When is it Okay to be Salty About Nintendo?

As I’ve been surfing the web and talking about Nintendo with strangers, plenty of these players openly despised the existences of certain games from Nintendo. The games in question were titles such as Metroid Prime: Federation Force and the untitled Pikmin game coming to 3DS. Frankly I never saw what the harm was in these games. The fans wanted to let the world know that they will turn out to be pieces of crap immediately the day they were to come out. Federation Force would eventually release and opinions of the game have become divisive. With Pikmin 3DS having been announced I think it’s time I ponder my take on the whole idea of quick fan reactions.

When is it okay to be salty?

For this opinion piece, I’m going to focus solely on Nintendo. That doesn’t mean it can’t be applied to other companies and development teams. So just take note of that.

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Salt on pretzels is always delicious; unfortunately, the salt on fans reeks of age. This is by no means a new topic. The earliest notable instances of Nintendo fan reactions going awry can be dated as far back as the now-hailed Gamecube era. There was a time where people hated the announcement for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Why would fans hate such a beloved franchise? Because the graphics were different than what fans were used to.

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No one was expecting their beloved series to feature an art style that strays from being “realistic”. They wanted to see a Zelda that was even more graphically advanced than what appeared on the Nintendo 64. With the Spaceworld 2000 promo of a cinematic battle between Link and Ganondorf, it seemed like they were going to get something along the lines of that caliber.

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On the opposite side of things, Metroid Prime was also being hated on by fans when it was announced. By “opposite” I mean it was too realistic for them – It is a whopping first-person shooter! How could that possibly fit along the lines of a series like Metroid?! For all people knew at the time, Metroid could only work on a 2D plane.

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Needless to say, these games have since been praised to death as a couple of many notable top-quality games on the Nintendo Gamecube. It was then when people realized that The Wind Waker was still a fully-fledged Zelda game and that Metroid Prime managed to successfully fit the franchise’s universe into the first-person shooter genre like a glove.

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Fast forward to now and we have people complaining about a 2D Pikmin game. Similarly to the Metroid Prime fiasco, this series could only be seen by people with 3D landscapes and other elements the game seemingly doesn’t show. Because it looks different, the game gets  hate from players. A more open-minded individual would think that perhaps the gameplay would have potential and resemble Lemmings or the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games. Others seriously think this is the Pikmin 4 Nintendo teased once before.

Come on guys. Does this…

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…look like a mainline sequel to this?

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That’s like saying Yoshi Touch & Go is an established sequel to the original Yoshi’s Island. It doesn’t work like that!

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Metroid Prime: Federation Force upon its announcement was receiving tons of flak for reasons that don’t actually depict the gameplay. You know it is the most important aspect of a video game. Instead all the attention were on the Chibi style and Samus Aran not making an appearance. Okay, yeah. I get it. Samus is the star of the franchise, yet she’s taken a backseat to wannabe space heroes. That makes sense that fans wouldn’t jump on board. Much like the case for Pikmin 3DS, it simply can’t be said that this is a main title in the series. It is a spin-off of a spin-off. It’s developed by Next Level Games and not Retro Studios.

Why would they interfere with a story that they clearly weren’t the ones telling in the first place? Granted Next Level made Luigi’s Mansion 2, but they actually put forth the proper elements and effort into place for that. They didn’t make Luigi into a Minecraft character and have him cooperate with random Ghostbusters-like characters throughout an adventure with a distinctly different feel; it was an actual Luigi’s Mansion game. This, on the other hand is obviously not a Metroid Prime 4.

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“But wait a minute Ryan. Aren’t you being a hypocrite?

You’ve been whining about Color Splash for like a million times by now.”

Ah, yes. Now we’re approaching the answer to the question. Paper Mario. That’s not the answer, but it certainly holds it in this writer’s eyes. This series has also seen its moments of backlash and eventual warming up. Super Paper Mario was an unexpected turn that fans weren’t fond of seeing at first. As players actually got to play this game, they realized it was actually a pretty stellar time that holds true to elements of its predecessors (albeit in a platform-adventure hybrid rather than an RPG).

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You see that was the last game in the Paper Mario series by the Intelligent Systems we know and love. Of course they wouldn’t make anything that disgraces what they established earlier. They have much more class than that. It’s just a shame other people at Intelligent Systems and Nintendo were willing to do that instead.

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The saltiness I’ve been experiencing over witnessing the existence of Color Splash is primarily that unlike the previous games I’ve mentioned in this article, we already have direct evidence of what the game would be like. There was already a game before it that did exactly what it’s setting out to do. That game is Sticker Star and I despise it so. It’s been so much of a bane to me that I’ve torn apart what was shown of Color Splash limb from limb. All of what I feared would come back from Sticker Star is ready to haunt me thrice. Therefore I can’t possibly expect it to live up to even a small fraction of what the real Paper Mario games from last decade offered.

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Basically the answer to “When is it okay to be salty?” is: When you have played something just like it before and can take note of what’s revived from that terrible experience you once had. It’s otherwise encouraged to be optimistic. Who knows? Maybe that game you hated due to its graphical style may actually be fun and enjoyable. Or maybe while it can’t compare to what came before it, the game can be a good time in its own right. So for those concerned about Pikmin and Metroid, it is okay to have those concerns. Those games will not tarnish anything you hold dear of either or both series.

Whether or not they are good depends on your personal look at it, but the teams aren’t trying to follow in the footsteps of something grander and they know that. Color Splash, on the other hand…I still can’t believe they’re saying this is a main installment that comes from the same series that brought us epic stories, legitimate comedy, and deep tactical play.

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