Bitter Without Continues

Dressing…for success?

So no goddamn F-Zero this year, huh?

This is arguably one of the best E3’s in recent memory, due to some kind of controversy involving some…console vs. console something…I can’t remember. Maybe it’ll come back to me. And even Nintendo – NINTENDO – Had a pretty amazing showcase of giving the people things that have…been successful before, and can be successful again.

(Oh, and Mega Man in the new Brawl. I’m not going to lie. That’s pretty exciting shit, and to be fair, is shaping up for a potential WiiU purchase sometime next year when the game releases, if something hasn’t already come out to be completely game changing before hand. I’m not going to hold my breath.)

But I’m going to repeat my statement. NO Goddamn F-Zero this year?

You’re going to give me another Donkey Kong Country (which is OK), another Mario Game (with the cast of SMB2, which I find incredibly interesting and held interest to until…the….cat suit…stuff. Wait. What?)

Whoa. What?

Okay. I need to put the emergency brake on this thought process and want to talk about the difference between reinventing the wheel versus painting “GO FAST” lines on it.

There’s nothing more that I hate when a studio or developer promises that they’re going to give you a game that’s going to be a return to something, and then throws in some oddball bullshit that doesn’t make any bit of sense.

Let me use an example in recent history.

And that is EVERY GOD DAMNED SONIC the HEDGEHOG Game since Sonic and Knuckles.

But Joe? Didn’t you say in a previous column that you hated the Sega Genesis? And some nine year old’s may have beaten your ass over said console war? And that through recourse, you couldn’t stand the little blue bastard and his smug finger waggling?

…Yeah. Well. I say a lot of things, apparently.

Come 1996, the year that I unexpectedly received a Genesis and Sega CD for Christmas instead of a Playstation. (…yeah.) I decided to get reacquainted with the original three games through the process of renting from Blockbuster Video, whenever said games were available. (Which was frequent. Since most kids at this time were playing their rented copies of new and fun games like Battle Arena Toshinden and Wipeout and whatever…while I was stuck…enjoying….Genesis games…)

And let me tell you. With much hesitation, I’ll admit. They’re not the worst thing to happen ever. In fact. They’re pretty fun.

RETRACTION: THEY’RE NOT MARIO FUN. They still don’t rank anywhere on my top 5 games for the Genesis. But they do alright…

The greatest Genesis game ever? Oh, it starts with this. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Sonic, if nothing else, is a pretty colorful, pretty fast, simple experience, that gives you plenty to do, plenty to jump on, and gives you the option to be Super Saiyan ultra beat-ass Sonic or whatever if you put the time into actually beating bonus stages to get Chaos Emeralds. There’s even some great music in the series. And again, Sonic and Knuckles, the first commercial ROM hack, did make things fun by having a character that could stick to walls and arbitrarily make Sonic 2 a complete piece of cake.

ButtThe worst thing to happen in the case of the series, in my opinion? Introducing his goddamn plethora of friends, putting him in weird semi-real world situations, MAKING HIM TALK, and adding what can only be referred to as goddamn bullshit to the game.

If you are a fan of the series (I’m not. But from conscientious objector position here…), unless you are seven years old and reading this, and are VERY tolerant of whatever Schlock Sega throws Sonic’s image on these days, you can’t deny that EVERY goddamn game since 1994 has been, for lack of a better word, terrible.

Yes. I’m even looking at the Adventure games on the Dreamcast. Please leave your malice at the closing comments of this post.

And Sega, every once in awhile, sends out some media releases and tries to get people excited for the Sonic franchise again. They show off some HD footage of something and say “THIS. THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. WE’RE COMING BACK TO THE GAMES YOU LIKE TO PLAY.”

People mutter a bit, but then, after enduring a little bit of the obsequious to pandering type internet feedback, people sorta level out and say “Alright. Well, it’s long over due. Let’s give this a shot.”

And that’s the point that Sega reveals that the game they’re talking about has bullshit in it.

“A semi-inappropriate relationship with a human female character.”

“It’s the Sonic you know, BUT in a board game!”

“…turns into a Wolfman-Sonic with stretchy arms for some bizarre reason.”

“Sonic is here and THIS time he’s driving a motherfucking car!”

“Shadow the Hedgehog is like, a no-nonsense, tough as nail badass hedgehog…with guns and says DAMN.”

“It’s FOUR STAGES and we plan on releasing more episodically! But don’t worry. We included the slot machine stage.”

Wrong finger, asshole.

The list of calamities goes on and on and fucking on.

I just hope that many of you didn’t pay for them.

Sonic is just one example of this. It seems the most common, because it seems to be the most synonymous with following the formula.

It promises sweet cookies, talks about sweet cookies being made and how you can’t wait to get some of these sweet cookies, and just as you’re looking forward to sweet cookies, they announce that they’re putting upholstery nails in the cookie batter. But Hey, give it a shot anyway. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

The industry needs innovation to exist. I get that. Nintendo has often found success in giving it’s players WHAT it wants. Which is what it HAS played over and over before. (*Internet exception: Except when the times when that doesn’t work and people are pissed off anyway.)

I’ve had a mixed relationship with Mario as of late as well. I felt that New Super Mario Bros. was an amazing breath of fresh air for the series, which manages to somehow stay fresh (after it’s own fair share of skips and fall-flat-on-its-face type releases.)

But the problem with Mario is that it’s precariously close to one of its all-too-common bottomless pits that he’s known to have encountered.

When New SMBU came out as a launch title for the WiiU with release, as a Nintendo fan, I should have been “Oh, Mario Game!” in the excited tense, and not “Oh. Mario Game.” in the way that I predict the inevitability of things that seem common, like knowing my car will eventually run out of gas if I don’t pay attention to that.

I think it’s the first time in ever that a Mario game made me just not care of it’s existence. Which is sad. Because Mario Mario is a pretty cheerful, excited bastard and leads a pretty awesome life. I am no stranger to this concept.


How many freakin’ hats, or suits are left in his wardrobe? How many can keep it going? Am I just one werewolf with stretchy arms Mario suit away from wanting to see the series just STOP if it can’t do anything new with it?

I’d like to think that Mario’s got all bases covered with his powers, and anything more might be a little extraneous.

I’m terrified of the propensity of a world where I’m going to have an inevitable standalone game with a talking Yoshi that’s carrying on some kind of inappropriate relationship with a breakdancing human female named Aoki with Pink hair as we try and stop Bowser and some new bad guy (with cape, giant sword and maybe a Tuxedo Mask getup) as they try and destroy a very modern day San Francisco.

Just No.

BULLSHIT. I’d love to believe this would be an impossibility in a world where the restraints of technology are nearly lifted for any modern gameplay experience, but FUCK. We have had some really stupid ideas pushed out lately – especially as things that are supposed to be spiritual successors to franchises we love.

And yeah, I’m doing that terrible thing where I’m predetermining a game experience before I even play it and have any kind of educated response as to if CAT Mario and pals will even be fun. But it’s as I told the Facebook community the other day – It sometimes seems like lately Nintendo takes every single bit of consumer feedback it gets, and transcribes it to a four year old Japanese girl they have in their employment, who then proceeds to tell the programming teams what to do.

And a year later. Meow.

It’s just weird. If they told me it was just going to be another Mario game that happened to have the cast of Super Mario Bros 2, I would have been more sold. And I find it even hysterical that I’m drawing these hesitant points, considering THIS is the Mario that brought me throwing turnips and carrots at people – a feat that hasn’t returned EVER.

(Yes. Mostly because it was another game with a facelift. But still. If you argue the point that SMB2 isn’t a real Mario game, I’m going to argue about all these damn Shyguys all over the place.)

Say what, again, motherf-! I dare you!

I guess we have to pick and choose our fights. It’s not something I’ve asked for. But. And it could very well be neat. To be fair, I didn’t even know how I felt about Mario getting a Dinosaur back in the day. And now I can’t imagine him without it.

Or how I’d feel about Mario having a suit that turned him into a giant raccoon that turned into a statue for some reason.

Or a gigantic green shoe that he could ride in that can jump and stand on literally everything.

Gonna argue that this may be the single best power-up in any game ever.

Hmm. I feel my point slipping away by realizing that Mario has, in fact, done and survived through stranger (and more awesome) things.

If one thing I’m happy about after this E3, Nintendo has got me actively thinking about it’s potential in game libraries again and proving that after a rough couple of years, they’re not going anywhere.

But the key question for that is “…yet?”

I meant to write more resentment in the fact that of all the franchises being given Wii U treatment, that F-Zero has somehow escaped the developer’s desk at the moment. But that’s probably going to wait until next week.

Because, as you’ll soon find out, I can easily talk about F-Zero ALL Goddamn Day.

Excuse me. I’m going to think about talking about F-Zero ALL Goddamn Day.