence (iPhone changing how we interact with each other and society).

Computers may be everywhere in society, but they are there in the ‘Microsoft’ way of doing the old things more efficiently. What you will see is the computers doing new things which will really upend the apple cart. This is the automation revolution that is already here.

Email: Zelda DLC and replayability

Hi Malstrom,

I’m the guy who wrote you the email about DLC a few days ago, before the Zelda DLC announcement, and I was planning on writing you a “see, I told you” email when the DLC was announced, but I figured “what’s the point anymore?” and just moved on.

Then I figured I could instead talk about something else: replay value. Recently I have been replaying through Red Steel 2 on the Wii again. The game has nothing to unlock, no achievements to display, no collectibles, nothing. These days “replay value” means hamster wheels: go collect all the thingies, unlock all of the gallery, get achievements, collect gamerscore, compare your e-penis with people on XBox Live, PSN, Steam, whatever.

When I was a child I used to try to get all the heart pieces in Zelda, but as I grew older and had less time to waste I realised that all these things are really just padding. The game is over, the developers ran out of content, so they just throw a bunch of hamster wheels to keep you busy. Heart pieces in Zelda at least make sense in-game, but unlocking achievements is more often than not just a waste of time.

The real problem with replay value is how slow modern games have become. Take any modern industry game and see how much time you spend actually playing the game, and how much time you spend walking around, listening to NPCs, flipping switches and shit like that. When you take a NES or SNES game it’s almost 100% just the game and you. And that’s what replay value is: how fun is the game to play? After the novelty of the graphics, story or gameplay has worn off, how much fun is it to keep playing the game regardless? This is why I could never get myself to replay any of the modern Zelda or 3D Mario games; the first time around the production values draw me in and I think I’m enjoying the *game*, but eventually the facade breaks down and I realise how boring the game itself is.

Breath of the Wild will be the same thing. Nintendo is just stretching out the game’s content to drip it out in pieces. Why? I don’t know, maybe it’s meant to give people the feeling that the game lasts longer than it actually does? What astonishes me however is how much contempt for the player there is in this DLC. First of all they are selling a season pass, which means you are supposed to pre-order the DLC before you even know what it is. Other companies have been doing this for years already, why are people paying money for these things? Then there is the content of the DLC itself. I think that it’s BS when developers force you to first play the game on a boring difficulty before you unlock the harder one, but that’s still better than having to *pay* for a hard mode. At least with the unlock you could download a save file from the internet and be done with it. The last DLC could be decent if it proves good content, but there is now way of know what it will be like at this point in time.

Compare this to Red Steel 2. Yeah, the world building makes no sense, the characters are campy, the story is not going to earn any rewards, but slashing and shooting enemies with your own hands just feels so damn good that playing the game is the reward in itself. It is by no means as pure as the 8-bit and 16-bit era games, but the Wii era gave us one last time where at least some games came close to this old-school purity where the game was able to carry itself.

We’ll be able to judge Breath of the Wild soon enough.

When looking back at some of the older Zeldas, I find Wind Waker to be completely non-replayable. Twilight Princess I find half the game to be terrible. The parts of Twilight Princess I enjoy are the latter half of the game starting with Arbiter’s Grounds.

I did greatly enjoy Twilight Princess first time I played with with some exceptions. When the puzzle came up of the jumping statues for the Master Sword, I said ‘fuck this’ and went to the Internet to pass it. What a waste of time that stupid puzzle was.

Email: Why would you still want to buy Breath of the Wild?

Hello Malstrom,

So, looks like Nintendo has dumped a bucket of ice water over everybody’s Switch hype with the DLC announcement. I wish I could say I was surprised, but NSMB DLC, MK8 DLC, Hyrule Warriors DLC had me expecting this move. Hell, I remember you even expecting this round E3 last year with this post: https://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2016/06/18/some-more-zelda-emails/

“I will post more emails up as I have to head out. But I want you to think of this.

No one has talked about expansions and downloadable content to Zelda: Breath of the Wild yet.

The vast overworld could be made even larger. Would people pay for that? I think they would. The last console Zelda was Skyward Sword. We have never had a DLC Zelda before. Prior imagination would be adding on a new dungeon or new item, but with an overworld centric Zelda, perhaps new ways to interact with the overworld? New events to occur? New lands?”

Sad as it is, Nintendo is has already embraced DLC. I’ve done my best to ignore it and sold my copy of Smash Bros after the DLC was so expensive.

With that and your recent anti-hype in mind, let me ask you this: why are you still bothering with Breath of the Wild? You know it will be full of the usual “Aonuma-isms” so to speak.

I’m still buying my copy because i’m looking forward to the big open world and I’m quite impressed with what they managed to do with the systems in the game. Also, I have enjoyed some Aonuma Zelda’s. Wind Waker and Link Between Worlds. It’s not as if Aonuma hasn’t produced games that i’ve enjoyed. But I was wondering what’s keeping you from not cancelling your pre-order. Outside of Twilight Princess, you’ve despised everything the man seems to have touched! Why waste money on a con man?

I enjoyed Twilight Princess for the Wii launch. Although, I think TP is a very imperfect game. I’ve replayed TP several times since then. There are worse games.

Seriously, Wii was starving for adventure or RPG games. And fighting games. If it weren’t for the VC, Wii would have been toast for many gamers.

With Switch, I see RPG games galore. I am glad Ultra Street Fighter 2 is coming. I am happy to see Bomberman.

Malstrom doesn’t really like Nintendo games

Did you know that Malstrom doesn’t really enjoy Nintendo games? In fact, Nintendo games are nowhere near my favorite.

I love Nintendo hardware, but I tend to not like their software.

The exception was the NES and Gameboy. I LOVED Super Mario Brothers 1, 2, 3, Zelda 1 and 2, and all the rest of Nintendo first party games. I LOVED the third party NES games especially anything from Konami, Capcom, or Sunsoft. With Gameboy, I LOVED Tetris, Alleyway, Metroid 2, Kirby, and the rest.

But Nintendo first party games just got lame.

During the SNES Era, I found Super Mario World, Super Metroid, and Link to the Past to be disappointing sequels. They have all aged like fine wine, and I find them extremely more enjoyable to play than probably anything else on the market. Donkey Kong Country games were OK. But the first party SNES game that rocked my world was Super Mario Kart. That game was incredible during that time (and all times!).

So what games did I love to play on SNES? Final Fantasy 2, Final Fantasy 3, Contra 3, Super Smash TV, Gradius 3, etc. these games rocked my world. You can see why I wasn’t happy with the N64. Lack of third party, 3d orgy everywhere.

On Gamecube, the first party content was terrible aside from Metroid Prime. My favorite Gamecube game was Ikaruga, a third party game.

With DS, I can’t think of a first party Nintendo game I LOVED. I did enjoy NSMB DS and Mario Kart DS. I think I LOVED Bomberman DS the most on the system as well as titles like Meteos and the DS RPGs.

For Wii, I thought Wii Sports was amazing. The rest of first party Nintendo games were so-so. NSMB Wii was awesome too, but it lacks atmosphere and adventure. To me, my favorite times with Wii was with the Virtual Console. I discovered the Turbografx 16 library. So awesome!

With Switch, I think BoW will be a good quality game, but not a classic. I am curious about Splatoon 2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe I want for multiplayer with girls (I’m so bad) and girlfriends. ARMS? Meh. Mario Odyssey? Meh. I am most excited for Super Bomberman R, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Ultra Street Fighter 2, Disagea 5, and the other RPGs.

I like Nintendo hardware with arcade and RPG quality third party software. This is how I have played my NES, SNES, DS, and Wii. It is how I will play my Switch too!

“Why do you like Nintendo hardware?”

Nintendo hardware is the best! It is built like a tank. Sega’s hardware was always… ehhhh. Look at how many versions of the Genesis there are! Then you have the 32x, the CD rom attachment, etc. Nintendo hardware is solid, solid. The controllers were always the best. I am talking about NES, SNES, Wii, not the atrocious N64 or Wii U.

I cannot stand PlayStation and Xbox hardware. Their controllers feel wrong. Their hardware just doesn’t seem made to last. I find Sony and Microsoft hardware to be cheap. Nintendo hardware I find to feel premium… or how console hardware SHOULD be. I do not want a PC in a box which is what Microsoft and Sony hardware is.

When you slip your Contra cartridge into your NES, you know this is how gaming SHOULD be, how gaming OUGHT to be.

Nintendo first party software has always been, to me, lukewarm good with a few OMG BEST GAME EVER. The games that are OMG BEST GAME EVER has been:


Donkey Kong Classics

Mario Brothers

Super Mario Brothers

Super Mario Brothers 2

Super Mario Brothers 3

Legend of Zelda

Zelda 2: Adventure of Link

Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!

Dr. Mario





Super Mario Land

Super Mario Land 2

Metroid 2

Link’s Awakening


Super Mario Kart



Wii Sports

This is my opinion only. Nintendo’s first party in the list above is perfect 10 (and yes, I loved Alleyway). No disappointments with the above titles. But first party for SNES was more like 6-8 range with only Super Mario Kart completely wowing me. (I bought Super Mario Kart the DAY it launched and was ridiculed by everyone for wanting a go kart game. But I knew. Everyone kept trying to borrow my Mario Kart cartridge!).

Zelda BOTW may be a 10 quality title to me. But most likely it will fall into the 6-8 range as will Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Splatoon 2 could win me over.

And then there are the unannounced titles. What about a new Metroid?

6-8 range in software isn’t bad. I am hoping a third party pulls out a 10. I thought Final Fantasy 1, 2, and 3 for the NES and SNES were all 10 range quality titles. After that, the franchise died to me. I still can’t get into 7 with its shitty 3d. Dragon Quest is more of a 6-8 range for me.

The games I really loved on the NES and SNES would surprise many. NES there are too many 10 range titles of both first and third party. Contra? Life Force? Blaster Master? Double Dragon 1 and 2? (3 wasn’t that bad). Mega Man 2 and 3? (rest weren’t bad either). Too much high quality games on the NES.

SNES I was really only rocked with Super Mario Kart, Contra 3, and the Square RPGs.

Remember what rocks my world is not going to rock the market’s world.

I am buying Splatoon 2 just to see how it is. But honestly, Zelda: BoW may be the only Nintendo made Switch game I buy. Instead of asking, “Why are you buying it?” you need to ask, “That is the only Nintendo game you are buying?” The answer is probably yeah.

There are some third party games I’d want to get for the other systems but their hardware is too terrible. Vita and PSP? No way! Vita was tempting to me because of the 3DS disaster. With all the installation needed for the PS4 and Xbox One, I can say to hell with all that.

Email: BOTW is not open world

Something I was thinking about when comparing the lineup to the switch to previous consoles, and I’ve come to the same conclusion as you, that it might be best to not expect a return to the preN64 days anytime soon.

The main reason that BOTW is being tuted as a successor to the original Zelda is because it is so open world. But is it? In the original Zelda you can go and do anywhere on the map with little worries except the enemies you might face. This is not the case for BOTW. You have to worry about staying warm, staying fed, having weapons that are not about to break. This all keeps you from just playing the game and will likely limit you quite a bit.

The original Zelda became more open as the player grew better at the game, which fit with the twitch style arcade gamelplay. With skyrim being one of the main sources of inspiration, BOTW is one of the furthest things from an arcade style game. Can you imagine playing Skyrim at the arcades? Not to say this is a bad style of game, but it is very different from the series roots.

It reminds me a lot of Ocarina of Time. That was really the first point that story started to be seen as more important than the fun twitch gameplay of the games that came beforehand. BOTW feels a lot more of a successor to Ocarina of Time than any 2D zelda. If they truly want to make a game that succeeds the 2D zeldas, why don’t they make it 2D?

Mario too is reverting to the N64, but no further back. 3D Mario has never sold as well as 2D Mario, and I’m glad that Nintendo has dropped the idea of “teaching” the people who play 2D mario by trying to flog creepy frankenstein merged 3d world games that don’t appeal to either demographic. But they didn’t learn they’re lesson. They have just gone back to 3D Mario with no mention of 2D mario once more. I;m sure that any 2D Mario that shows up will be covered in “NEW” branding once more, implying there’s something wrong with the old Mario that isn’t completely sacharine soaked.

If there’s one difference between the way nintendo handled the N64 and how they are handling the Switch, I’d say it’s the design of the controllers. Controllers are the most important aspect of a console, and have determined Nintendo’s success for every home console release. The N64 and Gamecube controllers were designed specifically for a few games that Nintendo wanted to design, note the large focus on the control stick, the D-pad squished out the way on both controllers, and the large emphasis on C (Camera) controls, which on the N64 takes away two face buttons that had previously been on the controller and on the Gamecube takes the prostigous place of second control stick. These controllers were clearly designed for 3D Mario and Zelda with little concern for anything else.

Fortunately the Switch seems to take more after the Wii in regards to design, focusing on multiple ways of playing and not putting a giant focus on the controls they want for their game. I was always quite suprised with Mario Galaxy, it felt like the game was actually adapted to the controller for the first time!

Sorry for rambling but it’s interesting to get ideas while we are still in the waiting period, even if they may soon be irrelevant. I believe the switch is what the N64 should have been, but I’m not sure if it’s worthy of being a successor to the SNES or Wii yet.

We will see soon enough.

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