Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Once More Into The Breach

I've decided - probably against my better judgement - that since it's been a year, Episode 58 will involve a look back at "Metroid: Other M." Since it's been awhile, please feel free and encouraged to post anything in particular you believe I need to re-think, or other opinions I should be reading, or thoughts in general in the talkbacks. Yes, that includes all those YouTube "takedowns;" and by all means don't forget to include some tacky cheesecake advertising that "proves" the "Handmaid's Tale"-level anti-woman agenda the Sinister Japanese are responsible for inserting into gaming - gotta cover all the bases ;)

Here is a LINK to the original Episode 40, "Heavens To Metroid!" Have at it, kiddies...

119 comments:

QSKSw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

I honestly think that the storyline that Team Ninja was going for wasnt a terrible one in practice.

We dont know much about Samus or how she copes with the things she does. We know that Ridley destroyed the colony she lived in and by proxy her parents, but we dont know how she deals with it.

I dont have any issue having samus show emotions. To see her being sad about the baby metroid dying is acceptable in my eyes, because it saved her life at the expense of its own, especially since before this she hadnt known Metroids to get emotionally attached.

I share a lot of the other issues people have, such as her being scared of Ridley after facing him in Combat at least twice before this, as well as defering to Adam's authority when she wasnt a part of the military at all.

QSKSw said...

If anybody noticed my previous comment before I deleted it, I wrote it while something was going on irl and I was distracted and wrote "cutscenes" instead or "characterization" and "super metroid" instead of "return of samus." Anyway, my only complaint with Heavens to Metroid was that Return of Samus was noted as the last time Samus was given characterization, but the first Nintendo game I had ever played and the reason for Other M's story in the first place Metroid Fusion seemed to be completely ignored during the video. So yeah, that.

Jeremy Pierce said...

I think Extra Credits summarized it best in their video regarding Other M. Might be hard to find at the moment due to the episodes being moved from The Escapist to PAtv, but if I had to pick any argument to counter your own, Bob, it would be that one.

Ultima Black Mage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ultima Black Mage said...

I think a better look at the story as a whole should be covered in a little more depth. I also think that a character design analysis wouldn't hurt either to add to the table.

I can honestly say thatI loved Metroid Other M but my complaint is that the story feels like they were writing a prequel to Metroid II but had to do some reworking to make it somewhat work of a sequel to Super Metroid. Also that monotone voice that's devoid of emotion kinda makes Samus sound like a boring character. I wish Jennifer Hale would have done her voice since she did the little voice clips in Metroid Prime.

Also the character Adam... I keep thinking he's got something to do with Metroid Fusion but I'm not sure. Come to think of it wasn't there a monologue from Samus in Metroid Fusion?

Silens said...

Oh, this episode...

Ok, right off the bat, I've watched enough of your material to know your opinion on FPS games and your preference for platforms. That's what you grew up with as a kid and it's shaped your world-view. I get that. But let's face it, those of us who didn't grow up on consoles in the same way don't have the same affection for the genre. Hell, I grew up on space-sims like Wing Commander and TIE Fighter - what the hell happened to THAT genre?

But honestly, the FPS ripping is starting to become tiresome. You did an entire episode on your POV on that matter, we get it. I disagree with it, but that's a matter of preference and opinion.

That being said, there are reasons why Other M pissed me off far more than say, Metroid Prime, and none of them had to with the game not being a damn FPS (although I will rag on the transitional controls from platforming to shooting to be painfully bad). No, my issues come with the writing, namely in that it's fucking AWFUL, and the voice-acting sure as shit didn't help.

Look, I wouldn't even have a problem with Samus having PTSD or actual emotion, but she's not a character I want to play as. There's no spunk or drive or much spirit to her, and between the voice acting, the horrendously bad dialogue, and the fact she refuses to switch on her power-ups until rational thought penetrates her Electra complex puts her roughly on the intellectual level of my microwave.

So yeah, I can understand she has issues and problems, but that's all her character is in Other M. There's no life or spirit or energy to her, and she comes off as painfully vapid. I compare her to characters like Alyx from Half-Life 2 or Aribeth from Neverwinter Nights, and I have to shake my head with disappointment. Nintendo could have done so much better, and yeah, I know Extra Credits pointed out the design difficulties Other M could have had, but in an era where gaming now has marginally better writing, there's no fucking excuse for Samus' development to be as poorly handled.

Ross said...

Bob, I highly suggest you give the following a read if you haven't already. It provides an intriguing perspective on the Samus/Adam relationship in Other M by comparing it to that of an abuser and his victim.

http://moonbase.rydia.net/mental/blog/gaming/metroid-other-m-the-elephant/article.html

Chris Pranger said...

I'd just point back at the instance where Samus encounters Ridley and has a momentary nervous breakdown as a completely random excuse to backtrack the character seeing as how she already encountered Ridley twice (was it twice?) by this point in the timeline. Her freaking out to Ridley would be like Mario breaking down into tears when he found Yoshi in Super Mario Galaxy 2, having just remembered that Yoshi had saved his life all those years ago when he was a baby. The statute of limitations expired on that plot device and it made no sense.

Also, I just want to reiterate that Samus wasn't written as an oppressed character or that the story was misogynistic. Rather, Samus was just written like a complete and utter idiot, one of the few things we can all agree was part of her character all these years (as we controlled her and we weren't stupid enough to keep the heat sink/gravity suit/grapple hook switched off because no one told us to flip those on).

thwak said...

I think if you really want to revisit other M you should probably look at kayin's "review" of the game. It goes crazy in depth and I think it's at least worth reading a game developer's take on it. Even if it is the guy who created "I Want To Be The Guy."

http://kayin.pyoko.org/?p=657

Besides that I'll just go on to say that the legacy of the game has made it the Sonic 06 of the metroid games. You see, everyone knows that Sonic 06 is bad, but very few have played it, so when someone describes the good things about that game (three unique campaigns that actually feel different, Sega exploring sonic's speed in new ways, all the callbacks to sonic adventure, etc.) no one believes them because of it's reputation. Are there good things about M:OM? Yes, but no one will believe you.

HouseOfNerd said...

While I feel alot of your arguments have merit (esp. the japan-aphobia and the unwillingness to accept new character traits) I think there's a couple fine points against Other M.

The armor stuff: Samus has been portrayed as employed by the army/govt but with all her own personal freedom as to how she accomplishes the mission (within parameters). Forfeiting control of those parts of her armor seems a odd choice to deal with avoiding the cliche "she lost her awesome armor in an attack and has to start from scratch," given her independence as a government contractor (note I say that she is independent, not necessarily stoic, or an ice queen).

I personally don't have much trouble with Samus as a former soldier with a complicated relationship with her former CO. That's cool, I can dig that. It goes a long way to establishing how she became a bounty hunter who still works for the government.

My problem is two-fold. Her characterization with "the baby" is exactly that crazy exaggeration you made up in end of the video about stopping everything once the biological clock starts. PTSD, sure totally see that. Reflections on the Metroid's sacrifice and what that means, a good line of inquiry. Mommy/baby drama as a result? Jarring.

My second issue, and the prevelant one throughout the game is the narration. Oh GOD the narration. Samus seems dead as she hollowly recounts all her past with adam and the army and the space pirates. Chalk that up to the PTSD issues? Maybe. And then you see her jumping around blowing shit up without any real pause (except when ridley shows up). The cutscenes/narration is discordant with the gameplay, and thats a poor writing mistake. Its a mistake alot of games make and its known in gaming as "The Badass Paradox." Losing agency and being defeated or disempowered in a cutscene smacks of sloppy writing.
Its probably the most jarring in this game though since Samus has rarely ever been associated with this particular device outside the opening of a Metroid game.

Hopefully that sharpens the argument about the weakness of Other M a little bit. It boils down to; if you choose to give a deep backstory to a previously uncharacterized but well known character, make sure your writing/tone matches what you're having us do on screen.

Arturo said...

Other M again? Right after introducing 2 new Strawmen?
Hmm...

My general opinion regarding Other M remains unchanged to this day: the game was great. HArd Mode really kicked my ass, which hadn't happened to me with a videogame in a while.
But yes, I think it was the LRR guys who put it best:
Giving Samus a voice? Not a bad idea.
How the voice was used? That's a whole other story.

Arturo said...

I forgot to add it wasn't a bad idea for Samus to show at least some sort of personality traits, regardless of execution

pyrox52 said...

honestly i think this episode is gonna be cool because your original metroid video was my first overthinker vid so it is kinda like an anniversary.

Nicko said...

That game has only one redeeming quality: Little Birdie. Everything else is reprehensible.

The gameplay is bland, clunky, uninspired, and does nothing to add a single thing to the Metroid formula. There are no new powerups to have fun with, and the game is even more linear than Fusion, totally undermining the concept of exploration that is the cornerstone of Metroid gameplay.

But of course what we're here to talk about is the story. It's inexcusable. And I'm sure a lot of people are going to say the same things, so I'll try to keep it short and focus on things I haven't heard other people said.

First of all, prior to Other M, Samus was probably the strongest female in character in gaming, a medium in which strong female characters are upsettingly hard to come by. Secondly, and too me this is one of the most important things, the "twist" in Other M is the EXACT SAME TWIST AS FUSION: that the Galactic Federation has its own secret Metroid weaponization program. Not only is that abjectly lazy, it makes Samus looks like an idiot in Fusion as well. It's the same damn twist and she is shocked at it twice. Horrible.

If you've read the Metroid manga, which is very good and considered largely canon, [IF YOU HAVEN'T, SLIGHT SPOILER] you know that Other M is not the first time Samus has been depicting having a panic attack while facing Ridley. It worked there and was quite engaging, since it was the first time Samus had seen him since he brutally murdered her parents in front of her when she was three you old. [SPOILER OVER] In Other M, Samus had already killed some iteration of Ridley SIX times. The idea that the seventh time would cause her to lose her composure is ludicrous and insulting to the character.

Other M also puts the future of Metroid in jeopardy. The nearly universally negative response has likely made Nintendo hesitant about releasing another one. Frankly I wished they'd do the opposite: release another to cleanse our palates. Have Nintendo R&D1 do another 2D game. Longtime fans, myself included, have been waiting for the now almost-definitely-scrapped Metroid Dread for six years. Or, if they're willing to do it again, give it back to Retro Studios. The Prime series was unbelievably good, and Prime 3 had a cliffhanger secret ending that has been yet to be explored.

Exploder Blade said...

Hello MovieBob, this may be my first time commenting on your blog, so allow me to preface it by saying this:

I love your shows. All of them. I watch them (sometimes multiple times) the moment I get the chance. i think you are an esteemed journalist/writer and you will go places. It would be incredibly remiss and short-sighted if The Escapist stopped playing your shows for any reason.

So...why then did this episode about Other M. PISS ME OFF SO MUCH. I know, it's because it is the polar opposite of what I, my friends who are Metroid fans, and even the chaps/chapette at Extra Creditz think about the game entirely. Oh, don't argue it, if you play your Episode 40 and the Extra Creditz episode one after the other, you can see that their episode is a clear counter-point to yours.

I have played Metroid games since I have been 10 years old, and I likes 'em all (didn't complete Corruption, lost interest, but still a decent game and never completed the original Metroid, mostly because it takes too long). But Other M...that was bar none, the worst Metroid game in the entire bunch.

Exploder Blade said...

Hello MovieBob, this may be my first time commenting on your blog, so allow me to preface it by saying this:

I love your shows. All of them. I watch them (sometimes multiple times) the moment I get the chance. i think you are an esteemed journalist/writer and you will go places. It would be incredibly remiss and short-sighted if The Escapist stopped playing your shows for any reason.

So...why then did this episode about Other M. PISS ME OFF SO MUCH. I know, it's because it is the polar opposite of what I, my friends who are Metroid fans, and even the chaps/chapette at Extra Creditz think about the game entirely. Oh, don't argue it, if you play your Episode 40 and the Extra Creditz episode one after the other, you can see that their episode is a clear counter-point to yours.

I have played Metroid games since I have been 10 years old, and I likes 'em all (didn't complete Corruption, lost interest, but still a decent game and never completed the original Metroid, mostly because it takes too long). But Other M...that was bar none, the worst Metroid game in the entire bunch.

I say this, not just because of the way Samus was portrayed (I will get to that), but also because the game itself wasn't that good, overall.

First, Samus' portrayal: My wife and I used to say Samus was the strongest female character in gaming. Not after Other M. Other M should us that while in the military, she was brattish child that went rogue against orders and felt like she was better for it. Great, fine. Character building. Certainly explains why she ended up being a bounty hunter. Yet, here she is, at least ten years on her own, after blowing up several PLANETS and single-handely (at this point in the story of course) committing MASS XENOCIDE of the Metroids, killed the same damn Space Dragon about FIVE times up to this point, killed thousands, maybe millions of Zebes Space pirates....so on and so forth. What I am getting at here is...SAVED THE GALAXY on six different occasions so far, and now some guy she hasn't seen in ten long years has the nerve, no no no no...I take it make, the damn audacity (!) to say "You have to follow my orders and use whatever weapons and armor upgrades i say you can use". Then Samus say "ok". What...The....Fu**....

Exploder Blade said...

True background story that can be verified by you if you want, but did you know that if you were to be awarded the Medal of Honor and live, ANYONE of ANY military structure SALUTES YOU. You could be a lowly private, but if you have the MoH, a Five Star General Salutes You. So, back to fake-life, if Samus has up to this point, saved the galaxy on five to six occasions now, What the HELL is Malkovich doing trying to give her orders. As a former soldier for six years, that doesn't even make militaristic sense. Are you telling me we are supposed to accept that the squad of soldiers that couldn't even open the front door to the space station they were trying to investigate, but Samus did with one rocket, that somehow she is still outranked in this situation?
Why?
Number She is a bounty hunter? Rank holds no meaning to her. What she does, she does for money and adventure or whatever, not for orders.
Another thing, when Samus broke down and started crying like a baby in front of Ridley...i about threw the controller down in disgust. It's the equivalent of Mario crying because he has to face Bowser again. Or Fox McCloud breaking down because he has to kill Pigma...again! How is it someone she hasn't had trouble killing FIVE-FOUR TIMES up to this point in the series, she somehow can't cope with killing now? No, it's doesn't make any sense. No she didn't have to express emotion in the past games to figure out what the score was going to be.

Samus: “Ridley? Again? This is un-expected, but I have killed you half a dozen times already, but what’s another killing gonna hurt me?”

There, though stupid, that is a better, more believable reaction to Ridley then her crying. Would you honestly appreciate Link better as a character if all of the sudden he cried when he had to face Ganondorf? I would hope you wouldn’t! That’s the equivalent to us Metroid fans of Samus bursting into tears to fight Ridley. It didn’t make her a better character, it made her weak, for no reason.
Finally on this topic, why did Samus agree to listen to Adam about hot use HER POWER ARMOR. This isn’t military issue. It’s hers. Unique. Nothing in the galaxy like it. Who cares if he knows the specs and capabilities of it, the Chozo hand crafted it for her, it fits only her body, and she obviously knows how to use it well enough to not only NOT DIE in it, but to save some worlds with it. So why is Adam allowed to determine when and if Samus can use the Varia upgrade to keeps herself safe? It’s like saying, “I know you need this body armor to stop those bullets, but you can only use it when I allow” as opposed to the character finding the body armor in a hostile area.

Exploder Blade said...

Now, second of all, you kept saying the gameplay in Other M was great because it used only 2 buttons. Did we play the same game? Yes, the overall control in Other M was solid enough, but a major Metroid component was missing: Backtracking.
Metroid Other M is the only Metroid game were Samus cannot take her new abilities she might have just gained and go to areas she recently didn’t have access to. No, the game had to be completed before you were allowed to go back and collect the additional items. Those additional items could have been used to make the game easier, if not more enjoyable to play. Hell, sometimes the effort to get those items makes the game more enjoyable. But no, if you tried to do it in this game, you stood the very possibility of breaking your save file and having to mail your SD card back to Nintendo to get them to fix it…because I guess the Wii is incapable o patching…

Also, switching to “rocket” mode in the game was also broken. How is switching to “first person mode” by breaking you hand position of the controller intuitive? It breaks the game flow. It forces the player to realize that they are playing a game. It utterly destroys the immersion. I am no expert on game design, but I can say I major in it at Full Sail University, so I like to consider myself no slouch (I graduate in a little more than one year), and I can also say taking away the items and health orbs gained from killing enemies and making Samus do something called “Concentrate” was another game and immersion breaking experience. Since when did Samus have the ability to regain a small amount of her health by thinking about it? Because once again, the Wii remote has to be turned up and A held, it breaks the thought you are not playing a game, it becomes ultra apparent.



You know what…I could go on and on why this game wasn’t that great. After I completed it 100%, I gave it to GameStop to never be bought again. I only beat it 100% so I would never have and excuse to ever play the game again, which is a shame because I have played and completed most Metroid games 100% multiple times, because they are enjoyable. This was not that enjoyable. It was a chore to play since health was difficult to come by (“concentrate” did not help things), it had story arcs (the deleter!) that didn’t make any sense and never really panned out in the end, and broken gameplay mechanics. In essence, it not a good Metroid game. At all. You fervently defending it, knowing how you feel about women’s equality, just confuses me. For your next video, please address why this is such a good Metroid game. It’s the lowest selling one. It’s the lowest scored one. It’s also the one most hated by its fans, the very people willing to buy the game, for various but similar reasons. All that taken into account, don’t you think that maybe, just this once MovieBob, maybe you made your points in Episode 40 in error or perhaps too hastily? Please don’t ignore what a large extent of the actual FANS OF THE METROID SERIES think. Do not pull a Reggie Fils-Amie and just be dazed and confused why the fans might actual not like this game. There is a reason; we are not just pandering “straw-men” that ramble needlessly, almost all about the same topic. Don’t you think that stands to merit something? That’s what should be addressed in Episode 58.

PureIrony said...

My biggest problem with that episode wasn't that you defended Other M. While you probably should have been more open about the story's obvious flaws, or at least tried a better defense then a prolonged Ad Hominem, my problem with that episode was that I honestly got the impression that the only reason you thought anyone spoke out against Other M is because they were stupid sexist, or some combination of the two;not because they were overprotective of the franchise due to nostalgia and the passage of time, as you claimed of Nintendo fans, or because it wasn't the Samus that they had envisioned, or that it might have not been as good as it should have been,but because you saw them as nothing more than bigots. If you're looking to do that episode right, I mean really do it right, you're going to have to do more than just recant some statement or throw around some qualifiers. You're going to have to show some respect to the opposing side-because not everyone who disagrees with you does so because they're idiots.

I'm not saying this because I dislike you or your videos. I'm saying because I do-and what I normally like about them (you know, the overthinking part) was absent from that one.

As for Other M, I've read summaries, read and listened to some commentaries, and played exactly zero hours of the game. Can't really help you there.

Jay said...

Bob, I'm rather glad you killed off the strawman, but Other M was a HUGE strawman for you.

Let me explain:

I have never played any of the Metroid games from beginning to end. But I thought it was cool to have the Justin Bailey code show me a girl.

When the SNES came along, I was one person who didn't play the Metroid games. I played RPGs such as Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy. I know good writing and good characters from my RPGs.

Then, I got to the Wii games where she's in third person. I know of them, and know that they happen after Fusion.

Then Other M came along and I read about how bad it was. I read about how Samus' entire motivation and HOW she was turned into a weak shell of what I knew from the games in order to have a "father figure" in Adam. I'm sorry, but the whole thing seems off. By the time Other M chronologically took place, she had faced Ripley quite a few times. She's probably had more trauma induced on her through her military service as well as bounty hunting. Hell, this was a girl that had her adopted home blown UP by Space Pirates.

Yes, I love story. But the story of Other M is an awful one. And yet you seem to defend Other M for giving Samus a personality when that's NOT what people are complaining about. Sakamoto gave her a story that doesn't jibe with anything wrong with her "character". Basically, your argument boils down to "a bad characterization is better than no characterization at all" and that's horrible.

I would be okay if someone could explain to me how Adam is a likable character. He is, to put it bluntly, an asshole incarnate from everything I've looked into. Why would *anyone* look up to this man, and why is Samus in an abusive relationship with someone that seems to be nothing more than a manipulative sadistic bastard son of Grendel?

Great, the game plays decent on an NES controller. But the story paints Samus in an unwholesome negative light that just makes me think of Other M as a discontinuity more than a sign of Metroid games to come.

jackspicer88 said...

I'm just going to drop this off.

http://katt120.deviantart.com/art/Metroid-Double-Standards-189707354

Daniel Floyd said...

This feels weird somehow.

I know our two shows have somewhat different stances on the game, but I did want to bring up something you said recently. You mentioned how you didn't see Samus's portrayal as evidence of an abusive relationship or the author's backwards views on women, just the cracks showing in outdated game storytelling. I actually agree with you on that one.

I often refer people to that Elephant in the Room article, but not to prove the same point they try to make. The only thing that article proves is that the characterization and storytelling have significant flaws, and that when we're presented with pieces of a story that don't make sense, we start trying to find a way to explain those holes. A flawed story is like a puzzle that doesn't fit together properly, and when given a puzzle that doesn't seem to fit together the way it's presented, we try to find a way that it DOES fit together. Some minor plot point we missed. Some meaningful character moment. Anything. The article examines the game's mechanics and comes to one possible explanation, one way the pieces SORT of seem to fit together and make sense (if you squint your eyes).

Whether that conclusion is right or wrong isn't terribly important. To me, the article highlights the fact that mechanics communicate narrative information to the player, intended or not. Among Other M's other storytelling flaws, there was a lack of concern for what the game's mechanics communicated about Samus as a character, and that oversight left us with a very different-looking Samus than may have been intended.

I don't know what it is about Other M that makes it so interesting to dissect (for me). I'm really looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts on the game. :)

Popcorn Dave said...

You need to seriously rethink your argument that Samus was a blank slate, and that all the stuff about her being a tough soldier was all just our imagination. I was stunned to hear that from an old-school gamer; it was like you were saying that characterisation just doesn't "count" unless it's in a cutscene and, presumably, that anything goes when it comes to giving game characters voices. That was a load of crap, but Extra Credits said it better than I could.

On the whole, the video was deeply flawed as it was framed as a response to widespread criticisms, but completely failed to engage with those criticisms in any real way. You portrayed all the critics as insecure nerds who were scared of femininity. It was the height of intellectual laziness, just strawmanning your opponents instead of actually coming up with a coherent argument. Worst of all, you took a few minor (but perfectly legitimate) comments about sexist attitudes in Japan and used it as an excuse to beat all your opponents with the racism stick. It was the height of intellectual laziness - you didn't have a counter argument so you just screamed "racist!" to try and stop anyone from criticising the game along those lines.

Mveculous said...

I don't really have anything much to add that others have said much better than I can. I'm very far from a Japanophobe (kind of a Weeabo sometimes) so I'm not one of these people going "Japan. Enough said."

I think that the game is disappointing mostly, because if you just fixed up the writing the game wouldn't be half bad. Examples like the whole "hell run" Samus not using her heat shielding when she needs it to live could be quite easily be re written to make it more palatable. Say maybe a previous boss battle had damaged her suit or maybe her suit didn't have the heat shields necessary so she had to go get the parts that were kept by the station scientists incidentally having to go through the danger zone first since she is going through the back way or whatever. I also don't really have a problem if the Devs want to show Samus freaking out at Ridley because of her past trauma. I'd prefer to see her shoulder through it and kick some ass. Some people I know can't help but cry while they fight. Straight up fist fighting someone, but tears are streaming down their faces because that just happens when they get angry or worked up. It's not a shameful thing and I don't want Samus to be Master Chief with Tits. I think a problem I had is that it's not a catharsis when she beats Ridley and lets it go. I think it would have been more powerful if she had cried or screamed and then Coup de Graced Ridley in a climax of all her despair and hate for this monster that killed her parents. I personally would like to see some scenes set after all the action where Samus maybe sets the ship on autopilot, takes off her armor (in a non overtly sexual way) and just sits there decompressing. Thinking about all the shit she just went though/did and just taking a breather. Maybe then the narration could kick in about how she is not some invincible Space bad ass and that it does take a toll on her. Maybe her hands are shaking a little as grabs some water as her body goes out of fight mode and the adrenaline starts wearing off.

Mveculous said...

CONTINUED.

This is an argument just for me as it annoys me whenever someone tries to us it; The whole "Military Protocol" defense is very stupid.

Real life military protocol is not retarded.

I've never heard of our military sending Navy seals on a diving mission and not letting them use air tanks till they get about an hour down underwater. I personally think it would have been better if Adam didn't so much "Authorize" as if he "Tried to Authorize". Maybe in certain parts of the station he'd say "You are not authorized to use super missiles and power bombs because that would tear the hull of the ship open and kill us all". Or something to that effect. Game play wise the player/Samus would still be able to use said weapons but doing so would end in a non standard Game over where the ship actually does get damaged. Hell maybe even not have the game end, and work it into the story so It's a little more open ended. Say the damaged doesn't kill Samus but it does kill some survivors and some upgrades to her armor and arsenal that were found in that particular part of the station are lost in the damage. I know that as a player I would want the most upgrades and armor powers and not kill potential survivors. Maybe if you do well enough and keep the station relatively intact the game ends on a lighter note or something. I'm spit balling here and am in all honesty a horrible writer.

In the end though what is wrong is that It doesn't seem like Samus to me. This lady was SAMUS LITE. Diet Samus. I don't know if its "Projecting" or not but even though she wasn't characterized that much in the previous games I feel that her actions work to characterize her. The Samus in Other M didn't seem like the Samus that was just decimating entire planets full of space pirates and monsters in the years prior. Anyway this is just the opinion of some 22 year old Goon on the internet who really can't write coherently, So I mean no disrespect and am not trying to change your mind or anyone else.

Just givin my piece, since you asked.

MovieBob said...

@Daniel,

I agree with you that it's a poor-storytelling issue (I'll explain more fully in the actual episode); but it DOES bug the hell out of me that people INSIST on reading some sort of sinister motive (re: "Sakamoto hates women!!!") into what is very clearly a mechanics-of-storytelling issue that leads to unfortunate though clearly unintended implications. ESPECIALLY coming from a community that is generally willing to bend over backwards defending bad narrative ("it's a game not a movie!" "gameplay only important!") but then magically morphs into Gloria Steinham the MINUTE a dodgy narrative choice gives them a chance to wag their fingers at Japanese design sensibilities (and Nintendo design-sensibilities specifically.)

@Popcorn Dave

If I had seen any "perfectly legitimate" comments about sexism in Japan I'd have responded to them. By and large, I didn't - what I saw was a lot of dimestore analysis of a foriegn culture largely coming from a place of recieved-wisdom born of forum memes and bordering-on-racist stereotypes.

Laserkid said...

I think a lot of the reaction to Other M is overreaction to WHO developed it.

It wasn't a good idea to use "authorization" as your method of item unlocking when you are team ninja - because team ninja has a reputation and people input that into their heads.

Adam Malkovich is not an ass so much as he is a by the book military man - even when it is really stupid, something Fusion veterans already knew about. Would it have been nice to see that change? Yes, and we did - in Metroid Fusion. Changing him before he actually changed wouldn't exactly be good storytelling. So yes, he came off as an asshole for it.

The unlocking mechanic had its main flaw in the hell run in the lava area where the best implication is adam was asleep or something.

Thing is, the metroid games ALWAYS had a "hell run" before you could get heat armor. Someone thought they were clever with item unlocking being "authorization" and people tore it apart.

Thats the real main actual issue of the game I will agree with - but not because it was some sexist decision - it was team ninja trying (and failing) to be clever.

As for Samus herself in this game THIS is where I get really annoyed with people. She has a PTSD moment with ridley whom she has killed and seen come back before, yes.

But she just killed him and left his carcass on an exploding Zebes - and went through mental hell losing the hatchling in the fight with mother brain. These were RECENT things as in it had just happened a short time ago. Ridley recovered pretty damn fast after a pretty strong trouncing. I think ANYONE could have a breakdown there and I LIKE the fact that Samus is having a less then perfect moment there. It adds some depth to her as a character.

As for her monotone voice - I don't like listening to it, but I think it effectively potrays samus as socially awkward - something that fits with what we've seen of her. She does not exactly hang with people in these games much.

As for the idea that she had characterization before - yes - some. But it doesn't point to the idea of her being a hardened battle soldier.

Samus went back to Zebes - the planet that raised her after the pitates killed her family, to stop the metroid threat there. She was hired to do this, after she couldn't stand to remain in the military. She went in and defeated the enemy. Anything else you put in there is from your head.

She then went to planet SR388 to finish off the metroids in their homeworld, again as contracted to do so. She nearly wipes them all out but cannot bear to kill the last one. She takes that last hatchling who treats her like its mother and selflessly gives it to a scientific research station.

This is not the actions of a hardcore rough 'n tough soldier. This is the actions of a bounty hunter with a sense of justice that has a big heart.

She does all this without any backup or ever asking for backup. This suggests some level of social awkwardness - either disliking others company or not wanting to be held down by any partner.

So take this person through one more journey to zebes after the pirates steal the hatchling which ends with said hatchling murdered and the planet she was raised on, the closest thing she has to a home, destroyed.

Add this all up and you have a perfect emotional cocktail for the way she behaves in other M.

Sam Robards, Occasional Gamer said...

I LOVED Other M, both it's gameplay (despite the kinda-clunky switch between NES-style controls and Wiimote pointing) and plot and agree 100% with your viewpoints in "Heavens to Metroid!"

And before someone claims I'm some sort of Metroid noob, I have Metroid and Super Metroid on my Virtual Console as well as the Metroid Prime trilogy, and they were all great games. I skipped the GBA iterations because, well, I didn't have a GBA.

Now then, as for the points you should consider, I'd watch the Extra Credits rebuttal for more perspective on the matter. Some of their points are good, but some are easily shot down. The main point of theirs I'd shoot down is the idea that the potential of something is inherently better than something you don't like. I think they used the Star Wars prequels as an example of this: ie, weren't the Star Wars prequels better when they DIDN'T EXIST?

Yeah, you might have wanted something to turn out different, but one's perception of something should be based off what's there and not what isn't. I think you said something similar, Bob, in one of your Escape to the Movies reviews: review the movie you've got, not the one you want. Or something along those lines.

I would also enlighten the populace who thought that Team Ninja did the writing for this game. It was written by one of Metroid/Samus's creators, Yoshio Sakamoto. Team Ninja did not do plotting, so quit saying, "TM totally screwed up Samus, those misogynist pigs!"

The other main point I would try to tackle is the media's outright cowardly response to the VERY vocal minority, and yes, it's a MINORITY, who think Other M was a betrayal of everything they hold dear.

Key example: IGN. Their official review of Other M is HUGELY positive, and they even went so far as to say, and I'm paraphrasing here, that Other M would cause Samus to be one of your favorite Nintendo characters, if she wasn't already.

However, a couple weeks later, after the peanut gallery went into Bitching Override, IGN posts an number of editorials lambasting Other M's portayal of Samus Aran. Two of the article titles include "Killing Samus" and "Losing Samus (and Perspective) in Metroid: Other M." The latter deals more with gameplay with spots about character, but it still portays Other M in a negative light in that regard.

They also, without fail, take a jab at Other M in nearly EVERY subsequent Metroid piece they have produced without producing a SINGLE pro-Other M editorial to attempt to balance the scales: the full list of articles can be found at wii.ign.com/objects/143/14354733_articles.html. This reeks of editorial cowardice, and they COMPLETELY threw their original review (as well as the reviewer) under the bus. It's disgusting.

It also provides further evidence that "games journalism" is, for the most part, a contradiction in terms due to the immaturity and lack of integrity of those involved. But that's another issue.

I bring up the IGN example because the more Nintendo sees things like that, the more likely they are to simply reverse course and put out another Metroid Prime to satisfy the complainers. Yes, I liked the three Prime games but I don't want the entire series to become an endless series of FPS rehashes because, let's face it, there wasn't a heck of a lot of difference, gameplay-wise, between Metroid Prime and Echoes.

Wow, I've talked about this for WAY too long but I hope you find it useful, Bob! Looking forward to the next vid!

Oh, and don't let the haters force you out of subplots and comedy sketches. They make you unique, and you've really started hitting your stride when it comes to integrating them into the overall vid. Very nice work.

Daniel Floyd said...

@ Bob

Haha yeah, you make a good point. :)

Looking forward to the episode!

Spongey Blob said...

Speaking as a large Metroid fan, I could go on and on and on about the collosal problems with Other M but I personally think that all of them can be linked with the production management on the project. This was a development team consisting of three different companies, all wanting to take the project in different directions;
Sakamoto originally wanted to make a cheap little aside to link Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion together, though he changed his mind about half-way through and wanted to make it more about Samus's past.
Nintendo and Team Ninja wanted a base and simple game for differing reasons; this was Team Ninja's chance to gain a very powerful link with a huge company.
D-Rockets are a film company, though, that make cutscenes, and they wanted a lot of cutscenes and therefore a story heavy game.
As such, focus was shifting like a kangeroo on amphetemines, and anyone who's ever worked in a constant crunch knows how bad this can be. I think this led the development team to end up getting fed up and, by extension, lazy.
See as evidence the unsubtlety of the message (YES WE GET IT THE GAME'S ABOUT MOTHERHOOD JUST SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP), the lack of payoff on the betrayal storyline, the unfocused plot that can't decide if it's about Samus's past or her loss of the infant metroid, the lack of justification for the hell run and the choice to have no exploration. This is, however, simply hyperbole; the truth could be very different.

Well, it's also Samus's portrayal, which most people can agree was wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Even people who liked the game have generally said that it was not consistent with the rest of the franchise. And this is another big problem; the game creators assumed that speech = personality, and therefore Samus was a blank slate. She wasn't. This is like saying deaf people can't eat beans. They are completely unrelated.
The idea that she has no personality is a lie; the first three Metroid games are the best example, though you can look to the monologues in the Gameboy games and her body language in the Prime trilogy for more recent examples.

The reason that Samus endured the N64 gap was that she was, compared to other character of the time, such a strong character, full of humanity and emotion. How? The game developers, lacking any way of telling the players what she was like, actually used the gamer's input as part of her character.
The gamer is alone in the journey and must become used to this solitude, and so must Samus. The game's atmosphere and style can very easily make the player feel lost and scared, but they eventually conquer these anxieties through perseverance and bravery, so Samus too is relentless and brave. We have to stop to consider our route through Zebes, and we search like bloodhounds for items, making Samus smart and methodical. We spare the infant metroid at the end of Metroid 2 because it helps us win, and thus Samus is not ruthless but, in fact, has a human heart. And, on a personal note, the reason that the ending of Super Metroid is considered by many to be one of the strongest emotional experiences in gaming is that we care about the infant metroid; it was our goal, and to see it destroyed both saddened and angered us, and thus Samus is hugely protective and considers her own responsibility highly, and she continues to assault Mother Brain despite the fact that she's already lost once. It's not a smart thing to do, so why does she try again? Because the player's renewed attack on Mother Brain gives Samus an air of reckless desire for revenge. She has weaknesses as well as strengths because we have weaknesses as well as strengths. She's a three-dimensional human being, because we the player make her one.

Spongey Blob said...

CONTINUED FROM ABOVE

It's why Link is so brave and James Sunderland a coward, and why RPG characters change personality even in the same game; because the players make the character as much as the developers do, and the team of the original Metroid games knew how to steer us into thinking of Samus as how we do.

The Samus of Other M showed none of these qualities. It would've been just as annoying to people who disliked Other M if Samus was a violent bitchy ice queen, or a comedic slapstick character, or a friendly and shy demure woman, because that isn't what she is.
She's methodical, brave and wrathful, refusing to give up in the face of impossible odds, and with a great rage as her greatest flaw. You may be correct in saying that she isn't stoical, but that wasn't all we thought of her, and this is why, at least as I see it, why people hated Samus so much in Other M. It wasn't the Samus we had been steered to making. It wasn't the Samus we knew and loved. It wasn't OUR Samus Aran.

To make this more about your video, seeing as that was what you asked in the first place, while not to sound biased against Other M or overly critical to you; I don't think you had the strongest of arguments at all, and there's one reason for this; evidence.

A lot of people get very indignant about the article The Elephant in the Room http://moonbase.rydia.net/mental/blog/gaming/metroid-other-m-the-elephant/article.html but I'd say it's far superior to your video because, despite the article's odd message...
(I won't deny that the game wasn't a very bad depiction of Samus and I think it was sexist, but unless Sakamoto's lost his mind he didn't do it intentionally)
- they always back up their claims with hard evidence, something which you failed to do.

Spongey Blob said...

CONTINUED FROM ABOVE

For one, you really, REALLY, didn't do your research into what people's problems are. For example, even now you're still trumpeting that people are saying it's simply because the game's Japanese that everyone hates the game. I have not seen a smidgeon of anti-Japan sentiment in every argument I've seen, nor, if I may take offence, have I heard any kind of argument saying 'Adam shouldn't be controlling Samus because that's my job' which personally insults everyone who has ever enjoyed Metroid games.

Nor do you defend the game itself that much; it's been a while since I saw it, but I don't remember you ever pointing to a part of the game and saying '... and this is why Samus's portrayal is correct'.
You mostly lash out to others and look for flaws in over-exagerrated and dubiously constructed version of Other M's criticisms.
One big one is to assume that Samus being weak at all is a problem. No one said that Samus HAVING weaknesses is an issue, as best to I've heard; the problems are that the weaknesses she is given are the wrong ones. As I said above, Samus had a personality before, and it was jarring to see this new and incorrect Samus that didn't fit.
I think people who didn't like the game would've considered your arguments a lot more if you evidenced and backed up your claims a lot more. Even if we disagree, we'd still listen, because it would be a carefully constructed argument, and your video wasn't.

Overall, you should've backed up your arguments a lot harder with good and strong evidence, from as many sources as you can but certainly all the Metroid games, including the Prime trilogy and Other M, and you should know exactly what everyone disliked about the game before rushing to the game's defence.

I hope you don't take this as offensive or patronising; the evidence problem is not one you usually make I have to stress, and I only wish to assist you. I hope this has been helpful to you in a small way. Thank you for taking the time to read this overly long argument and best regards to you.

Dave from canada said...

@ Chris. She encountered ridley 4 times by that point and killed him 3 times.

During the first metroid, where she kills him, then kills him when he returns as a cyborg.

Then she fights him again in 3, he runs and she eventually kill him on their second encounter.

And that's not counting the 2 other times she killed him during the prime series.

Smpoza said...

One point that hasn't been brought up too much is the change in gameplay that Samus's new obedience to Adam brought. In past Metroid games, getting a new powerup was exciting and rewarding-you worked towards finding it and when you found one you felt rewarded for all your exploration. In Other M, Samus already HAS all her weapons and armor; she's just waiting for Adam to unlock them. This takes the accomplishment of getting new powers out of the player's hands; we're not finding powers anymore, the game is simply unlocking them whenever it wants. This completely changes the player's reaction to getting new abilities-before, it might have been a pat on the back and a surge of pride, but now it's more of a "about damn time." It would be like if in Legend of Zelda Link started the game with everything, and instead of exploring the world and finding new items and abilities at random points Navi would tell him what items he could use. What would you rather do-explore the world around you knowing that you could find exciting new powerups, or simply play through the game hoping the powerups will fall into your lap with no input from you?

Oh, and the story is an abominaion.

Oh, and the whole "we're projecting Ripley onto Samus" theory might be more valid if the makers of the game weren't actually doing the same thing (albeit to a lesser extent):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metroid_(video_game)

Sylocat said...

Yeah, as far as the story itself goes, I'm having a hard time countering Katt120's defense.

The storyTELLING, however, was horrendous. Inner monologues are the worst possible method of conveying story in ANY visual media, let alone video games. Doubly so when they tell us stuff we are already seeing onscreen.

Monologues in cutscenes are even worse. Especially when referring to the voice acting as "melodramatic" is charitable.

And yes, I too am uncomfortable with the Japanophobia in many of the critiques (even The Escapist's official review said, "The game has become too Japanese!"), but when your game is being developed by Team Jiggle Physics, it pays to be extra careful with the subtext.

holyjunkie said...

If anything, Metroid: Other M could have done better without uber-linear level design, craploads of monologues that tell and don't show, and a generally poor choice of talent that was to play the part of "teh most beloved fem-hero in gaming".

It would also help to make a less bullcrap-ridden reason as "You're not authorized to use this device or weapon."

Ya know, cause Samus occasionally gives the finger to orders, as proven in Metroid 2 and Fusion.

Metroid Prime 3, the Federation never tried to bog down Samus with dumb orders or anything, because they know she'll get the job done.

Also speaking from experience, mood swings of the caliber shown in Other M would realistically *snort* horribly hinder Samus' aim. Between cutscenes and gameplay, it's literally Final Fantasy levels of polarizing character actions.

Samus is having a mental breakdown from the sight of Ridley- something she's killed about... what, three- four times now? I've had mental breakdowns of that magnitude myself, and my hands are shaking more than an overclocked vibrator. Yet in the game, Samus is having the breakdown, but the player doesn't. As a result, it appears Samus just dropped the horrifying experience like it was nothing, and started silently firing missiles and laser beams.

I dunno, that's just me.

...

Yeah, realistic. This is about a human girl raised by bird-men to become a super-powered bounty hunter.

21464cb6-9181-11e0-bedb-000bcdcb8a73 said...

You have another supporter in me, Bob. Other M was pretty good, especially the GAMEPLAY part, which is heavy on the action and pretty thrilling most of the time.

The one main criticism of the Game design comes from an attempt to shake up the way the game is played by using authorization instead of just finding everything like you always do. But The origins of this concept actually come From Metroid Prime 3, in which Samus and the other Hunters are "authorized" to call their ships down, which assumes that they could have all along and were waiting for permission.

In fact, there was a recently released design document from a former Retro employee that showed plans for a 2-D ish game to come out around 2005 that included as its main villain, an evil Ship AI that is jamming Samus's suit and its abilities. Samus would regain her abilities as she explore further and disable the jamming devices. Which is exactly the same as Authorization really, except in Other M Adam is on your side. Also in this prospective game, there was to be many manifestations of the Ship AI, including one that would try to psychologically torture Samus with painful images of her and others' pasts, which would try to disturb the player and Samus herself.

But something tells me if Retro made this game, there would be less hubbub. BTW this is all true, you can Google it.

I also find the newfound feminism of the Video Game Critics and the Internet to be rather humorous considering what faults they would whip in Samus, Nintendo, and Tecmo that they would turn a blind eye to in other games. Samus became a scapegoat for the least of perceived offenses.

Richard Goodness said...

If I may plug my own article, I did a writeup of Other M when it came out. Whether Samus was a Strong Powerful Heroine who was Cruelly Made Weak, or whether she was a blank slate, I think that the characterization is definitely misogynistic. The gameplay was fine--it's just that it got hijacked so we were forced to watch a poorly-written, poorly-acted, and poorly-thought-out story every few minutes.

http://www.secondquest.vg/2010/11/05/metroid-other-m/

Aiddon said...

-rubs temples-

Bob, trust in your better judgment and DON'T do this episode. All this will do is just give crybabies another chance to bitch about a game they've been sulking over like five-year-olds for over a year now. Pathetic shitheads like those are NOT going to change their minds and they'll just kick and scream immaturely once again in order to weakly justify their sloppy arguments. You're just going to be wasting time on an case that doesn't need to be brought up again.

This newfound "feminism" and the accusations of sexism people tout are nothing more than exploiting actual issues and problems because Samus wasn't John Mcclane or Master Chief (and before anyone compares Samys to Ripley, please go watch the Alien films again precisely tell me where she actually fights besides the climax in Aliens) and it disgusts me to my very core. That "Elephant in the Room Article" in particular I find to be offensive, sensationalist trash. Whoever wrote that should be ashamed of themselves.

But, since you're not listening to common sense, this is what I recommend:

1. Fusion: This is where Adam first appears and thus should be expanded upon. It's also where Samus is first characterized (though it's minute at best)

2. See if you can find anything said by Team Ninja or Sakamoto. Might be a bit tough since they've remained relatively quiet on the matter. Your best best is articles from the Metroid Database

And...that's kind of it. Huh, not a whole lot to add, eh?

Polk Kitsune said...

Another look at Other M? Interesting. I wonder what you'll have to add/say on the topic.

For me, I'll admit, it wasn't the perfect game, but it was still a good experience. I don't see why it was inflated into such a big controversy.

Samus is being portrayed as a weak character? Okay, post-traumatic disorder aside, I have to ask: Have you actually seen her in action?

She will tackle an enemy down, rip it's head/spine/snake body right out of it's armor, before shooting it down. A creature, dozen times her size will try to trample her, and her answer is to hop on it's face and hit it where it hurts. She'll climb a frozen, blazing limb of a creature up in order to get a point blank shot at the giant thing.

And people say she's been weakened? I've heard very little about this point of view.

I think it's a case of the trope 'cutscene power to the max' affecting the watcher. Characterisation is more than just what's seen in the cutscene. For all the 'she's cold and stoic in the previous games' arguments, it seems easy to avoid watching her in action here.

It doesn't help when the game mechanics is being affected also though.

Adam giving authorisation, for me, made more sense than the same plot that's been repeated oh so many times with this. How many times have we been joking about Samus losing all her powerups in a crash? It's been happening so often you wonder if the next time she trips, she'd lose her powerups again. For once, we find a professional reason for limiting her power, and we throw feeces at it. It's like hating Nintendo for trying something different. Go figure.

If Adam would have been replaced by a woman, would anything have changed? At all? It still would have been a military operation, Samus would have still been trespassing, considering her past deeds and military services, she would have still had to follow protocols. The moment she would have rebelled or showed herself as a liability, whoever would have been in charge could have just locked her in whatever room she was until someone would have escorted her away. It wouldn't have been considered sexist, it would have been something closer to the hold of the military over justice/heroics. Maybe this tells us how much we've matured in society, where the first moment you put a man versus a woman, it's still centered on sexism.

This isn't the first time Samus was given characterisation either. She's been given characterisation since Super Metroid when the baby was killed, but mostly in Fusion. Even in that game, after all the adventures she's been through, all the danger she's faced, she's still scared back then, still following orders, and yet no one bats an eyelash. Why? Is it because Fusion was a portable game only?

For me, Samus is still a strong character. You're not strong because you're never scared. That's idiocy and recklessness. You're strong when you're scared, but you still stand up to defend what's important. In Samus' case, it's the whole galaxy. She's driven not just as a bounty hunter, but by a necessity to defend the universe, in a way only she can do it. Other M never changed that.

One thing that does bug me about the story though, is the 'Deleter' issue. I don't hear much about that plot point, at all, even if it does fail to deliver. You have a setup for a murder/mystery drama situation, and the best you get out of it, is one boss battle, and a vague moment of doubt on the crew. There's no climax or answers to the mystery, and I still wonder: was it a good thing to leave it vague, or should have someone capitalised on it?

Anyhow, I am sorry if I get a bit carried away in this little rant of mine. Once more, looking forward to the next episode.

Juan said...

I have to say, over all, it was bad writing. The "don't use power X until I say so." Is still dumb on almost any level, man or woman, and completely takes you out of it. If he had just restricted it to say, "anything that could blow up the entire ship" that it wouldn't have been such a problem. Although then you have the problem that she has a bunch of her suit abilities.

I think you might have mentioned this before in one of your videos that talked about racism, how someone who is white, may see being white as a blank slate, as appose to someone who is not white. Same idea different parameters. Maybe for the writers, they didn't even see that it could potentially be consider sexiest, it might never have even occurred to them, even though it was. Obviously, many women gamers thought it was sexiest. SOMETHING didn't tick correctly. I'm no anthropologist or psychologist, but SOMETHING defiantly wasnt right.

21464cb6-9181-11e0-bedb-000bcdcb8a73 said...

One thing I'm getting tired of is people throwing around the word "misogyny" or "misogynistic" like they know what it means.

Ronny said...

Can you please mention the manga which I believe is/was canon up until Other M. I comparing that characterization and this might be insightful about the intention behind her character.

Manji187 said...

Somebody has prolly already mentioned this article, but I feel I should mention it as well. You absolutely have to read this, as it is a good analytical critique.

The article:

http://moonbase.rydia.net/mental/blog/gaming/metroid-other-m-the-elephant/article.html

Traun said...

You know, I'm not sure if you are open to the idea, and this isn't Metroid related, but I'll love to see your opinion on what's good in the FPS genre, and as someone who isn't particulary involved with First-Person Shooter, how would you like to see the genre evolve?

I think it will be interesting to everyone to see your opinion on these matters.

cyxceven said...

Is anyone going to talk about how the lack of good music was the pillar that let the Metroid Other M house fall?

No one addresses this fact, yet it remains subconscious fact that the music fucking sucked.

Damn shit hell to the story and all that bullshit--expounded upon ad infinitum.

One of the hallmarks Metroid is built upon is damn fine aural sex. And holy fuckballs they severed the orchestra into an ambient mess of one-armed synth-stingers.

Nintendo & Tecmo should have handled the tuneage with the same respect Retro did.

God bless Retro Studio's American Metroid Primes. They honored the tradition.

Spongey Blob said...

@ Sam Robards

The thing you have to remember about IGN, like a lot of gaming magazines and websites, is that the majority of their revenue is made through advertising. This is the reason behind the whole 'No number below 6' trend in game reviewing. Another point to consider with IGN's reversal is that their review is, was and always shall be, one person's opinion, and there's more than one person working for IGN. I know it sounds like I'm leaping to their defence, which I'm not; it's an incredibly stupid thing to do, but that can't justify saying that Other M was good alone.

Also, there are two points that disprove your idea that Other M haters are a minority; first is sales. Nintendo had predicted to hit the 1,000,000 sales mark within the month in the US. However, beyond the first week the game died a horrible death, not breaking 1/2 million five months later. SOMEONE spread the word that it wasn't very good, or at least not worth the money. If we're a minority, where'd that million go?

Second is the fact that we're still talking about this game, and not in a positive light. If a game has not managed to win over audiences a year after release, it's failed by any and every standards, at least without attaining cult status, and I seriously doubt that that's going to be the case.

@ Polk

If Samus had been just as weak in gameplay as she was in the cutscenes, maybe your argument would hold up; as it stands, it only proves further that the development team were lazy and (probably) fed up with the drama with the direction of the game in pre-production.

@ cyxceven

It was more the whole atmosphere that was off. The soundtrack is ok by itself, and would've done quite well in, say, a light hearted standard action title. Not in the emotional rollercoaster Other M was trying to be (emphasis on the word 'trying') and certainly not with the rest of the much more oppressive and dark Metroid series. Note that the colour scheme is a little awkward too in places of the game; despite Other M trying to be quite dark and epic, a lot of the colour pallette is really washed out, without any real contrast between bright colours and dark outside of a few sections to make the game world feel alive.

Steven said...

Common Bob you know you really want to talk about this.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/113404-Middle-Aged-Gamer-Assaults-Teen-Over-Black-Ops-Beatdown

TheGreenBeaner said...

Here is the impact "Other M" has had on me. I purchased a Wii just to play it. Sure, I had been wanting to play the Super Mario Bros game on it. Sure, Muramasa, No More Heroes, Mario Kart, and Kirby's Epic Yarn were calling my name, but I was just so intrigued by what made people hate this game. And I gotta tell ya, I just don't see it. Extra Creditz said that claiming that just because the character has no back story doesn't mean that it has to be like this one. I personally found it to be a bit more engaging than the same old we find in military shooters. With this said, I finally gave in and bought a Wii last month and picked up Other M. Like I said, gameplay was solid, the story was different. It is what I imagine the other Metroid games developed in the 80's and 90's strive to be.

But that my 2 cents. Overall, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a different experience.

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

Watch the word by word response I made to "Heavens to Metroid" on Youtube Bob if that helps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWfUQvn9kIs

Saburo said...

Bob, I'm gonna say this. As emotional as Samus got when it came to Ridley and Adam, she's an amateur compared to Final Fantasy VI's Terra Bradford in her quotes from Dissidia Duodecim on the PSP

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ7ov4k07v0

Halollet said...

Game Overthinker,

I totally agree with your last video; I think most people were projecting onto Samus instead of seeing who she was. But there was defiantly some points and back-story that you missed. So I'll tell you what I can to fill in any blanks!

I'll make my case by addressing the 2 main problems and showing that even if the story telling was perfect, she would have done exactly the same thing.

1) Samus not turning on life saving equipment without orders
2) Samus freaking out at the arrival of Ridley

[i]Note: The fact that I have to explain this just shows how much Other M completely failed at the story. So just so everyone is clear; I'm not defending Other M, I'm defending Samus' character. I wasn't even going to write this, but Other M was brought up again.
Okay, here we go.[/i]

First, we need to find out who Samus is outside of Other M. And despite the fact that she has little dialog, we can find out a lot and make logical hypotheses about her.

Who is Samus?
She's an orphan who was raise on Zebes by bird aliens. She was given a powerful suit, probably at a young age. We know she has some sort of relationship with a Galactic Civilization.

That's obvious... so let's move on to the less obvious stuff

When it comes to dealing with peers, she has no backbone. Look at Prime 3; Samus is picked on, early in the game, by the shape shifting Bounty Hunter, Gandrayda. Gandrayda teases Samus as she walks in by turning into her. Samus is being bullied and she doesn't even stand up for herself, the CO has to step in and take care of it. Later, Samus is sort of saved by Gandrayda and then she all like, pft, Samus should do all the dirty work and struts out of the room. Does Samus do anything about this? No, she doesn't. She doesn't even have anything to say about the fact that they later experimented on her when she's in a coma.

Now that I think about it, I don't think Samus is to happy about her life. I've never seen her smile and she doesn't show any joy about killing things. She's defiantly no Kratos. Thanks to Zero Mission, we know that she was introduced to the Power Suit at a very young age like 6-7. Which backs up the mention of Samus being some kind of Chosen Chozo Warrior. She actually spend so much time in that chamber where the Suit was kept that she had time to carve a drawing into the wall of herself and her Chozo "parents".
I think that her life was forced on her and when your skills only really include "firing missiles down the throats of alien monsters" I think it would be tough to find work outside of anything violent. We also know that her Biological Clock is ticking very loudly from Return of Samus and Super Metroid, but she doesn't do anything about it. I think I know why, but I'll get back to that later.

...None of this supports the supposition that she's a strong, independent, badass.

(And let's be clear on one thing, having power does not make you a badass. If that were true, Superman would be the biggest badass, but he's not, he's a boy scout. When they tried to make Superman a badass, he came off creepy. )

To me she sounds more like a normal person who's had a really horrible childhood and has had exceptional expectations put on her and she doesn't seem to want any of it. She usually only fights for money, and that's probably just enough to survive given the infrequency of her missions. And the fact that she had to borrow a space ship in Fusion and couldn't just afford to get a new one, supports that.

Part 1/3

Halollet said...

Now let's see if Samus is someone who takes orders.

Honestly, that's all she seems to do. If she didn't, the following games wouldn't exist; Metroid (Original) Return of Samus, Fusion, Prime 3, and hunters. Prime 1 and 2 has her just responding to distress signals so she's not "taking orders", but she's not showing any initiative either. Super Metroid is where everything changes. The whole reason why that story arc exists is because Samus [b]didn't[/b] follow orders and now she has to try to fix her mistake and the consequences of it.

For the first time in her career that she didn't follow orders, it led to the complete destruction of the Ceres Space Colony and Zebes. Because of her, the hundreds or thousands of people on Ceres died. And because she didn't follow orders, her entire childhood, Zebes, was destroyed as well. Including all of the life on the planet. Which some were intelligent, like the Etecoons and Dachoras.

So, the end of Super Metroid is a sad one. Samus just got a lot of people and her childhood destroyed.

I know she 'says' she doesn't like taking orders, but that doesn't stop her at being really good at it.

Where does this leave her when we pick up the story again in Other M?

Samus just lost everything in the universe. The Chozo are gone, her home world was destroyed by her choices, she is alone and shunned even by other Bounty Hunters, and at the beginning of Other M there is mentioned that she's no longer in good standing with the Galactic Federation because of her transporting illegal aliens like Metroids. I wouldn't be surprised at all if she thought about suicide at that point.

The only thing she has left, and the only place she can call home... is Adam.

Enter Other M.

Why is Samus seeking acceptance from Adam? Its not because she has "Daddy Issue" its because she just recently royally messed up and Adam is the last person in the universe that accepted and respect Samus for who she is. The last thing she would ever want to do is cause any kind of rift between them, especially now when she's at her weakest. Adam was shown to be very strict and almost cold. Sending his brother to his death for the greater good for example.

I do not blame Samus for not turning on her Varia suit. Since the last time she disobeyed an order, she got her childhood blown up. Honestly, I can totally see and related to the conflicting thoughts going through her head when she was in danger and didn't switch it on. I probably would have done the same thing she did.

Then why did Adam wait to tell her to turn it on? From what we know of him, I'm guess he was testing her. With Samus disobeying orders to the point of causing death and destruction and breaking galactic law and being a bounty hunter for so long; A stern Commander like Adam would want to test to make sure she would follow orders even if it meant that she might be injured or die because of it. Running through a hot zone without the Varia on, would be a perfect test. Dangerous, but probably won't get her killed.

So, a combination of Samus not wanting to disrespect the last person that has any respect for her and Adam wanting to make sure that this loose cannon will follow orders so she doesn't get anyone else killed lead to the infamous Varia-less lava run.

At least, that's what I think.


Part 2/3

Halollet said...

On to Ridley!

Samus having a panic attack at the sight of Ridley in this game has really ticked a lot of people off. The most common complaint that I've heard is "Why is she scared of something that she's killed so many times before?"

I can think of several reasons that she, or anyone else besides Kratos, would have the same reaction.

First off, let's look at Ridley. He's a freaking dragon/alien/demon thing that's not only huge and savage but also sentient and intelligent. And, he want Samus dead. He keeps showing up and tries to crush, burn, and kill her and has been trying to do so since Samus was 3 years old!! Also, he usually takes a freak load of damage to take down. But here's the thing, he keeps coming back to life.

So Ridley is 20ft tall, fire-breathing, sentient, immortal, dragon/alien/demon thing and is actively hunting Samus to kill her.

Now, I have to ask, what does Samus think about Ridley. First off, she probably has childhood scaring from the attack on K-2L. Second, the fact that Samus has killed Ridley over and over again but he keep coming back, probably doesn't do any real good for her. The fact that she knows that there's an immortal alien hunting her, has to have had some horrible effects on her life. As I mentioned above about Samus' biological clock ticking, I think the fact the Ridley would attack her if she ever tried to settled down has prevented her from doing so. Yes, Samus could survive the attack, but probably not the child she so obviously wants to have. Meaning, until Samus finds a way to keep Ridley dead, she's stuck as a lone bounty hunter.

Hmm... just had a thought though. Ridley was put on ice in Fusion and then dissolved by the X and then blown up. So maybe he's dead now? Or maybe that was just a clone.

The next thing I have to ask is, what does Samus dream about? Since her entire life has been going from one fight to the next, I doubt she dreams about beaches and rainbows. Meaning she probably dreams about what's happened in her life which would include: almost dying repeatedly, giant alien monsters, being a mile underground in Metroid filled caves where the only light is acid lava all around you, seeing your childhood planet blow up, fighting various evil twins, dark planets where the air and shadows are trying to kill you, Ridley, etc. So when Ridley show up, AGAIN, I'm not surprised that she freaks out because that's her nightmare coming back to haunt her in real life. Anyone would panic if they have to live their nightmares.

The next reason that Samus would freak, is because she is grossly underpowered to fight the Ridley that came from Super Metroid. In Super Metroid you can get 14 energy tanks plus 4 reserve, both Varia and Gravity Suits, 250 missiles, and 50 super missiles not to mention the 50 power bombs and beam powers you could unleash using them. In other M you might have 4-6 energy tanks, 30 odd missiles that you have to charge to make Super Missiles with, only the Varia suit, and you couldn't use power bombs even if you wanted to because of Anthony being there. Even if she flicked on the Gravity suit, she is still less then a 1/4 of the power needed to blow up Ridley. Luckily, this Ridley clone wasn't as tough as he was on Zebes but there was no way that she could know that.

So when the dragon/alien/demon thing from Samus' childhood shows up again, being immortal and wanting her dead, while being trapped in yet another room surrounded by lava, having flash backs of all the horrors she's gone through against Ridley like being crushed and burned, and knowing (or at least thinking) that she doesn't have the fire power to win this fight, and facing the possibility of a horrible, torturous death at the claws of this beast.... I'm not surprised she had a moment of panic. Actually, I'm thinking that it might have been Combat stress reaction, aka Shell Shock that took her out.

Part 3/4 Oops!

Halollet said...

This is why I can enjoy Other M is because I know all this stuff. However, to anyone that isn't me, this is where I let out a deafening sigh of disappointment. Look at this rich, deep, amazing story... but you have no clue about it from Other M. This takes Epic Failure to a whole new level.

Just to be clear, this is just my point of view. I haven't read the magna or even finished Prime 3 (I know I know, bad fanboy!) So I might be missing some facts that might change this. But this is the best I can think of.

I think Metroid: Other M was a step in the right direction even if that step landed on a roller skate at the top of a flight of stairs. I would love to see what Samus' life was like in the military. To be able to play through Samus and Adam growing that bond of trust. This time though, having actual narrative that actually tells an actually story. I kinda feel bad for Adam, we're learning about him backwards. First when he was dead, then how he died, and then if we get to see that game, when he was alive.

That's all I got on this subject, Thanks for reading!

Halollet

Part 4/4

Halollet said...

@Explorer Blade

Do realize that your reasons for not liking Samus' reaction to Ridley is a little sick? You don't like Samus because she isn't and/or enjoy being a emotionless homicidal maniac that seeks the slaughter of entire civilisations?

"Yet, here she is, at least ten years on her own, after blowing up several PLANETS and single-handely (at this point in the story of course) committing MASS XENOCIDE of the Metroids, killed the same damn Space Dragon about FIVE times up to this point, killed thousands, maybe millions of Zebes Space pirates....so on and so forth."

Spongey Blob said...

@ Halollet

To counter your first argument about Samus's personality without referring to my own analysis on Super Metroid above, note that when Gandrayda's mocking her, Samus has about a moment's notice to react before someone else speaks, and usually has better things to do than entering a slogging match; first time in a debriefing, second time in a generator and thirdly in a lift on the way to stop the planet blowing up; generally the last times you want to be bitching at each other.

As for Samus not enjoying her work... you're 100% correct, but I think you're mistaken when you say her life was forced onto her. At no point in the game there is no indication of her not consenting to what she does for her living. There is, quite literally, nothing stopping her from turning these tasks down, but she does them anyway; not because she's forced to, but because SHE feels she has to.The beginning of Super Metroid and Zero Mission, the pre-final-boss cutscene in Metroid Fusion, and the final boss battle in Super Metroid, all suggest that this is a moral battle for her. She could've let anyone else save the infant metroid, but instead she leapt at the chance to save it because she felt that it was her responsibility. She stopped the X-parasites despite strictly being told not to because no one else would. By your argument, when the computer she had already associated with Adam told her not to stop the X, she would've simply sat in the room and left the galaxy to die.

CONTINUED BELOW

Spongey Blob said...

As for Ridley, it's still inconsistent, and your argument changes nothing. Your argument is that she's scared because... look at Ridley, but that point of argument could be used in any other fight she has with Ridley beyond the first game and possibly the original Prime to account for time, and she doesn't react in the same way. In fact, this situation is almost a mirror reflection of the Mother Brain battle in Super Metroid, if I may use the same level of analysis as you have (not that no-one else in the world has before hurrrr I'm original).

Mother Brain is even bigger than Ridley, for a start. She stands at 3.5 Samus's high. And what on Earth IS she? A dinosaur? A robot? A giant roasted chicken puppet? Lord knows, but it can spit bombs and fire lazers out of its eyes. And Samus has already destroyed the brain... twice now. This isn't Ridley, where he simply got bashed around and chucked off a cliff or something; Mother Brain was quite literally a brain (scientifically known as a damn important organ) in a jar that Samus has seen blown up right before her eyes... twice. The fact that Mother Brain is PERSONALLY responsible for killing all the chozo on Zebes and destroying Samus's home off the face of universe also gives that little personal incentive for Samus. Therefore, the exact same situation we have in Other M. And how does Samus react?

With rage, is the answer.

Samus is a beast of wrath; she's not merciful to anything she deems evil, and Mother Brain is pretty much the top of that list for reasons shown above. She refuses to give in to Mother Brain; even after being crushed and losing the infant metroid, she fights on, tying once again to the responsibility argument. She isn't a badass because she has powers, as you say. She's a badass because she doesn't let her own fears stop her. In fact, you could call it stoicism.

As for addressing Samus's past, Other M was a terrible idea because it already HAD a plot behind it; the one about her coping with the loss of the infant metroid and her home. Other M's story collapsed because it wanted to do two things at once and didn't know which story to focus on. Detailing her past at all is something I'd suggest is a bad idea, because it's Samus herself that we're interested in, not the past. We want to know where Samus is right now, what she's doing right now and how she's going to do it. Nobody watched Lord of the Rings and thought 'Gee, I wonder what Frodo's childhood was like', we thought 'Gee, I wonder how Frodo's going to get out of this one' It's even worse in video games, when the players want to make their own versions of the story, their own events and shape their own character. However, if the creators must, then they should've focused on it, and made it its own game.

Bob said...

Mr. Chipman, you probably won't read this, but I implore you to consider my hypothesis regarding "Metroid Other M," and that hypothesis is that Samus Aran has dissociative Identity disorder. If you think about the story this way, it all seems to fit together. Think about it, throughout the game Samus frequently swiches between two modes: the opaque visor ninja Samus, who wouldn't think twice about killing her best, and only friend Anthony, (for the good of the mission); and the more thought full, emotionally vulnerable translucent visor Samus, who doesn't run, and spends most of her time lost in her own thoughts. The Ridley scene also makes more sense this way: up until this point only opaque visor Samus has encountered Ridley, translucent visor Samus probably hasn't seen Ridley since the KL-2 indecent. Also, due to the fact that dissociative Identity Disorder often comes about due to a child hood tragedy, (KL-2!) often times an alter would be a child as well, now riddle me this: what exactly happened during the Ridley encounter?

stickmangrit said...

the thing that ticked me(and a fair few others) off most is the fact that you completely handwaved away the entire Prime series, and the only reason you cited was the fact that you disagreed with a stylistic choice in the game mechanics. you praise Other M for taking risks and complain that it isn't done enough in modern gaming, but blithely ignore the immense risk of letting an untested american studio taking one of Nintendo's flagship properties in a different direction because you didn't like a largely insignificant detail in the end result. you also completely ignored Fusion, the game that Other M was supposed to bridge Super Metroid with. you completely dismissed any character establishment in these four games for no evident reason, and then proceeded to argue points that are very much answered by these four games. you utterly failed to do your research on the video, and came off sounding like a petulant fanboy. if you have some deeper reasons for disliking the Primes(or Fusion, though i utterly fail to see what your problem with that one could have been. maybe you just didn't play it, i dunno), i'd love to hear them, but "i'm pissed about the developer's choice of camera placement therefore they don't count" is really no more legitimate a criticism than the "it's not gray and brown therefore GAY" argument you're constantly railing against.

stickmangrit said...

(more thoughts)

the problem here being, those four games represent the last decade of canon(at least until Sakamoto decided the Prime series didn't count, and that Nintendo did a piss-poor job of communicating that fact in an effort not to alienate the massive customer bloc of Prime fans) and make up half of the series, specifically the half that most modern gamers have the most familiarity with. they are also the four games that show us the most about Samus's character, be it through Samus's body language and cutscene actions in the Primes, or through her monologues in Fusion.

now, i'll agree that The Elephant in the Room is a great example of somebody attributing to malice what is easily explained by incompetence, but it does do a great job of showing the massive disconnect between the impression of Adam the great military leader and only person Samus would willingly take orders from in Fusion and the incompetent asshole who forgets to let Samus turn on the AC and insists on Scooby-style "Let's split up gang!" tactics that get most of his squad killed that we see in M:OM.

this is really the essential failing of Other M. you can tell that they desperately wanted this to be a narrative-driven game, a first for the series, and absolutely bungled the execution of that narrative to such a degree that it was seriously detrimental to the game overall.

Aiddon said...

This is the only explanation for the Varia Suit: segregation of story and gameplay. Period. There is nothing else to talk about with that, so stop overanalyzing it. It's the same reason why so many FPS's won't allow you to smash down a flimsy wooden door or blow its lock off with a gun.

Anonymous said...

One of your fans made this awhile ago in rebuttal:

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

Not sure if you've seen it or not.

Jannie said...

Well, if I may dive in, as an actual owner of a vagina I think I have some intimate knowledge of what, precisely, sexism is.

First off--sexism is NOT big-chested video game characters used to attract male gamers. Anyone who says that IS sexism is stupid. It's marketing, the same way shirtless Amerindian werewolves is marketing to girls Tina Armstrong is used to market DOA to boys. Sex does, in fact, sell and I'll defend Team Ninja's choice to market DOA to men using Tina, Kasumi, Helena etc and their bulging breast implants if I have to.

That being said, yes Japan IS sexist and it IS racist. I'm not saying that just because of Other M I'm saying it because JAPAN IS SEXIST AND RACIST AND ANY ADULT WHO KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT JAPANESE CULTURE KNOWS THIS. You, yourself, have said this in the past.

Bob, your refusal to accept this reality either comes from not caring or not being willing to face reality. And yes, I know you love Japanese video game aesthetics, but that doesn't change reality.

And again, sexism is NOT some anime character with huge fake tits--sexism is an adult woman acting like a child facing down some space pirate she ALREADY KILLED THREE TIMES, sexism is her refusing to take life-saving precautions because surrogate daddy/boyfriend tells her not to, sexism is turning a female character (ANY female character) into a crying, mewling little girl at the drop of a hat.

For all the bullshit feminists throw out about sexism in other Team Ninja games, Tina Armstrong (yes I have a virtual-crush on her, and?) is a strong, determined, courageous woman. So is Kasumi. Mai from KOF. Lara Croft doubly so. These are not sexist characters or sex objects--they're fully rounded characters with developed personalities. Samus in Other M is just some scared little timid girl dependent on a man to tell her what to do. Lara Croft would never have taken that shit. Kasumi would never take that shit. Mai Shiranui would cut off Adam's junk with a burning war-fan if he pulled that malarkey with her (then Terry would finish the deed for him making moves on his girlfriend).

It's not a story telling issue either, since there are dozens of other ways to lock down the suit's weapons than to depend on daddy/boyfriend/Freudian Nightmare to tell you. This was a deliberate CHOICE made by someone. If you want to argue it was unintentional, you'd first have to explain what part of "no, you don't have this part yet, go find it" was too difficult to program.

Jannie said...

And before I get accused of saying this because Bob used the original Heavens to Metroid (BTW, that's actually a clever pun) video to bash FPS gaming AGAIN and badmouth Metroid Prime...

I hated Metroid Prime. Not because of the FPS stuff though. I've never been a fan of Metroid, the only one I have ever really liked was Super Metroid and only a little, and playing as a completely silent protagonist without any other characters to interact with was boring and idiotic. Even the Doom Marine and Quake Guy would scream every so often! Hell Duke Nukem had a whole novel's worth of dialogue to characterize him (as an awesome person FWI).

So no, I'm not defending Prime, it was shit to me. That doesn't make Other M any better, and it doesn't make your straw man attacks any less tenuous. I do find it ironic however than Samus' silent, sociopathic protagonist in Prime was less of a wuss than she was in Other M, yet had no more characterization. Though at least what little she had didn't scream "Wow, Freud would write a book on you kid!" like it did in Other M.

No characterization is, it turns out, better than timid, scared, whimpering in a corner characterization.

JPArbiter said...

I said it in Heavens to Metroid and will say it here. the submissiveness to Adam Malchovich could be easily explained not by submissiveness to Adam, but by the binding contract she has with whatever government she works for.

Namely there would be a clause in it that stated that in the event of coordination with a military officer of an O-3 or better, she is to follow their orders. given Malchovich was established as a O-7 or better that would be placed well that category.

While heavy emphasis was placed on some of the more boneheaded actions (Samus not triggering her varia suit until told to) some other actions were sensible (don't use power bombs cause you could endanger those of us who don't have your magic suit.)

the largest problem with Other M lay in its poor delivery. the narrative itself was fine, somewhere between Halo's Try hard and CoD's Don't Try at all. had the voice acting been more effective, I doubt to many people would have cared about the substandard script.

Jannie said...

@JP Arbiter

No the narritive isn't "fine", because even if you erase Adam from existence (Dr. Who, you get right the fuck on it!) it still doesn't make any sense.

The plot is all over the place, shuffling lethargically from melodrama to melodrama, and as someone else pointed out it hinges on Samus:

A--freaking out at space pirates even thought she massacred them by the hundreds three times now.

B--not seeing the same hair-brained scheme the Feds were cooking up, even though she stopped it once already.

C--refusing to do things to save her own life simply because someone (someone who is not in the middle of a life or death battle!) told her to.

And you can whack away at Halo and COD all you want but it still won't excuse this. Even if this were a prequel or reboot, it still wouldn't excuse the last one. No "don't use your weapons because it may be dangerous to people who are not you" is not a sufficient explanation for why a SOLDIER won't use her weapons on the battlefield. Plus it's ludicrous to even suggest any amount of power bombs could destroy a structure so large it has indoor ecosystems--that thing had to have been the size of a planet, at least, maybe bigger, and whatever is holding it together had to have a structural strength many, many, many hundreds even thousands of times that of steel...and yet we see in most games these bombs don't effect most kinds of ROCK. It's a frankly absurd plot contrivance.

Samus being a mercenary under "contract" makes it even worse: at any time she could have said "fuck you, I'm using my suit" and while she may not get paid she'd still be alive and I figure she likes her own life more than money. If she's so independent and a mercenary why take orders from Adam at all--mercenaries break orders all the time. They're mercenaries, they don't really care about your ROEs(that's "rules of engagement", BTW) because they're probably going to get paid anyway since their contract is with the government not some BS ship captain, and even if they don't they're not loyal to your nation or organization so unless the money is there they won't risk their lives.

But, what, Samus would?

So, no, that makes it worse. Because now, she's not just being a childish, timid, little girl she's a stupid, greedy one too who cares more about money (credits?) than saving her own life. At least if you think she's doing it for Adam it makes her not seem like an idiot.

Jannie said...

Ghetto edit:

Also, again, why not just have Adam take her stuff away under orders and then she has to go get them back because...shit I don't know, Ridley scattered them across the ship somehow. Teleporter accident or something.

There, that clears up EVERYTHING stupid about the Varia Suit mess, keeps Samus' interaction with Adam to a dull roar, and doesn't make her look like a frightened, whimpering girl-child. You could even have her resit having the suit and weapons taken because she fought the Space Pirates before and she knows what they'll do, but Adam's like "No, fuck you, logical person! Give me your necessary equipment!", then she slugs an officer, gets them taken anyway, and later when the shit hits the fan she's all like "See I told you, moron!" and goes to get her stuff back. Thereby creating an actual CONFLICT and showing her CHARACTER instead of focusing to the exclusion of all else on her fetish for possessive middle-aged army men.

I came up with that off the top of my head. It does everything the actual plot of Other M does, but it doesn't make Samus look like she's special needs, and it can actually be used to set up some future conflict between her and Adam to flesh out why and how their relationship went down the crapper previously. Maybe Adam doesn't trust her anymore? Maybe Samus feels insecure around Adam and disobeyed him just because? Maybe Adam was just being a douche because his ex showed up? Maybe Samus feels a little insecure without her suit, due to her crazy Bird Man-raised upbringing? OMG plot threads!

Anonymous said...

I'd say probably that the episode was mostly a toss for attention.

It wasn't really about it being anti-female as it was defacing a character for poor characterization, controls that didn't work well, and ruining the entire atmosphere the Metroid series built. That should be enough.

Spongey Blob said...

@ JPArbiter

I'm not totally sure that you're right about the narrative, but Other M did have an INCREDIBLY good story from day one of the development cycle; a story of Samus dealing with the loss of the metroid. It was to be a story of analysing one's responsibilities and failures, how to cope with them, and motherhood. Done right, it could've been one of, if not THE, best story in the history gaming. What happened? They got more ideas in their heads. They decided to make a game about Samus's past, then about her (up until then non-existent, might I add) daddy issues. The concept is fine; the narrative is an unfocused, stupid, inconsistent, plot-hole ridden mess that destroyed one of gaming's strongest characters and STILL couldn't tell a cohesive story.

@ Jannie

I agree that the item authorisation and the hell run were both dumb; no one could argue otherwise, but I don't think your idea would really gel either. It makes Adam come across as a dumbass, which isn't really a good idea seeing as Samus respects him; we as players need a reason to understand why she respects him, and being a moron is a quick way to lose respect.

Perhaps it would've been better if they took an altogether different approach to Samus's reaction to the infant metroid's death, we could justify it a little easier. I don't know if you've read the James Bond book 'You Only Live Twice' but it has quite a neat story; James Bond, after the loss of his wife, has become increasingly violent and reckless, and M sends him on one last mission to prove that Bond is STILL an agent worth having. If Samus's reaction were similar to Bond's, then it would both remain in character for Samus (see my comments above because I'm not bothered with repeating myself) and give Adam a good reason to have to authorise equipment; Samus has to prove to him that she isn't a loose cannon and a liability, and authorises a material via an external activation mechanism (no I don't know how he got one either). As for the Hell Run? I dunno, the activation got jammed or something so it wouldn't work.

Jannie said...

@Sponegy Blob

Why does Samus have to "respect" Adam? Outside of the plot contrivances, I mean. Unless I misunderstood the story, they used to be, what, an item? In love? Elektra complex? Whatever...and now they aren't. So maybe that's why. She left the army for some reason--incredibly tight, nepotism-driven bureaucracy is as good a reason as any.

Frankly, "asshole bureaucrat doesn't know how to do his job" is a trope as old as action movies, it would go perfectly with Metroid. Now Adam doesn't come off as an asshole, just ignorant--like the guy from Ghostbusters who thought it was a good idea to turn off the control valve to a parallel universe prison for spirits because "LOL zoning laws!"

But if it would be better, you could, as you pointed out, just say "Her suit's damaged and so it takes time to 'reboot' and get all her stuff back...conveniently, at just the right moments". That's an old trope too, but it allows Adam to remain as sterling as ever but not as dumb--he could even be worried she's endangering herself, and she's all "back off man" and kind of insecure and he tries to reach out but she feels conflicted and oh my God I just wrote a fanfic *shoots self*

Anyway, and here's the key point, IT MAKES SAMUS LOOK HARDASS NOT LIKE A BATTERED WIFE!

Now, you can at least say, "Yeah she's so unafraid of the Space Pirates by this point, she goes in with half her stuff broken." You could make a joke of it even--like the other soldiers, inexperienced, are all scared of the Space Pirates but Samus isn't having it.

Like in that (underrated) movie King Arthur when Genevieve is talking to a knight and he's all afraid and says "There are a lot enemy soldiers out there" (or some such) and she quips "Don't worry, I won't let them hurt you." Presumably followed, off screen, with her ramping the General Lee over a volcano because you have to back that kind of one-liner up with something sufficiently kickass.

There, problem solved.

But even if you wanted to say, Samus respects Adam so she does whatever he says (which isn't "respect" so much as "sycophancy") then it STILL wouldn't explain why they're afraid of a bomb going off...in a ship so big it has indoor weather formations. To give you some idea of how big that ship is, our Moon isn't large enough to have weather, atmosphere or a molten core...the ship is. You could detonate a hydrogen bomb in every room on the thing and it wouldn't breach the hull--because whatever the hull is made of, the structural strength is, literally, ridiculous. And that's not even going into the hell run, which doesn't even have THAT tenuous explanation.

TheFel9 said...

Good day, Mr. Chipman.
I do hope you get to read this before you finish the episode.

I'm a nobody that loves his Metroid and found Other M disappointing, to say the least. Both in regards to the story-elements as well as the gameplay-elements.

However, I don't think I could express my concerns with the game any better than others already have. Instead I thought I'd simply point you towards a few who did express they're critism in a manner I felt was, well good.

I know you've already watched it and that I'm not alone in suggesting it but the Extra Credits episode on the matter does bring up a few good points worth considering.

Another vid I think is worth mentioning is the "Heavens to Bob" found here: http://www.gametrailers.com/user-movie/heavens-to-bob/351975
It's not perfect by any means but the man does adress some of your points quite well.

The third and final is a post on the Metroid Database forums found here: http://www.metroid-database.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5303
It's the third post by the user TrishBot. Personally I think the user TrishBot makes some very valid points regarding the games storytelling.

I think that these three suggestions do point out some major flaws in both the game and in your reasoning and I'd like to see you respond to them all.

If you do read this, then I'd like to thank you for taking your time and I'm looking forward to the episode.

jackspicer88 said...

I've been reading a lot of reviews and critiques of Other M and most of them claim that Samus doesn't fit due to her other missions (games) she completed over the years. But I disagree with that. I tried thinking things another way.

To me, I placed Other M and Fusion at the top, where most of her characterization lies and had the other games under them. And my thought was this. Maybe this all the missions she has completed up until Other M were done for an entirely different reason. As we have seen in Other M, she left Adam's command after seeing him sacrifice his brother. She did not understand the full meaning of his sacrifice and left to do things her own way, so she would never have to make that kind of decision herself. But, over the course of the years and missions completed, she slowly understood what Adam's sacrifice meant. So the act of defiance quickly transformed into a way to bury her past and regrets. But despite all of the completed missions and metaphorical trophies, she still trying to fill the "hole" in herself that she should never fill. She basically owed Adam a big apology for being too young and naive for not understanding his sacrifice. She wanted a chance to redeem herself.

So when Samus was unable to protect the metroid that saved her life, Samus at this point is literally shaken to her core. She doesn't know if she is cut out for the title "galactic savior". So throughout Other M, that is what became most important to Samus; the need to be redeemed.

Adam does reassures her that she was a galactic savior this entire time, which in turn makes Samus over come said guilt she has been carrying all this time and grow as a character.

Aiddon said...

uh, Trishbot's posts can best be summed up as the petulant tantrums of a spoiled child. You can clearly see that everyone on the thread is just SICK of the user hijacking a thread for petty, selfish reasons (including the Admins).

TheFel9 said...

Yes, TrishBot does sorta hijack the thread. That doesn't really matter though since I clearly referred to the post and not the thread itself.

The post is fine imo. TrishBot goes to great lenght to describe his/her problem with the narrating and while the post clearly is a rant, it's a well thought out rant. It's a rant that brings up good points for why Other M was bad from a narrative standpoint. The post is fine as long as you look at it for what it is and not what it should be (you know... on topic).

I don't frequent the website on a regular basis so I don't have any sort of connection to the user. Perhaps he/she is someone who does this in every thread, perhaps not. The other posts seem to indicate that this isn't the first time TrishBot voices his/her opinion on the matter but again this doesn't matter (to me). I recommended the post because I agree with what it says. Now, I'm not a game designer so I can't really comment on that aspect of the post but what TrishBot says makes sense to me (again I'm a nobody).

And while I do realise that the "Heavens to Metroid" episode didn't really praise, or actively adress, the narrative in any way (instead it went on to focus on why Samus portrayal isn't based of some imagined Japanese female stereotype) I felt that if MovieBob were to do it in the upcoming episode then he would benefit from reading TrishBots post.

That's pretty much all there is to it.

Aiddon said...

bullshit. Anyone who acts like a brat does not deserve to be listened to. Trishbot has repeatedly proven to be unreasonable and childish when it comes to Other M to the point where others on the forum are clearly irritating, even the admins. In that context their arguments and posts are useless. Kind of in the same way no one wants to hear Jack Thompson anymore: because he's a boring, whiny jackass that everyone with a brain hates.

Spongey Blob said...

@ Jannie

The reason Samus has to respect Adam is more for consistency issues than an improvement on the game; in Fusion she says that she respected Adam, and it's true in Other M; the failing was on WHY Samus should've respected Adam. In fact, her reasoning for leaving the army is easily the most out-of-character moment for Samus... think about that. She left because Adam sacrified his own brother to save some dudes in some blowy-uppy ship or whatever, and Samus didn't approve. For the brother's sake? Nope. FOR ADAM'S! She didn't even LIKE Adam's brother, and the reason for leaving was "I thought that Adam was wrong..." but not, as should have been "- it was morally unjust" but "- I didn't think Adam would be happy without his brother."

That's dumb AND offensive. It's like they didn't bother replaying the older Metroids to get a grasp as to what she was like (and, as I've already explained, she WASN'T a blank slate).

Looking at your above comments about Japan being sexist, I've never been to Japan, nor am I in possession of two X chromosones, so feel free to correct me and remember that this might be ignorance talking, but I don't think Japan's any more sexist than the West. The thing is that Japan is mental; it's a very different culture that holds different values to the West. They have ideals of what a perfect man and a perfect woman are, just as we do here. Their ideals might sound absolutely mental to us; men are supposed to be emotionless robots that do nothing but work and women are obedient demure housewives tied to the oven, but the Japanese are probably just as offended by our ideals of men being growling meat-headed apes that punch stuff for fun and women to be vain dick-insertion devices that are run on shoes ala Sex in the City. Neither are particularly great for either sex; and even if Japan IS sexist, what does Japan have to do with Other M? This is like saying the French are sociopaths because people smoke. Nintendo wasn't that happy that it sold well in Japan and Japan only; the rest of the world is a big place, and they despised the fact that they lost a lot of money there. That's the tragedy of Other M; it really could be the end of Metroid as a franchise, or at least the beginning of the end.

Spongey Blob said...

@ jackspicer88

Your argument of Samus leaving because of Adam's sacrifice hinges completely into a vast barrel of 'incorrect' because of one pretty big issue; this is never brought up in the other games, so it still doesn't solve the consistency issues like you just said it does. It just ruins every other game in the series as well as Other M; at least we could close our ears and pretend Other M didn't happen, like with Highlander 2 or something. Another flaw in your argument is that they neither say nor imply in the game that Samus is actually after Adam's forgiveness or redemption for anything. She's just a sub-servient whiny little girl, a six year old with a gun.

TheFel9 said...

I agree that someone who acts childish deserve little attention. And re-reading the post again, TrishBot kind of starts out the post in a way that can be precieved as childish but that's not the portion of the post I'm referring to when I speak of it in a positive light.
I realise that I probably should have been more specific but I figured it would be obvious what I thought was relevant and what wasn't.

To be clear, I'm referring to the part of the post that starts with: "I am currently a professional game designer, story writer, programmer, and modeller..."
From here on to the end of the post I think TrishBot is presenting clear and reasonable thoughts on the narrative in Other M as well as narrative in gaming in general.

You could ignore anything the user says because he/she has a history of being "unreasonable and childish when it comes to Other M" but you do risk missing out on any thoughts that does carry weight when you reflect on them.

That's why I think TrishBot made a good post, regardless of his/her previous posts on the subject. And that's why I felt like including it in my original post.

Aiddon said...

again, if the post itself is done in a condescending, insulting manner within an argument where people have already rightfully condemned its poster then under no circumstances should it be used as a reference for an argument. To do so is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty. And furthermore, saying that they're a "professional game -insert title here-" does not make their argument have any more weight than anyone else on that thread. Despite Trishbot's claims of being a gaming professional, it's still just them venting like a 5-year-old and then using their profession as a shield. And there is only one word for that: pathetic. End of discussion.

TheFel9 said...

Fine, I think you are wrong much like you think I'm wrong. It's no big deal. All I'm saying is that few things are truly black or white in this world.

Though I will say that I couldn't care less whether or not TrishBot actually is a professional game designer or not and never claimed that it made any difference. It's the Internet. Don't trust anyone.

"Whatever man, I'm gonna play some Minesweeper"

Polk Kitsune said...

@ Spongey Blob

Hrm. I'm not sure how my wording came out, but I'm pretty sure I meanth that she looked strong in gameplay.

As far as Samus being weak in cutscene, as much as she froze when facing Ridley, she still beat it bad enough that it had to run from her, scared for it's life.

Would you mind giving me a few more examples of how weak she's shown in cutscene? My memory might be flawed on that detail, but I don't remember how she was portrayed weak otherwise.

The only big case that might show how weak in cutscene she looks like, is when she mentions Adam, saying how right he is, how she respects him now, and how she wants to redeem himself. In those moments, Adam is praised the same way a Mary Sue would be, which is probably one of the big mistakes in the narative. The only thing we really know about Adam, is that he's Samus' old commander, that he's a competent commander, that he's always right. We don't hear if he's good in combat, or has trouble getting i a relationship, or maybe hates paperwork. He's pictured perfectly by Samus, without any flaws to flesh him out, making her seem weak in comparison. Is it a bad picture of Samus here, or the fault of overinflation of Adam from Samus' part?

The only way to really not to see Adam as a superior person in every ways, is to study his character in depth, and that's something that can easilly be swayed by personal opinion, if you're even willing to bother in the first place. Is he a more complex character than we think, stoic/2-dimentional, or perfect? Well, it's left to anbiguity.

Problems surface though, when people starts attaching that to sexism. Samus thinks Adam is superior because he's a man? I don't think so. Samus thinks Adam is superior because he's Adam. A father figure, a wise man who can make the tough decisions and sacrifices. But does the same thing aply to the other men in the story? I don't believe so. Does it count as sexism if one out of six men is superior?

Unfortunately, I think the comunity has reached it's own verdict on the topic.

Anyhow, back on the subject.

If you combine the picture of Adam and freezing at Ridley, you can picture her as being weak. But is that all there is to Other M? A few cutscenes and monologues? Isn't there more? I can't help but feel the scope has been narrowed down a little too much whenever we talk about the game.

((More...))

Polk Kitsune said...

((Continuing))
I also noted at one time, during one of your replies to Halollet about how you mentionned that Samus was a 'beast of wrath'. At that point, I just shook my head. I'm sorry.

The biggest chunk of that paragraph was projection, that same topic Bob had mentionned in his video. You took that one moment, based a whole personality from there, and applied it to every moments available from there on if that's the case.

When Samus is fighting Mother Brain, and she loses the baby... Yes, at that moment, she was angry. She had every rights to be angry and devastated at he loss. She thought back, and that's where I felt the Hyper Beam came from. It felt like an epic moment, because we felt enraged too, and we had a way to pump all that rage into an ugly moster that killed the baby off. It was glorious.

But is rage her only emotion? Do you need to have rage in order to have a sense of justice? Personally, I don't think so. If you have a strong sense to protect the weak, the just, or (gee, I dunno) the galaxy, you can simply be strong. If she were only a bundle of rage, she wouldn't be under the federation, or a bounty hunter. Not for long. She does care, she does regret, she does feel sadness, joy, and so on and so forth.

Kratos, from God of War, she is not.

At least, by my own perception. She's a much more complex charater.

She's a survivor, able to go through the toughest of climates and situations. She's also someone seeking for justice, trying to defend it from threats. She's a symbol of strenght, both being able to fight the greatest threat to the world, and be able to move on, even after great loss. Strenght is more than just fighting, and she's been strong for a long time.

((More...))

Polk Kitsune said...

((Continuing))
The reason people say 'No characterisation is better than 'this' characterisation', is because if there is no characterisation, we invent our own. Nothing Nintendo could have done could ever compete with that, no matter what. The characterisation we create will always seem better than the one someone else does. People would still be displeased, no matter what. Had Nintendo done a characterisation liek this before the internet, we wouldn't be hearing this.

Is this game going to be the end to Metroids? In my opinion? Hell no. Other franchises have still kept going. Has Metal Gear Solid stop in it's tracks because of the second game? I think they're still milking that franchise for all it's worth. Has Halo stopped because of ODST? Not last I checked. Has Zelda stopped because of Windwaker? I think we know the answer to that one.

In fact, if history repeats itself, what hapenned to Zelda could happen to Metroid too. What followed Windwaker was Twilight Princess, a throwback to Ocarina of Time. Was it better than OoT? By what the fans say, no, it wasn't, but it still hapenned, and we moved on. If I'd be worried, is that the game wouldn't be exported to the US, or botched in the translation -I mean- Americanisation.

What I am worried though, is that the style of gameplay that Metroid Other M created might die early. It was simple to play, controled well, had varying types of enemies, and was different from al the FPS we saw. I'm not saying it's perect, but I'd like to see more of that style of game, and see it tweaked to make it better. Bring back dropped powerups, or make missiles a smidge more accesible somehow.

I do hope that there's more exploration put into the game, rather than being railroaded continuately from section to section. I do hope to have a better final boss than a 'look for a spot to end the scene' (in fact, I'd say the Metroid queen, and the secret boss have the title for that).

And I sure do hope they fix their narative. I don't mind Samus's character being complex, both weak and strong, but there's better ways to tell a story. I think we can all agree on that.

Metroid Other M was't the perfect game we expected at first, but it certainly doesn't deserve all the flack it's being given now.

Spongey Blob said...

@ Polk Kitsune

You are correct in saying that she looked strong in gameplay. She isn't strong in the cutscenes; in just about every cutscene and monologue, Samus is talking about how either she failed (either failing Adam or failing 'the baby'), or she is being talked down to by somebody else as if she is a child, or she is cowering in fear and having to be saved by others. It's inconsistent, both with the gameplay and the narrative. In a good game, the gameplay and narrative support each other and are interlocked. It's why people got annoyed rather than saddened when Aeries died in Final Fantasy 7; it was a jarring effect that contridicted what we had already done. Metroid Other M was filled to the brim with this. In my opinion, it, along with the shortness of the game, the cookie-cutter level design and the (in my opinion, though this more comes down to personal taste) stiff gameplay, says to me that the development team was simply fed up with the game; it had changed focus and direction time and time again in the development process and if it transpired that the team themselves thought it was rushed and sloppy I wouldn't be surprised; again, like in the first comment I wrote, this is just hyperbole.

As for your point on my reply to Halollet, I could've probably worded it better; I was referring to a comment I had made earlier; it was a day or two beforehand, so it might be lost in the swaythes, and it is VERY long, so I don't blame you for reading it, but I had kind of assumed that people would've done. That's the internet for you.

The point of that reply was to show the inconsistency between Other M and the rest of the series; Halollet had really only referred to the Ridley battle, and I used the closest example I could think of to argue that Samus wouldn't have done that. I certainly didn't mean that anger and rage were Samus's only personality traits. In all fairness, that was only half of my argument, but I will admit that I had left stuff out assuming that people'd look above in stuff I'd written before. I'll copy-paste the specific part where I talk about why Samus's character in Other M was inconsistent from the rest of the series (I also used only the first three games to make it a little harder for me hurr hurr I'm a smartass ;) hurr hurr) in the next comment to save you trawling through, but as for defending my perception of Samus's character, was it projection? I'd argue it's a curious kind of projection, certainly not applying any old personality onto Samus that we felt like because she didn't speak, but I explain that in the comment, so it doesn't matter so much. If you have a problem with the analysis I give, do say, but think about it; my understanding of Samus seems pretty similar to what a lot of people thought before Other M or even Prime... how did we ALL get the same ideas? Blind luck? No, the game developers trusted us to fill in the blanks by, for lack of a better word, manipulating our so-called 'projections' into a singular perception of Samus.

Spongey Blob said...

Well, it's also Samus's portrayal, which most people can agree was wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Even people who liked the game have generally said that it was not consistent with the rest of the franchise. And this is another big problem; the game creators assumed that speech = personality, and therefore Samus was a blank slate. She wasn't. This is like saying deaf people can't eat beans. They are completely unrelated. The idea that she has no personality is a lie; the first three Metroid games are the best example, though you can look to the monologues in the Gameboy games and her body language in the Prime trilogy for more recent examples.

The reason that Samus endured the N64 gap was that she was, compared to other character of the time, such a strong character, full of humanity and emotion. How? The game developers, lacking any way of telling the players what she was like, actually used the gamer's input as part of her character.

The gamer is alone in the journey and must become used to this solitude, and so must Samus. The game's atmosphere and style can very easily make the player feel lost and scared, but they eventually conquer these anxieties through perseverance and bravery, so Samus too is relentless and brave. We have to stop to consider our route through Zebes, and we search like bloodhounds for items, making Samus smart and methodical. We spare the infant metroid at the end of Metroid 2 because it helps us win, and thus Samus is not ruthless but, in fact, has a human heart. And, on a personal note, the reason that the ending of Super Metroid is considered by many to be one of the strongest emotional experiences in gaming is that we care about the infant metroid; it was our goal, and to see it destroyed both saddened and angered us, and thus Samus is hugely protective and considers her own responsibility highly, and she continues to assault Mother Brain despite the fact that she's already lost once. It's not a smart thing to do, so why does she try again? Because the player's renewed attack on Mother Brain gives Samus an air of reckless desire for revenge. She has weaknesses as well as strengths because we have weaknesses as well as strengths. She's a three-dimensional human being, because we the player make her one. It's why Link is so brave and James Sunderland a coward, and why RPG characters change personality even in the same game; because the players make the character as much as the developers do, and the team of the original Metroid games knew how to steer us into thinking of Samus as how we do.

The Samus of Other M showed none of these qualities. It would've been just as annoying to people who disliked Other M if Samus was a violent bitchy ice queen, or a comedic slapstick character, or a friendly and shy demure woman, because that isn't what she is. She's methodical, brave and wrathful, refusing to give up in the face of impossible odds, and with a great rage as her greatest flaw. You may be correct in saying that she isn't stoical, but that wasn't all we thought of her, and this is why, at least as I see it, why people hated Samus so much in Other M. It wasn't the Samus we had been steered to making. It wasn't the Samus we knew and loved. It wasn't OUR Samus Aran.

Smashmatt202 said...

Nice to hear you're going to make a sequel to your Heavens to Metroid video and that you're going to hear what people want you to re-think...

I'm... Honestly not in the mood to talk about Metroid: Other M. The whole experience left me bitter and disappointed. I can't exactly place my finger on what I didn't like about it, but the story, while if you think about it made sense, didn't really work while you were playing through it. Scenes like when Adam shot Samus in the back and left her wide open to a Metroid attack... And how he didn't bother to attack the Metroid until it was right about to attack Samus.

Also, it's not that I don't think the fact that she HAD a personality, it's that the personality given to her wasn't conveyed very well, or gave people the wrong impression about her. Her monotone voiceovers don't help either, neither did the fact that Ridley, despite the fact that she's taken him down and supposedly killed him at least twice before, is suddenly scared to death of him.

And how we don't really get much insight into her character except how awesomely super awesome Adam is, even though all he does is give orders and give Samus stern, serious looks.

Oh yeah, and then there's the whole "not authorizing the Varia Suit until Samus nearly burns alive" thing, but then again, is Samus really so devoted to Adam that she's willing to KILL herself at Adam's whim?

AND there are the characters who are not Adam Malkovich and Anthony Higgs who are all given names but it doesn't matter since they're all killed off, including "the Deleter" who is killed off off-screen and whose subplot goes nowhere.

And Ridley, who is now not Ridley anymore but just a clone, and a mindless monstrosity that no longer has any connection with Samus.

And then there's the climax of the series with MB, and it all felt completely pointless even though she supposedly orchestrated everything that happened on the Bottle Ship, because we don't find out about her and her backstory until right before she's killed off... And for supposedly gaining emotions, she sounds pretty emotionless when she talks to Madeline Bergman and Samus...

I also recall someone saying that everything that happens on the Bottle Ship happens out of Samus's control. As in, aside from killing a bunch of monsters and MAYBE adding adding that one attack on MB at the end, everything that happened on the ship could have happened whether or not Samus was there. In other words, it was completely pointless.

Wow... I complained more then I thought I would, sorry about that. I didn't think I was going to say much since everyone else is going to say a lot of stuff, and I assumed everything I would have brought up would be brought up with them.

Oh well, maybe you'll address some of these supposed complaints against the game. Who knows, maybe you'll actually convince me to think otherwise about the game. Either way, I'm really glad you're adding a bit of fan imput with this next episode! At least now no one can say the Overthinker doesn't listen to his fans.

Nick said...

I mostly have three things to say, so I'll try to keep this short. [Predictably, I failed at that. ;) ]

Point one. The problem with the "don't use equipment until authorized" thing, isn't that Samus is taking orders from a man. The problem is that Samus is taking *stupid* orders from a man. It seems to me that any self-respecting "bounty hunter" of either gender would have told Adam to shove it upon being given such ridiculous instructions.

Point two, related. To echo something you said in your Big Picture episode "Skin Deep"; in a perfect world, not only would there be no sexism now, there would have been no sexism ever, but we don't live in a perfect world and all that stuff still happened. As such, a situation where a woman is taking nonsensical orders from a man without question - particuarly of the "don't take an obvious action until explicitly orderd to do so" variety - automatically carries the implication that she is doing it *because* he is a man and she is a woman.

That said, I do NOT think that said implications were necessarily intentional on Team Ninja's part. I think it's as likely as not that they came up with the "authorizing equipment" thing as a handwavy alternative to "finding equipment," and simply didn't give much thought to either the initial idea or its implications. Yes, not seeing the implications may make them seem
unrealistically thick, but that particular fault is something which I never put past writers of video game stories. I'm a Mega Man fan so I'm quite accustomed to it. ;)

Point three. Obviously you've already seen Extra Credits' episode on Other M; but I would like to say that I particularly agree with both of their counterpoints against the "Samus was a blank slate before" arguement.

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aiddon said...

here's the thing with Samus being a blank slate: she didn't really have many expressions even when silent. The only times I can REALLY say she expressed things silently were during some instances in the Prime games and even then they were HEAVILY open to interpretation. Except for Fusion Samus had ALWAYS been a human-shaped car people drove since having a personality got in the way of the player. It's times like this where I realize that bland rocks like Gordon Freeman need to be put to rest

Ian said...

Wow, close to a hundred comments at this point. So as to not repeat what anyone else has said yet, I'll try to bring up points that I don't think many people talk about that you should cover.

1) Reexamining why you like Metroid: Other M.

I recently watched the Heavens to Metroid episode, and after so long, I came to realize something: you never really said WHY you like the game. That is, you did give reasons, but they were... well, not very good ones, to be honest. You basically said:

-It uses fewer buttons.
-It isn't an FPS (which you also called a 'very personal reason', which I find kind of silly).

I think you need to go more in-depth with exactly what not only Metroid: Other M did right, but what it did BETTER than other games. As someone that has played many Metroid and action games... I'm not sure if you'll be able to do that, frankly. Yoshio Sakamoto basically said that he wanted Other M to play like Ninja Gaiden, because that was the only 3D game he's able to play (google 'Sakamoto Ninja Gaiden' and you should find the article that says this).

I bring up this point for a reason: people ignored the game not just because the story was bad, but because there wasn't much else to the game once you removed the story. Again, it doesn't even play like a classic Metroid game.

2) A more in-depth look at Adam Malkovich.

So many people talk about Samus and her portrayal in this game, but there's just one thing that not many people seem to mention: we don't really learn much about Samus as we do about Adam.

Think about it: the majority of the narrative is Samus speaking in first person monologues. Aside from a few objective statements like when she used to be a soldier, she spends most of her time talking about Adam. During this, he's never portrayed as a flawed character. In fact, he's basically perfect. We're told that everything he says, thinks, and believes is correct. As much as anyone can try to look at him as flawed, the narrative isn't attempting to make us believe that. In fact, Adam is so perfect that he doesn't get killed; he chooses to sacrifice himself without even a glint of emotion, and once again, Samus is supposed to be wrong for wanting him to stop, just like she was wrong for disobeying his order that made her leave his command (again, she doesn't leave because she disagreed with his order; she leaves because she felt bad for disagreeing with him).

And really, this is just bad character writing. Perfect characters are, by definition, bad characters, because they're unrealistic and nobody can relate to them. And yet, this is what the bulk of the narrative is: Samus painting Adam as a perfect character that we're all supposed to like, despite all of the questionable things he does and says to her. In the end, all Samus is is a product of Adam with no thoughts or beliefs of her own.

This only works as a jumping off point, like in Final Fantasy Tactics when the opening cements Ramza as an archetypal hero, then thrusts him into a world of political chaos. Other M, however, does this for about 3/4 of the game. Again, not only is this bad writing, but it makes Samus come off as a boring, unlikable character who has nothing that makes her unique.

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

3) Let me play devil's advocate: would an ice queen really be worse than Other M's Samus?

I hear a lot of people say the following: "No matter what they did with Samus, everyone would hate her regardless." "At least she isn't another Master Chief." "Everyone just wanted her to be an emotionless ice queen."

Granted, the last two character types are bad, no matter how you look at them. But would they have really been worse than what we got in Other M? A character that jumps back and forth between being a silent killing machine and a person with no initiative, almost never asking for permission to do anything to save her life, let alone others, who also has no thoughts or beliefs of her own, who also cowers at the sight of a creature she has killed multiple times and could very well do it again?

Frankly speaking, if Samus did turn out to just be a Master Chief-type character or even an ice queen, at the very least, her actions in gameplay would match up with how she'd be in cutscenes; I really can't believe that the character who would get physically violent with creatures and even jam her gun down their throats, as well as the back of their heads, execution style, can be so deadpan, insecure, naive, and almost childish.

And as for the point before that, the 'it doesn't matter who she is, people would complain regardless' point:

4) What else they could have done with Samus.

Again, they could have instead have Adam die earlier on in the game after establishing that he was a good character. Then, the challenges Samus would overcome would help define her as a character. Imagine the opening to Pixar's 'Up'; you don't need 4-6 hours to define a character to make us like them, or even cry over their fate.

And then there are other character types, even characters in general, that they could have flat out copied that would make Samus likable. One example I see a lot is Full Metal Alchemist's Riza Hawkeye, who also happens to be a soldier with a commanding officer that she respects. However, instead of endlessly pining over him, the two are almost like friends who get on each others nerves occasionally. At one point, she even thinks that he died, and although she cries, unable to fight, that's after shooting every bullet she had on her at his supposed killer. She broke down, and people sympathized with her, because we knew that there was nothing she could do at that point.

And my example of a good female character is Lyn from Fire Emblem on the GBA. She's the daughter of a tribe chieftain, who was killed along with her mother and several village people by bandits. She was basically abandoned because, her people being old fashioned, wouldn't follow a woman, even if she was the chieftain's daughter (here's an example of dealing with gender challenges). She then learns that she has a grandfather and travels across the country in an attempt to see the only family she has left. She's strong, compassionate, lively, and, above all else, determined.

Case in point, they could have done so much more with Samus in Other M, as you see above. However, they opted for what I honestly believe is the absolute worst character type you could imagine: one who has absolutely no defining characteristics.

Spongey Blob said...

@ Aiddon

Expressions and personality are not one and the same, and Samus was no blank slate. The original three games, Super Metroid in particular, had a very clever if primitive way of giving Samus a personality, which is probably the biggest reason that we still considered her a gaming icon during the 8 year long gap between Metroid games, and a big reason as to why the Metroid series endured it at all and didn't just end at Super Metroid. The way they gave her personality was this; the games used player input as part of Samus's character, and the game creators, for lack of a better word, manipulated our quote unquoted 'projections' to make Samus the character they wanted to portray;

The gamer is alone in the journey and must become used to this solitude, and so must Samus. The game's atmosphere and style can very easily make the player feel lost and scared, but they eventually conquer these anxieties through perseverance and bravery, so Samus too is relentless and brave. We have to stop to consider our route through Zebes, and we search like bloodhounds for items, making Samus smart and methodical. We spare the infant metroid at the end of Metroid 2 because it helps us win, and thus Samus is not ruthless but, in fact, has a human heart. And, on a personal note, the reason that the ending of Super Metroid is considered by many to be one of the strongest emotional experiences in gaming is that we care about the infant metroid; it was our goal, and to see it destroyed both saddened and angered us, and thus Samus is hugely protective and considers her own responsibility highly, and she continues to assault Mother Brain despite the fact that she's already lost once. It's not a smart thing to do, so why does she try again? Because the player's renewed attack on Mother Brain gives Samus an air of reckless desire for revenge. She has weaknesses as well as strengths because we have weaknesses as well as strengths. She's a three-dimensional human being, because we the player make her one. It's why Link is so brave and James Sunderland a coward, and why RPG characters change personality even in the same game depending on who's playing; because the players make the character as much as the developers do, and the team of the original Metroid games knew how to steer us into thinking of Samus as how we do.

For another, non-Metroid example, look to Ocarina of Time; you know what Link is like, but how? He never speaks, he never expresses emotion, he never reacts to any particular situation in anyway unless the player reacts, and yet we all know that Link IS a brave and righteous warrior. Why? Because the player input is as big as a part of the character as what's put down on the script, and the writers of Ocarina of Time knew how to shape that player input and make the Link that the team wanted to portray themselves.

The Samus of Other M showed none of the qualities we had be influenced to make. It would've been just as annoying to people who disliked Other M if Samus was a violent bitchy ice queen, or a comedic slapstick character, or a friendly and shy demure woman, because that isn't what she is. She's methodical, brave and wrathful, refusing to give up in the face of impossible odds, and with a great rage as her greatest flaw. Other M's version of Samus was not this character and this is why, at least as I see it, why people hated Samus so much in Other M. It wasn't the Samus we had been steered to making. It wasn't the Samus we knew and loved. It wasn't OUR Samus Aran.

As for calling Samus 'expressionless' I think one needs to replay Metroid 2 and Super Metroid, or at least look over the endings.

Spongey Blob said...

@ Ian

You might want to find the second part of your analysis and repost it. It comes up as deleted.

Points one and two make a lot of sense, but points three and four bug me a little because you sound as if Samus didn't have a character in the first place. It would've at least annoyed me if Samus was a bitchy ice queen, because it wasn't who she was. As I've said in earlier posts, she was a methodical and brave warrior, who felt huge responsibility for her actions and refused to back down, with her great weakness being a great rage. That's what she was in the earlier games, even as early as Metroid 2 and, at least in some small ways, the very original. Ice queen is one of the last things I'd call Samus Aran; the other 'last things' being any adjective that could be used to describe her in any Other M cutscene.

TheNumberOneShmuck said...

One thing that was irritating about your first Other M video was regarding FPSes. Regarding FPSes, didn't you basically say that the genre, at heart, was not something you dislike, that the real problem was the general boring, gray, macho grizzled marine coat of paint that most every game had adopted that drew your ire?

But then, in the Other M video, you basically said "Hey, at least it's not another fuckin' FPS, right?" But that's stupid. The Prime Trilogy has been one of the shining, outstanding examples of First Person games (shooter, adventure, or whatever genre people are arguing it is at this time) that didn't adhere to the boring, generic standards of modern FPSes, and kept the atmosphere and exploration as the key focus. Even Corruption only really featured space marines for the first half hour or so, plus a ten-minute pseudo-escort section later on. Everything else was pure Metroid.

That whole thing just seemed so full of shit after claiming that the FPS's ugly side was in the personality that had been adopted across the board, rather than the basic gameplay mechanics. If that's true, then there's nothing there to suggest that you'd have any problem with the Prime Trilogy.

I could say a LOT more, about the actual game, but it would take for-fuckin-ever (and in fact, since it's stuff that I've argued elsewhere, I can say that it DOES take for-fuckin-ever) and isn't specific to you. The FPS issue is specific to you.

Shark said...

I have a question for you Moviebob: Did you even bother to Play Metroid The Other M?

Jannie said...

@Number One Shmuck

But see that's the problem, isn't it. He says he "doesn't have a problem" with FPS games because he kind of has to say that to cover his ass. In reality, as you pointed out, Bob just out and out dismisses the Prime series without even attempting to justify WHY.

Because WHY should be obvious: Bob, personally, doesn't like FPS games or FPS fans and thinks they're stupid. And again, he's said this, multiple times, this isn't me playing martyr.

He is, frankly, openly hateful towards the whole fandom and takes every chance (even places where inappropriate) to insult them. Like at the beginning of the last video where he HAD to fit not one but THREE different swipes at FPS games in, even though what he went on to say was itself a thinly veiled diatribe against online FPS games. It was already an insult--he piles three needless insults onto a video of needless insults, like a Russian doll made of insecurity.

So part of his defense, however futile, of Other M is simply pushing back on a non-military shooter in a market now dominated by them, probably JUST BECAUSE. Couple this with his unhealthy love of the Japanese, going os far as to be more defensive about their sociopolitical problems then THEY are, and you can see why the video was kind of created as more of a polemic screed against modern, western-centric gaming than an actual defense of Other M.

Or at least I hope so, because I don't think he's naive enough to REALLY believe these glaring problems with sexism and shoddy characterization were somehow "unintentional" despite being very specific about it. In point of fact, I know he's not, actions be damned, because even the hard core Japanophiles admit this.

Spongey Blob said...

@ Number One Schmuck and Jannie

Off the topic of Other M for a moment (thank goodness, I'm sick of talking about that game when all I want to do is forget it ever happen) there are three points about MovieBob hating FPSs that I find hilarious;

1) His assertion that there's never been any genre that's ever stagnated a gaming era before like, oh I don't know, NES platformers, in which only about twenty were any good and the rest either direct copies or shite.

2) He hates Halo solely because it's overrated, which translates to 'People like this product and find joy in it AND I HATE THEM FOR THAT!'

3) Now, this point could be applied to anything Bob talks about, and I've on several occasions stop watching his stuff because of it; he never debates with his opponents, he just insults them, and he either hates products because of a minority of its audience, or he hates an audience because of the product. The worst case probably being when he apologised to Michael Bay for calling him a douchebag, before saying "The movie is still shit (fair enough, it really was shit) and all the people who like it are douchebags..."

And he has the fucking balls to call people who were offended by Samus's portrayal in Other M stupid, whiny reactionary tosspots. I was offended by Other M because it ruined one of my favourite characters, shat on one of my favourite games of my childhood and sullied the name of a brilliant franchise, but at least it didn't call me stupid for not liking it.

As a quick note on Metroid Other M once more, note that exactly 91.27% of people (yeah, exact figure right there) who defend Other M are NINTENDO fans but not METROID fans. Let's say Metroid Other M was just called 'Other M' and was about 'Asmus', a female warrior with huge daddy issues with her superior-but-not-really 'Dama', who tries to stop the evil 'void bucaneers' and the murderer of her parents 'Dirley', and was available on the Xbox 360. Would MovieBob's video 'Heavens to Asmus' really be as positive? I doubt it; he would've called it a poorly made globule of bile, and he probably would've insulted everyone who liked the game too.

Jannie said...

Well, it goes without saying that his assertion that FPS games are "stagnant" is BS, seeing as how many of the most innovative games of all times (Half-Life, Portal, Deus Ex, I could go on) were FPS games or otherwise first-person narratives.

But Spongey Blob touches on a good point too about older NES games: the vast majority were of FAR less impressive stock than even some of the shittier modern games.

The problem is that, whenever Bob talks about Nintendo or retro games in general, he's not talking about it objectively. He talks about it purely, solely from the standpoint of a child, or more precisely an adult looking back on childhood happiness. He either can't or wont look at it objectively.

And as I've said before, I would love for someone to explain to me how his constant, very vitriolic insults towards modern gaming and modern gamers is anything OTHER than bullying. He, as Spongey Blob says, hates products because they're popular or "overrated" in his eyes--which merely means, from his POV, that they're taking attention away from the memories he cherishes of old platformers. And I posit that he only really is defending Other M because it is NOT a modern game but basically an older style platformer with new graphics.

I also love how once he wrote an Intermission article that said we shouldn't "deprive children" of future Mario games by making them "grow up" (using grow up as a pejorative for some reason) and has said more than once he wishes games could cater more to kids. It's truly stunning how engrossed in his own childhood he is, especially when it comes to resisting change.

But of course, you're right, if Other M had been about ANYONE ELSE than a Nintendo character he'd have panned it like virtually every other self-respecting game critic did. It is amazing to see how few people actually DEFEND Other M (save for Bob) but instead try to find explanations for how it's not AS bad as it seems. You don't see that kind of raw majority opinion in gaming much, but virtually everyone, save a very small group, admit it was shit and even those who don't admit it was poorly written. Ouch.

Smashmatt202 said...

Oh yeah, Bob/Overthinker, talk about what you think of the Metroid Prime series, and talk about stuff that ISN'T related to the fact that it's a first-person shooter. Like, talk about the story of those games, or how Retro Studios decided to handle the Metroid series.

Personally, I never got past the first game, by after playing Metroid: Other M, maybe now I'll go back and try it out again.

Jannie said...

CONTINUED:

I'd like to just add one final thought.

In another post, the video about online gaming Supreme Responsibility, one of the posters (Aqua I believe) said that he doesn't genuinely think that Bob wants to destroy FPS gaming and online gaming because "he's not an idiot and knows the damage it would cause to the industry". This was said in response to me saying I think Bob just wants modern gaming to, basically, die.

I disagree with this.

I don't think Bob is an idiot, however I do believe that he'd gladly destroy the industry if it meant stopping what he sees as "too much growing up."

Bob doesn't really like games, you have to understand this, he likes SPECIFIC games with SPECIFIC characters and scenarios he knows, with NO change and NO evolution, ever, under any circumstances. Anything outside of this he considers to be some kind of "wrong" or another.

So yes I think he'd get rid of almost all modern gaming outlets besides old style platformers and mascot games if he had his way, if only because I don't really believe he sees modern titles like Halo or Gears of War or, yes, Madden as being legitimate games or hobbies and more like some kind of horrible fad that won't end.

That, I believe, is the real crux of his defense of Other M. Other M is a game made in a very archaic style for Nintendo, the most archaic of all game companies, and made by a Japanese game company ("just like the good old days!") and if it had been otherwise, if Epic had released Other M or something, he'd have flipped his lid. But in this case he feels the need to defend it because he feels the need to defend old games, old style gaming and Japanese games in particular...and if that defensive attitude flies in the face of logic, too bad so sad.

Spongey Blob said...

@ Jannie

I can see why MovieBob is a fan of NES platformers; they're part of his childhood, and to be fair there's nothing wrong with that in of itself. Ever played Wacky Wheels? That was the first ever game I played, and it's terrible, but I always love it. You just have to know when to move forward and except that, yes, your childhood favourites are NOT good standards to judge new material by, something MovieBob fails to do.

Case in point; his other big reason for hating Halo, CoD and Gears of War (besides the fact that other people like it, and it's on the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live is exclusively used by dick-weasels, and it's Microsoft's fault; they put little earwigs in those microphones that burrow into the heads of 14 year olds and turns them into racists) is that it set the trends in the modern FPS market that he doesn't like, and that shoddy ripoffs copy their methods. Cough cough the NES library cough cough.

I can vouch for MovieBob in LIKING old games; old games are great, and I won't lie, there are plenty of things the FPS market and the gaming industry as a whole does today that I want to stop, but I also know that games can't just stop and stand still for the sake of nostalgia. I've never quite got the nostalgia argument of 'New Trend X is ruining gaming' because your old games haven't gone anywhere. Bungie does not go round to people's houses and stomp on their copies of Contra laughing maniacally. If you want the same game again, play it. It's right there! Hell, emulators and ROMs of old games are some of the biggest downloads out there; people are STILL playing old games, and they're not Generation X Americans who grew up with the 8-bit. I'm an 18 year old British lad, a place where the NES bombed and the ZX Spectrum was still considered the height of fancy, yet I still know Ninja Gaiden 6-2 off by heart, and they still influence games today. In fact, if you asked any game maker in that era, at the time, to make any game, with no technological limitations or budget constraints or anything, I think they'd end up making something a bit like Gears of War, but it isn't enough for Generation X, because that isn't how it was.

To bring it back to Metroid Other M and Heavens to Metroid and not make it a slogging match, a thought's just occured to me. How can, in any sense, anyone say that Metroid Other M is a 'good' game. Can they like it? Sure, people can like the game, people should be allowed to like whatever they like, but calling Other M, with an objective view, a 'good' game? I don't think so, for one reason;

We're still talking about it.

If a game can't convince the majority of its audience that its any good within the month it has failed its task to entertain, a pretty big failure for a GAME. It's been a year; while cult classics can be rediscovered and re-evaluated, they're generally a lost item thanks to the internet and the fact that our culture now very rarely 'loses' anything, I don't think we'll be calling Metroid Other M the new Brazil anytime soon. Plus, people who like the game ARE a minority. The majority of people kind of shrug their shoulders and go "Eh, it wasn't worth the money." Not a strong reaction, unless you think WASN'T WORTH THE MONEY is a strong reaction. Nintendo did. They sent out a statement asking fans to say WHY they didn't like the game, and admitted that it dropped well below expectations (it was expected to sell into millions by the first month, five months later it hadn't even broken half a million). Would a game company ever say that to a minority of people? No. Who better to ask of a product's reception than the people who make money from it? No one, and Nintendo said that it fell apart.

Ian said...

@ Spongey Blob

Thanks for taking the time to read what I said. I think you might be mistaken about my deleted post, though; if you see points 3 and 4, then you see the whole thing. I had to delete and repost my second half because it had a grammatical error that made it sound like Lyn died at the beginning of Fire Emblem; long story :p

But anyway, I wasn't trying to say that Samus being an ice queen was the only way to approach defining her character; I was just trying to make a point that it would have made MORE SENSE. In gameplay, we see Samus, without hesitation, killing and even executing enemies. It's just jarring to see her go from that to someone with little motivation or ambition who also freezes up at the sight of a nemesis she has killed multiple times.

The other character examples I list were just ideas on how to approach writing characters. Had they made Adam and Samus more buddy-buddy, I'd at least SEE that the two meant something to each other instead of just having to take Samus' word for it despite seeing Adam do and say so many questionable things to her. And as for the Lyn example, again, while also taking notes from Up, they could have shown a montage of the two working together since they first met, which would make us understand why Samus would look up to him and believe what he believed; then that could have been a setup for further character development in the actual plot of the game.

Sorry if it sounds like I'm really incoherent, I've argued over this game more than I should have.

Jannie said...

@Spongey Blob

I get why people play retro games, I used to own most of the old consoles, I still do. Believe me I understand how it feels to be a fan of a dead genre--let me say this loud and clear:

I love the shit out of COD and Battlefield but, frankly, I'd give EVERY fucking gaming innovation of the last fifteen years if they could bring back those old 2-D beat em ups like Final Fight and Streets of Rage. I loved, loved, loved those things and I still regularly play them...I even have the good fortune to own some old Arcade units (don't even ask how hard THAT was!)

However...and he's the salient point...no matter how much I loved those old games, I can objectively look at the gaming landscape and realize things have changed. That I believe is the real difference between people who play old games and "retro gamers"--one group just like the old games, possibly even aware of how shitty most of them were (as you said, the NES library was not as great as nostalgia would have people believe) and play them kind of for sentimental reasons, and "retro gamers" tend to be fanatical about it. I think a lot of people who maybe self-identify as retro gamers would even disagree with some of the stuff that passes for "wisdom" in their fandom.

There are a lot of big changes in gaming in the past decade or so: Online is now, basically, a standard feature; 3D is becoming more standardized as well; shooters and action games, especially FPS games, have been dominant since the early 2000s and now even RPGs are in first-person (e.g., Fallout 3 and Deus Ex). I'm just the kind of person who embraces change.

But there are many, and sadly most like Bob Chipman, who really can't embrace change. They see that change as a threat to their memories and what they grew up on. Which is so silly it's mind blowing--those old games won't disappear simply because Gears and COD are dominant now, especially not with emulators! There is NO reason to be defensive about Nintendo, or frankly to support their stagnant continuity, since the older (and frankly better) games can now be played on emulator, many downloaded off the internet for free, and with new features like saving games that makes playing them easier and better. If anything, mascot games and platformers are in a better position now then they were back in the day. Look at all the Rom Hacks on the internet, you can even make whole new games from the best parts of old ones.

That, I believe, is why I don't get Bob's obsessive protectiveness. Retro games aren't in danger of dying out they just moved to a different medium, and an easier to access and use one at that, yet he seems to rage against change in the current console and PC mediums trying to return gaming to some non-existent halcyon days when he really doesn't need to.

And I'm rambling but you're quite right about Other M. It's a very poorly done game, and was almost universally panned by the critic and fanbase. How anyone could defend it is beyond me, let alone defend the VERY SPECIFIC design choices that enraged many people who found it sexist and insulting (including the likes of me, not Superfan #1 of feminism).

Spongey Blob said...

@ Ian

I don't blame you about aruging over this game for so long; it's a particularly horrible case of characterisation, and I won't object to the idea that an ice queen would've been far better than Other M's Samus. My issue was that it still wouldn't be that good, certainly not as good as what Samus SHOULD be like.

In fact, to counteract MovieBob and Aiddon's suggestion that Samus was a blank slate, if she was why are so many people up in arms about it? No, really, why? Because Samus HAD a personality. The blank slate argument doesn't actually make sense; the very EXISTENCE of a controversy disproves it. If, say, one of the Sims started moaning about their daddy issues with some dude, no one would give a flying flinging damn, because they were a completely blank slate. I'm fed up with people who say she didn't have any personality before Other M, which is strange considering that her Wikipedia article at the time was huge, so there must have been SOMETHING there! I'm still waiting for someone to call my own analysis wrong, it'd be hilarious to see.

@ Jannie

Why do people defend Other M? Because it's Nintendo, and right now they need defending. They've been stepping into bucket of shit after bucket of shit for a long time now, and entirely by their own design. They seriously think that the Wii-U will have the same impact boom that the Wii had, but actually ask 75% of anyone who has a Wii (i.e. old people, very young children and family... persons[?] who've never played a game before) and it'll be the first they've ever heard of the console. And Nintendo keep isolating their hardcore fanbase of fans who are actual gamers by generally being dicks towards their business partners and opponents(either insulting them in interviews, or making extremely harsh deals) potential fans (refusing to offer any new gaming experiences beyond superficial elements and a new coat of graphics) and people who BOUGHT their games in the West (not releasing demanded games for no reason whatsoever, not paying attention to any feedback, slowly cutting themselves away). And those so vocal hardcore fans like MovieBob? Those who have been seen stauch in defending it, probably the only reason left that they still have a significant loyalty base in Western provinces? How are they rewarded?

Ignoring, hindering and scamming them, that's how. Using their own popularity as an excuse to do whatever the hell they like, and in return forcing them to pay full price for half length games like, I don't know, Metroid Other fucking M.

It's like peering into the mind of an overly optimistic gimp.

Hypothesis; if Nintendo don't get their shit together and stop mistreating gamers and the gaming industry, there won't be a new Nintendo console outside of Japan by 2015, and there won't be a Nintendo full stop by 2020.

Smashmatt202 said...

Something I just realized...

Strawman's first appearance was IN Heavens to Metroid!

:o

Polk Kitsune said...

@ Spongey Blob

Thanks for the correction, and it's quite an in-depth exploration of her character thorugh the previous games. It was really an awesome way to portray a character, very awesome. I lift my hat to you (if I had a hat, at least).

There is one thing I'd like to focus on though, and that's the end part. You do say that the Samus from Other M has none of those qualities. I partly agree with this... in 'some' cutscenes.

If you take out all the cutscenes of the game, Samus is still alone, fighting coridors after coridors of monsters, finding her way out through inospitable locations, and being badass about it. Still strong, methodical, calculating and a survivor. In action, in that game, she's still very strong.

... Heck, makes me wonder if the game would have been better recieved without the cutscenes. Leave the rest in.

If we add in the cutscenes, the major part of it is Samus praising hail and glory to Adam. That's what sucks out all the good bits of Samus. It's why they call her a whiny little bitch with Daddy issues. Looking outside of those cutscenes, what little 'other' cutscenes there is, she's still methodical, smart, and calculating. When she sees MD the first time, she's a bit more like a policewoman askign her to stop. When she's talking with MD alone, she is going through with a bit of an inspector's feel to it. A bit more solid there in the personification.

... Okay, now I have to wonder if the game would have been better recieved if Adam was removed from the cutscenes.

That would leave the Ridley scene to make her scared one time, and it'd be a fraction of the game. Much less big of a deal. Do you think so? Do take a moment to reflect on that.

The big problem, in retrospect, is the characterisation of Adam. The way he's presented to us through Samus' mouth. We're being told he's flawless and wise over and over again (while other characters don't get the same treatment. Red shirt/cannon fodder treatment), and that takes away from Samus. Isn't that the whole problem with Samus' character in this game? I've said in my previous post that if Adam was a woman, the game wouldn't be sexist, but now, even if Adam would be a woman, it would still cause issues, because Samus woudl glorify that character instead. Different sex, same issue.

The character of Adam is where most of this issue seems to root from. Not from the authorisation standpoint, but the way his character is portrayed. The only way to portray him was through Samus' mouth, and that's what we got. Too much of us. A single character to bring down Samus.

Thankfully, unless they do another flashback, the only time we'll see Adam, is in a brain jar.

Polk Kitsune said...

((More))


Now, one point Jannie mentionned at one point, is that if this game woulsn't have been Metroid Other M, Bob would have bashed it like the rest of the FPS.

But then isn't the reverse also true?

If this game wouldn't have been Metroid, would it have caused such a rucus accross the internet? Most of the complains we hear are 'THIS IS NOT SAMUS'. If it wouldn't have been for what we've seen in older games, these issues would have been moot. We'd have maybe a month of discussion about it, and it would fade into the mass of forgotten games. But because this is Samus, people are still upset with it.

People are upset because of, you guessed it, nostalgia.

That's about it.

I probably should have written this earlier, but someone asked what were the good points of the game. How about exploring this?

One of the biggest aclaim I can give the game, is it's goregeous graphics. It's one of the best looking games on the Wii. That's saying something. It's putting some games on the other, more performing consoles, to shame. It's colorful, smooth, detailed, and gives you a wide varietty of environments to go through. All without needing HD. The artists on this game really deserve better praises. I'd lose to see more of their work in the future.

The gameplay itself was also very good, merging third person platformer with a hint of FPS in a very unique way. Third person shooters are still present, but we often hear how the camera is a huge problem. This one tries to fix this with a fixed camera that follows you, while still allowing to examine the area with first person view at the flick of the wiimote (while still keeping your shooting options open).

The platforming part is one thing I really missed when I played the Prime series. You've probably heard all the complaints about first person platforming before, and unless you plan on turning into a ball all the time, your jumps don't work so well. That limited exploration quite a bit on it's own. I missed the platforming part of the 2-D metroids, and this gave me a compromise I enjoyed. Since you can't aim up though, they placed in an auto-aim, but you still don't get away with just standing there, and pressing a button. Fighting bosses in third person also gives you some actual obstacles to move around, without the first person-view becoming a blind spot. Circle-straffing a boss isn't an option.

Exploring may have been chocked because of the path lock, but it's still fun to find powerups, or figure out a puzzle to get that energy tank. It's minimised, but still mildly present. The puzzles were also different, that with having both a platforming element and first person view moments.

As for music... Well, as one person mentionned previously, music was mostly absent. You mostly got enviromental noises, which made you feel all that much alone in space, an important element in immersion. No music doesn't help, but the sounds still worked.

As for the story... Well, we went over the subject quite a bit already.

I really enjoyed the experience as a whole. Even with the bad story, I enjoyed the gameplay I sat through, liked what I saw and experienced.

... Which brings me back to Metroid, Other M, without the cutscenes. Maybe a Director's Cut would help.

((More))

Polk Kitsune said...

((More))

And since the topic was brought in about the WiiU, I just want to toss in my two cents.

When I saw the controler for the device... Well, yeah, my jaw dropped at the second screen, but then I noticed the buttons included there. Four face buttons, four trigger buttons, D-Pad and two joysticks right on the controler that's the center of the console. Following up with that, a little later in the presentation, was a whole list of third party games that would come with it. Very bloody third party games too, including Ninja Gaiden, Assasin's Creed and Darksiders.

What that told me, is that this console would open the doors to all those third party games that the X-box and Playstation have been sharing all this time. All those games would be on all three consoles. You wanted more mature games to come to Nintendo? There you go.

I'm sure the answer is more complicated than I think it is, but if you can make a game that can go cross-platform between the X-box and playstation, why not make it cross to another platform that also reaches to those 'casual gamers' Nintendo grabbed onto?

I'll admit, Nintendo has made some bone-headed moves, but who hasn't? We still haven't forgotten the Red Ring of Doom, or the Playstation Network crash. Nintendo still did a lot of good, and I'm keeping optimistic.

... Not that my PS3 hasn't gotten it's share of love lately.

Spongey Blob said...

@ Polk Kitsune

Thank you for the praise of the character analysis. It's good hear that someone else knew that she wasn't a blank slate prior to either Other M or Fusion.

If I may point out the flaws in your 'the game would've been way better if the cutscenes were there' you're right. It would've been, but it wasn't because the cutscenes WERE there. It's akin to saying "The Titanic would've been good, if it didn't sink." The cutscenes are there, and the only reason I can think to not criticise them is that they've already been torn apart anyway.

Also, and this is going to sound mental but it's true, but I think that the biggest problem with Samus's character isn't Adam. Adam is not the problem with Other M. Words from his mouth? Ok! It's not Adam I got my rags in over; it was Samus. Samus Aran WAS wrong, and it was her words and her actions in cutscene that ruined the game. And it wasn't just to Adam she acted so out of character. She's always treated and always acts inferior to everyone else she meets, she can't shut up about how 'naive' and 'foolish' she was without Adam when she singlehandedly dismantled five seperate pirate operations and destroyed an entire race of mega-dangerous predators, and I can't actually remember her having any reaction to finding out that a copy of Mother Brain is alive and well other than a shrug of the shoulder and going "Oh, right, Mother Brain. Whatever. I wonder what Adam would ablub blurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr". And need I say anything about the Ridley battle, where she froze in the face of her nemesis (to whom she had always reacted with anger and hatred) and had actually been reverted to a scared little girl until someone else saved her(smooth move, Sakamoto). If someone else had said and did all these things, people would just have thought "Gee, what a dumbass, they should know better about Samus Aran." But it was Samus herself, so people thought and noticed that something was amiss.

In fact, to play devil's advocate even further (I can guarantee that Jannie and the like are raging at me saying that Adam wasn't the problem, let's see if I can't make it worse :D) Other M's story could've been fantastic if Samus's dialogue and in-cutscene actions and ONLY Samus had been changed, everyone here would have little but praise for the story of Other M. Here is my proposed change; well, two changes. First, get rid of the backstory. No one gives a huge damn, and it should've been it's own game if they wanted to give her a past anyway. But the BIG change is this; have Samus react with anger instead of boring old miserable sorrow towards the infant's death.

CONTINUED BELOW

Spongey Blob said...

I would suggest that she instead becomes completely and utterly reckless during missions. Fuelled by rage and colossal hatred, she would be too dangerous for the Galactic Federation to have as a bounty hunter but too precious to throw away. The bottle ship mission? A test to Samus to prove that she is still worth having. If asked about the infant metroid, instead of harping on and on she simply avoids the topic and pretends that she doesn't care, even though it's clear that she does, and the game ends with Adam teaching her to learn to accept her mistakes rather than ignore them, to admit that, yes, she had a soft spot for the infant metroid, and learn that to simply mope and whine about the death is to let it be in vain, and she should instead make sure that the infant metroid's sacrifice is ho noured. The game would end with Samus returning to form triumphantly and earning the respect of her peers. BAM; three problems solved in one:

1) It justifies the authorisation without a change of dialogue. No one wants loose cannon Samus running around firing missiles everywhere, so she must earn the trust to keep those items. You could even incorperate that into gameplay; the more pointless kills and ignorance of orders the players make, the less likely they are to get new weapons.

2) It gives Adam reason for being there other than tying the game to that fucking awful backstory. Seriously, THAT was the root of the problems even if it wasn't the biggest of the lot; the dev and writing teams were unfocused between what once happened and what's happening now.

3) IT'S STILL IN CHARACTER FOR SAMUS! It builds on what we already had, rather than slapping random character traits together and calling that Samus. Hell, it'd be consitent with Other M's more action-focused gameplay, with Samus basically killing more than she ever has done in any other Metroid game in a hyper-violent rage.

As for positive aspects for Metroid Other M, beyond the original concept... no, there's nothing I can think of. Even gameplay was too inconsistent with the rest of the series, the atmosphere was non-existent, the graphics were 'good for a Wii game' but there were plenty of times where Samus looked like a Barbie doll and her armour was ugly as fuck. Platforming was really only a major aspect for Metroid 1; the rest focused more on the exploration, mood and action, the platforming was merely a way for getting from Point A to Point B. It fitted the 2-d games. Other M? I don't think it did. I also personally found the controls to be far too stiff-armed and made Samus feel like a tank, but that's purely my opinion. It certainly had better gameplay than Metroid Prime Hunters; it was just that the story is so cancerous and hideous and the atmosphere is so off that the gameplay can't stop the game from being anything more than terrible.

CONTINUED BELOW

Spongey Blob said...

As for the Wii-U, the idea of Nintendo getting hardcore gamers back is a novelty, if they haven't been treating them and developers of hardcore games so badly over the past few years, for reasons I've already listed. I think the Wii-U will die, and it'll die hard, unless Nintendo can get a fraction of the goodwill it really needs now. Otherwise, people are just going to be fed up with their shit. It's already happening with the 3DS; it was faulty and gave people migraines, and Nintendo's reaction has so far been pretty much "Well fuck you guys anyway; come back for your regurgitated Starfox remakes when we WANT you." Not a good business practise at all. The Wii-U itself? Probably ok, if gimmicky, like the Wii, but Nintendo's tarnished reputation will simply destroy it. Which is a shame, because I LIKE Nintendo, or at least I used to, but I actually think it deserves for the Wii-U to die on its feet, if for little more than to teach Nintendo a lesson in humility. This is not the 1980's; this is now, and Nintendo has to except that or go the way of all those who failed to keep up and change with the times.

Jannie said...

@ Spongey Blob

Yeah but that's really the crux of the whole "retro gamer" movement isn't it: a determined refusal to keep up with the times and change.

Part of me thinks it's insecurity about one's own place in the "system" of gaming--where does an avid fan of platforming games go in a world where they've been effectively a dead genre for over a decade? The only platformers out there now are novelty titles or indie bullshit created by Hipsters.

Speaking of, I kind of think that's why Bob was so up in arms about Scott Pilgrim going down in flames the way it did. It kind of was a harsh reminder of how out of date and asinine those old video game tropes look to modern audiences and people who didn't grow up on the SNES and Genesis like us. He was just giddy to see it but most people, and younger people who know of gaming through XBL and Sony, looked at it and couldn't catch a single reference.

I mean, I KNOW what "Clash and Demon's Head" is but if I were a decade younger it'd just fly over my head. And that, in a nutshell, is I believe the reason retro fanatics are so defensive: they don't defend Nintendo because they CARE they defend it because Nintendo is the only company so out of touch and backwards thinking as to still cater to them after all these years, logic be damned. And the one time they tried something new (like Prime) it made Bob and his cohorts shit themselves for fear that even Nintendo considered them obsolete.

As an aside, Samus wasn't so much a blank slate as she was a person without direct, first-person characterization. I mean, like Duke Nukem, for example, speaks directly to you and makes jokes with you while you're playing so you feel like Duke is an actual living thing not just a cypher; Samus never really got that, and frankly that's Nintendo's fault because even Mario and Wario got that treatment. As a result I can see, a little, how people may think of this as a kind of blank slate...but it really isn't one per se. We get second and third hand ideas, implicit and otherwise, about Samus' personality like, for example, how she bonded with the Baby Metroid that time, or went out of her way to help the light people (I forget their name) defeat the shadow people in that one game. It's not her cracking wise as she kills enemies, or chattering on like Mario, or even having (albeit one-sided) conversations with NPCs like Link but it does give some indication as to her character.

Frankly she does seem a little like an "ice queen" but not in the sense Bob means. I always was under the impression she was this kind of hard ass, Vasquez from Aliens-like she-jock with an inferiority complex because she's half alien, so she feels more kinship with aliens (the light things, the Baby Metroid) than humans. So imagine MY surprise when she turns into a whimpering little child in Other M!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to note that I find it ironic that in at least one respect, Team Ninja out-matured Nintendo: the Zero Suit.
Look at the Brawl Zero Suit and the Other M Zero Suit side-by-side. See the difference? The Brawl version conforms perfectly to her breasts, while the Other M version is designed like a real suit.

Göran Isacson said...

The one comment that I have is that there was one argument that really got my goat in your original video, that I too this day just can't get over, and that I hope you adress in your new video. You compared those who complained about Samus meek deference to Adam as male gamers who were upset that "their" girl would ever follow the orders of someone else.

I have spoken to a LOT of female gamers who saw Other M, and they were pissed. All of them. They were angry that their hero, which they had identified and idolized for so long turned out to be so completely opposed to what the other games made her out to be. Efficient. Capable. Stoic, but not to the point where she was an ice-queen that needed the validation of others. Simply put, a self-sufficient hero. These women didn't care who Samus may or may not have feelings for, they were upset because the writers idea of a "deep" character, the "real" Samus Aran, was like a text-book example of a stereotypical "emotionally vulnerable little girl-on-the-inside-tough-woman-on-the-outside" mired in stereotypes about female behaviour. The kind of character that entices and inspires no one.

Now- can we make good stories about women who are indeed emotional and frail? Certainly, one can create such characters and they certainly have a role to play. But Samus had legacy behind her. Imagine if there ever came a Zelda game where Link turns out to be a stereotypically whiny, angst-laden man because vaguely androgynous male characters are often used in stories which has a lot of angst, or if there ever was a Mario game in which Mario was portrayed as angry, uneducated and slightly sexist towards Peach because hey- he's a plumber, and those are stereotypically considered to be low-level education brusque working class characters.

Sure, one can argue that Metroid has always been darker than those other series. That having it's protagonist have some kind of mental hang-ups wouldn't be as out of left field as the above-mentioned examples, due to the darker tone of the world. But to make Samus into what Other M made her into is still poor story-telling, turned Samus into something that felt less like a person molded by her universe and cirumstances, but by ancient and droll 'rules' that dictate how a person behaves based on their looks and gender.

Whether they masturbate to the thought of Samus Aran or simply platonically admire her, Other M was a major let down to many fans.
To write the complaints of her portrayal there off as nothing more than the braying of jack-ass male fans who thought 'their girl' was sullied... that was so myopic and short-sighted that it hurt.

None the less, I am looking forward to this episode. Mostly because I hope you will revise your stand on at least some point, but... we'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

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