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  149 - First Come, First Served  
  First Come, First Served  
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06/06/09 That's not the way Black Squadron roll!
Did you know they have comics on the internet now? It seems I'm not the first person to put Sappho in a webcomic. This amused me greatly, and there's some other gems in the archive too.

I've been keeping half an eye on E3 this week. Well, the Nintendo parts of it, anyway. The relationship between Nintendo and its fans has been a little strained these last few years, with the fans continually fretting that Nintendo's seeing other people behind their back. Still, it could be worse. You could be a Sega fan, and have a relationship based entirely around nostalgia, simmering anger and a million dashed hopes. Oh, Sega, how I hate/love/hate you...

Nintendo does at least seem intent on keeping the old-school fans placated, but they do this through constant sequels and nostalgia trips. Uh, Mario Galaxy was great and all, but do we really need a Mario Galaxy 2? You know, any more than we needed a Mario Sunshine 2 or a Mario 64 2? There's still innovation to be seen at Nintendo, of course, but it's all being invested in lightweight Mii-fuelled fluff that's not really designed for the seasoned player.

What about some innovation for us, too? Sequels will always have their place, but what about a new game for us? A game with a story, and characters? Is that really so far-fetched a concept?

Oh well. Having said all that, the trailer for Metroid: Other M very nearly made me wee with glee. I'm an unapologetic Metroid fan, and unlike other franchises, it still feels fresh - as if the games to date have only scratched the surface of the Metroid universe and its potential. That trailer is really something else... although I'm still kind of ambivalent about Samus speaking. Of course, I grumble when she takes the suit off too. Don't get me wrong, I want to see her character explored, but I wish the powers that be hadn't been so... predictable in the design of Zero Suit Samus. That's the Hunter? The scourge of the Space Pirates, the woman who eradicated a whole species and will discreetly blow up planets, no questions asked? She looks like Space Barbie. She's not quite in Lara Croft territory, but she's clearly a product of the same philosophy.

And really, that's the opposite of what Samus should be. As a character permanently enclosed in a robotic suit, she might just be the one female video game protagonist who isn't constantly being judged on her looks. People like Samus because she's awesome, and does consistently awesome things. And while I wouldn't wish to do Tomb Raider fans a disservice, I rather get the impression that Lara Croft is a successful character for... other reasons.

Now, one would be justified in pointing out that even the original Metroid showed Samus out of her suit if you completed it fast enough, complete with the reward of replaying the game as what I can only describe as Ludicrous Bikini Samus. So it's not as if her credentials as a feminist icon are completely flawless. That said, I can excuse her exaggerated feminine appearance in those early games, as it's rather difficult to indicate gender in 8-bit sprite form. Her appearance in the early games was pretty inconsistent, too, and it wasn't until the relatively recent Zero Mission that the Barbie-like appearance became canon. Sigh. If only they'd explored other options.

The trailer does also show us Short Haired Samus, though, who is edging marginally closer to my mental image of what a planet-destroying space bounty hunter should look like. Speculation is that this is a younger Samus, although she actually looks older than Zero Suit Samus to my eyes. Actually, we only get the briefest glimpse of the Zero Suit itself, and Samus is very much in her suit for all of the available gameplay footage. Keep the suit on, Samus, and leave the bikini modelling to the archaeologists...
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