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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a β€œheretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. Jack Graham
    January 18, 2017 @ 10:26 am

    I know it wasn’t aimed at me but, just for the record: I’m not scoffing or rolling my eyes. I’m very sorry to hear you’re so dissapointed. πŸ™‚


    • John G. Wood
      January 20, 2017 @ 10:13 am

      Likewise. Disillusionment is never fun, and coming at a difficult time has obviously made it extra hard. For what it’s worth, you have managed to make your Hyrule series interesting to me despite the fact that I’ve never seen a Zelda game or owned a console, so I really hope you continue with your game history writing.

      All the best!


  2. Lambda
    January 18, 2017 @ 1:42 pm

    The main thing it makes me think of, actually, is one of the two reasons I’ve always done my gaming with general-purpose computers rather than consoles; you don’t really own consoles even when you “buy” them, their manufacturer retains control over what they can and cannot do, which seems rather objectionable. (The other reason being that I want to own a computer anyway, so I don’t need any new hardware, since I’m not one of those guys chasing high-definition mimetic graphics.) I look at things like when Sony disabled its “other OS” system for one of its consoles, and I observe that this is clearly millions of counts of criminal damage and everyone involved in the decision to do that should be in prison. (The reasons why not being where we can take out the Marxist analyses.)

    I don’t know how they’re selling this thing, but if they’re advertising it as being capable of online play and not including the monthly price of that when they give its price, then I would call that fraudulent.


  3. Kit Power
    January 18, 2017 @ 2:08 pm

    Ouch. Sorry to read this. Hope it doesn’t apply to your podcasting, as I thoroughly enjoyed the Elder Scrolls show you completed recently.

    Regarding the next generation – my seven year old daughter has inherited her older brothers DS XL, and is also making big use of our Wii (Wii Fit, Sports, and Animal Crossing are the evergreens). Great games (sometimes) endure.


    • Jack Graham
      January 18, 2017 @ 5:14 pm

      Hear hear. I’m waiting for the next edition of your podcast. I thoroughly enjoyed the last one, and learned a lot about something about which I was utterly ignorant.


  4. Luke Hobbs
    January 18, 2017 @ 2:49 pm

    Josh, I also am truly sorry you are so disappointed. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently.

    It may be no consolation, but I feel I should tell you that as someone who has never played an Elder Scrolls game, I very much enjoyed your recent podcast — to the extent that 20 minutes into it, I decided to pre-order Skyrim on the Switch. I discovered Zelda games several years back and have been eagerly anticipating Breath of the Wild, so your discussion about parallels between Zelda & Elder Scrolls — and your love for both — caused me to pull the trigger on Skyrim.

    “Whenever there is a meeting, a parting is sure to follow. However, that parting need not last forever… Whether a parting be forever or merely for a short time… That is up to you.”


    • Josh Marsfelder
      January 19, 2017 @ 12:13 am

      I dearly hope I haven’t set you astray. And if I have, I sincerely apologise.


  5. BuckTwenty
    January 18, 2017 @ 5:19 pm

    I’m just as disappointed as you with the Switch. That presentation seemed tailor-made to make me not want to buy a Switch (within an hour of it ending, I actually went and bought a Raspberry Pi, which I just received and set up last night. Really looking forward to digging into games I actually want to play, not motion control garbage that I thought the industry had rightly left behind). Mario Odyssey looks like it will be fun, but I can’t see myself playing it until the Switch has been off the market for a few years and I’ve picked one up cheaply. Skyrim being released in the fall – when I already have a copy for my 360 and PS4 (on which I basically only play Final Fantasy XIV) – is hilarious. I’m pretty much sitting out this generation, too, even though I’ve already bought a PS4, there’s not really anything I actually want to play on the thing, FFXIV aside.

    I’m going to go looking for a Pokémon Sun/Moon post from you, assuming you wrote one – I need to read your analysis, as I really enjoyed Moon…


    • Josh Marsfelder
      January 19, 2017 @ 12:12 am

      You won’t find one. It doesn’t exist. It probably will never exist.

      I feel really wrong writing and talking about Pokémon now.


  6. Josh Marsfelder
    January 19, 2017 @ 12:18 am

    At the very least, I’ve committed to doing at least one more podcast on The Elder Scrolls here and finishing the Hyrule Haeresis series (which already had a planned, discrete ending point).

    I consider that kind of work more “video game history” and “video game archival/preservation” than “games journalism”. And that’s a kind of work I’m not opposed to continuing…I’m just still sort of in shock, and it will take me awhile before I know how to proceed.

    But the industry as it stands now and going forward? It can fuck off forever.


    • Kit Power
      January 19, 2017 @ 9:22 am

      “I consider that kind of work more “video game history” and “video game archival/preservation” than “games journalism”. And that’s a kind of work I’m not opposed to continuing…”

      I am very much in favor of you continuing to do this kind of work. If that helps. πŸ™‚


      • Josh Marsfelder
        January 20, 2017 @ 12:29 am

        It actually does a bit, so thanks πŸ™‚


      • Jacob
        January 20, 2017 @ 1:07 am

        I’m with Kit. I haven’t owned a new video game console since the PS2, and I don’t give a damn about current games or the video game industry (outside of morbid curiosity). However, I find your Zelda series and Elder Scrolls podcast (as well as Phil’s Super Nintendo Project) absolutely fascinating and compelling. Those posts have been guiding me as I reexamine my own video game past, as well as their place in our culture and imaginations. I hope that sort of work continues. You have a gift for it, my friend.


        • Josh Marsfelder
          January 20, 2017 @ 1:51 am

          Thanks very much for saying so. It means a lot πŸ™‚


  7. Jarl
    January 19, 2017 @ 12:43 am

    some other places I will not mention in quasi-polite company

    There’s always something on the slab at the lover’s lab.


    • Josh Marsfelder
      January 19, 2017 @ 1:01 am

      Well now you’ve gone and done it.


  8. Kiki Basco
    January 19, 2017 @ 1:33 am

    “In particular I thought Pokémon Sun and Moon, (which, I will remind you, is the series’ 20th anniversary celebration and comes in the wake of the awesome success of Pokémon Go) was a fucking car fire.”

    I wouldn’t put it quite as strongly, but I can sort of agree with your sentiment. Except that

    “I feel the story verges on youth-hating and racist.”

    I have no idea what you’re getting at here.


    • Josh Marsfelder
      January 19, 2017 @ 1:48 am

      Team Skull, mostly.

      Granted, I didn’t get very far in the game. To be fair to me, I didn’t want to after what I saw in the seven hours I played.


      • BuckTwenty
        January 19, 2017 @ 6:41 pm

        Ugh, right, that first impression of Team Skull, fucking BLURGH, I hear you.

        I wasn’t ever comfortable with them either, to be honest. As the game went on, it was hard to tell if Team Skull was supposed to be just a joke or if they were playing it straight, but Po Town basically being modeled after a drug den muddled things even further for me. So it’s a condemnation of gang culture? Or is it a racist comment on people who act a certain way/are part of a certain culture? Or both? That’s why I was looking for an article of yours, because I honestly have no idea how to read Team Skull – though without any sort of intelligent analysis by someone like yourself (because I certainly can’t do it), my best reading is “lightly-to-very racist,” and I’m uncomfortable with them either way.

        Really, I should have been able to figure that out from the original context in your article. Further proof I should leave the analysis to people smarter than me lol


        • Josh Marsfelder
          January 20, 2017 @ 12:26 am

          I had no idea how I was supposed to read them either. I wasn’t sure if it was my age causing me to not understand something much, much younger people would get…Or if this really was a racist clusterfuck.

          The mere fact we have to ask these questions at all is incredibly telling IMO.


    • Terry
      January 19, 2017 @ 4:33 pm

      The story is okay after it switches over to Lusamine and the Aether Foundation. Riddled with holes, but at least it’s not racist. The Team Skull-focused bits are very much a carfire.

      As for the non-story portions, I’d actually say that, overlong tutorial excepted, it’s got my favorite gameplay of any Pokemon game. But its story is ugly and spectacularly poorly-timed considering that it does come on the 20th anniversary.


      • Josh Marsfelder
        January 20, 2017 @ 12:27 am

        That’s almost worse. The fact Nintendo/Game Freak seem so insular as to not understand why that’s a hideous problem and a catastrophic own goal is…Wow.


        • Terry
          January 20, 2017 @ 12:48 am

          (Just for the record, I do not mean to say that the gameplay excuses the plot.) Agreed entirely. Considering that Pokemon prides itself on its stories of courage and friendship, and for being games for children, the fact that they’ve made the villains a group that is blatantly based on African-American culture and rap, – it’s horrifying. And it’s the 20th anniversary of the series, no less. One of the biggest publicity stunts a series (or anything, really) can have. And it chooses that plotline? The let’s-make-a-joke-of-African-American-culture-and-language villains? Egads. It would’ve been an awful, nasty, ugly plot no matter when it happened, but on the 20th anniversary? Embarrassing. If they’d just stuck with the Aether Foundation and not used Team Skull at all, they might’ve had the best Pokemon games ever made on their hands.


  9. Ross
    January 19, 2017 @ 11:10 pm

    You seem to have orbited close to encircling everything I have felt about the Switch since it was announced.

    Also kinda how I’ve felt in about everything general for the past few months, I guess.


  10. Matt M
    January 22, 2017 @ 5:38 pm

    I really really want to be in on the switch from the ground floor, as I’ve never done that with any console, but Nintendo’s crazily greedy penny pinching is really putting a bad taste in my mouth. And I don’t think I’m being an ‘entitled fanboy’ here, I mean… oh man, that thing with the NES and SNES games. Come on! Ridiculous!


  11. Yuvraj
    January 28, 2017 @ 6:15 am

    Well you at-least will get the Switch and games for 300$. I live in India and looking forward to the switch since it was announced. But just like the Wii U, there will be no attention given by Nintendo here. No distribution, no service support, lack of titles. Even if was able to get me hands on one, I would have to pay a decent premium to get access to the console and games. Not fair.


    • John
      August 15, 2017 @ 6:56 pm

      Eagerly waiting for Nintendo Switch. Perks of being in a 3 world country _/_


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