Tag Archives: Nintendo

Mystic Mavens (Media Mavens Episode 18)

This week on Media Mavens it was just Riley and I, talking about what we’ve been up to and taking listener questions. We cover everything from the hottest new anime boys dating sim – Mystic Messenger, anime, what Nintendo’s been up to, and what we’re looking forward to next year. Take a listen and please consider giving us a review if you like what you hear.

Today’s topics:

We’re on our own today! Come hang out as we talk about what we’ve been up to lately.

Pam (@jasyla_)

  • The Lion’s Song
  • Masquerada
  • Sara is Missing
  • Mystic Messenger
  • Master Chef Canada
  • Experience Points
  • Where am I Now?

Riley (@Kaleri_)

  • Heroes of the Storm
  • Mystic Messenger
  • Yuri!! On Ice
  • kpop!

Twitter Questions: (00:44:30)

  1. After all the build up in Mass Effect 1, what did you think about SPECTREs by the end of the first trilogy? (@ActWon1)
  2. Who did you choose for Divine? (@Orkchop)
  3. How do you handle your backlog of unplayed games? I’m forcing my way through mine so I can finally pack away my 360. (@xhugglesx)
  4. What video games would you like to see turned into movies? (@theDonovanViper)
  5. What not to remake? (@solidpollywog)
  6. What’s your favourite holiday themed sitcom episode? Why do you think its limited usually to comedies? (@alatinolawyer)
  7. Nintendo Switch! (@reetin)
  8. Considering the success of the NES Mini, would a Gameboy or SNES Mini be a better follow up? (@ithinkibrokeit)
  9. Which 2017 game and which 2017 movie are you looking forward to the most? (@supernintendad)
  10. When approaching an unknown tv series or movie, what are the main factors that get you to watch it? What makes you turn it off? (@MustyHobbit)
  11. What guest made you the most nervous to invite and what would be your dream guest? (@devoted_pupa)

If you’ve got any feedback, questions, people or topics you’d like to hear on future episodes of the show, you can reach out at MediaMavensCast@gmail.com or on Twitter @_MediaMavens. If you like the show, please give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher.

My Top 30 NES Games

Today Nintendo announced the NES Classic, a mini-replica of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, that will come with a pre-loaded library of 30 games. The 30 games selected are not surprising (for both licencing and popularity reasons) but it raises the question – what are your top 30 NES games?

I came up with a list of mine. My total NES games played probably tops out short of 50, so most of the games I’ve played will appear on this list. Inclusion doesn’t necessarily denote quality 😛

  1. The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants
  2. BreakThru
  3. Legendary Wings
  4. Hudson Hawk
  5. Maniac Mansion
  6. Dr. Mario
  7. Bubble Bobble
  8. Tengen Tetris
  9. Galaga
  10. Adventure Island
  11. Super Mario Bros. 2
  12. Duck Hunt
  13. Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers
  14. Classic Concentration
  15. Flintstones: Suprise at Dino Peak
  16. Gun.Smoke
  17. Super Mario Bros.
  18. RBI Baseball
  19. Klax
  20. Kirby’s Adventure
  21. Panic Restaurant
  22. Tetris
  23. Monopoly
  24. Mega Man 2
  25. Adventures in the Magic Kingdom
  26. The Guardian Legend
  27. Super Mario Bros. 3
  28. Star Tropics
  29. Felix the Cat
  30. Gun-Nac

It looks like there’s an overlap of 9 games between my list and what’s going to be offered on the NES Classic.

Censorship in Video Games

There’s currently a movement going on in games (no, not that one) called 1 Million Gamers Strong for Japanese Gaming. It’s a petition to a number of Japanese developers to a) release their games in the West and b) not modify their game’s content for release in the West. On the surface I don’t see anything wrong with this. Other than the name, because based on the petition it should be called something more along the lines of 7 Thousand Gamers Strong for Japanese Gaming. But otherwise, it’s cool. I personally won’t sign because I don’t care that much about any of the games that aren’t being released or think any changes are altering the fundamental nature of the games, but to each their own. Some of the changes being rallied against are: lack of release of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in North America, removal of skimpy optional costumes for a 13 year old character in Xenoblade Chronicles X, and removal of a close-up butt slap of R Mika in Street Fighter V. For more examples and a look at censorship vs. localization check out this investigative article.

R Mika Street Fighter

What I do have a problem with is who is being blamed for Japanese games being modified and how easily the word censorship is thrown around. Big surprise, the supporters of this campaign (who seem to have some overlap with that other gaming movement) are blaming the evil games media and those darn SJWs for any changes to games that come out of Japan. Will some people criticize a game for over-sexualizing female characters? Sure. Do developers have to listen to those critics? Nope. So, while I think petitioning a Japanese developer to not change things is all well and good, assigning blame to people who have no control over the games is not.


Let’s talk a little bit about the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which can influence games to modify their content. Its rating system encompasses guidance about age-appropriateness, content, and interactive elements in Canada and the US. It was created in 1994, as a response to concerns about violence in video games. Though it has no legal authority to enforce retailers sales policies, Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony all refuse to allow games rated Adults Only (AO) to be published on their platforms and most retailers won’t stock these games either. AO ratings are given to games that are found to contain high amounts of content that is violent, profane, sexual or pornographic. Because many game companies and retailers won’t publish or sell AO games, it’s in the best commercial interest for games to not be rated AO. So, sometimes the most extreme content gets removed. Examples of this include Indigo Prophecy removing full frontal female nudity to obtain an M rating in 2005, and Manhunt 2 removing some of the more graphic violence to obtain an M rating on consoles in 2007. Few games have been given an AO rating, though funnily enough there’s one that I did QA for and captured footage to submit to the ESRB on the list.

Game companies can get in trouble for misrepresenting the content of their game to get a lower rating, and in Canada the law prohibits the sale of M or AO-rated games to people under a certain age. But there’s no law that says Microsoft can’t publish or sell an AO rated game. If there was, that would be actual censorship. But as it stands, these actions are voluntary. If people have problems with these kinds of changes, that’s fine, but blame is often miscast. When the ESRB was started in 1994 no one had heard of Anita Sarkeesian and the phrase “gamers are over” had yet to embed itself in the minds of scared gaming fans everywhere.

Slippery Slope

One of the arguments that gets brought up often is that game modifications (not calling it censorship, because it’s not) are a slippery slope. If a developer feels pressured to take out a gratuitous ass close-up today (though since developers stay mostly silent on this issue we can’t even be sure that they are feeling pressured), what changes will they have to make tomorrow? Here’s the thing… games have been modified to take cultural differences into account since the beginning. Sexual content has been removed from games that come from Japan to North America. Violence has been removed from games that go from America to Japan. Drug references have been removed from games sold in Australia. Some games made in Japan just don’t get released here – Mother, Policenauts. It wasn’t due to delicate Western sensibilities, it just didn’t work out that way.

xenoblade chronicles x lynlee

Nintendo specifically has a long history of modifying games to bring onto their consoles. Deja Vu, a game which initially came out for Mac in 1985 had visual references to alcohol, drugs and blood removed from the game. Maniac Mansion, first released for DOS in 1987, removed all sexual innuendo (and as a result was a lot less funny) on the NES. Super Castlevania IV (1991) removed crucifixes and clothed a naked statue for the North American release of the game (compared to the Japanese version). Reign of Fire (2002) was cut in order to obtain a Teen ESRB rating for the Gamecube, while it was left alone and rated Mature on other consoles. Nintendo has historically been a company that sells itself as family-friendly and makes changes to games to make them both culturally and age appropriate. Small changes like removing an optional skimpy costume or changing a character’s age seems exactly like something Nintendo of America would do and consistent with their history – no SJW boogeyman necessary.

It’s not just Nintendo. Let’s take one of my favourite games – Snatcher, developed by Konami. Between its release in Japan in 1988 and its release in North America in 1994 a ton of changes were made. A female character (who you see almost naked in the Japanese version) has her age changed from 14 to 18 and appears less naked in the NA version. The naked breast of another female character was covered up. Also, a controversial in-game meal of whale meat was changed to buffalo meat. Why? Because Japan and North America are culturally different and find different things weird. There were also a ton of changes made for copyright reasons so Konami didn’t get sued.

So, we’ve got a character’s age changed and a naked breast removed in Snatcher in 1994. And now a character’s age has been changed in Bravely Default in 2014 and some bare asscheeks shifted out of frame in Street Fighter V in 2015. Hmm… 21 years, exact same types of changes to games coming from Japan to North America. This slippery slope doesn’t appear to be all that slippery. In fact, it seems more like a plain.


If people want to petition Japanese game companies to not modify their content when bringing it to North America, that’s A-okay with me. I have no problem with it (though to be honest, if you’re really that upset about not being able to put a 13 year old video game character in a bikini I may question your life choices). However, target your energy at the companies actually making the changes, don’t scapegoat the “hostile” media and the mean feminists who may be critical of the games. People will criticize games – whether it’s about sexualized characters, bad writing, or shitty game mechanics – and that’s a good thing. If we want video games to be accepted as an art form, protected from censorship, we need to accept that criticism is an important part of art. Criticism is what pushes a medium forward and asks it to be better. It’s what relates video games to the rest of the world. If gaming companies change their content or don’t want to release their games here because they can’t handle criticism or want to avoid it altogether, that’s on them.

Travels in the Mushroom World (Part 1)

After replaying Super Mario 3 for the first time in many years recently and finding out my skills had lapsed, I am determined to improve. I will beat this game, without skipping worlds, and hopefully with as few continues as possible. Here is my story.

World 1 – Starting a new game. Alone. It’s starts well. The sky is sunny, the grass is green. I travel through the world with only one death. Grass Land is no match for me.

World 2 – I make the trek through Desert Hill’s vast sandy environments without much incident. The Angry Sun cannot catch me and I’m too quick for the quicksand. I only have only one death in the cold, sunless fortress then breeze through the rest of the world. The dry heat agrees with me. Perhaps things are turning around? My skills are returning.

Super Mario 3 Boss Bass

World 3 – Hubris! The first two worlds have made me overconfident and I have paid dearly. The sea is a harsh mistress and makes her presence acutely felt. But my true enemy is Boss Bass. The extra lives I earned in the first 2 worlds quickly disappear down a fish’s gullet. I am killed no less than 6 times before I’m able to hobble across the finish line of 3-3. The rest of Sea Side treats me better and though I come close, I’m able to avoid seeing a Game Over screen. But for how long? The little confidence I had built has been shaken, and I have few extra lives left.

World 4 – In the Land of Giants everything is large and imposing, but it’s not these giant objects and enemies that pose the biggest threat. Level 4-2 brings back the trauma of 3-3. The water is rising! The fish are close! They’re smaller now, but faster. Cheep Cheeps. They leap out of the water, intent on attacking me with their cold fish lips and razor teeth. They are often successful. I futilely try to kill them with ice blocks, but even when I score a hit, they always come back. There’s a horrifying moment when I mis-time a jump and plunge into the watery depths, into their domain. I thrash about violently, struggling to get back on land. My first leap fails, as does the second. I avoid one by mere inches before I’m finally able to get back up. The level takes its toll and I go into the next with only 2 lives left. I get killed by a Sledge Brother. I fall into a bottomless pit. Game Over.

To be continued…