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Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Episode 22: Nintendo Propaganda

Now You're Playing With Fanboys!

Hey! Listen! We have a big show for you this week, and we kick things off by talking about how awesome Felicia Day is before Patrick gives us the lowdown on the c2e2 convention. Is that Jeff Green guesting on our show? Not quite, but Angelo sounds a little bit like him, and he drops by to talk about Nintendo and other fun things!

In Consumption Junction, Angelo brings up some great conversation about video game soundtracks. Patrick's been playing Phantasy Star IV, and the guys talk about gaming "then" and gaming "now". Julian watched Twilight: Breaking Dawn and recoils in terror from CG BABY. He's also jumped onto the 3DS bandwagon, thanks to peer pressure from people like our own Jesse Miller.

That leads the crew into a lengthy discussion about Nintendo. Julian's been a vocal "jilted Nintendo lover" for a long time, and talks about his love and breakup with the company. Angelo tells his odd beginnings with the Big N, and Patrick reminisces about his "gaming All-Mother". Julian calls out the hysterical, rabid Nintendo fans, likening them to Alex Jones listeners. Controversial? Probably...

After some talk about the state of the Wii U, the guys put on their thinking caps and each reinvent the Nintendo Holy Trinity: Mario, Metroid, and Zelda. As always, their ideas will most likely surprise, entice, and anger you! Let us know how you would reinvent popular Nintendo franchises, and any other comments and feedback on the show.



Joaquim Mira Media Manager

05/05/2013 at 12:17 AM

Julian has never been to a convention... did I hear that right?

Kid Icarus sold 1.18 million copies worldwide. For such a game, is that bad? I don't think so.

Julian must hate me then... HAHAHAHAHA!

Julian Titus Senior Editor

05/05/2013 at 12:09 PM

1.18 million is great, and I don't doubt that the game was profitable for them. But compared to a lot of their other handheld games that start off extremely strong and continue to sell steadily throughout the life of the system, I don't think that Kid Icarus is on track to do that. I'd love for them to continue to invest in that franchise, but I just don't see it happening. Also, when I was on my hunt for Luigi's Mansion 2 only one store of the three I went to even had a spot for it on the shelf, and that store only had one copy left.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

05/05/2013 at 12:21 PM

LM 2 has been selling well (1.22 Million Worldwide), and I don't know how it will fair like the other Nintendo games that keep on selling. I'm just surprised these titles that are geared toward a niche audience are actually selling that much. Even Fire Emblem.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

05/06/2013 at 09:22 AM

Sorry, I phrased that wrong. What I meant is that I didn't see Kid Icarus on shelves, and it didn't even have a spot indicating that it was just out of stock. It could have just been the stores I went to, but that leads me to believe that Nintendo doesn't have more copies being printed. If that's the case, I'd say it's an indication that the game didn't do as well as they would have liked.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

05/06/2013 at 10:30 AM

Oh. That makes sense.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

05/05/2013 at 04:23 PM

Sorry, I don't listen to podcasts, but this one sounds like an interesting one!  I don't know how I would reinvent the holy trinity....  But I think Mario needs the least help.  I wish they would release a game more like Mario 64 though.  I loved that game. 

Zelda, I don't know --just NO MOTION CONTROLS, arrrrg!

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

05/05/2013 at 09:21 PM

Motion controls worked fine in Skyward Sword. Heck that's what made the boss battles so interesting.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

05/05/2013 at 09:52 PM

I couldn't handle it.  Frown

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

05/05/2013 at 11:59 PM

Dammit, I was a bit pompous on my reply. My apologies. What I should have said is: Oh, it's alright. You weren't the only one.

I don't know if it's a case of malfunctioning Motion + adaptors/Wii Remote Plus (one of my M+ adaptors broke down during my Skyward Sword playthrough), but all I can say is that considering the tech involved I'm not that surprised that there are people that just couldn't get it to work. There are a lot of factors that can affect the gyroscope in conjunction with the groups of code dedicated to make it all work as one. Yes it should be working at 100%, but for something as cheap as a consumer grade motion controlled device it is bound to have flops. It could even be from the way people swing, and yes the devs should have taken that into account, but take it from someone that practices fencing (Kendo) is that we all swing differently even though the basic movements are similar.

Heck I remember when I got SSX Blur and I just couldn't get my gestures for an Uber Trick to be recognized, so I stopped playing it. It was the only game in my entire Wii collection that I could never get the full motions to be recognized.

And I rambled...

Matt Snee Staff Writer

05/06/2013 at 04:47 AM

hey it's cool.  I got stuck on the flying part and just couldn't figure it out.  I even thought my Wii remote and sensor bar might be broken so I bought new ones.  but that didn't help.  I know some people didn't have any problems with the game, but I just couldn't get it to work no matter what I tried. 

It was really frustrating because I love Zelda and really needed a Zelda fix.  Frown  IT seems like a really cool game, I just wish the motion controls were kind of optional. 

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

05/06/2013 at 10:39 AM

The flying? Wow, I never expected that. It has the most basic motion controls. WTF. Yeah they should have definitely given more control options.


05/07/2013 at 01:02 PM

I liked the discussion about Zelda quite a bit. I don't have any ideas for stories, just broad things for the structure, systems, and gameplay. There's two general ideas I'd have and it depends on the kind of narrative they want and how you'd deliver it.

When it comes to building the gameworld and planning how travel would feel I'd like to have a game that's built like Lordran in Dark Souls. People don't ever talk about how seemless the open-world in Dark Souls is. The only time there's ever loading screens in Dark Souls is when you're fast-traveling. You can literally be walking around the Artorias gravesite on one end of the world and then travel seemlessly across every area of the game until to you end up in New Londo or Lost Izalith in the bottom of the world without ever seeing a loading screen or having control taken away from you. Zelda should be as slick and clever. When it comes to the size of the world I liked how big the world in Twilight Princess was. Another world that might be a nice size for a Zelda game would be something akin to Fable 2, except all the areas are connected like Dark Souls and there's no loading screens.

Mechanically I need Zelda to feel more like Dark Souls, allowing me to control my shield and weapon independently, have a basic attack and heavy attack, use the good old lock-on, and allow for the kinds of backstabs, ripostes, and unique attacks that Dark Souls had, and to an extent Twilight Princess and Windwaker had. I think the puzzles and exploration in Zelda games are still pretty interesting, it's the combat that bores me. Dark Souls gave me a true evolution and improvement of the lock-on, sword, shield, and bow combat that Ocarina introduced to me when I was a kid. Zelda has catching up to do now. I don't feel challenged in their games anymore and combat is never rewarding, the only time in any Zelda game that I ever need a sliver of patience and skill is when you fight Iron Knuckles and have to backstab them. So only 3% of the combat in the entire game is mildly interesting, all the rest of it is just coming across lizards and skeletons and chopping them down like a hack&slash. I don't want Zelda to feel like a hack&slash anymore. I need to be vulnerable, I need to be wary of new enemy types, learn to fight new enemy types, and I need to fail from time to time. I can't remember the last time I ever failed at anything in a Zelda game, and it's not because I'm that fucking good, it's just that the game isn't very interesting.

I don't want Zelda to become a loot game or RPG like Mass Effect 1 and Skyrim, I'd like to see things expanded only slightly. I want a weapon and armor upgrade system in Zelda. There's always been multiple armor sets and weapons in each game all with their own unique effects like the Zora armor allowing you to swim and breath under water. There should be like 10 or less different armor sets and you can upgrade them with items collected in dungeons and they can all allow for more physical and aesthetic diversity instead of being stuck with a green tunic for 25 hours. You can use single and two handed weapons, swords, greatswords, maces, a big two handed shield fire resistant that could be used in dungeons to help you get through an environmental puzzle where you need walk down a hallway surviving oncoming fire from a dragon or traps.

When it comes to the narrative, Bioshock Infinite made me wonder if it would ever work to see a game where Link and Zelda talk to each other and are companions, she helps you in combat with her bow, gives you resources like Elizabeth does, and the narrative revolves around Zelda like it does for Elizabeth in Bioshock. They'd both need to talk obviously, sorry Patrick, I'm now in the camp that's tired of the silent protagonist school of thought. The people who enjoy reading text and not having voice acting have had the chance to play Zelda games like that this entire time, it's time to do something different and make the effort to create interesting characters. The lore and worlds in Zelda games are consistently pretty great, it's time for the characters to catch up. They need to at least try and give it their best shot, if they don't start reinventing these parts of the series I don't see any reason to care, I can just go play other games that are more unique and have better ideas, there's already games out that are doing Zelda better than Zelda is doing Zelda.

If they want to eschew new narrative opportunities and continue going with the silent protagonist and text box experience that we've all done before than they should study Dark Souls and see how that game delivers its narrative. One of the biggest hoaxes in the last few years is the people who have convinced everybody that Dark Souls has no narrative or that the developer From Software doesn't care about narrative. The world in Dark Souls is as dense as Dragon Age or Mass Effect, but the difference is that From Software delivered it in a unique way that I've never seen before in a game. In Mass Effect and Dragon Age the lore is told through the codex, books, conversations, and cut-scenes. In Bioshock most of the lore is told through the voxophone recordings you pick up. In Dark Souls the lore is told through both the descriptions of items you pick up and the visual language and design of everything. When you play Dark Souls and you don't see any cut-scenes and you rarely converse with NPCs, it'll lead you to think that the game simply has no story to tell. But once you start studying all the items you pick up, and once you start studying the visual language of the world around you, the behavior and placement of all the enemies and bosses, you will realized that almost every little thing in the game is shockingly deliberate and makes you wonder how they got it all to work.

When you "randomly" come across a giant knight wielding a club at the bottom of a locked tower in Undead Burg you have no idea he holds any position in the lore. You kill him, pick up his junk, and you have the freedom to ignore it completely. But if you study all his stuff you realize he was a holy knight that helped the God Gywnn fight the dragons in the war to start the Age of Fire(ruled by Gods) and end the Age of Ancients (ruled by dragons). Havel was locked away by a dear friend in the tower when he went hollow (insane). As you progress in the game and get into later dungeons you find more evidence as to who Havel was, where he comes from, and what roles he played in the past. There's even a conspiracy that makes you wonder if he was involved in trying to overthrow the Gods once they defeated the dragons.

Every word in the item descriptions is deliberate and allows some aspects of the lore to be debated among players, while other things are more fleshed out. The bosses have reasons for doing what they do, the exact place they are at has purpose, their abilities have explanations, and their backstories are never as simple as "She was evil, she's a spider demon, kill her". Once you find out who she actually and all the layers to her story maybe you'll feel sad about killing her. It's a little bit like a Silent Hill, there's always sins, regret, and depth to the characters. When you're going through an area like the Darkroot Garden and you see Crystal Goelms, once you start connecting the dots it'll make you wonder if they are the side effects or evidence of the destruction of the ancient land of Oolacile and the involvement of a certain character that has been researching crystal magics you'll learn about later in the game. Julian would enjoy this kind of game because when you play Dark Souls it's akin to playing a detective game without having any clue that it's set up that way. When you scrutinize details the lore gets deeper and allows you to ask more questions and get more compelling answers. Some parts are clear, but many parts are carefully worded to allow for players to come up with theories and discuss them. Then again, you don't have to care about any of it. You can end up getting a great game by only doing combat and never paying attention to the lore.

For me It's actually a more interesting cast of characters and world history than I've seen in my other games. You can't quite tell if Dark Souls is post-apocalypse, pre-apocalypse, or if any concept of an "apocalypse" is just something that doesn't belong in this world at all and it's much weirder and deeper. You wonder if "humanity" itself is even a good thing in this world. Are the evil people really evil, is everybody what they appear to be? The obvious answers always appear obvious until you start wondering. It's crazy how From Software managed to deliver that narrative and handle it with such care and foster mystery and intrigue without using traditional methods. It's a fascinating thing that people have come to believe the game doesn't even have a narrative.

Zelda could do something similar by building a complex world with mystery, rebellions, light magic, dark magic, wars, conspiracies, atonement, sins, and internal struggles within families and kingdoms, and allowing players to investigate and ponder why things are the way they are and how they fit into the mix. It could give the developers a chance to show Ganondorf interacting with the royal family, convincing people to betray loyalties, gathering armies in the desert and having layers of personality and interaction with the world he's always trying to conquer. Ganon could be a real Game of Thrones type of mastermind and deciever. Windwaker was interesting because it made me wonder about Old Hyrule and the world under the ocean, since the old world was flooded and everything in Wind Waker takes place on the "islands" which are actually the tops of mountains from the old world below. Zelda could learn from Dark Souls and deliver a layered and complex lore without having too much talking and make it more of an investigative journey.


05/07/2013 at 05:18 PM

On a side note I love the cosplay photo of Patrick and his buddy, their costumes look really awesome. The picture makes me laugh because my eye always gets pulled towards Luigi behind Patrick, he looks hilarious for some reason. His cap is pulled down and he looks like he's in Mario's posse. The Mario that's in front of Luigi is huge too, Luigi is suppose to be the tall one but that Mario bucks the trend.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

05/08/2013 at 04:40 PM

My eye is drawn elsewhere. But I'll admit that having Mario and Luigi in that shot was too perfect for this show.

I was thinking of you specifically when I brought up the combat for my Zelda game. I actually really loved the combat in Wind Waker and Skyward Sword, but after playing Demon's Souls I feel like this is the new standard for action/RPGs. Unless you wanted to take Zelda in the opposite direction and pattern it after a Devil May Cry or Bayonetta game, which could also be very cool.


05/08/2013 at 06:57 PM

Ah, your eye's drawn elsewhere, I catch your drift, it's Patrick isn't it! That handsome devil. The gorgeous lady in amazing cosplay that works really hard on her commendable creations is okay I guess, but she's got some *stiff* competition from the ginger devil next to her. The only thing that could make that picture more perfect for this episode would be if somebody in Samus cosplay was in the background on the left side completing the Holy Trinity.

I'd prefer for Zelda to go the Souls route, but if they patterned their combat after DMC or Bayonetta that would be really cool too, I could imagine them doing a pretty good job of that making it really fun. I haven't played Skyward Sword but I really liked the combat in Wind Waker and in Twilight Princess maybe a tiny bit more I think. The Souls games have really improved on that style of combat and set a great precedent that people interested in the genre should study, but it's certainly not something Zelda should ever emulate wholesale. There's unique aspects of Link that should remain in Zelda games like his agility and varied moveset. I loved how you could do a half-circle roll around to the back of an enemy in TP and do a nice backstab if you timed it right. I liked how you could do the attack where you leap up into the air and attack them from above and then end up behind them.

Zelda doesn't need to be as grounded and squared as a Souls game, they can take influence from it but still have a unique Zelda feel since Link is always much more agile than a character in a Souls game. Link should still do awesome moves like jumping up into the air, rolling around back, and having fun and varied attacks like that.


05/13/2013 at 09:54 AM

I have always liked getting the nintendo consoles for the exclusives.  Metroid is one of my favourite series.  I picked up a gamecube when they were dirt cheap just to play metroid prime.  If it isn't a nintendo exclusive, I play it on my xbox or playstation.  

 My family always seemed to be a generation behind for the longest time.  We had an nes when the super nintendo was out, we got a snes when the n64 came out, then we got a psone around the time when the ps2 came out.  So, I ended up jumping ship with the playstation, and the ps2 is when I finally caught up with the current generation.

on a side note, this podcast was long enough, that I finished goldeneye: reloaded. 

Julian Titus Senior Editor

05/13/2013 at 11:02 AM

I'm glad we were able to add some entertainment to that gaming experience! (I kid, I'm sure that game is fine.)

We usually come in around 2 hours, but we've flirted with the 3 hour mark a couple of times, although we have yet to break that threshold. The show we're recording this week might be a little on the epic side, as we have two amazing guests coming onto the show.

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