Double Agent
Cel and sunshine - February 17th, 2002 - Drew Cosner

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the participants and the moderator, and do not necessarily reflect those of the GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive material afoot. Didn't I tell you! Don't say we didn't warn you.

From now on you shall all refer to me as Cozy. Just so you know.

Return of the dinosaur


The only thing that matters in Mario Sunshine is that you can possibly run around on Yoshi--in the third dimension. Anything and Everything else doesn't matter, just as long as you can ride that guy.

-Lee, who's blocked Yoshi's Story completely out of his mind.

If Mario Sunshine truly winds up feeling like Mario 64 and Super Mario World combined, I'm going to install a toilet in front of the television. I can always leave my organs to the university in exchange for cash, should it come down to that.

A slap in the face


First off, the scheme that the one reader noted for RE Online is the EXACT same method that Blizzard uses for So it is feasible, and would work.

Now, before I hit today's topic, I want to say a few things about the LAST column:

Regarding Shin Megami Tensei Online, it's a shrewd move for MS to get the rights. Considering that this is a long surviving series that has been popular in Japan, it could be the way for MS to get a foot in the door, as access to other more popular series has been denied them. And because of this, there's no reason it should come to the US. In addition, MS keeps it out of the hands of their rivals, who are much better entrenched in Japan than MS.

Regarding the online readiness controversy, I have to agree with Erin. First off, Sony is VERY close to launch (February 20, some lucky PS2 owners will be getting notified that they will be in the Online Beta Test, which means that an April-May launch is VERY likely.) Second, Sony could very well combine their hardware and online service, in much the same way that Sega did with their free Dreamcast with a year of SegaNet deal. Not only would that kick up the BBA installed userbase, it would also be good publicity for Sony (remember how many gamers lauded Sega for making this deal?) Finally, Sony has actually presented solid online plans - MS has only shown broad, basic plans. To put it simply, for MS to compete, they need to have solid plans (which they don't), they would have to make a "free system for paid online time" deal (which they can't afford), and get a wide range of titles (which they haven't shown an inclination to do, relying on marquee FPS titles instead.)

The point? Sony is a LOT more organized than either rival.

Okay, today's topic. Personally, when I read Miyamoto's comments, to be it seemed like a nicely worded "Screw You" to all the Zelda fans out there. One would think that when a majority of the people clearly do NOT want what you're peddling, you would try to change it around. His statement that if the game is solid then the graphics will grow on the user fails to acknowledge that you have to put a product out that is pleasing to the common gamer. The sheer arrogance in that comment to me smacks of the Artist, who seeks to impose his vision on people, regardless of whether they want it or not.

And now, here's a thought for you. On Wednesday, the crazy folks at Penny Arcade had a strip about a certain unorthodox "juicer". But that wasn't what was controversial. What was controversial was the slamming that the Lithtech Engine, a notable piece of middleware, received for powering poorly thought licensed games. Needless to say, the Penny Arcade boys received correspondence from the makers, saying that their comment is unfair. Tycho defended it by stating that the rationale behind the strip is that middleware makes it much easier for game makers to make mediocre licensed games. So, I'm curious - do you think that making it easier to produce games is a good/bad thing? Should it be that games be relatively difficult to produce in order to prevent trite licensed games? Or will bad games based on lucrative licenses always be present?



Wow, this is a letter-and-a-half. To work.

I'm pretty sure you meant to say "...there's no reason it shouldn't come to the US." If that's the case, I agree with the logic. We'll just have to wait and see.

Second, you've summed up my own thoughts on the Xbox's position, so I'll just move along. (wow, this is easier than I'd expected.)

And now, Mr. Miyamoto: a lot of people are taking his comments as a slap in the face, and I can understand why. It's irritating when game developers try to tell you what you should play, regardless of what you want to play. However, Mr. Miyamoto has repeatedly proven that he knows what the next step in gaming is regardless of our prattle and censure. Remember when the "Ultra 64" was announced, and rumours of a 3D Mario began tocirculate? Remember how indignant people got that their favorite side-scrolling series was going to be subjected to the 3rd dimension? In the end we got Mario 64. So I'm going to put my trust in Mr. Miyamoto for now.

And finally, yes, I do generally think licensed engines are bad, though not in theory. In theory, a licensed engine gives smaller game developers, the ones with the more out-there ideas, the opportunity to put together a title, even though it wouldn't normally be possible. In practice, computer nerds are egotistical types that recoil at having to pretty-up somebody else's code. I can still remember how much I hated being forced to use Adobe's HTML editor, and HTML is "code" in the same way a rollerskate is a shiny new SUV. Just about any developer worth its salt is going to be manned mostly by do-it-yourselfers. Maybe this isn't how it should be, but that's the general impression that I get. Then again, I don't exactly work at a well-known PC game developer, so take all of that bluster with a grain of salt.

Let the media frenzy commence

How interested am I in the new Zelda game in the works, you ask?

Not at all. This is one of the times that graphics are going to come into things for me. Not because I'm a graphics whore - I enjoy things like Dragon Warrior 7 quite a bit on their own merits, despite the retro graphics. Graphics help, certainly, but they don't make the whole package in and of themselves.

But on the other hand, if graphics are actively just really strange, or just extremely *not* to your taste, and not just "dated," then... enh. I know that others may love these graphics and think I'm smoking crack, but I just cannot enjoy these graphics at all, to the point that I know that they'd get in the way of my enjoyment of the game. After all, the graphics are pretty much your "window" into the game, and are what help bring you into that particular world. If the graphics are old and just not up to par, well, it's still workable. It just takes a little more imagination, and most of us are used to this stretch between graphics and reality from playing games years ago, anyhow. But if the graphics are just actively deformed and strange like in this case? Some people may love it, but from what I've seen, it's just not for me.

Of course, once we actually hear something about the game itself, it may turn out that the game will be worth trying to work through the graphics, and if it's absolutely *stellar* from the sound of it, maybe I'll give it a try after all. (At least until that frigid day in hell when we do finally get the version of Animal Forest Plus we were promised so long ago...) But to sum up, and quote Miyamoto from your own site:

"I won't show any more of this game, because you can only truly understand it once you play it. At E3, everyone will be able to play it, and gamers will be able to decide for themselves if they do or don't like it."

Well, that's great for the people at E3. But normally, if you really want a game to go over well because of the gameplay, and you KNOW that the graphics are going to get in the way of that for most people... DON'T DO THAT STYLE OF GRAPHIC! It may be the second coming of... er... Aeris, but if the game looks awful enough that most of the poor schlubs that DON'T get to go to E3 will never experience this firsthand, unless the buy the game, and they don't want to buy the game because of the graphics... well, I don't think it's too hard to follow me, here.


I can understand where you're coming from, but it's not like game journos aren't going to swarm the title at E3, exhaustively writing up every little detail in turn. And you can also be sure said journos are going to argue every nitty-gritty little detail about Zelda and Mario in columns like Thinking Out Loud or Gamespotting, allowing you to align yourself with the editors whose views tend to most closely mirror your own. In other words, while you can't get a complete idea of what the game's like from keeping up on news, you'll certainly have a good idea of what to feel. At least, as a quasi-journo, I'd like to think so.

Then again, the GC does use discs; I wouldn't rule out a demo entirely.

Zero interest until FOREVER!

Drew -

Am I the only one who immediately thought of the Dr. Mario/Yoshi's Cookie school of "Mario games" when I read the description of Mario Sunshine?

I don't really care much about Zelda as a whole. I admit that Zelda games whup a polar bear's ass, but I'm just not especially interested in playing them for extended periods of time. Even with my nostalgic love of A Link To The Past (my first RPG-or-reasonable-facsimile-thereof), the games just don't appeal much to my sense of gaming. So, I think the new Zelda game will be one of the top ten games of the whole of this console "generation," and I'll have no interest in playing it.

-Toma Levine

Fair enough.

Get it straight!

Hey Drew,

I have a strong opinion here. People who hate the new Zelda look are a bunch of retards. As soon as I downloaded the video of it for the first time off of IGN of all places, I was unduly impressed. It looked to combine the look Zelda always had until N64 had to go and "mature-ize" it. I was made a very happy gamer knowing that this look would remain despite the murmurings of many a retard. In fact I'll go on record to say that although Gamecube seems like a complete crap system compared to Xbox and PS2, Zelda is one of maybe 4 games I wouldn't mind playing. Mario Sunshine , on a different note, could very well be the best Mario game yet but unless the gameplay innovates extensivly on the Mario 64 routine I may lose interest.

Also , if you were wondering the 4 GCN titles that actually don't look half bad include the likes of biohazzard, Biohazzard 0 , Zelda and Mario. Thats basically it.

Honestly, I don't care how the game looks so long as the graphics are pleasing to the eye, and GC Zelda's certainly are. As I've said before, it reminds me of a 3D version of a Link to the Past. Let me savor that idea for a moment.


Somebody had to make the "kiddy games" argument


I think the Mario and Zelda graphics news pretty much spells disaster for Nintendo's plans to make themselves look hip and cool for that important 9-99 age demographic. They can point to Resident Evil all they want to; the Gamecube will still always be remembered as the platform for pansy gamers who enjoy playing titles like "Mario Sunshine". On the other hand, I expect the games to sell well considering how many new gamers they'll attract from groups like GLAAD.

To whit: I have never seen a producer so happy to flush so many profitable franchises down the shitter. What the hell is Miyamoto's problem? Link was one of the only Nintendo games that was cool and acceptable to talk about in public. I just hope he stays the fuck away from Metroid.

-Red Raven

As far as Nintendo's image is concerned, I'm just going to link to this comic, which sums up my own thoughts far more eloquently than I ever could.

As for Miyamoto "flushing popular franchises down the shitter," I have to point out that nobody has played the games, let alone been given the option to purchase or not purchase them. I'd say it's a little early to assume that Zelda and Mario are going to bomb solely on the minute scraps of information we've been given. And, frankly, if we all knew games so much better than Miyamoto, we'd be well-respected developers instead of a bunch of dorks squabbling over the Internet.

Return of the Flamers' Corner!


"I'm not even going to step into this pile of shit, but I will say one thing: DAs are held to no rules of conduct (within reason, of course). This is a forum for public opinion, and that extends to the moderators as well. In other words, we can say the Xbox sucks because green is an ugly color and people have to deal with it."

If you're not prepared to defend your statements, don't make them. Far too often the DA crew (you in particular, Drew) use your position of control over this column to completely ignore readers who prove you wrong and expose your own flagrant bias. I see that this trend now extends to Erin as well.

"You're welcome to get all huffy and indignant over what is, when you get down to it, inconsequential video game minutia, though."

This from someone who called me a "pharsic asshole" because I exposed your extreme anti-Xbox bias a few months back. Not only are you a coward, but you're a hypocrite as well.


You kind of remind me of this one girl I took a history class with a while back. Every time the materials brought to light mistreatment of any given minority, she would raise her hand and indignantly denounce this injustice, as though she could somehow change the reality of the situation.

In this case, I simply stated that we DAs can pretty much run this column as we please, so long as it meshes with the vision other staff members have for the site. That means we have to keep things within reason, but, yes, biases are going to be evident on the part of the moderator. We're still waiting on Chris to get that robot that writes columns finished, so this is the reality you'll have to deal with for the time being.

But let's be honest: you've never wanted Erin or myself to defend our arguments; you just want us to admit that we're "wrong" because we, or perhaps our policies, don't happen to agree with you or yours, respectively. Somehow, in your head, calling me an asshole, in so many words, will alter reality. Sorry: it won't. Besides, if it's a battle of pure reason you're after, you shouldn't have to resort to namecalling, anyway.

Honestly, though, this all boils down to how you perceive my character. To be perfectly frank, there's no point in arguing character. Would you like me to come up with a mathematical formula that proves, conclusively, that I am not, in fact, a coward or a hypocrite? Erin and I have both been doing this column thing for quite some time, and neither of us is going to change our editorial style for one guy that gets his panties in a jumble everytime someone has the audacity to say anything negative about the Xbox. I'm really pretty sure you don't need to read this column if you don't like that.

Oh, and a final note: my leeriness of the Xbox is hardly a secret, but if it makes you feel better, you can believe that you "exposed" me.

Moffitt is such a cool last name

As for Shin Megami Tensei, I don't see how anyone can doubt a US release. MICROS~1 needs games. Any games at all. Especially exclusive ones. Can there be any doubt that the company that would release Azurik ANYWHERE would release ANYTHING AT ALL in the US?

Well, there you have it.

And I do seem to be the only person relieved by the fact that they stuck with the badass old-school graphics in the new Zelda. They look really cool from everything I've seen, and torment my lack of funding and desk space for a Game Cube. I would have to shell out for a PS2 vertical stand just to get the thing to fit by the TV. And then I don't even have any idea where the hell the Dreamcast cables would run.

Hey, that's actually a pretty neat topic idea. How do people have their game systems arranged? Is it a mess of cables? Is it a nice little switchbox and a surge protector? Does the fire department come at regular intervals? Gar.

- George Moffitt

That's an intersting way of looking at it, George: Microsoft needs exclusive games, particularly Japanese third-party titles. MS is also trying to launch a massive network for its console, so online games are all the better. It's not like the company hasn't put the thrust of its mighty wait behind substantially more questionable games, so who's to rule out a North American release? Considering the likelihood that the Xbox tanks in Japan, it could be a way to recoup some losses.

It would certainly be something if a series that's rarely seen light in North America were translated for a console that tanked in the East. Such interesting times we live in, and all of that.

As for your suggested topic: I'm impressed. I think you've managed to come up with something we've never discussed exclusively in this column. Or at least not in recent memory, and that's an accomplishment, too. And so you shall have your reward.

Closing Comments:

You read George's topic: get to it! And with that, I am gone for another week.

-Drew Cosner

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