Re-record, not fade away; re-record, not fade away; re-record...
November 07, 2007

Yes!

Yes!! I is back, once again. Finally.

“You’ve been away a while…”

“Yes. I’ve been in hiding. From my own morals. But more on that at a later date…lets get moaning.”

This week, I’d like to pay homage to a superstar of sarcasm; a master of moaning; a devil of derisory. The mighty Yahtzee and his Zero Punctuation column is a joy to behold, telling the ins and outs of the Gaming Industry as you think Edge would really like to write it. Indeed, his recent shot at Nintendo and Zelda (The Phantom Hourglass) has spurred me into action and take his point onwards. This point being that the big “N” can get away with “flogging the dead horse” of every (dirty word inbound) “franchise” it has created over the years.

I think originality is something severely lacking in several aspects of the gaming industry currently; Nintendo is simply a glaring, but not exclusive, example of this and Yahtzee’s points in his column are very well made. The Zelda franchise (my God; just using the word “franchise” describes something that has clearly outstayed it’s welcome), in my opinion really hasn’t moved on since The Ocarina of Time (which is undoubtedly a great game, but it is now about 12 years old). Visuals change, controls change, story (sort of) changes but it is essentially the same experience over and over again. I think that’s why I got so bored with Twilight Princess so bloody quickly.

It’s just a real shame that real creativity and “daring” within the industry only gets noticed by about seventeen people - see Capcom and Clover in particular (indeed, I’ll be paying homage to these creative geniuses very soon on this hallowed screen).

Let’s face it, the “General Gaming Public” is a demographic doomed to be playing FIFA2064 but “…really noticing the improvements this year…”.

Therefore, my equation goes: Games industry x (Yearly updates or rehashed ideas x General Gaming Public) = Fat wodges of cash for Games Industry - “Daring” New Ideas.

Rinse and repeat.

Indefinitely.

In fact when you look at it, its a bit like my Dad; doesn’t want to try a Chicken Balti in a next generation Curry House because he’s a bit scared he won’t like it, so sticks to his usual Steak and Chips even though the price of the same meal keeps rising along with inflation and petrol.

But it goes deeper than just Zelda. Mario, Metroid, Poke-bloody-mon; they’re all in the same boat. Now while a lot of these games are very good at what they do, it’s what they do that poses the problem. Perhaps Nintendo just believe in the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Indeed; apparently they’re fairly stupid and need to keep relearning the same old shit they originally learnt as a pup (aw, bless) about 12 years ago. In Nintendo’s golden age. The NES, the SNES; hell, even the N64 in some respects.

And yet this goes deeper I believe. Lets look at the Wii while we’re banging on about Nintendo shall we?

All rosy in “Stick-waggly-World” then, is it? Not exactly. A console with incredible potential for ingenious new ideas; “…Something to reignite that creative spark sir?” Not as of yet it would seem.

Sporting mini-games, Re-hashed games with a new control method, sequels, more mini-games, mini-games sequels, sequels with a new “fitted” control mechanism, and more shitting mini-games games.

JESUS CHRIST NINTENDO! GET A GRIP!!

Our next door neighbours have bought a Wii and obviously got the Sports pack to go with it. So that’s the “sporting mini-games” game covered already then. The question was then asked “So what else can we get for our shiny new ‘thing’?”.

“Er..well…um…”

“Rayman Raving Rabbids,” said my wife. More sporty mini-game goodness then. My mind immediately wandered to Res Evil 4. A sequel. A re-hashed game. A re-hashed-sequel-with-a-new-control-method-game. Even Super Paper Mario is a great game, but is ultimately a rehash of the Gamecube/N64 games.

I’m beginning to get the impression that because Nintendo have discovered the latest cash-cow to be the “Non-Gaming-Gamer”, they deem its perfectly acceptable to stifle all creativeness and wheel out an enormous back catalogue that real gamers have seen one hundred and thirty five times already. Even the Virtual Console (laughably a way to pay for games that are actually twenty years old) has earlier editions of the same games you’ve just paid £35 for so you can see how you’ve been mugged. Now that’s just taking the piss.

I’ll conclude this rant by actually pointing out a game that is unreservedly worth buying on the Wii. Its called Sin and Punishment; its Japanese (but partially translated); its made by Treasure which should be enough to warrant a purchase on its own; it costs about a tenner; its about ten years old; its difficult to play and master and its totally fantastic.

Be wary though; this game is totally original and has not been copied before or since.

Mind you, it is a bit like Space Harrier.

OH SHIT.

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honestgamer honestgamer - November 07, 2007 (03:38 PM)
What you need to remember is that some people are delighted by the very things you so passionately hate. I'm one of them. If there's an awesome franchise, I'm all for seeing well-executed sequels until the end of time.

If you decide one day that you hate macaroni and cheese and decide to rant about it, that won't change the fact that many people like it and look forward to it. People will continue to make macaroni and cheese because there's a huge market for it.

Likewise, there's a huge market for sequels. That's especially true of Nintendo, who generally makes sequels that are more original and exciting than many a 'new' game other companies might make. For example, you said Okami is a brilliant game and that more people should do stuff like that.

Nintendo does do stuff like that. It's called... Zelda.
pup pup - November 07, 2007 (03:47 PM)
Rather than rehash my old Nintendo complaints, as I seem to do every few months, let me say how great it is to find another fan of Zero Punctuation.
beanhed beanhed - November 08, 2007 (05:58 PM)
Hi there - thanks for the reply. It's nice to be read after such a long and disgraceful time away.

I think I need some clarification on my (over long) blab really; I got on my high horse a little somewhat without really hitting the nail on the head. What I am trying to point out in my post is that I find it disappointing that Nintendo (particularly - but NOT exclusively as I said) tend to rely on pushing out sequels to the market that bear a large amount of resemblance to games from the same franchise released several years ago without really pushing the boundaries. I mean REALLY pushing the boundaries by doing something entirely radical and new. I guess it frustrates me even more when they have apparently done the hard work and produced the hardware to do the job with the Wii and DS, but so many of the games are not fulfilling the potential by not doing the platforms justice. But then again, a good console does not necessarily a good game make.

Anyway, I digress slightly; do you not find yourself wishing for something entirely new and exciting from such a creative talent like Nintendo (as well as sequels/franchise material)? We know they can do it; Pikmin is an excellent case in point as is Animal Crossing. I do like Nintendo games, as well as sequels (I partake in the ritual of buying Pro Evo X every year and enjoy it more often than not), but I did point out that while the market loves a sequel and a franchise, I am not particularly different and partake in the same excitement sometimes for sequels (see end piece about Sin and Punishment - also quite similar to Time Crisis).

My own conclusions lead me to believe that I am just like everybody else and I like familiarity to a degree. I'd just like to try something new from people who I know can provide originality - and not just "FPS in a series of airports" as opposed to "another generic FPS in a series of jungle scenarios" for instance.

If I offended any Nintendo fans, that was certainly not my aim; if anything, the fact I'm using them as an example out of an overall wider picture should be taken as a compliment. I think we all deserve better (particularly from Nintendo - but essentially from ALL developers), and although a lot of people look forward to their sequels, how many times have you gone "Wow!" like you more than likely did when you first clapped eyes on the Ocarina of Time or Mario 64? For me, its rare these days because ideas haven't changed that much in about 10 years of game making in my opinion. Visuals have obviously improved but have we, as a forward thinking race, run out of ideas already?

I dunno, maybe I'm just beginning to feel as old as I'm getting. Maybe we've been too spoiled with technology advancing too quickly for its own good, and we still don't really know what to do with it all.

beanhed beanhed - November 08, 2007 (06:10 PM)
Thanks Pup. Indeed; Zero Punctuation is surely the lovechild of English journo games mag Edge and Charlie Brooker. Truly hilarious, I've seen them all a lot/too much/so many times my eyes are bleeding. (Please delete where applicable).

Oh, and it's nice to meet you :)

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