Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

I’ve been waiting to post about the Nintendo Switch. Waiting for more and solid info, not just the rumors that have been going around. I’ve been waiting for my initial considerations to settle and get a more complex view of the system. And I finally feel that it’s time to sit down and write about what I think of Nintendo’s upcoming system.

First, let me say that I am excited. I currently have two preorders for the system sitting at Gamestop. One online with a couple bundled games, one from the store with just the system. I’m currently contemplating whether to cancel one or to scalp it. Not sure. But I am a Nintendo Fanboy and I get that my excitement is me being excited to see what Nintendo has next.

I looked at the previews for the various games coming out and personally I thought how different the games look. The last couple of consoles, we have been treated with gimmicky and kiddy games, and while that is still there, I felt that Nintendo has a line-up of RPGs which is fairly strong. In 2017 alone you have: Disgaea 5, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Skyrim, Zelda: Breath of the Wild (I hate calling this game an RPG, but this release seems more RPGy than most), I am Setsuna, Dragon Quest XI, and Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2. And that’s just what has been announced for 2016’s RPGs. On top of those, we have Project Octopath, Dragon Quest X, Shin Megami Tensei, and Tales of being announced as Switch games, if not this year then in the future. And then we have rumored games of Pokemon Stars, Mother 3, and that Ubisoft Mario/Rabbids crossover RPG. This is such a huge RPG lineup and I don’t think people fully comprehend this. RPGs have been where Nintendo  has struggled most since the SNES, which may very well be the best RPG console ever. Since the SNES days, Nintendo consoles may have 6 to 9 total RPGs in the entire lifespan of the console. Now, Nintendo may cross that mark in their first year with this console.

This shows Nintendo has definitely changed their tune for getting third parties involved. Obviously they are missing the mark on getting the prime 3rd party support that everyone wants. No Madden announced, no Red Dead Redemption 2, not even GTA V. But it feels like Nintendo is picking a niche that generally does well with a  certain segment of adults and trying to add it to it’s repertoire.  Let’s consider something else here when talking RPGs… Xbox One has , to my knowledge 4 RPGs after 2.5 years of console life… Final Fantasy XV, Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Dark Souls 3. Unfortunately for Nintendo, these are all considered AAA titles and it doesn’t look like Nintendo will score 3 of them, though there is a fairly large chance for Dark Souls 3 to enter into Switch’s lineup at a later date.

Outside their strong RPG lineup, I am slightly dismayed at what I saw from Nintendo. Again, no big sports games outside of FIFA and NBA 2K18, I usually get one Madden per generation and that won’t be on a Nintendo console yet again. Nintendo themselves have a good threesome of Splatoon 2, Mario and Zelda. Though Zelda is just a port from the Wii U and Splatoon 2 looks a lot like Splatoon 1. Mario looks great, but I don’t feel Mario holds the same sway that it once did, I could be wrong on that… Galaxy 1 & 2 were well thought of and those weren’t that long ago. I don’t think that 1, 2 Switch or ARMS were strong showings and outside that there really isn’t a ton out there. But I love the RPG support. It makes me feel so much better about the Switch than  the Wii  U.

I feel the best games for Switch outside of the RPG & Mario is Snipperclips (which I may not get because I don’t think I’d have anyone to play with) and Bomberman R. Neither of which is getting much mainstream press. I’m not interested in a lot of the other stuff, I feel Arms might be great, just not targeted towards me. I could be wrong. I looked at it and was like why isn’t this a Punch Out game? But I do think it goes places Punch Out doesn’t and probably is a more deep game than Punch Out even.

I also didn’t feel like any of the games they showed, really pushed the system past what the Wii U could do which really gave me pause of what the Switch could do. I felt like though it wouldn’t hit PS4 and Xbox One levels, it would outdo what the WU could do by far, but after watching their presentation, I question that. I have no doubt it is better… but it doesn’t feel like it is much better. I wish Nintendo had something that really made me feel like OMG this thing is so much more powerful than the Wii U AND I can take it anywhere. But really I feel like it is the Wii U, just portable. Which is cool, but disappointing at the same time.

Which kind of brings me to what is the biggest disappointment of the Switch. Their marketing. You would think that they would have learned from how the Wii U failed to NOT fail the same way, but I feel they are doing the exact same thing they did before and I think it might bite them. From watching everything they do, you would think that the Switch is a console that you can take anywhere. But the problem with that marketing is it puts it up against the Xbox One and PS4. Which if the Switch was slightly weaker than those two but portable, people would be OK with it. But it isn’t. It is drastically weaker than those two and so the comparisons to those two systems are really going to hurt the Switch I fear. They should be marketing as a portable that you can play on your TV. The reason this is an important distinction is that this puts the Switch into the realm of competing with the 3DS and Vita and maybe tablets to a lessor extent. In this comparison, the Switch does much better. It is hands above those systems in nearly every aspect. When someone complains to me about the graphics capabilities of the Switch vs PS4 I reply back.. yeah but the PS4’s battery life is crappy and it’s hard to play in the car while someone else is driving. My point obviously being that really the Switch is a portable. The problem Nintendo  has is that the 3DS still has steam and they are really scared of replacing the 3DS and the Wii U with the switch because while the Wii U has done poorly, the 3DS has done OK for itself. This past Christmas saw a huge seller in Pokemon Sun & Moon, so huge, it was hard to buy a 3DS from retail because they wanted to get one to play the new game. It puts Nintendo in an awkward place with this system, but they really need to sell it as a replacement to both, I think sales and 3rd party support would do better if they did.

At the end of the day, while companies were not supporting the Wii later years, and the Wii U…. support for the 3DS never really failed. And now with reports of the Vita being discontinued in American territories… the big place I feel Switch is picking support up is those Vita developers, hence the huge RPG support they seem to be getting. I think we may see a number of games which will be PS4 and Switch only, not because the Switch is the second most powerful, but because people are choosing #1 console and #1 portable. But if Nintendo continues to insist that it is not a  portable because they are afraid of galvanizing the 3DS market, they may find that instead the 3DS is galvanizing the Switch market and dooming the Switch. Nintendo needs to pick their poison at this point in time… and it is hard for them to change. They don’t want to admit that they are leaving the console market. But the Switch’s best hope is that they have.

iZombie Review

I haven’t actually done a review or early thoughts of pretty much anything recently. Very strange for me. Not sure why that is, but I felt compelled to do something for iZombie. Why? Because when I first heard of the show I thought… well that sounds stupid! And well conceptually the idea of a Zombie living amongst us living folks is very stupid and I’m not a huge fan of Zombies anyway, but as it turns out, this particular show is really really good.

To give a basic breakdown of what the show is about… iZombie is about a girl who becomes a Zombie in a world where a Zombiepocalypse is NOT occurring, yet at least. Big surprise. And where Zombies aren’t generally just mindless drones wandering around eating brains. I mean she does eat brains, and seems to be able to zerk out, thus becoming a mindless drone, but it is temporary. Zombies also seem to have the ability to see moments of their victims lives, which leads into the fact that she helps solve crime pretty well.

So this isn’t your normal zombie TV show. If you were looking for gore and violence with brainless killing, you are looking in the wrong place. This show is actually about someone coping with changing into something new, coping with the struggles of this change, and keeping the secret from those she loves. In essence, this show has more to do with a super hero ™ show than a zombie show, just using zombiism as the super power.

The show also doesn’t take itself overly seriously. It is more than anything a comedic crime fighting show. I couldn’t help but think of Psych while watching it when she plays off her zombie visions as a Psychic vision.  It’s style really plays into Psych a lot as well with its comedic crime fighting.

iZombie is a show very solidly aiming at an interesting mix of demographics. You can tell that the general every day life of the lead character is meant to appeal towards teenage girls, the zombie aspect and humor is geared towards everyone else. The creator of the show has also created Veronica Mars and the new 90210, and these roots definitely show. But this doesn’t entirely detract from how entertaining the show is. You as the viewer just need to let it entertain you.  If they can keep it up, you won’t be sorry.

And really I don’t think enough can be said that even though iZombie’s title makes you think it is a show about Zombies, it really is anything but, and to me that is what makes it special. I suggested it to my daughter who likes Zombies and she wouldn’t even let me finish telling her what it was about because a Zombie show shouldn’t be from the point of view of the Zombie. “Zombies are undead and are supposed to decay” she said. Well maybe, Vampires never did decay so I am not tied to that philosophy quite as much. Zombies were always boring previously. I applaud that someone decided to sit down and think about Zombies and try to make them more interesting and dynamic rather than just brainlessly create another show that was the same as all of the others, like the creatures that they are portraying. The original point of the zombie was that we shouldn’t all be part of a brainless horde, and each zombie creation that gets made just emphasizes how much of a zombie the creators actually are. The fact that this show is stepping away from the same old formula is in and of itself a commentary on the genre. Good for them.

Comic Book Movies I’d Like to See

Now that Marvel is going into the realm of “we can do anything bitches” with Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Doctor Strange. And likewise we are seeing DC going all in with movies like Suicide Squad and Aquaman (really?), and Sony even making a movie based on the Sinister Six.1 Well why not start talking about what movies we would all like to see get made? So I present you my list.

1. Bishop – We had a glimpse of Bishop in Days of Future Past, and we might see him again in Age of Apocalypse considering he did play a part in that storyline. Bishop was one of the more popular additions to the X-Men squad in the 90s Bishop has the ability to absorb energy and then redirect it back wherever he wants it. It’s an interesting dynamic and he tends to be more powerful than Gambit who can just kind of create it out of nothing. The absorbed energy also seems to amplify his strength, he has a robotic arm, and he time travels. What isn’t to like?

2. Cable – Another X-Man who became really popular in the 90s spawning his own comic series, and another time traveler that had a hand with Apocalypse a few times. Cable would be an interesting choice in the movies because he is the son of Scott Summers and a clone of Jean Grey. The likelihood of the original actors returning in those roles to any extent is slim to none, but Cable was always kind of shrouded with mystery and could make an entrance into the X-Men series pretty easily without the parents. Like Bishop, Cable has  a cybernetic arm, but Cable is essentially a muscular Jean Gray with guns. I honestly don’t foresee both Bishop AND Cable, and given that we have already seen Bishop, we’ll have to rest our hopes on Bishop spinning off.

3. Alpha Flight – Wikipedia describes Alpha Flight as “Canada’s answer to the Avengers” but it could easily be replaced with the X-Men. The group is all Canadian and was a major part of Wolverine’s back story. They are kind of off the beaten path but I always took a fancy to the group. I find this group would be extremely unlikely to get their own movies, but we might have a better shot at seeing in a Wolverine movie at some point now that the Wolverine movies with Hugh Jackman seem to be making a return.

4. Moon Knight – Moon Knight has never been an overly popular Marvel franchise but definitely has a cult following. I will be honest I don’t know a lot about him, but I appreciate the Egyptian motifs that he has and the Batman-like feel. He does have powers of strength and reflexes that wane with the cycle of the moon, but they seem to play a minor role. He also has multiple-personalities which might make for a very interesting movie. He also has been on and off on the Avengers and has movie rights actually owned by Marvel so there is a decent chance we eventually see a Moon Knight movie.

5. Jonah Hex – I mean a real one, not that crappy one that was made a few years ago that was so bad no one even knew it was there. I am reminded of him constantly with the Gotham TV show because in a lot of ways, Jonah Hex actually is the pre-quel to Batman. He is a character from the old west days of Gotham, that is a lot like Batman mixed with Two-Face. He’s got a distorted face and is very rough around the edges but is generally out looking to do the best by what is out there. Like batman, he sometimes travels that fine line between good and bad, though he seems to fall to bad a little more often.

6. Silver Surfer – He kind of had a movie, but it was a small part in a bad Fantastic Four movie. They are rebooting Fantastic Four, and I am kind of hoping that Silver Surfer gets a second chance because of it. Now that Guardians of the Galaxy did so well with being a space-set super hero, I think it is totally in the realm of possibility. He did have some time on the ground, but a full on Space movie would be a pretty cool route to go with him.

Upcoming Super Hero Movies

Has been a busy few weeks when it comes to super hero movies. A lot of interesting info has come out from Marvel and DC and I have a lot of thoughts in regards to all of it so I wanted to take a moment and put them into writing.

Let’s start with  DC. DC recently announced their lineup of movies through 2020. The movies include Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, 2 Justice League movies, Flash, Wonder Woman, Shazam, Green Lantern, Cyborg, and Aquaman. Left out of their announcements are new Batman and Superman movies, though I suspect there will be at least one of each of those. I am a little surprised to see them putting up a Shazam movie in particular as that character, formerly known as Mr. Marvel,  is relatively unknown and unliked but whatever, might as well try something. Aquaman also is curious as he is generally another unliked character and the casting of Jason Momoa as Aquaman also seems strange as Aquaman was never a very muscular man of color.1 Out of the lot of the movies, I am glad they are giving Green Lantern another shot and am interested to see how they deal with a Suicide Squad movie. I got into the Suicide Squad with the New 52 and quite like that particular series.

For casting, I don’t particularly like most of the casting that they  have announced so far. Like I said, I like  Momoa but he doesn’t fit Aquaman. Similar feelings towards Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, though I think largely that character is difficult to cast and I think she could make it work. A lot of people disdain Ben Affleck as Batman but I feel he could turn out rather well. He has the chin for the mask and I think he can pull off the playboy Bruce Wayne which tends to be the trickier part. He could work out very well and I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until I actually see him for myself. They haven’t cast Shazam yet, though they have cast The Rock as the villain in that movie, and that alone to me speaks volumes of how bad the movie will likely be.

DC is going for 2 movies a year, and the fact that they are doing the ensemble pieces first rather than introducing the pieces and building into the ensemble like Marvel did is interesting. People think now that the only way to do it successfully is to do it like Marvel, but let’s take a step back and realize that Marvel’s recent success actually started thanks to X-Men which is an ensemble piece. X-Men had some misteps but seems to be back on track and has one fairly successful individual hero film under the belt (The Wolverine) with a few more to come. This track isn’t fully vetted as of yet but don’t forget how much the current success of all super hero movies owes to the X-Men franchise. Again, willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. There is a lot to worry about with DC’s upcoming movies, this  is the least of their problems.

With that, looking at Marvel, they are going for 2 movies a year as well but that isn’t including Sony or Fox movies. All said, Marvel will have anywhere between 4 and 5 movies a year for the next several years, which coupled with DC’s concerns me of over saturation. I like the Super Hero Movies quite a bit, but when is it going to be enough?

Marvel has announced some rather interesting choices as well including Doctor Strange which had been talked about for almost a decade previously. Still no word on who, though I am kind of excited by the prospects of it. I think the weird characters in Marvel is a sign of over saturation, but I also find them to be the most appealing. Super Man, Spider Man, Batman, Captain America, etc. Those heroes have all been done to death for years both in comics, on TV, and in theaters. For those guys it is becoming same ol same ol and guys like Doc Strange and Guardians of the Galaxies are a breath of fresh air. This is a double edged sword though. DC tried a Jonah Hex movie a few years ago and it was utter crap. I am interested to see the upcoming Ant Man, but I’m not sure how good a movie that stars someone who rides a flying ant actually will be.

DC is winning at one thing though, diversity. Cyborg is African American, Green Lantern could be as well, they have Wonder Woman, and Aquaman seems to be not white now too. The only diversity in Marvel’s wallet seems to be side-kicks or bit parts. They don’t even really have any planned coming up the pipe. Luke Cage on Netflix seems to be about it and who knows how good that is. They showed a clip of the Daredevil show at NY Comic Con recently and the word that is spreading about it is that it doesn’t look very good. It is entirely possible that the Netflix Marvel shows share the same quality that Agent of Shield. That’s another thing DC is beating Marvel at. Flash, Arrow, Constantine and Gotham are all quite good shows, will be interesting to see how DC enters the digital realm with their live action Static Shock.

And finally there is Avengers 2 which last week had to release their trailer early due to a leak. It looks really freaking good. Yet again. Though one thing is for sure… their Quicksilver doesn’t look like he is going to be as spectacular as the one from X-Men: Days of Future past.

A Sign of Mine Age

When the DVD format came out, I fell in love. I never liked VHS. They were bulky, they had not great terrible, and even in high school I was aware that they wore out. They had no value to me. When DVD came along, they promised me longer life, better quality and special features. And so I bought Starship Troopers and The Fifth Element, before I even bought a DVD player.I did buy a DVD player shortly thereafter, but it was a sign of things to come as I would buy any and every DVD of movies that I liked and sooner than I knew it, my collection was quite large.

And then came the wars between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Personally, I sided with HD-DVD as the better format, but I waited out the battle, choosing to buy neither until one was a victor. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I didn’t own an HDTV either and wasn’t really all that interested. You know, to this day I don’t feel that the quality is THAT much better than standard def TV, but I do appreciate that the screen is a widescreen format by default now. Continue reading “A Sign of Mine Age”