Link Out (19/3/10)

March 19th, 2010

Link-new-zelda-wii

There’s been a few articles circling around in regards to the hopelessness of earning money in the enthusiast press. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs. Information yearns to be free, painting a rather bleak outlook for those professionals. Although the topic has very little to do with me personally, it has made me consider why I put such an effort into a production which offers no monetary rewards.

What I realised after thinking through this question was that money is entirely irrelevant. I’ve become addicted to writing about games, because it’s a form of education. An education that if left absent I’d never feel satisfied with putting a completed game on the shelf. Understanding, or at least an attempt at understanding, has become a pivotal point of my game playing process, and considering that I don’t wish to give up my favourite hobby anytime soon, I feel that the writing will therefore continue.

I guess this is what they call “writing for the passion”. I don’t think of it as a passion though, I write for purely selfish reasons and the fact that you might consider reading this is uhh…cool, so thanks for that! Talking about people who write for the love of it and those who write to survive, I have a killer collection of links to share with you this time. And hey, if they have ads on their website, toss ’em a bone and click through, I’m sure that it’ll help.

The Death of JRPGs – But Not Really

Kurt makes a strong argument against a contentious Gamasutra post which discussed the now clichéd topic of the death of the JRPG. Kurt lays it straight which is bloody good to hear, considering the number of haters fueling the largely unfounded cynicism. Specifically, his point on the current state of transition in the genre (I would love to read some game-specific case studies explicating on examples of the transition) and the decline of anime in western countries are very interesting and well substantiated.

Racketboy Podcasts

The first time I landed upon Racketboy’s blog I was awestruck at the material on display, loved it. However, this kinda died out in my mind as the articles became a little too formulaic. The 8 or so podcasts that have recently been produced have rekindled my enthusiasm for the website. I’m just so floored by not just the selection of guests, but their appropriacy and the thoughtfulness of the entire production. Some great grassroots retro coverage right here.

An Excitebike World Rally Developer Q&A – Retronauts

There’s been hardly any coverage on the new Excitebike: World Rally title for WiiWare which is quite sad. Thankfully, Jeremy Parish showed the initiative and interviewed some of the key members behind the production. Typically of Parish, there’s some thoughtful questions thrown in and the interview as a whole does a good job at introducing the title. Well worth a read.

The Peak of the ‘Mario’ Franchise – Popmatters

In this post, L.B. Jeffries discusses why Super Mario World is his favourite Mario platformer, referring to the game’s experimental nature, flexibility and devious exploration elements which individualise it from other Mario platformers. Quite a good read.

Bonus Round Episode 402 – The State of the Industry

Jason Rubin freaking gets it. I’ve always enjoyed what Jason has had to say about the games industry and was very pleased to see him back on Bonus Round. This time though there was a bit of confusion regarding his comments made in the second part of the show and he later elaborated on his thoughts via Geoff Keighly’s blog based on angry responses from commenters. I don’t think that Jason needed to supplement what he said on the show with an explanation, it’s quite clear that his comments were washed around with the generalities which the show sometimes takes as given fact (eg. hardcore/casual gaming dichotomy, Wii 3rd party games not selling). It’s not all bad though, as Jason has started his own blog which is awesome, check it out.

Iwata Asks – Zelda Handheld History

The Iwata Asks interviews is like being given a golden ticket into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I’m really digging this stuff! You can find a directory of articles here and the initial Wii interviews here. The interviews have a Japanese feel in that there is an undercurrent emphasis on relationship-natured subjects and the unity of the group. The translation of the interviews are fantastic, accompanied by video and picture footnotes. I encourage that you read them all. The Zelda handheld interviews, which I’ve linked to, are quite interesting. I’m very happy that Iwata addressed the individualism of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and the relationship with Flagship and Capcom with the later titles. Above all else though are included images of design docs for the original Zelda and Super Mario Bros. I guess I’ll leave it at that!

Third Party Puzzle – Eurogamer

I’m just going to quote what I said about this article from Twitter:

Basically good games with strong marketing sell, Nintendo’s presence seems to be an excuse to pass blame for under performing in these areas. Even Nintendo have weak sellers like Battalion Wars 2, Walk with Me, Excitebots, Chibi Robo and Custom Robo – same reasons.

The Carrot On A Stick Approach To Game Design – Siliconera

I’ve been quite fortunate in being able to discuss Zelda and Okami with Ishaan from Siliconera. Ishaan is very astute and has a great knowledge about games. I’m pleased then that our discussion evolved into a post which he wrote for Siliconera. There are a few points that he didn’t mention which I might churn out into an article myself.

  • chucklyfun

    I claim that while the Anime and JRPG “industries” are folding, the size of their community is either the same or increasing. Fansubs are still moving strong, as is anime on youtube and crunchyroll. Anime DVDs are just too expensive for their own good right now.

    Meanwhile, like he said, people are still playing the retro JRPGs. It is the new releases which are having trouble because people don’t like them as much.

    Compare all of this to Sean Malstrom’s claims about the game industry versus the gamers themselves.