The Wii U is an interesting console (or why truth can be stranger than fiction)

Back in 2013, when gaming was ruined for the umpteenth time and when it was going to crash yet again, I had a stupid plan for a video that I never went through with making (I don’t go through with a lot of them for various reasons, from time to not having anyone to film with). Since I made a lot of parody videos with the equipment/editing skills I had (It’s harder to do it all by yourself with regards to filming, especially if everyone in your town doesn’t care), my plan was to make a fake console advertisement for a “new next gen console”, but instead show something like a Retro Duo, FC Twin, Sony PS2, or similar older or “retro remake” console. Eventually due to the lack of a tripod, and the fact that I had limited filming time due to parents being home all the time (I still need to get a tripod :c ), I gave up on the plans and made other videos.

However, those are only some of the reasons. You see, sometimes truth is weirder than fiction, and that is the case with the Nintendo Wii U. Marketed as a return to form in 2011, with a flashy E3 preview advertising a return to the “good old days” of third party with even third parties that had dumped Nintendo such as EA making a return, it was supposed to put Nintendo back on top and on the level of the Xbox One and PS4.

Just a reminder, this is how the Wii U was marketed.

The rumors of Nintendo’s return were heavily fueled by rumors as well, some of which were started by an IBM Watson team staff member who initially claimed the Wii U used a Power7 CPU, a CPU you’d find in high end workstations and servers, not consoles (Imagine if the new Xbox One or PS4 used a Xeon)

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So, what happened? Well, interestingly enough, IBM later retracted that and claimed the Wii U used a custom POWER based CPU, giving no other information about how fast it was for example. 

And then the console itself came out, after tons of speculation and rumors. As it turns out, the console used a PowerPC 750 (Also known as the G3, due to the fact that Apple branded it as the G3 when used in Macintosh computers) based processor, which added multiprocessing while leaving the main core untouched (source). While this sounds like a good idea if you want backwards compatibility, the problem is the system did poorly when it came to real world performance. Games like Call of Duty would consistently run worse on the Nintendo Wii U compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3, and while some people tried to damage control it with comments like this, as the console aged it became evident the system was underpowered.

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Now, here’s where it gets interesting. You have a system that all the nerds who called themselves true gamers are preaching for online, yet it’s underpowered, and not long after it first came out all the third parties jumped off like it was a sinking ship. And then to make it all funnier, you had these nerds trying to say how much more powerful the Wii U is and how underpowered the other systems are/were, before specs were even revealed. Despite developers calling it weak and underpowered, some people who’ve never programmed continued to praise this system, saying the developers just didn’t understand it. 

It got even more interesting when they started buying kids games for the console, from Lego City Undercover to Splatoon to all the casualized Mario series games, and as third parties stopped developing games for their console, they started lashing out at every third party, despite never buying a single game for the Wii U from a third party. And then, in behavior reminiscent of Bronies in 2011/12 trying to convince everyone why MLP was an amazing show and using “A SHOW FOR EVERY1” to describe a kids show to try to get rid of the kids show stigma (Spoiler: it didn’t work), Nintendo fans would convince everyone about how E rated games are somehow the best games ever and totally not for kids. Despite you know, playing games with low skill levels required and which included everything that would appeal to a kid.

And several years later, that’s the one thing the Wii U is good at doing. Why make a joke about “true gamers” online nowadays only wanting to play retro games and kids games? Just look at the Nintendo Wii U if it’s proof of anything. It’s a underpowered console, it lacks nearly all the upcoming games that aren’t published by Nintendo, most of the games coming out for it are for kids, the marketing tries to pander to the “ideal family” image you’d see in marketing years ago during an ad break on Cartoon Network instead of the gamer audience, and in fact Nintendo’s marketing has devolved heavily to the point where they’re marketing based off of how they were back in their golden years. Like you know, something you’d see with any other company on April 1st.  The jokes literally write themselves, that’s all that needs to be said.

On fake gaming rumors and fanbases.

So, the other night, this rumor spread like wildfire on Twitter and similar Nintendo fansites, and considering how it seems like a shitton of furries are into Nintendo (Seriously, anywhere you go you’ll see GIMMIE YOUR FC FOR SMASH/POKEMON/MARIO KART), I was unsurprisingly reading them as well. This rumor? Rayman, a third party character being in Super Smash Bros 4, as DLC. Now, one character already got confirmed as DLC despite fan backlash which quickly turned to WOOO WOOO CONFIRMED on the day it was revealed, and of course, as usual there were the flood of memes trying to prove it was fake with photoshops.

Eventually, it was confirmed to be fake. The creator came out and said it, while posting a video on how he did it, using Adobe After Effects, a program that literally anyone can get either with money, or by going on a torrent site and using cracks.

At the same time, being a former member of the Pokemon fanbase, something I regret more and more as I see just how terrible it actually is, this is actually familiar. This has happened several times, from the fake Shaymin Sky Forme done by a well known DeviantArt user that everyone believed was real, including many of the top fansites (This was before Nintendo started cracking down on legit leaks and websites such as Serebii, after the one leaker leaked nearly all the Generation V Pokemon and the whole movie theater incident, pleasing fans and pissing off corporate slaves), to the whole shitstorm on /vp/ and similar websites on if Greninja was real, complete with ‘shopped memes. The Spiky Eared Pichu incident was another good example, with fans thinking the new Pichu was a new Pokemon, only for disappointment to set in once it was confirmed to be a quickly forgotten special Pokemon locked to one Pokemon game (It’s not even in Generation V).

Or in 2013, when a SonicRetro member, wanting to both have fun and to prove a theory that the Sonic Fanbase was less fragmented than it actually was perceived as being (It still is pretty fragmented though, but a lot of people will still happily buy the newest Sonic game, except with Boom), posted a fake rumor, Google translated to Japanese, on /r/gaming. The point he was making? Sonic Fans do in fact want something common, despite various members in the fanbase wanting another SA2/Colors/Advance/S3K/06 “bugfixed”/whatever thanks to Sega’s frequent gameplay changes.

Or the constant stream of Halo 3 PC rumors, ever since Microsoft “slipped” it several times on websites and after PC-only gamers never got to “finish the fight” despite Halo 2 being on PC and Halo 1 still being a popular game on the PC, even 12 years after it’s initial release. The Master Chief Collection rumor got big as well after the one GAF leaker posted it, and before it was even confirmed a frequent topic on Bungie.net was “Will there be a Halo 2 Anniversary” and even before that, “Will Halo 1 get a remake for Xbox 360.” Another rumor that spread but yet hasn’t ever been confirmed (and that’s probably fake) is a CoD MW collection in a similar style for the Xbox One/PS4, which also spread because of how highly regarded CoD4 is, with MW2 being like Halo 2 in the fact that everyone loves it for the nostalgia despite it aging far worse than 4 did.

The most major one however, has been the constant stream of new Nintendo/Sega console rumors, from Sega announcing a new console despite Sega’s finincial situation, to Nintendo canning the Wii U and announcing a new console which was supposed to be super powerful, with a spec sheet reading like a fanboy’s wet dream, and hardware that made no sense in the real world or even knowing Nintendo’s business philosophy (Cablecard? Cable input? A secondary CPU for no real reason? Power8, a high end server CPU you’d see on modern descendants of the AS/400 and RS/6000, something you’d see competing with Xeons, Itaniums, and SPARCs, yet less ram than the $350 Xbox One? The spec sheet made literally, no sense, and sounded like something you’d find out of a rabid fanboy on drugs who just got banned from a few major gaming sites for spouting bullshit.

At the same time however, this only proves one point. Nearly all the fanbases I named where the rumors spread like wildfire have a few things in common. People want something so badly, that they’ll cling onto any rumor whatsoever. Nintendo fans wanting a more powerful system than the Wii U which might actually have third party (Look at all the “Gaming crash” theories), Halo fans wanting remakes or Halo 3 on PC, Sonic fans actually wanting a half decent game deep down inside (despite eating up garbage anyways), with people more outside the fanbase really pressing for a good Sonic game (Generations doesn’t count, it played too much off nostalgia yet had all the same issues as Colors/Unleashed), CoD fans wanting to play the older CoDs again, with their friends (Lots of online gamers have a “peer pressure” mentality, refusing to play the older online games unless it’s remade for some reason or wanting to play the newest one, it’s why CoD is still around despite MW3/Ghosts, same with Pokemon and Smash), Smash fans wanting a certain character, or Pokemon fans usually simply wanting more Pokemon (and waifu material).

Desperation has taken over fanbases, like the ones I mention. People want something so badly, and while some are easy to fulfill (Want to play CoD4 or Halo 3? Put the disc in the Xbox. Want Rayman in Smash? Mod Brawl), others have to be done by the company, and while some can listen to fans for feedback, others simply continue to shit more and more on their customers, especially when it’s something like having good hardware, a port to the PC, or good games. That is all I really have to say on this.

Some franchises lack lore: Deal with it

In this gaming community, I have seen a very real and common misconception: That franchises such as Pokémon, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Sonic, and similar ones have some deep lore and backstory to them. The problem is, that is not only simply not the case, but that making up theories doesn’t fill in plot holes whatsoever. While most of this focuses on Pokémon, I’ll touch upon other franchises as well.

Pokémon is a Role-Playing Game series, which puts it in the same genre as games developed by companies such as Square Enix, BioWare, Bethesda, CD Projekt Red, Atlus, and other developers known for making role-playing games. While earlier RPGs didn’t have deep storylines, being influenced by pen and paper games and in fact there have been various games based off them from Shadowrun to Mechwarrior to Planescape Torment and Baldur’s Gate, by the end of the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo era they had been known for deep storylines with some games even offering decision systems and character customization with stats, and CD based systems such as the Sega CD, TurboCD, computers, and the PlayStation gave way to sprawling 4 disc games with full motion video cutscenes, voice acting, and storylines being front-and-center.

Pokémon started during the PS1 era, coming out in 1996 on the Game Boy. It ended up selling through the roof worldwide, and gained wide appeal for a few years, propelling the original 151 Pokémon to iconic status, with sequels selling as well. Sales eventually slipped however, and Ruby and Sapphire sold less than the first 2 generations. While Diamond and Pearl, released in 2006 or 7 depending on the country, sold millions and came closest to selling like Generation 1 and 2 did, no Pokémon game since than has sold that many, and despite XY being billed as being the “fastest selling Pokémon game ever”, even BW has sold more.

This says something about a series that at one point was selling through the roof, was popular at every grade level, but now it seems the audience is thinning out. Now, what could possibly be causing this?

One of the causes is the serieses recent focus on storylines. Now, despite the fact you’re going to get little storyline out of a Pokémon game, since nearly every Pokémon game has followed the same storyline template since Generation 1, lately the game has been more linear, forcing you to do what the game wants you as the game shoves the same exact storyline down your throat, except it’s just that, the same storyline. Even Generations 1 and 2, the generations that happening to like them in 2014 will result in you being called a “genwunner” while being attacked with meme pictures straight out of KnowYourMeme, have at least a storyline that’s connected, complete with Kanto from Generation 1 several years later, with Generation 3 having the GameCube games and the Hoenn connection, and the remakes adding some more connections. Sure, it was simple, but at least you weren’t hurting from all the edge.

I’m going to start at Generation 4 however, since that’s where the origins of this shit began. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl had bits and pieces of lore scattered throughout the region, called the “Sinnoh myths”, complete with a Bulba article on it. Most of these are vague bits and pieces of the past of the region, hinting at what was going to be forced in the next two generations, stuff that you’d probably forget afterwards. However, one little bit that hinted at the shitty direction the series was going was “Sinnoh Folk Story 3”, which in the Japanese version went like this:

There once were Pokémon that married people.

There once were people who married Pokémon.

This was a normal thing because long ago people and Pokémon were the same.

Anyone who’s hung around the Pokémon fanbase for a while knows this confirms one thing: Your Pokémon waifu fantasies are in fact canon, and it also didn’t help that the PMD series, despite being better written than the main series (though still not having too much in the way of plot with bare details), never explained a lot of things.  A lot of potential was wasted on OH GOLLY MY RESCUE TEAM IS SO KEWL DUDES, with the backstory being very bare and vague, since we all know writing one that isn’t crap takes some skill.

It also didn’t help Generation IV had a straight up rehash of the Generation 3 storyline. Evil team wants X Pokémon to achieve X goal, with absolutely no connections to previous generations.

Than Generation 5 and 6 felt like Deviantart took over, with bad writing everywhere, quick excuses such as Generation 6 talking about multiple universes and the whole 3000 years ago event, Team Plasma from Generation 5 and that weird kid N, and of course, glossing over what could have been potential to expand and go in depth to make the evil team be the same exact shit as last time. There’s little/no connections with past games, besides having the same generation 3 storyline again. There’s no real lore, you’ll hear some quick thing about Mega Evolution and some war but you’ll never find out anything specific, and no TvTropes doesn’t count. Especially when there are other games in the same genre that go in depth on even events that happened thousands of years ago, Pokémon just pales in comparison.

To make matters worse, each form of media for Pokémon takes place in a different universe. Games (with the inconsistent storyline), spinoffs of the games, manga, the Anime, etc. Each one has it’s own storyline and universe, with differences in the roles of humans and Pokémon, with some involving Pokémon having full sentience (one many fans seem to prefer) and others having them as little more than animals that communicate like R2-D2 from Star Wars, by famously saying nothing but their own name. Or how Orre has few Pokémon being captured, with Pokeballs being sold in the black market under the counter early on in Colosseum, how the Ranger games featured you using your stylus to temporarily capture Pokémon, and how the Mystery Dungeon series had you recruiting Pokémon since you were a Pokémon and since everyone is a Pokémon after all.

In other words, there’s little/no continuity, and usually in each universe besides the very basics of the setting there is little going in depth, especially when compared to a game like Mass Effect which has detail on even minor planets and the whole galactic codex, or even something like Digimon Tamers which went in depth on the origins of the setting, both in the series itself and in official supplemental material. Pokémon on the other hand has had bits and pieces at most before the whole forced storyline stuff happened in recent generations, with recent generations forcing down a half baked storyline that doesn’t explain very much at all, especially considering how many “game theory” style videos and websites exist. Much of it leaves the player and fanbase to guess, making up theories for a kids game with little in the way of story, which doesn’t compensate for the fact that the story is badly written.

The same can apply to other game franchises however too. One good relevant example is Five Nights at Freddy’s. It’s as basic as it gets, a generic indie horror game where the whole point is to avoid the jumpscare (Remember Slender?) from Chuck-E-Cheese influenced animatronics at a shady run down pizza place which somehow has robots that can roam the premises at night. There’s literally no storyline whatsoever, besides a few bits and pieces saying that uh, you have a crappy job, years ago some robot bit some part of someone’s brain off, and apparently some other creepy stuff that’s edgy or something.  Apparently your main character never has the brains to quit, just like your average stupid horror movie or creeypasta protagonist. Yet tons of nerds online come up with theories that get passed around as if it’s official, to compensate for the poor writing, and the sequel takes it a notch further.

Besides being a lazy cash in complete with a 4 by 3 aspect ratio while the original was rendered in 16 by 9 and generic character designs that try to pander to the FurAffinity audience (Keep in mind, fA’s admin gave them free ad space on a site known for drawing pr0n of the characters), it has a story that makes less sense. Does it take place in the future, or the past? You can’t tell especially since it takes place in 1987, supposedly before the first one. As usual, people come up with crackpot theories about this simple game, which like I said, doesn’t excuse the poor writing.

I could name tons of other franchises and go on forever about how poor or nonexistent the continuity is, so I’ll end it here with this fact. Just because a series has tons of people making theories online doesn’t mean the story is good or the series has deep lore.  In fact, it’s just a sign of poor writing, and to make matters worse, it can encourage game developers to cut back on the story. After all, what’s the point of hiring a talented writer when you can write a poor story with plot holes and your fanbase will fill it in? It’s a very bad mentality and one any gamer should be afraid of. Pokémon is an example of this and a very good one, and despite people asking who plays it for the story, you have to keep in mind that it not only doesn’t excuse the poor story, but that Pokémon is in a genre where storytelling is big. That is all.