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Pitches for the Nintendo movies I’d like to make

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In a recent interview with Fortune, master game creator Shigeru Miyamoto hinted that Nintendo might be open to discussions about the possibility of the company getting involved in movies again. Whether that means more internal productions, like Miyamoto’s own Pikmin shorts, or god forbid another live-action adaptation of one of its iconic franchises, is anyone’s guess. Our NXpress podcast crew recently discussed the idea a bit, and their unanimous conclusion that if anything was going to get the Hollywood treatment it should be Metroid, as well as the news that FOX is developing a Mega Man movie, got my inner screenwriter thinking: what Nintendo game worlds are most ripe for the film world? And more so, what kind of movies would I personally make them? Anything could be animated, so that’s too easy; live-action only is the name of this game. Of course the company is so damn careful with their image these days, most of these incredibly amazing ideas probably would never get through the door, but here are my top five pitches for Nintendo movies I’d like to pen:

zelda-movie

 

5) The Legend of Zelda

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Link shouldn’t talk. Ever. I wouldn’t give him one peep to speak for the entire running time, and it would work. How? Easy. Just pair him up with someone more important to the actual plot and let that character talk their head off, Steve Buscemi-style. The titular princess herself should do nicely, in a melancholy, guilty-about-the-fate-of-her-people kind of way. Link is the wandering hero, a man out of place and time with no connections to the world anymore, only a vague prophecy deeming him a savior of the ages, preventing him from having a life of his own. What could he possibly have to say? Fate sucks. Instead it would be Zelda who drives the story, a woman fighting for the freedom of her oppressed Hyrulian kingdom. Escaping from the clutches of Ganon’s moblin minions, she bumps into the reluctant green-clad warrior (who just wants to be left alone) and drags him into his “destiny”, teaming up with an assortment of classic Nintendo weirdos like The Postman and Beedle along the way to form a ragtag band of misfits set to take on the evil plaguing the land. Link learns to accept his mythological role in the universe, and Zelda goes from princess to queen the moment she pierces Ganon’s swinish heart with the metaphorical Light Arrow. Naturally, Tingle makes an appearance as an Obi-Wan Kenobi figure who everyone pretends somehow is perfectly acceptable.

One Line: Willow meets Mad Max: Fury Road.

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4) F-Zero

If you’re like me and saw Speed Racer three times in a row on a flight back from Europe, then you know exactly why I’d be super excited for this franchise to make the leap to the big screen, but add to the acid-trip visuals a darker zaniness showcasing the enormous pressure and emotional peaks and valleys accompanying racing F-Zero machines powered by G-Diffusers in the 24th Century’s F-Max Grand Prix, and you’ve got a mainstream megahit. Humans and aliens mix together (in every way imaginable), as the first tournament in seven years after the death of the legendary Sterling LaVaughn in the “Horrific Finale” is about to take place. A new champion will be crowned by the wealthy industrialists who medicate the galaxy’s peons with gladiatorial racing and illegal narcotics smuggling. Bounty hunter Captain Falcon goes undercover as he competes both on the track and off the track with his arch nemesis Samurai Goroh, a criminal mastermind and former partner on the force who burned him big time. Falcon seeks to stay focused on exacting revenge from his old “friend” while slowly succumbing to the drug-fueled hardcore party lifestyle of his fellow adrenaline junkies. Spectacular crashes occur.

One Line: Speed Racer meets the chariot race in Ben Hur meets Trainspotting.

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3) Punch Out!

Little Mac has finally made it to the top. After flattening the beast that was Mike Tyson Mr. Dream, he’s bigger than the Italian Stallion and Drederick Tatum combined. But with wealth and power comes decadence, and Mac falls victim to the old axiom that mo money equals mo problems. Ignoring Doc’s sage advice to join a wholesome club, he mixes business with pleasure and winds up on the wrong side of a Mafia debt. Over-sexed and over-boozed, he fires Doc in a drunken rage, takes a dive in his title defense, and watches everything he fought for crumble away until he’s just another bum without a gym locker. No mansion, no ex-model girlfriend, no friends. Give up? Retire? No way. Hat in hand, Mac seeks out his old mentor, dons that handsome pink jogging suit, and starts training for his comeback. Refusing to compromise his integrity this time around and declining to play ball with the Mafia, Mac is faced into taking on organized crime’s best bruisers in the ring, who will stop at nothing to prevent him from exposing their fight-fixing racket. Guys whose names clearly telegraph their day jobs as hired goons, like Glass Joe, Bald Bull, Don Flamenco, and King Hippo line up one by one with blatantly illegal tricks up their sleeves, but each also with a fatal flaw that takes Mac back to where he began, where he must choose once again between the glory of the belt or the righteousness of justice.

One Line: Cinderella Man meets Goodfellas.

animal-crossing-movie

 

2) Animal Crossing

It’s a classic setup: newcomer arrives in a cheery, idyllic town only to discover that everything isn’t quite what it seems… One summer morning, a woman disembarks the ten o’clock steam train at Animal Crossing station, her entire worldly possessions fit neatly into two travel-worn suitcases, ready to start her new life of freedom from employment. Helped by a porter named Porter and not weirded out at all by the fact that he’s a humanoid monkey, the woman, who the rest of the anthropomorphic multi-species population refer to simply as The Villager, purchases an overpriced home and settles into the charming, bucolic lifestyle of randomly planting flowers, shaking trees for food, fishing for rent, and figuring out how to make decorating one room in a small hut somehow interesting. Life is good, the world is in harmony, at peace. Seasons change, however, and once the leaves begin to fall, The Villager notices that her good friend Boomer, a lazy penguin and possible pilot, has mysteriously stopped coming around and asking her to run useless errands in exchange for cheap t-shirts or wallpaper. Hey, no big deal; people come and go in Animal Crossing all the time, right?. Maybe. Or maybe one night blues guitarist K.K. Slider lets a secret slip from the shadows of Club LOL that sets The Villager down a quaint walking path to uncover the dark and twisted secrets buried beneath the rustic façade. Hint: it’s not just dinosaur bones.

One Line: The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Down a Mountain meets Twin Peaks.

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Metroid

Was there ever any doubt? This needs to play out like the majority of the games, where isolation and exploration are the overriding elements. Bounty hunter Samus Aran has crash-landed on an uninhabited planet on the far edges of a frontier system, shot down in her never-ending pursuit of the Space Pirates. Surviving with all of her powers intact (amazingly), she is marooned in the dense jungle environment, solitary outside of her Wilson, the silky-voiced onboard operating system, A.D.A.M.. Work begins on repairing her ship, but lacking the proper materials she comes to the realization that she may be stuck. Days go by, with Samus setting out into the unknown, expanding her knowledge of the environment, alert to the dangerous alien world around her, occasionally having to kill some of it. The ruins of an ancient civilization, long extinct, provide not-at-all-boring data scan points, filling her in on the tragic downfall of the native culture, and hinting at the foolish bio-engineering of a creature so deadly its propagation could threaten all existence in the universe. One night while quietly eating rations and contemplating the campfire, she hears the familiar but dreaded croaking chirp, and discovers that the life-draining metroids she had hoped were eradicated live on, subject to the experimentations at a secret research facility run by her enemies. Despite Samus’ cautious approach, A.D.A.M. curiously insists on infiltration of the base, and so duty-bound she enters, ready to face the terror of her nightmares and confront the lethal grotesqueries of the Space Pirate organization, only to deal with ultimate betrayal by her own species and the resignation that she is all alone in the universe.

One Line: It would be easy to say Alien meets Castaway, but I’m going with All is Lost meets 2001: A Space Odyssey meets 28 Days Later.

Personally, I’d rather Nintendo never get into the movie business, but if they do, I hope they don’t play it safe (please, oh please let me do Animal Crossing). So those are my pitches; what Nintendo franchises would you like to see turned into movies?

Patrick Murphy grew up in the hearty Midwest, where he spent many winter hours watching movies and playing video games while waiting for baseball season to start again. When not thinking of his next Nintendo post or writing screenplays to satisfy his film school training, he’s getting his cinema fix as the Editor of Sordid Cinema, Goomba Stomp's Film and TV section.

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‘Coffee Talk’ Review: The Best Brew in Town

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

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It’s 9:00pm. The rain just started coming down softly a few minutes ago, and the street outside is reflecting the lights above it. Neon signs shine brightly in the distance, although it’s hard to make out the words. You unlock the doors to the coffee shop and wipe down the counters in order to get them clean for the customers. The rain makes a soft sound as it hits the glass and passerby speed up their walking pace to avoid it. The bells chime as a tall, green orc walks in and sits down at your table in silence. You wonder what their story is…

I wanted to set the tone for this review because of how important atmosphere and audio/visual design is in the world of Coffee Talk. While it’s easy to boil the game down as a visual novel-type experience, it’s honestly so much more than that. A unique cast of characters, incredible user interface, and a mysterious protagonist combine to form the most enjoyable experience I’ve had this year on Switch.

Coffee Talk
Some of the subject matter can be pretty serious in nature…

Coffee Talk is beautiful because of how simple it is. The entire game takes place within a single coffee shop. As the barista, you’re tasked with making drinks for the patrons of the shop as well as making conversations with them. The twist is that earth is populated with creatures like orcs, werewolves, and succubi. The relationship between the various races is handled very well throughout the story, and some interesting parallels are made to the real world.

Making drinks is as simple as putting together a combination of three ingredients and hitting the ‘Serve’ button. If a unique drink is made, it will be added to a recipe list that can be referenced on the barista’s cell phone. This is where the awesome user interface comes in, as the phone has a series of apps that can be accessed at any moment in the game. One app houses your recipe list, another acts as a facebook for the characters in the game, one allows you to switch between songs, and the other houses a series of short stories that one of the characters in the game writes as it progresses. It’s one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and helps it stand out from other games in the genre.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Coffee Talk cycles between talking with customers and making drinks for them. In the beginning, they will ask for basic beverages that can be brewed on the fly. Later on however, they may ask for a specific type of drink that has a unique title. These drinks often have certain descriptive features that hint at other possibilities in terms of unique dialogue. If the wrong drink is made, you’ll have five chances to trash it and make a new one. If the wrong drink is made, don’t expect the customer to be pleased about it.

The gameplay really is not the focus here though; it’s the characters and their stories that take center stage. An elf with relationship issues, a writer that can’t seem to pin down her next story, and an alien whose sole goal is to mate with an earthling are just a few of the examples of the characters you’ll meet during the story. There are tons of memorable moments throughout Coffee Talk, with every character bringing something unique to the table. The barista develops an interesting relationship with many of these characters as well.

Coffee Talk
Appearances can often be deceiving in this game.

Even though serving the wrong drinks can change some of the dialogue, don’t expect any sort of options or branching paths in terms of the story. It’s not that kind of experience; the story should simply be enjoyed for what it is. I found myself glued to the screen at the end of each of the in-game days, waiting to see what would happen in the morning. The first playthrough also doesn’t answer all of the game’s questions, as the second one is filled with all kinds of surprises that I won’t spoil here.


Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who loves video games, not just visual novel fans. There are characters in the game that I’ll certainly be thinking about for a long time, especially when the setting brings out the best in them. Don’t pass this one up.

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The Magic of Nintendo: How Mario and Zelda Connect us to Our Inner Child

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Magic of Nintendo

Nintendo is special. Many excellent developers depend upon story or progression systems to entice engagement, but not Nintendo. Nintendo games captivate because of their immediate charm. There is no need for a payoff. The games, themselves, are enough: they elicit feelings, hard to find in adulthood. Through intrepid discovery, playful presentation, and unfiltered whimsy, the best of Nintendo connects gamers to their childlike selves.

The heart of any great Nintendo game is discovery and no encounter encapsulates this better than Breath of the Wild’s Eventide Island. First, finding the island requires genuine gumption. Found far from Hyrule’s shore, the island is only clearly visible from other islands, and even then, it’s only a speck in the distance. Reaching the island requires players to brave the open ocean and head towards something … that could be nothing. Then, upon arriving on the beach, a spirit takes all the player’s gear, including clothes and food. Link, literally, is left in his underwear. From there, players must make clever use of Link’s base skills in order to steal enemy weapons and make traps. The scenario creates a marvelous sense of self-sufficiency brought on by one’s own desire to discover. The player comes to the island purely of their own choosing, tackles the sea, and then overcomes obstacles without the aid of their strongest tools. The game turns players into plucky children who are discovering they can take care of themselves.

The intrepidity of Breath of the Wild and other Nintendo greats mirrors the feelings Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of many Nintendo franchises, experienced as a child. “I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” Miyamoto told the New Yorker. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation.” In sequences like Eventide Island, players don’t just understand what Miyamoto describes, they feel it: Apprehension gives way to exhilaration as the unknown becomes a place of play.

 Nintendo’s intrepid gameplay is often amplified by playful presentation with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island being the quintessential example. The game’s visuals, defined by pastel colors and simple hand-drawings, appear crayoned by a child while the celestial chimes that punctuate the jubilant soundtrack evoke shooting stars. The overall effect cannot be understated. It takes the surreal and turns it real, allowing players to interact, tangibly, with imagination.

Super Mario Odyssey Wooden Kingdom

Even if one removes the presentation and gameplay from Nintendo’s masterpieces, an unabashed creativity remains that bucks norm and convention. The arbiter is fun; reason and logic have no say. For instance, Super Mario Odyssey’s Wooded Kingdom, takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting akin to Nier Automata. Players explore the metal remnants of a civilization that has become a lush home to robotic beings. However, unlike Nier, the dark undertones of the past have no bearing on the game or those who inhabit its universe. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a fun backdrop. It’s as though a bunch of children got together, began playing with toys, and one of the kids brought along his sibling’s adult action figures. There is no attention paid to the context, only unfiltered imagination.

When they’re at their best the creators at Nintendo invite gamers to come and play, like a parent arranging a play date. Pulled along by joyful gameplay that expands in unforeseen ways, players desire to play for the sake of play. It’s a halcyon state of being: No messy thoughts or contradiction, just joy.

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Games

‘Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind’: An Utterly Shameless Cash Grab

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some other trash.

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Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

In the 15 year long history of DLC, we have seen some really shameless displays. The notorious horse armor incident of 2006 and a notable day one DLC for the ending game of a trilogy notwithstanding, few companies have had the utter audacity to offer so little content for such a high price point. Enter Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind.

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some social media nonsense for people who really hate themselves. That’s really it, that’s what you get. Honestly, Square-Enix should be utterly embarrassed by this DLC.

It’s been one year: 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, or 31556952 seconds, since the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Let that sink in as you begin the meat of Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind. Think of it as the extended version of a movie you really like… you know, the kind where they add 4 minutes to the 120 minute runtime.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind, really is that cynical. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the game literally starts with an exact cut scene from the base game, and a cut scene that happens to be available from the theater mode of the main game that you’ve already bought if you’re playing this DLC. Yes, the introduction to this new content is… content you’ve already seen.

In fact, that’s kind of the sticking point here: most of what you get for your hard-earned cash is footage you’ve already seen, and battles you’ve already fought, and story you’ve already experienced, just with slight alterations for context. Remember back in the 2000s, when we were super obsessed with prequels? This is like that, except even more egregious.

Generally I’m not so unforgiving as to call a company out for a forthright cash grab, but that’s absolutely what Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is. There’s just no other way to put it. You might find someone in the marketing department for Square-Enix who would disagree, but being a company that has faced just these sort of allegations for their last two major releases, Square-Enix either doesn’t read the news, or doesn’t care what people think of their products.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Square-Enix was roundly accused of shipping unfinished products in the case of both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III — their two most high profile releases of the last decade. I personally gave mostly positive reviews of both games for this very website but if you want ammo to suggest that this company is deliberately trading on the nostalgia and passion of its fan base in order to make financial headway, there are few examples you could draw from that are as obvious as this DLC.

Look, maybe you’re a really big Kingdom Hearts fan. Maybe you just really wanted to know what the context was for that cliffhanger ending in Kingdom Hearts III. Maybe you just don’t do much research before you buy something. Or maybe… you just really trust this company for some reason.

Hey, I’m not judging… hell, I bought this DLC for $40 same as anyone else. I oughta be honest that I’m not reviewing Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind as some holier than thou critic, talking down to you from my position of privilege. No, I’m an angry consumer in this particular case. I’m a person who spent enough to replace a flat tire on my car, or buy my family dinner, on a game that is clearly playing off of my love for a franchise, and using it to bilk me out of money in a method that is so clear, and so concise, that those involved in the entire endeavor should be totally embarrassed for their part in the creation, marketing, pricing, and distribution of this expansion.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, fans had their complaints about Kingdom Hearts III. “Where are the hardcore boss battles? Where are the Final Fantasy characters? Where are the secret areas? Where are the hidden plot developments?” Still, to address these particular complaints by hammering a few minutes or seconds here and there into already existing content is truly like spitting in the faces of the people who have built the house you’re living in.

I haven’t sat in the board rooms at Square-Enix and I haven’t been in email chains about the planning of projects at their company but what I can say is that there is something rotten in Denmark if this is what passes for a satisfying piece of content for the wildly devoted fans of a hugely popular franchise in 2020. Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is literally, truthfully, and succinctly, the worst piece of DLC I’ve ever purchased.

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