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Matt

The anatomy of Super Metroid
smsamusdescend

Sometimes it seems a little hard to believe that Nintendo created Super Metroid. It’s such an un-Nintendo-like game — so somber and moody, so straight-faced, so rich with narrative innovation that feels nothing at all like what we’ve come to expect from Nintendo. And yet, it’s quintessentially classic Nintendo in many ways: It leads you along with unspoken hints, gives you many tools without over-complicating things, rewards you both for being focused and for being curious, and like A Link to the Past represents such a perfect expression of a game concept that no one has managed to truly best it without building on its foundation.

Tropes vs Women: Damsel in Distress

Tropes vs. Women, a video series that looks at recurring stereotypes of female characters in video games, has released its first video in the series after being funded on Kickstarter last summer (the project received $158,922 of its requested $6,000 goal). As a trope the Damsel in Distress is a plot device in which a female character is placed in a perilous situation from which she cannot escape on her own and must then be rescued by a male character, usually providing a core incentive or motivation for the protagonist’s quest.

2013 is starting to feel like other gold-rush eras of videogame history... like the CD-ROM scramble of the early 1990s, when every consumer electronics company on Earth tried to jimmy their way into the console market... most of the new consoles crashed and burned. The thing is, the one that didn’t was called PlayStation.

The End

As the end of the year comes upon us, Gamasutra is rounding up its most notable articles of the year, including an opinion on what is perhaps Metal Gear Solid 3's greatest boss battle, and indeed one of the most memorable bosses ever: The End.

MGS3 is a favorite in part because of the "sheer elegance and restraint it displays as an entry in a series known for overt and often strange authorial self-indulgence."

In the confrontation with The End:

The battle quickly becomes a tense, psychological game of cat-and-mouse -- find The End before his preternatural sniper's eye finds you, the pair of you stalking one another across massive areas. The best boss fights ask the player to make use of skills he or she has accumulated thus far in the game and this one's no exception: Players will have had to master the camouflage system and hunting for stamina in order to survive what can become a battle across realtime hours, and use tools like thermal goggles and a directional mic to stalk The End's location.

Fingers pointing to violent videogames once again after Newtown, Conn. massacre

It was a pseudo-commando attack, as if the killer were playing a video game and racking up points for every victim. Once again, the crime appeared to be staged for maximum shock value. And once again — just as in Aurora, Colo., this past summer — there was the element of overkill, with multiple weapons, a military-style rifle and massive amounts of ammunition.

A Washington Post article today connects the grisly acts of a troubled youth to ultraviolent videogames, highlighting continuing opprobrium of the industry, including one quote from a "forensic psychiatrist":

I point the finger unreservedly at the entertainment industry, which has spawned and cultivated gaming that by design is increasingly real, geared to action as the shooter’s point of view, increasingly dehumanizes victims, and increasingly rewards players by how many they kill.

The article concludes that Adam Lanza, the now infamous murderer of twenty schoolchildren and several of their teachers, may have suffered from a mental disorder like schizophrenia, which "appears to increase the risk of violence."

However, this mass murder, along with the one in July in an Aurora, CO movie theater, come along the heels of an E3 that showcased some of the most ghastly, gratuitous, and conspicuous violence ever seen in videogames. A separate Washington Post article notes that even as mass murders continue (and videogames become disturbingly more violent), fewer and fewer Americans are concerned that the escalating violence is a result of a broad cultural problem.

A sultry blonde in tight jeans dances seductively to the jukebox in an American diner. Oh yeah, baby! Why don't you turn around and come over...

Yes, Nintendo decided that the best way to advertise DK's latest jungle romp was to cause the viewer deep psychosexual trauma. Imagine if you were a young lad and the sight of that sexy woman dancing cause the first stirrings of your sexual awareness. Then she sudden turns around to reveal a face halfway between a trainyard wino and Donatella Versace, and that's the image that seeps into your subconscious and scars your romantic relationships for life. Shocking imagery from the Big N...

Sources
Zelda commercial

Parents concerned about this new "video games" phenomenon? Want to reassure them that it's a fun, harmless pastime? Why not show a commercial that equates playing The Legend of Zelda with completely losing your fucking mind!

That's John Kassir, probably best known to most people as the voice of The Crypt Keeper. In this commercial, he portrays a man whose experiences with the digital land of Hyrule have completely shattered his mind.

Sources

So, you tend to get three types of videogame commercial on TV these days: straight-up game footage with a tagline, "artistic", high-budget efforts like the Halo campaigns and Nintendo's "fun for all the family" clips. Things were different in the early days, though. Advertisers seemed unsure how to translate the charms of this new medium into a thirty-second advert, and more often than not they decided to go weird. Sometimes deeply, bafflingly weird...

Parents concerned about this new "video games" phenomenon? Want to reassure them that it's a fun, harmless pastime? Why not show a commercial that equates playing The Legend of Zelda with completely losing your fucking mind!

Catchin' them all, finally

Catching them all, finally

LeafGreen -- starting out in your room
playing the NES.
Go with Bulbasaur?
a lot tougher
Unbelievable!
My house
Wild RATTATA appeared!

BlogI decided to play Pokémon for the first time recently, more than fourteen years after the original Pokemon Red and Blue came out for Game Boy. I guess the reason I picked it up is because I was sad that Jeremy Lin has a favorite Pokémon and I don't. Not to mention all the excellent Pokemon nostalgia that one is inundated with!

Anyway, I decided to start with the LeafGreen version, and, following the appropriate criteria, chose Bulbasaur as my first Pokémon. And with my excellent girl (!) Bulbasaur, I kicked the booty of the kid who I've been rivals with ever since I was a baby.

I'm in my 30s now, but I'm looking forward to finally catching them all!

Nintendo handhelds sales chart

So the big picture here is that the rise of the mobile gaming market … is largely the emigration of consumers who stopped in briefly to play Nintendo’s hardware but had no long-term interest in that kind of platform.

Nintendo’s core market is still intact, and they are still growing their market. The explosive growth of gaming on mobile platforms could mostly be additive to the overall market, without threatening Nintendo.

Gamasutra's Matt Mathews, Nintendo's core handheld market is stable

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