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 Post subject: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Sun Jan 4, '15, 5:33 pm 
It may be awhile before they are ready but it seems Nintendo may already be working on the next newest video game consoles:

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/s/nintendo-c ... 15955.html

What would you like to see featured in the new consoles?


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 Post subject: Re: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Sun Jan 4, '15, 6:41 pm 
I'd like to see new IPs and ideas and for Nintendo to let their old, tired franchises finally rest. I know they can get creative if they'd just stop recycling the same characters, ideas and settings. Let in more third party developers, enough with hardware gimmicks. I think that if they are already looking at new hardware, it says something about the WiiU...that it isn't doing too well and Smash isn't enough to reverse that in the long run.

That said, here's the caveat: it seems that none of the current gen consoles are doing that great anyway, despite the holiday season, so much of what I said is fully applicable the PS4 and XBox One as well.


Last edited by Wolf Bird on Sun Jan 4, '15, 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Mon Jan 5, '15, 1:23 am 
Parma Ham wrote:
Wolf Bird wrote:I'd like to see new IPs and ideas and for Nintendo to let their old, tired franchises finally rest. I know they can get creative if they'd just stop recycling the same characters, ideas and settings.

I'm way out of the gaming loop, but every now and then I listen to a podcast or read an article about the current state of affairs. I've been hearing this sentiment expressed about Nintendo a lot, but I don't think it's necessarily right. Yeah, Nintendo is still making the same handful of franchises they were 10, 20, even 30 years ago. But those are some of the most acclaimed franchises in gaming history. :) And while 'same old same old' is a little boring for those of us who've played enough Mario and Zelda to last a lifetime, there's always a new generation of gamers who are coming to these titles for the first time. I'm not sure what the actual buying public is putting their money into, but I doubt Nintendo would keep pushing their well-known IPs out there if they weren't selling. From a game company's standpoint, commerce trumps creativity any day. ;)


I'm in total agreement here, and that's a really good point. I'm personally still crazy about Mario and Zelda and Metroid and Mario Kart and Smash and all that, though I can understand how people would get burned out on them, but it's important to remember that not all gamers are 30-40 years old and jaded. A lot of Nintendo's audience is just discovering Mario and Kirby and Star Fox and all the franchises we've grown up with and loved, so I think it's really important that someone keeps that torch alive. It would be like demanding that Marvel and DC stop publishing Batman and Superman and X-Men. Sure, a lot of us have gotten tired of them, but they're cultural icons, and the younger generations deserve them too. They have a kind of mythic status now.

I do think Nintendo needs to cultivate more third party support. They can't do it all on their own. They're a great developer, in my opinion the best, but it never hurts to have Street Fighter and stuff like that.


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 Post subject: Re: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Mon Jan 5, '15, 4:01 pm 
Before my wall of text below, please read this: I have what I think is the flu. So please excuse if the aforementioned wall of text below seems a bit disorganized.

You both make a few good points, I will admit. But I still think that as iconic and classic as Mario, Zelda, etc. are, if Nintendo is looking past the WiiU, I would think that it's an indication that the WiiU isn't going to have much long-term payoff. I do agree that the franchises obviously are commercially successful as they keep using the characters, but is it commercially successful enough to keep the WiiU afloat? Microsoft and Sony, even if the Xbox One and PS4 both flop long term, have other business divisions to fall back on. Nintendo, not so much. If they keep remaking the same franchises and such, that's fine. Nothing wrong with introducing new gamers to these old franchises, and hopefully playing the latest installments makes them look at the older ones as well. I can't stop that, and I don't begrudge those who enjoy Nintendo products. The gaming market is certainly big enough for those like me who are tired of Mario, Zelda, et. al. to look elsewhere (and indeed I do). My concern is that I'm not sure how much longer that strategy alone is going to work for Nintendo and I feel like this announcement is an indication it isn't enough anymore. And I'd like Nintendo stay a big player in the gaming market. I grew up on them as much as anyone else. If they do fall back to just software, that might be good for them, but I wonder, then, what platforms their software would be available on. Would Sony or Microsoft start publishing Nintendo games on their platforms, or would Valve start putting them up on Steam? I'm not totally sure.

Bragatyr, I do like your analogy to comic characters. I can agree in part, but only to a point. The comic book industry and games industry are not the same. DC and Marvel are (as far as I know, do correct me if I'm wrong...I'm no comic book expert) are basically the major players in the American market. If they're the only ones writing decent comics using the same classic characters, that's just where it's going to stay.

Disclosure: I am not, and never really was, a comic fan. This may be because I quickly get tired of them.

But in games, you have tons of developers and more options on where to put your material. When one of them is sticking to the same thing repeatedly in a market that is more dynamic, that strategy may eventually start failing when many others innovating. I see it with Nintendo, IMO, but it's not unique to Nintendo. It seems plenty of big devs are reusing the same franchises repeatedly. There are games I love and enjoy, but that doesn't mean I want a new installment every other year. Now, of course, those franchises are often commercially successful (look at Halo, Call of Duty, etc.), and innovation and creativity may get ignored (Remember Me). Creativity can also win accolades and be hugely successful (Portal). But how long can a huge portion of an entire industry largely recycle the same things and basically rely on them, while giving only token appreciation to creativity? I don't know the answer to that. But I at least think the gaming industry, as a whole, is going to have to start answering that question. Being classic is not a reason to go on in perpetuity. People criticize Halo or Call of Duty for their undying, repetitive natures with new installments out every year, but then give Zelda and Mario a pass on it just because they're considered classic or iconic. It's a double standard at best, IMO. Where, exactly, is the threshold for classic, and what even makes a classic?

On Japanese developers, there's just not much that's interesting, fresh or new. The most recent Japanese game I played and truly loved was Mother 3 (and for note, that is a Nintendo game), and that was back on GBA - and I played it on emulator with the translation patch. I have played games that were published by a Japanese studio but developed in a western one (Remember Me - the developer was French, but it was published by Capcom). All the last-gen memorable titles, at least for me, are western - Red Dead Redemption, The Last of Us, Remember Me, Skyrim, Bioshock, Mass Effect. All the games that came out in 2014 that interest me are western - Shadow of Mordor, Dragon Age Inquisition, Borderlands The Pre-Sequel, and Far Cry 4 (all but the first sequels, I will note, though Far Cry is a franchise in name only, not reusing the same characters). None of this is to say I dislike Japanese developers - my two favorite games of all time are Japanese. But I do think that since around the mid 2000s, western developers have dominated and have been more willing to explore new ideas.

For third party developers, cultivating good relationships with them can be a very good thing for creating good, innovative games. Nintendo used to have good relationships with third party devs - the Metroid Prime games were actually not developed by Nintendo itself, and those were some of the best games on the Nintendo console at the time. It spreads the burden and responsibility, and can help to catch bad ideas before they spread. Of course, vet your third party developers, lest you go from Metroid Prime to Metroid: Other M. Third party developers is the main reason that Xbox 360 and PS3 have large, diverse libraries. Sure, there's plenty of chaff, but there's also a lot of wheat and it's not too hard to find it. Without solid third party developers, you don't get a lot of either. The PS2 was hugely successful because it had a lot of third-party support and studios made lots of games games for it, leading to a huge diverse library. Among the three last-gen consoles, I think the Wii, overall, had the weakest line-up of games. Time will tell for the current gen.

I will fully admit to being a little bit jaded at the moment. But I don't really think there's anything wrong with that - it seems many gamers are, and when that starts happening to a consumer base, it's an indication that an industry might want to do a little bit of introspection and figure out why. I found 2014 to be a pretty paltry year for games overall, especially after 2013, in which several released titles that were very memorable for me. Most of my gaming the last year has been playing titles I missed in the last few years, and I'm okay with that.


Last edited by Wolf Bird on Mon Jan 5, '15, 4:01 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Tue Jan 6, '15, 7:32 pm 
Actually, Parma, I haven't seen that particular game theory video, so I watched it. They do make some good points. But there a few problems as well...it seemed to me that when looking at the sales data, they did not control for a lot of things, primarily the growth in gaming's popularity over the years, as well as things like demographics. One of the mistakes I definitely made in my rambling wall of text above was lumping all gamers into one, which is a huge over generalization, and I think they made a similar error. Different games have different audiences, and that audience is going to change. And putting out new iterations of something with some changes will keep the current audience but maybe draw in new people as well as lose a few, with hopefully a net gain.

All that said, it still makes a good point - the same thing over and over with some changes or additions here and there sells well and can generally be relied on for that. Unique games (and they named quite a few) often don't, and if you don't have money, you're not developing anything. The audience might say they want creativity, but often fails to puts its money where its mouth is, and I'm totally guilty of that myself. Like I said, of the 4 games released in 2014 that I'm interested in, all but one are sequels. But on the flip side, they're sequels to franchises that only in the last year or so have grabbed my attention, so it's personal growth, in a way. I made the not-as-big-a-mistake-as-it-usually-is mistake of reading the comments on that video, and while many commenters made good points, I was sad to see a lot of people basically saying all first-person shooters are terrible and are ruining the industry, because you just shoot-shoot-shoot. I used to be one of those people years ago, until I played Bioshock, which was a big deal in my personal growth as a gamer. Still a time I have to kick myself for, and Bioshock taught me something I hope I never forget: I shouldn't write off anything just because at the surface, the contents seem like something new to me that I won't like. It's opened up a new world to me. Obviously, I only have so much time and money so I have to have a filter somewhere, but it's a more open filter.

But I still walked away from a video asking myself a question I put in my post above: why are so many willing to give Nintendo a pass on recycling many of the same things for years, but criticize others when they do it? I also still ask why Nintendo is already looking towards a new console if their franchises are commercially successful enough. To me, it's an indication of a tried-and-true strategy maybe coming apart at the seams. Again, not unique to Nintendo, as last I knew, the newest Assassin's Creed wasn't doing very well either.

The industry (and by industry I mean devs, publishers and the end consumers) still probably need to do a bit of introspection about where this dynamic, quickly growing and changing industry is heading. The last 20 years or so the "better technology and graphics" angle has been pretty reliable, I can't see that holding too much longer. Better technology and graphics are a great thing, but it still actually needs a good game on which to run with something to boast besides looking good.

I'm not sure if I had a larger point here. I either lost it getting my thoughts together or lost it in my last dose of medicine.

And thanks for the well wishes, Parma.


Last edited by Wolf Bird on Tue Jan 6, '15, 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Thu Jan 8, '15, 3:22 am 
Parma Ham wrote:I thought it was interesting that MatPat seemed to think Nintendo is over-innovating rather than rehashing. :D Again, I don't really know the score, so I might be misunderstanding him, you, and everything else. But I wonder: Are you criticizing Nintendo for rereleasing the same games over and over with no substantial changes from version to version? Or, is your complaint that they keep reusing their flagship characters, regardless how different all the individual titles might be? For example: Mario Bros. and Mario Kart are totally different games with different mechanics; the characters/setting are all they have in common. Do you feel that's still an example of "rehashing"? (Serious question; I'm just trying to understand your criticism.)


I'm really tired right now (though feeling better, well enough to at least go to work today, for better or worse considering I have to walk a bit and it's COLD - thanks again for asking :) ) so for now, just going to give you a fair answer to a fair question. And that answer is...a bit of both. I totally understand that the Mario Bros. games are not the same as Mario Kart, or Luigi's Mansion, etc. In fact, I've played many recent Nintendo titles, and while I am generally tired of them, I still recognize them as quality, generally well-put-together games that function well and can be perfectly fine and fun to play. But I'm honestly a bit tired of seeing the same characters and basically the same gameplay ideas without much in terms of evolution over the last few years. Mario Kart 8 didn't feel that much different to me than Mario Kart Wii. Super Mario Bros. 3D World, honestly, felt like a step back in some ways from the Galaxy games on the Wii. I feel that the Zelda series is even more guilty of these things than Mario. Of course, there are changes and new things here and there, but just...not enough to actually make it feel much different from the previous iteration. It's not enough to make stop me from feeling that many of the games are basically interchangable. Now, Nintendo has never been much into the story department, which can make up for some problems of seeing the same characters; a story can allow character growth and development over time. Ratchet & Clank is a good example of that. But Nintendo doesn't have much in terms of story, and it just makes the games feel too bland and same-y for me from iteration to iteration.


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 Post subject: Re: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Thu Jan 8, '15, 5:28 pm 
Wolf Bird wrote:But in games, you have tons of developers and more options on where to put your material. When one of them is sticking to the same thing repeatedly in a market that is more dynamic, that strategy may eventually start failing when many others innovating. I see it with Nintendo, IMO, but it's not unique to Nintendo. It seems plenty of big devs are reusing the same franchises repeatedly. There are games I love and enjoy, but that doesn't mean I want a new installment every other year. Now, of course, those franchises are often commercially successful (look at Halo, Call of Duty, etc.), and innovation and creativity may get ignored (Remember Me). Creativity can also win accolades and be hugely successful (Portal). But how long can a huge portion of an entire industry largely recycle the same things and basically rely on them, while giving only token appreciation to creativity? I don't know the answer to that. But I at least think the gaming industry, as a whole, is going to have to start answering that question. Being classic is not a reason to go on in perpetuity. People criticize Halo or Call of Duty for their undying, repetitive natures with new installments out every year, but then give Zelda and Mario a pass on it just because they're considered classic or iconic. It's a double standard at best, IMO. Where, exactly, is the threshold for classic, and what even makes a classic?


I've been thinking about the problem of creativity and innovation in games for a while now, and it's definitely an interesting problem and one that's not unique to Nintendo or any given company. For one thing, and maybe most importantly, I think the genre as a whole is stagnating because it's no longer young and it's reaching a sort of creative plateau in which most of the novel ideas have already been introduced. Video gaming was a completely new form in the middle of the past century, which created a sense of immense innovation. Over time the genre has run into the same problems that other art forms and mediums have run into. For one thing it's become very commercial, of course, with products being dictated by the will of shareholders and corporate interests rather than the earnestness of the early individual game designers. More importantly, I think that any art form eventually hits a sort of wall in terms of what is possible and feasible in the form. When this happens I think we see what the genre really portends at its core, when a form becomes defined more by its essence and the imagination of the artist than by any temporal sense of novelty. I've played a number of contemporary indie games that are very novel and interesting on a surface level, but don't have for me the staying power of a Mario or Zelda.

Which brings me to Nintendo. I often see criticism of their continued use of their trademark mascots, but I wonder what would really be accomplished by discarding them. If we look at their games in an historical context we see that, over a very large period of time in gaming terms, their characters and franchises have been incorporated into some of the most notable and genre-defining experiments in gaming. Mario as a character may not be new, but from Donkey Kong to Super Mario Bros. to Mario 64 to Super Mario Galaxy he's been involved in one long, continuous evolution in platforming, one which has been immensely influential and trendsetting. Which raises an interesting question; is gaming and its accompanying sense of wonder or exploration defined by its surface details, or by its inner complexities? Nintendo could certainly have introduced new characters and IPs to fill these roles and define these games, but would Mario 64 really have been made a better game by having Master Chief in the title role, or even some unheard of, cutesy new mascot? I really don't think so. I think that Nintendo relies on the familiar to bring gamers into a familiar place that slowly becomes more imaginative.

I would also ask whether Super Mario Galaxy, which is relatively more recent, would have been made a better game with a darker and more modern story. I would argue that it would not, but I'll elaborate on that later, because my eyes are killing me.


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 Post subject: Re: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Fri Jan 9, '15, 5:02 pm 
Well, I'm interested to hear your perspective Bragatyr, and the thing is, I agree. Mario wouldn't benefit from a dark storyline. But, a good story needn't be dark and depressing. It can be quite cheery, funny and still engaging with interesting, compelling characters like Ratchet & Clank or the original Spyro games.

And as I had said, innovation and creativity is an industry wide issue. But I guess maybe where we differ is that Nintendo's flagships have lost their staying power for me. Others have done what they do, and have done it better in my opinion. They may have started different genres and gotten them going, but but where Nintendo started stagnating for me, others stepped in and breathed life in. Okami has more power for me than any Zelda title. I consider the aforementioned Ratchet & Clank and original Spyro games better platformers than 3-D Mario games.

One could also argue that Call of Duty and Halo, modern poster boys of repetitiveness, are what Nintendo did back in the day, i.e. genre-defining experiences in gaming (for note, I'm a fan of neither). Modern classics, perhaps, like them or not? I still do not see, at core, why Nintendo can get a pass and others can't with recycling characters and ideas.

Thing is, I still look at the industry and as much as I love it, I find myself asking where it's going in the coming years. This move with a new Nintendo console barely into the new generation, I think, is a symptom of a larger problem.


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 Post subject: Re: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Fri Jan 9, '15, 10:13 pm 
You know, I found Okami to be an interesting case in the whole Zelda debate. I haven't finished it myself, but I did start playing it a while back, and while it was neat and novel, with a beautiful setting and art style and a nice harkening to myth and a more traditional musical style, I found the game itself a bit awkwardly constructed and, well, gimmicky. The central conceit of drawing symbols to execute attacks is neat at first, but it quickly gets old, and I only played the game for a brief time. Which gets at my gaming philosophy; I don't like things that interrupt the flow of the game, whether they be forced cut scenes or overly long narration or clunky play mechanics.

This is why I like Nintendo, and I why I think they've succeeded for so long. While the 32-bit era saw the introduction of massive story lines and inescapable FMVs sometimes lasting for hours, Nintendo has always kept a focus on the game play. Even with the introduction of the Wii, when the company was accused of relying on gadgetry and gimmicks, and even with all the faults of motion play, it has to be admitted that the use of dedicated motion controls was not only innovative, but also directly impacted the game experience itself. It was not simply a surface detail, at least when implemented correctly. Again, I'm not personally the biggest fan of motion control, and it was often forced on the player in really silly ways simply because it was a defining mark of the console, but when used well, as in Skyward Sword, it changed the way the game was played and allowed for a deeper sense of control.

But this is my issue with the use of story in games. I believe that games work best when they function as games, and not as interactive storytelling. Games as a concept have been around since before recorded history, and the most enduring ones tend to have strong central mechanics and depth in play. A good example is chess. It has a small but evocative sense of surface storyline, with knights and castles and kings and queens, but the reason it's endured as a meaningful human activity is because it is complex and has compelling mechanics. We might be drawn in initially by the pageantry of the symbols, but in the end they're only this, symbols to facilitate the underlying game play.

It's why there will always be a market for Nintendo and the types of games they produce, and it gets back to my point about their use of enduring mascots. Mario and Donkey Kong and Kirby can be seen almost as stand-ins, as beloved but essentially interchangeable pieces in a larger gaming puzzle. Nintendo, it seems to me, concedes the storyline as a given; you're going to rescue princess, you're going to have your bananas stolen, King Dedede is on a rampage again. It doesn't really matter. They know that what their audience wants is a good, well-designed game. We love the characters, but really only as they facilitate a larger and shared and even nostalgic experience in gaming. Again, it's familiar, perhaps too much so for some people's sake, but a good game, like chess, continues to be a good game no matter how much times passes, or how much the surface details change or stay the same; chess will fascinate and endure with only very minor changes in surface detail, and has never needed a change of characters or mechanics to remain relevant.

Of course, chess is innately competitive. Many video games are not. This is why RPGs in particular need some sort of compelling plot to remain interesting. The mechanics are usually fairly pointless, it has to be admitted; with enough grinding a player can generally just keep pressing the A button to proceed in most standard RPGs. But even here I believe that there's a dividing line in exactly how much story is required, and how much the narration, in the form of cutscenes and long, unskippable dialogue, can intrude on the game play. But I'll get to that later. And also why Call of Duty and Halo can't be compared in any meaningful way to the progression seen in most of Nintendo's more well-known franchises.


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 Post subject: Re: New Nintendo consoles
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, '15, 9:37 pm 
Parma Ham wrote:Someone once said that a lot of game designers are wannabe filmmakers. I think that's probably true. Modern games look like they're drowning in cinematics, and that's not the right approach to video game storytelling at all. (See PS4 for an example of cinematics done right. I still love those manga panels. :) )


History lesson- the common idea that cutscene-heavy games are a modern thing is demonstrably not-true. Wing Commander from 2 onwards were intensely cinematic-heavy games, and those sorts of things were common wherever companies had the budget and data storage capacity to push cinematic-heavy games, even prior to optical drives being in common use on PCs. The reason it's not usually associated with retro gaming is because retro gaming is most often associated with the early consoles (8/16 bit/freaks like the Turbografx-16), whose cartridges had to contain a whole game on their own and so didn't have much room for other frippery. I've played Japanese PC games from the late '80s which have been at least as much cutscene as gameplay. Valis II for the Sharp X68000 (1989) has a total cinematics time (defined as time spent where the player has no button input at all) only eight minutes less than Final Fantasy 7, and V2 was a floppy drive game.

It also depends on whose modern games you're thinking of, as Falcom games tend to have a very low number of cinematics, even their longer RPGs. Trails in the Sky (FC) has the intro and credits animations, and that's pretty much it for a 40-hour game.

So, basically, cinematics have always been a function of a developer's desire to spend the storage space and time to include them, and certainly not a modern idea.


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