Rundown (1/03-1/09) Practice Practical Portions

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Wherein I discuss foodstuffs, a preservation pursuit, the death of a storefront, and an anticipated acquisition.

To give yet another intimate yet not-so-secretive detail about me, I weigh somewhere between 125 and 130 pounds (that’s 57 to 59 kilograms for my non-American readers) and I have retained this weight since I was 15-years-old, with only minor fluctuations over the past decade. This isn’t something I try or strive to do— if anything, I have been told that I should gain a few more pounds, and this is more of a result of a mixture of my youthful metabolism and my consistent diet.

I have breakfasts of apple, pita bread, hummus, and sometimes eggs. I have lunches of vegetable soup with beans and rice. I have dinners of grains, vegetables, poultry, and a side dish baked with olive oil and onions. I have snacks largely consisting of nuts, healthier chips/crisps, fruit, vegetables, pickles, and bakery bread. I have deserts of dark chocolate and Kashi snack bars. While I limit my beverages to water, almond milk, and decaffeinated black tea.

This is by no means a perfect diet, as it has a lot of bread-based foodstuff in it, but it keeps things simple, avoids things with a lot of sugars, fats, and preservatives, and arguably most importantly, I am very reasonable with my portions, and always have been. This seems like common sense, but you still regularly see people with no true portion control who do absurd things like consume an entire bag of chips, devour a box of cookies, or murder a full pizza. 

Seriously, there are serving sizes on every packaged food product and most American entrees are meant to be divided into 2 meals. I learned this when I was a dumb 8-year-old who believed her mother when she said that one generic brand vanilla sandwich cookie was technically two cookies, so you should be able to pick up on this mad knowledge and keep ya’ll knickers loose.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that I gravitate towards a select few topics in these Rundowns, as my interest in gaming news is rather narrow nowadays, and the two topics I most care about beyond general announcements tend to be news about console games coming to PC and stories relevant to game preservation. Which, when you really think about it, are kind of the same thing, as they are both ways to keep games alive, accessible, and playable long after being shunned by their rights holders and their original platforms have become outmoded. It upsets me that the best way to play thousands of games is through illegal means, and I wish that somebody would start carrying the torch Nintendo lit with the Virtual Console… and somebody is at least trying to do that.

Piko Interactive is a company best known for digging through the rough of gaming history to find the rights to obscure or unreleased video games and re-releasing them on physical cartridges for the original hardware or through emulation-based PC ports. They’ve accumulated an eclectic yet impressive library over the years, but they are seemingly aiming to become something even greater by introducing their own PC games storefront that will feature their back catalog along with a few exclusive titles that they “would never release on Steam or Good Old Games.” …Which I think is something of a mistake.

While I understand why Piko would want their own storefront, as it allows them to better advertise their own titles and generate more revenue for sale, the PC gaming market, for better or for worse, is more or less monopolized by Steam. With GOG being a distant second, and Epic only being number 3 due to how they flaunted money around for exclusives. And by making your niche games exclusive to your store, you are basically dooming them to obscurity, rather than making them easier to share, discover, and purchase by putting them on Steam like a normal company, and like Piko was doing up until now.

Also, Piko decided that the best name for their new storefront would be Bleem Powered, as Piko recently acquired the namesake of Bleem! Which was a premium Playstation emulator for Windows and Dreamcast that was effectively forced out of business due to legal pressure from Sony, who was adamantly against PlayStation games from being played on anything other than a PlayStation. It’s a cute reference, but maybe it’s not the best idea to name yourself after somebody who tried and miserably failed to make legal PC-based console game emulation a thing. Because that is basically what they’re doing here.

As a side note, if you are curious about the history of Bleem! and to a lesser extent the history of gaming emulation, I would highly recommend this 19 minute documentary by Gaming HIstorian, which was how I first learned about this little emulator that could.

Regardless, I’m glad that Piko is at least trying to keep the past of the medium alive and available, as plenty of console makers sure as heck don’t. And one of them is Nintendo, who delisted every DSiWare title released before mid-May 2011 from the 3DS eShop. Yes, the prototypical online storefront for the second major Nintendo DS revision that had some unique or otherwise interesting micro-games is now truly no move. And the dozens of games the storefront bolstered became only available to those who already owned the titles and those who were willing to emulate them based on ROMs or ISOs that somebody dumped online.

Thankfully, this matter appears to have been resolved, as these delisted DSiWare titles returned to the storefront a few days after this story broke, meaning that Nintendo did not just erase part of their history with no forewarning. So that’s good for the developers and gaming as a whole, for obvious reasons.

Or in other words, this crisis was averted shortly after it cropped up. However, the lack of notification and transparency regarding this matter, and the lack of follow-up reporting, makes me wonder if people just don’t care about these games. I get that they’re old and were never that popular, but they are part of history, and enthusiasts should want their history, the good, the bad, and especially the weird, to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. And while emulation helps exponentially, the industry has been actively fighting against it because it compromises their future profits… despite offering a service and titles that are not officially available or supported.

While Nintendo did not so much as announce this kerfuffle, they announced their acquisition of Next Level Games, a long-standing development partner responsible for Super Mario Strikers, Punch-Out!! (2008), the last two Luigi Mansion games, and… the Metroid game that shan’t be named. This is all unsurprising, as Next Level Games even went on the record as saying that they planned on exclusively working with Nintendo back in 2014. So, in a sense, this was inevitable, and the strangest thing about this situation is that Nintendo took 7 years to buy the blasted studio. 

Then again, this is Nintendo, and Nintendo is pretty cagey about buying up western developers for whatever reason. First, they didn’t fully buy out Rare, and then they shrunk down Nintendo Software Technology into a support studio because they weren’t Japanese and did not understand the true art of game design.

That’s it for this week and… damn, now I really want some generic brand vanilla sandwich cookies. …The ones with the red generic packaging that my mother used to get from Food 4 Less that had this faux-elegant design akin to an artisanal metal railing. Not this splotchy garbage that shows up when you google for generic vanilla sandwich cookies.  

For the record, those were my second favorite cookie, with my all-time being the Maurice Lenell pinwheel cookies. Which you can only find during pop-up shops around Christmas where (I think) they are sold in variety packs since Maurice Lenell shuttered in 2008.

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