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Sun 21st Jul 2013

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AtlanteanMan commented on Nintendo Has "Moved On" From Game Boy Games on...:

Nintendo's Virtual Console program has been a bad joke from Day One on every platform. Two decade-plus-old games that have already seen countless repackagings going for $5 to $8 or even $10. Purchases linked to specific consoles rather than a unified account (It's gotten somewhat better but people have lost HUNDREDS of dollars worth of purchases when a system went down or they sold it). Spotty, inconsistent and seemingly random games support (Rare Replay gave the XBox One roughly TWICE the number of Nintendo 64 games of Nintendo's own Wii U VC!).

I don't know what Nintendo's plans for downloadable purchases are after the Wii U and 3DS but the VC needs a complete overhaul. It's an antiquated, grossly overpriced laughingstock at this point.



AtlanteanMan commented on Decade-Old Japanese Shigeru Miyamoto Interview...:

Very interesting to hear that Mr. Miyamoto is into Bluegrass. My brother was on the faculty in the Music Department at East Tennessee State University and has a close friend who's an instructor in their Bluegrass program (which is apparently one of the most prominent in the country) whose name is Daniel Boner. Dan is originally from New Jersey (no, I'm not making this up...and the guy can PLAY a bunch of instruments as well as anyone I've heard ranging from banjo and fiddle to both acoustic and electric guitar and who knows what else), and he's not only had students from Japan but has been there at least once or twice doing Bluegrass tours. Apparently Bluegrass is bigger in Japan than a lot of folks realize from what I've heard, and I can't help but wonder if Mr. Miyamoto and Dan might have met or know about each other. Small world.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Nintendo's Challenge With Super...:

As a hobbyist who has lobbied for better genre balance and representation since before videogames even went "mainstream" (remember when the West was lucky to even get a new major RPG release, for example?), my position on these kinds of "one way or the other way" debates is simple: there should be room for BOTH. Whenever the industry has gone wholesale in one direction when at a crossroads instead of offering fans of both directions (and/or the new AND the old one), it's left an entire segment of gamers in the cold...and money on the table.

Look at what happened to videogames in general after Super Mario 64; 2D platformers essentially DIED on consoles for almost two full generations until the likes of Sonic Generations and Super Mario Bros. Wii were released. That's a LONG time...and a LOT of gamers who missed out on one of the hobby's premiere genres. And the same problem is now being seen in JRPGs with the widespread abandonment of turn and menu-based battle mechanics in favor of button-mashing, combo-heavy stuff. We haven't seen an offline, story-based Phantasy Star since the Genesis and while it's a great spin-off in its own right, Phantasy Star Online and its success played a big role in that.

It's not a bad thing that videogames try new things and go in new directions. It would be wise however not to completely abandon the concepts (and the fans of those concepts) which laid the foundations for the hobby's (or a franchise's) success.



AtlanteanMan commented on Poll: The Battle of the Nindies and Questions ...:

To each his/her own but personally I thought about getting into collecting Amiibo when they were first announced but wisely decided not to. I'm entering a stage in my life where "stuff"...especially the kind of stuff that has no/marginal use beyond sitting on your shelves collecting dust...just isn't as important anymore, and certainly not important enough to shell out the kind of absurd money it would take to keep a collection current (I'm speaking as a completist and from experience).

I still love the games, though I definitely sense the Wii U is in decline aside from Xenoblade Chronicles, Zelda, and maybe a couple of others unless new announcements are made. But from both an income level and priorities standpoint I just can't justify getting into something that's both addictive and costly...a dangerous combination.



AtlanteanMan commented on Nintendo: Wii U Version Of Kerbal Space Progra...:

Finally, a game that can actually make use of the GamePad's specializations like the touchscreen and the gyroscopic (tilt) controls. I'm not a keyboard interface player so I was disappointed to see Kerbal was keyboard and mouse-only on the PC; I know plenty of folks don't have a problem with it but I simply prefer joypad-style controls for nuanced things like maneuvering. Should be a fun experience and I'm glad to see the Wii get it.

Now get on making a turn-based Strategy game where the Gamepad can be used for hotseat local multiplayer and you'll be really cookin', Nintendo. I can readily think of a few franchises right off the bat: Advance Wars, Valkyria Chronicles (imagine an iteration of THAT franchise with multiplayer: Game of the Year material), Daisenryaku...there are tons of possibilities.

The problem's never really been the Gamepad; it's that Nintendo simply ignored the game types that would support it best because they're considered too "niche" anymore. Consoles especially need to get past that hang-up because there are plenty of gamers who'd readily buy those games and they're leaving money on the table that the PC and Steam are only too happy to pick up.



AtlanteanMan commented on FAST Racing NEO Developer Shin’en Multimedia...:

I loved both the F-Zero and Wipeout series for their blistering sense of speed and their awesome aesthetics and FAST certainly looks to be carrying that tradition well. I've already put it up there (along with 90s Arcade Racer) among my short list of most wanted Wii U titles.



AtlanteanMan commented on Poll: What Do You Want From Nintendo's NX Plat...:

"Go on, ask for anything you want." Really? Does that mean Nintendo is monitoring this thread and that what's said here could make an actual difference?


Okay, here goes anyway, my personal list:

1) A traditional UI (joypad). This is the most essential component for addressing other concerns such as third party support. Leave the innovation for the GAMES this time around, Nintendo.
2) A close partnership with Sega and other Japanese publishers (even EXCLUSIVE partnership(s). Think it wouldn't make a difference if Sega was once again making games for a single console? Think again; such an alliance could change the balance of the industry and revitalize the Japanese side of it.
3) A unified User Account system so if you buy/download a game on one system, you can play it on another without having to repurchase it.
4) Western third party support. I'll be frank; many of these types of games aren't my cup of tea and it's part of why I love Nintendo's differences, but I understand the need for them to help strengthen the NX's library.
5) A console lifespan of at least 8-10 years this time around; the Wii U is a disaster on that front.
6) A revamped Virtual Console with better support from both Nintendo and third parties, every possible retro platform and game represented, and lower prices (seriously, $5 for Super Mario Bros. or $10 for an N64 game are big reasons why the service has lackluster enthusiasm; Steam, PSN, and Xbox Live are handing Nintendo their butts in this area).
7) A dedicated console. I get that many folks here are wanting a hybrid, but think it through; local multiplayer has always been a staple of Nintendo platforms and such an arrangement could hamper that big-time. Accessories cost money, and the more expensive they are (as in devices you can play away from home), the less likely you're going to have an extra three or four lying around when friends come over. Leave the portable gaming for dedicated portables.
8) A broader, more genre-diversified library of games. The Wii U has had no turn-based Strategy games like the Fire Emblem or Advance Wars series despite the Gamepad being PERFECT for such a game in hot seat multiplayer. It hasn't had an original Zelda game (yet...and don't hold your breath regarding the already announced one ending up on Wii U, either at this point), nor a Metroid title. The NX needs Nintendo to pull out all the stops to ensure gamers of all tastes have something to play and that its beloved franchises get adequate representation this time around.



AtlanteanMan commented on Editorial: Nintendo's Strategy Needs to be Glo...:

I dunno; I think this goes both ways. Ask Microsoft how having a Western-centric approach to marketing has helped it to sell Xbox platforms in Japan before saying Nintendo needs to adapt. Not saying there isn't room for improvement for sure, just that we're dealing with two VERY different business model philosophies and approaches to what constitutes value for the consumer. And Westernizing their business model would mean two things for Nintendo: annually regurgitated FPS and other shallow eye candy games and an online network where consumers could be gouged for every last possible penny. THAT'S the REAL Western approach to game consoles and development and it's the difference that's kept Nintendo systems viable despite all the predictions of doom and gloom over the years.



AtlanteanMan commented on Sega Sorry That It "Betrayed" Fans, Hopes To W...:

While I would absolutely buy and support a new Sega console, I think it's obvious that's not what he was referring to in the article (though I do hold out the faint hope that Sega and/or other Japanese publishers will ally themselves with and support Nintendo's NX platform). He's referring to a game. Some possibilities that would no doubt excite fans:

1) A new Skies of Arcadia
2) A new console Valkyria Chronicles
3) A new offline, Algol-based Phantasy Star
4) A new proper SRPG Shining Force
5) A new Dragon Force
6) A new LandStalker (the only Sega IP that ever gave the Zelda series a run for its money even though there were certainly differences)
7) A new Panzer Dragoon Saga

Of course Sega could also bring back any of their mountain of other popular IPs such as Shinobi, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Daytona USA, etc,, but it's their incredible RPGs (look no further than the fan response to Shenmue III) that would truly bring the house down if they were announced.

Just PLEASE, no more Sonic games for the foreseeable future or everything he said would be rendered meaningless.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Raw Power Isn't Vital to Ninten...:

System power encapsulates a lot of things but doesn't begin to tell the whole story as to whether a console can or will be successful. A lot comes down to what you're wanting the platform to accomplish, how versatile it needs to be (I highly recommend a traditional joypad interface and leave the "innovation for the GAMES), and the specific needs of the games that would be running on it.

For instance, the Sega Saturn was less powerful than the PSX but its architecture enabled its 2D sprite-based titles to be superior to its competitor's (side-by-side comparisons of Mega Man 8 demonstrate this). And despite being tragically underrated and so much of its INCREDIBLE library (one of the best RPG/SRPG platforms EVER) unseen ever since, the Saturn used its strengths to provide some of my personal all-time best gaming memories.

I bring this up because of seeing that Mario demo in Unreal Engine 4. It looks GOOD, but somehow doesn't look quite RIGHT. Many of Nintendo's properties feature visual aesthetics and animations that render bleeding edge system power or software engines unnecessary. A side note: yes that's a first party thing and Nintendo's call on that end, but I do hope that the NX will at the very least be able to accommodate third party developers on whatever projects they may wish to do; it would certainly help in a lot of ways. If you look back across the history of consoles and especially the earlier generations, it's amazing what determined developers were able to make work with hardware that supposedly was incapable of this or that. The NX doesn't have to be as powerful as the PS4 to be powerful ENOUGH.

Cost to the consumer is another sticky issue that isn't being discussed as much as it should be. Nintendo has always leaned toward trying to keep the consoles as low cost at the original point of sale as possible. Will serious hobbyists pay more for greater horsepower and more bells and whistles? Of course, but as with so many other things in today's gaming industry, our demographic isn't the one most companies consider first. They're intent on making it accessible to the masses of casuals and parents out there who are just looking for an appropriate system for the children to play on. It stinks from a hobbyist's standpoint but that demographic more than any other has kept Nintendo's coffers full, especially since the Wii.



AtlanteanMan commented on Rumour: Nintendo NX Won't Be As Powerful As Pl...:

Raw processing power can be overrated; it all comes down to the GAMES and how well they're designed. The days of easily being able to tell the difference between two different platform's versions of the same (third party) game are pretty much behind us.

As long as the NX has a traditional joypad interface, hardware architecture that is friendly to third party developers, and above all a library of incredible GAMES there should be no problem. Anything else is just a hyperbolic, hollow distraction.



AtlanteanMan commented on Tablets Stole The Wii U's Thunder, Laments Shi...:

You can lament that the market did this or that but it doesn't really matter if you failed to act upon what you COULD control. And by that I mean Nintendo never really TRIED to utilize the GamePad in ways that frankly made common sense.

Take turn-based Strategy, for example, specifically local hot seat multiplayer. So far it's been a genre restricted almost exclusively to PCs, and tablets can't offer the right experience unless everyone in the room has one and their own copy of the game (unlikely). It's not difficult at all (unless you're a Nintendo game developer, apparently) to envision a new Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, or third-party IP such as Shining Force or Daisenryaku with incredible hot seat multiplayer modes.

The Wii U has had some great games, but it has never felt its full potential has ever been realized. I fear that's how it's going to be remembered when all is sadi and done, and that's all on Nintendo who designed it around the GamePad in the first place.



AtlanteanMan commented on Editorial: Nintendo's Approach to amiibo is In...:

When Amiibos were first announced I admit I considered collecting them as I've always been a sucker for collecting miniatures. But time and financial constraints have forced me to not only pass on new lines of collectibles in recent years, but to have to sell off some of my existing ones. I'm not criticizing anyone who wants to collect Amiibo or anything else, but speaking from experience, at some point in life you'll probably come to see such things as stuff collecting dust on a shelf. When that occurs you'll probably decide to see what you can get for your collection on eBay, and if you're very fortunate you'll make about what you spent; it just depends on the scarcity and the demand. Bottom line: the things that you obsessed over just won't be that important to you anymore. That's just life and it happens.



AtlanteanMan commented on Editorial: The eShop's Pricing Dilemma is the ...:

The eShop has two key problems:

1) You never really own anything you buy digitally. There is no physical copy to hold onto or trade toward future purchases down the road, but also (and ESPECIALLY with Nintendo platforms) purchases are difficult if not impossible to carry forward to the next generation's console or even transfer between existing systems. Your purchase lasts for as long as your system and its storage medium does. Online-centric games are even worse in that servers can be practically empty the same week of release for a smaller developer, and once said servers are taken down, there goes that playability forever.

2) Other digital platforms (especially Steam) simply put the eShop to shame. Not just by selection but also pricing. Nintendo is notoriously rigid with their pricing structure and frankly the vast majority of their offerings, even the first-party ones, should be going for a third or less of what they're asking. Classic or not, we're talking two decade-plus old games that have been repackaged countless times already.

Lastly, as a writer myself I have experienced the realities of trying to sell books on Amazon and via self-publishers. Complete waste of time to self-publish physical copies; the experience I had made it impossible to sell let alone make money (Lulu got the first $25; how many books do you see going for half of that price?). As for Amazon, I felt like a guy operating a vegetable stand out of the back of his station wagon along the side of a busy highway; people just keep going and never notice you because you're buried under a mountain of bigger names. This in turn is another issue facing smaller developers on any platform, especially Nintendo's by the way.

I did however learn some valuable lessons about the absolute necessity of improving my craft; you can never stop improving because the competition is always tougher and the nature of the market is constantly changing. The only way for a smaller publisher to ever "hit the big time" is to work their butts off and make their games the absolute best they can be.



AtlanteanMan commented on Mobile Is Konami's Future, According To Presid...:

Sigh. I really miss the days when real videogame companies made real videogames for real gamers. Now it's become mostly mega-corporations with videogame divisions making copy-paste, over-hyped sequels to last year's sequels...and now increasingly aimed at people who think an app is an adequate substitute for a console/actual videogame.

I've loved this great hobby since the Atari 2600. Now most of what I fell in love with back then...the genre variety, the creativity, the sheer FUN...has become mostly just fond, bittersweet memories. I guess all good things must eventually come to an end.



AtlanteanMan commented on Nintendo's E3 Focus to Reportedly be on Wii U ...:

Smart move by Nintendo and exactly what their consumers needed to hear. An E3 where people got the sense that their 3DS and Wii U investments were being abandoned would NOT go over well, ESPECIALLY if a large segment of the presentation focused on mobile devices.

While I figure Nintendo will likely make scads of money by making apps for mobiles, I'm sure I'm not the only gamer who couldn't care less for the idea. I just hope that Nintendo doesn't divide their already stretched resources to accommodate mobile development because then we'd see even FEWER non-Mario or Zelda titles (love both of those franchises but hey, I love a lot of Sega franchises not named "Sonic" and Konami properties not named "Metal Gear", too).

Nintendo, there comes a time when your company's identity should come before shareholders who self-admittedly "don't get videogames". Please don't forget that or the lessons of companies who allowed people like that to wield too much power.



AtlanteanMan commented on Sega Won't Have A Booth At This Year's E3:

I wonder if Sega has ever considered experimenting with crowdfunding to gage serious interest in their old IPs? I strongly suspect that we'd see a lot of franchises developers currently dismiss as "niche" or "not 'mainstream enough'" make comebacks if they allowed gamers the opportunity to put money on the table. Just look at the overwhelmingly positive response to their putting Valkyria Chronicles on Steam.



AtlanteanMan commented on Sega Won't Have A Booth At This Year's E3:

"Instead, we will be collaborating with our various business partners for this year's E3 show."

Yes I realize the odds are practically nil of this ever happening, but what if that seemingly benign sentence turned into a MEGATON Nintendo Direct announcement during E3 of a merger/direct collaboration with Sega, Konami, Tecmo, Capcom, Square, SystemSoft Alpha, GameArts, Treasure, Namco/Bandai, and other major Japanese publishers to make and support the upcoming NX console?

I think the entire balance of the videogame industry would shift, just like that. If these companies returned to what they used to do best and teamed up as they did during the NES/SNES/Genesis days, not only would it very likely save Sega and Konami from seemingly imminent self-destruction, but it would be a literal renaissance for the old school games and genres that made so many of us fall in love with the hobby in the first place.

Oh, and can you just imagine that next Smash Bros. and Mario/Nintendo Kart if that happened?

Sadly, as long as Sega keeps going along their own path and the powers-that-be there don't change, their situation will NOT improve and neither will the hopes of ever seeing so many of their incredible IPs again.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Is Konami About To Exit The Con...:

@ cdude,

While on the surface I'd love to see the situation you just mentioned (and kind of echoed in my earlier post), aside from the money involved there are other things to consider. Nintendo just made a commitment to mobile gaming which no doubt will divide their resources and manpower to at least some degree (they're definitely not going to just trust DeNA or anyone else to take their IPs out into the wild unsupervised). That means fewer resources and man-hours spent on designing and making games for their core console and portable systems, unless they enlarge. SIDE NOTE: This could mean that we'll be seeing even less deviation from the "core" IPs from Nintendo going forward, which would indeed be very, very bad both for gamers and for Nintendo themselves in the long term.

And even if they did either purchase or merge/partner with the likes of Sega, Konami, or other Japanese publishers (definitely doable; Nintendo is a large corporation with vast cash reserves still in place from the Wii) or simply buy key IPs from them, somebody has to make those addition to the Marios, the Zeldas, and all the other staple franchises already in place. The best case scenario to ensure those IPs would be handled properly would be to hire former employees of those other companies. But for now all of this is pretty much a pipe dream, at any rate.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Is Konami About To Exit The Con...:

All we can do is vote with our wallets and spread the good word when we play a game we genuinely enjoy. I personally bought Code Name: STEAM. I haven't played it that much yet due to my backlog, but it's on the list.

I bought Valkyria Chronicles when it first came out on the PS3 and loved it so much that I showed it to three friends, each of whom bought their own copy. I did the same with little-known turn-based Strategy gem Daisenryaku VII: Modern Military Tactics Exceed for the PlayStation 2. The local 4-player multiplayer, real life countries and weaponry, and ability to create your own maps were incredible. I played it with about six or seven friends spanning countless play sessions and hundreds of hours...and every one of them bought their own copy.

Maybe we can't get every great game franchise we'd love to see again as often as we'd like to, if ever, but when we have an opportunity we only have ourselves to blame if we don't support such releases when they do come. And spreading the word, whether with friends or on internet forums, can gain support for future releases even if it's one person at a time.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Is Konami About To Exit The Con...:

@ Quorton,

I'll add this observation: I agree with what you're saying and it's a sad and frustrating situation for longtime Nintendo fans, but the points you made can easily also be applied to both Sony and Microsoft's platforms. Xbox is and has always been about shooters and violent gametypes like Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty. Even their RPGs like Mass Effect have a heavy third-person shooter aesthetic. They know the demographic they're going after and they're frankly not engaging anyone else, which has worked so far but which I believe will be to the long-term detriment of their console interests.

As for Sony, their offerings are much better balanced but they too are mostly about "mature" tropes, from God of War to Killzone. They're a mega-corporation that happens to have a games division, so the vast majority of their offerings each year are second and third-party properties...and all too often the same companies and their exact same, annually regurgitated sequels get invited to the stage for their E3 presentations. Naughty Dog means another Uncharted game. Ubisoft means another Assassin's Creed. EA means Battlefield and Madden. Activision means Call of Duty. Plus another round of zombie apocalypse-style games. And so on; you can predict it almost as surely as death and taxes.

What I'm saying in a nutshell is that most gamers' buying habits are pretty much the same regardless of the platform; they're narrow and tend to buy the same "AAA" stuff over and over again. While the definition of "true hobbyists" could be debated, where I'm concerned having been one since the Atari 2600, their tastes and interests are much broader than what's typically on offer in any given year. A Nintendo rep even told me back around 2008 "There are fewer and fewer of you (old school gamers) every year" (that conversation, while remaining civil, wasn't a pleasant one).

So yes, we know we'll get our obligatory Mario, Zelda, Mario Kart, and Smash Bros. installments with each new Nintendo platform (and none of those are a bad thing, obviously). After that all we can do is pretty much hope the IPs or genres we're most interested in get that once-in-a-generation release, if we're lucky. They cater to the rest of us after they make certain they've secured profitability for their stockholders, sadly not before and maybe even not then. The situation is exactly the same with Microsoft and Sony, believe me.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Is Konami About To Exit The Con...:

@ Quorthon,

I certainly won't disagree with your assessment; I've been lobbying for Nintendo to make a Wii U Advance Wars or Fire Emblem with local hot seat multiplayer (that Gamepad is TAILOR MADE for it). But as Furuko said, from their (or any company's) standpoint it's not about what sells necessarily as what will sell THE MOST. The money angle is where the all-too-common disconnect occurs between developers and gamers, sadly. Those of us who'd love a new turn-based Strategy title, for instance, are vastly outnumbered by those who'll pay for the next annual installment of Call of Duty, Mario, or any other "AAA" franchise. That's why we know those games are coming each and every year while we have to lobby (often unsuccessfully for years on end) to be thrown a single bone for great IPs and genres that aren't considered "mainstream" enough.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Is Konami About To Exit The Con...:

It'd be nice to see Nintendo either buy Konami or purchase the rights to their games (as well as hire former Konami employees who are familiar with them and their lore). Contra, Castlevania, Suikoden, Gradius, Vandal Hearts, Metal Gear, and so many more...reminds me of another Japanese company who stopped making games for all but pretty much one of their classic franchises; rhymes with "Sega". Konami's biggest mistake was feeding an apparently ginormous ego by concentrating almost solely on Metal Gear for so long. It's a nice (if very...ahem...eccentric) series, but they have had such a huge staple of great IPs they just allowed to collect dust.

THIS is the real problem with the decline of the Japanese side of the gaming industry: too many companies narrowing their focus to "safe" Western market-friendly properties (or altering existing ones to appeal to the FPS-glutted marketplace; examples: the Resident Evil series' departure from true horror to run-and-gun and the Final Fantasy series' switch from turn-based menu to button-mashing combo mechanics) and going to the same well till it was bone-dry. Without diversity of genres and gameplay mechanics you end up with shallow eye candy that all looks, sounds, and plays pretty much the same.

And yes, Nintendo should buy up the rights to Sega's mountain of unused, tragically neglected properties as well while they're at it (if they won't do a full console-supporting partnership, which I've strongly suggested in the past; it makes every kind of sense for both companies). Then the Wii U (or any other Nintendo platform) would no longer need to worry about third-party support.



AtlanteanMan commented on SEGA and M2 Are Happy to Continue 3D Classics ...:

My money's on the table should Sega ever do a complete (all 3 Scenarios; the US only got Scenario 1, leaving English-speaking gamers with an eternal cliffhanger and slap in the face) port of Shining Force III from the Sega Saturn. The rotatable environments (some of which must be done so as to find all the hidden character and secrets), if spiffed up with high-res visuals, are tailor-made for the 3D line-up. And with a whopping total of over 190 hours (I've played rough all 3 Scenarios myself), 3 armies totaling nearly 50 characters, and some truly epic turn-based battles that easily put even the revered Genesis iterations to shame, plus an incredible storyline full of political intrigue, Shining Force III would show a new generation of gamers (not to mention all the Westerners who never got to enjoy the full story to begin with) why the Saturn is perhaps the most underrated console of all time.

And hey, why stop there? Dragon Force, Panzer Dragoon, Bug!, Daytona USA, Iron Storm, and many other Saturn greats are waiting to be redone if Sega will only do it. Again, the money's on the table, guys!



AtlanteanMan commented on Poll: Is It Time For a Fresh Alternative to th...:

There are long-running inherent issues with the Virtual Console that would probably best be rectified by phasing the entire thing into a new service; since that's essentially what Nintendo's doing with their rewards system, such a move would only make sense.

The VC's biggest problem where I'm concerned has been how purchases are tied to a single console. If your system breaks down or you upgrade, chances are very high that you lose everything on your old one...and that's just plain unacceptable. Even the data transfer process from the old to the new 3DS is unnecessarily long and tedious. Purchases could EASILY be tied to user accounts so they can easily be taken across multiple systems, and given that Sony and Microsoft have had this in place for years now, there's simply no excuse for it not to be the case on Nintendo's platforms.

Pricing is another huge problem on the VC. $5 for an NES game, $7 for a SNES or Genesis title, $10 for N64 games...these prices kill interest on sight. I loved these games back in the day and yes, they're enduring classics, but they're also over two decades (in some cases THREE) old. And for games that have been repackaged countless times in one form or another. Nintendo may not like the idea, but shaving these prices down to 20 percent of what they are currently would frankly be smart if they genuinely want to move such virtual products in the current marketplace.

Selection is another sore spot. There are a lot of great games on the VC, but the Wii U is still a LONG way from ever catching up to where the Wii was in terms of offerings (again, simply having some redundancy and the ability to transfer between systems would solve this issue rather than require each new system to start from scratch). Beyond Nintendo-based games and the obligatory Genesis ones there are LOTS of titles languishing from several classic platforms which the Wii U and 3DS could easily emulate: the Saturn, the Dreamcast, the Neo Geo, the TurboGrafx 16, Arcade, and more.

Another thing that'd certainly be welcome and greatly help to sell digital games for Nintendo's service would be cross-platform support between consoles and portables. If I buy Donkey Kong country on my Wii U, the ability to also play it on the go with my 3DS (or vice versa...including save states) would be a HUGE plus. It would greatly help to send a message to me as a consumer that Nintendo wasn't just trying to make me buy the same product over and over as many times as possible (and a newsflash; that ploy hasn't been working to begin with).

Nintendo is still making the best quality and value current-gen games around (in my humble opinion), and they're why the company continues to defy repeated predictions of their demise. But the single biggest and most justified complaint from consumers continues to be their lack of online functionality, including the antiquated and unnecessarily hamstrung Virtual Console. The service needs a complete overhaul, without question.



AtlanteanMan commented on Soapbox: Sonic, It's Time to Talk:

Hopefully Valkyria Chronicles' sales success on Steam (which wildly surpassed Sega's expectations) will help them realize there's a MOUNTAIN of long-requested properties that fans are clamoring for; give Sonic a rest if not put him out to pasture permanently.



AtlanteanMan commented on Hands On: Wii U GameCube Controller Adapter:

I used my Wavebirds on my original Wii not only for Smash Bros. Brawl but also titles like Mario Kart Wii and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn as well as GameCube titles. From a consumer standpoint it's inexcusable for this adapter to only work with a single game; Nintendo of all companies should know better. I won't bother with the adapter unless Nintendo broadens its compatibility and usefulness considerably.



AtlanteanMan commented on Mario Kart 8 Software Update and DLC Available...:

Been playing it and love the tracks; there's EASILY enough value here to justify the $7.99 purchase, and getting the two for $11.99 just makes that much more sense. But now that Nintendo has officially entered the era of DLC and updates for the main console titles, I have a few suggestions on tweaking Mario Kart 8's (and the series in general) gameplay. The customization options in the multiplayer mode are a great start, but the single player could use at least some of these:

1) Lose the Lightning. It serves no point except to make everyone smaller, cost them their items, and basically irritate them. Does it really benefit the user? Not that much.

2) The Super 8 is vastly overrated. I've come to realize that having those eight items swirling around your kart isn't nearly as beneficial as you'd think while in the middle of a chaotic race. To even get it you have to be back in the pack, and if that's the case you're more than likely going to lose half the items to attacking items from other karts before you get to use them; there simply has never been a time I've gotten the Super 8 where I was able to hold onto items for when I felt they'd be of real use, and all too often you see players mash buttons as fast as they can in vain hopes of some actual change in their position. And as for waiting for the item you wish to use to pass in front of your kart while all the twisting, turning, and dodging is happening onscreen, I've found that the Super 8 has actually caused me to run into walls or off the track and LOSE position. Seriously, if you have the skills to use this item effectively you'll probably never get to in the first place.

3) Reward instead of punish the front-runners. I understand that the rubber band AI and giving those further back better items sounds good in theory, but it can be one of Mario Kart's most frustrating aspects when you've basically run a perfect race and dominated only to be suddenly Red/Blue Shelled and drop three places sometimes literally within sight of the finish line. Currently first-place racers can count on getting Coins, a rare Mushroom or Green Shell, and an even rarer Horn. Upping the ratios of better items would greatly help.

4) In fact, why not change the ratios to give racers the most useful items the most often across the board? Red Shells and Stars at the top of the Most Desirable list, and the Lightning, Squid, and Super 8 entrenched at the bottom.

I know this post is already long so I'll stop here. Anyone else have any thoughts to add? Do you think the game mechanics are fine as is or what would you do to tweak them?



AtlanteanMan commented on Preview: The Irresistible Charm of Captain Toa...:

As the writer mentioned my chief concern initially was whether the lower price point meant Captain Toad would end up being beautiful but short on content. Thankfully the 70 or so levels announced seem to indicate otherwise.

So why the lower price for a game that's more than worthy to share space with the most anticipated "AAA" titles this holiday season? My personal guess is that Nintendo figured that building an entire retail title around a new character the general public wasn't familiar with was inherently risky, so they lowered the asking price to compensate. Which means that gamers could be getting a great deal on what will likely be one of this Christmas season's very best games.



AtlanteanMan commented on Turns Out The GameCube Controller Adapter Won'...:

A videogame company that's been in the business as long as Nintendo has no excuse for something like this.

I get that corporations are in business to make money, but where Sony and Microsoft used DLC and online to gouge consumers since the last generation, Nintendo has quietly used peripherals as a Trojan Horse since the Wii. Most Nintendo titles that use multiplayer are A) local-centric and B) are incidentally among their most popular franchises (Smash Bros., Mario Kart, etc.), and Nintendo counted on that combination to get Wii buyers to purchase scads of peripherals that added enormous cost to that "low-entry, $200" console. By the time a consumer had picked up, for example, 3 extra Wiimotes, an extra Nunchuk, and 4 Classic Controllers, they had spent another $220...all without putting a penny into an actual game. And Nintendo's profits shot through the roof...temporarily. But most people eventually catch on. It certainly hasn't helped the Wii U so far, because people remember.

No peripheral in history has ever done well that was made for only a single game, or even two or three; the cost/benefit ratio just isn't there for buyers. Nintendo is counting on fans' passion for Smash Bros. to sell them lots of GameCube Controller Adapters in the same way they made peripherals what quietly made the original Wii so profitable. And I'm sure they WILL sell a bunch...but for a company long known for giving its customers value for their investment, Nintendo is treating them with a large measure of disrespect here...and in the long term it will come back to hurt that image just as the Wii's sales model did. People remember.



AtlanteanMan commented on Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Brings Circ...:

This was my chief concern about putting Smash Bros. or any fighting game on a portable system, especially one with hinges and sliders (as opposed to joysticks) like the 3DS (also the issue with keeping the screen at the right angle not to "blur out" when in the heat of battle, which the new model will address but which existing users may/may not want to invest in). Watching how intense a lot of people get into these types of games, you know going in that the interface will be taking some abuse. If this problem becomes too widespread it could backfire into a huge P.R. disaster for Nintendo and we may never see another Smash Bros. release on one of their portables ever again.

To be honest I was on the fence about picking up the 3DS version anyway; this news pretty much pushed me into "No thanks" territory. I'll stick to the Wii U version.



AtlanteanMan commented on Nintendo of America Unleashes Wii U Game Sizzl...:

More original and exclusive games than either of its two competitors, hands down. Far BETTER games released or announced so far than either Sony or Microsoft have managed to show. Better quality and a much wider range of gameplay mechanics than its kill count and violence-obsessed competition, hands down.

The "year's head start" excuse isn't holding up so well for Sony and Microsoft fanboys at this point; the Wii U is hands down the best and most versatile console of this generation, at least so far. They have a LONG way to go to catch up.



AtlanteanMan commented on Mario Kart 8 DLC Coming In November, Features ...:

This is GREAT news. Looking very much forward to seeing which courses are revealed. Retro courses from previous Mario Kart games? Themed tracks from other Nintendo franchises (like Hyrule's Castle/Death Mountain/Kokiri Forest, F-Zero's crazy outer space tracks, Metroid's subterranean environments, Advance Wars or Fire Emblem's battlefields, etc.). More third-party guest racers/tracks ala' Smash Bros. (Sonic, Mega Man, Solid Snake, etc.)?

LOTS of possibilities. And while some may argue such DLC would deviate too much from the Mario Kart formula, it's also been suggested for some time that the series could use more fresh ideas. And the Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing series has proven that such crazy-sounding concepts can be AWESOME if done right (seriously, pick those games up if you've never tried them; the Afterburner, Skies of Arcadia, Golden Axe, and Panzer Dragoon tracks in particular are standouts and make you REALLY wish Sega still had a console out there!).



AtlanteanMan commented on Somebody At Ubisoft Really Doesn't Like Mario ...:

Truth be told I agree with the statement; Mario Kart just doesn't feel like the place for licensed, "real world" vehicles. It's all about the money obviously, but cross-promotions like this can sour a good thing.

That said, I'm all for more real, Nintendo-themed tracks, characters, and vehicle customizations via DLC, if Nintendo will offer them.



AtlanteanMan commented on Latest Wii U System Update Allows Console To C...:

Okay, I get the idea of someone upgrading from an 8GB to a 32GB model. That said...

While it's nice that you can transfer data from one Wii U to another, my question is WHAT'S THE POINT HERE!!? Because if the original Wii U system is in fine running order, why would you want to wipe its memory to transfer everything to another Wii U? If this was referring to the ability to actually SHARE game saves and other data BETWEEN two active consoles, this would be actual news, and a lot more practical for consumers.

Another thing; transferring said data requires both consoles to be in working order. As I said, there'd be no point in doing this between two working consoles if the original is left a blank slate, but if, say, your original just "bricked" on you, then you're out of luck anyway (and presumably, there go your Virtual Console and eShop purchases...buh-bye). So basically this news DOESN'T CHANGE A THING.

Online and digital might be okay for perennial platforms like the PC (Steam accounts can easily transfer between PCs with all games, etc.), but it's been a nightmare for console hobbyists both from a "keep what you buy 'forever'" as well as from a sharing/transferring data standpoint. And all to keep control over the consumer and their purchase after the point of sale.

Sometimes I actually miss the days of cartridges and everything being on the physical disc you bought at the store. It wasn't perfect but that cartridge/disc could go anywhere with you and play on another person's system, as could your saves (either on the cartridge or a memory card).



AtlanteanMan commented on Nintendo Goes Download-Only With The 2014 Club...:

While the lack of ay physical rewards may be disappointing for some, there are several likely reasons for the switch that make sense when you think about it. First, having users choose from digital items already on their store is HUGELY more practical from a cost/benefit standpoint for Nintendo over, say, creating molds for and manufacturing physical miniatures, curios, or other items. Also, it's a subtle way for Nintendo to gage interest in particular genres or franchises for possible future releases, either digitally or at retail.

Of course this isn't the only thing Nintendo has changed recently in the interest of being cost-conscious; their recent switch during E3 from expensive stage presentations to all-digital events was another measure done to save money. Why? Perhaps its at least partially due to the Wii U's sales not meeting expectations early on, and they're attempting to recoup what they can for their investors; business decisions, in the end, are ALWAYS about money.

At any rate, I'm very glad they picked Earthbound as one of the offerings. I definitely plan to snap it up once the program opens.



AtlanteanMan commented on Wii Owners Are Upgrading To PlayStation 4, Cla...:

I have a Wii U and am loving it; I don't know what all the fuss is about concerning a supposed "lack" of great games to play on it. Pikmin 3, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Captain Toad, Splatoon, and the incredible-looking upcoming Zelda dismiss those a person really MUST only care about playing in dystopian, gritty, violent games with "realistic" eye candy. Don't look now but the Wii U has more than its fair share of eye candy...and far more games that I would care to play so far this generation than their competition, hands down.

I haven't invested in a PS4 or an Xbox One yet, and while Sony's machine has a better chance of my adopting it in the future, nothing shown at E3 gave me sufficient reason to plunk down the money for either. I love Halo but I'm not buying an Xbox One for a single franchise. As for Sony, I love the looks of The Crew and No Man's Sky, but both of those and other upcoming big names like Dragon Age: Inquisition can also be found on the PC.

And speaking of the PC, Civilization: Beyond Earth and a lot of other awesome-looking Strategy titles (which sadly consoles rarely if ever bother with) are some of my most-anticipated games of 2014. Why invest that money into a console whose library is full of redundancy and annually regurgitated, increasingly shallow "AAA" franchises when you can put it into more of the games you really WANT to play?



AtlanteanMan commented on E3 2014: Intelligent Systems Will Reveal New A...:

I've said for a long time that the Wii U Gamepad is MADE FOR turn-based Strategy games. Each player can hold the Gamepad "hot seat-style" during their turn where only they can actually see what units they're moving or actions they're taking. Their opponents watching the main TV screen only see the results.

Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, Shining Force, Final Fantasy Tactics, Valkyria Chronicles (with multiplayer!), Daisenryaku...the list of potential franchises that could incorporate the Wii U gamepad for turn-based Strategy is a long one. And I've no doubt that any of these would be HUGE sellers and do wonders for the genre as a whole, which sadly has gotten almost no love on consoles over the years.



AtlanteanMan commented on Interview: Console Wars Author Blake J. Harris...:

Sony and Microsoft have both had some great games/franchises under their respective logos over the years, but there's simply no hiding the fact that they're both software/electronics mega-corporations that happen to have videogames divisions. Sega on the other hand, like Nintendo, was a videogame company at its very core, and that is why longtime hobbyists typically remember the NES/SNES/N64/Master System/Genesis/Saturn era as the true Golden Age of Gaming. Things were much simpler then, and game releases weren't dictated nearly so much by eye candy and projected profit margins as they were genuine creativity, originality, and just plain FUN.

Sadly the market wouldn't support four console manufacturers and Sega was pushed out; given a choice I would happily trade both Sony and Microsoft's exit to see a console-supporting Sega back in the mix, because they simply meant that much to the hobby. Many fickle gamers who jumped from Sega onto the PlayStation and Xbox bandwagons would likely also be happy to go back given the way things are now. Sega's sheer number of original, iconic franchises and properties far outweighs even Nintendo's, but since they went third party Sonic is about all we've seen from them with any regularity whatsoever (again, the downfalls of games being greenlighted based upon profit expectations only). Valkyria Chronicles reminded us of what could have been and once was during Sega's glory days, but its sequels were promptly relegated to the PSP void, and the second never even came here (Sega even denied localization publishers the rights to license it).

As remote as the possibility is, given their numerous prior collaborations I still hold out hope for a Nintendo/Sega console partnership at some point. Not only would such deal yield IMMEDIATE benefits for Nintendo and its oft-struggling console sales, but only then would the graphics-jaded younger generation be able to see what all the fuss was about back in the Golden Age of Videogames. Because that mountain of AAA, iconic properties (Phantasy Star, Shining Force, Shinobi, Golden Axe, Skies of Arcadia, Panzer Dragoon, Out Run, Streets of Rage, Valkyria Chronicles, Afterburner, Daytona USA, LandStalker, Virtua Fighter...and on and on..) would be again unleashed in current-gen glory (and can anyone just IMAGINE what such a collaboration would mean for, say, Smash Bros.!? Just do it and take my money NOW, guys. Seriously.).

Such a development would change EVERYTHING, the very balance of the industry itself. The biggest thing preventing that from happening, sadly, is Sega themselves, for whatever reason. They've simply never appeared to have faith in so many of their most beloved franchises, and that is a true tragedy for all of us.



AtlanteanMan commented on Month of Mario Kart: Clones And Alternatives t...:

Obviously the next step for Nintendo beyond Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros. regarding the Wii U is which franchise to offer to further extend multiplayer offerings. All the criticisms of it aside, the Wii U Gamepad is PERFECTLY designed for a potential multiplayer-equipped Advance Wars or Fire Emblem installment, and third parties like SystemSoft Alpha's Daisenryaku military strategy series would likewise enable players to use the Gamepad to make their moves where no one else can see what they're doing; just the results on the main TV screen.

The Wii U CAN have an incredible amount of life and lots of amazing games left in it, provided Nintendo and third parties cater to its strengths (which are more than the media typically gives it credit for).



AtlanteanMan commented on Mario Kart Month: Expanding the Universe of Ma...:

I think that if Nintendo handled it in a somewhat similar way to how Sega has done their Sonic and All-Stars Racing games (which are surprisingly great, by the way, with TONS of awesome tracks that evoke serious nostalgia), they could pull off a multi-franchise karting game; in fact it could be to karting what the Smash Bros. series has been to fighting games.

No, it wouldn't necessarily mean you'd see Ganondorf lobbing bananas; instead each character would have recognizable items unique to them and/or their world/game. Mario and friends would retain the tried and true item set, while for example Link might have his own version of the boomerang, his bomb flowers, and could fire magic projectiles using the Wand. Fox McCloud's kart could fire lasers, and Samus could drop rows of bombs to deter players behind her. Advance Wars' Andy could ride a tank and fire area-effect rounds. Each character would, just as in Smash Bros., have their own style.

But the worlds/tracks would be the real attraction. Just imagine a Zelda-themed track careening through the Kokiri forest or Death Mountain's volcano, all while environmental changes and background characters interacted with the racers during each lap (maybe even forcing changes to the track layouts themselves like in Sonic and All-Stars Racing: Transformed). Ridley could menace the karts as they fly through subterranean passages in a Metroid-themed level, while karts might whiz through a grand-scale battle in a Fire Emblem level.

These are just a few ideas...and what if Nintendo ever decided to do a kart collaboration with Sega to bring the two franchises and their respective concepts/characters/worlds together? Somehow I think that would sell more than a few Wii Us.



AtlanteanMan commented on Feature: A Week of Super Smash Bros. Wii U and...:

I strongly suspect the biggest character reveals for Smash Bros. Wii U have yet to be revealed (most likely during the week of E3), and at least some of them may well be licensed characters from other companies as Snake from the Metal Gear series was for Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii. What a coup it would be for Nintendo and the Wii U if say, they managed to get an iconic face like Master Chief. Never say never; Nintendo and Microsoft's US headquarters are located very close to each other and similar rumors...though so far only rumors...of such collaboration have surfaced before. Of course that would require a reciprocation of some sort on Nintendo's part, which would be at least equally beneficial for the Xbox One. Before you dismiss even the remotest possibility for this or any other such licensed character in Wii U Smash Bros., consider that the Wii U's sales struggles to date might force Nintendo to take unprecedented steps to pull gamers into the fold...even utilizing competitors' properties and/or allowing some of their own to appear on competing platforms in a limited fashion. And frankly the Xbox One is facing a very similar lack of consumer adoption; both companies might consider such a crazy-sounding move mutually beneficial.

Other (admittedly more likely since they're from fellow Japanese developers) characters that could be revealed:

Vyse and Aika from Skies of Arcadia

Ryu from Ninja Gaiden

Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter, and/or Tekken series characters

Welkin and Alicia from Valkyria Chronicles (the Eidelweiss would be a Super Move).

Rudo, Nei, and other characters from Phantasy Star

Master Higgins from the Adventure Island series

Marvel characters from Marvel Vs. Capcom

Bonk from the Bonk's Adventure series

That should be enough to get the ball rolling. Anybody want to add some suggestions to this "Wish List" of (however remote the possibilities) candidates?



AtlanteanMan commented on Feature: Let's Take A Look At The Crazy Suppor...:

I'd buy an F-Zero game on the Wii U (money's on the table!); considering how amazing F-Zero GX looked on the GameCube at such an insane framerate, I've no doubt whatsoever that Nintendo could make the franchise look stunning on the Wii U. Make it happen, Nintendo.