Just havin’ some fun makin’ fake game boxes for the Nintendo Switch before tonight’s presentation, mostly a reimagining of some NES launch titles, along with other… things.
Just havin’ some fun makin’ fake game boxes for the Nintendo Switch before tonight’s presentation, mostly a reimagining of some NES launch titles, along with other… things.
I used to work at a summer camp. Every once in a while, we would receive a phone call from someone asking if we had any tent or RV sites available that night/weekend. We would politely explain that, no, we are not that kind of camp. Most of the time, the caller would totally understand, and the call would conclude reasonably.
There was one exception, though, that I still think about sometimes, as an example of the absurdity people will reach in their beliefs on social obligations and communication.
This lady, when I explained that we were not that kind of campground, got in a sort of huff, and sounded clearly annoyed in her tone. She then explained to me: “Your website doesn’t say you’re not that kind of campground.”
This struck me as noteworthy, for two thoughts —
1) The fact that she apparently checked our website before calling, and to such an extent that she felt comfortable speaking as though she had browsed its entire contents, yet still arrived at the wrong conclusion as to what sort of place we were, is remarkable.
2) Can you imagine, just imagine, how ludicrous it would be if it were generally expected and thought to be rational that we should have to note every Thing We Are Not in order to clarify What We Are? To put it concretely: Our website did not say we were not a doctor’s office, either. Or a pet shop. Or a restaurant. Or a colony on Mars. Or a figment of the imagination of a four-year-old chimpanzee kept by an eccentric businesswoman in Guatemala. Am I crazy to think we shouldn’t have to say such, in order for a site-browser to assume it? The leap from “their website does not explicitly say that they’re not a comic book store” to “I actually believe that, because of this, they must be a comic book store” seems rather incredible to me. Alas.
People tend to have an overinflated sense of self-importance. I am sure I am no exception. I think it is healthy to view stuff like Twitter and blogging and video games as “y’know, this is ultimately meaningless, but if I or others get some harmless enjoyment out of it, that could be okay I guess, but I don’t place any expectations on it.” Hopefully, anyway.
This morning, I received this DM on Twitter.
Yes, there is some context that I have omitted. No, it would not help this person’s case. Nonetheless, I will summarize: I retweeted something, something that was not even my tweet, and something that ended in a winking-face emoji. This person took my retweet to indicate a serious interest in the subject matter, and tweeted me a few times about it, and sent a few DMs as well, before I could give a response. This is all fine so far, of course. An innocent misunderstanding.
The eyebrow-raising swerve happened when I thought I had politely explained basically, “Hey, thanks for getting in touch, but I do not actually have a serious interest in the matter. Have an excellent day.” A typical exchange could have ended there, or with a trade of “oh my bad” followed by my “oh no problem!” But instead, I got the response I have shown here.
Now, okay, obviously, this is still basically harmless, not a huge deal. But I think it is worth voicing the reminder that, on Twitter, you do not owe anyone anything.
I don’t owe you a follow, a reply, a shout-out, even an acknowledgement as a response to anything you do. As for what I do, I don’t owe you any labor, explanations, content labels, or editorial consideration.
This goes for everyone! Don’t let people think they’re your boss when they’re not. It’s super weird, and indicative of behavior that, in face-to-face interaction, would likely be found not only awkward, but not exactly conducive toward making anyone want to hang out with you ever again. Which, hey, it’s not like it’s illegal to be cringey, but I don’t have to accept your input either. Lord knows I’m way awkward enough on my own.
Here, let me put it this way.
If you feel as though I have somehow shorthanded you in an interaction on social media, this feeling is a result of your overblown sense of its significance — not a result of any failure on my part.
Just like the people who hunt me down to ask why I unfollowed them, who fail to grasp it’s because I realized they were the type of person who ask why people unfollow them, treating me like I owe you something has the *gasp!* opposite result they intend: I am less likely to give you anything, time or effort or attention altogether, when you pull that crap and treat me that way.
Try this exercise: Imagine me, saying to you, “Your interactions with me on social media are not important. I can definitely do without them. They have no real priority in my life. Ignoring you would do me no harm, and paying any attention to you is a frivolous indulgence, not a necessity.”
If any part of that bothers you, you may have some soul-searching to do! Good luck in that, for what it’s worth.
It’s skin-crawlingly bizarre that someone I don’t know would think they are seated in such a place of authority over me that they actually believe they can dictate what my messaging “should” be like. As though I should take this seriously, like, “oh, yes, please forgive me — here, I will label all of my future joke tweets as jokes, just for you, as I would just hate to have to receive another DM reprimand from you.”
Do you want me to do something for you?
Then make the request appropriately, preferably within the context of an existing relationship (friends have reason to do more for each other than strangers would, right? crazy!), and without the assumption that I owe you anything.
Or pay me to do it. Paying me to do something could work well. I would totally treat that as an obligation.
This tweet happened.
This is not the most unbelievable rumor, as the release has been bandied about for the past couple years. If anything, for fans of the series, it’s nice to see that it might finally become a reality.
As for the Switch, well, Nintendo still has its work cut out for it, in terms of marketing the dang thing and undoing the unfortunate [ mostly ] legacy of the Wii U… but, hey, for the core crowd of Nintendo fandom, this is not the worst thing and might even pique the interest of a few.
2016 was a great year for the Nintendo Legend brand. I began speaking out against gamer culture, wrote some standalone features I can point at and be proud of, experimented with social media stunts like retro gaming image riddles and the whole Gaston thing, enjoyed my first viral tweet, jumped headfirst into community controversies, broke new ground in collaborations, and did some behind-the-scenes stuff as well.
I wrote multiple guests posts for other sites, was able to pay fellow creatives for quality work, and even got my own grandfather to do a colored wood burning of the Wind Fish from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.
In general, my mission is to foster positive interaction in the retro gaming community. I did not always succeed in doing so, and I certainly stepped outside that vision into other avenues, but overall I am happy with the results of 2016 from a hobbyist point of view.
So, what’s next?
The fun thing about Nintendo Legend is that it very specifically started out as a blog on which I was trying to review every North American-released NES game. For a few years, that really was my focus. Nowadays, I don’t even do that, and the ‘brand’ or whatever has become its own beast, even if that means I mostly just say weird stuff on Twitter.
I like it. I’m having fun with it. And that’s all it needs to be.
But! I still have wants, in terms of where I want to go next and what I hope to achieve. So, here they are, in summary bullet-point fashion, my brand goals for 2017.
• Reorganize NintendoLegend.com NES games list navigation, archives, new reviews
• Make $1,000
• Write two posts I am proud of
• Figure out a better audio-recording solution
– post a simple webcam-style rant on YouTube
– start a new podcast series
• Reach 18,000 followers on Twitter (maybe in 2018 though hm)
• Stream something again at some point
• Continue posting retro gaming discussion questions on Facebook
… and, that’s it! I could come up with more, but those are the core items I will be working toward. I probably won’t succeed at all of these (if any), and I’ll likely get distracted with other stuff along the way, but there it is, out in the open.
I have secondary things in the back of my mind. At some point, as I have mentioned, the whole ‘Nintendo Legend’ name will likely be dropped and I will rebrand altogether. But, hey, honestly, as long as Nintendo isn’t sending me a cease-and-desist, I will continue as-is. Besides that, I have a silly little scoop I’ve been sitting on for a while that I’d like to write about someday. And I have ideas for new video series. And I want to ensure the first story arc of my new The Guild of Profits fanfiction series gets finished. And, and…
It never ends, y’know? I always have a lot going on, whether in my hobby life or my personal life (kid #2 due in March!). Which, to be clear… is great.
Here’s hoping 2017 is great, too.
I saw the most recent Star Wars movie at the theater last night. I am not going to be super spoilery, here, but there will be a couple tidbits.
This is not really a review. It’s more of a ramble.
My overall impression is that I enjoyed it, it was pretty good (pretty darned good, perhaps), but not perfect, which is fine. The visuals were splendid, with some of the most gorgeous scenery and brilliant images from the whole canon. The action sequences were fantastic; in fact, two in particular stood out in my mind, one of which I will talk more about later.
The story was serviceable, in my view. I think the performances were alright, but the characters themselves were not as lovable as in The Force Awakens, in my experience. Then again, perhaps they were doomed from the start — after all, we all went into this one knowing they weren’t exactly going to make it to Episode IV: A New Hope.
Whereas, on the other hand, the principals in The Force Awakens have a whole new saga pinned on them.
Yet Rogue One definitely works, as a one-off, and can give reasonable hope to Wars fans for future projects, such as the Young Han Solo flick. For me, I was already hyped for Episode VIII, but Rogue certainly did not throw me off the train. I am still on track. I have to admit, this was the one I was not excited for, so I am glad it turned out as well as it did.
But, gosh, it made me wonder a couple things. Like: Do you really have to be a Star Wars fan to begin with, and just kinda have to buy into the experience, in order to enjoy the writing from these scripts? I know that Star Wars is supposed to be cheesy to some extent, but if I heard the word “hope” one more time I think I may have rolled my eyes. Yes, we get it, we really get it, and we really got it the first couple times the theme came up. Maybe that was just me.
Also, Jyn Erso. Such an interesting character! The strong opening was a cool stroke of worldbuilding for the audience, and gives Erso some inner conflict. Obviously. Somehow, though, I wish I had more to work with? She sets out from the start as an independent vagabond, a criminal in fact, but within the span of a couple scenes she goes from shrugging about the whole Rebel Alliance idea to literally being the one at the center of their headquarters giving the requisite Rousing Speech.
However, maybe this is my fault, maybe I am very dumb and very dense and there was a lot going on that went unspoken that I was supposed to pick up on. She goes through some trauma, after all, and some complex social navigation. I dunno.
The humor was great! I mean, it’s no comedy, it’s not like there were jokes throughout, but that worked to good effect, as the jokes that did emerge were all real solid. K2-SO, of course, was the primary source, and did well in that role. I laughed pretty hard a couple times. That exchange where one character mentions the possibility of them dying in the vacuum of space, and K2 says something like, “I wouldn’t. … I would survive,” so straightfaced and deadpan, ahahaha, that’s good stuff.
Hearing Red Leader and Gold Leader again was great. In fact, yeah, I have to admit, all the tiny little references (I am sure I missed many!) were wonderful — personally, I almost laughed with delight when the mouse droid made its brief appearance on-screen. The blue milk brought a smile as well.
And the accuracy, too, everything from the way the Death Star plan preview loaded to the style of the Rebel forces’ helmets, that was all immaculate. They clearly took this project seriously, as to be expected, and knocked it out.
It was better than the way Force Awakens went about its fanservicing. Whereas TFA recycled an entire plotline, to a nauseating extent (I still greatly enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, and even can understand why they did it that way, but c’mon), Rogue One went for the more subtle fanservicing, and I liked that style better.
… some of the CG character work was a bit much for me, though. I know, not exactly an uncommon take (I’m seeing “uncanny valley” chatter going around), but, I mean, I guess I can’t blame the artists here. They were given a daunting, nigh-impossible task (hey we want Tarkin in here, then Leia too, no pressure), and did the best they could. It’s not bad, no, but it’s noticeable. I respect their efforts. I just wish it was better, more seamless. Maybe someday we’ll get there.
And, y’know, there’s other stuff I could mention, both good and bad, but… this is already super boring, I’ve written enough. So I have a little confession:
There’s really only one thing I wanted to make sure I wrote about, and got off my chest. I have to acknowledge it.
That finale, the scene with Vader? You know the one: Dark corridor, red lightsaber activates, the Rebel forces show a palpable sense of fear, one yells “Open fire!” … and then we are treated to the greatest on-screen display of villainous badassery in cinematic history?
Yeah, I. Yeah. I was a huge fan of that sequence.
I had an intense, full-body chill the whole time. That was amazing. And it was brilliant, the way they teased Vader, but held him back, but set things in motion, got him going there, got you thinking, oh man, are they going to, they have to write, we’re gonna see, they’ve got to show us one good Vader bit…
And we got it.
There’s this joke about how the “hallway fight” has become the iconic trope for movies over the past decade, but there’s a reason it resonates with people. The close quarters allows a more visceral reaction to what’s going on, since we can more intimately relate to every deadly blow as we see it up-close, and there’s a great sense of skin-scrawling tension in such an inescapable, claustrophobic place. Not to mention the natural progression, like a video game level, from one direction to another, which organically winks to the viewer, telling them ahead of time what to expect, as we know on a subconscious level exactly what has to happ–
Look, all I’m saying is that no matter what I thought of the first 98% of Rogue One, that Vader scene is everything. I want to see it again. And again. And I doubt I will tire of it soon. And it might be my favorite scene from the whole Star Wars filmography. And I don’t feel weird about saying that at all.
Nintendo has a great roster of first-party franchises, from the lighthearted adventures of Mario to the fantastical Legend of Zelda canon and everything in between. But, still, there are some series that I wish I could play on Nintendo’s machines despite currently being exclusive elsewhere. Here are my picks for most-coveted properties.
Decades ago, Final Fantasy titles were widely available on Nintendo’s popular 8- and 16-bit home consoles. In fact, that is where the series began, on the Famicom. However, long since the glory days of Square in its 20th-century heyday, the property has moved to Sony – and with the recent success of Final Fantasy XV, it looks like it is there to stay for the foreseeable future.
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Microsoft has pushed Halo as their forefront property across three different generations of gaming systems now, with no signs of stopping. While it may be silly to think of Master Chief jumping ship to the big N, here is my reasoning: Nintendo used to have a popular franchise of sci-fi first-person shooters with the Metroid Prime series, but they seem to have forgotten Samus Aran and left her by the wayside, sadly.
Obviously, this is all just wishful thinking, and such acquisitions are wildly unrealistic. But it remains a fun thought exercise, to consider just how different the gaming landscape could be if just one or two franchises were in different hands. Can you imagine playing a StarFox title on the PS4, or if The Last of Us released on Wii U? That would be crazy!
Then again, there was a time when Sonic the Hedgehog was specifically pushed to be Mario’s rival; yet, now, they star in games together for Nintendo. Maybe there is a chance, if slight, of seeing such ‘crazy’ possibilities after all. What series do YOU want to see on a different system?
On Saturday afternoon, November 19, 2016, I began tweeting rhymes set to the tune of the Gaston song from Disney’s Beauty & The Beast animated movie. This began a descent into madness marked by a downward spiral completely out of control — I changed my Twitter identity completely, and tweeted nothing but “Gaston” and Gaston-related imagery for several days.
On Friday, November 25, 2016, I restored my account.
In the meantime, I lost about 150 followers.
As with anything unusual that is done, half the fun was in the reactions I received. And I certainly received: From people going along with the joke and asking if I was okay, to those taking it far too seriously, and everything in between, my mentions remained a-buzz for the duration.
Mostly, it was all harmless and reasonable. People annoyed? I get that. People confused? Okay. People conjecturing as to some deeper motivation I had? Amusing. People feeling they had the right to speak on my behalf and butt into conversations so they could offer their oh-so-keen insight as to what I was ‘actually’ up to? Less amusing, but rare.
Oh, and the stream of people thinking they were telling me about @Botston for the first time. Oh my gosh. Yes, I am aware of it. Shhhh.
It was just a fun thing, overall, but it did confirm a prior finding: People CANNOT HANDLE IT when you change your username.
That’s the one single most determining factor in Twitter behavior that guarantees a loss of followers.
You’re mostly speaking to an echo chamber of like-minded people anyway, so espousing your views (political or otherwise) won’t do it. Silence won’t do it, as nobody will remember to bother unfollowing you.
But, gosh, change your username and people flip out.
I already went through this with @SkirmishFrogs (and wrote about it for that site), but it was still so interesting to me to see people screencap the Gaston_Legend account and ask foreboding things like, “Why are 15 thousand people following this account? And how did I start following?!”
People get unnerved, believing that Twitter is somehow acting on their behalf, like some sort of malevolent ghoul, out to control their social media followings. The horror!
I mean, like, I guess I wouldn’t go so far as to say it should be common sense (?) to know that you can change your username, but it still surprised me to see the extent that it freaks people out. You really have to sit people down and say “hey Twitter lets you change usernames” for them to understand that, I suppose.
So, uh, that’s my only real takeaway, and a few people asked if I lost followers/how many did I lose, so there you have it. Sure, I lost some, but not as many for the reason you may think. I didn’t learn any profound lesson, just confirmed suspicions on people. And I didn’t actually go crazy, silly. It really was all just for kicks and giggles. Going ‘too far’ with stuff is something I’ve been notorious for, and for most of my life. Maybe some would be well served to remember that.
Otherwise, I’m back now. Hi. See ya on my next crazy adventure!
EDIT: Oh, quick little additional story!
The scariest part was when I went about restoring the accounts… I switched the placeholder @Nintendo_Legend just fine. So then, it came time to switch @Gaston_Legend to @Nintendo_Legend.
Only, when I did that, I got a message saying that my account was locked due to detecting spam-like behavior.
It may sound pathetic, but I admit, my belly had a little fluttery moment and my eyes widened in horror. I was like NO NO NO for a minute — but then it gave me the handy option to just confirm my account with my phone number, which I did, and I think everything turned out fine.
But, whew, for that moment… terror! Ha.
I was a big fan of the Ghostbusters canon growing up — the movies, the cartoon (my all-time favorite cartoon, easily, by far, no contest), the action figures, etc. Not the NES video game, that abomination broke my heart, but otherwise pretty much everything else.
So I was excited to see the new film. And I just watched it, just now.
And I enjoyed it!
And I have some thoughts.
This is likely more intended for people who have seen the thing, as there might be a couple minor spoilers ahead. Or maybe some major ones, I dunno.
It was funny. I say that as someone who doesn’t usually like modern comedies. By “usually,” I mean, if it ain’t Coen brothers, I can’t remember really liking a new comedy movie since Little Miss Sunshine.
But this, this Ghostbusters movie, it made me laugh many times. That was great. I suspect that my particular sense of humor has much to do with this appreciation; when it came to themes like awkward interactions and strange wordplay, that is my jam. I can dig it. However, I can definitely respect if someone else did not find it funny, as some of the jokes were really a stretch, and speaking in an overall sense, if you are not plugged into the unique frequency this project was aiming for, you could certainly walk away feeling left out and disappointed.
Now, I am no professional critic… I am a mere layman in the arts of critical analysis. I do suspect, though, that whereas the quips of the original Ghostbuster film relied more purely on the strength of character chemistry and their well-scripted dialogue, this new Ghostbuster leans on the exaggeration of individual caricatures.
In other words: The line “Yes, it’s true. This man has no dick” works in the original because of Bill Murray’s masterful dry delivery coupled with a sublime lead-in. The character Jillian Holtzmann works in the new Ghostbusters because Kate McKinnon performs shamelessly in a weird role that pays off with treats of unpredictability in physicality and tone alike.
Well, it worked for me, anyway. Both are slices of comedy, just in different flavors.
Okay, wow, the fan servicing was almost overwhelming. I mean, it was nice, and a couple spots truly made me smile, but dang, whew. Okay.
Like, it was so present for me, that it is difficult to imagine how I would view the film as an outsider, as if I had no prior experience with this canon. This is not a bad thing inherently, just interesting to me, I guess. Bring back some familiar faces, trigger a positive response: A cheap tactic, perhaps, but an effective one I won’t complain about too much.
There is no trace of controversy here. I mean, for all the whiny manbabies out there who actually did have an issue with an all-female Ghostbusters effort, this was a harmless product overall. I probably should not even bother addressing the topic. But there it is: Any detractors of the concept just come out looking dumb, and some who did those extra-nitpicky “46 Things I Hate About This Movie”-type videos are likely now exposed as the agenda-toting cavemen they are.
Besides the overarching “it ain’t Citizen Kane” angle you can take with any example from the Comedy genre whole, I do have a couple more-specific complaints.
Am I the only one who got the sense that a lot of things were glossed over strangely? I haven’t exactly dug into lots of reviews, so for all I know maybe this is a common observation, but nonetheless.
It felt like, multiple times throughout, the movie rushed past stuff that either was meant to have more gravity but now did not, or I just feel like should have had more weight but did not.
Introducing the proton packs? A hurried explanation from Holtzmann, a trip to an alley, a test firing that ends up launching a character like a pinball, a quick cut back into home base for the next bit of exposition.
How about the grand unveiling of the newly customized Ecto-1? We get a few angles, a shrug from Holtzmann, and, um, not much else, honestly. Really, am I insane? Not that a paint job and some branding has to be a Grand Moment, but it was hardly there at all, to me.
That was the one element that I felt that kept the movie from being great: The lack of seriousness was so profound that no payoff could ever reach any great height. Maybe that’s how people like their comedies, light and breezy. Maybe I just don’t like comedies. But. Still. You can do a comedy and still act like the story has some merit and justice and authenticity to it. And as much as the writing affects this, so too do many other aspects of filmmaking as well. You can light a scene in a way that adds more gravitas. You can hold onto a shot for a couple extra seconds to really emphasize a reaction for the viewer, to send it home even further.
Or you can make all the ghosts neon blue, I guess.
One more note on this pacing/editing thing: The scene at the concert, where they use the trap? It was jarring to see wide shots of all four ghostbusters firing their rifles, only to keep cutting back-and-forth to the closer shot of Holtzmann, messing with the trap, clearly not firing her proton pack… all four are firing, now they’re not, now they are, now they’re not…
• Physics and Consistency
This is actually an aspect that my wife brought up first, and we got to discuss. How do the physics works in this iteration of the Ghostbusters universe? Do the proton beams harm the ghosts (clearly do, sometimes, apparently), or merely harness them (wait, no, this is a thing, sometimes), or harness them but also enable them to be sent away as a projectile (a sudden strategy implemented in a late scene, it seems)?
Do the ghosts interact with their environment, or not? If the Devices were needed to Break the Barrier, then where did the first few come from, or was that because of a localized lampshade of convenience, and what was with the window thingies if the street was just going to crack open anyway, and how much goop can a ghost hold if they constantly drip and barf, and whoa wait he can just straight-up mind control entire crowds now, but if that’s the case then why doesn’t he just hm, and My Gosh are the Ghostbusters rather supremely lucky that Slimer decided to drive Ecto-1 back to the exact same spot at that exact right momen–
I get it. I really do. This is a mindless popcorn flick, one cannot reasonably expect detailed explanations from it.
However, this is my point: Storytelling is stronger when the in-world rules are coherent.
Especially when you already have odd pacing moments that are glossing over stuff you are maybe supposed to care about anyway. Right? Maybe?
I like Kevin. I am pro-Kevin. Kevin can stay. When there’s a loud noise and he covers his eyes, that brings me a chuckle.
Despite all that critiquing up there about gravitas and whatever-the-hell-else-I-was-talking-about, I actually liked that bit near the end, where Erin has to leap into the Green Tunnel to Presumably Some Sort of Hellscape after Abby. I dunno, I just thought it was kinda cool.
Holtzmann’s weird speaking-singing stuff. All of that. Just, like, yes. Outweird me, go for it.
I actually really liked the opening scene. That whole tour-guide monologue, with the “and this is the room where P.T. Barnum first had the idea to enslave elephants,” that was delicious, and hit some strange, subversive notes. That was a highlight. I would like to go on an expanded version of that tour.
The whole concept of your co-author friend selling your book on Amazon without your permission and you having to hear about it secondhand from someone who heard about it because of a reblogged reddit post was delightfully contemporary.
I don’t even remember the specific scene, but there is a conversation going on, and Patty does not say a word, but the face she makes was the best part of the whole exchange.
Ghostbusters (2016) is a fun romp, good for some laughs, with bonus takeaways for franchise fans. It compares favorably within its genre. I am glad I experienced it, although I would not place it on too high of a shelf as far as All Films go.
Also, I just wrote a lot more about this movie than I meant to. Neat!
Nintendo Legend, the site with a review for every North American NES game made is