Thursday, November 12, 2015

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges!

A quick update on Read Only Memories. I picked up copies for a couple of friends, and one of them, a guy I've known for years and whose opinion I trust, did grumble that there was too much social commentary and not enough of a focus on Turing, your robotic operating buddy. I'm not sure I agree, but since he's finished the game and I'm only an hour into it, it's entirely possible that my opinion will change. 

Then again, I have a couple of other friends who expressed similar frustrations with Undertale, complaining that the storyline is too rigid and that you're buried in guilt if you don't play the game exactly as the developer intended. The vast majority of people who own the game don't see things that way, claiming that Undertale is an emotional powerhouse and one of the most refreshing RPGs they've played in years. I haven't played that game at all, and I've got no idea which side I'll take in this debate when I finally do. However, one thing I can say for sure is that it's going to take a hell of a lot for Undertale to live up to the past six months of hype. (And it'll take a gallon of brain bleach to flush out the memories of all that fan art of Toriel with the really huge boobs. But I digress.)

Anyway, let's get down to brass tacks. Nintendo recently released a lot of tantalizing information about upcoming games and downloadable content, but I'm more concerned about what they WON'T be giving us. Indie programmers have demonstrated over the last couple of months that the New 3DS has the muscle to handle Super NES and Game Boy Advance emulation, and that's with security measures which prevent them from accessing the full power of the system. These games might even work on older 3DS models with official development tools. But what does Nintendo give us instead?

This dink, and his carnival of sadness known as the Nintendo Badge Arcade. You pay this carrot-munching vermin real money to get fake pins that you can stick all over the screen of your 3DS. Whee, much more fun than playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters! Or Marvel vs. Capcom. Or Mega Turrican. Or Bonk's Revenge. Or the thousands of other games you can run using the RetroArch suite of emulators.

Look, I know. I could play most of these games on my PSP, without the hassle of circumventing Nintendo's constant firmware updates. But they look so much better on the New 3DS XL display, and play so much better with Nintendo's circle pad. Beyond that, I've purchased dozens of games on the Nintendo eShop. I'm legally entitled to them, and I should have the right to play them when and where I please. Sony understands this, letting me download PSP games on its successor the Vita, and play PSOne games on nearly every damn thing they make. Now that it's been proven the New 3DS has the juice to emulate games for Nintendo's legacy systems, why can't we legally play them there?

Or maybe we should let all that potential go to waste and just be happy with a pink rabbit.

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