SNES Classic: Offering Less for More
Well, the predictable has happened, and the SNES Classic has finally been announced this week in all its grey boxy glory! When the NES Classic showed Nintendo that they could do no wrong, Nintendo decided to take things back to the drawing board in an effort to craft the single most expensive plug-and-play system ever created – and the result of this is the SNES Classic!
At $80 the SNES Classic is a full $20 more expensive than the NES Classic, yet in spite of this the SNES Classic features nine fewer games. The NES Classic featured thirty games, whereas the SNES Classic features a mere twenty-one titles. One might initially be tempted to blame this on the cost of licensing some of the more popular SNES games, yet consider that only seven of the games on the list were published by third parties, which means that it did not cost Nintendo a dime to include fourteen out of the twenty-one titles that will be playable on the SNES Classic.
Then we get to the games themselves, and there are some pretty big holes here:
“Contra III: The Alien Wars, Donkey Kong Country, EarthBound, Final Fantasy III, F-ZERO, Kirby Super Star, Kirby’s Dream Course, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Mega Man X, Secret of Mana, Star Fox, Star Fox 2, Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Castlevania IV, Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Super Punch-Out!!, Yoshi’s Island.”
It is really nice that Nintendo chose to license Final Fantasy VI, but did they seriously think that it was money well spent to license The Secret of Mana instead of Chrono Trigger?! Final Fantasy IV is also sorely missed, but Chrono Trigger is the Citizen Kane of gaming, and is synonymous with the Super Nintendo’s ascendancy over the Sega Genesis. Beyond this, a further eight games surely could have been derived from Nintendo’s own catalogue to bring the number of games up to parity with the NES Classic without actually costing anything – Pilotwings, Donkey Kong Country 2, Donkey Kong Country 3, and Super Mario Allstars immediately spring to mind.
One inclusion that is noteworthy is that of Star Fox 2. The game is famous for having gone gold, and then being cancelled at the last minute out of the fear that it would detract from Nintendo’s forthcoming N64. The Star Fox 2 ROM did eventually leak onto the internet, and it has even subsequently been printed to SNES repro carts – yet this is a beta version of the game, so it will be interesting to see whether there were any significant changes made to the finished product.
The SNES Classic will launch on September 29 of this year. All things considered, if Nintendo were cynical with the NES Classic, then they are just taking the piss with the $80 SNES Classic. Nintendo is now making consumers pay much more for significantly less, but then the NES Classic aptly demonstrated that the nostalgia market has an insatiable appetite for plastic tat.
Resident Evil Actors Dumped Because of Recalcitrant Union
Most unions invariably end up as corrupt slush funds more intent on maintaining power than on providing any sort of valuable service. SAG-AFTRA is a wretched hive of shit. This union attempts to gatekeep all American voice acting jobs, denying work to anyone who does not join up to their racket – and they then use this position in order to bully game developers into overpaying for a service which is essentially only a very minor facet of video game production. These kind of tactics will only ever get unions so far however; companies will compromise up to a point for the sake of convenience, yet will think nothing of cutting loose union actors if they attempt to push things too far.
Last October SAG-AFTRA pushed things too far by demanding that studios provide residual royalties to their voice actors based on the subsequent sales of the game – this is something that the major studios will never agree to. It is a fight they simply cannot win. At the time one expressed amusement with the situation, and a hope that it would drag on in order for non-unionised voice talents from around the world to be given the opportunity to distinguish themselves – and this is exactly what has happened.
Apparently Allyson Court [the original voice for Resident Evil 2‘s Claire Redfield] and Matt Mercer [the voice for Leon Kennedy in Resident Evil 6 and a couple of the animated films] were in talks to reprise their roles in RE2make, yet were dumped when the company hired to record voice performances decided to go with all non-union talent – and who could blame them? Court is not actually a SAG-AFTRA member on account of her being a Leaf, yet the union she belongs to [ACTRA] are now refusing to allow their people to work on projects which have been affected by the SAG-AFTRA strike, in solidarity with the Americans.
This has resulted in Court angrily squawking at Capcom in an entitled Youtube video where she attempts to weaponise the game’s audience against Capcom, calling them petty, and saying that they were being disrespectful to both her and the Resident Evil fans.
“I really thought that Capcom was listening to the fans for this one.”
Instead of getting angry at Capcom, perhaps Allyson Court should instead be getting angry at her union for being so dysfunctional and toxic that it is now causing her to lose job opportunities. One would really love to know however, why does Allyson Court feel like she is more entitled to this job than a non-unionised actor? Is she under some sort of retarded belief that belonging to a union somehow confers legitimacy upon her, rather than it merely acting as an implicit threat of industry unrest? Do non-unionised actors not deserve to be able to put food on the table too?
One honestly hopes that this rupture becomes permanent, so that non-unionised acting becomes the only game in town for video games. Non-unionised American actors were able to get a bunch of work through the 1990s and into the early 2000s, but once the unions realised how lucrative video games could be they were slowly muscled out. Here is hoping that this is their triumphant return.
Analysts Have Lofty Expectations for Xbox One X
Here at Lusipurr.com we have been fairly skeptical about the Xbox One X’s ability to excite the market, yet there is at least one financial analyst that disagrees with us – enter DFC Intelligence [or lack thereof]. DFC believe that by the end of 2021 the Xbox One X will have sold 17 million units, and that by that time the Xbox One platform as a whole will have sold over 60 million units. This means that DFC believe that after 2017 the current generation will last for another four years, and that within that period of time the Xbox One platform will continue to sell at the same rate that it has done for the first three and a half years of this generation.
Acknowledging all this one might expect DFC to sound quite bullish about excitement around the console, But this is not the case. Rather, they just do not seem terribly good at predicting console sales:
“Xbox One X is an expensive system designed to appeal to a fairly narrow demographic of gamers who want high quality graphics but do not want to spend money on a high-end PC. The challenge is that is a fairly small addressable market, even as sales of 4k television sets start to soar. Both the Nintendo Switch or Sony PlayStation 4 offer a very strong value proposition that consumers seem to be flocking to.
Many of the exclusives are fairly minor indie titles that will probably not take advantage of the enhanced graphics features of the system. Furthermore, the leap from 1080 to 4k resolution is simply not as revolutionary as the previous movement from standard definition to high definition.”
There is not too much terribly wrong with the text of the analysis, which makes one wonder how the numbers got to be so bullish. DFC rightly point out that the Xbox One has no games, and that the price of the Xbox One X is a huge drag on the system’s fortunes. On top of that they should probably be made aware that console sales typically slow during the latter half of a console generation. During this period console sales will be promoted through slashing the cost of the base models of the PS4 and Xbox One, but the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are limited in this regard because they were made using newer technology. This is particularly the case for the Xbox One X, since it is a full year younger than the PS4 Pro.
As people move to 4K televisions the PS4 Pro’s checkerboard half-measure method of scaling to 4K is hardly ideal, yet one figures that its far more substantial library of games coupled with its much cheaper pricing serves to make it vastly preferable to the Xbox One X. The Xbox One X’s biggest market is among people who already own an Xbox One, but how many of them are really going to want to pay $500 for a newer version of a console that has already been on the market for four years?
Honestly, the biggest impediment to most people upgrading to both the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X is probably the distinct likelihood that both the PS5 and the Xbox One Two will be backwards compatible, and as such will be capable of performing the same 4k upscaling on previous generation software. All things considered, one expects to see Xbox One X sales end up far closer to 7 million than 17 million.