Aug 31 2013

Unsolicited Game Ideas and Funny Coincidences

It was back in ’96-’97 that I got my start on the Internet, right when it was first starting to get big. I’d actually accessed the Internet for the very first time the year before when I accompanied my dad to the university library. The Internet was quite the different place back then, but that’s only tangential to today’s story.

Being a dumb kid, I thought I could actually submit suggestions to Nintendo for game ideas. For any of you who’ve ever tried this, you’ve probably seen their standard line about not accepting any unsolicited game ideas. Remember that this was back in the ’96-’97 range and think about these two I sent the Big N’s way.

One idea was to have a fighting game with all the major Nintendo characters. Sound familiar? Admittedly, there wasn’t much to the idea, so it’d be silly for me to make any more of it than it is.

More interesting is this next one. I’d read an article on the Metroid Database about the similarities between the Metroid and Alien series. (They admittedly took a rather facile out for comparing Super Metroid and Alien 3, but we can just gloss over that.) I pointed this out in my e-mail to Nintendo and, taking Alien Resurrection into consideration, posited that it might be interesting if Samus was hybridized with Metroid DNA. Besides the standard line, the person who responded claimed that comparisons between Metroid and Alien were quite a stretch. Well, what would grace us in ’02 but the fourth entry into the Metroid series, Metroid Fusion. And guess what happens in it? That’s right. Samus being hybridized with Metroid DNA is a major plot point. Also, the failed military experiment to use the Metroids as bioweapons also dovetails nicely with the premise of Alien Resurrection. Quite a stretch, huh? Yeah, right.

No, I’m not claiming Nintendo took my ideas and ran with them. It’s just a funny coincidence that makes for an amusing anecdote.

Now, here’s one that I simply thought of and almost came to pass. In the Zelda series, you have a string of Links and Zeldas that emerge over the course of history, but only one Ganon. Well, I thought of an idea that might shake things up and play with the themes of fate and such in the series. More or less, Ganon is evil because his lust for power consumes him. Corrupted as he is, he’s nevertheless the exemplar for the Triforce of Power and it’s no doubt his connection to the Triforce of Power that keeps him coming back over and over again. While Link and Zelda represent the Triforce of Courage and Wisdom respectively, they still die and that affinity manifests itself in a new Link and Zelda when the time is ripe. Whether these successive Links and Zeldas are reincarnations or simply manifestations tailored to possess this affinity is uncertain. (If any of this is clarified in the Hyrule Historia, I wouldn’t know as I haven’t read it.) Anyway, my idea was this: What if we had a new incarnation of Ganon, born of different circumstances but still bound by the destiny of the Triforce? Would he still necessarily turn evil?

Our premise begins with Link being accepted into knight training alongside his longtime friend/rival Dorf. Now, the knights are of course dedicated to the defense of the realm but the most elite become the Royal Guard. Enter Princess Zelda. Link and Dorf are both smitten with her and their already competitive natures are kicked into hyperdrive. Zelda isn’t an entirely detached party either. She finds herself developing a strange affinity for these two young recruits, both attractive to her in their own way. On the surface, this looks like simple biology at work, but on a deeper level, it’s their affinity to the Triforce that’s drawing them together.

From there, I could see Link and Dorf’s competition getting increasingly brutal. Dorf is arguably the superior of the two, but Link’s dogged tenacity keeps him right at Dorf’s heels. That sort of tenacity, coupled with his more humble bearing, wins Link Zelda’s favor. When Link and Dorf graduate and join the Guard, Zelda offers herself to Link, but bound to his duty, Link rebuffs her advances. Dorf sees his opportunity to sweep up the crestfallen Zelda, but even with his clumsy attempts to show that he can dial down his aggressive nature, he gets rejected. This is the last straw. If Zelda won’t give herself to him, he’ll take her.

My concept actually goes on to have four different branches for the storyline, two “light side” and two “dark side” paths, but I won’t get into that here. Now, if the gears in your head are turning a bit and if you stretch it a bit, some of those ideas might seem a little familiar.

In Skyward Sword, you have Link in knight training. There’s a love triangle involving Zelda and the proto-Gerudo-looking Groose. Now, Groose was all hot air and wound up turning things around and becoming a genuine friend to Link and the love triangle thing never went anywhere (and for that matter, most of what made the initial sequence interesting was left to wither on the vine). Did Nintendo use its mind readers to absorb my idea and then executive meddling hacked it to ribbons? Not bloody likely. Again, just a funny coincidence and an amusing anecdote.

Aug 30 2013

WIP Update – 29 Aug 13

I did a little writing on Cronos’ Chapter 4 and did work on the peripheral materials. Yes, I know I need to get the next chapter of Tico3 ready, but TTWC1 is right there and so I was getting a bit of a head start.

Aug 29 2013

WIP Update – 28 Aug 13

I finished Cronos’ Chapter 3, but I’m going to let it simmer a while before I go back over it and prep it for the site. In other words, it’s getting pushed back to Friday, but at least it’s still coming out this week. Of course, the delays here could mean that the next chapter of Tico3 gets pushed back a week. We’ll see, though.

Aug 28 2013

WIP Update – 27 Aug 13

I’m going to be upfront and admit to making minimal progress. I was directed to this online TCG called Fantasica that featured character designs by Hideo Minaba (the character designer for Final Fantasy Tactics). Now, these online TCGs are a dime a dozen. Companies like GREE churn ’em out by the dozen and I never thought I’d have any interest in them, but I was enjoying myself and so go hooked. I’ve just about burnt out all the beginner freebies and I’m not going to be plunking down any cash on the thing as I’m opposed to microtransactions, so it should be consuming much less of my time from here on out and I plan on finishing the chapter today. I don’t have that much to do, so it should be doable. If all goes well, I’ll have the chapter posted tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Aug 27 2013

WIP Update – 26 Aug 13

Though I didn’t make any progress Sunday, I made some decent headway on Cronos’ Chapter 3 yesterday, so much that I may yet get the chapter out this week, though probably Thursday or Friday instead of Wednesday. Stay tuned.

Aug 25 2013

Bob the Builder (No, Not That One)

I’m not actually talking about the kid’s show here. I’m just being cute (figuratively speaking, of course, and even that’s a stretch) with the title of this entry.

My dad’s a brilliant engineer, but even before he got into his current line of work, he demonstrated immense talent for a wide variety of crafts. Architect, carpenter, auto mechanic, electrician, plumber… To my untrained eye, I’d say he has at least a journeyman’s proficiency in all these areas.

As for me… Well, not so much. Indeed, not at all. Between my somewhat frail constitution and my parents not wanting me to get a taste for the blue-collar lifestyle, I never had the inclination to acquire those skills and so I’ve become a squishy scholar to put it charitably. However, there is a notable aversion to the profile of the worthless pseudo-intellectual: I like to build stuff.

Now, building with Legos go without saying, but as I started to enter my teens, I was increasingly entrusted with the assembly of prefab furniture (bookshelves and stuff like that). I know that’s nothing compared to real carpentry, but I nevertheless find it a very fulfilling exercise. Honestly, I could probably do it as a job and be fairly content. In the absence of that, having the occasional thing to put together will have to suffice.

Aug 25 2013

WIP Update – 24 Aug 13

More work with the peripheral materials. I went ahead and made those adjustments I mentioned to the map of Gladius in its current bitmap form. I’m trying to decide if I want to upload the updated bitmaps or just go ahead and draw up new maps to upload. We’ll see.

Probably not going to get the chapter of TTWC1 out this week, but I guess you never know. Stay tuned.

Aug 24 2013

WIP Update – 23 Aug 13

I did some more work with the peripheral materials and also got started on Cronos’ Chapter 3 itself. I’m going to have to really buckle down to make headway, though.  I dunno. It may not end up being that long of a chapter when it’s all said and done. We’ll see.

Aug 23 2013

WIP Update – 22 Aug 13

Well, yesterday’s work was mostly focused on the peripheral materials. I need a better handle on the numbers before I can go forward with Cronos’ Chapter 3. I’m basically trying to sort out the fine details of the entire Notos campaign. The Alliance was only averaging a couple major attacks per year, but the move on Maximilion is going to mark a major shift in the rebels’ conduct of the war, which means a lot more work for me (and Cronos, obviously).

Aug 22 2013


Today I find myself picking up a thread I started a while back but never brought to completion. I realized that Gladius having no border defenses didn’t make a whole lot of sense, so I established the marchlands with small castles acting as border outposts. Four castles were built by King Rorik of the short-lived Rorician Dynasty (short-lived only because his fool of a son ran afoul of the patricians and was driven from the throne after a mere six-year reign). Randwulf then bolstered the defenses with four more castles.

Our current issue shows up when I was wanting to adjust my maps to accommodate these changes. While I was trying to pinpoint the locations of each of the castles, I noticed myself tripping up on which march was which. The reason for this is because my map of Gladius doesn’t have the conventional “north on top” orientation. The same is true of the map of Byrn. Now, you might be asking why they’re like that. Well, sit back for some story time.

You see, when I first started formulating the stories of my canon, each one was meant to be completely independent of the other. I imagine I was influenced by the RPGs such as the Final Fantasy series that rebuilt its worlds from scratch each game (until we started to see the more recent trend of lateral movement). Well, when I started to digitize all my materials back in ’01, I decided to compile all my stories into a single world and that meant stitching dozens of maps together. I’m rather pleased with the results. I didn’t have to change a whole lot make it work. However, I retained the original orientation of the maps, which leads us to our current situation.

The cheesy MS Paint bitmaps I have were only meant to be a temporary thing and I really need to redraw the maps and maybe this mess with the marchland castles in Gladius might be just the trigger for me to actually make it happen.