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by Ethos

Guest Sunday Soapbox: Matti’s Bad Breakup with Nintendo

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

*This is a guest post written by neither Riddles nor Ethos. Still, please enjoy the writing stylings of Matti Cowan, aka Constipated Cow*

I recently updated my Facebook status to “…has officially lost interest in Nintendo”. I’ve been a Nintendo loyalist all throughout my gaming life, but I find now that I really just don’t care. Nintendo’s 2010 E3 press conference was adequate enough, but it gave me absolutely no good reason to hold on to my Wii. I was banking on Zelda to really impress me, but it doesn’t look like it will offer anything new, and I doubt if the Motion + controls will add any real depth to the gameplay. Is that what they even strive for anymore? Granted, I’ve not yet played the game but the landscapes looked uninspired, and the graphical style was underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, they looked fine, but I’m not drooling, and I’m a fucking cow – I should be drooling. Poo poo oh you, Aonuma, Miyamoto and that new director guy whose name I don’t care to look up or remember. Give a complete series overhaul. Take some fucking risks you pricks! Not just graphical Wind Waker type risks, but real, gritty, down to the bone risks. Change the series’ skeleton. Change the tone, structure, everything! It’s so tired! Unify its elements into a cohesive whole and give it emotional depth and character it deserves and is easily capable of.

My friends were, I think, shocked (and understandably doubtful) to read my status update – Ethos included. While I’ve been quite disappointed in Nintendo for a very long while, I’ve nevertheless clung to the hope that some day they would return to their former glory and awe and inspire me with epic, genre defining masterpieces. I’ve finally given up. If one day Nintendo’s eyes unglaze and they suddenly snap out of it, I will fellate them once again, but until that day comes I will be Nintendo celibate. I will definitely play, and beat Skyward Sword, it just won’t be on my own system. Ethos, I’m looking at you.

For me, Metroid Prime: Corruption was the last Nintendo game that I found to be groundbreaking. Before that there was Pikmin for the Nintendo Gamecube. Metroid Prime: Corruption proved to be truly epic, innovative, and isolating. It is perfect example of the brilliance of Nintendo’s former ghost. Corruption’s design is unprecedented on Wii, and, without relying on them, the Wii pointer controls actually add a level of immersion that isn’t yet possible on other gaming platforms. Unfortunately Nintendo’s future looks bleak. Despite an okay showing at E3 this year, none of the game announcements got me wet. There was Zelda Skyward Sword which looked fine, Donkey Kong which looked almost exactly like the SNES games (indeed it’s obvious that’s what they’re going for), Metroid Other M, and Kirby Epic Yarn (the latter looking the most exciting to me). Why are all these games in 2D?

Oh I have a solution! Pick me, pick me!; It’s because they’re fucking lazy sons of bitches who will recognize allure of their big name franchises – an allure that Nintendo built slowly, over decades. Now that they are established, they can sell cluster-fucks of games without needing to make them masterpieces, by slightly modifying an element or two and calling it “new”. This is the same bullshit that Apple does with all it’s versions of iPods; “Buy this new Nano! It now has a camera, ooo!” “But I already have a camera on my pho-” “BUY IT GODAMN IT!” “OKAY SORRY!”. I guess that’s a pretty unfair comparison though. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is extremely fun, it’s just not mind blowing. Nintendo knows that it doesn’t have to do anything extravagant to wipe their asses with $100 bills. It is all about appeasing the masses, and people like my brother who were vehement gamers in the early-mid 90s and are now exuberant to see a new 2D Donkey Kong game that doesn’t push the boundaries in any way and looks classically retro.

Today I rather sadly posted my Nintendo Wii and all of my games (except for the Prime trilogy) up for auction on eBay (if you know anybody thinking of purchasing a Wii, please send them my way. I’ve got tons of other games for sale too). While some of these games have provided lots of fun for me, none have blown my mind since Corruption which was released early on in the Wii’s cycle and was likely in development for quite some time before Nintendo realized that they could get away with handing us plates full of mediocrity. With the profits of this eBay sale I plan on purchasing a PS3 Slim so that I may engage play in deep, moody games with atmosphere and call out, “COW!” in bed rather than, “GRANNY!”.

I post quite frequently over at IGN, and know first hand how blasphemous it is to criticize Nintendo in any way. The fanboys legitimately do not think that there is a problem. It’s pathetic, and depressing. They settle for less that perfection, and cling to what Nintendo was: a great gaming company that pushed the limits and delivered groundbreaking, innovative games. Their loss. It’s time to grow up.


Friday, June 18th, 2010

Hey folks! I spent the day travelling to and then hanging out with my lovely lady in New Brunswick, and I just made it back to the hotel. Tomorrow I’ll have some content, and Sunday we’ll have a guest Sunday Soapbox from Constipated Cow! Until then, I’m just realizing the power that Riddles’ sabbatical is bringing me, I kinda don’t want to do an “E3 Reactions Week” anymore. Any suggestions?

We Canadians are Popular on the Google

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Sweet sorrow

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Good evening, citizens of Riddlethos. I hope you’ve been enjoying E3 2010. I, quite frankly, have not been.

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been around much lately, and I apologize for that. So, instead of continuing this facade, I’ve decided to take an official sabbatical. I just finished discussing it with Ethos, and we’ve decided that a short break would be the best thing for me at this point.

Don’t worry, Ethos will still be here, and if we’re lucky, maybe even a few guests. But, don’t expect to see me for two weeks at least.

Stay beautiful, my darlings. We’ll be re-united soon.

(cue flaming)

UPDATE: Er, sorry, I couldn’t resist. Sabbatical begins now.

The Dust Has Settled: Day 3 – Ethos

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Hey guys, another long day for me and another absentee day for Riddles on the most important week of the year for gaming. I’m just going to continue to drill that point home until he shows up.

Also, because it’s a special week, the regular features are being pushed unless Riddles decides to do an E3 version of Hey! Look! Listen! Yes, it’s been a while since Scatter Storming, but suck it up. Distance makes the heart grow fungus or however it goes.

Anyway, because of said long day and because of no big conferences, it’s harder to line up my thoughts, but here goes.


Damn You 3DS!! -
Remakes and re-imaginings really shouldn’t be getting me this excited, but goddamn it, they are. Hell, I’m even hyped for Animal Crossing, and that game hasn’t changed in a billion years! It’s been so long since a new console of any sort came out, I forgot the deep anticipation it can bring. Oh well, at least FFIX just came out on the PSN, so I’ve got that on my PSP to distract me.

Miyamoto and Aonuma say things -
See? Losing steam. Miyamoto held his little post-conference conference thing, but the only interesting thing to come out of it was when he almost confirmed orchestration in Zelda until Aonuma later said that Miyamoto could have been talking out of his ass. Fun! Speaking of Aonuma, IGN has an interview with him that doesn’t really reveal much, but is an interesting and pretty candid read. Worth it if you care at all about Zelda. Speaking of, he talks about why the art style for Skyward Sword sparked my optimism for the title. He mentioned that they always come up with the art style after the gameplay direction has been set in stone. He also mentioned that super-realism doesn’t allow them to have as many quirky elements that Zelda is known for. Hence my guess that the more personality-filled art style will reflect a more personality-filled game. Because Twilight Princess was fun, controlled well, and had a vapid game world.

That’s all I got, I need to sleep. Let’s start taking bets on when you all think we’ll see Riddles again. I’m thinking July. Any takers?

The Dust Has Settled: Day 2 – Ethos

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

All right, guys. A lot went down today. Because of Microsoft’s lackluster showing, I forgot what E3 could bring. Nintendo gave a conference like they remembered who put them in their high chair to begin with, and Sony brought a solid if not slightly underwhelming showing of their own. At least Sony seemed more in touch than Microsoft.

In any case, like I’ve stated before, Riddlethos.com is not your source for news, so I’m sure I’m going to miss 982375493 things in my reactions here, but I want to hit you all with what stuck out to me today.

Kevin Butler’s “I Am Canadian” speech -
Kevin Butler really said nothing in his surprise appearance, but he nailed his performance and made me feel like Sony really isn’t pulling a Nintendo and pushing the hardcore gamer aside. It’s the sort of thing that makes one realize why propaganda speeches during wartime really do make a difference. Anyway, for those of you who don’t understand the reference in the title, just watch below. This was a big deal back when it aired in my little country.

Wait, I actually want to play my Wii again? -
Seriously, besides Super Mario Galaxy 2, I’ve had absolutely zero desire to even pretend to care about the Wii recently. Remember that Soapbox I wrote just the other week? I pronounced Nintendo a long-lost cause with Mario Galaxy 2 being a glimmer of a hopeful future.

Now, I still hate that the Wii refuses to go HD. Hate it. And Nintendo doesn’t seem to be picking up any of the slack in the online community department, but they somehow managed to make me want a bunch of games for that ridiculous console.

The personality is back!

The Zelda demo was a undeniable disaster, but the consensus from impressions on the showfloor is that it really was technical difficulties and the game controls well. It’s still motion controls, yes, but I’d far prefer working motion controls. And the enemy design seems to be discouraging straight-up waggle, so that’s a plus. I also love the art style. The Twilight Princess/Wind Waker hybrid has breathed personality back into the way Zelda looks. I just hope the game follows suit and brings back the life we haven’t seen on a console since Wind Waker along with the mystique and dense game worlds of the N64 iterations.

Then Nintendo surprised me by making me want two other games. 2D platformers, they may be, but wow do they ever look fun. Donkey Kong Country Returns is long overdue, and looks to have all the magic, challenge, and tight game design as the classic Rareware creations. The bigger surprise for game I want is Kirby’s Epic Yarn. It’s challenging Metroid: Other M for worst name, but it’s also in the running for greatest art style ever. It has a bit of a Yoshi’s Story vibe, but looks far more vibrant and creative. When I first saw Kirby’s picture behind Reggie, I remembered Kirby 64 and winced. But then the gameplay happened and now it’s another Nintendo title that I legitimately desire.

Oh right! And then there was Epic Mickey. The concept art rocked, then the screenshots looked terrible, and now the demo was sweet! It desperately made me want HD, yes, but it looked to be creative, fun, and more deep than I’ve come to expect from the Wii. Very strong showing from a console I thought I was done with.

"Sorry to keep you waiting"

3DSawesome -
That’s pronounced “Three Dee Ess Sawsome” by the way. And to conclude Nintendo’s already impressive show, they busted out the 3DS. We knew it was coming, but it still looks sleek, adds an analog stick, and had a very self-aware Kid Icarus trailer that showed off graphics rivaling the stuff we had just seen for the Wii. There are people who are saying it’s barely better than the DS’ current graphics, and that just baffles me. Maybe the trailer was fudged, but all the screenshots across the board are showing significant improvement in my books. Also, what’s up with all these awesome remakes?
-Star Fox 64
-Ocarina of Time 64
-Kingdom Hearts (although not necessarily a remake, I’ve heard reports of drastic changes…)
-Pilot Wings Resort (wait, is this an original title? Either way, it’s sweet)
-Paper Mario (another one that’s up in the air. Remake or new title?)

Either way, the software lineup has me extremely excited. But what about pricepoint and release date, Nintendo? Even Zelda was a vague “2011″, can’t even match that?

Right, not Nintendo -
Because of Nintendo’s surprisingly strong showing, I kinda forgot what Sony showed. LittleBigPlanet 2 looked really impressive, but a bit too daunting for me to be too interested in. Portal 2 for PS3 is really fucking sweet, and I never played the Sly Cooper games, so I’ll always take a HD collection. Even that Sorcery game for Move didn’t look terrible. But playing that would mean buying the Move, and I don’t have a reason to do that yet.

Golden Sun! -
That’s it, really. I’m excited that this exists.

Well I’m really tired and still need to eat. I probably missed a billion things, but you guys can fill that blank! What caught your eye or underwhelmed you from Day 2?

Quick Notes

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Pretend these are gaming notes

Hey, it’s the most important week in gaming. Do you know where Riddles is? What the fuck was I on when I decided to run a site with that guy?

I’m having a busy day at work, but before I write my The Dust Has Settled for the day, I thought I’d post some quick thoughts since that feature won’t go up until later tonight.

-Epic Mickey doesn’t suck! Who would have guessed? Not me!
-Kevin Butler may not have actually announced or said anything, but goddamn it if that speech wasn’t awesome.
-People seem to care about Twisted Metal. I don’t.
-Nintendo had a hardcore conference? What?! No Vitality Sensor? What?! I’ll fucking take it!
-No ICO trilogy confirmed. TGS?
-No Last Guardian anything. Boo.
-I now care about Kirby.

More to come later tonight.
What’d you guys take from today?

The Dust Has Settled: Day 1 – Ethos

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Hey folks! I made a shitty placeholder banner until Riddles is able to put one up. I mean, the Green Day one was really pretty, but not very relevant anymore in a very relevant week.

Speaking of, I’ve decided to make this segment for this week! A lot can happen during one day at E3, so I thought I’d collect my thoughts as things are winding down now.

Let’s throw Microsoft a (small) bone -
Yes, the press conference was all kinds of awful, but the new 360 does look really slick, and I’m definitely a sucker for the whole “the release date is NOW” thing. Still, I love how they put “built in wifi” as a selling point when even the fucking Wii had that at release. THE WII.


Joel McHale was awesome -
I missed the EA press conference (I hear it was just fine), but I was able to catch most of the Ubisoft one. And MAN did Joel McHale ever save the show. I mean, a lot of people didn’t laugh because they felt like they shouldn’t have been, but he made the general uncomfortable feeling of those conferences more bearable. He was improvising inappropriate jokes and saying things that people were thinking. He countered it all with “I’m getting paid for this” over-the-top compliments, but it was worth it for when he’d make fun of a bad hair dye job of a presenter or point out bad AI in Ghost Recon.

Speaking of the Ubisoft Press Conference… -
It reminded me that sometimes good games are shown at E3! Shaun White Skateboarding (he’s actually a professional skateboarder too…) actually looks to be bringing the ridiculous fun of Tony Hawk back in inventive new ways. Yeah, I sounded a bit like PR there, but it’s true. Hopefully I’ll be able to create a character though, because I have no desire to play as Shaun White.

Next was the Rayman demo. The moment the name “Rayman” was mentioned, I lost interest, but then I instantly gained it back again as the art looked beautiful and the game looked to be simple 2D platforming goodness.

Also, Laser Tag? WHAT?! Who gave the green light on that?!

And that’s kinda it from Day 1, really. At least for stuff I saw/cared about. What about you guys?

Top 3 Worst Moments of Microsoft’s Press Conference

Monday, June 14th, 2010

So Microsoft’s press conference just happened, and I think it blew everybody away. With its terribleness. Their “hardcore” section at the beginning showed already announced games with nothing surprising, and then they blew into their Kinect casual awfulness. While the entire show was really bad and embarrassing, and because Riddlethos.com is not really the place for up-to-date e3 news, I thought I’d highlight the absolute worst 3 moments of Microsoft’s 2010 press conference.

3 – Skittles
To be completely honest, Kinectimals doesn’t look all terrible. Just in the sense that the tiger was adorable and the technology seems impressive. Still, I didn’t care about Nintendogs, and so I don’t care about Kinectimals. Why this moment qualifies for a top 3 finish is because of the pure ridiculousness of cutting to a small child saying “Skittles” over and over again. The kid and the tiger were cute, but I found myself wondering – not for the first or last time I should add – what happened to the gaming culture I used to know and love. I’ve already let Nintendo slip out of my heart, do I have no hardcore haven anymore?

2 – The Dancing, Oh Boy the Dancing…
While most of the other Kinect games didn’t look terrible for what they were – Nintendo games in HD – one title in particular, did. I forget what it’s called, but it doesn’t matter. It was awkward dancing that looks like it’s trying to be Dance Dance Revolution but without the gaming skill element, and so completely exposing the nerdiness of 95% of the people who play games. And Microsoft apparently didn’t want to hide that fact, so they got a nerdy white boy to talk about how he’s now an amazing dancer because of this game. Then he proceeded to dance poorly along with the music. This wasn’t the worst part though, it was when the two people in the background were spectating but then were just so into the dancing that they just had to join in! HOW EXCITING! I winced. A lot. And I went to a music theatre high school.

Would have much preferred this

1 – Worst Use of Twins Ever
Man, at least we had Felicia Day last year. She was nervous, yes, but it was a likeable presentation that made Twitter and Facebook demonstrations a bit less painful. This year Microsoft decided to take all the focus away from the actually pretty cool video chat technology and instead inserted in the most painfully executed script I’ve heard in a while. Some chick was talking about how Kinect is going to change everybody’s life and people were just starting to tune out when she mentioned her twin sister. Then people perked up. She called her sister, but before anybody in the audience could begin to conjure their teenaged perverted twin fantasies, they started the most awkward conversation in English history. It was so contrived, so forced, so uncomfortable that I almost couldn’t believe it was happening. It was that bad, even for the already obviously scripted conversations.

So that was my, er, bottom 3. What about you guys?

E3, Mother Fuckers!

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Well whaddaya know? Riddles actually was able to provide consistent, entertaining, and informative content during my absentee weekend. People can still surprise you. Speaking of surprises, Microsoft’s press conference hasn’t even started and there’s already news trickling out of E3.

Well, let’s just call it precum and get the comparison out of the way. USA Today leaked one of Microsoft’s “big” announcements for their press conference. The article has since been taken down, but Microsoft later confirmed that Natal is officially named “Kinect”. Yup, that just happened. So far a bunch of apps and rip-off Nintendo games have been confirmed. Also, a Star Wars game. So… E3 has started with a bang? I was going to keep an open mind with these new controllers, but when all you have is Nintendogs and Wii Sports, I’m a hard sell.

Keep your eyes glued! Riddlethos will be providing E3 2010 reactions all week!