Tag Archives: Nintendo

#539 The Charmander Rant

*This is a bit of a tangent from the usual Be MOP posts but this rant has been nesting in the back of my mind for ages and I need to get it off my chest*

There is a running gag on the internet that out of the three generation 1 Pokemon starters that Charmander was the best choice and Buldabuar was the worst pick. When in fact it is quite the opposite.

Two things you need to know before continuing:

Pokemon’s main gameplay strategy is to use type advantages. That is quite literally lesson one of the game and why the three starters are Fire-Water-Grass and not three types that are neither super or not very effective against each other, like Normal, Poison and Electric. That is why you do not go against the Elite Four’s Bruno with Fire or Bug Pokemons.

And way back when, when I was playing Pokemon Red on my Gameboy color, I was one of the Pokemon Trainers that chose bulbasaur as my first starter.
250px-001Bulbasaur

And that is why the few righteous players that picked Bulbasaur were rewarded with the first two gym leaders, Brock and Misty, that were super effective against grass types. People who picked Squirtle were rewarded with only the first gym to be super effective against, while those poor people who picked Charmander got NOTHING.

In the early game there is not as many chances to get the variety of Pokemon types compared to after at the second gym, when you get to Vermilion Gym and the game starts opening up some more.

By the third Gym, electric, the game world was able to stretch it’s arms and show us the other elemental pokemons, like the invaluable Diglett Cave and allowing the game difficulties to plateaued a bit between the three starters.

Despite the all that, bulbasaur being the objectively best choice of starters, he still get the shaft in terms of marketing and promotion and community love.

It is incredibly infuriating.

“oh but Charizard's a winged DRAGON how cool is that!?” First, everyone knows that Charizard is not a proper dragon type and secondly Charizard could not even use HM02 until Pokemon Yellow, THEY HAD TO PATCH THAT FEATURE IN LATER.

“oh but Charizard’s a winged DRAGON how cool is that!?” First, everyone knows that Charizard is not a proper dragon type and secondly Charizard could not even use HM02 until Pokemon Yellow, THEY HAD TO PATCH THAT FEATURE IN LATER.

I was giving this particular rant to a college friend of mine, and this response, as I am assured some of you who are a fan of game design might argue; that the Pokemon Team intentionally gave charmander and squirtle a type disadvantage to give a subtle EASY, NORMAL, and HARD mode to the Kanto region.

That argument would have hold water if it was not for the FireRed and LeafGreen revisiting Generation 1 for the GameBoy Advance, and gamefreak gave charmander they obscenely over-powered-against-rock-types and out of place move, Metal Claw. A move that wipes the floor with Brock’s team, rebalancing the first game giving all starters a fair shake at being SUPER EFFECTIVE against the first Pokemon boss, Thus retconning one of Pokemon’’s poor Gen 1 game design.

Can someone please explain to me, even with the argument I made, WHY charmander and charizard still gets so much love on the internet and from the Pokemon Company? Why since everything in the Pokemon’s own game points towards to obviously superior grass type starter pokemon.


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#534 Nintendo Marketing Fun

This year’s E3 is just around the corner and that means all the major videogame companies are busy working away, trying their best to make their big gaming presentation and announcement grabs the most attention by the journalists, people attending and those millions tuning in at home or at work.

Just like the Super Bowl  it looks like the latest marketing trend is to post pre-E3 videos and news to build the most hype and attention before the opening of the doors. This week Nintendo released their Pre-E3 video that lightly covers the various digital programs that they will be hosting , special E3 streams and a special gaming tournament that Nintendo have brought back after a 25 year slumber)

WHAT!? A Nintendo tournament, where did I hear that before?

WHAT!? A Nintendo tournament, where did I hear that before?

But the announcements of events are not what I want to talk about, all those announcements were discussed literally within the first minute. What I want to focus on is the other two minutes of that video.

The entirely unnecessary mini-skit of Reggi abandoning this presidential seat to do a cheesy training montage by using old Nintendo consoles and props as workout tools is exactly what Nintendo’s main selling point for all their games releases, the idea of marketing the fun in their games.

While Microsoft, Sony, and all the other major gaming companies will be showcasing their big 2015/2106 games with their beautiful cinematics and cutting edge realistic graphics to push the envelope of what it means to be the best of the best in the console world.

Nintendo on the other hand showed off the amount of fun their games can have with their marketing approach.  It shows in Nintendo’s advertisements for their past few games advertisements have either been about showing off the Local Co-Op games (Mario Kart 8 and Smash) or taking pot shots at themselves of their own company’s history.

most companies would not mention their biggest flops, let alone make it a punchline in one of their official videos

most companies would not mention their biggest flops, let alone make it a punchline in one of their official videos

Nintendo takes their tone of not being serious very seriously and because of that it is more believable when they claim their games are fun. Somewhere Nintendo a psychology book  about fun and they have studied the art of fun and they have polished it to a mirror shine. The fact that Nintendo focuses on fun over graphics, it becomes a pleasant surprise and treat when a Nintendo game comes out at either 1080p or 720p but locked at 60 frames per second, a task that most XBox One and PlayStation 4 games still can’t do.


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#531 Excited but Concerned about Splatoon

In a rare treat, I was able to tune a live broadcast of the North American Nintendo Direct and watched an half hour stream special about Nintendo’s newest exclusive shooting game, Splatoon.

The stream itself had no big earth shattering game information, the stream went more in depth about the various types of weapons, abilities, and maps in the game. The usefulness of the non-cosmetic clothing shops and the continuous event support post launch. I get the impression it’s following the Team Fortress 2 approach of game play, with style of high action fun that focuses more on the objectives than kills, the game overall looks fun but I still have some concerns that have prevented me from proclaiming that this is a DAY ONE buy for me.

I want it to success but I am not going be blind to the potential problems it faces

I want it to success but I am not going be blind to the potential problems it faces

I was pleasantly surprised to hear, in detail, about the constant game and community support post launch, and I do not know for sure but from the Direct stream it was heavily implied that future maps that are still in the works would be free DLC for everyone.

The Amiibo support looks cool, with extra bonus levels and challenges with clothing rewards. It would be nice to know if these Amiibos specifically made for this game won’t sell out on the first day, and more importantly if these Amiibo costumes will be offer game breaking gear stats or will it be purely cosmetic?

Also I though that the amiibos were suppose to be move across Nintendo titles. What's the point of making splatoon's amiibos if only for one game? I do not get the impression that Nintendo turn Splatoon into a yearly shooting franchise with Splatoon 2 in 2016 or 2017.

Also I though that the amiibos were suppose to be move across Nintendo titles. What’s the point of making splatoon’s amiibos if only for one game? I do not get the impression that Nintendo turn Splatoon into a yearly shooting franchise with Splatoon 2 in 2016 or 2017.

With all that being said I am still concern about Splatoon’s multiplayer capabilities, which is the game’s biggest selling point.

Local Co-Op has sadly been ruled out for me with this Wii U game because the game requires player 2-4 to play on the Wii U pro controller, a luxury I can not afford when I still have problems to get enough people for a full four player smash match. With couch Co-Op ruled out the other main appeal is the online support, this is going to be Nintendo’s biggest push into the online gaming world since the Miiverse at the start of the Wii U’s launch. The direct revealed that there will be friendly play, online random matches, and more importantly online ranked games. The thing is ALL of these matchmaking services needs to run perfectly from launch and exactly like PC’s and the other console’s online matchmaking services, it is crucial thing for Splatoon’s initial and long term success.

That’s the big elephant in the room when talking about a new online multiplayer launching, we just have no idea who well the network or the match making system is going to be until it is opened to the public for the ultimate server stress test . Because a game company can send game reviewers advanced copies of their game so they are write about it, game companies can even hold special live stream events to show off the gameplay in real time and if you are lucky enough you can attend a video game convention and get a play a demo build to get a hands on approach on the controls.

But here’s the kicker, as we have seen with SimCity, Diablo III, and Master Chief Collection’s online fiascoes there is no way of knowing how well the Nintendo Network will hold up or how well the ranked system will sort the player base until we see the game launched.

least we forget

lest we forget

I am not pessimistic about the game, I am just exercising the right amount of concern and reservation for this game’s launch


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#520 The Pickings from Wave 4 Amiibos

The newest wave of Amiibos are just around the corner, May 29th to be precise, and with that I have to evaluate which Amiibos are worth picking up.

I have done this with every Amiibos waves, from the first wave I was able to secure my Smash main plus a handful of others, I chose Princess Zelda from all of Wave 2, and I went on a bit of an adventures in the search for Mega Man and and the Golden Mario amiibo from Wave 3. Now with a month away I get to do the same thing this this batch,  this wave we have Wario, Charizard, Pac-man, Ness, Robin, and Lucina.

 I have to evaluate all the waves so I don't go out and buy all of them (there were so many times I picked up Sheik and Sonic for no other reasons besides just to have more amiibos)

I have to evaluate all the waves so I don’t go out and buy all of them (there were so many times I picked up Sheik and Sonic for no other reasons besides just to have more amiibos)

This time next month I am going to try my hardest to secure a Pac-man Amiibo for a variety of reasons: He is a video game veteran, I like his play style in Smash and he might be the first Amiibo after Star Fox that I will be leveling up to 50 in Smash. Before I watched the April Nintendo Direct the biggest purchasing point would have been that Pac-man, like Mega Man, would NEVER have any non-smash support from Nintendo. That was my plan until Nintendo casually mentioned  that both of these two 3rd party Smash champs will be getting their own Mii racing costumes with the next patch to Mario Kart 8.

I'm still not letting Mega Man out of his box until we get a Amiibo Supported Wii U or 3DS Mega Man game

I’m still not letting Mega Man out of his box until we get a Amiibo Supported Wii U or 3DS Mega Man game

Maybe my initial outlook on third party, and the less popular amiibos, being left out in the cold while Mario and his gang gets constant support for every future game might have been wrong. It could be quite possible that Nintendo does have a plan to bring non-smash support to every one of their amiibos, so far we have Fire Emblem support in Codename S.T.E.A.M and amiibo support for the other third party game, One Piece: Super Grand Battle X.

So there is some hope out there out there for constant across the board first and third party support for every amiibo on the market.

I don't count games like "Amiibo Touch & Play : Nintendo Classics Highlights" as a proper amiibo supported game, because just like the 'Masterpiece' feature in Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, it is only there to promote and sell other eshop games.

I don’t count games like “Amiibo Touch & Play : Nintendo Classics Highlights” as a proper amiibo supported game, because just like the ‘Masterpiece’ feature in Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, it is only there to promote and sell other eshop games.


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#511 A weekend of Nintendo

Following my Friday’s Blog Post, it seems that the magic Nintendo Stars aligned to grant me a wonderful Nintendo filled weekend. First my paycheck arrived and with that I finally caved and bought the Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask 3D edition. I will talk about that game more once I sink more play time into to to get past the second or third dungeon and enough of the side quests. I will say Majora’s Mask has some excellent level designs, with the ability to communicate what the game wanted me to do without any handholding or tutorials beyond the movement controls and it has some of the best 4D puzzles I have ever seen in a game.

I've been eyeing this game for a while and it was ...wait for it... about TIME I picked up this game

I’ve been eyeing this game for a while and it was …wait for it… about TIME I picked up this game

After that I remembered that Club Nintendo was closing down and I still have not cashed in my Club Nintendo Fun-Bucks, along with the complementary Flipnote Studio 3D app for being a Club Nintendo member I also downloaded the Virtual Console edition of the Game Boy color game, The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening DX.

Link’s Awakening is the Game Boy port of Link to the past, which is the predecessor of my favorite 2D Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds and the inspiration to one of my favorite games series of all time, the Binding of Isaac. Lets hope the port holds up with compared to it’s other brothers in the genre.

I did not realize I was as much as a Zelda fan I was until this generation of consoles and handhelds.

I did not realize I was as much as a Zelda fan I was until this generation of consoles and handhelds.

The other highlight of my past weekend was that I finally received my free copy of Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS. I wrote about this before but this was free promotional gift to everyone in Club Nintendo that bought both copies of Super Smash Bros and registered on the Club Nintendo site.

The Album is two discs with 36 songs and tracks each, one from the 3DS soundtrack and the other from the Wii U version of the game and best of all it is a physical copy of the soundtrack, with a colored insert and all. The thing is this was only for Club Nintendo users, and it would have incredibly simple, and cost effective to simple email everyone who qualified a web link to one of their servers for just a simple .zip file. But no, Nintendo went out of it’s way to order, produce and ship these out to the presumed thousands of people who bought both games.

They did not have to but because they did they have earned a bit more respect in their customer appreciation department now.

They did not have to but because they did they have earned a bit more respect in their customer appreciation department now.

This is a great weekend because with the purchase of Legend of Zelda, Majora’s Mask and Link’s Awakening have been looking for a reason to open up and play my 3DS beyond just updating and exhausting all my free turns in Pokemon Shuffle. Now only if I could find a killer game that would give me motivation to boot up my Wii U.


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#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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#508 Do not play Pokemon Shuffle

I talked about Pokemon Shuffle on last Friday’s blog post,but I am returning back to writing about this game after spending an entire weekend playing Pokemon Shuffle and then waiting to play Pokemon Shuffle over and over again. The 3DS exclusive Pokemon Shuffle game is one of the few Free to Play games on the handheld’s market and it is nothing short than an evil game packaged inside of a Skinner’s Box.

The game makes the unholy F2P gameplay gating mechanic, limiting your play sessions to five turns before having to wait a half hour to earn back on more attempt. You take that and then you add the Random Number Generator factor when you want to catch the pokemon of the stage, to add to your collection and you get the worst example B. F. Skinner’s experiment.

I suspect that the game devs behind this game purposely skewed some of the catch percentages on the Pokemon needed to progress in the harder levels.

I suspect that the game devs behind this game purposely skewed some of the catch percentages on the Pokemon needed to progress in the harder levels. which is nothing less than evil

The game is filled with freemium upselling suggestions and microtransaction reminders. The game suckers you in with rewards, in the form of Freemium currency and in-game coins in the style of “the first one’s free” and for opting-in the program that sends your play session data to Nintendo, in what I assume to be for future data mining purposes.

But all that being said…

Pokemon Shuffle is  a great game. It is fun collecting and building your Pokemon collection and using your Pokemon’s type advantage to wipe the floor against the latest challenge.

The game also gets major points for having fun and interesting mechanics in a potentially simple match three game, some Pokemon stages limiting the number of Pokemon you can bring in while other stages freezes a handful of your block every few turns. Pokemon Shuffle also adds the Mega Evolution twist with bringing a Pokemon into a stage, and once you matched enough of that one Pokemon it unlocks it’s almost overpowered abilities of clearing an entire column or row.

The game also has a truly difficult expert mode, that made me sweat and focus more on the game than any other point while playing the story campaign. On top of that Pokemon Shuffle has free post-launch support in the form of special promotional legendary Pokemon stages. I would gladly grind through those stages over and over again, if it was not for the fact that I am limited to five attempts per play session.

I can not recommend this game to anyone in fear that they get as hooked on the game as I am, which would send the wrong type of data to both Nintendo and Pokemon company on how to build a good Free to Play game. Instead of a Pokemon Shuffle going free to play I would rather have the game include an in store item that unlocked the entire game with no Free to Play gimmicks. More importantly I can not wait for Puzzle and Dragons Z to be released soon, because from what I have seen Puzzle and Dragons Z is all of Pokemon Shuffle, move type advantage and all, with none of the constant upselling.


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