Category Archives: Opinion and Editorials

A Short F.A.Q. for the last few D.A.Y.S.

There’s been an influx of new information over the past few days. In particular, Sakurai has released two new books, and Sakurai’s latest Famitsu article: Ryu, Roy and Lucas join the Battle! which was translated by Soma.  With this, I’ve seen some misinformation about both of these topics, so I figured I would address them head on. Also, this will give some insight in how Source Gaming operates, so it’s well worth the read.

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“Winning and Losing” Sakurai Famitsu Column vol. 2

Note: Do not repost the full translation. Please use the first two paragraphs and link to this translation. For additional information, please read this post.

Weekly Famitsu April 25th, 2003 Vol. 2

Winning and Losing

In the previous column, I wrote that I “play video games every single day [1].” That quickly turned out to be a lie. Currently, I don’t have any days off to play video games, and I’m in full work mode. Working is hard, but it’s a lot of fun.

Now, prehistorically, or even far before the humans were born, organisms have participated in the competition of life. I feel that no matter how far culture may advance, “winning” and “losing” will be powerful stimuli that are engraved into our DNA.

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The End of Smash DLC

Ryu, Roy and Lucas have finally joined the battle! Many fans were surprised to see all three characters released at the same time. Everyone immediately became excited with the idea that DLC will continue to be pumped out for “Smash for 3DS/Wii U” until Sakurai’s arms really do fall off. Today, I’m here to crush those dreams, and offer a much more realistic view of Smash DLC. I’m so sorry.

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Reminder: Sakurai Isn’t Using Smash to Advertise Nintendo — He’s Celebrating it.

Please note: the following is an opinion based article. You are allowed to disagree with me.

E3 will happen very soon. With everyone’s eyes are on the future of Nintendo (sorry no NX reveal!) I’m taking the opposite approach. I’m looking at the past of Smash to see how Sakurai has approached the series and what this means for the upcoming DLC.

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Introduction to Sex, Japan and Video Games (NSFW…duh):

Sorry for the lack of updates. Everyone connected to the blog has been super busy with their personal lives. This post took me over a week to finish, and honestly– I’m not completely satisfied with it (no joke intended). I’m hoping that this post will serve as an introduction to sexual expression/ content in Japanese video games, and how it differs from the West. I also hope to address some issues with sexualization, and why it’s not seen as a big deal in Japan. However, this is a huge topic and I don’t feel that I’ve done it justice quite yet. I’d greatly appreciate feedback on what areas I need to improve on. This is an extremely long post– over 3,000 words. So sit back, drink some coffee and enjoy.

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What Genre is Smash Anyway?

This article was requested by NerfariousShyGuy on Twitter. Thanks for the request! It was really interesting to research this.

First, Why are Genres Important?

Genres were created in order to help humans classify forms of media. Classification is useful because it helps us as consumers find the products that we may or not may be interested in. Classification is not always clear, and is often up to debate. Some media even transcends one type of genre and can be classified under multiple types depending on opinion, and era. There’s a few cases where the media actually creates a whole new sub-genre.

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Smash 4 DLC: The Case for the Prince of Persia

That logo is definitely in the background.  What’s he trying to jump over here?

Character Background: The Prince of Persia is not a single character, but rather a group of eponymous princes that players take control of in order to navigate through a magical world inspired by Middle Eastern folklore.  Every iteration of the Prince is known for his fluid motion, extreme agility, and penchant for swordplay.  Perhaps the most famous version of the Prince, the one that made his debut in 2003’s The Sands of Time, is also known for his ability to control the flow of time itself through the use of a mystical dagger.

The Prince of Persia franchise, debuting in 1989, consists of over a dozen titles that have sold over 20 million copies combined.  Originally developed by Brøderbund, the rights to the game were acquired by Ubisoft in 2001. The 2D entries into the series pioneered a genre known as “cinematic platformers.”  Games in this genre are characterized by the realistic movements of their protagonists (often through the use of rotoscoping techniques.)  Other well known cinematic platformers include Oddworld, Blackthorne, and Flashback.


Nothing quite like wall running and precision platforming while using that GameCube Analogue stick.

Reasons for inclusion: As mentioned in the Rayman article, Ubisoft and Nintendo have a long history as collaborators.  Ubisoft is arguably Nintendo’s strongest source of Western third party support, and the Prince himself has a strong Nintendo legacy of his own.  The first game in the series, simply titled Prince of Persia, was originally released on the Amiiga but quickly found its way onto both the NES and SNES.   Every main line entry into the franchise since then, with the exception of 2010’s Prince of Persia reboot and 1999’s Prince of Persia 3D, has appeared on a Nintendo home console.  In addition to this, the franchise has also released several games as hardware exclusives on Nintendo handhelds.

As a brand, Prince of Persia is a very well known commodity.  The game series was adapted into a major motion picture by Walt Disney Pictures in 2010.  The film set out to be the “next Pirates of the Caribbean,” but unfortunately fell far short of that lofty goal.  The film was a critical failure (it currently sits at a 36% “rotten” rating on RottenTomatos.com,) but it did manage to earn a worldwide gross of $335,154,643.  That number is enough to make the Prince of Persia the highest grossing video game adaptation of all time.  The commercial success of the movie, as well as the wide variety of movie merchandise and tie-ins created for it, give the Prince a notoriety far beyond that of most video game characters.

You know who doesn’t have his own Lego set?  Sonic.  +1 to the Prince.

Reasons for exclusion:  Many of the general issues that affect Rayman’s chances also adversely affect the Prince.  Chief among them is the somewhat strained relationship between Ubisoft and Nintendo.  Still, the two companies remain on friendly terms and there is no reason to think that a deal could not be worked out if the demand is there.  The other main point is that the Prince is a character created by a Western game studio.  The only character of this type to make it into Smash as of yet is Diddy Kong.


16-Bit Prince looks like Toad.  If that doesn’t make Nintendo fans want him, I don’t know what will.

The Prince himself is also known to use realistic weaponry, such as daggers and swords, in his game.  This is likely not a huge issue.  Many of the characters that are already playable in the Smash Bros. series are sword users, and his daggers are far removed from most real world knives due to their ornate design.

The series has largely been supplanted by Assassin’s Creed in recent years, another game that focuses on an agile protagonist with many Middle Eastern themes.  These games are still quite different from the Prince’s games, though, and Ubisoft has expressed interest in revisiting the Prince of Persia franchise in the future.

Music

What is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if the Prince of Persia makes it in.

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DLC Econ 101: DLC and Diminishing Marginal Utility

With Nintendo adding DLC to the newest Smash Brothers game, I wanted to take some time and look at the economics behind this. This is the first in a series of article to explore DLC for Smash Bros and how economic theories affect the company’s decisions.

With DLC in Smash, a deep-seated dream of an ever expanding roster may now be realized, and fans will be clamoring for every character under the sun. It may seem like Sakurai could make millions of characters, and fans are so feverish that Nintendo could profit from these millions of characters. Regardless of what we may believe, Sakurai will be limited on the number of characters he can make. On one hand, there just isn’t enough time in the day to make that number of characters. Even still, if Sakurai could fulfill every hope and dream, the greatest limiting factor to making characters is the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility

What then, is the Law of Diminishing Utility? Investopedia defines it as “A law of economics stating that as a person increases consumption of a product – while keeping consumption of other products constant – there is a decline in the marginal utility that person derives from consuming each additional unit of that product.” In other words, the more you consume, the less you like it the second time. The best example is food. Say you are eating Ice Cream. Like any self respecting human, you love ice cream. The first one you have really satisfies you, which we refer to as “utility.” You like it so much, you have another. This time, you didn’t like it as much, but it’s still good. So you have another, and another. As you keep eating ice cream, you don’t like it as much. Eventually, it makes you sick, which we refer to as negative utility.

So how does this relate to DLC? Naturally, with each DLC character that is added, marginal utility (the satisfaction from each additional unit) declines. That is, we get less and less enjoyment for each new addition, and, from Nintendo’s standpoint, spend less and less money. Even though fans were excited for Lucas’s inclusion, it may not have been as exciting as Mewtwo’s inclusion. The benefit we derive from DLC declines as more content is added. If Nintendo abuses DLC, consumers could reach a point of “negative utility,” where we resent the DLC and even become hostile towards it.

So the questions remains, how much DLC does Nintendo make? Marginal Utility is hard to estimate. It is almost impossible to quantify because marginal utility is unique from person to person. This is where the ballot comes in. The ballot is actually a sneaky way to get consumers to willingly give Nintendo this information. The more unique responses Nintendo gets from the ballot, the more DLC they can produce. If Nintendo gets a significant amount of responses, this means consumers are warm to DLC and marginal utility, that is, the utility for each additional character, is low. Each additional character Nintendo adds diminishes utility no matter what. Since fans tell Nintendo exactly who they want, they can determine which characters to focus their limited resources on.

Even with this data, it may be hard to determine when Nintendo should stop or keep going. As I mentioned in my predictions, I expect Nintendo will do at least 4 additional characters. Based on reactions from fans to Lucas and Mewtwo, it seems that fans are very open to DLC characters and marginal utility will decline at a slower rate. In the end, we’ll have to wait and see how much additional content Nintendo will make and how much fans are willing to purchase it. In the end, there are multiple reasons why Nintendo will or wont produce DLC characters. Economics is still a good start.

Please leave any comments or questions in the comments. I will be doing more on DLC in the near future.

 

TheNerdyOne’s DLC wishes

Hello, viewer!  I was also invited by PushDustIn to write for this blog, and I figure a rundown of my most wanted fighters and such for DLC would be a good way to introduce myself and give you a feel for my interests as they relate to Smash!  So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

We’ll start off with me top 5 fighters (in no particular order, as who I want the most seems to change with the day).  I considered covering my most wanted stages, Assist Trophies, and the like, but I had trouble coming up with much for those, and the main focus for DLC is the characters anyway.

Inkling (Splatoon)

Inkling

Nothing too shocking here, the Inklings have been pretty popular among the Smash Bros. community recently, and for good reason.  I am quite excited for Splatoon, it looks like a great game with a lot to offer, and this is honestly probably largely thanks to how much Nintendo is pushing the game.  They’ve described Splatoon as their attempt to do to shooters what Mario Kart did to racing games, and that’s amazing.  This alone implies to me that Splatoon is here to stay, and I’m sure it will sell well enough to warrant more games in the future.  I think Splatoon has already earned its spot in Smash Bros., and I’m sure it will continue to prove itself.  The concept itself if just so unique.

And, consequently, the Inklings would likewise be very unique fighters in Smash.  They could transform into their Squid form using their neutral special move, and while they are in this form they could move around at a much quicker pace, while avoiding the fighting and staying hidden, waiting for their opportunity.  Of course, they would still have to be visible in this form (probably by leaving a temporary ink trail), but it could still be used for sneak attacks during more hectic matches.  Other than that, their moveset could use the various weapons available in their game, with, perhaps, their standard attack using the standard Ink Blaster.

As for alternate costumes, Splatoon offers many different colors of Inklings, with many different styles.  I would imagine the main costume would make use of the Hero outfit from the singleplayer campaign, but the rest of the costumes could use any variety of customization options from the game.

Captain Toad (Super Mario)

Captain Toad

Admit it, Toad deserves to be in Smash more than any other potential Mario newcomer, even more than Bowser Jr. or Rosalina (as much as I love their additions).  He is the single main Mario character still not playable in the game.  I suspect that this is largely due to Toad not having much to differentiate his moveset from those of Mario, Luigi, and even Peach.  He would really just end up being a combination of those three, taking a more or two from each of them.  But that is no longer the case, Toad finally has something that really makes him unique.  There’s no reason for him not to be included in the game.

“But wait,” I hear you cry, “how can Captain Toad be a fighter if he can’t jump?!”  While some may see this fact as a problem, I see it as an opportunity.  Captain Toad’s moveset could take advantage of this fact in order to make him in to something truly unique.  Some have suggested that, since his heavy backpack is the reason for his lack of jumping ability, his moveset could be based around emptying and filling up said backpack, with his weight and jump height being affected by how full the backpack is.  While I do like this possibility, I don’t feel as though it properly represents his character.  After all, every time we see Captain Toad his backpack is completely full, and this possible moveset just feels like it’s focusing on getting around the jumping issue rather than the character itself.

I personally think that Captain Toad should do something completely new with the jumping mechanic, something no other character has done in Smash, and that is to never actually jump.  Instead, when you press the jump button, a small propellor platform, like those seen in his game, spawns underneath and quickly flies upwards, temporarily remaining the top of its climb before despawning.  The player could influence its direction with the control stick, allowing it to move horizontally a bit as well.  The rest of his moveset can be filled with references to his game, there’s plenty there to create something cool.  If properly balanced, Captain Toad could be a really fun character.

Serperior (Pokemon)

Serperior

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a completionist.  I think that it would be cool to get a grass starter so that we can have a starter of each type.  However, this is not the main reason I want Serperior.  Not only is Serperior one of my favorite starter evolutions ever, if not my favorite, but they can also bring so much more to Smash than any of the others.  As you may be starting to notice, being unique is a big part of what makes me like a certain fighter.  Nothing more unique to Smash than a giant snake.

I’m sure that, at this point, many are wondering how Serperior would work, as they don’t have limbs.  Well, Serperior does have two small arms, which take the appearance of large leaves, which could be used to hold items.  Grabs can be done using the Wrap move, where Serperior grabs the opponent with their tail.  Really, there’s nothing that Serperior couldn’t do.  The moveset could use moves like Slam, Leaf Tornado, Vine Whip, and Leer.

As of right now, Sceptile is obviously the most popular Pokemon newcomer as far as Smash is concerned, definitely the most popular grass starter.  This is largely because they were featured in a recent remake, in which they relieved a Mega Evolution and became much more relevant.  However, if I’m doing my math right, the Black/White remakes should be releasing around the same time as Smash 5, give or take a year.  They’ll more than likely receive a Mega Evolution (which I am very excited to see), and they’ll be the most relevant grass starter at the time, with much more to offer than Sceptile.

Excitebiker (Excitebike)

Excitebiker

Sakurai considered this fighter for inclusion in Melee as an NES rep, but decided that jumping would be an issue and went with the Ice Climbers.  However, with a little creativity, jumping isn’t an issue at all.  The easiest way to go about it would be to attach pistons, or hydraulics, or something similar, to the wheels of his motorcycle.  To jump, these pistons would activate, pushing the wheels down, and the bike into the air.

Not to sounds like a broken record, but he would be a very unique fighter.  While technically the second mounted fighter, the first being Bowser Jr., he doesn’t quite have the fighting resources that the Clown Car provides.  Obviously, he would be forced to fight either with his bike or his fists/feet.  It would be really cool if his attacks were based off of various tricks that are often done on motorcycles, especially the aerials, even though his game is more about racing.  He could of course do things from his game as well, like activating his boost or laying down puddles of oil.

Not much more to say about Excitebiker.  He’s from a game that was extremely popular and rather revolutionary at the time, and has definitely earned his spot in Nintendo history.  A course based on the game was even featured in Mario Kart DLC, alongside F-Zero, as a reference to how influential the series has been.

Chibi-Robo (Chibi-Robo!)

Chibi-Robo

While Chibi-Robo may not necessarily be quite as unique as my other choices, he could still be a very interesting fighter.  While the original game has yet to get a true sequel, the franchise has gotten a number of games over the years, the most recent being Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder.  While the games aren’t wildly popular, the little guy is persistent.

He has a good variety of moves, seeing as the original game gave him a good variety of abilities that he could use to explore.  He can use the Chibi Blaster for long-range attacks, the toothbrush/spoon/squirter for close-quarter combat, and the Chibi Copter as a recovery move.  I really like the idea of him being given a “charge” mechanic.  He starts out each match/life fully charged, all of his stats are unusually high.  Over time, these stats diminish, requiring him to plug in to the stage (using his down-Special) for a short period of time to recharge.  While recharging, he is restricted in movement by the length of the cord, though a good hit would be enough to yank it out and send him flying.

Honorable Mentions

Captain Charlie

Captain Charlie

This lovable captain from Pikmin 3 woudl essentially be a heavy-hitting version of Olimar, making use of Rock Pikmin rather than Purple and White Pikmin.  I would love for his Final Smash to utilize the Vehemoth Phosbat, having it swallow Captain Charlie and give the player control of the beast for a short time.  But, ultimately, he would be an Olimar semi-clone at best, and I would prefer more unique fighters for DLC.

Ray MkIII

Ray MkIII

This fighter could make great use of the move customization system offered in Smash 4, as customizable moves are a trademark of his series.  I would love for each of his specials to be a customizable move from the game, and his custom moves could represent different gear.  However, some other fighters currently have this gimmick covered, such as Palutena.

Andy

Andy

I love myself some Advance Wars, and would love to see it represented in Smash!  The problem with Andy, at least for me, is that I have trouble coming up with a really interesting moveset for him that stays true to the games.  He would obviously fight by summoning troops from his games, but I could never, despite efforts to do so, come up with a good way to implement that.  If anyone thinks that they have such a way, please feel free to share!

So there you have it, my most-wanted DLC characters!  I’m extremely excited to see what Sakurai and his team have in store for us, even beyond the characters.

Smash 4 DLC: The Case for Bomberman

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Bomberman NES: A better design than Bomberman: Act Zero

Character Background: Somewhere in the Bomber Nebula, on Planet Bomber, lives Bomberman. A staunch defender of his planet, he has the ability to generate bombs from his hands, but beware, as Bomberman is not immune to his own armaments.

The Bomberman series, also known as Dynablaster in Europe, originated on the MSX in 1983. The game found its biggest audience on the Famicom/NES, selling over a million units on the platform globally. The ‘White Bomber’ has starred in over 70 games since his creation, making him one of the most prolific video game characters of all time. While the series is best known for its strategic top down action titles, the franchise itself has branched out over time to include a wide variety of genres and game types.

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Just in case anyone was doubting he was an industry icon, here is Bomberman’s own Kart Racer. (Just like Sonic, Megaman, and Pac-Man)

Reasons for inclusion: Bomberman is the defacto mascot for the now defunct Hudson Soft. Not only was he front and center on a majority of the companies’ promotional materials, he was also the signature character that was chosen for kart racers, puzzle games, and other assorted spinoffs. For all intents and purposes, he was the companies’ Mario. This alone makes him the best possible candidate to represent Hudson Soft in Nintendo’s premiere party brawler. While it may not seem necessary to feature a company that is no longer developing games in Smash Bros., Hudson Soft is important enough to Nintendo history to warrant consideration. They created dozens of software titles on Nintendo consoles beginning with the NES and concluding with the Wii. If you are curious of the level of trust between the two companies, all you have to do is realize that Hudson Soft developed the first eight Mario Party games.

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Yes, Bomberman has a Kangaroo friend that he rides. His name is Louies. That’s also the name of his species. Hudson Soft unfortunately never made “Louies’ Story” or “Louies’ Island,” though.

Bomberman himself holds the distinction of being the only third party character to appear on every Nintendo handheld and home console prior to the launch of the Wii U and 3DS. The ‘White Bomber’ even had an official crossover with current Smasher and Nintendo icon Wario in 1994’s Wario Blast. In that game Bomberman had to stop the greedy Wario, who was on a search for treasure, from carelessly destroying Planet Bomber. He also traded blows with veteran Smash Bros. guest character Solid Snake in DreamMix TV World Fighters.

The Bomberman design is cartoony but distinct, an attribute he shares with many characters currently in Smash Bros. Something else he shares with much of the Smash cast, including all of Smash for Wii U’s current guest stars, is that his appeal extends beyond video games. Bomberman has appeared in several mangas over the years and is even the star of his own anime!

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FACT: Anime Bomberman is super cute

Reasons for exclusion: In March of 2012, Hudson Soft ceased to exist. The company merged with Konami and all of its intellectual property become part of the Konami brand. The reality of the situation is that Nintendo and Konami aren’t exactly the best of friends at the moment, and that Bomberman is a Konami property. Being a Konami character would also mean that he has to contend with Snake and his veteran status.

Another point of contention is that the IP has been largely dormant outside of the mobile games market for some time now. The last Bomberman to release on a dedicated gaming device was Bomberman Live: Battlefest for Xbox Live in 2010. A new 3DS Bomberman was planned before the Hudson Soft – Konami merger, but the game was unfortunately cancelled.

Music
That is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if Bomberman makes it in.