Spirit Track´s Non-hype and the Legacy of Ocarina of Time

October 26, 2009

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Just throwing out a bunch of thoughts: There´s no hype for The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks because it is the sequel to Phantom Hourglass. Even though a lot of fans wore their rose-tinted glasses at first, now you´ll find that there´s many fans, if not a majority, that found Phantom Hourglass to be lacking. In more than just one or two areas. To name only a few, it didn´t have an exploration-inviting overworld, all NPCs were horrible, detached from any kind of development, thus resulting in Captain Lineback being praised, when he was the only “okay” character, and nothing great either. The infamous main-dungeon that had to be repeated several times under time pressure also did its best to beat down any player´s motivation, and then you had those lousy Styulus-controls that worked for puzzles, but made controlling Link himself a hassle, feeling like you´re baiting some kind of puppet instead of actually controlling someone. The fact that all dungeons felt like a Zelda-textures Dr. Kawashima and had horrible themes (Egyptian Pyramids, in a Zelda-game, really?!?) gave it the rest. Oh, and forgot the awful sailing, or rather “motor-boating”, that had you permanently defending against silly enemies that appeared randomly. Three hits and you had to start it all over, too. Gone the days where you could just peacefully sail in The Windwaker.

Spirit Tracks looks exactly like the above game, except you switch the boat with a train, and add some gimmicky game-mechanics.

On another note, I´d really like to see a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. There are two kinds of people I often see writing about the Zelda-series: They either think that Twilight Princess already is an OoT-remake, OR they think that OoT by nowadays standards wasn´t a great game anymore. It´s my honest belief that both those statements are fundamentally wrong.

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Whereas Twilight Princess (unfortunately) features are very linear, very cinematic structure, Ocarina of Time was a lot more like the open world-Zelda NES. Of course, not exactly as open-world, but compared to Twilight Princess? Day and Night. There may be thematic similarities, but the whole atmosphere, feel and ingame progression are totally different…in favor of Ocarina of Time. And: If you´d upgrade OoT´s visuals to today´s standards (be it like Twilight Princess or some kind of HD-remake on a possible next Nintendo-system), the game would still kick every other adventure-game´s ass. Thinking of the forest- or spirit-temple alone make me start drooling. Oh, and one thing I must not forget: OoT´s soundtrack. To this day, it is the best video game soundtrack ever having been created. There may be individual songs from other games that are great as well, but in OoT..EVERY SINGLE SONG IS MEMORABLE. Just five minutes ago I debated with myself if I could remember something unimportant as the shop-melody…and then there it was. If “but it´s midi!!!11” is your counterargument, then just listen to one of the many orchestrated versions of the soundtrack. Not that it matters, because OoT´s soundtrack is great no matter if midi or not, it´s the fantastic melodies that make it so unforgettable.

Nostalgia is often a problem, but when it comes to Ocarina of Time, it is definitely not.

htwtswimOld mock-up for a rumored Ocarina of Time-remake
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Serious Business

October 25, 2009

A game that takes itself serious; a rare sight. For some reason, though, many, if not most, gamers will complain, if a game doesn´t make fun of itself or just features some humor. Usually, such games are called “taking itself too serious“, when all said game did was being serious, no goofing around, no sillyness.

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Many years of gaming have made me love games that allow to immerse myself into. Jumping into another world and breathing a different air. A game world that constantly attempts silly jokes breaks this atmosphere, though. One of the best examples of this problem would be Fable 2. On one hand, you have a serious story, a threatening villain…on the other hand, all the social interaction options look like they´re out of another game. That´s also a problem a lot of cartoons, TV-shows or anime have: A certain event is being built upon to, and just before the event´s climax, something silly happens. Like you´re in a life-threatening situation and suddenly someone throws in a “funny” comment. Or the show follows real-world physics, but just that moment someone falls 20 meters and simply gets up as if nothing happened.

Games do not take themselves serious enough. Not every game should be serious, but as of right now, hardly any games do. And, of course, if they do, pseudo-elitist gamers make fun of them as “taking themselves too serious”. For example, I definitely wouldn´t hate on a little, funny new character that accompanies Shepard in the next Mass Effect-game. Maybe some kind of cute looking alien, half as big as a human, giving funny comments, but all the other characters know that it actually is a dependable teammate. You also have such elements in the Zelda-games, just look at Tingle or the Ooccoo-lady from Twilight Princess. Or take all Final Fantasy-games. There are characters like Xell or Selphie (FF8) that make for a lighter atmosphere at times, but they don´t break the overall tone of the game.

Surely, it doesn´t help when pseudo-elitist gamers ridicule such games. I think there´s a huge problem between those gamers that play these games just for their puzzles, their challenge, and those gamers that really want to get into the game, experience something. Let´s be honest: There´s a million of games of the former type. Not so much for the latter.


Why Nintendo’s next home system will launch in 2011

October 23, 2009

In both 2007 and 2008, Nintendo had a great showing at their Business Media Conference that took place in Japan and the US almost at the same time. Nintendo used these events to announce new games (Monster Hunter 3, Sin and Punishment 2) and even new hardware (Nintendo DSi). This year, however, there was no such event. I had this article stay put for the whole month of October, in the event that Nintendo really wouldn´t have any big-news event. There is a Shigeru Miyamoto-keynote happening in a day or such, but that´s not a place to reveal anything except for maybe a few info-bits on certain games (and even that is highly debatable). Reality is: No new game-announcements, Super Mario Galaxy 2 sometime at the end of 2010 and a semi-outsourced Metroid-game. Count in S&P2, and you have Nintendo´s offerings for what we know.

That, however, doesn´t mean that I´m going to rant about anything again; the topic of this article is that it hit me hard when I realized that more than ever before it looks like a new Nintendo home system is in the works, which would be no news, but: It really might be coming in 2011, just as Yoichi Wada fantasized in a recent interview.

First, what makes one think about the Wii already being at its end-game is the amount of titles Nintendo itself is developing for the system. As mentioned above, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid: Other M and Sin and Punishment 2 are in the works, one of them being developed by a third-party developer (supported by Nintendo, though). It´s often claimed by butt-hurt gamers that Nintendo focuses on non-gamers or casual gamers now, but to be honest, I don´t know of any casual-focused Nintendo-game being in the pipeline…at all. Wii Fit Plus just got released, and that´s that. Of course, surely I´m forgetting two or three games, but those are smaller, niche titles anyway. Fact is: If it wouldn´t be too ridiculous of a thought, it seemed as if Nintendo already abandoned the Wii. A Mario-sequel using all the existing assets of the previous game, an outsourced Metroid-game, and some low scale-titles. No sign at all of StarFox, F-Zero, Luigi, or other known franchises (or new franchises, for that matter). The counter argument to all that, of course, is that Nintendo might be giving third-parties a spotlight, but it is a weak point to make. Nintendo wants money. All companies do. There may be short periods of strategic release plans, but no company that can sell so many games holds back for three and more years.

Second point to make is that Nintendo, or rather Satoru Iwata, head of Nintendo of Japan, isn´t blind. He can see both third-parties struggling with their sales, and he knows that HDTV-adoption rates are growing and growing, hitting the casual households by now. The Wii is underpowered in comparison to its two competitors, which is the number one reason above all others that the Wii doesn´t get big multi platform titles.

Other than explicit arguments, there´s also a bunch of interesting legit information about Nintendo´s “doings”. There´s this new Shigeru Miyamoto-interview, where Shigsy talked about some improvements the next Nintendo-system might feature. Of course, at this point it´s just visionary talk, but what he said didn´t sound too unrealistic. He mentioned how he´d like to make the Wiimote-controller smaller, more compact. Which precedents the fact that he´d like to stay with the current overall-concept of the Wii. To put up some down-to-earth speculation, this could mean built-in Motion Plus, Wireless nunchuck and other small upgrades like generally more precise motion sensors, maybe even Motion Plus within the nunchuck.

The next thing I´m going to talk about still has a legitimate base, but speculation from my side grows bigger. Nobody knows what a Nintendo-patent investment in another company means for the future. Sometimes, a patent turns into actual game-content, like the Interactive Player-guide for casual gamers, now featured in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Sometimes, however, we never hear about something like that ever again. One of those mysterious Nintendo-investments is their  encouragement in a company called InPhase. Said company is known for working on so-called HVDs, holographic versatile discs. Those new, yet-not-available-for-the-mainstream discs can carry up to several terabytes on a single unit. Without going into too much detail of this new technology, whereas usual media like DVD or BluRay-discs work on a 2-dimensionale plane, information on the HVD is put 3-dimensional. By using not only flat surfaces, but all room dimensions at once, a multitude of information can be place on one area of the disc, where a lot more space had to be used on typical disc-media. Now, even though some enthusiast-hifi-lovers might think differently, no game is in need of a disc that has like ten terabytes of space. Most gamers don´t even have enough games to fill one of those discs. That´s where a bit of speculation comes into play: Nintendo might be using an HVD-based home system as a replacement for not only the Wii´s flash memory, but also the need of an HDD. No current-gen system´s HDD comes even close to the disc-space of a single HVD.

With the HVD, Nintendo would have several opportunities at once. Most obviously, no space-problems ever again. More importantly, though, such a system could really be an HDD-driven system for the first time (using one high-space HVD as an HDD). Said discs also have the advantage of featuring enormously fast read-times at a low spinning-speed, thus not making much, if at all, noise. It could also be argued that a single HVD would be cheaper than a big, typical HDD. However, Nintendo never puts features into its consoles they´re not going to use (oh well, GameCube broad band-adapter). But that´s exactly why an HDD-driven system would be ideal for Nintendo. This company often gets called out for ripping people off, being focused on getting more and more money only. If that was the case, we´d see a new Smash Bros.-game ever single year. Because it would sell. Same with Mario Kart and other, similar franchises. Yet, Nintendo is keeping their lineup diverse (though the general amount of output sucks, that´s what I talked about in the beginning). By using a system that´s totally based on HDD-installed content, Nintendo could keep the “one entry per franchise”-philosophy BUT still go all out and release new content for already released games. Not only on a low scale like adding a new character to Smash Bros. or new mini-games for a WarioWare-title, but presenting full new stories for games like The Legend of Zelda or Fire Emblem. You finished the new Fire Emblem-game already? No problem, Nintendo releases a new mission each month for a few WiiPoints, telling an ongoing-story that goes beyond the initial release. Ganon already defeated? Then download chapter one of “The second Arc”, featuring the beginning of a new adventure. The whole idea is, obviously, a non-brainer for multiplayer-based games.

That´s not the end of physical media, though. Another thing Nintendo isn´t stupid enough to try. Which brings us to my last point that is one hundred percent speculation. I went on about this idea in an older article already. Basically, when the Wii Too (let´s call the next system that) is launched, Nintendo doesn´t send the current Wii to die. Normally, mainstream and casual gamers won´t buy a new video game console when they already have one that was up-to-date until just now. That´s why Nintendo could follow an Apple-like model of releasing their new system, while featuring a multitude of offerings. That´s where the current Zelda Wii comes into play. I fully expect this game to be a hybrid-title that will run on the current Wii, but when started on a Wii Too, features HD-textures and other small upgrades to its visual appearance. This new business-model I´m painting here is a chance for Nintendo, but also smaller developers. Three options of selling your game become available: 1) Make it a full-fledged Wii Too-title, great graphics, using all the new features, etc.. 2) Make it a Wii-game, which will, of course, be able to run on the Wii Too as well. And 3) Make it a hybrid-title that runs on the current Wii, but has certain nextgen-features that will come into play when you start the game on a Wii Too. Yet again, Nintendo would shake the entire industry by actively persuing such a business-model.

To conclude the above:

Nintendo may or may not release their nextgen system in 2011. There are, however, many points to be taken that make it seem likely, or at least possible. Nintendo is the current gen´s market leader, and usually a market leader doesn´t introduce their next system first. However, it´s also historical fact that the company to release their system first has an ultimate advantage (see PS1, see PS2, see Xbox360). Also, Nintendo´s upcoming software-lineup look extremely bland. Just WHAT is Nintendo working on? Their inhouse-studios are known, but not what they´re working on. Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be a great game, that´s for sure, but it cannot shoulder an entire lineup alone. Meanwhile, third parties still fail to make up for the lack of Nintendo-developed games. There are more interesting looking efforts now than there were last year and the year before, but it´s still laughable compared to what Nintendo´s competitors are getting. Wii Too in 2011, fiction or not, would also finish the usual five-year-circle that´s been used until now (Wii was released in 2006, 2011 makes that five years, to point that out).

Is that fact that I´m expecting, or at least pointing out one possible future, a new Nintendo-system in 2011 being negative or just realistic? You decide.


GameBoy – From kiddy to classic

October 15, 2009

The Nintendo DS is super popular and Nintendo´d be crazy not to evolve this concept when it comes to their next handheld. Still, when I wrote the Pokémon-article, I couldn´t help but think: Damn, the GameBoy Pocket looks so hot!

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My first GameBoy was a big one, yellow colored. German Nintendo PR called it “Banana Joe“. I loved it so much, my first very own gaming system…until one of my brothers stepped on it, on the screen, aaand it was over. But it was around the time when the GameBoy Pocket got released. I believe i got it as a Christmas-present, and it was awesome. So small, so sleek, and the screen was so much better. And only two little batteries instead of four of the bigger ones. It also had this great plastic case. Even when the GameBoy Color came out and one or two friends showed them off, I didn´t feel envious, as the GameBoy Pocket still looked better.

Of course, Nintendo dropped the GameBoy-franchise. The Nintendo DS proved to be a gigantic success, and Nintendo surely was glad to get away from this rather childish brand name. After all, “GameBoy” sounded both kiddy AND, by pure definition of its name, targeted boys rather than girls, or simply, everyone. The NDS is a much better allround-solution.

But these days, whenever I think of this great handheld, I think of it more off “classic” rather than “kiddy”. “GameBoy” is a classic video game-franchise, a brand name, everyone knew (most likely still knows). And the design of the GameBoy Pocket is something that many of today´s PMPs seem to mimic, of course not on purpose, but they´re still looking similar. To make it short: A revival of the GameBoy-brand would be one of the greatest things ever to be happening in the near future. Nintendo could even use it as a specific model-branding rather than a whole new machine. I.e. released a Nintendo DS 2, and release a more pompous version called “GameBoy DS”. While the NDS 2 would be a close follow-up of the current NDS, the GameBoy DS could offer a lot of multimedia-features as well as more hardware power and other stuff that the masses of the mainstream do not necessarily need to have.

At the end of the day, all I want is a handheld as great looking as the GameBoy Pocket, featuring all the modern features.


Poké this, poké that! – Escape into a better World

October 12, 2009

These last days, if not weeks, I spent in reminiscence of my child-to-teenage days. Thanks to the Epic Mickey-announcement I finally got myself the Don Rosa Scrooge McDuck-collection. There´s also the upcoming movie-adaption of Where the Wild Things Are, a book I loved as a child (did I mention that my first name is Max). This, however, brought me to another nostalgia moment of mine: Pokémon (I´ll write Pokemon for greater comfort).

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The Pokemon-anime was what brought me to…well, anime. Of course, i saw some anime before that, but didn´t know that it was anime, stuff like Heidi, Niklaas or Saber Rider. Pokemon made me aware of anime, it got me interested in it. I remember how I initially hated Dragonball, but shortly afterwards got to love it. But Pokemon wasn´t just an anime. It was a phenomenon. Before the first game´s release, there simply wasn´t a single thing more interesting than this. Pokemon Red and Blue, the ultimate game-experience! At least that´s what many friends of mine and me myself thought back then in 1998. Many of my classmates got the game, and breaks between classes were filled with Pokemon-battles. Oh how awesome the GameBoy-link cable was. And I´ll never forget about how I finally managed to defeat the level 51 Digdri (the evolved worm-Pokemon), when it was unbeaten before. Pokemon was a small crack in reality.

Now, more than ten years later, the Pokemon-hype has cooled down to most of its first-day fans. Personally, that´s because of how stale the gameplay has become. Basically, the Pokemon you play today, is the Pokemon you played then. Some like that, others not so much. But although many fans don´t like the modern games that much anymore, the wish for a large-scale home console Pokemon is still there. And there´s a reason for it.

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The Pokemon-world is a “feel-good”-place. There´s no real danger, except for a light adventure-tone, that just needs a little portion of danger. But nothing like getting killed (ha, you return to a Poke-center if you´re defeated) or other negative events. And who didn´t envy young Ash Ketchum, who was allowed to travel the world all by himself with a loyal, cute, little monster, when all of us had to go to school? Yeah, like totally…

Nintendo has a lot of legit reasons for holding off such a complex Pokemon-game for Wii or future home systems, though. First and foreall, the Pokemon-franchise is a handheld-series. The handheld-games are destined to sell several million units, whereas the few home system-titles failed to come anywhere close to those numbers. Of course, none of those N64- or GameCube- or Wii-titles had a lot of complexity and polish put into it, thus that´s no wonder. But it is the next point against such a Pokemon: Costs. Cost would rise to heaven did Nintendo use the same effort for a Pokemon as they´re using for, i.e., a Zelda-game. And last but not least, what kind of gameplay is right? A top-down RPG with silly random encounters probably wouldn´t be the hottest item on the market.

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Despite all those reasons, I believe Nintendo both HAS TO create such a Pokemon-game one day AND owes it to us. “Us” being the long-time fans of the franchise. Sure, no company does something out of pure love, but even so, at some point Nintendo will release a handheld that´s powerful enough to force some bigger upgrades to the games. The most important aspect of bringing the Pokemon-series to the big screen, though, is connectivity.

That´s something Square Enix did with the last multiplayer-Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles-game, even when they kind of chose the lazy way. Having two different, but ultimately very similiar versions of one and the same game, thus allowing the player to enjoy high fidelity at home, while still being able to proceed on your way. I think that would be the best solution for the Pokemon-series.

Imagine my dream-Pokemon-game on the Wii: You create your own Pokemon-trainer, can choose from various goals, like becoming number one trainer, or number one contest-winner, or studying all Pokemon, or, or, or. Stuff like that. So you visit Professor Oak and he gives you your first Pokemon. It follows you around while you run. And how beautiful it looks: Gorgeous cel-shading visuals, fully interactive 3d-environments, controllable camera, and various actions for your ingame-avatar. You can climb trees or mountains, swim and dive in rivers, enter dark caverns that you need to bring some light source with you to find your way. You´ll travel past wide open green grass environments. And best of all: You see Pokemon doing whatever they´re supposed to do. There, a group of Tauros (the bull-Pokemon) is running across a field next to you. They seem to have a race against each other. You look above in the sky, and two male Pidgeons are competing for a female one. You enter a forest, hear a sound, climb a tree and find a nest of Smettbos (the butterfly-Pokemon). You´re sitting on a branch and decide to catch on of those. Therefore you take aim with the wiimote-pointer and throw a Poke-ball. It doesn´t work, and suddenly a group of Smettbos is attacking you. You jump of the tree, trying to flee from the danger. The angry Pokemon are still angrily following you, but suddenly, your own Pokemon jumps in and defends you from the enemies. You stop running an start giving commands, like “Jump into air and do xyz-attack!” or “Dodge the Smettbo´s next attack, then rush into it!” or “Climb that tree and attack from above!“. You succeed, and with both your Pokemon-partner and yourself exhausted, you lie down at a clearing, as you pat your Pokemon onto its head, saying “Thanks, xyz“, while showing a gentle smile. “Let´s look for a Poke-center, xyz!“, and your journey goes on.

THAT is my dream-Pokemon-game. Obviously, its gameplay would be very different from what the current Pokemon-games are like. First, and most importantly, the combat system. Instead of entering a separate battle-screen, all battles would take place in real-time, with no change of the environment. Battles would start seamlessly, dynamically. Also, no random battles. Pokemon have realistic (in terms of the franchises rules) behavior, and you can choose to quietly watch them, find out details or simply start a battle. Think of Monster Hunter 3 for Wii in terms of what the Pokemon would be like here. Next is how you´d command your Pokemon in battle. No silly “four attacks, repeat until win or lose”. Instead, commands are varying, changing depending on the circumstances of your current battle. Like in the anime-series, your Pokemon will permanently run around, no stale “you attack…i attack…you attack…” and so forth. The INT-value of your Pokemon finally is worth more than just deciding whore begins the fight. Instead, there´s a system like the ATB-system from i.e. Final Fantasy 7 or 8. Whenever your INT-bar is full, your Pokemon can attack again. If the difference is that high, that could result in one Pokemon being able to attack three times while the other one can launch only one. And while the fight is going on, you could still run around with your ingame-avatar. The focus in terms of player-action is on the ingame-avatar, not the Pokemon. You don´t control the Pokemon, you control the ingame-character you created. That one, though, can do many things similiar to Link in the Zelda-series. No alibi-actions like most JRPGs offer, but real interaction and exploration. Other than environment- and battle-interaction, there´d be an important section of the game where you interact with your Pokemon themselves. Not just a simple “Talk to it and the relationship-value goes up 1“, but a deep simulation-system, at least the level of Nintendogs (which isn´t that high anyway). Though Pokemon are thinking creatures unlike real animals, so there´d be more than just washing and throwing frisbees, naturally.  And once you´re done playing at home, you start up your Nintendo DS, link it to your Wii-game, transfer data and can play on-the-go, with traditional top-down view and random encounters.

And that´d be what I could happily die afterwards. Which is why it´ll never come true. I´m a fanatic Zelda-fan, but I honestly couldn´t decide what I´d prefer…my dream Zelda-game, or my dream Pokemon-game. That´s how much potential the Pokemon-franchise actually has as a video game. It´s up to Nintendo to unfold it, though you could argue that in terms of sales, they already did. Maybe…just maybe…

glurak


Games are great and whoever thinks different is wrong [rant]

October 9, 2009

This, at least, is the premise of what I´m going on about in the following text. I just stumbled over a bunch of postings in some videogame board, and I simply have to touch on this topic, once and for all.

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Video games for the current home console systems are NOT great. They absolutely pale in comparison with last generation of games and the generations before. You cannot say that publicly, though, because it´ll result in two outcomes: Either, you´ll be called nostalgic, wearing rose-tinted glasses. Them saying that past games actually aren´t as great in reality, just become that in your mind. OR you´ll get replies like “oh well, you grew out of gaming, time for a break”. Don´t mess with me!

No matter which of the three systems I look at, their predecessors were better. Nintendo currently is using a “release two games per year“-policy that´s just not working. How great were the GameCube-days when we got Starfox Adventures, Eternal Darkness and Mario Sunshine all within the same month. Microsoft had some unique games like Gun Valkyrie, Phantom Dust or sequels to SEGA-franchises, combined with a lot of western games, that weren´t that common back then. And Sony…, well, they were market leader with the PS2 and had so many quirky, interesting games.

What makes me SO angry (yeah, taking the internet serious) is that EVERY single “promising” game is hyped into “AAA”, whatever “AAA” means. There´s so much shit, especially on both of the HD-systems, that get´s called “AAA” just because if has gorgous visuals or is exclusive to one of the two systems. And on Wii, a game is only “AAA” when it´s a super big Nintendo-franchise OR a well-known 3rd-party franchise. I´m so sick of people saying “Wii has no games”, and going on about how Super Mario Galaxy is the only game they liked…when they are too lazy or too biased to inform themselves about what the Wii´s library actually has to offer.

WHAT HAPPENED, i ask all of you. When finally two of the console manufacturers offer a hardware structure where multi platform titles are normal, it seems that all the console war-crap has totally gotten out of hand. Shitty racing-, hack’n slay- or fps-games are called “AAA” and people that think different are badmouthed and trolled.  You know what? I want a games industry where gaming is supposed to be fun, again. “Again“, because that is what it all was about once in the past. The term “AAA”, websites like Metacritic or Gamerankings, and sensationalist gaming-outlets like 1UP.com, Gamespot or Kotaku, permanently stir things up. Without any reason. And stupid-as-fuck fanboys have nothing better to do than to jump at all that shit and start console war-stuff again. Then pseudo-neutral people talk out of their ass from above and, while seemingly being better, try to do the same as the non-disguised fanboys. It´s sickening. And all that because you cannot say “no, this game is not great” anymore.

If a game is “not great”, then it´s destined to be answered by a fanboy with “it´s just not your cup of tea”. And thus, another crappy title is justified to be called “AAA”, when all it has going for it is its exclusivity status. Whoah, Punch-Out! Wii is so great! No, it´s not. It´s multiplayer sucks and the singleplayer is way too hard and linear and gets old fast. Motor Storm is so great, go play it! No, I won´t! It´s just number #34322555 of yet another shitty racing game. Fable 2 is so great, it´s like Zelda but better! No, it´s not! All characters are missing character, and all the “simulation stuff” is totally unattached to the rest of the game. My wife just now divorced from me? Doesn´t matter, I´ll get another one!

You see, this is one big rant, i know. But all that “AAA”-stuff and all that hype-stuff just ruins the gaming industry. Back in the days, “AAA”-games (still, whatever AAA means, sigh) were titles like Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Half Life or Final Fantasy. And today? Crap like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, InFamous or Bayonetta. The first one will be yet another 2D-Mario, the latter two are or will be forgotten two weeks after their release. Those three “AAA-games” from the past that I mentioned are talked about even to this day, though. Something cannot be right, right?

For all the reasons why this is the way it is, it doesn´t matter. What matters is the fact that gaming is becoming worse and worse. And the only way to change something is to accept that. It absolutely doesn´t help when fanboys or pseudo-neutralists keep explaning why certain games ARE great. If I, or you, or you, or you, find a certain game to be horrible, lacking in various ways, then chances are that you´re right (that´s if you´re generally interested in that respective title´s genre, of course). In past times, if people were told that a game they like sucks, they´d answer “well, I like it, even if not everyone likes it as well”. Now, the answer is “you´re wrong and your taste in game sucks and you´re just trolling, gtfo!”. For example, I´m really interested in Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga for Wii. I think it looks promising in a lot of ways. But do I think that everyone should acknowledge it as an arbitrary “AAA-game”? No, i do not. I realize that this game has specific appeals to specific kinds of gamers. And that´s it.

To conclude this rather epic rant: I know that I mixed two topics into one. First being the quality of games, second being the behavior of gamers themselves. But both tag along. On one hand, you have games getting worse, repeating the same concepts over and over again, and on the other hand, you have gamers that defend such games, and start with their annoying “AAA”-hype-thingy. To make long matters short: Play what you´re interested in, not what other´s make you believe to be interested in. I got Fire Emblem Wii just yesterday, and damn, it´s such a great game.

OR, considering the newest chapter of the Naruto-manga series: Don´t be a Masashi Kishimoto. Don´t fuck up what you loved for so long.


Epic Mickey – Bring back childhood memories

October 7, 2009

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Few days ago it was finally revealed which platform Epic Mickey will be released for. It´s going to be a Wii-exclusive title. The game produced by Warren Spector, his team and Disney Interactive brings up a lot of hopes. The story of the game is as follows: Oswald the Rabbit wants revenge. Revenge for having been forgotten, while Mickey Mouse conquered the hearts of all of us all over the world. To achieve his plans he hires the Phantom Blot, who is supposed to erase all Disney-worlds. It is Mickey´s job to bring back peace to the world.

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First gameplay bits tell that you will use the Wiimote pointer for drawing and scribbling your way through various levels, repairing broken bridges by using the right color or looking through walls by using a thinner on them. Mickey´s design is supposed to be quite classic, that´s why his face hasn´t been shown so far.

Phanblot

What got me hyped most personally, is the fact that the Phantom Blot (or “Schwarzes Phantom” in German) is part of the game. Remembering old stories I read as a kid, the Phantom Blot was often part of the more serious, more exciting stories of the Disney-portfolio. And who know´s what other classic Disney-characters might make an appearance in this game. All those details about Epic Mickey got me motivated to restart my Disney-fan engines. First thing I did after the above announcement was to grab one of my over 200 “Lustige Taschenbücher” and read it. And I think I´ll re-read them all. Also ordered the Don Rosa-book that features the whole Dagobert Duck (in English: Scrooge McDuck)-Story. Fun times ahead. AND to top it all, I consider getting back into collecting the remaining “Lustige Taschenbücher” that I´m missing. Thanks, Warren Spector, for getting me back into Disney (and thus losing a lot of money 😦 )