Arlo, a blue puppet with an irresistibly pragmatic attitude towards the gaming industry, is petitioning Nintendo to remaster “Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door”. Using the hashtag: #RemasterTheThousandYearDoor. Arlo delivered an impassioned speech on his YouTube channel detailing the necessity to have TTYD remastered for the Switch. A series shamefully neglected and mishandled by Nintendo for far too long in my opinion. Originally released 15 years ago on the GameCube, an utterly confounding time frame considering it was nearly half my life time ago, TTYD concerns Mario retrieving seven crystal stars, located in various stylised locations and scenarios, to rescue Princess Peach from “not” Bowser. It was such a distinctive aberration to the Mario series that it’s regrettable that the sequels were so, pardon the pun, “flat” in comparison.
Prefacing his concise request for a remaster with a message, Arlo details that he can’t confidently consider himself a fan of the Paper Mario series, comparing it’s inconsistencies to that of “The Simpsons” regressive quality over the years, which is a analogy I can personally relate too. And it’s an interesting assessment. If we can’t get a sequel worthy of TTYD’s venerable standard, then why not remind ourselves of just how good this series could be. Especially after a 15 year absence. I’ve been a persistent advocate for this remaster since the Switch was released, but possessing neither the influence nor popularity that Arlo commands to help bring this dream to fruition. Will a little help from all of us of course.
Starting a conversation can at the very least illicit some recognition from Nintendo that “The Thousand Year Door” is worth salvaging from the bygone GameCube era. As well as a profitable endeavour for the company. If Rage Against The Machine can get a Christmas number one and Donald Trump can be elected President of something outside his own fan club, then surely there’s no reason for Nintendo to ignore a project that can quite easily, not to mention quickly be converted to the Switch.
Arlo, for what it’s worth, I’m with you. Let’s make Paper Mario great again!
Change is inevitable. In gaming, its a necessity. Technology, creativity and ambition are permanently aligned in transitional furtherance, rarely composed into sedate neutral territory. Keeping up with the insatiable expectancy of gamers is a contemptuously unyielding difficulty. For years consoles have attempted to surpass and at times belittle their contemporaries, goading one another with corporate marketing campaigns that espouse the superiority of a brand. The “POWER” and prevailing content that makes them the preferred choice for the distinguished and “Cool” gamer is still the method of choice in publicizing their marginally different hardware, from the competitors similarly produced games console. The fabricated bickering promoted by all parties only generates further interest and a benign division between friends that choose a different option from yourself. Fans loved it of course, still do. Mocking the others failure as if it were somehow a victory for themselves. The advent of social gaming has only intensified the erratic scrutiny piled on to console creaters, searching for new, innovative ways for people to play games. The newest console to the market is Googles marquee abomination: The Stadia. A console not even released yet, but I already hate!
At first I had mistakingly concluded that this was some pathological fear, influenced by some irrational prudence against something new and foreign. That the dearth of physical games was an omission detrimental to the preservation of game ownership. In actual fact I just think the Stadia is a shallow perversion of what a games console does, not what it is. The Stadia is detached, insipid service, without a trace of individuality or discernable identity. A vapid creation of function and supported by the analytical perogatives of money men. The Stadia is devoid of character, existing as a means of monopolising games, not sharing them. Endorsing the licencing of digital products via a subscription service, propagated to swindle those acclimated to such disreputable business practices. The Stadia is that guy that would rather take selfies with illustrious works of Art rather than admire them. The same individual that believes new equates to better.
Its like Google researched the history and legacy of gaming and concluded that what the next generation of consoles needs is limitations. That consumers need controlling. That progression requires regulating how people interact with games. That streaming them via intermittent WiFi connections is far more glamorous to prospective buyers. “You know what gamers love more than owning, trading and collecting games? Binary code!”. Yeah, sexy!
With the Stadia attempting to infiltrate the gaming firmament, I shudder to think where the industry is going. There’s nothing the Stadia offers that makes it progressive. If anything this charlatan is symbolic of the predatory nature of rapacious corporations, looking to exploit a popular form of entertainment. The Stadia isn’t a platform for gaming, it’s a costly loan for a service you’ll never truly own.
And if this is the intended future of gaming, I don’t think I can be a part of it.
What do you guys think of the Stadia? Is this really the future of games consoles? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.
The Pokemon series isn’t especially renowned for being progressive. I think its fair to say its glacial like innovation is the equivalent speed of an asthmatic sloth shuffling home to fill in some tax returns. Moreover its always been a rather stubborn brand, anxious to make even the most minute alterations. Its reluctance to evolve as it were can largely be attributed to GameFreaks obsessive need to preserve. Their “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach has been an especially lucrative adage. With Pokemon being the second best selling series for Nintendo, having sold in excess of 300 million copies worldwide, only surpassed by Mario, its easy to understand GameFreaks reluctance to innovate. The proliferating success of the series has seemingly been suppressed by the frequency at which the games are released. With the exception of a few peripheral advances, most notably the introduction of a day and night cycle and a visible experience meter in gen 2, the former of which was actually removed from the proceeding game, the series obstinate adherence to commercial prevelance has always been Pokemons greatest weakness. That an the insidiously antiquated system that only permits one save file per game!? So with the announcement that “Pokemon Sword and Shield” will purposely omit many established Pokemon, I can’t say I’m really that surprised.
The ubiquitous “Gotta catch em all” slogan hasn’t really been a pervasive incentive for quite some time. With over 800 fictional species to collect, tame and battle, over the course of 7 widely fluctuating generations, its almost farcical to expect anyone to accomplish this thankless, arduous task. Having a redacted level of creatures to compile streamlines the adventure, enabling GameFreak to provide a greater emphasis on story. Unlikely as that seems considering Pokemons well established reluctance to change from the numerous derivatives of a young trainer exploring a region, gaining notoriety through battling Gyms and crippling a criminal gang seeking world domination. Perhaps there’s a degree of comfort from the familiarity, that the games rather simplistic nature simply doesn’t necessitate overly complicated themes or mature elements. I disagree though. There doesn’t need to be a drastic topical adaptation, perhaps a subplot concerning ecological unrest or the ethical implications of capturing Pokemon for the purposes of inciting violence. Something? But I digress. The point is…well, I’ve forgotten that too.
GameFreak limiting the number of formative species was inevitable. When the series next “creative” measure is introducing mineral and dairy based Pokemon as an actual logical development, then of course you’re going to limit the visibility of more interesting Pokemon. Though I’ll admit that an Ice cream Pokemon could have some rather devastating, super effective moves against a lactose intolerant Pokemon. Of course a diminishing roster of Pokemon isn’t the only controversy, as there’s also been prevalent speculation that GameFreak have been using 3d models from past games, to cut down on production, which GameFreak have vigerously refuted. This is a far less desirable revelation that can’t be defended, if the alleged allegations are indeed true of course.
What I’ve seen of Sword and Shield so far however is promising, if mildly concerning. I’ve been waiting the better part of a decade for a mainline Pokemon game that I can play on a home console, and I just don’t want it messed up. For the moment I’m edging on the side of pragmatism, hoping that any pessimism I have will be dismissed when Sword and Shield delivers on my lofty childhood expectations. No pressure!
Open world games are something I’ve always gravitated towards. Having a fully interactive environment that I can manipulate and explore at my leisure is such a liberating prospect. An open world denotes longevity, conveys a sense of scale and quality, which is essential for me if I want to get my moneys worth. Not that linear games are without substance or quality, but a game with a broader surrounding is a much more reliable investment. I’ve scoured the “Oblivion” plains. Cruised the roads of “Need For Speed: Most Wanted”. Pillaged the tombs of Skyrim. And mowed down the inhabitants of Vice City with a levitating tank. Of course without an equivalent story and gameplay, being able to explore an expansive terrain with any satisfaction is futile. But sometimes, even with the right components and expert alchemists blending, the resulting concotion can be somewhat ambivalent. For me the one game that applies to is Red Dead Redemption 2.
I really do admire this game greatly. Red Dead 2 is gorgeous, with a profoundly reviting narrative about the decline of traditional “Wild West” ideologies and dealing with the intruding escalation of civilised society. Yet, for some reason the overarching narrative becomes a little dry. Mirred in tedium and slow yet methodical progression of the campaign, that is admittedly intricate. Consorting with the Van Der Linde gang–whom are complicated and numerable, but largely unremarkable. Not to mention the fully actualized world that’s breadth and depth can only be matched by its detail and beauty. But is ultimately devoid of charm and is frankly a desolate place to occupy when not in the smattering of towns or settlements. The missions themselves feel perfunctory, trivial little pursuits that act as tutorials to exhibit the imposing world, as apposed to errands that benefit the characters motivations or the players genuine experience. The realistic overtures of the setting extols a particularly authentic sensation that I don’t always believe compliments the simulated fantasy of a game. Watching your horse galloping through camp, injuring occupants during a cutscene is hardly in keeping with the games rooted realism. But my biggest discrepancy can partially be attributed to the games lead protagonist, Arthur Morgan.
RockStar have prominently featured character’s that are morally contradictory. Protagonists that demonstrate great loyalty to friends and family, convey respect or compassion to those they’ve built a repour with and even demonstrate a tremendous kindness to strangers. But by the same measure are also capable of immense cruelty, violence and seemingly lack any moral fortitude. That somehow the former caring intermissions negates the latter masochistic tendancies, demonstrating the complicated duality of man is a rather predictable troupe. Are they good people doing bad things, or bad people doing good things? Frankly, who cares. Personally Arther Morgan plays like a side character that has been elevated above a far more interesting group of settlers. It’s baffling to me that a game that features John Marston so prominently in the background, a man that gained notoriety during these formative years and eventually earned penance for his crimes isn’t the central character here? (From the start I mean). To experience his infamous exploits that ultimately leads him to his eventual redemption seems like a missed opportunity to me.
No doubt this elaborate speech is going to antagonise a lot of fans, particularly as this concerns the single player experience, not the woefully dull online strap-on! Many of whom will be quick, yet articulate to rebuke my rather glib surmise as ignorant, stupid, misguided or just plain wrong! And I won’t fault you for it. I’m fully aware that Red Dead Redemption 2 is perceived as an incomparable triumph of visuals and storytelling that only Citizen Kane can emulate. But for some reason Red Dead 2 just didn’t click for. My lose I guess.