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What particular Nintendo topic wears you down? [roundtable]
I think itís time for me to dramatically reduce the number of gaming podcasts I listen to, because itís getting to the point where I canít stand hearing certain topics anymore.

I was listening to NWRís Radio Trivia podcast, in which they play three tunes from a game and then have some banter about it. In the latest episode, they chose Metroid: Other M, and of course, when discussing it they made fun of the dialogue and the baby, the baby, the baby, the baby...

Over 12 months after the fact, the same tired jokes and complains wonít stop! And while I respect the podcasterís right to express himself, itís not as if he said anything new. And I think thatís my main problem: the discourse from the media or internet commentators for certain games or systems changes, itís wearisome as heck. So why even say it at that point, when all of your audience is very, very, very familiar with all of the points that you are going to raise, or the rant you are about to launch into?

Is it just me who is having a problem with this because of over-exposure to gaming podcasts?

Iím particularly proud that in the NW podcast, we havenít spent a single minute mocking the Wii U name, or ranting about the 3DSí ďfrankenstickĒ. Iíd rather hear talk about Dog Football any day of the week.

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Posted: 09/26/11, 20:53:54
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I asked for apples I guess. Never mind, my own must be on vacation.

Although you could say that I am tired of discussing it. Mainly for the reasons I've stated above.
Posted: 09/27/11, 04:52:35

I'm glad I caught your typo before you edited it so we could have that moment of Secret_Tunnel comedy.
Posted: 09/27/11, 05:18:01

Did you really think this thread wouldn't lead to that?

I agree that talking only about the suckiness of Other M's cutscenes is lazy. It takes away discussion about all the other ways it sucks.
Posted: 09/27/11, 05:34:52

I did know it would lead to that. And I was ready to tell people to quit it.
Posted: 09/27/11, 05:36:37
I honestly have no idea how or why people care so much about story in videogames. If I want a good story I'll watch a movie.
Posted: 09/27/11, 06:54:19

In principle, I agree. I do think, though, that if a rather large portion of the game focuses on telling a story (Phoenix Wright, Metal Gear Solid, most RPGs, for example), it's reasonable to expect that aspect of the game to be high in caliber like any other aspect with heavy emphasis.

Otherwise, I'm in the same boat. Unless you have something brilliant, a minimal/nonexistent plot (Mario games) or something fairly minor, entertaining and unobtrusive (Viewtiful Joe, StarFox 64) are the ways to go here. And it kinda gets under my skin when people criticize, say, New Super Mario Bros Wii's plot.
Posted: 09/27/11, 07:50:14
Going back to the idea of the thread, I guess it's annoying when podcasters keep praising a game's story, for instance Heavy Rain, when it's obvious few or none of them know enough about good storytelling or writing to criticize it.

It's not something that wears me down personally, though. Because it will be usually all over the place, it's not this ONE THING that EVERYONE is talking about, usually.
Posted: 09/27/11, 07:53:07  - Edited by 
 on: 09/27/11, 07:53:58

Well, the quality of storytelling is highly subjective. There are so many factors to consider; the writing, the vehicle/medium (voice acting, art, etc.), the direction, the action. People like stories for different reasons.
Posted: 09/27/11, 08:03:11


I particularly like that you mention New Super Mario Bros Wii, Bun, because I adore the plot in that one. It's like Nintendo is trolling those guys who think Mario games somehow lack substance because they won't move beyond the "rescue the princess" narrative: Oh no! Peach has been smashed by a cake! On with the game!

I love it. For me, it's almost up there with the famous intro scene from Double Dragon.

"We can't have this sort of thing going on in our neighborhood!"
Posted: 09/27/11, 08:25:54  - Edited by 
 on: 09/27/11, 08:27:12
I don't know, I can get pretty wrapped up in a game's story if I think it's good. I feel really involved in a game with a good story.

Spoiler alert, but in a game like Final Fantasy 6, the end credits are very powerful. It's really cool to see how all the characters carry out the events of the end of the game. It's very touching to be honest, because you've been with them all for so long, and you've seen how far they've all come.

I do tend to get more wrapped up in a game's story if they've taken the less is more approach. In Metroid Prime for instance, I feel like I'm really experiencing the story. Not just by reading the logs, but just taking in the atmosphere and seeing how crappy Tallon has become. You really feel like you're part of that world, and to me, I became very interested in what happened to it.

But yeah, I don't like it when people look for story in games that don't need it. It would be like me complaining about why this checkerboard doesn't have any sort of plot development.

Posted: 09/27/11, 08:30:17
Posted: 09/27/11, 08:45:06
@kriswright Hahahahahaha. You are good, sir.
Posted: 09/27/11, 08:45:53

I just thought you made a good point. While it's easy to imagine a Mario game where a psychologically complex story drives the action, it's hardly a necessary element in making a Mario game great. The people who demand a complex story out of Mario have their priorities out of whack. Now, take the original Galaxy - there's a lot said about birth, abandonment and rebirth in the story of that game. It's a good story. But, ultimately, Galaxy succeeds because of the superior gameplay, period. The story is like Priority #25. Same with the classic Mario games - they're more like playing Checkers than reading a novel, and I think that's completely appropriate for the series.

Now something like Final Fantasy VI? Story is very important there because that's a major part of the whole appeal. Hotel Dusk is almost an interactive novel. I doubt there's anyone out here who thinks story doesn't matter in those types of games. It's an obvious point, I suppose, but while a strong story is an element that can make a video game great, it is not a necessary element in all great video games.

I really don't think it's arguable, to be honest. On the one side you have Tetris and on the other you have Phoenix Wright. Both are valid.

EDIT: If someone thinks Tetris is anything less than a work of genius simply because it has no story, they're an idiot.
Posted: 09/27/11, 09:01:41  - Edited by 
 on: 09/27/11, 09:58:20
anon_mastermind said:
I honestly have no idea how or why people care so much about story in videogames. If I want a good story I'll watch a movie.

A... movie? Well I'd say if I want a good story, I'd read a book. Some would go to their local grandpa and hear real-life stories.

I like when video games have great stories. I don't think video games and stories should be mutually exclusive at all. Because a video game is basically a movie or a book that you get to interact with, and what better story to be told than one you can potentially shape?!
Posted: 09/27/11, 09:35:07  - Edited by 
 on: 09/27/11, 09:35:22

That's just brilliant!
Posted: 09/27/11, 09:48:12
One argument I'm tired of reading is the whole "Nintendo developers will have trouble making HD games, everyone else has had 100 years experience at it and Nintendo is just starting." Frankly, I think Nintendo will thrive, as they've always done when working with new technology.
Posted: 09/27/11, 14:14:49
Storytelling in games is relative.

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone dinging Mario, Tetris or Fruit Ninja for not telling a story. It's just not expected or needed as the design elements that trigger the pleasure centers in your brain are primarily gameplay focused.

However, I think plenty of modern games do just fine following a narrative arc (again, relatively speaking). BioShock, Mass Effect, RDR, Deadly Premonition, Deus Ex: HR, Uncharted 2, Batman: AA...heck, even genres you wouldn't expect like Mortal Kombat 9, or CoD: MW (1) tell great stories, and I couldn't imagine enjoying any of them nearly as much without strong narrative.

Of course it's not Dostoevsky, but it doesn't need to be in order to be engaging and entertaining.
Posted: 09/27/11, 16:47:16
I forgot about those games! Yep, makes sense. The gameplay has got to be tight, though, and make you think. 999 didn't have the best gameplay but I thought the story more than made up for it.

It's fun when games have great stories, sure. But my point is that people get so up in arms when a story or storytelling or voice acting is "bad", as if it cancels out any other positives related to gameplay that a game may have.

Which games have stories that you shape, though? Cinematic experiences like Uncharted and CoD are largely on-rails where you play set-pieces in a story. RPG story lines are pretty linear, I think. Visual novels like 999 can get that across, I guess, but still there are a set number of possible outcomes.

I don't read books anymore so that's why I said movie, but yeah books have great stories. I play games for the gameplay, is all. Story is icing on top, and if it isn't the great I don't lose sleep over it. If the game is unplayable I'll bitch until the end of time
Posted: 09/27/11, 17:07:26
I agree with everything in this thread.

Other M bitching is stupid. "Samus unlocks her abilities?!?!" Sure it's stupid, but so would randomly losing her abilities some other way be. The cutscenes weren't very good, but the gameplay was awesome and that's much more important to me.

And everything else too.

If anyone's looking for a good podcast, I recommend the TV and Lust Podcast, which happens to feature a few members from here...
Posted: 09/27/11, 17:28:17
Guillaume said:
Going back to the idea of the thread, I guess it's annoying when podcasters keep praising a game's story, for instance Heavy Rain, when it's obvious few or none of them know enough about good storytelling or writing to criticize it.

This is elitist bullshit.


You have a strange definition of "completely". Good try at having your cake and eating it too though.
Posted: 09/27/11, 17:33:09
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