TSM Episode 374: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

But Nintendo's niggardly approach to the Virtual Console ensures that most of them remain accessible only via emulators or decades-old hardware.
Nintendo’s library contains a wealth of classics.

Download: Released 2016.05.02

With Nintendo’s refusal to show the NX at E3 2016 and their delay of the new Zelda title until 2017, and with PSN itself now more profitable than Nintendo’s entire business operation, SiliconNooB and Caspius once again despair for the fate of the Big N.


  1. Exciting news addendum: Mighty No. 9 has FINALLY gone gold.

  2. Nintendo has always struck me as a company that targets children, and if that’s the case their obvious lies make sense. They are that parent who lies constantly to their kid, and still demands respect long after the child has grown up and become aware of the habit. Of course it is obvious that Zelda is meant to be a launch title for their next system, and while games could always be ‘polished’ further before being released to the public, that story just doesn’t ring true.

    Sometimes when something looks like a lie, and feels like a lie, and smells like a lie, it just might be a lie.

    I must also point out that Nintendo did not develop all of their classic games (though before doing some research this morning I though this would be a more compelling argument). Star Fox was developed by Argonaut Software (and their story, along with the creation of the world’s first GPU for that game, is a fascinating one); Rare developed a few of the most popular titles including Donkey Kong Country (and later GoldenEye 007, among others). Square of course is responsible for Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy games on SNES.

    Nintendo has acquired talent (and entire companies) along the way, and like another similar company, Apple, Inc., is only as good as their current team. The iPhone itself is the result partly of outside development, without which we never would have had a capacitive touchscreen smartphone in 2007. And key members of that design team were gone shortly after the first phone’s release. This isn’t the culture in Japan, where it appears people tend to stay at their jobs for very long periods (or even for life), and maybe this is part of the issue.

    There is a hint of staleness to Nintendo, and the Wii U is a prime example. It was simply a revised Wii with a new controller. The fact that Wii remotes are still being used in living rooms with this ‘current gen’ console is laughable. It was a failed experiment. Which leads me to one last point: Nintendo has always been a company of gimmicks. The original system was released here with a fake robot – necessary to get it into toy stores at the time, but still. There was a light gun controller that used flashing images on CRT screens to shoot. There was the Power Glove and Virtual Boy. What about the Game Boy Printer? There was the N64 DD. There was the Game Boy Advance adapter for GameCube – which worked just fine for its intended purpose, but why?

    And then there was the Wii. And it succeeded for the same reason the DS took off. Mainstream appeal. Here was something so simple in concept, so completely devoid of the intimidation high-technology always has on the common, middle-aged person, that it was accepted by a vast audience very quickly. And yes, Oprah helped. The DS became ubiquitous in American homes thanks to Brain Age (and its ilk), which doubtless accompanied a generation of semi-elderly to the toilet for many a year.

    If it’s dead-simple, smooth, shiny, and above-all targets children and the lowest common denominator, Nintendo will be there. And their fans, who remind me of disciples of Mickey Mouse and the Walt Disney company, will be there to validate Nintendo for their feckless rot.

  3. Zelda isn’t even confirmed for NX launch. Just 2017. Also Saturn also sold less than 10 million like Dreamcast.

    Nintendo’s E3 plans seem like they are going completely insane. Hopefully NX is competent cause otherwise we are only ever getting shitty phone games from them again. But it seems like they don’t have a confident plan.

  4. @Kisaki: If you think that Zelda will release in 2017 but won’t be an NX launch title when the NX is launching in MARCH, you are delusional.

    The Saturn figure on Wikipedia of 9.26 million is widely held to be wrong. Figures at the time for Japanese sales were about 10M, with N.American sales less precise, with a relatively accurate figure somewhere between 1.5 and 3M. We actually do research our numbers pretty carefully here rather than just relying on Wikipedia.

  5. I’m not saying that Zelda wasn’t delayed for NX. I’m not delusional. The prees release said 2017 not March. Meaning they’re not even confident they can get their NX port done on time. Which should be concerning.

  6. @Kisaki: I believe it would be ready to launch this year if it were not for the NX. The reason the press release does not contain a specific date is because they are trying to convince us that they delayed the game for nearly a year to “polish” it, not because they are afraid they cannot have it ready in time for the NX launch.

    @Seb: Of course we know that Rare/Argonauts developed some core Nintendo classics, but those properties are owned outright by Nintendo. It’s an apples to oranges comparison to lump them together with Chrono Trigger and GoldenEye, which were not developed ‘for’ Nintendo. I know that the reason we don’t have Square Enix properties on Wii U and 3DS is because of SquareEnix’s avariciousness with regard to their shittybad iOS/PC versions of those games, which they are selling at $20 a pop. Understandably, they don’t want the better original versions floating around on current sales platforms–and they certainly don’t want them floating around at only $8 each.

    There is no Nintendo-exonerating excuse for the absence of StarFox, however. Although it was developed by Argonauts, that was on a contract much like Donkey Kong Country. It is not owned by Argonauts–it is owned by Nintendo, in much the same way that Microsoft Game Studios owns the rights to the Mistwalker-developed Lost Odyssey (which is why we’ll never see that game on a Sony system).

  7. @Caspius It becomes confusing; attempting understanding or rationalizing the releases Nintendo chooses for the US market. As you said, they wholly own those classic properties – even if they were developed outside of Nintendo.

    Regarding Square-Enix (who really did a shit job with the recent FF IX mobile/Steam port), they are also going to get undeserved credit when I Am Setsuna is released; as they are simply the distributor. Yet I see things like “The return of the classic Squaresoft RPG” in searching for the game. People want to love their brands… SE is shitty, and only care about money. Likewise Nintendo. Lets hope there are some people within those companies who still care about the games, so we might see some good new content someday – or at least have ready access to all of the classic content on current hardware. (Ha! As if.)

  8. I think the WiiU version is done and they are sitting on it. That’s obvious. It’s not delayed for polish. I’m saying they are saying 2017 not march because they are to incompetent to have the NX port done in time for launch. Which makes me worry about what NX is and how slow development will be in the pipeline.

  9. I loved the GameCube. Now all I can do is sigh at Nintendo. It’s not like they can’t turn themselves around! WHY!? Why won’t they reclaim their glory instead of chasing after the Wii success that will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN? The casual audience does not give a damn about them!

  10. I still love the idea of themed television spoof episodes, even if they’re just short segments. Also Julian, I’m with ya on Constanza. Best character on the show as I see it. Glad you’re playing Trails of Cold Steel also. Great game, and you covered all of my immediate observations about it as well. It really is a model JRPG. Falcom has always been a JRPG company for JRPG fans.

  11. @LegendaryApple The casual audience doesn’t give a damn, as you say; they’ve all moved on to smartphone ‘games’ now! Think about it: when the Wii took off, there was no iPhone. Enough said.

  12. @Sebastian:

    Regarding Square-Enix (who really did a shit job with the recent FF IX mobile/Steam port), they are also going to get undeserved credit when I Am Setsuna is released; as they are simply the distributor.


    Tokyo RPG Factory is a wholly owned division of Square Enix.

  13. @SiliconNooB Crap. This is what I get for doing zero research.

  14. So the FF team’s vision of a modern RPG doesn’t necessarily reflect the feeling of other divisions within SE.

  15. I just got around to listening to the last month’s worth of TSM’s, and it may be way past your big announcement, but CONGRATURATIONS Caspius on your Lil’ Meow on the way!! We need more little humans roaming about being raised with classic literature, music, and video games. And he or she can listen to their dad read great books with the funny voices!

  16. @Sebastian: Actually, if you think about it ‘I am Setsuna’ is actually much more of a Square Enix title than FFXV, since XV has had about three external developers working on it in conjunction with Hajime Tabata’s team.

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