Sunday, September 19, 2010

EPISODE 40: "Heavens to Metroid!"

update: as of 9/13/11 this video is at THIS LINK

Because YOU demanded it!!!


Remember: ALL NEW Game OverThinker episodes appear
EXCLUSIVELY on ScrewAttack.com!

192 comments:

beyrob said...

Thank you bob! Thaaaaank you jezz, some one with a good bit of information defending my points in a more well put together way than I can manage.

Drake Sigar said...

Nice one Bob. It seems like extreme archetypes are all the rage these days.

Captain Scrambles said...

You know how this game controls better than Ninja Gaiden?

It doesn't. Stop flame baiting. It drags things down. In all seriousness though, this was a great video. It actually made me rethink my bias against Other M, & for the better, at that. Nice one.

Scott Glasgow said...

Thank you Bob, Game Overthinker is my solice. I love the insight you bring on subjects like this. It helps me see past all the 'sheep' this world is filled with, and how even a lot of them think they're 'freethinkers'.
BTW, you and Extra Credits should get together to do a special. You all rock!

Matt said...

I like this video generally, however I do strongly disagree with the final comment about controls. I know you're a big stickler for simple control schemes, but really now. Ninja Gaiden uses 1 stick and 4 only buttons for standard combat. One button for centering the camera, and one button for special weapons. It's pretty damn simple, and it uses two standard attack buttons to perform combos based on skill and timing without being overly mashy or overly complex. The games also control incredibly smoothly and instead of mapping the special throw and magic to more buttons simply made it an easy to hit button combo right on the controller face.

On the other hand, flinging your Wiimote at the screen quickly to switch to missile mode works, but not particularly well. Likewise the A button is rather awkward to hit while the B button would have been much easier. Hate to break it to you, but control is one of the few hiccups in Other M. It ain't bad by any means, in fact I'd say it's great, but it ain't perfect. While I think that control scheme could be improved though, I don't think you could improve NG's control scheme other than moving the interact button off of the attack button (which they did in Sigma) without changing the actual game itself, and that would probably be bad since NG:B is easily the most fun Hack n' Slash of the past generation, and Sigma's looking to be the best of this one too.

Hey, you know what other game uses 4 primary buttons? Super Metroid, yeah. The game you conveniently didn't mention in the control scheme episode even though it gets ranked up as "Greatest of all time" pretty frequently too. Also, Viewtiful Joe uses 6, and God Hand uses 2 sticks AND 4 buttons, and I'd say their control schemes are dangerously close to flawless as well.

I'm not saying simple controls aren't good, in many, many situations they're great, but different games need different amounts of buttons to work the way they're intended, and without those buttons they'd be completely different, and most likely inferior, games.

Matthew said...

Thanks, Bob. The huge shitstorm spewed by everyone else, combined with my own misgivings about the game, convinced me not to pick it up ever. It's nice to hear someone take the opposite viewpoint and back it up pretty well too. I'll pick up this game eventually, but right now I'm sitting on a pile of so much...

Pregnant Orc said...

What I think people are mad about isn't the personality itself though most probably think so but the fact that she got more of a personality at all.
Samus up until Other M has been a really shallow character and I think a lot of players have filled out the empty spaces of her personality in a way not to different from how fans of Twilight fill out Bella. We have a few basic facts about the character but most is left to our imagination. So what I think people are actually mad about is that their own perfect woman space adventurer is replaced by someone else. "I loved MY Samus for year and now You tell me that is not how she is? Bullshit!" I think that's why people are mad but since I don't think most realize it they take out the anger on the character that we got.

Not that it matters but I thought it fitting the subject. The Word verification for this was "Obscest".

Stephen Keating said...

Watch the following:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u72AIab-Gdc

By the way, if you want to see a good three dimensional character, look at the Maiden in Black in Demon's Souls, or Chie in Persona 4. Other M is just what Team Ninja does to everything: sexualization and objectification - somewhere in-between, cutscenes and button mashing occur (and in the case of Other M, thinking real hard heals you). This game is part of the problem Bob, not a "risk" that pushes the market forward. Just because they didn't respect Samus *ever* doesn't mean that demeaning her in this way (or making her "three dimensional") makes it better.

Andrew Green said...

I bought the damn game and can't play it....
It's because Other M is a dual-layer disk, and some Wiis have trouble reading them.

I tried using a cleaner, but the game still won't work. Everything else, however, does.

For me, Other M has been nothing but a waste of time.

toosoo said...

I thought other m was cool. I like samus having a voice rather then some beeping noise and her suit is not completly infeminine it shows off her curves at least to an extent, couple that with things like putting her hands on her hips and simply the way she moves and she comes off as very femnine to me

ive never been a huge metroid fan the only one I ever really played was was zero mission and a little bit of prime and ive played her in smash brothers so im looking from the outside but ive looked at her as a woman at least since i learned she was one while playing super smmash brothers melee against my friend playing as her

plz forgive my awful spelling

Hanchen said...

Good episode, Bob! I'm rather curious that you failed to mention Metroid Fusion or the Metroid manga, as both deal partially with Samus' relationship with Adam Malkovich and provide a fair amount of characterization.

Clayton said...

Bob, you're gonna get a lot of people bitching like mad over this but I'd like to say you are not the one in the wrong. And neither are Nintendo or Team Ninja for that matter. I very much doubt Sakamoto would let his precious daughter be trampled on.

I am kind of amazed how Samus, arguably the original space marine, brought elements of human frailty, fear, insecurity, femininity, and compassion to an archetype better known for being a Gary Stu for the player to project upon. And hell, she still kicks untold amounts of ass across the whole game despite (and indeed possibly because of) those flaws and traits. Even if the narrative was flawed I liked Samus' character as she was what female protagonists SHOULD be.

As for the Ripley comparison, keep in mind that she spent the first Alien movie fleeing in terror from the Xenomorph. As well as going to save a little girl despite it endangering the mission in Aliens. And let's not forget Cameron reminding us that Ripley's own daughter died while she was in stasis.

Jeffrey said...

I actually posted something just like this on gamefaq, telling how she had no presonality and how people just filled it in. The big scene with Ridley is what a lot of people are getting pissy about, and while I can understand it, I do disagree with it. Ask anyone in the Marines, Military or medical proffession about what takes more courage and inner strengh: to be devoid of any feelings and simply rush into things, or to fight your way past fear and insecurities?

She saw her family and entire world literly be ripped apart in front of her. Movies like SAW and games like Gears Of War are nothing compared to the sheer horror she saw, and she was something like 6 years old. The Twin Tower terrorism attack still didn't compare to what she saw and experienced. Of course she's gonna be scared of the being that did that, wouldn't you?

Despite being scared s***less, she powers up her gun and fights him to the death. it's not even a matter of just shooting and killing him like in our world, she has to FIGHT HIM for several minuits. No quick end, no one-shot finish, she has to struggle and fight with this seemingly immortal demon that haunts her every strand of DNA.

And what does she do? She beats him, she beats him half to death. That takes balls so big that they would have their own gravity field. She not only beats Ridley, but she beats that crippleing fear, the memories of burining flesh and staining blood, she beat that. The merrit of a hero isn't based on how far they go or who they kill, it's on how far they go when their body and soul is broken, and she crossed the finish line.

soldierhawk said...

The thing that annoyed me about Other M wasn't so much that "she was taking orders from a man," but that she was taking orders AT ALL. A big, bad, experienced BOUNTY HUNTER won't use equipment that could protect or save her life just because some commanding officer of an army she doesn't belong to any more says so? Bullshit.

Alternately, why in the name of all that's holy would said commanding officer NOT authorize those life saving measures right away? Did he feel his people needed to get burned by lava so they know what it felt like, before he graciously allowed them to use their anti-heat measures? Also bullshit. Imho.

Dave Kraft said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Kraft said...

@Bob: Four things which entirely turn what you wrote upside down.

1) Apparently you forget that there were black and white manga detailing Samus Aran's backstory (which have been translated into English and also included Adam Malcovich) to a greater extent than Other M does. YES, HER PERSONALITY WAS ALWAYS LIKE THIS. It's nothing new.

Samus witnessed the planet-wide genocide of her entire colony at the hands of Ridley and his space pirates. She was a scared little girl. She was raised on Zebes by the Chozo into her teen years. She has alien blood coursing through her veins thanks to a blood transfusion. When Zebes blew up at the end of Super Metroid, the last of the Chozo died and she lost the closest thing she had to a family (outside of the Galactic Federation, which now considers her to be an "outsider"). To say those kinds of experiences wouldn't have some kind of profound impact on her psychology is ludicrous. She talks in that monotone fashion for a reason.....

So while YES, your points of how following the orders of a commanding officer is gender-irrelevant, you picking on Team Ninja for this is actually based on a lack of knowledge about the franchise. These choices were made well before Metroid Fusion ever went into development and the mentions of Adam tie directly into that game (which also feature a rather emotional Samus who has doubts and fears).

Speaking of Team Ninja......

2) Apparently you're unaware that Team Ninja had a bit of a change in management and staff prior to when work on Other M commenced. Your constant bashing of them is unfair when.....

3) Other Metroid games necessitated the use of more buttons (like that of an SNES, XBox or PS3 controller) for toggling certain functions in the game (swapping through beams, missiles, etc.). In Other M, the game doesn't have a function to switch through beams a la the Megaman and previous Metroid games. Instead, the beams combine as you activate them, which many people found to be be bizarre. I have to admit, having a single beam that does everything sounds interesting IN THEORY, but in the context of a Metroid game (ESPECIALLY one without an exploration component), it's weird.

I've heard many people becoming frustrated with the controls due to the minimalist NES controller/zapper approach having to compensate for many things the game has to do, which complicated things in ways that negatively affected the gameplay as well.

Finally,

4)The whole gender issue people seem to be having with Other M actually started as an internet review by someone who didn't actually play the game (working for one of the big review sites no less), which then spread like wildfire to those who know relatively little about the character in spite of a rather vast lore that has been in place for AT LEAST the past ten years or so. Same thing happened with the game of James Cameron's AVATAR. You can easily find reviews from big-shot sites (like IGN or Gamespot) in which reviewers who haven't actually played the game make statements about nonexistent control schemes. People believed it and bashed the game for it, despite the reviews having close to nothing to do with the actual game itself.

Maybe you should go look up what happened to Jeff Gerstmann and then think long and hard about why certain reviewers do this (the answer being: to not get fired and lose access to cool people/stuff) and how these reviews cause people to bitch and moan about nonexistent or non-novel issues which - seemingly out of nowhere - balloon into really big deals for no good reason. Why? Because people are stupid.

I'm sorry, Bob, this video nicely covers maybe a quarter of the situation's reality but obscures the real meat here with Nintendo retro-gaming fanboyism and a lack of research on the franchise and design studios actually involved here, on top of other issues.

And you totally had the time to cover it in this video. All you had to do was cut out the incessant repetition of the NES controller/zapper points.

curtdogg said...

Bitching about FPS games(despite the Prime games being the complete opposite of the FPS stereotype) because of their fanbase is pretty juvenile, dude. It's like hating pizza because a lot of college frat boy douchebags eat it.

Tails Corra said...

I pretty much agree with everything that you said here, that Samus really had little to no characterization in previous games before this. The two that mainly jump to mind is her interaction with the baby Metroid and her fixation on Adam Malcovich in Fusion. I just saw the events in Other M to take this ball and run with it, maybe some would say too far.

I wasn't entirely opposed to how 'progress' was portrayed. After all, if she IS working with a miltary group that she is no longer a part of, running and gunning at will is not the best way to get their co-operation (and I accepted at least how the use of Power Bombs would be counter-productive to their purpose there). That said, the Varia Suit was still a rather stupid stretch of logic and Samus should have had SOME sense to at least request it's use before even stepping INTO said area in the first place.

I think it's mostly the imfamous cut-scene that shatters most people's perception of Samus, to which I would have to agree that it seemed very nonsensical. Suprise, yes. Outright mental tramatic breakdown facing someone who'se made incredable returns no less than 4 times chronologically previous? That's a little harder to swallow.

At least Gameplay wise, I think this game hits it out of the park and removes a lot of the redundancies we've come to expect out of typical platforming games. Much like how Fusion (which didn't bother me as much as others it seems) laid the ground-work for the fantastic Zero Mission, I think Other M is going to lead to one fantasic 3D Metroid game down the road.

Juan said...

The Japanophile now says everyone who doesn't like it has Japanophobia....

I'll just leave that alone for now. I knew you where going to take the more flame-bait side.

Needless to say, you even said in your own videos, your own fear about giving Metroid over to Team Ninja, and how they could potentially screw this up. Gameplay wise, the game is great, but story line wise, it happened, they screwed it.

The problem here isn't that Samus has weaknesses, its the problem that it was written POORLY. Some blame translation errors, such how David Hayter stated Kojima really needed an editor because the scripts where far too wordy. The same thing happened here, with a less talented writer.

Bad writing, that is Other M's problem. I find it funny though that for many people, to be a "three dimensional characters", you have to be an emotional train wreck. You never read a story where the character wasn't borderline crazy? Of course you have, so why are you making this sound like the only option?

The loudest review I believe came from the G4 review, where a woman reviewer. "Tends to be the an important point here." Felt this was largely sexist. She may have been very well have been projecting her own ideas on Samus. Regardless though, she brought up many valid points. Something you didn't mention. Why?

To me, it was just bad writing, for example, the arbitrary, "need an order to use weapon of awesome" is stupid in almost any setting. It could have worked out better, for example, again, Metal Gear Solid, don't use your guns in the Nuke holding warehouse, explosions will occur. Makes sense. Don't use your anti lava suit mode.... Why? What could possibly happen if you do? It was poorly conceived. Even so, if this was just a replacement for, find all your stuff, they tried to tie it in with the story, so Samus could show "how discipline she was now". While standing in lava. It was pretty bad.

FPS genera is to blame for all of gaming problems? Are you sure your not projecting your hate of Master Chief now? "I'm not a Halo fan ether, but I'm not damning Bioshock and Half-life because of it."

Even people who didn't find it sexiest, said Samus Monologues where boring.

I find it funny that two extremely critical people are on such different ends of this. Its hard to even say who is right.
http://spoonyexperiment.com/2010/09/05/pre-pax-ramblings/

Maybe if they had set up Samus as being an emotional Train-wreck from day 1, it wouldn't have been such a hard blow, but again that was impossible seeing how it started on the NES. An interesting test you should do is, say Samus was a man in this game. If that was the case, I would have to still say that the character still comes off as weak and annoying. "While head locking Dinosaurs."

I'm suddenly reminded of jrpg characters now....

Saved the universe X amount of time, still has low self esteem issues.

Juan said...

There was also the comics, apparently those where canon, and they where very bad.

John said...

You can't really say it's all in people's heads, when even Sakamoto promoted her characterization like this:


To aid him in this challenge, Tanabe sought the advice of Metroid series creator Yoshio Sakamoto, who had very strong opinions about who main character Samus Aran, a space bounty hunter, really was, and how she might behave in certain situations. "[We asked him], what would Samus do if Space Pirates took someone as a hostage and said, while pointing a gun to their head, 'Samus, back off!' How would Samus react?" explains Tanabe of some initial design planning. "What we heard from him was that she would not say, 'Hold on!' or show any emotions. She would just bring up her gun and shoot a head shot at the Space Pirate."


http://wii.ign.com/articles/101/1016511p2.html

RestamSalucard said...

Much obliged, Moviebob.

Rothello said...

While you may find the suit authorization arbitrary, it REALLY takes you out of the game experience when certain head-banging moments of bad writing just jump and Overblast you much like how Samus does to them chameleon monsters.

She could have asked to use it, something could have happened that prevented her using it, or, like Super Metroid, we could have found it with NO explanation (AND WE WOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY WITH THAT. GAMERS DON'T NEED STORY EXPLANATIONS FOR GAMEPLAY MECHANICS).

Nearly NO one complains about Other M's gameplay, I personally loved it.

Nearly EVERYONE complains about Other M's story- the writing is HORRENDOUS. As you said, Sakamoto (the very creator of Metroid, and its story supervisor), wanted to show Samus' emotional side (which I'm fine with) but the way he did is so terrifically poor (that's what happens when you elect yourself sole story-director) it does do SOME damage to the character that I have followed for a very long time now.

Also, I think you are turning Other M's story detractors into bigger strawmen than you portrayed.
You're **underthinking** your audience, sir.

You say we learn about her character, that she has character development.
I couldn't tell, since 97% of the monologues Samus have are about things that had JUST happened, or about something someone else said. She has about two moments in the whole game where we actually learn about HER instead of just getting BORING exposition, and in a game that was hyped to be focused on Samus' character, this IS a betrayal to fans because we learn so little.

And what we DO learn is so poorly written, that we think less of the character due to it.

If Other M had been written better and written with a bit more intelligence (Sakamoto was the story-lead of Super, which perfected environmental story-telling, so he IS capable), no one would have complained. As it stands, Sakamoto wasn't the sole writer on Super; he was part of a team. Here, he was running the whole show, and lots of flaws in narrative showed up.

So no, I don't think this video did a good job.

I loved the gameplay in Other M, aside from an overly linear design- everything played tight and it was FUN. However, I was mostly rolling my eyes during the monologues and story-scenes.

Rothello said...

And tails cora is hopefully right (what I'm hoping as well).


A lot of people complained about the design choices of Fusion (which is one of the best games in the series), and we were given the technically-superior Zero Mission.

I would REALLY love an Other M Zero-Missionesque game. One that DITCHES these overbloated story elements (in favor of ENVIRONMENTAL STORYTELLING, one of Metroid's hallmarks), opens up the world (sequence-breaking is one of, if not THE most important aspect of Metroid design), and isolation (which is always preferred in a Metroid game).

Mr.Zer0 said...

Sorry Bob, but I just can't see eye to eye on you with this. Was she one-dimensional before, yes, but I just don't feel this was the right step for her. I know you hated the Prime series but we've seen how Samus and the Federation interact in Corruption; she is more than willing to work in tandem with the marines, taking a general order when they ask for her assistance, willing to assist them in order to achieve their goal... but on her own term. They don't restrict her, they give her a broad goal and then trust in her ability to get the job done. Heck, it seems hiring bounty hunters, give them a general goal and then turning them loose seems to be standard practice for the Federation if Corruption is any indication.
I know that's pretty insubstantial but at least it's something and not nothing. Make her driven, make her passionate... but what we got, I can't agree with you here, it just doesn't seem adequate enough

Adrian said...

Look, Bob, I like your stuff, but this one feels like you're missing the point. Now, I know there are loudmouthed, shallow people out there who want Samus to be a robot, but it seems like you're missing the fact that most of us, myself included, just think it went too far.

Samus has had characterizing points before, especially in Fusion. There are also small moments, like at the end of Prime, where she removes her helmet to survey the wreckage of the Chozo Temple. Maybe some people missed it, but as Samus was raised by the Chozo, I couldn't help but feel that she was thinking what a pity it was, to see the remains of a culture she grew up surrounded by, burning and destroyed, laid to waster.

It's not that Samus is being given character, or that she's becoming three dimensional. She isn't. This just took the Samus we knew, twisted her admiration of Adam Malkovich (both by exaggerating it and by making Adam seem like and asshole for not immediately authorizing Samus's suit upgrade, which did literally nothing but provide more protection, making it more difficult to believe she liked him) and threw in PTSD. It's not deep. It's just a character who you saw as one-dimensional (she wasn't) and threw in a couple of one-dimensional traits. Nothing big, except that they went way overboard with it.

I don't have a problem with Samus showing fear. Example: Corruption. Omega Ridley attacks Samus. Samus dodges, aims cannon at Ridley, stares him down for a moment, battle ensues. That moment's staredown, which could have been spent shooting Ridley, could be interpreted as some fear, especially since Omega Ridley is arguably his most powerful form in the series. And you know what? I did interpret it as fear. Which helped make Ridley intimidating, and at the same time, gave Samus a little moment where she had to overcome her fear and fight.

This really is annoying. You're defending one extreme (Other M's overemotional portrayal of Samus) against another extreme (the people who want an silent, emotionless robot), but here's the majority, sitting in the middle, wondering why you won't address us. And even Other M's Samus and the Samus from the other games aren't polar opposites (M:OM's being an extreme, series's being much closer to balanced) the contrast is still incredibly jarring. By the way, she IS portrayed as way, WAY too weak in one cutscene, where Adam shoots her in the back, ONCE, and that knocks her out (and she's still very weak and unable to reactivate her suit when she comes to)

That's an example of how they went too far. The authorization is another thing. Sure, it was a way to integrate the upgrades into the narrative, but that doesn't excuse it from not having done it well. Adam, as I said, looks like an ass for not immediately authorizing her suit upgrades, which only serve to protect.

Ultimately, it's not bad to want to give Samus more character, even though the blank slate with moments made to project emotion to any players who were in the mindset to see it that way worked well for the series, but they really, really did take it too far. There's such a thing as overemotional, and Other M proves it, mainly because Samus is a space warrior. She was trained as a space warrior. She's not a regular human. That's something one has to keep in mind: she was RAISED to be tough by the Chozo. It makes her characterization even more frustratingly extreme, and it's not okay.

They tried to make her more of a character. And the did that, I guess. But they should have tried to make her more of a GOOD character, because they failed to do that. That's the saddest part of all: the less emotive, more robotic Samus from previous games is actually a more compelling character than the emotional wreck in Other M.

Adrian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adrian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rothello said...

He probably ignored it, Adrian, since it might not have fit well with the argument he was trying to present.

BlackShadowAX said...

.....Really this is your whole video concerning other M? I have to say you've either got to be the most delusional Nintendo fanboy I've seen/heard in a long while, or despite what your "Over Thinker" name states, you greatly "Under Think" any and all criticisms concerning not only the games in question, but the fans about the game/series as well.

It's not the fact they gave Samus a character that's the problem, it's the fact her character sucks.

It's not the fact they decided to focus on story that's the problem, it's the fact this story is badly written and filled with plot holes.

And because they choose to focus on these two parts they completely changed the entire Metroid gameplay/experience because of this, there is no engaging music for the most part in Other M, The exploration was almost nonexistent, the overall environment were dull and lamely designed, & the controls tried to simply the game instead made it a clunky experience.

The only ones who would even think this game is worthy of being called "great" are Nintendo fanboys willing to swallow any of the sploog Nintendo shoot out of it's marketing dick.

I'm not saying the game is horrible, but it's nothing special and it's sales are showing it as of now. Other M will be remembered only as a brief moment and quickly sweep underneath the rug.

I also love how you constantly take shots at Prime for being in a First-Peron perspective and yet despite that, those games held more of a Metroid atmosphere than Other M does. And the fact Nintendo themselves treated the Prime series as a hardcore gamer series shows it.

Sakamoto himself, even said this game was aimed at Casuals and it shows.

The Prime games were a far bigger risk than this game ever was, not only were they bringing Metroid to the 3rd dimension, but it was in First-Person, and with an untested American team as well. And yet despite claims of Prime "ruining" the series before it's release, as soon as that game was released those critics shut up. Because it was a damn good game and considered a game that sold the Gamecube, only Super Smash Bros Melee held a higher significance than it.

Maybe you, Bob, should take your own advice from a previous video and grow the fuck up yourself. Your a very intelligent guy, but it's saddening to see your fanboyism
just constantly blinding you at every corner. Your no different then these "fratcore douchbags" you criticize.

Adam said...

Great video. I loved Other M (trying to beat hard mode now and getting my ass kicked) but it the reaction people had to Samus' characterization was fascinating. That's the risk Nintendo played with this game as out of all Nintendo's main characters, as far as the games were concerned Samus was the one we knew the least about.

The game wasn't perfect, as there were a number of kinks that need to be ironed out, but I'm interested to see where the series continues.

I doubt Nintendo will try this with their other silent characters though. I can just picture the backlash now if when the next Zelda comes out Link actually does sound like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPxY8lpYAUM

Christopher said...

Thanks for the opinion piece Bob. I can't wait to play this game, but I don't have access to a Wii now annoyingly.

Glad to see some positive talk, internet fan culture is always revolving around the negatives these days.

Craig said...

Taking Orders from Adam? I'm cool with that. It was explained in Fusion (Which is a good game, non-linearity be damned) that she had a past with him, which I believe was assumed by the wider audience to be exclusive to her days prior to going Bounty Hunter and having the ongoing theory being that his death is what caused her leaving whatever counts as the Space Army in the Metroid Universe.

PTSD from Ridley? Eh, less so.
It would make sense if it was from Mother Brain being alive and it factored into the killing of the Super Metroid, A PSTD of Motherhood if you will.

You can still hold the idea that Samus is a woman (holding onto what we know of Samus' femininity but without the Shinji Ikiri skit that we get in Other M.

I've been told by a far few people that it's not a bad game (the length issues and the awesome that is DQ 9 have made me hold back on it) but there are some narrative faux-pas that have seemed to take over the press of the game.

superswordsman85 said...

dude, you are SPOT on there, though I think you could have mentioned that Samus had a bit more characterization in Metroid Fusion on the GBA, and it's pretty much right in line with Other M. I absolutely loved this game and I am just as disappointed as you in the internet's collective response to Samus taking orders.

diabolical_mastermind said...

Bob, you say this game isn't sexist. But tell me, over the course of the game, what does Samus achieve? (spoilers ahead.)

Nothing. Samus manages to do absolutely nothing unless a man does it for her!

She doesn't kill the Metroids, a man does while she looks on helplessly crying. She doesn't stop the ship from attacking the Federation, a man does it offscreen. She doesn't even kill Mother Brain, a bunch of men come out of nowhere and do it for her!

Samus literally manages nothing without the help of a man. And you were okay with that?

Matt said...

Im with Bob on this one. Samus in my mind was Always a person whose mystery made her hard to identify with, which may have been the intent back in the NES and SNES days, but now that she's getting a real personality, I find her more interesting.

Other m however feels less like a step up in Metroid game play and more like a step down. While it's use of 2d for most of the games viewpoint is good, the ineffective Wii mote control mechanics almost feel tacked on and seem to serve only to make the game less interesting to play. But thats just my opinion. I feel the constant switching between 1st and 3rd person is a mistake in this case. I would have much prefered the game to stick purely to 2d as much as possible, or at least avoid those pace breaking 3d scenes as much as possible.

Still, Other m has a great story and gives samus some real personality. I like that part. Just wish I enjoyed the game more.

roy_42 said...

(continued from previous, which I really should've put a note like this at the end of that one, but you can probably guess what order they're in)

Post #2

*exasperated sigh*

Okay, so that was pretty much all a reflexive move on my part. I usually don't mean to get carried away, but you know how it is on the Internet; your opinion must be a college thesis or it won't even get accepted as existing, let alone being worth reading.

I enjoyed the video and what it tried to convey, but I'll be honest: I hadn't encountered any of that kind of response.

It was much less of a "Can't believe they're making her subservient!" than it was "Can't believe she's not going to turn on the Varia Suit powers just because Father Surrogate doesn't deem it to be acceptable yet."

I get the idea of working it into the narrative; and it works, to an extent. But the retarded-ness that I felt when the notice came up at the start that said "Samus has decided not to use any of her weapons until Adam authorizes it." was so immense!

Okay, sure; don't use a bomb that can vaporise human beings in an instant. That's a no-no. But don't use a passive suit option that can help you to not die? That's…a no-no? Huh?

Additionally, I never saw her as quote-unquote 'stoic'. Now, I've only played Super Metroid and the Prime games, but I still was seeing her as an emotional train wreck anyway.

I mean, throughout the course of the Prime games, she learns that Phazon has wiped out the Chozo — the race that protected and raised her — on Tallon IV, torn apart and nearly eradicated the Luminoth, caused a sentient evil replica of herself to wreak havoc among the Galactic Federation's network, turned three of her fellow bounty hunters against her and forced her to kill them herself and becomes both her life-support system and a deadly, corrupting force.

On top of that, across most of the games, she keeps re-encountering Ridley, who killed her parents and, despite her efforts, would never stay dead when she defeated him.

Up until Other M, practically everything she might have had any sort of emotional investment in was killed by either her own hand, or by Space Pirates, who don't ever go away.

Really; name for me one person who could possibly go through all of that and maintain the 'stoic', one-dimensional personality that everyone had seemed to expect of Samus as her entire character.

thenintenlord said...

If this is what Samus was always supposed to be, them why hasn't she been like this in previous games? NES Ninja Gaiden had cutscenes, Tales of Phantasia for SNES had voice acting and everything after that was post FF7, so why did Samus only start talking about emotions and her past now? Other M is a character derail due to Sakamoto's failure as a story teller and game developer, not gamers failure to understand games/Samus. The fact that you blame gamers instead of developers who made the game for this controversy shows that you have stepped into the ivory tower in which elitist gamers and game developers reside in. Ironically, the tower is already collapsing. Have fun going down with it.

roy_42 said...

Hmm…did all three of those go through properly? I had Blogger spit out errors for them being too long, so one of them might have gotten ignored when I put it back through again.

Let me know if only one/two of them came through and I can do it again.

Regards,

≈Roy42

Cynics Corner said...

Honestly, Bob, no we weren't expecting an ice queen. I don't know anyone that was expecting an ice queen.

We WERE expecting something along the lines of Ripley from Alien, but why is that bad? Ripley was an extremely well written, strong lead character that was still emotional, and was still a woman. You can make a strong, but sensitive character if you know how to, and to be quite honest, Team Ninja just couldn't pull it off. Then again, this is Team Ninja we're talking about. Going to them for characterization in a storyline is like trying to get blood from a stone.

The game has fantastic gameplay, no doubt, and the fact that they did it on a glorified NES controller was cool too, but at the same time it doesn't stop the fact that Metroid: Other M is a very poorly written story.

You're assuming that the weaknesses, reactions, and such make her have another dimension. They don't. She comes across as a doormat with breasts. During the course of the game, she has no common sense, no willingness to stand up for herself, and no real emotions aside from extreme panic. It's poor characterization. However, it's not all Team Ninja's fault.

Part of the problem was the voice actress that they had for this game. She literally had no dynamic to her voice aside from being able to convey extreme panic like she just saw a mouse on the floor. The issue is that were they to bring in a much better cast of voice actors (you can't tell me they couldn't afford people like Jennifer Hale and Crispin Freeman) it may have been salvageable.

Honestly, this game's story is just awful. I understand that this video is a reaction to the other side having an extreme reaction, but I would have appreciated seeing an episode of your show where you actually dissected both sides to see if there was any truth in the middle. You didn't. You came across as a fanboy who is staunchly defending Nintendo, because, you know, Nintendo needs defending.

Honestly, I think that I'm done watching your show. At first, your episodes of Game Overthinker were well thought out, unbiased shows that were informative and entertaining. Now, they're fanboyish drivel. I'm sorry, but you've lost the spark.

Cynics Corner said...

We WERE expecting something along the lines of Ripley from Alien, but why is that bad? Ripley was an extremely well written, strong lead character that was still emotional, and was still a woman. You can make a strong, but sensitive character if you know how to, and to be quite honest, Team Ninja just couldn't pull it off. Then again, this is Team Ninja we're talking about. Going to them for characterization in a storyline is like trying to get blood from a stone.

The game has fantastic gameplay, no doubt, and the fact that they did it on a glorified NES controller was cool too, but at the same time it doesn't stop the fact that Metroid: Other M is a very poorly written story.

You're assuming that the weaknesses, reactions, and such make her have another dimension. They don't. She comes across as a doormat with breasts. During the course of the game, she has no common sense, no willingness to stand up for herself, and no real emotions aside from extreme panic. It's poor characterization. However, it's not all Team Ninja's fault.

Part of the problem was the voice actress that they had for this game. She literally had no dynamic to her voice aside from being able to convey extreme panic like she just saw a mouse on the floor. The issue is that were they to bring in a much better cast of voice actors (you can't tell me they couldn't afford people like Jennifer Hale and Crispin Freeman) it may have been salvageable.

Honestly, this game's story is just awful. I understand that this video is a reaction to the other side having an extreme reaction, but I would have appreciated seeing an episode of your show where you actually dissected both sides to see if there was any truth in the middle. You didn't. You came across as a fanboy who is staunchly defending Nintendo, because, you know, Nintendo needs defending.

Honestly, I think that I'm done watching your show. At first, your episodes of Game Overthinker were well thought out, unbiased shows that were informative and entertaining. Now, they're fanboyish drivel. I'm sorry, but you've lost the spark.

TheWon said...

Thank You Bob doing covering this subject the only way you can.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqVo5NDVbpQ

I tried myself, and I hope you check it out

Ezenwa said...

Honestly, I'm neither here nor there on this, only b/c I just recently got into the Metroid series. I still haven't played Super Metroid. My only gripe: the controls were not as spot on as one would think. Still, a solid game nonetheless, in my view. Now, Bob, I hope you like Asbestos, b/c the flaming has begun, if not here, then on Screwattack.com

Jamazz said...

The few gripes I have about the game were mentioned: Lack of the freedom for early and mid-game exploration (It was a bit too linear IMHO), it was too short, and cut-scenes that were devoid of style (think GTA, those cut-scenes have style). However, the game made up for that with an awesome control scheme, cinematics, storyline, and, much to my enjoyment and awe, being able to use the speed-booster again. They should have stuck with the original sound for gaining power-ups and shouldn't have stole all the cool weaponry right at the end of the game. Other than that, I think everyone is missing the point about the game as a whole; the new style of the game breathed life into an aging title, and, now that Samus has more layers (like an onion, lol), I think the next game will be that much more enjoyable.

underthepale said...

I turned it off at the "straw man" segment. That was just the sound of your zipper being undone and your massive, throbbig erection for all things Japan flopping out. I really didn't want to see what kind of saving throw you were going to attempt after that nonsense.

Sometimes, I ask myself, "Why do I watch Bob's stuff?" Well, besides the obvious answer ("Because he's there."), it comes down to having a morbid fascination with your views and, ultimately, your bias, which you try to paint as a lack thereof. However, while I can classify "Escape to the Movies" as "hit or miss," where you land some shots dead on and others are wildly inaccurate, generally displaying a bias that I DO agree with (the sorry state of Hollywood and movies in general), even if I don't agree with your individual opinions, your videos as Game Overthinker really took a turn for the worse when you left YouTube.

Feel free to interpet that as "You sold out," though that's not my intention. More to say, you turned from merely expressing your fringe, biased, one-sided opinions, and seemed to begin to believe that your opinions matter for anything at all, or even speak for anyone besides yourself.

They don't. You're just some over-opinionated guy with a big ego and two web shows. Sooner or later, you're going to go back to what you once were: Some over-opinionated guy with a big ego and no web shows.

Really, GO used to be fun to watch, even if it made me groan. Nowadays, I'm not at all interested in watching if I'm going to be lectured at by someone who tries to hide his raging fanboying behind the veneer of education and intelligence.

martikhoras said...

"She could have asked to use it, something could have happened that prevented her using it, or, like Super Metroid, we could have found it with NO explanation (AND WE WOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY WITH THAT. GAMERS DON'T NEED STORY EXPLANATIONS FOR GAMEPLAY MECHANICS)."
alternatively:
SHIT, I didn't pack it, Adam route a transmission of so I can do a modulation.

No can do, that's not just an illusion, igneous material and heat are too prevalent for a full data beam. What, they have router panels. Get there and I can open a line.

(hotfoot game sequence later)

Okay will this work?

"Its already there, in a sense, but I didn't expect to run into conductive heat of this magnitude. Without the base program the suit won't auto-engage it and I'll have to dump my log and "

(character expanding cutscene the two air or explore their pasts and current issues. Samus maybe even narrates this is all a dodge to deal with the fact she HASN'T done a pure from data transfer like this before and is scared of the outcome, cut to temp graphs during this on a cutscene from fps perspective overlaying environment with the whisper of Samus's reflection panting, sweating and less than 100% model perfect but distracting herself as well as performing something of a eulogy with Adam. My gawd CHARACTER, VULNERABILITY, DANGER, DIALOGUE. Upgrade tied to narrative. Hell a simple comprehensible mistake it was a spaceship with lava in it? How'd she'd expect that she left the damned thing in the ship.)

Okay upgrade initiated.

Good, Aran

*insert fuzzy monologue hints of glee, triumph, and bit of exasperation at him saying her name but also that its taken this much. HINT is the key word here. She can even say as much but the line has to sell it.*

She goes back to "stoic" mode. we continue.

kabal610 said...

I have been trying to say the same since day one...amazing!

Adam said...

@martikhoras

Exactly. I don't think the authorization system was all that bad of an idea. In some respects I think it was actually kind of clever. They just needed to execute it in a better more logical fashion is all.

Noirin said...

What I wonder is: did no one play Metroid: Fusion? For those of you who didn't, Samus explores a ship that has had a disaster on it. She is guided by an AI commanding officer. She muses that this CO reminds her of Adam, and even names the computer Adam. She takes orders from this computer. The AI directs her to "Download points" to upgrade her armor. True, I think the execution in Fusion was better; but is the gist of it really that different?

In Metroid: Fusion, Samus mentions the dread she feels while exploring the ship and fighting a fully powered clone of her self, while she has been severely weakened by a virus. No one cared, no one commented.

Yes, I think that Samus got very annoying in Other M. She over-explained things far too often. Yes, I think the download points were better than simply activating the suit addons. Though, it is getting a little contrived as to how Samus loses her abilities with EVERY game. But really, the game play is quite good in Other M. I might suggest waiting for the price to go down, since it is a short game. But it was fun while it lasted.

I don't know if the Overthinker has played Fusion or not, but I am a little surprised that he did not mention the many similarities between these games.

Rothello said...

I'll say it again:

Gamers do not need story explanations for gameplay mechanics.


At the end of Metroid and Metroid II, we were fully armored ass-kickers.

In super Metroid, we were stripped of everything. No explanation was given.

And we didn't care. We never cared. We just wanted to do the FUN part of a game, which is FINDING equipment and BECOMING stronger.


Even Fusion did this in a good way, by making Data Rooms sealed off, and changing the locations of the Data Rooms (as some were destroyed by the X). You were still finding these places out on your own. And even if you knew WHERE to go, HOW you got there was left up for you to figure out, instead of Other M's approach of showing a linear path, from one Navi Room to the next (which is in itself disappointing).

I get the impression that you have not played Fusion, nor have you really given thought to the Primes. Which does not leave you in the best position to blather and critique how Other M handles simple contrivances, when other games in the series do it SO much BETTER, one that DOES NOT DISAPPOINT the gamer's expectations. The very fact that so many people complain about is indicative of the very poor quality of its execution. It is NOT ultimately arbitrary; it is proof of the lack of foresight of Sakamoto when trying to merge story and gameplay in a way that should NOT be merged.

Fusion showed that a linear Metroid with a prominent story COULD work. Other M, I believe, showed the ways in which a linear Metroid focused on story CAN NOT work.


And to the posters:
Team Ninja did not write the story. In fact, they could have done a better job.

They handled the gameplay, which turned out surprisingly fun and enjoyable.

Yoshio Sakamoto, the co-creator of the entire series, handled the story by himself, and we don't have evidence that he allowed or listened any criticisms with his vision. And that shows up in a LOT of Other M's writing, execution and presentation.


Again, as I said in my first post, I am fine that Samus is allowed to be emotional. But the way they handled it was poor, and the subtexts the actions allude to are unsettling and should be dropped as soon as another Metroid game is released.

Jon Ericson said...

I haven't played "Other M", so I can't really have a valid opinion on it. I also have mostly ignored the back story of the Metroid games and instead projected Ripley from the Alien series. For me the Prime trilogy, especially Echoes, stand out as the best of the bunch in part because they are so "immersive"—meaning I feel a touch of dread and adrenaline when facing particularly tough challenges. Samus is less a character than a digital puppet that represents me in the sci-fi/horror world she occupies.

So while you hit the nail on the head about Stoicism, you picked the wrong alternative. Classic Samus isn't a robot or a statue, but a puppet. The beauty of playing with puppets is that it allows us to experience and express emotions and situations that we can't normally encounter. We can't face off against terrifying Space Pirates in our everyday lives, which is why we enjoy playing video games.

So it isn't insignificant that I/Ripley/Samus can't use my/her weapons unless permitted by a commander rather than finding them. The usual method means my puppet is largely facing off against a hostile environment, which is what I want to playact by playing the game. The Other M approach as far as I can tell has Samus negotiating a nest of bureaucracy and red tape, which I get plenty of in real life thank you very much. Equally, I'm uninterested in reliving the experience of growing up or whatever it is that her back story involves. If that means the character I control cannot be well defined, so be it.

Mikolaj (Spliter) Kuta said...

I can understand why people would react strongly about the supposed change in characterization. It revealed she's has human flaws, she has human emotions so if originally Samus was an Idea, a Symbol, or even some kind of Ideal then (If I'm understanding correctly) in Other M they brought her down to our level which enraged the people really devoted to her. But hey, I've never played the game and haven't finished a single one (not even probably reached more than 1/9th of the first one unless it was less that 2 hours long), so my opinion may be mislead.

Ben said...

Hmm. You kind of missed out Fusion completely there. See in Fusion, the order thing really worked out. You had what you originally thought was a HAL-esque AI ordering you around, but it turned out to be something quite different. We got to see how Samus is actually terrified of her own power and how she was saved by a Metroid vaccine. That, for me, is the best bit of canonical Metroid information before the release of Other M.

Now, I LIKED Other M. I think it's a great game. And I have no qualms with being ordered around; as I said, I really liked the Fusion structure of missions. However, when you've had to go through three rooms full of enemies and health-draining heat damage, dying numerous times and THEN you get to activate your Varia suit, that's not annoying because of Samus' obedience and submission, which I honestly don't think exists.
It's annoying because it's cheap. The knowledge that you don't have all of your passive equipment activated when you've already got it for ANY reason is annoying.

Here's a better setup: Samus, the hyper beam at the end of Super Metroid overloaded your suit. We're working on some downloads to restore your functionality which we can send wirelessly, but it'll take time.

There you go. Much better. Adam still gets to give you stuff at appropriate times, and it doesn't seem quite so odd to say 'Go back, I don't want to activate your Grapple Beam yet.'

lisalover1 said...

I assumed that the fact that she was taking orders was meant to emphasize the fact that she is a soldier; her gender never came to mind in this context.

Smashmatt202 said...

I loved your video and I agreed with it, mostly because I was never into the MEtroid games except the side-scrollers, although this one guy on a forum I go to say her characterization in Other Me contradicts her characterization in Fusion. I'm not sure what he's talking about, since I haven't fully played Metroid Fusion (I've been meaning to get a copy for some time). Not to metnion he hates the story, it's like a "fanfic gone wrong" and says he likes this analysis better:

http://www.destructoid.com/metroid-other-m-s-story-fails-on-so-many-levels-183310.phtml

Would you mind responding this this?

hazlenaut said...

I think you jump the gun Game Overthinker on your response on those bashing the game and giving description of the character. Metroid is continuity driven and that you have to face. Information was done with subtly in the games. The Other M is a good game but the story has continuity errors in it. This is continuation with the Metroid time line, as such it must follow its successors at some extent just like movie sequels and comic books, or at least not ignore important parts that made character development.
You said there wasn’t much of it. Yes there wasn’t a lot of info but there were important parts to keep in mind. Have you forgotten Metroid Fusion? We learn that she was solder in her exposition diary. I think you might have skipped it when you were playing. I haven’t put it all the games in order yet and I haven’t put where other suppose to be in the order due to a few game being prequels. You have to do a little more work than needed to establish samus

Samus has been rescued by the Metroid baby in super metroid and the possesd suit in Metroid Fusion. It was total surprise when they came to the rescue and before we thought of asking question a self destruct timer was pulled and ran home quickly before we gave much thought what had happen. She fought Ridley several times already why is she scared at this moment? She blew him up in the first game and he came back in the next.
I can take her following orders. She was a solder in their division and she doesn’t want the Galactic Federation hunting her down. She has to restrain herself since there are people that are alive that did not came to kill you in this game. It was great idea leading fear of being alone to the fear of being betrayed or the fear of not save someone. It was a great idea but a few times it was executed poorly. The constant monologue takes out the suspense of the story.

REPTILE 0009 said...

@Bob
That's a pretty bold statement saying that fps's are the most creatively shallow genre ever. Especially when most other genres(including platformers) are just as shallow. Plus, why do you feel the need to bash fps's, other than to have people hate your guts. And other than that they have alot in common. Seriously, games in all genres have alot in common.

john said...

Interesting. While I think you're on the money, insofar as people projecting that kickass final showdown from Aliens onto the Metroid series (and not without good reason,) it's worth noting that, by that very logic, it would be silly to argue against depicting Samus with things like (goodness!) emotions.

What that argument misses, and other people here have pointed out, is that Ellen Ripley is not an emotionless hardass. She is, in fact, probably the third least hardass character in the whole damn film, after Burke and Hudson. She's an average person thrust into a very non-average situation, and gets by mostly by using her head, and resorting to violence only when there's no better option, even though she does so with a will of fucking iron when it finally comes to it. And what everybody seems to miss is that that's what makes her so damn cool.

And that's probably why it's a mistake to make the "Samus = Ripley" connection to begin with, let alone try to hold it as canon. Samus and Ripley are cool for completely different reasons, despite their both filling a neglected niche for strong female leads (admittedly, less neglected now than when these works were created, but still.) Samus is a gun-toting alien-blasting bounty hunter, and that's pretty much cool by definition. Ripley is a blue-collar freighter officer, and earns her coolness through quick wits and way more guts than your average space trucker. It's apples and oranges, and that's basically why it doesn't work to equate them.

Mark said...

Fucking FINALLY. Somebody with an adult-sized brain has addressed the absurd overreactions about Other M running rampant on the web. Thank for squashing the yardsale feminism being tossed around. Thank you for reminding everyone that for 20 years we've only seen this character jump and shoot. Thank you for pointing out the ONE important thing that everyone else seems to ignore: This game is fun.

Mark said...

bob,

Very insightful and enjoyable, as usual. I haven't had a chance to pick this up ($$) yet, but I plan to eventually. The hate its get is so very surprising. I would love to comment more, but since I haven't played it, I think it might be a bit dishonest - not to mention furthering the whole "my assumptions are king" problem.

But - and I say this with profound respect, as I have and always will be one of your big supporters - I think you are getting dangerously close to overdoing the FPS-hate. Are they all wrapped up in some of the worst facets of our community? yes. is there often little innovation? yes. Fine. But that doesn't mean the genre as a whole is creatively-bankrupt or that all fans of them are what you stereotype them to be.

I for instance, enjoy some FPSs. I also grew up with the same games you did, and enjoy tons of other genres as well.

I just think the ever increasing frequency with which you bash FPSs (Halo in particular) is beginning to look that you are profoundly insecure about them. You're trying to come off as on a high horse, but instead you may very well be perceived as whining and/or proselytizing.

You seem to advocate open-mindedness and even-handedness in the community - make sure you follow that advice on this issue.

Ezenwa said...

http://wii.ign.com/articles/112/1122068p1.html

I'm sure there are many more journalists that feel the same way as this person. Then again, can you take IGN's word for anything?

Bob said...

@diabolical_mastermind,

I think it fails the "is this sexist?" test in that it would not be at all unusual if she was a male character; but like the authorization thing I don't necessarily fault people for reading that into it.

::SPOILERS FOLLOW::

The thing is, "Other M" is essentially a "downer" narrative - Samus, for lack of a better word, gets "cock-blocked" by the Federation, by MB and by random chance the whole time.

It's such a consistent, recurring motif it HAS to be intentional - as though Sakomoto etc. are consciously attempting to tell an unhappy "Murphy's Law" story of futility and failure (with a sliver of positive in the form of personal growth) in the context of a conventional "solve level, beat boss, watch next chapter of story" action game narrative.

You get to "beat" Ridley, but you lose out on the satisfaction of finishing him off. RIGHT when you're expecting the big, cathartic "last boss fight" you're instead made to watch a largely sympathetic antagonist currently-incarnated as a young-ish woman get gunned down in cold blood by a bunch of douchebags. Story-wise, it's one big punch to the gut after another, even though you still technically "won" the game. You see that in FILM all the time - "No Country For Old Men" comes to mind - but not often to this degree in games.

Andrew said...

After searching for several keywords (Zeno, Philosopher, Stoic, Greek, Ancient, etc.) and having not seen anyone address this fact previously in these comments, please allow me state what bothers me most about your most recent videos, and this one in particular:

If you're going to use Hellenistic Philosophy as a jumping off point for a discussion of emotionally ambiguous/shallow video game protagonists, at least have an idea of what you're talking about beyond scanning a wikipedia article minutes before recording.

I can understand the device as a means to make yourself appear smart and knowledgeable and, by extension, as a method to inspire confidence in your opinions, but your petty squabble with "Stoic(ism)" really contributes absolutely nothing to your overall analysis beyond your futile annoyance over the common and debatable misuse of a single word. And, frankly, it's incredibly trivial since it's just the way language evolves. Most people misuse the word "Cynic" these days as it hardly has anything to do with Classical "Cynicism" anymore, but you wouldn't bother making a 15 minute about that, would you?

As a Classicist, I ask you please to stop making broad references to topics you don't fully understand as a mere rhetorical device. It's insulting to my study, and superficial to your presentations.

As for Samus in Other M... while I haven't played the game yet, I'm pretty sure I'd rather take no characterization (Samus prior to Other M) over poor characterization (Samus in Other M). Metroid has always been about gameplay to me, not narrative. Other M's (awful?) narrative, I'm told, gets in the way of that, and thus I'm not very optimistic.

As for your videos in general... as frustrated as I am with your tone and style in your videos and articles from as early as six months ago (this goes for for your contributions to The Escapist, too), I'm not about to stop watching and reading your stuff, despite the many ways by which your recent online personality bothers me. I just wish that you'd stop trying to be some sort of nerd celebrity/geek media polymath, and that you'd focus on being a more balanced, reasoned presenter.

spork said...

Thanks, Bob. I enjoyed that, and I agree that I've been filling in a lot of the character void myself.

For another interesting characterization of Samus, check out this web comic: http://www.viruscomix.com/page479.html

awwnuts07 said...

Loved the video, but disagree with you about Other M controlling better than Ninja Gaiden. Technically they are very different games. Giving Ninja Gaiden controls similar to Other M would be like simplifying the Street Fighter to 1 punch and 1 kick button.

GundamRX_b1 said...

Good Counter argument. I remember starting this game up and being okay with the narrative, hell, happy even to know Samus was human. The only real gripe I have with the game is, as you mentioned, the upgrade system but not in the way you explained. I would have preferred if she requested the upgrade, like an officer asking a commander if they can proceed, rather than wait for him; and the Ridley moment. Oooooh that damn Ridley moment. I would have been okay with it if it were Metroid 1, but this is after Super Metroid and she's fought him a 6 times and she picks NOW to be afraid of him? That was a bit out of place for me. Other than that, awesome game.

Aufklärungszentrale said...

Is this video available without the screwattack player. This thing never ever works on my systems.

diabolical_mastermind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
diabolical_mastermind said...

Bob.

Thank you for replying but I need to press the question again. (minor SPOILERS peppered around for anyone concerned)

"Do you think it was acceptable to have a story where the female protagonist achieves nothing without male assistance?"

You say it wouldn't have mattered if it was a male protagonist. But we can't ignore that we have a previously competent character who has saved the universe multiple times being rendered a pathetic damsel in distress. Even though when you are given control of her she becomes a whirlwind of pain in a Space-Suit, and back to a neurotic mess when the next cutscene rolls around.

Would you have been this forgiving if it had been a Halo game and you played as a female Spartan pining after Master Chief who would steal all your kills and stop you picking up certain weapons?

akkuma420 said...

lol..... this one sure backfired on you.
I guess that's what you get when you refuse to see the faults of a game for the sake of being a fanboy.
It's about time people started calling you out on your bullshit.
Told you that you couldn't get away with calling people stupid for too much longer.
I'm really enjoying watching you crash and burn.
Sad thing is, I really used to enjoy your vids, now they just come off as non-sense.
I find myself looking forward to the comments and counting the fans you lose every time you open your mouth.

WebDevHobo said...

Bob, I need to correct you on something.

Towards the end of the vid, you summarized some comics and things giving us bits and pieces of Samus's past, but you left one out. The biggest one, actually. The one noone seems to know, pushed in to the darkest corners, away from the public eye.

Made after Fusion, was a 2 volume manga, giving the entire backstory of Samus and her time with the Space Federation, up till the battle with Mother Brain in the first game.

Here ya go: http://www.mangafox.com/manga/metroid/v01/c001/

And at the time, it was stated to be cannon, far as I know.

WebDevHobo said...

@diabolical_mastermind: yes, it is acceptable. Y'know why? 2 reasons.

1) Equality. If this were 2 guys or a woman giving a guy orders, it'd be fine. Don't kid yourself, it'd be fine and you all know it. So this is fine too. No discussion.

2) It's the friggin militairy, in case you hand't noticed. Samus came to the station, because she thought she heard something. Malkovich shows up and is all like: you wanna roll with us, you do what I say.

And Samus is all like: sure.


There's nothing wrong with that, except for what Bob mentions at 12:30 -> Men and women both want to be the one in control instead of Malkovich. Men because it makes them control the hot babe, women because it makes them control the strong woman.

People don't get the chance to have your subconscious wishes fulfilled, and they rage about it, because they refuse to reason about it.

This is a woman taking orders from a man. So what, he's in the military and he's enlisting her for the time being. That's called "standard procedure". It's how an organized force works: hierarchical. If the general happens to be a man and the woman happens to be a Sergeant, the Sergeant still takes orders from the General.

Storm said...

I agree for the most part, a strong heroine doesn't need to be cold or emotionless or be whitout friends to basiclly be a good character.

I have played the metroid games and I wasn't at all suprised when she met some of her associates or friends or whatever they were in the last Metroid 3. Other M isn't a bad game, actually the gameplay is really fun, however my problem with the story isn't that she doesn't have the personality that I always assumed she had but it is rather that I don't like the personality that it seems she has been reveled to have now, Kinda how I dislike pretty much every character in the Final fantasy series mostly for being a bunch of emos. And I admit that I can't let go of that in the old games she blasted ridley away whitout any trouble just like that but that she now in the sequel has to sort out her personal problems before actually fighting him.

The very controversial part about the varia suit, yes she didn't have the permission but That also possibly implies that Samus is a character that rather puts her orders above her own survival, which is another character trait I hate.

So conclusion I don't hate the game and I don't like Samus new Personality beacuse she didn't turn out as I thought, It's just that she turned out to have a very boring and depressing personality and that's what I dislike.


Please think things through before these episodes and please don't assume that everybody else are idiots because you seem to imply that pretty often as assuming that you are the only intelligent being left in the world.

Oh and FPS:s aren't bad It's just that developers doesn't like to take risks, and I'm not a xbox live douchebag console fanboy
I play pretty much everything but sports and racing games with games like Disgaea and kirby as my favorites.

Think Things through before talking, Looking forward too your next video.

Gustav said...

No no no. That's not really what the issue is about here is. The thing is that the they gave her a damn predictable "fragile girl with issues under the suite" character.

It's the equivalence to removing master chiefs helmet and revealing Duke Nukem/Dudebro with a shaved head LIKE EVERY OTHER CHARACTER IN EVERY OTHER GAME.

But hey, I'm not expecting bloody top shelf literature here. Just something other than blatant generalisation. Yeah I'm aware of the manga back story. It's crap as well.

Bob said...

@diabolical,

::SPOILERS::

The key thing is, it's never lack-of-ABILITY that keeps her from accomplishing things in this - hell, in one case she's denied because she's TOO powerful to be "wasted." Her weapons are clearly capable of taking Ridley apart, and MB goes down to conventional arms. It's a story thing.

Jay said...

I've never visited this website until now, so the M:OM video is the first thing I've seen here.

You've clearly taken the argument to an extreme to paint a scenario in which you think people have gone crazy over introducing ANY form of characterization in Samus.

You begin by saying that Bioshock was a huge risk. And then you call the Prime series a first-person shooter that is largely responsible for today's problems in games????? That was a pretty ridiculous minute of video to watch.

Samus does have certain "tentpole" characteristics that have been established throughout the games. So that is not 100% Projection as you claim (though we DO project some during the earlier games, as well as the obvious Alien/Aliens references). What she DOES in the actual games also count towards establishing her personality. You cannot sit there and tell us that it doesn't count.

It doesn't count that she travels to desolated worlds by herself? And answers distress signals (a pro bono Bounty Hunter)? And fights gigantic scary monsters? And makes daring escapes from exploding planets?

The ending of Prime 2, the whateverthehelltheyrecalled thank Samus as she walks into a white light, and at the very end she throws up her hand and a gives a half-wave (not even a half-wave) as it fades to white. The equivalent of Master Chief's "wake me when you need me."

The vibe I get from the video is: If so many gamers on forums think a certain way......then they must be wrong. And 9 out of 10 times, I'm enough of a know-it-all jerk to agree. But not this time. The flaws in this game stem from conception, which was then compounded somewhat in its execution, because Japanese developers are typically horrible storytellers influenced by their anime over there.

REPTILE 0009 said...

@diabolical,
In Halo Reach I do in fact, play as a female spartan. Not because I have some sick fetish, but out of respect for women. I felt that since the last 5 Halo games all had male protagonists, I felt that the last Halo game deserved a female protagonist. And my character is actually a non-sexualized bad-ass, much like Samus.

Bob said...

@Jay,

I've never really bought into the whole notion that Japanese developers are singularly terrible storytellers.

I can't name ONE game where the in-game narrative (as opposed to the backstory or mythology) "works" outside the context of "it's a game, so..." without need MAJOR revision and compression; Japanese-made OR Western-made.

The "split," as I see it, tends to be that Japanese games tell bad stories in an earnest, overly-melodramatic way while Western games tell equally-bad stories in a swaggering, preeningly-hypermasculine way ;)

kaptainkirk28 said...

Another great video, as always. While I usually agree with most of the points that the Game Overthinker makes, I have to respectfully disagree with some of his points on this one...

For some reason, I simply can't get over the authorization system in this game. From a narrative stand point, I can sort of understand limiting the use of certain weapons within the mission, sort of like the police or military limiting the use of deadly force during operations.

But what I don't get is why the use of the rest of your equipment restricted. It makes sense from a game play stand point, since if you could already access the entire map from the get go, it wouldn't really feel like a Metroid game. At the same time, whenever I see an obstacle where I need a gadget I don't have yet (i.e. the grapple beam, speed booster or the Varia Suit), I can't help but think, "I already have these items, according to the narrative. Why can't I use them?".

I know shouldn't let it bother me as much as it does, but it sort of puts a damper on the exploration aspect in my opinion. Especially when you target something and it shows you exactly what you need to get past it...but you can't use it yet...

I'm also not a big fan of the writing/voice acting in the game, but I guess that's a matter of opinion. I suppose that these are rather nit picky issues I have with the game, but I think it does take away from the experience in the end. Overall, I'd say Other M is an okay game, but I wouldn't say it's "damn near great" imho.

Jeff said...

Good on ya, Bob. Just like Mark said, I'm glad somebody that's actually able to analyze the words being thrown around has a take on the game instead of just angry frothing.

Unfortunately I think everybody sees where the real sexism is now, and it's not from Nintendo or Sakamoto or Team Ninja or whoever. It's from us.

Notice how were arguing all this emotional crap about a female character, yet if she were a male character we wouldn't even be having this discussing, because we already have had male characters act just this way. There's the sexism, the control of what women can BE in games.

And it doesn't matter if you thought of Ripley from Alien when you played as Samus, because people who watched Ripley probably through of Gloria Steinhem , and probably had just as much of a conniption when she started spewing idiotic manly one-liners and shit.

It's all been done, unfortunately. And equally so, the message we're sending to game developers is "Do not develop females characters further. They are to be sexy eye candy or ice queens only. Only men can be emotional in video games."

Clayton said...

actually in regards to the downer ending and Samus' characterization this also brings up ANOTHER ugly habit of the games industry: the refusal to let a protagonist fail or show negative emotions and insecurities. It always seems that developers find some way to sidestep the protagonist legitimately failing in some context or showing negative emotions such as fear, sadness, or trauma.

It's almost become an unspoken rule for developers to make it so we never have to see more troubling emotional issues and whenever a game DOES do that it seems that we backpedal as fast as we can into a comfort zone just so we don't have to deal with the personal issues of a character. This goes manifold for Samus due to her iconic status since we've held her to an impossible standard and when it came time for her to get down and dirty about her flaws we chickened out and refused to accept it. This is the creative equivalent of backing out of a relationship the second it got serious so you don't have to risk heartbreak and probably having to learn some things you don't want to hear from the person.

skello said...

I think the issue a lot of people have with Samus's characterization isn't necessarily sexism, but rather that it just doesn't make much sense (I am of the opinion that if Samus were male, this shift in character would still seem ridiculous). After seeing her fight her through numerous hostile planets and pirate bases, all the while keeping her cool, it's incredibly jarring to see her portrayed as apprehensive, vulnerable, and panicky in Other M.

Sure, she is a silent protagonist, and consequently the player will project to an extent, but I find that Team Ninja went way, way too far in the other direction. The writing was just bad, and the voice acting did the game no favours.

At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I think the reason so many people (myself included) are angry about the game's narrative is because this is an industry where an competent, independent female characters are very much so the exception. To have a character like Samus, one of the most well known female game protagonists, unexpectedly be turned into a damsel-like character feels like a slap in the face.

imsmart said...

I feel that fans of the franchise are unable to articulate their great dissatisfaction with the unnecessarily large and pointless shift of the franchise, so they lash out at particulars. Although I think it's pretty interesting that you immediately jumped to making idle insinuations about their sexual or developmental issues.

Kevin said...

Man, those levels look pretty brown and steel, seems like you'd hate this game... oh wait Nintendo made it...

xathirdwayx said...

ITT: People don't realize that Bob makes his videos deliberately contentious so as to drum up more conversation, which equals more website hits.

Ryan Keys said...

I think the backlash surrounding Metroid Other M is very indicative of the general concensous on Feminism, that you can't be feminist and be feminin, one trumps the other.

And for alot of the more extreame feminists I'm sure that's how they perceive it as well, but surely the whole point of feminism is just what they fought for, with Sufferage and the like, to be treated as people, the same as any man. It's about your attitude towards a woman not about the woman's identity and the fact that they seem to portray Samus in Other M, as a woman, who might be a total bad-ass, but is still an actual person, with thoughts, feelings, dreams and concerns, makes her an even stronger feminist icon than she was previously.

I'm actually getting a Wii, finally, later today. Other M is deffanetly one of the first games I'll be picking up for it.

Ian said...

Hey, Bob, usually I'd give my own thoughts on the subject at hand, but there's a bigger problem that I think you should address.

I know you're not one for following up episodes unless it has multiple parts or relates greatly to the previous subject, but I was browsing forums and I believe this is a matter you MUST consider responding to.

The user Pregnant Orc above said people are upset because we treated Samus like Bella from Twilight, saying she was a blank slate that we found ourselves projecting onto (like your video stated). But now there are people saying that Samus has BECOME Bella, and that you're a hypocrite for liking Other M but bashing Twilight.

It's not even from a few users; it's practically becoming the new argument on why Samus sucks now.

I don't mind if it's an Overthinker Supplemental, a quick blog post, or whatever, but I believe a response is mandatory.

Kieran said...

Seems that I need to revise my former comment a little bit. Good to know that there are people out there with enough maturity to realize a first-step when they see one.

Kudos on those people. Thank you.

Lindsay said...

thanks for the insight, Bob, but frankly other m (move that m to the front and you get Mother... that was probably intentional) is just a bad game that dropped the ball. I'd go into details by Yahtzee puts it better then I can.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/2015-Metroid-Other-M

everything he says is spot on and most of what you said was fanboyish apologetics.

Ultimalice said...

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/2015-Metroid-Other-M to see how much delusional you are.

Jon Ericson said...

@Bob

I can't name ONE game where the in-game narrative (as opposed to the backstory or mythology) "works" outside the context of "it's a game, so..." without need MAJOR revision and compression; Japanese-made OR Western-made.

Maybe you're playing the wrong games. Portal's narrative (and the game had no back story or mythology) works perfectly in or out of gameplay context. Earthbound/Mother works pretty well too and would probably make a halfway decent anime series. Knights of the Old Republic was built around stories that fit into the universe created for the Star Wars movies. Certain stories are more difficult to tell in a game form, but there are plenty of examples of games that do tell stories well.

Actually, the Prime series did a pretty good job of telling a story without interrupting gameplay. What's fascinating to me about narrative in games is that the audience generally has power over the direction the action takes while the developers control the overall tone and arc of the story. It's as if someone in the audience made suggestions to Homer about what tactic Odysseus ought to use on each monster he faces. (Actually, that could be a pretty fun game..)

diabolical_mastermind said...

@Bob

Okay, so you're okay with Samus being a useless damsel in distress who needs men to help her out at every junction. But you can't say it's part of the story.

The amount the character achieves should be directly proportional to how much the player achieves. If the player beats the level, they get to see the next one. In this game you beat the level and Samus flops down and cries until one of the Master-Chief ripoff Space Marines comes along and takes her to the next level.

It's inconsistent with every previous game where regardless of what she thought, she at least got the job done. It's insulting to the player who frequently knows they'd do a better job than her, breaking the immersion that they ARE her. And it manages to be more insulting to women than any hypersexualised portrayal in any other game, They at least manage to beat their enemies, in bikinis instead of power armour.

Regularjoe said...

This flame war is beautiful, just beautiful. Still burning steady three days in only fueled by your infrequent prickling, it is truly a sight to behold.

Disgust leads to anger;
anger leads to controversy;
controversy leads to attention;
attention leads to power.

Come on Bob! Embrace this power! Abandon your Nintendo cause!
By extolling the gameplay of FFxiii and praising the art of Kane and Lynch, your internet notoriety will be unmatched!

Smashmatt202 said...

Has anyone seen Yahtzee's review of Metroid: Other M? He basically refutes everything MovieBob said here including his denial of any "You need a man" messages in the game.

Mavrickindigo said...

Before I say anything I want to say I have yet to play the game, so I am expressing the opinions of most of the people I have heard from (professional reviewers, fans, etc)

1.) I hear the controls are nowhere near perfect. Most people complain about them and call them clunky. What about the controls work? the part where you have to stand still and change the camera mode to fire missiles while bosses are actively attacking you?

2.) I like how you say that Super Metroid seems to hint that "all women are slaves to their biology and must be a mommy" or whatever, when I've heard talk that Samus never shuts up about "the baby" or the fact that the game is "Other M" (Mother or MOM) or that you're on a ship called the "Bottle" ship that emits a distress signal that is compared (by samus) to "a baby crying" It seems that Other M seems to be pandering to the "all women are mothers" thing you use as a rebuttal.

Also, you didn't address Ridley enough. This is the fifth time she encountered him. Why didn't she break down and cry the other 4 times? Why hasn't she already overcome her fear of him?

3.) The narrative switch of how you get items works gameplay-wise, but not story-wise. Why would anyone wait to use their fireproof suit when walking into a volcano? You'd think most people would be like "yo adam, this place is dangerous, I got a suit that will protect me, ok for me to put on my protective armor yet?"

I don't know, Game Overthinker, you're thoughts are so against the grain this time, and from what I've seen and heard of the game, I have a feeling you're wrong.

pbastien said...

You do realize that prime 3 and trilogy repackage on the wii were the only time metroid can legitimately be called a shooter.

The rest were just adventure games from the first person perspective. Hell they didn't even control like and fps.

nina-wynd said...

Look, just because you repeat what was said at the beginning of these arguments, AFTER someone has actually refuted them, does not make you correct, nor does getting in the last word. That's just a Circular Argument. Like diabolical_maniac- all you're throwing out there is presumption, and constant HALO REFERENCES. No MC ripoff was showing Samus to the next stage. There is no inconsistency, as there is nothing to be inconsistent against- LACK of character does not mean a QUIET and 'stoic' character. They never cared about character before, in some interviews even stated she had none so people COULD project their own. it was the copout for those days.

but I imagine any discussion with you is like talking to a brick- since all you're doing is repeating yourself and REFUSING- not even just disagreeing with- to accept that another standpoint is entirely possible.

And Yahtzee is the culmination of this. All he did was repeat what people on the internet have been saying, the very same people Bob has refuted. Ben has been preEPMTIVELY refuted. you can't just say, "Oh, I agree with Ben, thus Bob's points are wrong" and not even give a reason. It doesn't work that way.

But I guess this is the internet.

MacerickIndigo at least tries, so to him I'd like to try and touch on some point (in the end, I suggest renting the game and trying it for yourself though)

First, item narrative- you're right, it doesn't make sense, but only because of the Varia suit. Everything else happens as you need it (except maybe the grapple beam, you could argue that both ways).

Ridley... actually, sixth time. Twice in Prime 3. But there's two ways to take this- one... she's not freaking out that it's Ridley, so much as it's Ridley ALIVE (she even says, 'It can't be') in all previous games you just FIGHT him. You don't kill him with such finality- I mean, last game we exploded a planet on his head. I'd be pretty shocked two. That's the version I prefer. The other? The Prime games might not be cannon anymore- there's inconsistencies with them and the series already. So it may only be the third time- and thus only one time she's killed him (you didn't kill him in the first game).

Controls? That's an issue of the Wii. People who hate Wii controls so a trend for hating Other M. People who enjoy the Wii novelties? Enjoy Other M. That, you REALLY have to try for yourself.

TheWon said...

I love how when someone tries to defend any part of the game. The Fanboys come out in full force. What I like the most is people saying the problem is her character. Meaning the one they gave her being nothing like the one they wanted. Well you can't have it both ways. If Nintendo would have made here a Lesbian in this game. There would been a issue with that. No matter how well the story was written. You can't tell people Santa Claus is real when they are not ready to hear it.

Shaughn said...

Anyone seeing the irony of strawman argument rant? Generalizing everyone dislikes the game. Just because I think that the game was poorly written, it doesn't mean that I wanted some kind of cut off your balls ice queen. Actually, it's exactly the opposite. It seems odd that you accuse others of only giving two options for characterization, when you yourself have done the same.

As for Samus's personality, you seem to have neglected the Prime games. Hopefully your bias of the FPS genre isn't to blame. Which itself is problematic as the Prime games, are as much an FPS, as Zelda is a hack & slash game. And even for the sake of argument, if Prime is an FPS, it seems pretty narrow minded to judge the game based on actions of others. Valve would likely concur.

Furthermore, the Prime series certainly took greater risks in its transfer to 3d than Other M, which opted to mainly mimic the original Metroid formula. That's not a bad thing, but it seems to be jumping the gun a little, practically calling this the second coming, while ignoring all of the criticism Retro received leading up to Prime's release. In hindsight, the Prime games are adored for the creativity, but leading up to their release, fans were practically livid.

You're comparison to Ripley is also a little misguided, primarily as Samus doesn't come anywhere near to Ripley's quality. Ripley is a strong, but seemingly normal woman, who, when put into strenuous circumstances, steps up to the plate. She has her own insecurities, and fears, but she stands up to them for the sake of herself, and those she cares about. Overall, she feels like a real person Samus in Other M is hardly as 3 dimensional. She shows little to no emotion, granted that is somewhat up to the voice actress. But overall, she just feels hallow and robotic, the same thing you accused some fans of wanting. That has a lot to do with the writing, which is pretty bad, even by average game standards.

Jon Ericson said...

@Shaughn:


Anyone seeing the irony of strawman argument rant?


Not when I first watched the rant. But that's because I thought "strawman" was supposed the be the rational argument that Other M detractors were meant to be knocking down. But on listening a second time, it's Bob who is knocking down the strawman. The strawman fallacy occurs when someone a) sets up an over-generalized, over-weak argument against their position, b) asserts that it is the sum total of all arguments against their position, and c) knocks it down. Bob ups the ante here by tying one strawman: Samus' character has been lessened by feminizing her, with an even more outrageous one: that Japanese people only appreciate submissive representations of women. The beauty of his "argument" is that he can completely avoid talking about the first issue by mocking the second (and totally unrelated) issue. Logic!

Leon said...

@nina-wynd

Claiming Samus "had no characterization" doesn't make sense when Zero Mission and Fusion exist.

You admit the way items were tied to the narrative makes no sense, but don't mention that it was completely unnecessary. Why bother with her old CO when Samus has been operating independently for a significant length of time?

Samus' reaction to seeing Ridley makes no sense at all. Why would she be surprised to see him return to life when he'd already done so in Super Metroid after being shot until he exploded? What possible reason would Samus have to believe that Ridley can survive exploding?

I generally enjoy Wii controls, but I couldn't stand Other M's. The game couldn't seem to register a difference between wanting to go first person and wanting to concentrate. Also regarding controls, why aren't you allowed to blind-fire missiles? Why force me to lock-on when you can only fire missiles in first person mode anyway?

Pierre Chanliau said...

Bob, I just noticed at the end of your "Resident Evil: Movie" review that you state that "Metroid: Other M" was better than the Prime Series.

I just have a simple question.

Why do you think so? Just asking.

Mr. I said...

Well there's already over 100 comments and I doubt my voice can be heard at this point, but no harm in trying, eh?

While I definitely agree with your assertion that turning Samus Aran into a three-dimensional character with insecurities and the like is most DEFINITELY a good thing, from a narrative standpoint, it's... well, incredibly jarring. Though the gameplay of Other M (which I just dislike because while everything definitely WORKS, it doesn't seem to have the same flow or natural control that, say, Super Metroid does. Same when comparing Super Mario World to New Super Mario Bros. Wii - one just FEELS like the better game, and I'm trying REALLY hard to not let nostalgia cloud my head, considering I got into Super Metroid in 2009 and said "this is pretty good let's play Symphony of the Night instead" ) is a very aggressive go-getter type of game where Samus is this great, incredibly skilled heroine, it... well when compared to the cutscenes... um, yeah. There's just a lot of dissonance between 'shoot everything in this room' Samus and 'spend five minutes flashing back to an earlier point in time to reaffirm securities' Samus. I know that's a little extreme and makes me look like strawman, but hang on.

In the past Samus has always shown a lot of revealing outfits for 100% completion, Zero Mission being the, erm, most rewarding in this sense. Now with the little characterization in the Metroid series (the best thing that contradicts Samus's current personality is a log from a female Federation Trooper in Prime 2 that says "Samus wouldn't let these MEN walk all over her" ), I personally didn't see her as an ice queen who wanted to be a real boy - that wasn't exactly a CHARACTER more than an interpretation of a chick in a suit, but it was something. The issue I draw with Samus Aran in Other M is how far on the spectrum we fall into her.

Constantly Samus just keeps going on and on about how she's insecure and how Adam gave her confidence in small ways and how she appreciated that. When pulled off well, this can really be something - I really like "Dexter" and I think his inner monologuing adds to his character. Samus... does not. Samus is written very, very poorly in my opinion and continues to repeat the same things and message again and again. And AGAIN, this can STILL be good - Metal Gear Solid does this all the time and has to deal with the cutscenes being longer than the average MSX Metal Gear playthrough - but Other M just constantly hammers the point in to the point where it isn't funny. Samus isn't becoming a fully fledged character - she's becoming obsessive. This LOOKS and FEELS like a character with serious issues who is broken, and everyone's just treating it like "oh it's her personality okay any objections lady?" And this is the woman who's exterminated the Metroids, had a child stolen, got it back, saw it die, and had time to rest and reflect on it.

I'd like to point to RPG's which characterize... well, human beings to have notable faults. I'd especially like to point to Persona 4, which takes the risk of having a character struggling with their sexuality, having a character who wants a sex change operation, having them look at their issues, deny them, reflect on them, and grow stronger from them. Faults in character are steps to be overcome that help paint a character's personality, not their entire world - Samus FEELS like a character who revolves around her relationship with the infant Metroid and Adam, rather than a fully fleshed out character with likes, dislikes, etc.

I like you Bob, and imma let you finish, but Other M was the worst Metroid game OF ALL TIME. Well except maybe Echoes. The Boost Guardian can go to Hell but that's another rant.

Darren Esh said...

ok... I may get flak for this. However, I do have to speak up. Its not the fact that they gave her a personality that bothers me in other M. Its not the dimensional graphing that bothers me. What bothers me is that they over do it in my opinion. It feels almost too much at times. its not I don't mind her characteristic being more explained. I don't, I like this whole thing with Adam it makes her feel more human. However it feels like its too much.

Though you can blame this on not the game itself but the series, they been trying to give her more personality from time to time. however we are shoved into a personality so suddenly that we are confused and annoyed.

Like I said, I don't disagree with your opinion, I agree that its good to have it. However, it feels too much too soon. If they eased into it it would be better. Also, It would be nice if she didn't talk every five minutes.

But the powers approval, I still find it stupid. Your going into a hostal situation where people have died and die because Samus doesn't have that power. I just find it stupid that this guy would say "don't hold back on the monsters that just ate my entire team."

Zanfib said...

I won't be buying Other M because I don't like the first person shooter elements.

Anton said...

Thanks for the video Bob, but there is one little point you made that bothers me. Your belief that Westerners have skewered perceptions of the status of women in Japan is an uncompelling one.

There are inherent structural problems within Japanese society with regards to gender equality. Just based on purely quantitative evidence we see that Japan was ranked 54th out of 93 countries in 2007 on the United Nations ‘Gender Empowerment Measure’ while the United States was ranked 15th. Women make up a fraction of numerous higher education professions in the Japanese labour force, and of the 20 million Japanese people estimated to be living in poverty, over 50% of them are single mothers, and the government has been very reluctant to address this problem.

You defer it on the grounds of racism and puerile sources such as 4chan. But if we take the view that culture is a reflection of societal values and tolerances, or even more troubling in this case, inherently embedded into society, then Japanese media as a whole (maybe not 'The Other M' per se) has a lot to answer for.

Dorkmaster Flek said...

I have to say Bob, I usually agree with you, but this time I really, really don't. First of all, Samus hasn't actually been "silent" as a protagonist since 1994. It was text, but it was very clearly her narrating the intro sequence to Super Metroid. I admit you do have a small point about projecting some (not all) personality traits on a character that never really had them before, however you also missed the point entirely as well. We're not opposed to making Samus a complex and interesting character; we're opposed to making her a bad character, which is what they did in this game.

Having her follow Adam's orders is not really an issue, if you follow the establishment of their relationship in Metroid Fusion, as well as the manga (which admittedly, I haven't actually read). However, in Metroid Fusion she makes it explicitly clear that she doesn't like following orders. The only reason she did so with Adam was because she respected him, and he respected her. Fair enough, but Adam's orders in this game are just idiotic.

I know lots of people have already mentioned the upgrade system, but it bears repeating. It is not the same as simply finding upgrades around the game. You claim it is, but it's not. Finding the upgrades is convenient, even overly so, however it still makes enough sense that we're willing to overlook the convenience because of the gameplay requirements. The problem with having the upgrades already and simply not using them is not that she's following orders and we don't want her to; it's that it's just plain idiotic. They did at least try to give a justification for the power bombs (vaporizing humans, damage to the station, etc.) but no justification was ever given for the other weapons.

And the armour? Do I even need to mention this? At one point, you run through the fire area taking damage as you go simply because Adam hasn't authorized you to engage your heat resistant suit yet. Are you fucking kidding me? First of all, if Adam isn't authorizing armour that would protect you, he's just an ass. Second of all, if Samus is following this moronic order to the point of endangering her personal safety, then her relationship with Adam has shot straight into the stratosphere of obsession. That's not respect; that's stupidity. You tried to throw the people who disagree with you on this a bone by stating that they should have anticipated the reaction of the fans and done it differently for their sake. Uh, no. They should have done it differently because this way doesn't make any fucking sense, regardless of whether you're a fan or not.

As for the sexist overtones and claims of Japanophobia, just stop right there. I don't care what nationality they are. Team Ninja's previous recent games (i.e. the current Ninja Gaiden series) also have female characters that appear strong at first glance because they're kicking monster ass, but ultimately get beat down and need the male lead to save them. And need I even mention Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball? It's pretty clear how they view female characters in games. Now this isn't a problem unique to Japanese developers; it's present throughout the industry. But we shouldn't ignore it simply because they're from another country. That doesn't make them immune from our criticism, and calling us racist when we point this out makes you look stupid, not us.

Dorkmaster Flek said...

Part 2 continued from above:

The simple fact is that there are strong sexist overtones in this game. Samus has been slowly becoming a weaker character ever since Fusion, but it is a lot more obvious in this game. The most blatant example is the Ridley scene. Again, it's been talked about to death, but it bears repeating. Post traumatic stress disorder would be a reasonable response to facing the monster that slaughtered your family when you were six for most people, but Samus has already faced Ridley four times previously in the series timeline and defeated him without flinching. Apparently this is officially mentioned in the manga and not something Team Ninja made up, but that just means the manga is full of shit too. PTSD my ass. If she had any, she's over it now. Not to mention the extra fact that she doesn't actually kill Ridley this time; he gets finished off by the metroid queen later on.

And don't give me any excuses about how they couldn't show her response before because of primitive technology. That's bullshit, and you know it. The GBA was more than powerful enough to show something to this effect in Metroid Fusion, but they didn't. The Prime trilogy was on the GameCube for Christ's sake, and she fought him twice in that series. The Wii has basically the same graphical capabilities as that machine. Hell, I would argue that even the SNES was capable of showing something in this regard in Super Metroid. There was nothing. The PTSD explanation doesn't hold water.

Then there's how the scene actually plays out. She completely freezes up in fear and needs to be rescued by Anthony (a man, of course), who loses his life in the process, giving her another thing to whine and feel terrible about. And check out the plasma cannon he shoots Ridley with. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I don't think so. It's basically a giant crotch mounted laser cannon. I know you've talked about guns and swords as phallic extensions in your Bayonetta video, but that is a phallic symbol if I've ever seen one.

The unfreezable metroids are a major plot point, but you don't actually get to go into sector zero at all. No, instead Adam marches heroically to his death while Samus sits there and cries. And right before this scene? Samus is attacked by surprise and completely overwhelmed by a single, solitary, normal metroid, not even the unfreezable mutant kind, and Adam has to save her. Bull fucking shit. This is even worse than the Ridley scene, in a way. She's destroyed hundreds of these things in the past, and there's no PTSD excuse here. If you get attacked by one, you go into morph ball mode and lay a bomb to get them off you. But this time, she's completely weakened and drained of her power suit for no reason at all. Unless, of course, you count making her suit fall off yet again so we can see her boobies...

Dorkmaster Flek said...

Last part!

Then when she finally confronts MB at the end, she doesn't do a damn thing in the entire sequence. No, instead the big strong manly space marines rush in to save the day. They freeze MB initially, Madaline freezes her again when she thaws unexpectedly, and the marines blow her to pieces while Samus just stands there like a dumbass. Worse yet, the little actual gameplay you get during that time teases you into thinking that you'll be the one to finish off MB by clearing a path to her and locking on in first person mode. Finally, when the colonel confronts her about the whole incident and tries to cover everything up, she just lets herself start to be escorted away, until (once again) good old Anthony reveals himself to save the day with orders from Federation HQ to investigate the whole incident. BULL. FUCKING. SHIT.

Speaking of Bayonetta, it's funny you dismiss the claims of sexism in Other M, because your Bayonetta video was pretty bang on. Samus may have been a "Cammie" before, but this game turns her completely into a "Chun Li". She's turned into a whiny little girl who's constantly pandering for daddy's affection, and that's far worse in my view than a cold, emotionless robot. The latter may be boring, but the former is just insulting given the character's past actions.

And this is why I take this issue so personally. This game effectively reduces Samus to the typical female hero stereotype present in the game industry who always needs saving of some kind. There's nothing really surprising about this. So why is this case different? Because it's Samus fucking Aran, that's why. They didn't just create a stereotypically weak female character; they reduced a strong female character to a weak one. I understand that this has been subtly going on over the past 10 years ever since the GBA games, but this game in particular was a big push in that direction, and has several really blatant examples I detailed above.

This is not the Samus we know from previous games. Even in the more recent games, that Samus did things her own way, by herself, without needing to rely on the Federation army as a crutch. She kicks ass, she takes names, and oh yeah, she happens to be a woman. Deal with it. The fact that she was a woman had no bearing whatsoever on her capabilities in the game. That's what made her great. I don't know who this character is, but she is not the Samus I knew. Samus Aran is dead. Long live Samus.

MattLast said...

I'm sorta disappointed with this one, Bob. There's quite a bit more to it than that. Besides, you stawman'd a bunch of us when trying to represent the arguments we've made regarding Other M.

Ultima Black Mage said...

I liked the game a lot myself. My only complaints are how late in the lava section you gain access to the Varia suit and Samus' breakdown when she see's Ridley. Also the lack of Nunchuk support for movement.

Nathan said...

I know you don't want to hear it but you have to admit that the very idea Retro had of moving Metroid to the first person perspective was huge risk that could have backfired and not only destroyed Retro but delayed Metroid coming back as soon as it did (though I guess since Fusion came out at the same time it could have survived on hand helds). I'd personalyl consider that an even bigger risk than moving back to a more traditional gameplay structure but that's just me.

Nathan said...

Also a quick note, one of the major american manga distributors should have really had the foresight to cash in on this game and release the manga that was made to promote Zero Mission. It seriously sets up everything about Samus' characterization and being one of the few in my circle of friends to have read it before playing Other M, Samus' personality did not become jarring in the least for me.

Dorkmaster Flek said...

That's interesting to hear Nathan, and I've heard that from other people as well. I never read the manga, but frankly if this is the direction that Nintendo as a whole is taking the character, and not just Team Ninja, then the manga is full of shit too as far as I'm concerned. I still think this game is a particularly big jump in this direction, more-so than previous recent games.

Nathan said...

The real argument, at least for me, is creator vision vs expectations fans make on their own. This all fits with how Sakamoto personally views the character.

Mr. I said...

Hmph. When a child takes on an identity of its own and that is accepted as its true face by the public, is it still your child...?

This line of thought... absolutely fascinating. Tantalizing even. Of course we're debating our sides as ABSOLUTE FACT so it gets written off as a flame war... hmph. Perhaps, in this case, this is the most successful Game OverThinker video, as it has certainly stirred up opinions, we've gathered evidence, and hit on an issue with a broad answer. And despite you giving your opinion on the matter, people are instead trying to dig deeper into the meat, burrowing like parasites until they absorb every last bit.

Despite all the flame wars that people have created, this is so hilariously fun. Kudos to you, Bob, sincerely. You've allowed many, many gamers to see their true face and find their true identity. Whether I like that or not really isn't relevant, but you've really done something that every twinkly-eyed gaming enthusiast dreams of, and in that sense, you deserve all the praise in the world.

Anyway, matter at hand, yes, ze matter at hand... again, Samus was a fine character. Hell even with her emotional insecurity she was fine. It's just how POORLY and how CRIPPLINGLY it's executed. It's not that Samus embodies a female stereotype, to me at least, it's that she embodies a weak, self-absorbed character, and she'd shown ABSOLUTELY no signs of that in the past. I mean argue how much the Smash games mean in continuity all you'd like, she had snarky taunts, freed Pikachu, and survived Ridley smashing her face into the wall and then just got up to fight him. It's not exactly canon, but it doesn't change the fact that Nintendo at least put a basis for us to walk on, and then moved in entirely the other direction.

And again, I'd be fine with this if Nintendo did it well. And they didn't. Characters become characters because they're allowed to reflect on themselves and take ideas and emotions as they will. Suffering from PTSD and THEBABYTHEBABY, with something else in place, shouldn't have made Samus drop on the floor like she did. Instead of having a personality in place, they gave this woman a series of complexes and a gun. And unless that's played ironically and the character goes somewhere with it - Liquid Snake is the most prominent example I can think of - then they just aren't going to become a good character. Hell Liquid himself isn't a very good character... he's just hilarious. <3 Cam Clarke's voice.

Nathan said...

For reference people who want to give the manga a look should check Metroid-Database, they have it in their Zero Misssion section. And for those who refute canon, well they used panels in the actual game Zero Mission as flashbacks to her childhood, and explain pretty well why Samus is a afraid of Ridley (he killed her mother in front of her when she was fucking THREE).


But like I said its the argument of intent and interpretation. Sakamoto always saw Samus like this way back in Super Metroid, BUT Super Metroid didn't have cutscenes so we didn't know any of this. I figure Samus was scared of Ridley back in the intro of Super Metroid but they couldn't do a cutscene without destroying the flow of the prologue.

Dorkmaster Flek said...

Thanks Nathan, I should check those out. Like I said, I understand that she's scared of him. That's rational. But in Other M, she's not just scared of him. She's utterly crippled by him. This just absolutely, positively does not jive with the character as portrayed in other games. Even in Fusion and Zero Mission, there was no hint of the supposed crippling fear she held of Ridley. The Prime series had graphics as advanced as Other M, and full cutscenes as well. They definitely could have shown this if they wanted to, but they didn't. My other points about her not actually having any direct involvement in several key plot points and being effectively "rescued" by the marines still stand. :P

Another point I missed in my giant rant was about how she's gotten steadily smaller in recent years. It was perhaps less noticeable in the other games, but since she's interacting with other people so much in this game, it's really obvious. She is freaking tiny nowadays. A stereotypically petite feminine form if ever I saw one. My wife pointed this out too while she was watching me play. If she's supposed to be 6'3", then the other marines are 8 foot tall monsters who should be in the NBA instead of the federation army. That is not a practical build for running around in a suit of armour. She should be built like an Amazon.

Nathan said...

Well the Prime series was done by Retro Studios with pretty much no Nintendo involvement in actual development. Other M, while made by Team Ninja, had a shitload of Nintendo involvement, with Sakamoto all but directing the whole thing.

Also the 2nd half of the manga is essentially the cutscenes for Zero Mission, they add a big back and forth between Samus and Ridley. Ridley pretty much plays with Samus' psyche and keeps twisting the knife on the whole "I ate your mother's corpse" thing. Only way I can figure this not being in the game was making it TOO different from the original game by adding cutscene also I don't see how cutscenes could have been done well in the 2D format used for the handhelds.

Nathan said...

To respond to the deleted posts, I'm going to put my geek hat on Metroid canon. Honestly it's all very fluid, there are characters in the official manga that were created in the Nintendo Power comic (Old Bird, the Leader of the Galactic Federation, the incompetent fat cop).

I don't remember him saying Prime games aren't canon, just saying that he didn't directly work on them but he did on Other M. He also said the same thing about Metroid II but that's definitely canon. I personally feel they work in great with the canon, they really flesh out the scope of the Federation-Space Pirate War, explained more about the Chozo than I think any other game in the series and were just straight up cool.

Mr. I said...

Well the main issue I take this Other M's canon is that it ruins my theory that Ridley leaves power-ups for Samus every time she goes to a new planet because the broad's such a dang klutz.

Ridley's a mean guy who's malicious and will take any opening - that's his fighting style, his attack style, and everything we can summarize from his actions, on the same animalistic sense that "DK will punch you if you don't share a banana". However, considering where in the timeline Other M is, it becomes harder to swallow that Samus lived through the first Metroid. Super Metroid is POSSIBLE to excuse through "I HAVE TO PROTECT THE BABY" if you're going there and that overcoming her fear, but then in Other M I'd feel she'd have something like "I need to protect Adam" or "I need to protect funny black guy".

A weakened, war-torn Samus? That makes a lot of sense. It's just to make Other M work, you have to selectively accept some things as fact and write other things off in order to make it flow as a narrative and give Samus that third dimension. And really, even if this is corrected in the future, the dissonance created by this broken timeline/canon is really something painful.

Oh also I personally think turning Final Fantasy XII into a mini-MMORPG was a bigger risk than this after the ISLANDS IN THE SHAPE OF HALLWAYS that was Final Fantasy X, but that might be just me.

dude said...

Nice one Bob. You definitely over "thunk" this one! Master Chief and other Spartans are under orders too, but they are not ordered not to protect themselves. Kat on Reach probably has no mommy issues, but she was raised that way. Metroid needs more back story and support from Japan thats all.

Dude

Q said...

I don't know, Bob. I think you're full of shit.

http://theegad.livejournal.com/8469.html

You make the foolish mistake that many do that confuses complex with 'has a lot of issues'. That is not what complex means and if so then Anikin Skywalker from episode 1 should be considered a great leap in complexity for the character. What it's more "complexity" that means it's good, right? No, good characterization is good characterization. Bob, you need to realize that with an actual story or not, the other Metroid games did in fact have a character even if it was the one the audience projected onto her. It's called indirect characterization, any competent story-teller should have a grasp upon this concept.

A story is a communication between the audience and story-teller. And yes I do think that the developers need to be held accountable for every single thing they made Aran do, because they are people out there that made a heroic role model out of her, yes like Batman. And they just told them to fuck off. Why? It not that good of a story to be excusable.

PS. There is nothing inheritable sacred about the NES era. Take the nostalgia glasses off and get over yourself.

Smashmatt202 said...

Wait, wait, wait... Yoshio Sakamoto, co-creator of the Metroid series, directed Other M? Well, if the creator of the whole series is fine with the game, then I see no reason to argue against them.

Nathan said...

Yes, yes he did. Other M really was a ... 2nd party game? (Not 1st party but no way a true 3rd party game like the Prime series)


Like Mr. I said, at what point does Samus become "OURS" more than she is Sakamoto's. He does have an inherent right to tweak her character but the real question is if this goes to far. (George Lucas as a cliched example), what it all boils down to is if YOU believe Sakamoto has crossed that line.

Newt said...

I think it's very telling that most of the responses to this and to the IGN article have been from male gamers and that of these responses a good many are hostile. Here's the problem: you're a guy. You can't know what it's like to be a female gamer looking for positive female role models in video games. I appreciate the argument that this is projection, Bob, but ALL narrative requires a degree of projection. Given the fact that a great many critiques of the characterization are coming from female gamers, maybe the problem isn't that they've been projecting onto a non-existent cypher, maybe the problem is that YOU don't understand the narrative needs of female gamers. If you can point us in the direction of a female gamer who LIKED the characterization, maybe then I'd be willing to buy your argument. But as it stands, I'm forced to conclude that they're right. Because all I know of a female gamer's experience is what I'm told. And right now what I'm told mostly is that Other M's characterization is lacking at best and offensive at worst.

Rebochan said...

Thanks for this video. Obviously, the Yahtzee, Spoony, and Malstrom fanboys have mobilized against you with their suddenly acquired sense of feminism, but this needed to be said. I'm a woman that's damn tired of every female character being torn to shreds for either having a personality or not having one (Yahtzee has done both - shocker).

Keep fighting the good fight. Though I think you're insanely wrong about Prime :P Prime rocked.

Pierre Chanliau said...

@ Rebochan

No, they didn't like Samus's new personality because it was badly written, voiced and executed.

Of course we want more diverse and well written female characters in video games, don't be ridiculous.

Hell, the first example that comes to mind would be Alyx Vance from the Half-Life series.

Dorkmaster Flek said...

Rebochan, if you're a female gamer, I don't see how you could possibly like this characterization of Samus. She doesn't just have emotions in this game. She's utterly controlled by them to an absolutely ridiculous degree. Add to that the fact that she doesn't actually do anything in several key plot points and needs to basically be rescued by the federation army, and you have a story that was clearly written by somebody with very specific ideas about women. The fact that this was done with a character that was traditionally considered a strong female just adds to the insult. This isn't a new character; she's been around for over 25 years now, and lots of people looked up to her.

Mr. I said...

Good miss Robochan, how DARE you slander the name of Spoony with your thoughts of mobilization! I have respected women for a great many years, but THIS insult of SOME GUY WHO MAKES VIDEOS FOR THE INTERNET is SUCH A BETRAYAL, I will NEVER speak the name of WOMANKIND again! Now I'm going to go back to my action figures and pair Peach and Bowser some more where no GIRLS are allowed.

... but, to be honest, there's no "wrong" way to characterize a woman. There's also no "wrong" way to characterize someone of a different race or species. If apes somehow grew sentence, would King Kong be considered morally inappropriate, despite all the things it did for the film industry? There's no right or wrong way to portray a woman.

Personally I think that Other M Samus isn't a bad woman so much as she is a bad character. And that's inexcusable.

Disthron said...

Hi,

I had similar reactions to you when hearing about what was "wrong" with Other M. However I didn't really feel I could say much against it becosue I have basically no experiance of the charecter. I played Super Metroid on SNES for about 5 minutes and it didn't grab me. I guess I just have something against facless space marine types. So I was really on the outside looking in.

But it seemed to me that they were complaining about the charecter actually haveing charecer, with emotions and stuff. You know, bad stuff happens to people, and it effects them. But again, I didn't know how the charecter was so I couldn't really argue against it. Becouse for all I knew she was charecterised in previus games. But from what you've been saying here it seems I was wright about her being a sort of Tabula Rasa.

Also, Ellen Ripley was not emotionless, or a man hatter ice queen. At least not as fare as I could tell. Also, her experienced with the aliens definatly left an impact. Even after everything that happened, she cryed during Newts autopsy.

Markus said...

The problem is not that Samus has character flaws like insecurity or that she takes orders from a man (who is called "Adam" lulz). She is just boring and annoying as hell. I played the game totally unbiased, haven't read a review or comment on it before. But everytime she opened her mouth I just wanted her to shut up and let me play the f***ing game! Her flashbacks are not interesting in any way. Why should I care about any of these characters, including Samus? The story was also generic and the presentation overly dramatic.
Tha game itself is great fun though. That's the sad part. I like the controls. I like the graphics. I like the gameplay. As long as everybody in this game shuts up, I can have fun. But when Adam tells me that I am finally allowed to activate my varia suit after spending roughly 1 hour in burning hot lava caves running for my life, I am reminded of how ridiculous the characters in this game are.
But thanks for the epilogue! That's what I call "Metroid".

H said...

Heheh, my word verification was "sness." Sness? Super Metroid? COINCIDENCE? But, seriously...

My mind was nearly blown that I had such a vastly different opinion on something than one of my favorite game critics, but actually I agree with about half of your arguments, Bob. (just kidding though, varying opinions are good)
I can agree that the whole sexism subtext has been blown waaay out of proportion. I just saw the whole Ridley "breakdown" scene today, and to me it was completely justified and was a pretty great moment. Though parenthood seems like a pretty obvious theme in the game. (Other M = Mother?) This is hardly a bad thing, and I'm glad to see Samus get some fleshing out. The authorization was not a problem either until the Varia Suit issue.

However, I must disagree with the practical design quality of this game. Team Ninja imo is not a very good developer. I understand that "trailblazers" run into bumps, but this is not a trailblazing game (a fresh breath, true), and we should not praise adequacy as if it's brilliance, even if it is a step away from those icky first-person shooters. Metroid has existed for decades in this same basic form, and Team Ninja has no real excuse for the kind of gameplay flaws that are present. Even so, the gameplay wasn't terrible, just adequate, but the real problem is that other than the aforementioned character development, there is almost nothing new or interesting this game brings to the table, not to mention how dull and sloppily the narrative is presented. Samus continually takes time off to narrate her every thought, when narrative and development should be handled in more subtle, interactive means. Almost every spoken line could be replaced by an action or a directorial technique, and the presentation would benefit greatly.

I'm not flaming or trolling or any of those negative Internet words. I honestly gave this game a chance, but the result has been disappointing.

Rebochan said...

Dorkmaster Flek. Are you, a man, telling me, a woman, how I should feel?

Are you dictating the correct course of emotions, in other words, and expecting me to follow them?

This would technically mean that agreeing with even one of your points makes me a weak woman who took orders from a man.

It's the same idiot logic that dictates that Samus taking orders from a male with higher authorization than her makes her a whiny crybaby.

Oh yea, and Samus is not ruled by her emotions in Other M. Nor did she cry. She froze up on Ridley, but does not cry or even react. She had a single flashback to when, as a child, she cried when he killed her parents, but adult Samus does not cry. Your exaggerations are far more insulting to me as a woman than anything in Other M, because this suggests that a woman having any kind of emotional response needs to turn in her ass-kicker card and go back to the kitchen. I also can't count the number of derogatory statements towards women I've seen flung at Samus by people actually claiming to be supporting "strong, independent women". Newsflash - calling the woman a bitch, a bimbo, a puusy, or a c*nt is FAR more sexist than depicting a woman with emotions aside from "Enemy + Gun = BOOM".

And THAT is why this subject bothers me. I highly suspect if Samus did act like Ellen Ripley, nobody would notice because unlike the man with boobs so many male gamers think she is, the real Ripley took orders from men, had relationships with men, and displayed an array of feminine and masculine emotions. In fact, I dare say the armchair feminists would have hated a trailblazer like her if the movies were released today.

H said...

@Rebochan

Thaaank you. I'm happy to see people recognize how backwards a lot of these arguments are, and a female viewpoint is appreciated.

The matter isn't even that Samus is a bad character in Other M. In fact, I think the person they made her into was a great next step. No, the real problem is the way they chose to present her new characterization. Maybe if they had a different voice actor, if she didn't talk QUITE so much, and if the developers could be a little more creative in their story-telling and level design, this game wouldn't have caused such an enormous fuss.

Roderick said...

A) Actions are also a part of characterization, and in video games, an interactive media, are particularly essential. A Samus who freezes up and needs to be rescued from Ridley [i]does[/i] contradict the previous characterization of Samus as a character capable of fighting and defeating that same monster without assistance multiple time in the past.

B) Nobody's complaining just because it isn't an FPS. As far as I can tell, you're making that up wholecloth. In fact, even the critics are generally either happy with or at least not generally displeased with the 3rd person gameplay. The gameplay complaints are about what little first person elements are included in the game. Such elements are terrible, as is the transition between the modes. Further complaints are that the game is short, linear, and lacks the atmosphere and sense of isolation and exploration that were the hallmark of this series in the past, whether as a platformer or an FPS. These are legitimate complaints, whether you like the game on the whole or not. I like Kingdom Hearts, but I don't call critics racist for pointing out the poor level design and camera controls in those games.

C)MB, I'm normally a fan. I have enjoyed most of your movie reviews in particular, and you've become my go-to movie review guy because we seem to have the same tastes, overall. However, this gimmick of calling anyone with different tastes or opinions from you racist jerks, especially in videos like this one where you so totally misrepresent their positions, is extra terrible. Please stop.

Mr. I said...

Rebochan do you need anyone to authorize your power bombs for you? Because I think I've been struck by your Shine Spark, and that's Norfair.

But in all seriousness, the main point I want to strike is this: Metroid Other M, from a narrative standpoint, is an awful game. The generally face-paced gameplay is bogged down by tedious exposition, the hammering in of certain points, and trying to establish Samus's character in this way. And for a regular Metroid game, that'd honestly be okay - the world is big and expansive enough and there's SO MUCH BACKTRACKING that exposition would make it feel more lively. But in this scenario, it goes in the opposite direction of the Metroid series - you feel offput by the story sequences (at least in my experience) and want to try out the more frantic, fast-paced gameplay which, to be honest, isn't all that great and has felt awkward without analog to me. I dunno, maybe I'm just spoiled from playing Mario 64 and Banjo to death, but nothing ever 'felt' right in Other M. The fact that I disliked Samus only further added to it.

Thusly I take back my previous criticism of Samus being a bad character and extend it to Samus being a bad character... and nothing in the game helps her with that. So I'll mainly put the fault on Nintendo here - Team Ninja made a perfect okay game that COULD have better controls, but for what it's worth, they tried. Nintendo then... did, um... something to the story and the characters and the setting and tried turning Samus into an insecure Dexter Morgan and then, um... yeah.

Christopher said...

Oh and as for the baby... i won't go too detailed into but there is such a thing as SUBTLETY. instead harping on and on about it, why don't we show don't tell play it more low key; just because you're a badass does not mean you can't have emotions, but it does help if you atleast try to downplay them.


Simple fact is that Samus's personality and characterization could have taken MANY forms, and all work into creating a complex character. The writer's COULD have made her a badass while ALSO adding more complexity to her, as opposed to THIS crap... personally i might have preferred some kind of irrational rage (which can be very powerful when played right) upon seeing Ridley as opposed to cowering in fear.


And for those who harp on the manga; ya just because the manga did it years ago doesn't mean it was a good idea back then either... hell considering the manga came out like 15 years AFTER the first game you might even say they were a retcon or a re-imagining of samus as a character and not "how she always was"... Frankly, i'd rather nintendo had just declared the manga to be as irrelevant as silverage batman and just re-re-imagined Samus's story... similar backstory, minus the shit...

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew said...

I understand and like how she is frozen in fear at the sight of Ridley (the first mention of any of the manga in actually canon.) But the big problem that people have is that she never reacts to him like that before. But it makes sense.
In Metroid 1, she knows she's heading into Space pirate territory, which is also her former home, so she erects emotional barricades to keep herself from freezing up. But what about other times? Prime 1, Prime 3, Super, Other M, Fusion?
Go back and watch the cutscene in Prime 1 where Samus first sees Meta-Ridley. She is visible shaken by the experience, but it's not her first evidence that he is here. A few logs mention Ridley, but she still is somewhat disturbed by him. By Prime 3, she's prepared herself, because at this point she knows Space Pirates=Ridley Encounters, so she just emotionally shuts down while she's on those missions. Same for Super.
But then look at Other M. In the middle of a seemingly unrelated mission, suddenly RIDLEY OF NOWHERE. She wasn't prepared to have that battle there. All the other times, it seems possible for Ridley to return, but the last time she saw him; she BLEW UP THE PLANET, which is probably what she's thinking when she sees him in this game.

*more ranting in next post*

Matthew said...

*rant begins anew here*
*SPOILER*

My big problem with the story is that it's supposed to be a prequel to Fusion, but wants you to forget about Fusion's story, the game with the most characterization of Samus so far, and where Adam Malcovich is being drawn from. It's absurd.
The story plays out less like a prequel, and more like a re-telling. From the biological research station with environmental sectors, to the Ki-Hunters in the Tropical sector, to the surprise Nightmare boss, to the reveal that the GF has been secretly breeding Metroids from a DNa sample, in a secret sector that gets destroyed by detaching it from the main sector.
All the same shit happens in Fusion, and it's all taken with a straight face. It's absurd and insulting to think that we would just think of it as fanservice-y references to old games; BUT IT'S THE CORE PLOT FROM THE GAME IT LEADS INTO. The one actual nod to Fusion is setting up Ridley's appearance in Fusion, and that's it! I'm not a great judge of quality, so I don't know how good the story is; but the fact that then just decided to IGNORE the game that link this game to the rest of the canon is just retarded.

Matthew said...

Also, you're border-line pathological hatred of FPSs is really childish. A first-person-shooter is devoid of any connotation. It's about shooting things from a first-person perspective.
But the current big players that fill the genre: CoD, Halo etc. are all pretty fun, but also played by people who have non-nerdy intrests. "Music? Sports? POPULAR CULTURE? How dare these games allow people who don't subscribe to NERD WEEKLY to have fun!" You hate the Genre because you hate the games that represent the majority of the Genre. But Prime is an FPS, up and down. So is Halo. Are the two games equal? Hell no. FPS means First Person Shooter. They both fulfill the criteria.
But you dislike Prime because it reminds you of games you don't like; and having a series you don't like be compared one you do terrifies you. So you say that the Prime games were bad. That people who got into the series through them are not real fans. I got into the series through Prime 1. It also happens to be the first FPS I ever played.

Tyler said...

Bob, please read with consideration.

Just like with your "I heart Bayonetta", I think you sum up a lot of good strawmen arguments while delivering a nice sound jab closer to the truth.


But to be honest sir?
This one just didn't do that.

While your claims of Japanese xenophobia and female typcasting remained true, there's some stark irony in your topic that is self defeating.


"We know more about the Master Chief than Samus"
What are you referring to, sir?
The games?
We've never seen the Chief's full face. We have never seen him out of armor. We have never seen him talk about the past or even his emotions beyond the mission.

Oh, you must be referring to the countless stories and expanded universe content...

Which still sticks to the gist of Master Chief.

He is silent.
Resilient.
Mysterious.


I cringe at the fact you utilize the statement of technology being a hinderance and leading to one dimensional characters.

"Samus was one dimensional...because that's all we demanded of SNES games back then."
That's not true. Not to mention the Prime trilogy releaced in the past..you know, -decade- along with Zero mission and Fusion -still- played her closer to your "assumed" fan generation of "Ripley" (When is obvious influence forced Fan generalization?...)

I think back to Sergio Leone films in the 60s.
The Man with No Name has made two statements about his past.
Something similar happened to him with a lady who "didn't turn out so well" and..he's from Illinois.

That's IT.


He's coated in mystery. If someone were to retcon and explain to us why he is the way he is, lazy, gruff, loves money...it'd be a bastardization of his character and would be anything BUT the masterpiece trilogy we associate with Leone.


Likewise, Samus approaching Ridley as a child offering for friendship and INSULTING Ridley into slaughtering her whole family completely betrays Samus' honesty, bravery and curiousity for a huge misunderstanding of her character (And what PTSD actually is...)


Sorry to get long winded, but I really think you played too much of a Devil's Advocate here in defense of turning a decent female protagonist, with over 20 years of history,and of a select caliber (Like Ripley) into a Saturday morning cartoon (IE Gundam).


And lol at "this game controls better than Ninja Gaiden."

You trolled me good sir.

Tyler said...
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Greg Melo said...

...Why didn't you talk about how awful the controls are? Why didn't you talk about the abysmal pacing of the story and gameplay? The generic soldiers? The subplots that get randomly picked up and dropped for no reason and little to no resolution? The linearity? The lack of NEW upgrades? The anticlimactic finale and the ho-hum post credits finale? The total lack of music? The stupid concentration system?

You spent all this time defending the AWFUL narrative and piss poor characterization (forgetting that Samus, like Link, is SUPPOSED to be mute and is best left to the imaginations of gamers. Just ask Aonuma, who is against making Link talk) and you didn't even mention the massive list of flaws with this game.

And it's funny that you say some fans read too much into her personality, Mr. Overthinker. That's like the pot calling the kettle black.

Doesn't help that you sound very smug the whole video.

Nicholas Ware said...

I don't care if you don't want to hear it. The very fact that you seem to think the Prime games were First Person Shooters proves your bias. They were First Person Adventure games that happened to have a shooting interface. Prime was no more an FPS than Fallout 3 is an FPS. Which it isn't. I swear, for the "Game Overthinker" you sure make a point to underthink certain things.

iNs1d3tRiP said...

I whole heartedly agree with you on this one. Actually, I would take it a step further and say video games aren't about story and plot progression at all. That's basically why I like the No More Heroes franchise so much.

If Video games are about anything they are about, besides the game play, is the characters, which leads me to my next point. If I did have to disagree with you about anything it would be that there should be more projection in video games. I feel like video games should immerse us in a world totally new from our own. It should be a "freeing" experience.

Good video.

P.S. When are game designers going to learn that simpler is better? I mean since when has poor control scheme been a good thing to incorporate into a game? It is like saying Rocky and Bullwinkle for the SNES is better than SMB just because the controls suck. I mean, wtf?

Joseph said...

I couldn't even make it half way through the video. It's not that hard to understand why people are pissed off about this game. You seem to be the type of person who just loves to rant about why other peoples' rants are wrong.

Seedofbilly said...
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Seedofbilly said...

While the points made in this video are valid, I think that you've seriously underestimated the people who complained about this game. I don't know which universe it was that Metroid fans affixed such a personality to Samus Aran, that is to say 90% of Metroid fans but it's certainly not this one. The people who are deeply invested enough in Metroid to care about the story and further affix a personality to Samus Aran based on aspirations and stereotypes are a minority. Don't sell these people short and don't brand them as racists either. The fact of the matter is that Samus had very little personality, as you pointed out, so Team Ninja effectively had something of a Tabula Rasa to work with when giving her a personality. The most significant complaint isn't that the way they characterised her was offensive, it was that it was CRAP. Really bad writing, so she's a three dimensional character now, whoop-de-fucking-doo, that argument is invalidated by the fact that she is a poorly written, uninteresting, uninspired three dimensional character.

When you have a blank slate, as with Samus, surely it provides you with scope to be creative? They could have done anything, they could have made her a maniacal sociopath, I reckon fans would have loved that. Instead they took a bunch of overused, tacky character elements and made a character who didn't speak or emote up to now less interesting than she was before . Yes, I accept that she was characterised very briefly at the end of Metroid 2 and beginning of Super, as being compassionate. Nobody said she had mother issues, that's barely even implied. The argument that the manga characterised her the same way as Other M? That just goes that show that the Manga's crap too.

Finally, hating on first person shooters because of the whole Halo/Modern Warfare cut and dry formula video game movement is infantile. Every genre has spawned bad trends in gaming, some worse than others but writing off a brilliantly creative, beautifully crafted and simply sumptuous trilogy of games that barely even count as FPSs by traditional standards AND made by a tiny development team who rose above and beyond what was expected of them; just because they sit in the same category as Halo is ridiculous.

That's about all I have to say, I've never found myself disagreeing with a game overthinker video this much but I felt like I needed my voice heard on this one.

Seedofbilly said...
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Seedofbilly said...
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Seedofbilly said...
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David Woo said...

Thank you, Movie Bob!! Your insight is greatly appreciated.

Personally, I feel Other M is a mature game. Not immature with gratuitous sex, violence, and foul language, but dealing the complexity of characterization, emotion, and responsibility.

A prime example of this is when Samus comes to the realization that she, herself, contributed to the "evils of bio-weapon research" by providing the baby Metroid. That would be like if Chris Redfeild and Jill Valentine developed the T-Virus. The events in Other M (and the survival of the Metroid monsters for that matter) is kinda her fault. That's good character conflict, in my humble opinion!

Eric Etienne said...

DID NO ONE PLAY METROID FUSION? Boy did you guys miss out a lot

blind.sight said...

The problem with the interactions between Samus and Adam weren't because of an emotional attachment, I would have been fine with that, the problem is that the very nature of their relationship comes off as inherently submissive, at least to me. There's nothing wrong with Samus following the orders of a male officer, in fact, I was looking forward how they were going to go about it. Unfortunately, they seemed to do it in the worse way possible. It's a shame because I enjoyed the game otherwise, and they could have easily created a relationship between the two characters that showed mutual respect and trust based off of their service together, but instead Samus does come off like a little girl who needs a daddy figure to lead her around. Rather then a one-dimensional 'stoic' character, Samus has become, at least to me, a character who's actions don't fit the personality they've crafted for her in Other M. To put it simply, I disagree with your point that she's become a third-dimensional character, rather, I feel she's moved from the 'statue' as you put it to the 'whiny'. It's completely possible to create a strong, independent woman who follows orders through the chain of military command and has feminine qualities, case in point is Ashley Williams in Mass Effect. She's a strong woman who shows her female qualities from time to time, and has issues that she has to deal with. Unlike Samus, however, she doesn't mope about them, she knows when it comes down to it she has to push those feeling's aside to get the job done. I guess it's just an agree to disagree thing. I was actually expecting Samus to be more of a smart-mouthed cynic who's past tragedies would cause her to feel emotionally detached with a boiling undercurrent of emotions ready to make her snap, but that's just me. Basically, I was expecting emotional conflict, just not in the context it was presented in.

Other then that, great episode, you made some good points for the other side of the argument, and I respect that.

Smashmatt202 said...

Bob, hey, I really love your videos, but uhh...

I really think you should do a follow-up on this video. Especially after reading this:

http://boards.ign.com/metroid/b5217/196077626/p1/

http://www.gamefaqs.com/wii/960554-metroid-other-m/reviews/review-142955

And please, PLEASE don't dismess this as "the trolls acting up", because these ARE legitimate complaints! You're the Game Overthinker, so overthink the story and characters that are in this game some more!

Jeff said...

I don't think Bob needs to follow up on the video as I think everything he wanted to say has been said.

I do find it humorous that those who wish to contest his viewpoint lately try to contract outside help for it. Like "read this" or "what do you have to say to this?" instead of trying to contribute with something they came up with independently.

Also a hilarious amount of misinformation about Other M, particularly about the Ridley scene, made out to look like the last scene of the game because apparently Samus just curls up into a ball and the game ends right there.

Of course, people who hate that part must really hate Super Metroid now because they did it there too, with Samus being hammered by Mother Brain into a corner and her not being able to move despite your controller inputs. That is a cutscene, friends, and it's the Exact. Same. Thing. That happens in Other M.

Also delicious is all the new-found feminism displayed by male gamers who suddenly care REALLY DEEPLY about how this game sends bad messages to girls or something. Never mind other games where women are directly sexual objects or eye candy, or even other messages sent by games like it being okay to participate in airport massacres of defenseless people. (Where were the gamer protests of that one, huh?)

This is why nobody takes gamers seriously when it comes to stuff like this. We're too scatterbrain and erratic when it comes to deciding what sends bad messages, ignoring gigantic issues in favor of harping on stuff ridiculously minuscule and trivial.

Clayton said...

And now some other asshat has done an overly-detailed article picking apart the game and ranting on and on about how this destroys the series and they can't be a Metroid fan anymore if this continues. It's times like this where I want to tell Sakamoto and Nintendo to give up on the "hardcore". We're not worth it. We're a bunch of unpleasable, petulant, selfish brats who want to have our cake and eat it and whine about how Nintendo doesn't do anything new or risky and when they do we keep whining. It's no wonder Nintendo wants to expand the audience beyond gaming's normal barriers. I wouldn't want to be at the mercy of the man-children known as gamers either

Sprite Slurpee said...

Authorization doesn't make sense - not because it's about taking orders from a man - it's because it's about taking orders from someone who has no right to give you orders.

There's several ways to do "Keep necessary item in a difficult location" in other ways (downloading?) that tons and tons of other games have tried. This one is just weird because a general from some other army is telling an independent contractor "You have to do as I say."

No, she doesn't. That's the problem. You're setting up a scenario where my character has the equipment necessary to accomplish a goal, but absolutely no good reason not to just... well use it. Even in ridiculous RPG examples, the character doesn't have the equipment. It's specious, but it's a reason. Other M introduces this mechanic and it's nonsensical.

But I do agree that it's not the main issue.

Samus never overcomes her fear or ineptitude in Other M. At the end of the game, she needs another character to save her and complete her "mission" because her suit is messed up for no other reason than "plot spackle." Sakamoto needs a plot event to happen... so fuck it, he just makes it happen. If that means Samus's armor has to randomly turn off and render her helpless. well, too bad.

Samus needs characterization? Well, let's just jam Tab A into Slot B no matter how badly it fits. In the midgame, she lets something presumably irreparable happen because she is (suddenly) too afraid to act and fight Ridley. Later on, when she encounters Ridley!!!... nothing happens. He's killed off-camera. Oh well. No chance (or apparently need) for redemption there! But it's okay, because irreparable event wasn't really irreparable after all, because... you know. The story just says so.

Look, throw the sexism arguments out the window, and you're still left with a cowardly, frail video game character. If the end of the Legend of Zelda had Link's Uncle come in and defeat Ganon because Link's sword broke, you'd feel cheated there too. You'd especially feel weird if Link suddenly had a fear of Octoroks and let Zelda die because of it.

Other M tries to introduce "weaknesses" and "layers" but it's so ineptly done, it assassinates the character. Samus, frankly, comes off kind of cowardly. I don't know how else to put it. Imagine she's a man if you like. She's still a poor protagonist in Other M.

Seriously, imagine if Max Payne's gun broke before he entered the final warehouse and some other character goes in and kills the bad guys for him, off-camera. This wouldn't be acceptable either, and we'd (rightly) tell Rockstar that they ruined the character.

Also, the fact that Nintendo "took a risk" isn't a factor in how good or bad the final product is.

It's not like this was an "okay" script. It's a really, really, REALLY bad one. There's dangling plot threads that never get resolved, there's not even a basic story arc... it's just "Things happen, but no one really grows or learn things from them."

You could argue that Samus gains newfound respect for Adam... except not really, because she already had it before the events of the game. Hence, Authorization.

If we have to take risks with Metroid, it too much to ask in this day and age that Nintendo Executive Producers keep their hubris in check and hire someone who's written a story before?

Sprite Slurpee said...
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David said...

Bob, I want to agree with this one. I really, and I mean REALLY do. As a matter of fact, I do in regards the fanboy overreaction to the Japanese sexists interpretation thing.

But when it comes to your reasoning for the other aspects, I just can't.

I can guess that part of your reasons for doing this video is going against the (annoying) fanboy rage.

Not that I have a problem with that, since they deserve it most of the time. But I'm sorry, this time, even though they go over the top, they rage for good reason.

First, they don't complain about WHAT they do with Samus character. They complain about HOW they handled it.

She might become a three-dimensional character... but a HORRRIBLE three-dimensional character.

And second... I'm sorry Bob, but it is jarringly obvious that you haven't played "Metroid Fusion", nor know the first thing about it. A game were Samus had EXACTLY THE SAME CHARACTER AS IN "OTHER M", but it was done insanely better.

Basically, it was way more subtle, not over melodramatic, and Samus talked in the right places instead of... you know... every 10 minutes for playing Captain Obvious for another 3.

You wanna know where the perception about Samus fans have really comes from? Or at least, it where was officially established?

Go play that game.

Actually, even though it's short, it's a fantastic game.

And read the official manga (considered canon) while you are at it.

And BTW, back in the day Samus' creators said that lieutenant Replay WAS one of their inspirations. So don't get so surprised if many fans said that they believed they were the same.

Finally, I can respond on behalf of Team Ninja about the "Ninja Gaiden" controls question:

NO, "OTHER M" DOESN'T CONTROL BETTER THAN "NINJA GAIDEN".

It's even disturbing that you seem to actually believe something that... well... it's not true. NG has one of the best controls in the whole hack 'n slash genre, if not THE best, for crying out loud!

My guess is that you retro gamer mind is tricking you at feeling a NES controller in you hands, because "Other M" controls are clunky at best and irritating at worst.

David said...

Bob, I want to agree with this one. I really, and I mean REALLY do. As a matter of fact, I do in regards the fanboy overreaction to the Japanese sexists interpretation thing.

But when it comes to your reasoning for the other aspects, I just can't.

I can guess that part of your reasons for doing this video is going against the (annoying) fanboy rage.

Not that I have a problem with that, since they deserve it most of the time. But I'm sorry, this time, even though they go over the top, they rage for good reason.

First, they don't complain about WHAT they do with Samus character. They complain about HOW they handled it.

She might become a three-dimensional character... but a HORRRIBLE three-dimensional character.

And second... I'm sorry Bob, but it is jarringly obvious that you haven't played "Metroid Fusion", nor know the first thing about it. A game were Samus had EXACTLY THE SAME CHARACTER AS IN "OTHER M", but it was done insanely better.

Basically, it was way more subtle, not over melodramatic, and Samus talked in the right places instead of... you know... every 10 minutes for playing Captain Obvious for another 3.

You wanna know where the perception about Samus fans have really comes from? Or at least, it where was officially established?

Go play that game.

Actually, even though it's short, it's a fantastic game.

And read the official manga (considered canon) while you are at it.

And BTW, back in the day Samus' creators said that lieutenant Replay WAS one of their inspirations. So don't get so surprised if many fans said that they believed they were the same.

Finally, I can respond on behalf of Team Ninja about the "Ninja Gaiden" controls question:

NO, "OTHER M" DOESN'T CONTROL BETTER THAN "NINJA GAIDEN".

My guess is that you retro gamer mind is tricking you at feeling a NES controller in you hands, because "Other M" controls are clunky at best and irritating at worst.

Smashmatt202 said...

Beating a dead horse, sorry, but this guy is doing a retrospect on Metroid: Other M:

http://whattheegad.blip.tv/posts?view=archive&nsfw=dc

NinSage said...

hey, Bob.

it will probably never get seen in this sea of comments, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU for making this video.

you are 100% correct (and could have been 120% correct if you cited some of the events of Metroid Fusion!). thank you for saying it, thank you for making it and please continue being smart in the future!

Thomas said...

I agree with all your points but there is one you kind of missed. If there's one thing people complained about more than her personality and Adam... it's her monologueing. Apparently in the game she rambles to explain something we just saw and could defer within a cutscene. Honestly to me though that just seems more like they were trying to do something along the lines of the intro to MGS4 but if Snake was a woman. I could be wrong.

And yes, you are right, the primary person I've seen complaining are pretty much SLOWBEEF AND HIS POSSE from the Something Awful Let's Plays. And he's one of those people that assumes all anime is either Eiken, hentai, or Panty and Stocking and thus anything out of Japan is automatically gross and stupid. Including the canonical manga explaining the details prior to Metroid Zero Mission... although if anyone hasn't seen this and doesn't accept it I can understand, since NINTENDO NEVER RELEASED IT OUTSIDE OF JAPAN.

If they included like a bundle with the two manga translated and Other M I think it would have gone over a bit smoother imho.

ColdFrog said...
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ColdFrog said...

I have to be honest, I got a little carried away by the so-called controversy myself. I bought into the anti-hype, even though I still bought the game in the first week, but this helped level me out a little.

However, there are two issues that still bother me.

First, I still feel like they dropped the ball with a few things, and the baby Metroid doesn't fix it all. For me, there's a huge difference, and that is simply one of survival. In Metroid 2 she's torn between the saving of an as-yet undeveloped life form, and destroying it because it has the POTENTIAL to destroy life. Only the most heartless of people would crush it instantly instead of considering its survival. Samus is faced with a moral dilemma with no clear resolution. Kill the metroid and KNOW the world is safe of them, or protect it, feel good about yourself, and save a now endangered species. The decision lets you know that, while she will destroy what she must, she is capable of compassion, and it gives you some compelling insight to her character.

Now take Other M. In this case, she is no longer comparing two potential difficult choices. What she is doing boils down to survival: do I protect myself now and survive, or let myself die, knowing that I did it under orders to respect the wishes of someone who, for all we know, might die anyway? There's no large moral dilemma here, it all boils down to live or die. And that's where it falls apart for me. She's there, in immediate danger, and she has the tools to protect herself. The fact that she doesn't use them makes her seem weak at best, but more likely insane and with a complete lack of self respect. The average person, when faced with such an obviously dangerous position, would almost certainly choose life every time, as they are the only one in immediate danger, and their death wouldn't be a noble sacrifice (like say, another in the same game). And no, I know Samus isn't the average person, but in general it's good to play as a sympathetic character, and that kind of willingness to die for no good reason is not a character I want to play as. It may be purely psychological, but to me, having the tools to protect myself and not using them is not fun. Fighting and overcoming challenges to gain those tools? I'll do that.
I would like to add, though, that video games themselves have probably served to lessen this. Your death here is not really much of a setback at all - you jump right back in to the game and try again. While this is a necessary feature of these types of games (perma-death is an awful mechanic), it serves to mask the fact that a person unafraid of or willing to face death is NOT the same as a person to whom death holds no meaning. She clearly is not unafraid, as her meeting with Ridley shows, but the real reason your powers remain unactivated is because death actually will not harm you that much. For me, however, it serves to break the immersion and make me feel like she's not a real person. To me, that is the biggest issue at stake here, not a betrayal of character but a character too insane or stupid or weak-willed to make good decisions. That is not a character I want to play.

The second issue? I thought the voice acting was some of the worst I've ever heard. Especially Samus, whose "emotions" seemed canned and fake; If she made it sounds like she really felt strongly about ANYTHING, I might have bought into it. As it were, it just served to break the immersion even further, causing me to sigh everytime the game fades to the next cutscene. Which is a REAL shame because it looked fantastic, and I really loved the way the 2D mechanics worked. I loved Prime (the first one anyway), but I also really loved the originals, and they did a great job of making it better with the added power. Even the no-aim shooting was a lot better than I expected. Erm... don't ask about the 3D stuff, though. :(

wally said...

HOW COME NOBODY HAS PLAYED METROID FUSION!!!?!!!? adam was in that game and samus did have feelings for him, samus became emotionally distant after adam died. fusion chronologically the last game and guess what, that metroid is what saved her life.

roderickii said...

Uh guys from the description at the top says his fans demanded it. Usually that means It's not gonna be as good as his other vids since ORIGINALLY he probably didn't give a shit in the first place. So you can either be grateful or remember this saying. "Be careful what you wish for."

roderickii said...

Uh guys from the description at the top says his fans demanded it. Usually that means It's not gonna be as good as his other vids since ORIGINALLY he probably didn't give a shit in the first place. So you can either be grateful or remember this saying. "Be careful what you wish for."

Kirk said...

In the off chance someone actually reads all the way down to this comment, here's a youtube video that sums up my thoughts on the Authorization system:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PWqTQLjaLk

Manticore said...

It doesn't help that Adam shoots you in the back and you're forced to love him for it. Mind you this is stuff I'm usually overly sensitive to but others ignore. Samus's gender, which is extra super emphasized in this game for cheap characterization, means we're sympathetic and guarded at her treatment especially as its going to create distance or go to the game player.

Characterization is flat. Environmental storytelling is firm. But of the four or so storylines the game is working only the Ridley feels it works from start to finish. As such I support the Ridley freak out because from his introduction (by way of corpse and later cute traitor) is the elements of horror story and it delivers on just that. He EARNED that traumatic entrance and that seemed to be the sum total of his point. PROVE he could rattle her cage (though it was a nicely set trap he made). And despite the fact its about stupid looking purple dragon (or little white pompom) EVERYTHING is done right to set that up as freaky, scary, intimidating and terrifying. You KNOW this can't be happening it shouldn't be but it is. And worse Samus fails again.

that's the other thing. I think on a level this was deconstructing Samus super warrior and bringing her down, thankfully, to normal. I suspected this from the first trailer. and I appreciated the attempt as special mcdestined superwarrior without comparison that fanonly was building from Prime series and out of fanreaction to say Halo or Metal Gear or the shooter craze in general or her status as the First Lady of Gaming in general. This gives us less magical space god birds and magical space god suit and DEFINITELY less DESTINY and FATE. This gives us ex-marine who has sacrificed so much and now...for what?
However the means this was done wasn't making the Space Marines and Adam awesome or at least awesome to interact with. Or say drawing back the Saint Joan/Virgin Mary aura by having her interact with more strong female characters (as I was hoping at sight of scientist chick) but by deconstructing her and inserting Daddy Issues and etheralness and emotional frailty.

I think mainly though people forget every Metroid game has ended in a type of failure or apprehensive Pyrrhic victory. Metroid One you kill mother brain but she blows up the planet. Metroid II you either failed at the job or are now guilty of a horrific crime on an innoecent species that's done nothing but exist. Super Metroid Samus failed at her objective. Her actions enabled the enemy and a being that looked to her as its mother was kidnanpped, violated in numerous ways and had to be attacked only to save her life and give something of itself to save her. Its the perfect "now what the hell do I do" situation and how Other M started it conveyed that perfectly. No more pirates, no baby, no friends. Just...a job and a job people are quickly forgetting or not remembering (do you care about what your local police did three months ago?).

Then she meets her old friends from the service and suddenly... she's facing her past and her present and spiralling to a future of devastation that she can't quite figure out.

There are good ideas in Other M's narrative but the execution is TERRIBLE. Even some of the story ideas are ugly. And they don't capitalize on the differences you're gaining for the expectations you lost.

Manticore said...

Finally I want to apologize I gave an opinion earlier on a game I barely played on aspects I didn't know. The game and other gamers didn't deserve to be undermine by hearsay and speculation.

I regret what I've done. I would honestly reccomend Other M for interesting gameplay with some flat narrative that it at least puts you in the cockpit of. It integrates QTE controls well, looks interesting, and has charming set of enemies and approaches. It is a very stripped down experience different from the prime and super metroid. The controls are fine. The action is vigorous and varied with a variety of takedowns and positioning mixing various trials and strategies and exploration was shaved down is still an aspect with nook and crannies and careful eyes to the screen. It is simplified and easier than maybe metroid veterans are expecting but it plays well.

Storywise it isn't as bad as you've heard, but then even Good Times wasn't as bad as my family made it out to be. But the narrative is best when it isn't poorly using movie elements independent of gameplay. Just, as bob suggests, accept that authorization is the new power up arbitrarily locked away behind this door or that powerup.

Manticore said...

(technically first but got eaten)
Okay over the holidays I rented a Wii and beat Other M.

It doesn't control perfect but a lot of the gameplay complaints I heard just... didn't happen for me. Transition from Third to First person was jerky and could be dangerous but never lethal and impossible or that difficult. It was easy for me, especially once I got the ice beam, admittedly I never masted using sense move in first person. That would be my largest complaint the FPS mode being a little difficult and needing easier movement/sensemove. Camera, great. Response, good. Hybrid controls... okay hope they keep the idea and model of the game to build on better in the next work.

That said alot got sacrificed, your ability and freedom, to fulfill the game's narrative which was not good even by video game standards. IT was a teeny bit demeaning and Adam does nothing to endear himself. Before the hell run, he actually CALLS you before the bulk of it to insist he's NOT going to authorize the varia suit for some arbitrary reason.

I think over identification is an issue here. Samus when she's talking and not first person monologuing sounds great, I hope they keep the actress. Samus monologues are... poorly written exposition dumps about stuff we don't care about, that isn't followed up on because we need to maintain the Deleter mystery and the plot thread of Samus's Lament/PTSD. Moreover they draw on a number of tools that can be valid in and of themselves but are mostly terrible ones (akin to Amnesia) mostly used for disarming intimidating or otherwise potent female characters to the male geek psyche. And in this instance they are very prevalent to create a soft and insecure image defined by the men in her environment (who don't distinguish themselves or feel all that worth defining me and my actions nor am I allowed to interact with them as I choose) and regret of her own independence and identity and choices without nuance or back and forth during play.

stefan said...

okay.

Bioshock? A risk? really? that's what you're going with?

No. Just, no. The game is, for all intents and purposes, System Shock 3. It was, openly, blatantly and PROUDLY, a direct attempt to win over the cult following of System Shock 2. And the plot? Well, steampunk isn't a risk when Steampunk has such a massive fandom overlap with gaming. And the whole "would you kindly?" deal, that was supposed to be a commentary on gamer psychology and how they respond to objective-based gameplay? Metal Gear Solid 2 did it, years earlier, and much better. Bioshock is pretty much the polar opposite of a risky venture.

William G. said...

Wow. That is by far, the most reasoned and understandable defense of "Other M" I've ever seen/heard. I might actually play this game now!

Jay said...

Bob, if you get a moment, you should look at this:

Linkage

Not saying M:OM was good or bad, but perhaps you should get a follow up on that.

axelhander said...

DISCLAIMER: I'm a MovieBob fan and the following should not be seen as nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking.

You're using a strawmen here too, Bob. I'll point out one:

You discuss how, due to lack of characterization, we "fill in the blanks" based on what we see: Samus is in a non-revealing suit of powered armor, alone, finding all the gear she needs and defeating giant screen-filling enemies by herself.

However, there are other conclusions to come to other than "this means she rejects femininity, hates men, and must be emotionless" that still lead to grossly disliking the direction Other M decided to take.

To be fair, you're addressing people getting hung up on what Other M decides to flesh out as opposed to what people feel it *should* have fleshed out, and yeah, not every armchair game dev/storyteller knows what's the best way to fill that "should."

But this video reads almost like a blanket dismissal of the criticism Other M has received (including the assertion that its simplistic controls somehow inherently make it elegant, but that's been commented on already). And hey, people who want to play Other M and like it can go right ahead, but if someone asks the question "is it just me, or is Samus's emotional reaction here horribly contrived and slightly chauvinistic?", it shouldn't be immediately assumed that guy wanted Fem-Master Chief.

Slight tangent: the FPS bashing has to stop. Yes, the genre has problems and introduces problems, but it's a complex issue stemming from what FPS games tend to be now vs. what they could be... or were (e.g., original DOOM). And just slamming it wholesale is just as bad as the people you complain about in this very video, the ones who paint Japan as something it isn't (which itself is a complex issue as there are some very sociogender issues in Japan, but I digress).

Tegan Dumpleton said...

Okay, Bob. I'll say one thing: you've convinced me to give other m another shot. I didn't get far, sometime after you first see the little, white, fuzzy thing (I was watching a lets play), so maybe my opinion isn't that valid right now.

That being said, the reason I stopped looking at that game has nothing---NOTHING---to do with the gender issues.

I liked the more feminine moments they put in. They gave more dimensionality and it made sense. When Samus decided to follow Adam's orders, I didn't see it as Samus needing a man. Samus was an outsider. In order for the team to work together, Samus needed to follow Adam's orders or she would be considered a loose cannon to them. That, and Samus respects Adam. (Though I do find it odd that Samus waited for Adam's authorization before she agreed to work with them. I mean, how would Adam know that Samus was waiting for his authorization?)

The graphics are the most gorgeous thing on the Wii and the game play looks really good.

No, my problem was the WRITING. I can't remember that last time I heard such padded, unnecessarily long monologues as in this game. I feel like taking a copy of the script and striking out every unnecessary line in the thing. It was painful to hear Samus talk about the "baby's cry" or the meaning of a thumbs up and thumbs down. Samus states the obvious more then Alan Wake and I LIKE Alan Wake.

Team Ninja proved that they can do more then giggle physics. Much more on a grand scale and I am happy for it. But they need a new writer that knows about good dialogue and subtly.

jackspicer88 said...

@Jay

Just to let you know, "elephant in the room" editorial has already been debunked. It has as much credibility as Leo Kanner's "Refrigerator Mother" theory. (or possibly even less then.)

That "elephant" editorial shamelessly exploits a real life problem (abusive relationship) in order to demonize Other M and Sakamoto. Others, myself included, have experienced abusive relationships before and are very disgusted that this "editorial" tries to pull this off. It's down right insulting.

It's one thing if people like/don't like the game. I don't really care. But if shameless editorials like that "elephant" one pops up, then that's when I'm going to put my foot down.

Malcolm said...

http://www.g4tv.com/games/wii/61992/metroid-other-m/review/

Clayton said...

ah yes, the shameless "Elephant" article. It's not like that's NEVER been called out by people who know military protocol and have experienced abusive relation- OH WAIT:

http://katt120.deviantart.com/#/d34y34q

That article is exploitative trash of the highest order. Hearing Daniel Floyd claim it was a fantastic analysis made me wanna slap him over the head until his common sense came back. Abbie Heppe's "review" also does nothing short of prove that women can be just as whiny, macho-centric, insecure, and escapist as men are.

Smashmatt202 said...

Extra Credits finally talk about Metroid: Other M! I haven't fully watched it yet, but needless to say, it will probably be informative.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/3126-Learning-from-Other-M

jetstream said...

Honestly, the only reason I find the whole "authorization" think in Other M annoying is because it doesn't make much sense. I know it makes as much sense as "found it lying around" but for the love of all things holy... why couldn't they have just, like, BROKEN her toys and had the military guys be fixing them or what-have-you?

"Okay, now that you've been getting the shit kicked out of you by the lava for the last few hours, you're allowed to turn on the fireproof suit!"

OR

"Okay, we've got your fireproof suit working again! Put it on before you friggin' die!"

Which one makes more rational sense to you?

Marcomax said...

I just rented Metroid other M and about to play it but it feels as though I'm about to step on a landmine. I've been interested in play other M and it would be my first Metroid game. But I don't want to get entangled in all the other stuff surrounding the game (female character portrayal, the legacy of Samus, etc). Even with all this is Other M still worth trying.

Marcomax said...

I just rented Metroid other M and I'm about to play it. But it feels as though I'm about to step on a landmine. I've been interested in Other M since it was shown and this would be the first time playing a metroid game. But I don't want to get entangled in any of the other issues surrounding the game. Is the game still worth trying?

Smashmatt202 said...

I can't believe how many people still post on this blog entry... Myself included.

eventyraren said...

Watch this video http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/learning-from-other-m and tell me that you still think what you say in that video. also where do you get your info anyway?

Nina said...

We still think what we say; posting a link, nigh a year or more after the fact, won't change our minds. Sorry. Just accept people enjoyed the game and that the minority outcry (as the game's still going strong on ratings) just don't hold the water you think.

METROID Other M said...

I'm a huge fan of metroid I'd probably play it all day by eating only breakfast. I've beat zero mission and I'm working on fusion right now. The spider boss is hard in fusion. for a second I thought it messed up on the walk through, then I read it again and got confused, FINNALY I understood it. i collect this series at PIJ. Its really great. http://bit.ly/METROIDOtherM

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