Nintendo Death Watch I

My name is Roberto Fargo. You may remember me from such acclaimed websites as What’s Right About Cars (WRAC), where we’ve been discussing the impending demise of General Motors and Chrysler for years, in our  Detroit Death Watch series. We started the series because we knew that we were important people with an important role in the advancement of the human race, and that only we could use our flowery prose to tell people that their cars sucked. It was obvious to us at the site’s inception that our site was different. We needed to discuss the truth about cars. And by God, we did. Our site’s raison d’etre hasn’t changed at all since those halcyon years. Like Alf to cats we have always determinedly fought the good fight to bring you, our esteemed readership, the latest about cars. What makes them tick. How they work. Why the Jeep Compass sucks.

But now, with GM and Chryslerberus in their final death throes, Maximum Bob put out to pasture, and Wagoner finally flown the proverbial Little Douce Coupe, it’s time that we moved on to a different subject. Here on LoopyLines I’ve decided to put my best foot forward on the pilot project for a new site which we feel will just as doggedly pursue the truth in another subject: Video games. This is the first post to what we hope will be The Untruth About Video Games. And, of course, the Untruth About Nintendo.

When Master Chief calls in the Elites to try to determine which one to murder with his spiking gun, I’m always hoping for a miracle. I want him to kill ALL of them. My feelings about Nintendo are identical. When Shigeru Miyamoto said that he’d give the Star Fox franchise to Rare if the games didn’t “go into hyperspace,” he started a debate over which of Nintendo’s lackluster gaming franchises deserved death. The answer is, of course, all of them.

Nintendo was born as a conglomeration of various shitty video game characters that nobody cared about. In the beginning, though, they all kept their basic character sprite designs and various box art designs. In spite of the fact that Nintendo kept control of all the characters, each remained true to whatever stupid gamer fanbase it had. When this structure fell apart, or became one big shitty-ass mess of crappy products and stupid games, is not as important as the fact that it has.

Nintendo’s eleven brands–Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Fox, Super Mario, Donkey Kong, various shitty third-party companies, the original Megaman, Megaman X, Zelda, Conker and Banjo-Kazooie, Krystal the Furfag Dream, and Wii Shit–are virtually interchangeable. You could remake a Mario Kart and call it a Wii Kart; or a Star Fox Adventures and call it Megaman Goes Into Space; or a Sonic Adventure II: Battle and call it Conker Turns Blue and Goes On Boring Adventures with Obnoxious Little Furry Friends. And that’s without mentioning the elephant in the programming room: Character sprite sharing.

Nintendo’s brands bring new meaning to the words “gaming overlap.” Red Steel or Super Smash Brothers Brawl? Madden or Super Mario Spikers? Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit or Mario Kart Wii? These franchises might have better luck competing with non-Nintendo brands if they weren’t so busy competing against each other. As a result, whenever one of the eleven non-identical twins tries to make a case for itself as not being another faggy Nintendo product only retarded children would play, it unintentionally demeans a fraternal partner. Mario’s claim to be “a plumber” makes Star Fox seem like a careless flyboy. Sonic the Hedgehog’s “run really fucking fast” makes Megaman seem slow. And so on.

The franchise directors may beg to differ, but their hardcore fans don’t. Star Fox still touts itself as Nintendo’s furry-fanservice division–at the same time that Sonic fans like Sonichu keep on churning out more porno of Sonic-Tails yaoi slash fanfiction. And here’s a compare-and-contrast from Hell: Mario’s jumping ability versus Luigi’s.

The situation reminds me of the Lego company’s plight in the 90’s and into the 2000’s. When the competition started offering shitty knockoffs of Lego products, Lego responded by offering new themes: Bionicle, Time Travel, Spyrius, Monorail, Electric Train, Star Wars, and Bob the Builder. The bottom line? Lego kept on sucking. All these new brands and… Lego KEPT ON KEEPING its market share. Well, OK, so video games like Nintendo and Playstation were still taking away its toy market share, but in terms of making small plastic bricks with knobs on top, Lego was still first. Am I the only one who sees a parallel with Nintendo, which is responding to its diminishing slice of the US video game market by introducing new characters and a Gamecube with a remote control and a joystick attached?

Shigeru Miyamoto could kill off a couple of these franchises, figure out what the fuck to do with the rest, make some bonsai trees and–like Hell he could. Thanks to being a big egocentric asshole, constantly having to appease stupid kids and being obsessed with middle-aged plumbers who attempt to get into the dresses of ambiguously lesbian Princesses, Nintendo has neither the will nor the reason to kill off the horrible cancer that continues to eat its brains and rip its limbs off one by one. There’s only one thing to do now: Sell all its characters to the video game orphanage, Sony Playstation.

Earthbound is the only solidly profitable part of the whole corporation, and they haven’t made a new one of that in like fourteen years; everything else is being stuck with shitty, boring games that no sane human being would ever be caught dead playing. Dump the Mario Brothers, the furry shit, the racing games, the remaining first-person shooters, and Nintendo becomes instantly more profitable than before, although it might lose its position at number one in console sales, but that doesn’t matter. What’s more, under Playstation, each franchise would be leaner, meaner, and quicker on its feet, thanks to such meaningful and important features as Blu-Ray, a device that marginally improves graphics quality at only a 240% increase in console price and a 38% increase in game price. Think about the breakup of Atari, and everything it spawned, such as Lynx.

Even if a liberated franchise’s new ownership WAS completely shitfaced and retarded, even if, say, Electronic Arts bought up, say, Sonic, and ran it into the ground at the speed of sound, well, who gives a shit? I’d say, “nobody likes Sonic, except for children and autistic furfags.” And dammit, I’d be right.

The idea of being wrenched from Nintendo’s corporate teats is not bound to make Nintendo’s franchisees happy, especially Donkey Kong, who would likely throw barrels at passersby in a disgruntled fashion until tranquilized. But most sensible financial analysts would view Nintendo’s dissolution as a necessary Hiroshima: A violent explosion set off to anger Japan and force them to surrender to the United States again.

Of course, those same analysts don’t buy Playstation IIIs or Microsoft X-Box 360s anymore. They buy Wiis, because they want to get thin playing that goddamned Wii Fit. If these so-called “experts” want to feel the Trinity Site explosion again, all they have to do is drive down to White Sands, New Mexico and set off an atomic bomb. Even Master Chief himself would savor the irony.

Making Amends to Super Mario

Lupe and Inuyasha

Lupe and Inuyasha

Lupe and Inuyasha

Lupe and Inuyasha

There is a time in every young man’s life in which he must make amends. What amends the young man is making is not important. What’s important is that, by gum, that young man is making amends. After all, amends are how we can judge a person, as without them, the national economy would fail, and the terrorists would win. Beginning with this definition of what amends are, assuming of course that I know what I’m talking about, let’s continue.

I did not start watching anime again. I know this for sure. My cousin Josh, who I’ve somehow turned into a greasy teenage otaku fanboy, went through our local mall, arriving at Hot Topic and an anime store in the progress, and the coolest thing I found in our travels was a giant Koopa Troopa doll, which I want for Christmas because it is awesome.

He also had me watching two anime shows last night, Inuyasha and Blood Plus, the former of which I once watched regularly. As a basic plot summary, Inuyasha is about an irritating girl from Tokyo who goes down a magical well and gets into various bizarre escapades with an immortal twelve-year-old who wears dog ears on his head. This–wearing dog ears on his head–is supposed to make him a “half-demon”, which here is code speak for “irritating otaku fanboy”. In Inuyasha’s wearing of dog ears, the show’s storyline is startlingly similar to a normal anime fangirl’s life, because she will undoubtedly wind up dating a man with the maturity of a twelve-year old who wears dog ears in a vain attempt to appear cooler than he really is. Either that, or she will wear cat ears to attempt to become a “vixen”, but it does not really matter. What does matter is that these girls are being lied to. No, anime fangirls, when you grow up you will not be able to control your boyfriend using a magical collar and your obnoxiously loud voice, and you certainly will not have to tell your boyfriend to “sit”. In fact, if your boyfriend is of the “lazy nerd” variety, he will sit for you, at spans of several hours per day perched in front of a computer, ironically looking at naked pictures of the same girl from Inuyasha who keeps on yelling “SIT BOY!” to make her boyfriend break through bridges, fall through wells, and make cartoonish holes in the grounds at comical moments. To wit: No, you cannot control your boyfriend like a dog. Unless, naturally, you have large boobs.

(Note: Having large boobs will not give you mind-control powers if you are a man.)

Anyway, so clearly I have not made amends with the anime geeks. I also did not make amends with my LEGO city, Luigiville. For those who are not “in the know”, my Lego city is a giant plastic city of Legos that I have been building for over a decade now. My Experiencing the Arts class suggested that I be forced to stay awake until I finish it so that I build it faster, but that’s not my point. I have once again allowed Luigiville to fall into the hands of a sinister force, in this case, pretend vampires. This vampire attack went quickly, as once my little dead plastic character was moved to the “church”, we basically had a random guy get into the story and kill all the vampires off, while listening to death metal music, which my cousin bought at Hot Topic.

So if anything, I’ve pissed off Luigiville more, because the soulful ballads of Avenged Sevenfold are enough to infuriate Satan himself. What I did do, on the other hand, was play video games. Specifically Super Mario Galaxy. Many years ago, I played video games regularly. This was back in the day whenever your primary killing game was Contra, and if you really wanted an edgy Bart Simpson-styled game you went with Sonic the Hedgehog, who incidentally had spiked hair just like Bart. In those days, Mario was cool, as cool as Sonic even. We understood Mario, who shared our pudginess and willingness to eat large amounts of food for no good reason. We too faced adversity in our lives. And, of course, we have all been attacked by giant mutant turtles, by far the most important connection I felt to Mario, anyway. I dressed up as Luigi on several occasions, on Halloween especially, and wished to jump like Mario or Luigi. It was my passion at the time. One which I keep subdued with medication to this day.

Then Super Mario Sunshine came out, and I realized that video games had lost their way. It was as if crushing enemies with your prodigious weight was no longer enough; you needed guns or vacuum cleaners (a la Luigi’s Mansion), or, failing those options, vacuum cleaner guns.

But with this new game I see a bright future for Mario. Sure, he’s still weird, and has that moustache with the bizarre curvy shape you couldn’t replicate in real life with several tons of styling gel and numerous trained professionals. Yet he has proven that he can refrain from sucking, something Sonic the Hedgehog is still trying to prove. I’m guessing that they’ll give Sonic a vacuum-cleaner gun.

But nevermind that. I made amends to Mario. No matter how many times I said that the Wii was the dumbest idea Nintendo ever came out with; no matter how many times I said that Shigeru Miyamoto was too old to be making video games for twelve-year-olds; no matter how many times I said that the Super Mario soundtrack needed to be replaced by Eddie Van Halen guitar solos; somehow I got proven wrong.

I think it’s the vampires’ fault.

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