Welcome to the FlipSide, where the good and the bad in video games collide. Every week, I will recap one positive news story, one negative news story, and then explain what I think about both. Let’s begin this week with the good!
There was so much stuff this week that I was delighted to see. The Switch is about to release tomorrow! Horizon: Zero Dawn came out on Tuesday and is good as everyone has been saying it is. A sequel to Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, which is one of my favorite games this generation, was announced earlier in the week. However, I want to take the opportunity to talk about something important and it’s video game preservation.
The Video Game History Foundation officially launched on Monday. Frank Cifaldi is the founder and director of this new foundation. You may know him from his awesome work on the Mega Man Legacy Collection. Not only is this foundation trying to make video games playable but are trying to save their legacy as well. They are on the hunt to preserve original box art, marketing materials, and internal documentation of these games. With their launch, they have a Patreon page for those who want to support them in this effort to preserve this industry.
The video game industry desperately needed something like this. It’s becoming harder and harder to have access to older games in their original format. This is a huge deal to the industry. Could you imagine not having access to games like Super Mario World or The Legend of Zelda? I understand you can find these games on the Virtual Console on various Nintendo platforms, but there are games that aren’t available. Also, the Virtual Console isn’t necessarily the best emulation of these games. They are good, but not perfect and that’s what this foundation is trying to achieve.
My favorite part of this is the hunt for all other stuff like marketing materials and internal documents. Frank said this to Kotaku in an article about preservation, “What I think we’re in the most danger of losing right now is context. I think we’re in danger of losing the history around these games…” The marketing from the NES and SNES era is so bizarrely different to today’s marketing. When you see those commercials or magazine ads from that time its hard not to appreciate the effort and how the times were. I couldn’t imagine a time where I wouldn’t be able to watch the Crash Bandicoot commercials from the PlayStation era. I strongly encourage everyone to take a look at the foundation’s website for all the details of their mission.
However on the FlipSide this week…
I almost had nothing to talk about for this section going into today. Not even the cynical part of myself wanted to come out this week because I’ve been too happy playing Horizon: Zero Dawn. As I was writing the first half of the article today, Nintendo started doing me some favors. The day one update for the Switch has been released and some less than stellar things have been revealed. First, friend codes seem to be a thing on the Switch. Then after seeing that, it’s been revealed that saved data can only be saved to the console and can’t be moved to a SD card.
Why are you doing this to us Nintendo? We don’t want friend codes. Let us search by our new user names we just created. Although friend codes will be one option of a couple to get friends added, there isn’t an option to search by user name. The other ways to search are locally, users recently played with, and suggested friends. The suggested friends seems to be a friends of your friends system like you see in Miitomo. The local option does seem cool considering the hybrid nature of the console. I’m just frustrated that Nintendo can’t move past these annoying 12-digit codes.
The other reveal with the day one patch seems concerning. Why can’t we move saved data to SD cards? This seems so simple and Nintendo already does this with the 3DS. What happens if you lose your Switch or it breaks? There was a mention of cloud saves being a thing with the Nintendo online service. While that seemed like a convenient service in addition to a SD card, without the SD card option this seems like a greedy move from Nintendo. I shouldn’t have to buy an online service for backing up data in case my Switch breaks.
Decisions like these make me shake my head at Nintendo. These are annoying things to have to deal with out of the gate with the Switch. However, these seem like software decisions, which make it possible to patch these things into the console. I hope Nintendo has fixes to these two things in the road map for the Switch.
The day one patch revealed some annoying things with the Switch that we will have to initially have to deal with, but the console being so close is still exciting. I can’t stress enough how fun this week has been us for at The Free Cheese. Tomorrow has been a day long in the making and we are all looking forward to it. In the mean time, make sure you give the Video Game History Foundation site a visit and take a look at what they are up to. I will be back next week with more of the good and the bad in the world of video games.