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Double Jump Company (May it Rest in Peace)

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Steve and Danger Play “Fire Emblem Awakening” Very Poorly

robofists-revenge:

So after spending the past 12 thousand years playing Pokemon Y, I decided that it was about time for me to get anything else to play on my 3DS. Fascinated by Lucina and Robin being added to the new Super Smash roster, I figured it was about time to bite the bullet and see what this whole Fire Emblem thing was about.

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I’m going to be honest with you all upfront: I’m not an intelligent man. It took me until my junior year of high school to realize that “pilates” was not pronounced like “pirates”. So a turn-based strategy game isn’t exactly my forte. I’m much more of a side-scrolling, hack-n-slash kind of guy. Give me Aliens: Infestation, and I’m golden.

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However, I was determined to become a smarter gamer, and Awakening was going to be my greatest learning tool.

Plus, Danger wanted a game she could play to show off her quote-unquote “mad tactician skillz, bee-otch.”

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This is one of the first screens, and I just know that it will become the bane of my existence. A lot of people choose Classic Mode because it offers a greater challenge; they’re also people who find the concept of connecting to fictional characters on an emotional level ridiculous. I’m not one of those people. I was emotionally distraught when my sidekicks fainted in Paper MarioToy Story really fucked me up in terms of attaching a piece of my soul to inanimate objects, so Classic Mode is going to kill me.

Still, if I’m going to play Fire Emblem, I want the genuine Fire Emblem experience. Classic Mode it is. May God have mercy on my soul.

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Right off the bat, you get to actually customize your avatar, which is a pretty neat feature. To my knowledge, in previous Fire Emblem games, you just played as the invisible, omnipotent tactician. Since Danger will be playing along with me, I decided to let her name our character.

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How modest.

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Look out, [insert world that the Fire Emblem series takes place in]! This bad bitch is headed your way to screw with your establishment!

Man, I am drooling over these cut scenes. It’s this beautiful combination between 3D cel-shading and classic hand-drawn anime, and I kind of wish the entire game looked exactly like it. I can’t screencap those, but you can check out the opening Bioshock-esque scene for yourself with a simple click on your mouse! In other news, remember when computers came with mice?

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Ahh, so this is that Chrom guy nobody would shut up about. Is it just me, or does he look a bit too much like Marth and Ike had a son together?

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Chrom is so brave that the very concept of danger is foreign to him. Kudos, brave warrior. You have earned my respect, my bow, and my ax.

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Alright, so my brother had the original Fire Emblem for the Game Boy Advance (you know, the one starring Lyn who should’ve totally been in Brawl instead of Marth again), so this layout is both familiar and terrifying to me. Time to make my first move and pray I don’t get anyone killed on my first mission (it has happened before).

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Damn, Danger’s the bee’s knees! Bronze Sword and Lightning spells? If I level her up enough, can I just make her a god? Seriously, who would ever be able to stop someone who can fight with both sword and magic?

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…oh.

Guys, Frederick so so ridiculously overpowered in these first few levels. I’m not sure why I even bother with the rest of my unit, because Freddy kills every boss on his first strike. I’m convinced that he was supposed to be Awakening's original rep in the new Smash Bros, but during development they realized that all of his attacks immediately kayoed just everything, so they’re like “Eh…that Robin fellow will do.”

Speaking of Smash Bros

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Except whoever was in charge of the roster! Pow! Good night everybody!

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I will do no such thing, Lucina.

How anyone could mistake her for a man is beyond me. Sure, her face is covered up, but there’s no denying that every sentence “Marth” says is coming straight from a woman’s vocal chords. Marth must’ve been the most fabulously flamboyant warrior to ever grace the Fire Emblem world if everyone just blindly accepts a masked woman to be him.

Then again…

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…maybe Marth just is a woman? “Prefered pronouns” and all that jazz?

Anyway, Fire Emblem has more blue hair than Final Fantasy has unnecessary belt buckles. 

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Um, so hey, I don’t mean to be “that guy”, but can someone explain to me why my avatar has no feet? Or, you know, why nobody in this fucking game has any feet?? Were they all “foot-castrated” as babies? Are they walking around on stubs? Or in quicksand? Are their feet invisible? Like ghost-feet? Because these sprites do walk with a strange amount of grace for fully-armored shepherds…

No, guys, come on, I’m dead serious, I need an answer to this phenomenon. Nobody has feet, and I’m beginning to freak out and ask myself terrifying existential questions like “Do any of us really have feet…?”

This question will keep me up for nights to come.

Anyway, this post has rambled on long enough. Tune in next time when no doubt everyone will die!

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Filed under fire emblem nintendo smash bros let's play fire emblem awakening

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Short little…blurb?…about “SteamWorld Dig”

A while ago, I made a short little blurb about the amazingly-underrated Shantae: Risky’s Revenge from the Nintendo DS eShop. Today, I’m coming back atcha with a little awareness article about another indie title for the 3DS: SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt.

This game had been on my radar for a while, but I can’t say I ever planned on actually buying it. It looked pretty OK, to be sure, but all you did was dig holes. Not exactly worth $8.99, amirite?

However, just this weekend it was released to the 3DS eShop, and reviews were exploding. So I decided to shell out nine bucks and see what all of the fuss was about.

You control a robot named Rusty, who rides into the tiny town of Tumbleton to inherit his uncle’s mine. You begin your mining career with an old, rusty ax pick, but the more precious stones you sell to the townsfolk, the more upgrades you can get. The better tools you get, the deeper into the earth’s crust you can bore.

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"Oh, OK, so you can dig and stuff," I can hear you saying sarcastically. "Big deal. I ain’t gonna dish out nearly ten bucks to dig holes in a virtual ground."

There’s more to it than just digging holes you prick person. Think of SteamWorld a Western/Steam Punk version of Metroid. There are certain areas you know you need to get to, and you can only get there by having the right upgrades. The story also treads into some dark territory, as you slowly explore the dark origins of this robotic world.

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I’ll admit that the digging mechanic can get a little tedious (expect your right thumb to press the A button more times than you thought possible), and the side characters aren’t exactly fleshed out, but there’s something downright addicting to SteamWorld. I just bought it today and spent the past few hours chipping away at it. SteamWorld Dig is bursting with creativity, tight controls, beautiful graphics, and brilliant mechanics. DJC loves it. So should you.

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Filed under steamworld dig steamworld nintendo 3ds shantae risky's revenge

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DJC revisits The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages

I feel as if the entirety of May Madness 2013 has been building up to this. Double Jump Company is dedicated to the nostalgic and the nerdy, and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages is the perfect candidate for an article.
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Now, I own the original Ages game for the Game Boy Color, one of the only remaining GBC games I have left in my collection. But today marks the rerelease of this game (along with it’s counterpart, Oracle of Seasons) on the 3DS Virtual Console. What better time to talk about this remarkable gem of a game?

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First, let’s talk about the fact that Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons were released at the exact same time a la Pokemon Red and Blue. However, whereas the Pokemon games were basically the same with remarkably tiny differences, the Oracle games are two totally different beasts. Yes, both deal with saving the respected titular Oracles, but other than that, Link is going on two different adventures in two different worlds. 

My brother got Oracle of Seasons, which some people say is superior because it focuses more on action than puzzle-solving. But I chose Ages because I was fresh from beating Majora’s Mask and was still obsessing over the time travel elements. In a way, I like to think Oracle of Ages helped me grow as a gamer, since it did force me to think outside of the box and solve puzzles that could be frustrating at times. 

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Take this boss, for instance. He was the bane of my existence when I first started playing this game at the tender age of eleven. By today’s standards, he seems impossibly easy: you can only defeat him if you throw bombs into the top of his head when his red face is facing forward. If you throw in a bomb when any of the other faces is facing forward, he’ll attack by raining rocks or bombs or whatever the hell onto your head.

I quickly came up with a strategy for that four-faced bastard, and I was able to take that knowledge and apply it to the nine other big bosses in the game.

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Seriously, this is my old strategy guide to the game. It’s not worn and tattered because of it’s age. It’s worn and tattered because I read this thing like a freaking text book, trying to figure out the best way to beat fucking Plasmarine!

One thing that I loved about Oracle of Ages was that certain characters from Majora’s Mask (my favorite Zelda title of all time) made appearances. This wasn’t so in Seasons, which had cameos from Ocarina of Time characters instead, and made me feel right at home in the mysterious land of Labrynna.

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The story goes that Link made his way to Labrynna, where he meets a woman with a beautiful singing voice named Nayru, who is eventually possessed by a totally bad bitch named Veran. Veran uses Nayru’s body to travel back in time and totally fuck up Labrynna. 

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But it’s OK! Link has been given access to the Harp of Ages (which is like a more elegant-looking, but not nearly as cool, Ocarina of Time), and is able to jump back and forth in time to stop Veran and her minions from screwing over the timeline Biff Tannen-style.

Fighting Veran for the first time is one of the most creative boss battles I’ve ever encountered, because she’s still in Nayru’s body, and you can’t just go about slicing and dicing the Oracle of Ages. Instead, you need to reflect her magic back at her until she’s knocked out, and then rip Veran’s soul out of Nayru’s body with your Switch Hook. I dunno, I thought that was clever.

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Another aspect about this game that I loved was the fact that you could choose a pet for Link. You could choose between a flying blue bear, a kangaroo with boxing gloves (loved him), or, my personal favorite, a freaking Dodongo named Dimitri.

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He was the best. He ate enemies. I don’t care how many Kangaroo-with-Boxing-Gloves fans there are out there, Dimitri kicked so much ass.

I would also feel terrible if I didn’t mention my favorite characters in the game: a group of skeleton pirates known as Piratians. Their story is that they used to be normal pirates until they got lost in the Sea of Storms and became total badasses.

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I’d be lying if I said my pirate obsession didn’t stem from these guys. Cursed skeletal arriving in my life a whole two years before Curse of the Black Pearl? Oh yeah. Loved these little scallywags.

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One of the coolest sidequests in the entire game involved collecting Rings, which were used as power-ups, essentially. One Ring would give Link faster speed, while one would grant him temporary immortality, etc. Like Pokemon, certain Rings could only be found in certain games, and they could be traded via the Cable Link (ah man, the nostalgia). 

Anyway, I think this article is unorganized as it is, so I’ll leave you all for now. However, if you have a 3DS, six bucks, and a desire to play the best handheld Zelda title of all time…I strongly urge you to swing by the Virtual Console and pick this classic up right now.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m gonna journey to Labrynna one more time…

Filed under oracle of ages legend of zelda oracle of seasons virtual console nostalgia majora's mask capcom nintendo pokemon nayru veran head thwomp may madness 2013

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Steve's Quest for a Gamecube (3/19/12)

This is gonna be a fun advertisement. 

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Remember, a while ago, when I wrote a an article about how the Game Boy Advance SP was the greatest gaming console of all time? I was just throwing that in here, because we’re talking about video game consoles haha.

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The Gamecube. Some people consider it the beginning of Nintendo’s downfall. That doesn’t make any sense to me, because the ‘cube was just as powerful as the PS2 and the XBox. It wasn’t until the Wii Nintendo started just…doing so much wrong…

As I grew older, I started to appreciate video games more, and I realized that there were entire libraries of Gamecube titles I missed. Plus, I just really wanted my own console in my room. So, naturally, I began my hunt. Spoilers: I succeed.image

I’ll admit, I haven’t played it as much as this article would suggest. Luigi’s Mansion is currently inside, as I was prepping myself for Dark Moon (holy crap, how great is that game, guys?). 

I also still haven’t gotten any better at wielding my butterfly knife. Man, this article is depressing me.

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When you’re done, be sure to also check out the direct sequel to this article, Modern toys Steve would’ve played with as a child! It’s my favorite DJC article yet…just saying…

Filed under nintendo gamecube game boy advance game boy advance sp toys r us luigi's mansion nostalgia gamestop butterfly knife

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2012: A Pop Culture Memoriam Post

So 2012 has come and gone. During that last home stretch, a lot of us began thinking that the world was going to end. And then December 22nd rolled around, and we all felt pretty silly. The world didn’t end.

Or did it?

Below are my Top 5 things we lost this past year, and why the world simply won’t be the same without them…

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Hostess

You guys have no idea how bizarre it is to walk through the grocery store and not see a single box of Twinkies. It kind of freaks me out, to be honest. Twinkies, Ding Dongs, those chocolate Cupcakes with swirls on top…those were the comfort food of my childhood, and their absence has left a Ho-Ho-shaped hole in my heart.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

Peter Parker is, has been, and always will be my hero. He’s a guy you can relate to, a guy with the worst luck in the history of comic books, and yet he’s always risking his life to save the day. The Amazing Spider-Man #700 concluded Peter Parker’s 50 year run as the Wallcrawler, and it was so lackluster and frustrating that I still hate Marvel for publishing it.

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Nintendo Power

For 25 years, Nintendo decided to pave the way for gaming journalism by giving us arguably the greatest video game magazine of all time. Long before the internet allowed us to look up walkthroughs on the fly, Nintendo Power was there with fan art, comics, previews, cheat codes, reviews, and, yes, walkthroughs. I grew up with Nintendo Power, and even though it kind of faded from my radar near the end, it will still be sorely missed.

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Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve

We’ve lost a lot of talented folks this year, from Andy Griffith to Phyllis Diller to Jerry Nelson, but Dick Clark has been welcoming the new years with us for as long as I’ve been alive. And, yes, it’s still going to be called “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Yadda Yadda”, but it just won’t be the same watching Ryan freaking Seacrest try to fill the old man’s shoes.

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City of Heroes

Does anybody remember this MMORPG? Did anyone ever play it? I mean, I did, and to this day it’s the only MMO I’ve ever played in my life. You got to create your own superhero, from their look to their powers to their origins and battle cries, and it was amazing. Sadly, and randomly, the servers closed in November, and I doubt any MMO could replace its charm and awesomeness.

So, yes, we lost a lot this year. However, we also gained a lot (like an actual Avengers movie!), and it was a pretty solid year for pop culture enthusiasts and nostalgic bloggers. Here’s to 2013! Let’s make it an epic one! 

Filed under 2012 hostess twinkies spider-man amazing spider-man comics marvel nintendo nintendo power dick clark city of heroes mmo mmorpg

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Game Boy Advance SP: Great Handheld or GREATEST Handheld?

I’m gonna come right out and say it, guys: my favorite video game console of all time is the Game Boy Advance SP.

It’s the most flawless gaming machine ever. I love portable games, and the GBA library had some doozies. From well-known hits like Golden Sun and Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, to cult favorites like Sonic Battle and Astro Boy: Omega Factor, the Game Boy Advance was the handheld of the new millennium.

In my opinion, however, the design of the original GBA was…awkward. Sure, the screen was bigger and it was giving us graphics even better than the SNES, but it was kinda tricky to play when the button layout was all over the place.

Enter the GBA SP:

Oh gaming gods, did Nintendo strike gold with the SP. Its button layout was similar to the original Game Boy’s, it was able to fold shut for easy pocketing, and it had a backlight. A backlight! No longer did we need to wait for a streetlamp to pass us while we were playing Pokemon in the car at night. I mean, guys…this was huge.

Wait a second. A backlight? Wouldn’t that drain the batteries faster?

Yeah, maybe a little bit faster. But don’t worry your pretty little head about your upcoming AA battery bill. The SP came with a charger, so you could charge its built-in lithium ion battery. Again, revolutionary. AA batteries weren’t as coveted and precious in my house once the SP rolled around.

It’s just a really sleek design. It was all about style when it was first released. It was sleek, compact, and still able to play all of those phenomenal GBA games you knew and loved. The fact that it was backwards compatible with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games was also an enormous plus. This little system had one of the most diverse and phenomenal game libraries of all time!

So what’s the point of this article? Basically, to remind everyone that this happened:

In 2004, Nintendo took a remarkably beautiful handheld and made it even sexier. For some reason that nobody in the world had a problem with, Nintendo went on a huge retro kick and started releasing a ton of their NES classics for the GBA. And, of course, this led to one of the most stunning and awesome handheld designs of all time: The NES styled GBA SP.

Guys, I freaking treasure this thing. Even after buying a DS, and then a 3DS, I never once even considered selling this bad boy. It’s an NES Game Boy Advance SP! I mean, this basically sums up everything that Double Jump Company is about: nostalgia and nerdiness.

To this day, I play this thing (mostly because the 3DS doesn’t play Game Boy games…lame). In fact, I would go as far as to say I proudly play this thing. I’m always searching used game stores for new or rare Game Boy games I can take home and play on it. Sometimes I just prop it open and stare at it, longing for a simpler time.

You know how, when you’re a kid, you do stupid things? Well, I put stickers on the front of my NES SP. I instantly regretted it, and I still have no clue how to take them off. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Anyways, this is just a reminder that the NES edition GBA SP happened, and that it was awesome, and that the SP is still the greatest handheld console of all time.

Filed under gba sp game boy advance sp nes nintendo retro game boy handheld video games gaming game boy advance

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So Long, Nintendo Power.

If you were a Nintendo fan growing up in the 90s or early 2000s, you read Nintendo Power. It helped us beat that dungeon we were stuck on (you know, before GameFaqs), it gave us our first glimpses at upcoming titles, and it had those awesome Nintendo Power Awards that I loved voting on for some reason. I used to stare at the fan art that was submitted, and I even sent in two or three (hundred) of my own (which were never published). The covers were always phenomenal, the walkthroughs were informative, and the columnists each unique and friendly. 

Plus, who in their right mind can ever forget Alan the Slime from Dragon Quest?

Nintendo Power has been around since 1988, before I was even born. And now, twenty-four years later, it’s coming to an end.

That’s right, folks. Nintendo Power announced that their phenomenal ‘zine is closing up shop sometime in the near future. Nobody knows how many issues remain in the magazine’s lifetime, but I think I speak for every Nintendo fan that it will be sorely missed.

This is a nostalgia blog. Nintendo Power is, to me, a nostalgic magazine. It reminded me of a time when we didn’t have online walkthroughs to help us through a tough level. When game art was more than some polygons ripped from game stills, but actual pencil and ink art drawn by the game’s designer. When fans could write in to a magazine and have their questions answered and printed in next month’s issue.

I know, I know: print is dying. The magazine industry as a whole is basically a dead language. However, Nintendo Power represented those good ol’ days where you could open up your mailbox and see a real, tangible, informative, and awesome game magazine.

Say what you want about Nintendo nowadays. I know I’ve been vocal about their…interesting choices lately. But you cannot deny that they are an insanely important part of the gaming industry and community. Saying good-bye to Nintendo Power will be like saying good-bye to an old friend.

I decided to pull out the issues I had left. Unfortunately, I don’t have any N64-era issues left (thanks, Mom…), but my collection still goes back to the Gamecube/GBA days.

Thanks, NP. We’re all gonna miss you.

Filed under gaming nintendo nintendo power video games dragon quest n64 gamecube gba super mario bros 2 legend of zelda slime

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What went wrong with Metroid: Other M

Today, I went to a friends house. He had a Wii, and a few choice games I didn’t get to play before mine broke. One of them was Metroid: Other M. Well, I do like shootin’ up Space Pirates, so I decided to pop it in. 

Here’s the thing: the gameplay is awesome. The controls were tight, the different play mechanics were pretty inventive and fun, and the game itself just looked awesome. It was classic side-scrolling Metroid, only on a modern console (of course, I use “modern” to describe the Wii very loosely). I really did enjoy the Prime trilogy, but in my opinion, Metroid is best when it’s a side-scroller.

So, this game was doing a lot right. Great levels, awesome gameplay, fun mechanics, pretty decent graphics for the Wii…so why did I facepalm and eventually quit halfway through?

Now, like I said in my Zelda post, I’m not the world’s most die-hard Metroid fan. I can’t list off the names of every single boss off the top of my head, but I can tell you that they’re insanely enjoyable games. A large part of that has to do with the fact that you’re playing as the galaxy’s most badass bounty hunter.

(Boba Fett wishes he was as cool as Samus Aran…)

Seriously, Samus is a boss. She gets the job done, no questions asked, and yet never hesitates to save the galaxy one time or fifty. She has an arsenal of weapons that would make Link jealous, a suit that Tony Stark wishes he built in a cave, and a rogues gallery of grotesque alien beasts that are too evil for even Mos Eisley.

The fact that she’s a girl is almost an afterthought.

Yeah, remember at the end of the original Metroid? And it was revealed that this badass bounty hunter you were playing as the entire time was actually a woman?

That was a pretty groundbreaking at the time. Back then, women in gaming were the damsels in distress. The fact that Metroid not only defied that mentality, and that it became such a huge hit, was a pretty huge deal, and solidified Samus’s place in video game history.

The next few games dived a bit more into Samus’s character, but one thing remained: her badassery. She was a bounty hunter who played by nobody’s rules but her own, and took down any alien threat that came her way, despite the risks. And she did it all in style.

The old-fashioned mentality of “boys would never want to play as a female character” was gone. Completely gone. Samus wasn’t sexualized like Lara Croft, nor was she helpless like Princess Peach. She was an action hero, and a damn awesome one, who just so happened to be female.

For the longest time, Samus enjoyed a pretty spectacular career. From amazing handheld games to the her first foray into the FPS genre, Samus continued to grow as one of gaming’s leading ladies.

Then…

Other M's biggest problem (and, trust me, it's a big problem), is its cutscenes. I think there was more bland and overdramatic dialogue spoken in the first cutscene of this game than every other Metroid game combined. And what was the point of these painfully drawn out CG scenes?

To “flesh out” Samus’s character. Or, in layman’s terms, “to reduce Samus from a badass bounty hunter to a fragile little lady.”

Now, sexism is a tricky term. There are obviously some blatant acts of sexism, but there are others that are in a sort of gray area. Some feminists think Harley Quinn is a terrible, demeaning character who is some oversexed male fantasy, while other feminists cosplay as her at Comic-Con. 

(Sexy…?)

(…yes. Yes it is.)

I’m not sure how sexist feminists would find Samus’s portrayal in Other M, but I can tell you how I felt about it: it was just awful. Honestly, I didn’t want to see (or especially hear) Samus’s sob stories. I didn’t want to hear how she was constantly trying to impress Officer Adam enough for him to call her “a lady.” I don’t care that she holds him with such high regard that she won’t use her weapons until he says it’s OK. This isn’t Fifty Shades of Freaking Grey, this is supposed to be Metroid!

Samus isn’t a character that needs to prove herself or yearns for the attention or respect of an officer. She’s a hardened bounty hunter, someone who has seen and survived more crazy alien shit than any of the Galactic Federation soldiers combined. Why does she need any of their permission to kick ass?

Actually, this sort of dramatic character change would make a lot more sense if this game was a prequel or origin story, or even if it took place earlier in her career. But it doesn’t. According to the Metroid timeline (yeah, that’s right, I studied up for this article, bitches!), Other M takes place after Metroid, the Prime games, Return of Samus, and Super Metroid. So…it’s the exact opposite. This game takes place when Samus was at her peak, her most experienced.

So why is she acting like a little girl in a suit?

Playing this game ruined the character of Samus for me. Not because they gave her dialogue, but because her dialogue was whiny and unnecessary. Not because they fleshed out her character, but because they destroyed her character.

As I said, the rest of the game was flawless. In fact, upon further research, the game got pretty grand reviews for its gameplay. All Nintendo needed to do was give us the mature, badass Samus we all knew, and flesh her out in a more interesting, less childish way, and Metroid: Other M could’ve been one of their biggest hits in recent history.

Shame.

Filed under feminism metroid mother brain nintendo other m samus aran wii