Nintendo and Sega to Resume Hostilities?
Wide-eyed babes like Adeki may be too young to remember, but there was a time when Nintendo and Sega were the very fiercest of rivals. Those of us who survived the console war remember well some of greatest advertising blitzes, exclusive game line-ups, and schoolyard tribalism ever seen before or since. And while Nintendo and Sega may have faded into relative obscurity and irrelevance to current gamers, they were still very much the Sony and Microsoft of their day, only more so. With all this in mind it does an oldfag’s heart good to see Nintendo back directly competing against Sega, just as it should be – only this time around they are not competing as legitimate console heavyweights, but rather as purveyors of cheap plastic tat. Sega has made quite a lucrative cottage industry for themselves out of licensing the Genesis name to some of the most horrendously cheap and nasty plastic ‘plug and play’ emulation boxes on the market – desecrating the corpse of their most popular console like some sort of perverse Frankenstein’s monster. Now Nintendo wants in on the action, and they are preparing to defile the memory of the NES in order to beat Sega at their own game by shipping a cheap ‘plug and play’ emulation box of their own: the Nintendo Classic Mini!
“If you see a Nintendo Entertainment System on store shelves this holiday shopping season, you haven’t entered a time machine. (Unless everyone around you is wearing acid-washed jeans and neon leg warmers. If that’s the case, you may have unknowingly walked through a rift in the space-time continuum.) The most likely scenario is you are setting eyes on the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition, launching in stores on Nov. 11 at a suggested retail price of $59.99. That’s right: The NES is back! But this isn’t the same NES that you fondly remember.
‘We wanted to give fans of all ages the opportunity to revisit Nintendo’s original system and rediscover why they fell in love with Nintendo in the first place,’ said Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. ‘The Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition is ideal for anyone who remembers playing the NES, or who wants to pass on those nostalgic memories to the next generation of gamers.’”
Nintendo’s chintzy emulation box will include thirty timeless NES classics such as Zelda II, Simon’s Quest, and Excitebike – and in the time honoured tradition of Sega doing what Nintendon’t, Nintendo’s box does not even look to include a cartridge slot for owners to play back any old carts they may have lying around [most Sega-branded ‘plug and plays’ tend to have a cartridge slot]. Owners look to have access to the thirty included games – and that is it. Hardly ideal for anyone who remembers playing the NES. Regardless, the Nintendo Classic Mini will probably still be better designed than whatever Nintendo eventually ships as the NX. And hey, we will at least get to relive the glory years of the Nintendo V Sega console wars, as these arch rivals once again battle it out with their plastic tat masquerading as classic game consoles!
Valve Puts Steam Gamblers on Notice
This is why we cannot have nice things. As soon as a company develops something awesome there are already other parasitic parties milling about looking for ways to exploit it: cue Steam item gambling. On last week’s podcast Lusipurr.com brought attention to the fact that Steam item trading was being used as a makeshift currency to facilitate online gambling [much of it underage]. Worse still, this online gambling was being promoted by several famous Youtubers who failed to disclose the fact that they owned the gambling sites that they were dishonestly shilling for. Sadly, much of the news surrounding the issue could at best be called profoundly ignorant [if not outright malicious] in the way that they attempted to link Valve to these nefarious dealings – when in actual fact Valve has never implemented a single feature with the aim of facilitating gambling, and are actually having their terms of service violated by these people. In the wake of this negative press Valve has this week addressed the issue, and made it clear that they will use any means at their disposal in order to prevent online gambling sites from abusing item trading.
“In 2011, we added a feature to Steam that enabled users to trade in-game items as a way to make it easier for people to get the items they wanted in games featuring in-game economies.
Since then a number of gambling sites started leveraging the Steam trading system, and there’s been some false assumptions about our involvement with these sites. We’d like to clarify that we have no business relationships with any of these sites. We have never received any revenue from them. And Steam does not have a system for turning in-game items into real world currency.
These sites have basically pieced together their operations in two-part fashion. First, they are using the OpenID API as a way for users to prove ownership of their Steam accounts and items. Any other information they obtain about a user’s Steam account is either manually disclosed by the user or obtained from the user’s Steam Community profile (when the user has chosen to make their profile public). Second, they create automated Steam accounts that make the same web calls as individual Steam users.
Using the OpenID API and making the same web calls as Steam users to run a gambling business is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements. We are going to start sending notices to these sites requesting they cease operations through Steam, and further pursue the matter as necessary. Users should probably consider this information as they manage their in-game item inventory and trade activity.”
It is heartening to see a good unequivocal response from Valve on this issue, but it sort of raises more questions than it answers. Is Valve in a position to issue anything more punitive than tersely worded letters? If Valve were able to develop some sort of tool capable of detecting and banning Steam accounts that are involved in online gambling, then that would certainly smash a hole in their operations. Not only would these people risk losing thousands of dollars in items with every transaction, but their clientele would also run the risk of having their Steam accounts terminated, which makes online item trading a far less appealing proposition.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions Director Disappointed at NoA Censorship
The ongoing localisation of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE has been a longstanding source of maddening frustration for Shin Megami Tensei fans. We got to watch in realtime as Nintendo of America forced Atlus to butcher their game piece by agonising piece in a misguided attempt to completely remove any trace of cleavage from a game primarily focused on depicting the lives of Japanese idols. It would appear that the game’s development team were not any happier with the situation than the fans were. When Western Atlus fans complained to him on Twitter, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE‘s co-director, Mitsuru Hirata, expressed his disappointment at the fact that he was not able to deliver the full intended experience to Western audiences.
“When I found out we were unable to provide the same experience as the Japanese version, I also felt some disappointment. But our overseas fans remained happy that the game was being brought over and I’m glad to see their passionate support. In the meantime, the new costumes added could in a way be considered a merit that can only be enjoyed by our overseas fans! Thank you, and please look forward to the game!”
One cannot help but feel sorry for the guy, but not so sorry as to purchase Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Nintendo is not a good development partner for any studio who is not exclusively focused on making games for babies, and in this instance we can see them eviscerating mature content in order to appease pathologically offended SJWs who were never going to buy this game anyway. This is not a practice that should be rewarded with a purchase regardless of how pure the intentions of its creators were. Rewarding this kind of arbitrary censorship will only result in more of it. Nintendo destroyed this game, and it is small wonder that they have become so irrelevant to console gaming. Nintendo deserves to fail.