Tag Archives: Mario

#510 Let’s hear it for the Nintendo Girls

It has been a big news week for Nintendo, with their announcement of going into the mobile gaming market, their hints at a new Nintendo Hardware device simply codenamed “NX”, and the launch of the Nintendo’s newest edition of Mario Party and their next wave of Amiibos, along with that one Walmart exclusive Golden Mario Variant. Out of everything I could talk about today, for this post I want to focus on a wonderful little critical Huffington Post blog post against Nintendo’s choice of celebrating their Women characters for Women’s History month.

This month Nintendo had decided to release a series of promotional art work of Nintendo’s take on the iconic Rosie the Riveter World War II posters with some of their leading ladies from their popular games. These posters stars: Rosalina, Nintendo’s newest princess,  Princess Zelda’s alter ego, Tetra, from their incredibly popular (and just recently released in HD) “Legend of Zelda Wind Waker game”, Samus Aran, one of the first female protagonist of the 8 bit era from the “Metroid” series, and Platinum Star’s own, and recent to the Nintendo family, Bayonetta from “Bayonetta 1 & 2”.

Samus is akin to Wonder Woman of the video game world. A independent woman that has been around since the beginning of the console lifespan

Samus is akin to Wonder Woman of the video game world. A independent woman that has been around since the beginning of the console lifespan and a trend setter in her own right.

The author comments on the lack of Princess Peach representation in these promotional posters, and I agree with her idea that Nintendo might have chosen not to go toward with her as one of the stars because of how often the Mushroom princess has been kidnapped in all of the Mario games.

The author does takes issue of how Tetra is kidnapped by Ganondorf and must be rescued by the hero of time, you, and once the plot reveals how this leader of a pirate gang is actually the reincarnation of the princess of Hyrule and wielder of the Triforce segment of Wisdom. She is prevented from leaving the underwater -and protected- Hyrule Castle, until Link rebuilds his missing piece of the triforce lest Ganondorf recaptures her and assemble the entire Triforce and gets his one wish of returning the land of Hyrule to it’s original state, destroying all the land and inhabitants that lives above the sea.

Then the author goes on and talks about how Bombette, from Paper Mario, and Toadette are “just pink versions of the male characters” forgetting that they are not pink characters of male characters but pink characters of their entire species.

Toadette's biggest characterist is because she a girl because she, and all other toads have no personalities . If I was to put on MY over thinking hat I would argue that the toads have no personalities because they are all no-name proletariats, there to only serve Princess Peach; the only member of the Bourgeois in the Mushroom kingdom

Toadette’s biggest characteristic is because she a girl because she, and all other toads, has no personalities . If I was to put on MY over thinking cap I would argue that the toads have no personalities because they are all no-name proletariats, there to only serve Princess Peach, the only member of the Bourgeois in the Mushroom kingdom

The author also mentions how ‘problematic’ Bayonetta, a character that has passed the Bechdel Test, is for having an uncomfortable levels sex appeal in her game. As someone who played through both of the Bayonetta games just last year, Bayonetta has always come across as someone is determined in her mission, never to be distracted by anything petty like men or shoes. She is sexy not because it is bad character aspect of her personality, but because she is so much in control of anything that heaven or Hell could throw at her that her sex appeal has become a luxury, using it to taunt her friends and foes.

She is so confident about herself she has achieved Self-actualization in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. She has reached her full potential, she is pursing it, and she does not care any anyone else thinks of her. She is having fun

Bayonetta is so confident about herself she has achieved Self-actualization in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. She has reached her full potential, she is pursuing it, and she does not care any anyone else thinks of her. She is having fun

The author of this Huffington Post closes with mentioning games with more powerful women characters, like Naughty Dog’s “Last of Us” and Ubisoft’s “Beyond Good and Evil” as a few other non-Nintendo games that have done women characters the right way.

From my own point of view, as a reader of the post and as an avid videogame player, this post smacks of looking a gift horse in the mouth. Out of all the video game companies out there, from Sony to Microsoft and Steam, Nintendo is the only one going out there and putting themselves on the line to celebrate women in the media. I do not see any other companies going out of their way to plan, make, and execute a promotional event for Women’s History month, but after the blow back from Nintendo I have an educated guess on why they might want to abstain from talking or mentioning politics with their female characters.


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#485 Goodbye Club Nintendo

Sad news for Nintendo fans, but Tuesday morning Nintendo made a press release announced that their six year old consumer rewards program, Club Nintendo, will be closing down by the end of this year.

The rewards program is based on the nostalgic codes included with physical copies of games which you could exchange for physical or digital goods. Nintendo has started to phase out the service, by preventing anyone for signing up for an account the day the press release went live, the last day of March (31st) will the last time Club Nintendo users to earn and redeem coins, with the closing of the entire service for North American users by June 30th.

The funny thing is, only two weekends ago I went through to my collection and redeemed my Wii U and 3DS codes to finally achieve platinum status.

The funny thing is, only two weekends ago I went through to my collection and redeemed my Wii U and 3DS codes to finally achieve platinum status.

It is a shame to see it close down, but not surprising factoring in the potential cost of production and shipping of some the nicer Nintendo products out there

I only started the the participate in the Nintendo rewards program at the start of 2014 and since that time I was able to redeem several very nice complimentary gifts including; the virtual copies of the first Legend of Zelda, Kid Icarus, Metroid and Super Mario Bros. for the 3DS,  the remake of  Zelda Wind Waker for the Wii U, the physical copy of Super Smash Bros soundtrack and the code for Mewtwo DLC in Super Smash.

It is honestly a toss up between what Club Nintendo Reward I hold dear, a free HD remake of a childhood classic or the two disc soundtrack

It is honestly a toss up between what Club Nintendo Reward I hold dear, a free HD remake of a childhood classic or the two disc soundtrack

Nintendo has stressed that with the closing of the Club Nintendo program they will be rolling out a new, updated, consumer rewards program later in the year once everything from Club Nintendo has successfully be closed down.

Hopefully with the connectivity that Nintendo’s handheld and console devices has with the internet and Nintendo servers, I hope the new rewards system is something more automatic than entering codes online through a website, maybe Nintendo can make it work with a special 3DS/Wii U New rewards system app

I also hope that with the new Nintendo Rewards program is that they keep the free digital games as a reward (which I would not expect to be dropped because digital codes are the one reward that cost nothing to the company) but on top of that I hope they improve the quality of the games in the reward sections.

The free 3DS and Wii U games given away through the Club Nintendo program has always given me the impression that it was A novelty or consolation prize for the the people who could not earn enough for the good physical items. The original titles of the Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games are nice to have as artifacts of the old times but those were the cream of a some rather uninteresting crop of games.

Something beyond the NEW/Gameboy era of gaming

Something beyond the NEW/Gameboy era of gaming

Nintendo I know you have some of those really good Super Nintendo and GameBoy Advance 3DS ports placed under lock and key, its time to bust them out for this new program and maybe, for the high level rewards offer some cross buy titles to boot.


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#465 A Response to “Should Nintendo Launch New Franchises Soon?”

The good people over at Gamemoir has asked a question about Nintendo and their Intellectual Property, wondering if the gaming company should make a new franchise to make them better appeal to a new generation of gamers who are hungry for a new batch of iconic characters. You can read to post in question HERE.

A day may come when I will stop blogging about Nintendo, but it is not this day.

A day may come when I will stop writing about Nintendo, but it is not this day.

To cut right to the point I highly doubt that Zelda, Mario or any other Nintendo properties will go stale anytime soon, whether it be this, the next generation or beyond that.

Nintendo has been very good at keeping these characters timeless with every installment of the game series, Most main series Mario platform games takes place in a modern age kingdom with no hint of modern technology from the real world. We see with the Zelda series the game’s most common setting is a fantasy medieval kingdom setting, with the common way of fighting was with swords, bows, and magic instead of guns and grenades.

Even with the two Gamecube oddities of  Super Mario Sunshine and Zelda Wind Waker, that  moved away from the traditional game setting, Nintendo made sure that both games to never introduce social or technological influences from the real world into their games that would allow them to be dated in anyway.

And I serectly allowed Nintendo to keep their characters purposely blank in character personality to allow everyone to imagine themselves as either the Hero of time or a Space Bounty Hunter

And Nintendo keeps their characters purposely blank in the personality department to allow everyone to imagine themselves as either the Hero of time or a Space Bounty Hunter

The funny thing is Nintendo is has been busy making new game franchises beyond the staple Mario/Zelda/Pokemon marketing triforce. In the N64 days we were given the first Super Smash bros game, with the Gamecube we witnessed the birth of the Animal Crossing series. The Wii console saw Nintendo’s big push of their Mii franchise with all of the games that incorporated your cartoonist avatar (List), and most recently we have seen the possible creation of the new Wii U franchise, Splatoon.

It is far too early to predict what is the future of this game.

It is far too early to predict what is the future of this game.

Even if Nintendo stopped creating new Intellectual Properties I would still believe that Nintendo’s classic characters would last for years to come, because Nintendo has almost cornered the market with local co-op games. With the recent Mario platformer games that allowed multiple players to play the game at the same time and it is obvious that all of the Mario Kart, Mario Party, and Super Smash games that were specifically designed to be played with multiple players in one room.

We saw this game play design work into the the 3DS, with the ability to connect to the internet the handheld constantly rewards you for running into 3DS gamers with the use of the Streetpass worked into most of their game.

We saw this game play design work into the the 3DS, with the ability to connect to the internet the handheld constantly rewards you for running into 3DS gamers with the use of the Streetpass worked into most of their game.

If Nintendo stay to course and continue to create quality games that allows a living room full of people to have fun at the same time, those experiences will be memorable to the young and old gamers alike and in turn those characters they played as will be an iconic part of their childhood, which creates a wonderful cycle of nostalgia for every new generation. We most of us picked up Super Mario 64 I doubt any of us were worried about how this was the same character that our parents played back in his debuted in 1985 on the NES.

It is the same reason why Superman, Batman and Spider-man are still considered iconic characters in the comic book world dispute the fact that the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader all of them are pushing 75 and the Manhattan Webhead just celebrated his 50th anniversary.  None of those characters would be remembered or iconic if they did not have their company constantly push out quality stories in comic books, live action movies, or Saturday morning cartoons for a our parent’s and our entertainment.

spider_man_50_years

These fictional characters are older than most parents and some grandparents. 


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#420 A Response to “Are We Becoming Too Critical Of Video Games?”

For today’s post it is another response to one of Gamemoir’s Question of the Day posts from earlier this week. The post (found right HERE) talks about the abnormal amount of cynical criticism videogame players have with recently released AAA games when it comes to user reviews on meta-critic, using the Watch_Dogs backlash as the example.

I should get a frequent flyer card for how many responses I made because of them

I should get a frequent flyer card for how many responses I made because of them

Well you know where this one post is going, I am not going to be dedicating an entire blog post to echo someone else’s opinions, when it comes to the recent game releases we as consumers should never demand less our the amount of critical comments from ourselves, in fact I think we need all the critical observations we have right now and more so to ensure that only the best gets recognized.

Many – if not all – of complaints of Watch_Dogs spawned from Ubisoft’s over-promising features on their next big new IP game and under-delivering. From the launch of Watch_dogs we saw Ubisoft made the executive decision to hack off Week One DLC, create console specific and exclusive DLC, gimp the graphics on the PC version of the game and shoehorning in an unstable DRM service…ALL while advertising Watch_Dogs as a next great next gen game.

a next gen system that was released on the previous console as well.....hmmmmm

a next gen system that was released on the previous console as well…..hmmmmm

On the flip side there is hardly any criticisms towards games that simply told you exactly what it was going do and delivered it in spades.Just compare what promises given from Nintendo when they announced their most recent Mario Wii U game to the promises and designs from Ubisoft’s Watch_Dog reveal.

That is not the say that every game ever released by anyone should be held up the gaming standard of the cream of the crop, just like movies titles can be released two different -although VERY simplified- categories;

The first one is the fun to watch but stays in the comfort zone of slight immaturity, like what we see from Kirby titles and the over the top silliness of the Deadpool game. Or continuing with the movie parallel, the Die Hard series or any major summer action blockbuster movies It is there just to satisfy that itch in our brains of seeing stuff explode and have mindless fun.

The other category is the more appealing release for both consumers and gaming developers desires, the academy award winning titles that pushes the envelope of what it means to be a part of that media, the Spec Ops: the Line, the Walking Dead seasons, or the effects caused within the gaming world with the release of coveted, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The reason Zelda OoT was so big was because it was the first time there was such a big paradigm shift a series. Going from a top down 2d to a full 3d third person open world game.

The reason Zelda OoT was so big was because it was the first time there was such a big paradigm shift a series. Going from a top down 2d to a full 3d third person open world game.

 

The problem with a perceived too much criticisms of games is when a company advertise a new release claiming it to win awards and show the true powers of what it means to be a game in the advertisements and lead up and gives us a run of the mill open world game with nothing new to offer. It is like going in to see Gravity in 3D IMAX and end up watching it in one of the smallest non-3D screens, it is still the same movie but the expected experience is completely different from the what we got.

There will always be people who constantly act as the nitpickers in movies, comics, music, and games but it is important not to let their complaints of not entering every house in an open world game drown out the legit critical claims of the game and the industry.

As patrons of this of a field of arts that is still just developing, we also need to be hyper critical of executive policies that would hurt the medium on the whole, like say rehashing franchises, excessive sequels, shoehorned in product placements, and practices that are only in place to line the higher up’s wallets instead of furthering the advancement of the media as a whole.


tmnt2014

 

 

But I want to know what you think, after reading the question from Gamemoir and my response here, where do you side with the about of criticisms in the gaming world?

 


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#378 I Spy a growing problem with GameSpy shutting down.

Another news story broke earlier this week with EA officially pulling server support for dozens and dozens of their titles by June 30th 2014, following the announcement that the online matchmaking service, GameSpy, will be closing down at the end of May on top of Nintendo will be moving forward in their plans to phase out Wii and Nintendo DS’s Nintendo Wi-Fi connection by May 20th.

A handy chart of all the Pokemon related content and services going away in the next few days

A handy chart of all the Pokemon related content and services going away in the next few days

 

This is not a new issue and with the next-gen consoles becoming this-gen, one of  gaming company’s current elephants in the meeting room is the question, ‘how long can or should these companies supply support to these old online games after creating a gaming generation with an emphasis on online play?”

On the business side, these video game companies -despite what some people think- do have limited amount of money and they cannot expect to run these servers in-house forever, especially when some of these games are pushing ten years old. but I do believe these companies have some sort of duty to continue providing service to the paying consumers who bought a game with such a heavy focus on online play.

We now have games that sell themselves on the focus on online multiplayer. I do not remember anyone buying Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, or TitanFall for the single player story they were bought because they were used a portal to a new world of online play. This trend is partly because of the advancement of internet speed and access but also because of the console company’s choice to focus more on the online play which is not a bad thing, but it does come with the responsibility to care for the product after the game is no longer topping the charts? This is not just  a problem for EA and Activision but for all AAA gaming companies with at least some bit of online support whether it be; online multiplayer,  any exclusive DLC content or digital patches will have to face with the upcoming shift from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

More importantly, what will happen in the gaming community when people who bought a game for the excuse to play online can longer have that ability to connect to the servers, like in the eventual phasing out of the Xbox Live and PlayStation network. What will the reaction when the from all the Halo 4 fans, and the Call of Duty Ghost players when no longer log on to their servers because the network that both games use for online play have gone offline? Not to mention the reaction from the players who will no longer have access to and retrieve or redownload all the indie, digital only games and DLC packs that they have already bought through XBL and PSN

Call me a history fanatic for my love of preservation the past and my concern with this the now obsolete games, but this issue will only be brought up again with more and more gaming services going offline and no longer playable. I wish I had an easy solution to fix this problem, the first go to answer would be to have every gaming company go the way of Valve and let the community have the ability to host servers of their favorite map. The problem is then to execute a major content patch for all consoles that changes exactly how these consoles connects to the internet and which 3rd party servers it connects to, a thought that Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony will not seriously entertain for long.

 


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#355 The Sin of Exclusive Content in Multiplatform Games

Watch_Dogs, in preparation for launch, released a video of the exclusive content PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 players will receive with their cop of the game. The video in question can be found HERE and it advertises 60 minutes of non-cosmetic content and gameplay. This is one of greatest sins on the console side of the videogame industry. We are out of the mid to late 90’s console war, there is no need to make content exclusive to one console or another.

I swear I don't have a personal vendetta against this game, it is just brings up a lot of problems I have with the videogame world.

After reading by last post about Watch_Dogs (Be MOP #348) one could claim that I am bias about this game. But I swear I don’t have a personal vendetta against this game, it is just brings up a lot of problems I have with the videogame world.

 

 

I discovered this problem with Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum PS3 only Joker DLC, it was continued with the launch of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV and peaked with Watch_Dogs. All of these games have content exclusive DLC only for the PlayStation version of those multiplatform games. I was going to write a top ten blog post about the worst videogame sins and this one was going to take the cake  and rightly so because it is holding content back for the highest bidder.

Because I bought this on Steam I will never be able to play as the Joker.

Because I bought this on Steam I will never be able to play as the Joker.

 

I know that back in the day (read as Generation 5 and 6) the specs on the different types of consoles were so different and varied that it made sense to have the few multiplatform games was going be different and varied but when the hardware between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is so similar that there is no reason to hold back content for one console or another.

I am not delusional, I know the importance exclusive gaming franchise like Mario, God of War, and Halo are to a console allure but holding back content on a game that comes out for all systems, from WiiU to the PC, is unacceptable.

Another great example of this is the recent Metal Gear V game and  how the game advertised an exclusive Raiden and Deja Vu campaign of  for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively.

I could see what they were going with paying homage to the classic PlayStation game but it still doesn't excuse it from happening

I could see what they were going with paying homage to the classic PlayStation game but it still doesn’t excuse it from happening

 

These tactics are done for the sake of marketing, it is holding segments of videogame content hostage from the paying consumer. As a big Batman fan, if I wanted the full Batman Arkham Asylum gaming experience I would be forced to buy a PlayStation 3, neglecting my frankly better PC gaming laptop, to play as the clown prince of crime himself. I feel bad for the hardcore Metal Gear fans because if they wanted the entire MGSV experience I would have to buy two current generation consoles and two separate versions of the same game.

Again, what kills me is that this is all and only done for the sake of marketing and favoritism.  After spending a weekend I could think of no good reason to continue this practice, it is done for the sake of greed and greed alone without a second thought for the consumers who did not luck out on getting the one gaming system with all the exclusive DLC. That is why it is one of my most hated sin in the videogame industry.

 


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