This tweet happened.

If you are unfamiliar with @LaurakBuzz, she is no stranger to Switch leaks and rumors — and has been pretty transparent even about the misses, if you’re interested in a deep dive on the topic.

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.

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• 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

• Write a new Masterpiece Microscope feature for SkirmishFrogs

• 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

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… 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.


rogue_one

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.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS, DO NOT READ THE REST OF THIS POST

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

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.

Final Fantasy

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.

Casino.com Online Casino Games

Nintendo has always struggled to form a consistent, coherent online identity. Additionally, they have also labored to strike a harmonic chord with a more mature audience. In order to accomplish two goals at once, why not embrace the arena of online casino games like online blackjack? It is a popular niche, even if not as mainstream as some other titles, but with a very loyal fan base this is an arena Nintendo could find great success in.

Halo

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.

gaston_tweet_30

On Friday, November 25, 2016, I restored my account.

In the meantime, I lost about 150 followers.

Lol.

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 it.

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.

ghostbusters

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.

Within the Mystical Realm of Comedic Cinema: A Contextual Overview

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.

The Logo is a Filthy Consumerist Whore: On In-Jokes and References

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.

Speaking of Triggers

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.

But I Do Have Quibbles

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.

Pacing/Editing

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?

My Favorite Bits

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.

Janine.

Let Us Conclude

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!

thumb_up_ghostbuster_logo

Here it is, folks! Playing old Nintendo games every Thursday night!

Follow me on Twitch, @Nintendo_Legend!

Streaming_Schedule_September_2016_

stranger_things_logo

I really enjoyed the Netflix series Stranger Things. I have some thoughts.

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The acting was tremendous. Characters went through some compelling arcs, with performances that justly conveyed such transformations. Could Winona Ryder’s role been played any more pitch-perfect than what she gave us? And those kids, all of them, so great.

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One specific element that I really like in my entertainment media is telekinesis. So, there’s that.

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Stranger Things is a great example of visual media with a familiar-yet-refreshing presentation — in the midst of a popular culture that has verbalized a weariness of rehashes and reboots (yet, notably, continues to support them at the box office), it was a powerful recipe to gulp down: Every frame feels like it is utterly known in a sort of distant-sentimental way, yet with enough newness to keep things moving and interesting. I think Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens reaped a similar benefit from this effect. In all these cases, the end product is not absurdly wacky, neither is it jaw-droppingly revolutionary, but it combines just-enough innovation with a cozy, almost-intimate style that we cannot help be drawn to.

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Another rare feat that Things achieved was, in my opinion, serving up a satisfying beginning-to-end story while also leaving plenty of unanswered questions.

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I liked how the series normalizes geekdom. What I mean by that is we see four boys who regularly play hours-long Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, and although they are clearly identified as little nerds (through their participation in AV club, relationship with their teacher of similar persuasions, etc.), this is never really (really) treated as a trait that is scornworthy, nor vilified.

Now, I am sure there were groups of kids who did similar things in the 1980’s, but even in my own era, this treatment serves as a contrast to a society that sometimes tends to try to downplay and even demonize (quite literally, if you grew up in an evangelical Christians setting) these geeky pursuits. Their shared adventures in a role-playing game are never played up for laughs at their expense, and just played to the camera straight, as a mutual experience. It was cool, I thought, but it is likely growing more common in shows as well.

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Considering its popularity, I assume a season 2 will be in the works. This is fun, because I have no idea what direction they would go (if they would even keep the same characters, etc., or go in a whole new pathway), yet I am excited all the same.

stranger-things-poster

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