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Only in an isekai.

Guillaume is back! He's off the moving bus and back into our moving hearts.

Jon's out again, because of course, so in his stead we're joined again by former host Jonathan Metts. I'm writing this on a tablet, so there's going to be remarkably less wordplay than usual in this week's article.

We start the show with a corrections-tinged revisit of last week's "games that wouldn't be the same on mute" conversation. We then roll into new Listener Mail: why are game prices so fixed in North America/so variable in Europe and what Nintendo franchises are ready for the TV show treatment. You can get your email [re]visited by sending it here.

Gui's return means he leads New Business. A brief chat about Pikmin Bloom leads to lag-impacted conversations about 3DS titles Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. He concludes his New Business with some thoughts on Mario Kart Arcade GP, and retriggers old arguments about Mario Kart's reprehensible "numbering." Jonny has been playing the Final Fantasy III Pixel Remaster, now on Switch. It leads to a broader look at the franchise as a whole. Finally, Greg and James close out New Business with spoiler-free impressions of Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed.

At this point, we dismissed Jonny and Gui (and anyone who hasn't explored the Xenoblade canon to the fullest) to have a Greg and James Future Redeemed "10 minute" spoilercast. It goes over an hour, but if you've already beaten it, join us!

Last call for Wind Waker Retroactive submissions. Put them here. We'll be recording it this week.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 818: Can a Mario Movie Make You Cry?
« on: April 16, 2023, 01:02:48 PM »

For the purposes of this question, any orifice is acceptable.

Guillaume is still out, and this time Jon is out as well.

Oh what to do, what to do?

How about have Greg and James invite two guests on the show: former NWR-staffer and Mario Party Party participant Xander Morningstar and the return of former NWR Director and former RFN host Jonny Metts.

We kick the show off with Xander telling us how his Dr. Mario World speedrun ended. Then, he and Jonny review The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Jonny then dives into Atari history with Atari 50 and Akka Arrh. Atari 50 is a great collection and Jeff Minter's decision to remake canceled Atari arcade game Akka Arrh sure is a choice. Xander closes out New Business accidentally responding to last week's email about series meta-challenges: telling us about his runs through the Metroid, Zelda, and Mario franchises.

After a break we hit a single email question: do we expect the successor to the Switch have backwards compatibility? Who can say? Not us! You can ask us for such daring insights here.

Lastly, the entire crew talk about the "final" trailer to The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Speaking of Zelda, here's your reminder that we're still going to do our Wind Waker RetroActive part 2, next month. You can post your comments here

Podcast Discussion / Episode 778: That's The Gig
« on: June 26, 2022, 02:02:00 PM »

Here at RFN, we number our episodes how we want. That's the gig. Don't like the gig? Don't play the game.

"Jackpot" James Jones is out this week, but his demand in absentia is that he be present for episode 777. Since we here at  RFN are capable of bending space and time around ourselves to suit our whims, we recorded episode 778 ahead of 777. Yes, we can do that, and no, we don't apologize. We also don't apologize for Jon being your host this week. In many ways, you deserve it.

With James out of the way, we take RFN back to its roots and fill his spot with former host Dr. Jonathan Metts. First we examine the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Direct and determine that nothing is new under the sun. New Business has Jonny playing Fall Guys and relaying his findings to us neophytes, while also providing his hot take on the Netflix(!) game Poinby. Meanwhile, Jon wraps up his experience with the Monster Hunter Sunbreak Demo by recounting his terror-filled battle against flagship monster Malzeno. He also picked up Elden Ring, and speaks of it lovingly with Jonny, a veteran of The Lands Between. Get Jon's early positive take before he gets beaten down and abandons the game in a fit of rage. Gui and Greg skip New Business this week, beholden to their contractual agreement to only provide such content when James is hosting.

We tackle listener mail after the break. Topics include the timing of game announcements in relation to their release dates, along with our thoughts about games that we abandoned, and why we quit them. As always, you can send us an email that we'll probably engage with and then abandon right here.

I would agree that Skyward Sword's combat encounters often rely on waiting to counter/parry/dodge before you can attack with the sword. It's an approach the Zelda series usually only employs in mini-boss and boss fights, and it becomes tiresome when you're faced with such defensive tactics by normal enemies. However, as noted by other people here, there is usually an alternative method that's much faster and less timing-focused. I vaguely recall using special items, charge attacks, evasive maneuvers, etc. to avoid the timing-based sword combat whenever possible. There may be a trade-off between the preparation and mindfulness needed to use these tricks vs. "brute force" of using the same basic swordplay approach to every enemy.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 741: Mario's Poop Joke Sommelier
« on: October 03, 2021, 03:55:59 PM »

"Koopa Poopa" -Jon Lindemann, an adult.

We're joined by a very special guest this week: Dr. Jonathan Metts. The former host of RFN is here to talk Actraiser Renaissance, the most inscrutable announcement from last week's Nintendo Direct. It turns out there's a lot more "new" in this package than the visuals, and the trailer did a terrible job advertising any of it. He also gives his take on WarioWare: Get It Together!, and its unique take on the WarioWare microgame concept. James is playing Bonfire Peaks, yet another game worked on by friend of the show Syrenne. It's a puzzle game where you have to climb a mountain while holding crates. There's more to it than that, but I have to make you listen to the show. Guillaume has 100% completed Psychonauts 2, a game that is perfectly in tune with his sense of humor. It features a litany of improvements over its predecessor, fueled by The Power of Money! He also has been reading Super Mario-kun, a Japanese manga about the Mario world where everything is just a setup for a poop joke. Jon closes New Business with Diablo II: Resurrected. It proves to be a very solid and faithful remake, of a very old game, from a company with very real issues.

After the break, we tackle a duo of Listener Mail. Early in the show, there is a promise of questions focused on last week's Direct but we lied. Deal with it. Instead, we talk about which Nintendo character needs to be shot into space and what character should be included as the last Smash DLC in order to beat the pandemic. Yeah, I don't get it either. You can befuddle and bewilder by sending an email.

RetroActive 50: Little King's Story's will be in TWO EPISODES! Post your thoughts here.

TalkBack / An Other M?
« on: June 07, 2021, 06:20:57 AM »

…Jonny sighed as he muttered to himself.

Until replaying Metroid Other M this month and then listening back to our contemporaneous discussion on Ep. 210 of RFN, I couldn’t recall much of the game itself. I cleared it with 100% within the first week or so of release, but it didn't leave an enduring impression. Maybe I should blame the circumstances -- at the time, I was finishing my dissertation and trying to stay focused on that massive project. Now that my memory is freshened up, I'm inclined to believe that the game’s transience is also due to recycled ideas and a dearth of truly exciting, new experiences. Still, there are many smart aspects of this direct follow-up to Super Metroid. While its most valuable additions to the franchise are subtle, they could influence upcoming games like Retro Studios' long-awaited Metroid Prime 4.

Back in 2009, we were spoiled by three Prime games released over a span of just five years. I love those game as much as anyone, but it was clear that Metroid needed to reconnect to its roots as a fast-scrolling action game. From that angle, Other M is wildly successful. It reclaims the fast, snappy, twitch-reliant aspects of classic Metroid games, and finally provides a context for realizing Rippers, Speed Booster, Screw Attack, and other franchise favorites that were never convincingly implemented in the Prime spin-off series. Smart updates to health and missile stocks raise the stakes during combat and eliminate stockpiling.

That’s not to say the modernized classic design is always successful. Other M is entirely 3D, but full appreciation for the volumetric design is limited to stationary, slow first-person viewing. The primary, zoomed-out action feels more like a 2D game with extra depth. Rooms that rely on 3D platforming can be frustrating, sometimes confusing. The controls absolutely harm any sense of immersion, as moving Samus freely with the D-pad lacks both the comfort and precision we've enjoyed in most 3D games since the N64 launched 14 years earlier.

It doesn’t help that Other M neglects another core tenet of the franchise: exploration is passively discouraged throughout the story. Map segments and objectives are revealed in small portions gated by nearby save rooms, and that repetitive sequence feels like more like funneling than a breadcrumb trail. Even though the game never lets you wonder where to go next, navigation between sectors to the next objective is confusing. The map is not very useful -- it's a 2D projection and doesn't auto-fill as you explore. The mini-map and pause-screen map don't correlate very well, so it's easy to become disoriented even (especially?) when actively monitoring both. Metroid Prime had a more sophisticated map interface eight years earlier, and this game would have benefited from simply copying that feature.

Storytelling is the most distinguishing feature of this Metroid game. Eschewing the atmospheric storytelling that its predecessors pioneered, Other M introduces several speaking characters and extensive narration by Samus herself. The focus on her personal story expands upon the approach taken in Metroid Fusion, but with console production standards in 2009, that approach is vastly more disruptive than in Fusion. I can't recall another Nintendo game that spends this much time in pre-rendered cinema scenes. Many are so lengthy that I set down the Wii Remote, and the worst are so dull that I sought distraction on my phone. Whether despite or because of the technical limitations, Super Metroid tells a more interesting story with barely two sentences of text and voice. Looking back at NWR forum users' feedback on this topic, several people were quick to point out that the quality of production on these scenes was at or above industry standards of the time -- and they're right. The dissonance comes from the mating of these typical narrative techniques (and pitfalls) with a franchise beloved for its minimalistic, atmosphere-driven story.

Consider that even the text-heavy lore of Metroid Prime's scan logs are 99% optional. In contrast, Other M contains so many (mandatory) videos that the developers included a Theater Mode to rewatch them after completing the game. Just imagine the furor if Nintendo had followed a similar path with Zelda, especially if the writing and voice direction were as stiff and unsatisfying as those in Other M. Here’s one of the worst lines: "Anthony sighed as he muttered to himself." Come on, just show him sighing and muttering! He’s a named, voiced character, and he's right there in the scene. If you want Metroid to be about characters, then animate the characters and let them tell the story through their interactions.

Other M isn’t sterile, though. It offers noir styling with over-shoulder camera views, tension lighting, creepy sound effects, low music, detached narration, flashbacks, etc. I’ve always been annoyed that Samus doesn't visually embody her upgrades (especially Varia and Gravity Suit) -- a series staple since the original game. However, Samus does looks great every moment of Other M. You can definitely see the Team Ninja magic in how stylishly and nimbly she spins through all the nasty enemies. Particle effects are vivid and memorable, elevating the overall image quality in every battle and scripted, real-time scene. Visually, Other M targets classic sci-fi films of the late 20th century, with villains to match. These cues suggest larger themes intended for Other M, and if the story's mysteries were more compelling, maybe it could have worked to bring a fresh, interesting new take on Samus and her adventure on the Bottle Ship.

Ultimately, the story’s build-up to reveal the fate of Commander Adam Malkovich is all for naught, as he drops out of the story with a most ill-conceived, flaccid use of the heroic sacrifice trope. Whatever interest Metroid Fusion engendered in Adam’s relationship to Samus, the potential is wasted by Other M’s mishandling of their shared past. This entry may always be canon, but based on my recent trip through it, I’m ready to leave Other M in the past and look ahead to better developments for the cherished Metroid saga.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 681: Eyeglasses in the Shed
« on: July 12, 2020, 09:09:00 AM »

God Slayer is such a better name.

It's time for our RetroActive on Crystalis, the Zelda-like NES RPG from SNK. Luckily, we're joined by RFN alumnus, and Crystalis mega-fan, Jonny Metts. This is over two hours of pure Crystalis discussion. We touch on: the big themes, the strange text, the frenetic combat, and a very stupid puzzle involving eyeglasses.

Buckle-up and enjoy, and if you haven't played it, Crystalis is available on the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection or the NES Online Games. Give it a go!

As always, you can send us your questions here.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 669: Vocation: Resident Representative
« on: April 19, 2020, 02:41:06 PM »

I will not play Animal Crossing until I can be Resident Regent.

My God, that's Dr. Metts' music! Jonny is in the house for an RFN Reunion special. Everyone is here, in the Sakurai parlance. It is also manifestly not true, since our predecessors aren't present, but you get the point.

Jonny catches us up on what he's been doing with a sprawling New Business segment. He talks about: Voxelgram, Bravely Default II demo, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and tag-teams with Guillaume on Ring Fit Adventure. Guillaume is looking at Monolith Soft's backlog, playing Baten Kaitos for the first time. After a break Jon lets us groove on rhythm game AVICII Invector, Greg has the Donkey Kong DLC of Mario + Rabbids, and James is baffled by Final Fantasy Adventure from Collection of Mana.

No emails this week, but you know where they go.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 638: Eaten by Buster Wolf
« on: September 08, 2019, 04:22:00 PM »

A direct, multiple events, and a special guest!

THIS is the kind of momentous episode where I'll let the episode do the talking. There's so much content that we just can't document it all. This definitely isn't me trying to get out of writing up a long article

With Greg out celebrating the the freedom of Antonio Brown, we're joined for this journey by former host of RFN Jonathan Metts.

Jonny starts the show with a some of the many games he played at PAX West 2019. We couldn't get through them all but we did talk:

  • Haven
  • Super Meat Boy Forever
  • Skater XL
  • WaveBreak
  • Trials of Mana
  • Time Travel Adventure (Playdate)

After a break, we turned our attention to last week's Nintendo Direct. There's a ton of news, but most pressingly we now live in a world where they're making a sequel to Deadly Premonition and also Nintendo is probably going to try to sell you a bicycle tire with some Joy Con attached. Oh, and Terry is here to scream broken English at Kirby.

Finally, we catch up with Guillaume, who was able to get some hands-on time with some of Nintendo's holiday offerings.

  • Switch Lite
  • Luigi's Mansion 3
  • Witcher 3
  • Link's Awakening

TalkBack / Haven Impressions from PAX West
« on: September 06, 2019, 02:18:45 AM »

From the creators of Furi, this stylish adventure finds romance at an alien frontier.

Haven is a story of stranded lovers who do everything together — eat, sleep, talk, and explore their corrupted alien world for some way to escape. It’s the upcoming release by Furi developers The Game Bakers, although the two games bear little in common except for a neon-infused art style. Furi is a short and thrilling boss rush, delivering one-on-one battles connected by cryptic story transitions.

Just before playing Haven, one of its creators proclaimed it to be a “chill out game” — and sure enough, I slipped easily into the game’s unusual flow and found myself enchanted within minutes. You control two characters simultaneously, and these dual protagonists seem to be inseparable. They are the only humanoids on their planet, on the run from a mysterious group called the Apiary. The lovebird scientists, named Yu and Kay, landed their roomy habitat module after following a bridge of “Flow” to the strange planet. The Flow phenomenon sprouts from the planet itself as curving, glowing streams that you can ride above the ground, sometimes leading to new areas. Otherwise, the adventuring gameplay involved hovering just above the ground with special boots that also collect Flow energy, which is used to clear areas of reddish corruption, called Rust.

The Rust isn’t just fun to wipe off the terrain as you glide around, as it affects local wildlife. Some creatures roam around peacefully, while others are corrupted and will attack. Battles are turn-based, requiring strategic use of a few abilities and especially coordination between your two characters. Each one’s commands are mapped to directional or face buttons (mirrored), and some moves can be combined in sequence or executed simultaneously for bonus effects. The battle system is simple enough to learn, but the tandem tricks and some real-time interactions keep it active, similar to a Mario RPG system.

I was intrigued by the free-roaming and battle elements, but what really surprised me about Haven is how the two characters’ relationship is established and explored. The writing, acting, and art come together in a potent mixture that made me pay attention to the extended dialogue scenes. When choosing responses for each person, I thought about both the immediate impact of those words and also the long-term relationship implications. Some scenes are completely charming and trivial, while others consider deep questions about the couple’s survival and future beyond their current predicament. In these domestic interactions, Yu and Kay are represented both as animated 3D models and also as hand-drawn portraits overlaid in the foreground. The 3D models convey the characters’ body language and environmental interactions, while the portraits have more detailed facial expressions and more closely track dialogue. Another sweet touch is the inclusion of non-contextual character art on loading screens, which shows the couple embracing, playing, and working together. The various depictions bring Yu and Kay’s relationship to life very quickly and effectively.

I was struck at the heroes’ familiarity and intimacy (not explicit), just as much as I’m excited to hover around this world and uncover the mysteries of Flow and Rust. The combination of elements here is unusual but expressed so effectively that I walked away from the demo understanding the game’s theme, and its appeal, to a degree not often experienced at industry events. Haven may turn out to be something special when it arrives on Switch and other platforms in early 2020.

TalkBack / Re: Exception (Switch) Review
« on: August 16, 2019, 12:22:29 PM »
Looks right up my alley. Thanks for the review, Kim!

TalkBack / Re: The Quirkiness of Mario Maker Is Muted on Switch
« on: June 27, 2019, 11:02:08 AM »

TalkBack / Re: kuso (Switch) Review
« on: February 05, 2019, 12:12:51 AM »
I think this game has been updated since the review, because it now includes the levels from Love. There's even a mode to combine all of Love and Kuso into a single experience, which is how I'm playing. It's not clear to me which levels are which, but this improvement seems to address Jordan's main criticism.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 123.5 - Dr. Metts and Mr. eHistory
« on: January 28, 2019, 01:53:34 PM »

The boys bring Mystery History to the 9th NWR's Charity Live Stream with very special guest Jonny Metts!

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What's better than doing Mystery History LIVE during the 9th NWR's Charity Live Stream? Having the Dr. Jonathan Metts join the boys that's what! Relive all the fun or listen for the first time as Perry, Jonny, and Casey each bring a Mystery game to the table as listeners guess for a chance to win a prize!  

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 100 - The Third Digit Has Arrived
« on: August 16, 2018, 12:32:00 PM »

It's our 100th episode! Woooo! To celebrate we're joined by Jonny Metts to talk Bloodstained Curse of the Moon, WarioWare Gold, Dead Cells, and modding the Pro Controller D-Pad. Then it's time for some naval gazing!

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Well it finally happened. After never missing a week, the Talk Nintendo Podcast is celebrating its 100th episode - and Casey and Perry are absolutely honored to be joined by RFN legend Dr. Jonny Metts for our longest and best episode yet. And it wouldn’t be a celebration without a good ol’ fashioned Mystery History, aka the OG segment introduced on episode 3! Casey is in charge this time, and I tell ya what - it’s a goodie.

After that Jonny talks Bloodstained Curse of the Moon, a little gem that passed by the boys when it was released. WARIOWARE GOLD IS OUT. And Perry is excited to talk about it. Casey on the other hand is rogue-liting it up with Dead Cells, the latest big Nindie to grace the Switch. Jonny wraps up What We’ve Been Playing with a little discussion about modding the Pro Controllers awful D-Pad, apparently easier than you’d think.

After the weekly eShop Roundup, the boys talk a bunch about the News - featuring everything from the Smash Direct, Dark Souls, Undertale and Doom Eternal. Coming up right after that is a lengthy discussion all about the origins of Talk Nintendo, and Radio Free Nintendo for that matter. We also like to take some time to thank a ton of people who made our podcast possible, and if you’re reading this, THANK YOU. It means so much to us that you listen to our show. :)

We are also celebrating with a big giveaway! We have 1 Minit code, a $10 eShop gift card and 1 code for the amazing Hollow Knight provided by the one and only @GrillzVonSizzle, for special occasion of our 100the episode. (Thank you SO MUCH Grillz, you are the best!)

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

TalkBack / Mega Man 11 Looks New, Feels Old
« on: June 12, 2018, 09:10:00 PM »

We've got fresh impressions of the E3 2018 demo!

As a fan of Mega Man since the first one, I see no better celebration of the character’s 30th anniversary than a brand new sequel. Mega Man 11 builds upon everything this series is known for, including a progression of the high-fidelity cartoon style developed in 7 and 8. In terms of controls, speed, and jump physics, it’s more like the classic style of 1-6 and 9-10.

The new mechanics in this E3 demo are significant, but not overbearing. Mega Man has two gear powers, each activated by a shoulder button; a second tap will deactivate the power before its gear overheats. A simple cooldown mechanic lets you use these abilities often, but this added layer of management may outweigh the benefits when the action is most demanding. A whole page in the subscreen menu is devoted to gears, but I was only given access to a gear that powers up your shots and another that slows down time. The latter is notable for affecting everything, including Mega Man, so it seems mainly useful to anticipate and nail tricky, timing-based challenges when visual cues are available.

The level design seems to support that tactic, from what I got to play. Fuse Man’s stage is full of conveyor-mounted lasers that rhythmically cycle on and off, while Block Man’s stage drops massive cubes in the path of your jumps, which are further threatened by flying enemies and the dreaded knockback effect. Both levels follow the traditional Mega Man formula and are every bit as exacting as we’ve come to expect, but familiar tools like the slide and Rush Coil item can help when used correctly. I didn’t find a store in this demo, but bolt pickups would indicate that some upgrades and customizations await.

There’s not too much else to say, as Mega Man 11 is every bit as faithful to its principles as the straightforward title suggests. The updated graphics look great in action, and the animations don’t obscure the precise positioning and timing needed to play this kind of game. This fan’s concerns are allayed and hype is kindled for another romp -- bring on Dr. Wily!

Note: Mega Man 11 is playable on Switch at E3 2018, although we played the PS4 demo due to availability.


Sometimes I don't even remember why I made note of a possible title.

In less than 15 hours I'll be on a plane to E3. This is my fifth one. I don't think I can classify these trips as "mistakes" anymore.

Nevertheless, our last episode before the big shindig sees regular absentee Jon "AWOL" Lindemann reprising his award-winning role, so we're instead joined by former host Dr. Jonathan Metts. Greg starts New Business with a look at the "beta" for Mario Tennis Aces. He also has some concluding thoughts on Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon. Jonny then joins in our discussion of Yoku's Island Express, echoing Gui and Karen's praise for the game. He has also been playing Sundered, a Metroidvania from the developers of Jotun that is not currently announced for Switch. Guillaume closes out New Business with some impressions of the adorable PixelJunk Monsters 2. He has good things to say about the demo, and it sounds like the main game delivers. James skips New Business this week, as he's still reviewing garbage and taking notes on how to celebrate if he ever wins the Stanley Cup like his Washington Capitals just did.

After the break, we have our RetroActive on Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. We talk a lot about how the game's stages feel, and if the hybrid puzzle/platforming works. This game got a lot of coverage on RFN when it first came out, so it's interesting to see how it holds up these days.

BREAKING NEWS: It's time for E3. NWR is doing a ton of live video coverage, mostly being run by our Home Team. However, there will be check-ins from the crew attending the show, including James, Jonny, and TYP. As always, we'll strive to have the RFN reaction episode up on Tuesday, but given that James is at the show this could be tricky. There might even be special some guests!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 569: Thoughts of Your Head Underwater
« on: April 29, 2018, 10:46:00 AM »

My lawyer assures me that this does not constitute a threat.

Greg is out watching the first round of the NFL Draft, an event where billionaires turn college-aged adults into millionaires and then stake their pride on the performance of these young men. This week we're joined instead by former-host Jonathan Metts.

Jonny kicks us off with a look at the Labo Variety Kit. It tuns out Nintendo is really good at making instructions. He also has a look at Bomberman-inspired indie game Bombslinger. No Pyramid Head in this one, but instead we get a rather weird story mode. Guillaume is going after your high scores in Graceful Explosion Machine. He's also dodging balls in Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure. I'm sticking to that wording. James refuses to use up his single opportuinity to talk about Yakuza 6, and instead castigates Atlus for releasing Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology with DLC "good art." Jon takes us back to 2004 with a look at The Elder Scrolls III: Morowind for the Original Xbox on the Xbox One X: The World's Most Powerful Gaming Console. Jonny brings us back around, using that as a springboard to talk about the PSVR and his time with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for VR.

After the break, we take a look at two emails. The first asks us about Nintendo's fiscal year reporting and the announcement of their next president, Shuntaro Furukawa. The second email asks if the Switch is Nintendo's Trojan Horse Quality of Life product. Is  Labo our silently improving our Quality of Life? What if the true Quality of Life was the living we did waiting for the announcement? You can ask us to bare our darkest fears about our the quality of our lives by sending us an email.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 237: Sandbox Delight
« on: November 09, 2017, 09:57:42 AM »

Guess what we are talking about this week?

This week Nicholas is joined once again by Zach and Curt as well as Jonny Metts, the guys talk about their thoughts and experiences with Mario Odyssey.

Spoiler warning for this episode, however, if you have finished the story we don't really touch on much beyond that.

This weeks musical selection is from Mario Odyssey and is the theme to the Lake Kingdom.

Nintendo World Report is now on Patreon, and high rollers can name their topic for Connectivity, so head over to our Patreon page if you want to support us.

Connectivity has joined Twitter, so be sure to follow @ConnectivityNWR to be up to date on any announcements. We are wanting more listener participation, so feel free to ask questions, they may show up in the show!

Send us your listener mail by clicking here.


The doctor is here, and I'm preparing my thesis.

It's finally here, playable for you, it's the newest 3D Mario game...crew. Mario Odyssey is out! Also out this week, Greg and Jon. We decided to save our mostly spoiler-free discussion of Mario Odyssey for the second segment, so the show kicks off with NWR News Editor Donald Theriault and his impressions of Fire Emblem Warriors. He too has now had to do the rushed review, and it turns out he still enjoyed hacking down thousands of nameless soldiers. Guillaume has impressions of the New 3DS version of Fire Emblem Warriors (it runs well) and much more, fresh from the Nintendo of Canada holiday event. He also got his hands on: Doom, Skyrim, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, and Snipperclips Plus. James had nothing but Mario to talk about, so he reads an email about unpopular opinions.

In the second segment, former host and notorious Regulator Jonny Metts joins the trio to talk Super Mario Odyssey. As Jon so neatly summarized last week, it is an "absolute delight". They talk about the game's structure, its humor, and its overall feel. We'll have a more detailed conversation in the near future, but for now we try to avoid talking about specific details of the game.

Thanks to Donald and Jonny for joining us on short notice.

Lastly, we have some news! It's time for RFN's next RetroActive: The WiiWare Farewell Tour. On the verge of the service's demise, we've taken your suggestions for unforgettable WiiWare and built a poll. Voting closes at the end of our next recording session (11/9), so vote NOW.

Our candidates are:

  • Contra ReBirth
  • Blaster Master: Overdrive
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord
  • Fluidity/Hydroventure
  • Jett Rocket
  • La-Mulana

We'll be doing our RetroActive as part of the NWR 8th Annual Telethon in Support of Child's Play Charity, on Saturday, Dec. 2. Full details will be available on NWR soon.

TalkBack / First Impressions of Fire Emblem Warriors from E3 2017
« on: June 26, 2017, 02:59:57 PM »

It’s exactly what you think it is.

To be honest, I’m not the best person to tell you about this game. I’ve played a few Fire Emblem games but always bounce off or slog through them in search of deeper engagement, and my time with Hyrule Warriors was much the same. Still, I was among the fortunate few to play Tecmo Koei’s latest collaboration with Nintendo at E3 2017, and these are my honest thoughts. Also, check out our direct feed video below (that's me playing).

Fire Emblem Warriors may yet sneak in some clever tweaks that will change how you, I, and everyone feels about the musou genre of battlefield-massacre simulators, but the demo was entirely predictable. The playable character rotates (at will) among a handful of well-known Fire Emblem protagonists that all look great in action but are quite similar to each other in action. All the standard mechanics from other _____ Warriors games are mapped to Fire Emblem trappings, including a metered Awakening state that boosts attacks and ends in a cinematic super-move. Whether plowing through mobs of laughable peons or wailing on durable boss characters, the combat is simplistic and mildly satisfying.

Although also announced as the next New 3DS exclusive retail game, the focus is on the Switch version. Warriors makes good use of the hybrid system’s horsepower. Even in an unfinished state, the E3 demo ran smoothly and showcased the clean, regal design aesthetic that has been a staple of the brand since at least GameCube’s Path of Radiance. A thick slathering of Fire Emblem style is perhaps the game’s strongest connection to that franchise. Just don’t expect any of the high-stakes tactical gameplay, as everything I played was indistinct from Hyrule Warriors on Wii U. Nintendo has promised some version of the weapons triangle, but it was absent from the E3 demo, which points to it being an optional or advanced consideration. The fact that the demoed units all were sword users didn't help sell Warriors's variety.

Also not shown: multiplayer. It’s probably going to be in the final package, though. Musou games typically support at least two players, and Switch offers many options to make that happen. The twin JoyCons are perfect tools for tandem button-mashing, but splitting the screen may not be as elegant for a game so dependent on busy crowds and mini-map antics.

Fire Emblem Warriors is an obvious crossover that should appeal to fans of Nintendo’s last team-up with Tecmo Koei, and it’s coming just in time to extend the surprising boom of Fire Emblem’s popularity in the Western world. It’s also a kind of meat-and-potatoes action showcase that Switch needs right now, and everything I saw in the first playable demo indicates it will serve that role with honor.


It's a new way to splat, and it won't be easy.

The first Splatoon game barely experimented with local multiplayer, but the Switch's portability makes it a natural platform for this feature to grow in the sequel. Even better, you won't be stuck in one-on-one matches this time. Splatoon 2's Salmon Run is a special cooperative mode (2-4 players teaming up against computer enemies) that can be played locally as well as online. At E3 2017, I got the rare opportunity to play this fun new mode with four Switches connected locally -- and yes, this also requires four copies of the game. Our team included a pair of Nintendo employees who had been playing the demo for quite some time, but individual skill is less important than a good strategy and clear communication.

We began at 5% difficulty, easy as it gets, but completing three rounds of Salmon Run (about five minutes total) is a real challenge on any setting, and nearly impossible at the far end of that scale. The goal is to deliver a quota of golden eggs to a net, while invading salmon constantly lay down their own ink trails and try to attack your team members. The regular enemies aren't much of a threat, but they can limit your useful territory and get in the way of the main objectives. Boss enemies show up every so often, armed with much stronger weapons, armor, and tactics. Killing the tough ones is the only way to spawn eggs and score points, but these encounters really do require teamwork. While you collect one egg at a time for safekeeping in the net, lesser salmon will attempt to grab them and escape the level. Thankfully, you can submerge and swim back with an egg -- if the ink coverage allows.

Enemies can approach your island base from any side, and it's important to have spotters and a mutual understanding of the team's priorities. Splatoon 2 provides very simple beacon-type calls that show your current location to teammates, but it's easy to summon them away from a higher-priority situation elsewhere. Clear communication is more important here than in most Splatoon modes, so I was glad to be standing next to the other players. With Nintendo's still-nascent online service, who knows whether voice chat will be convenient enough for broad adoption. I just wouldn't want to play Salmon Run without the ability to ask questions or point out a specific location.

The varied enemy design really caught my attention. Even in Splatoon's campaign, the octopus enemies were mostly just turrets. These new salmon enemies are more aggressive and unpredictable, and the boss types are even better. One wore heavy armor and could only be splatted through a small hole in the back. Another laid down sniper fire from atop his tower of pots and pans (from which he can strike at half the map). My favorite looked like a Chinese parade dragon, but mostly metallic and showering ink along a wavering path. Each one has a key vulnerability that promotes teamwork, if only a simple flanking tactic.

The new salmon enemies are more proof of Splatoon's slick character designs and even slicker game mechanics. Who knows how wacky and devious they become at 200% difficulty? My team of experts couldn't quite clear 45%.

TalkBack / Now We’re Playing With Power
« on: May 14, 2017, 02:49:00 PM »

Switch is a remarkable leap forward in the company’s portable gaming technology.

It’s been nearly thirty years since Nintendo brought portable gaming to the masses with Game Boy. For many adults, it was their first direct exposure to video games. Never before had video games been so public, yet so private, yet so easy to share. The battery-munching gadget reached older audiences, traveling mothers, high-tech dads. It could be handed to an underprivileged or isolated schoolmate while riding the bus. People who thought they didn’t have time for video games learned to fill in life’s dullest moments with Tetris blocks.

I played my share of the original Game Boy with the AustinMates, but I don’t remember ever wanting my own. The main appeal of those early portable games were that they reminded me of bigger games on consoles and in the arcade. It was fun to struggle with Metroid II for a while on a field trip, but I was just as happy reading or watching the scenery whiz by. As much as I loved Nintendo even back then, their vision of portable gaming seemed overly practical, the technical trade-offs too grievous. None of my favorite developers were putting their best new projects on Game Boy.

We’ve come a long way to the launch of Nintendo’s Switch hybrid, and our global, ubiquitous obsession with mobile electronics doesn’t even seem weird anymore. Playing video games whenever and wherever you want is now part of the human experience, and it’s hard to see that bit reversing. It’s in this environment that Nintendo has finally bridged the great divide between console and portable gaming.

So far, the company has positioned Switch as a home system that can be taken on the go – the portability being a sort of bonus feature, albeit a head-turning one. The console-on-the-go marketing could be driven by relatively short battery life in this first iteration of the hardware. The gracefully retiring 3DS platform is surely a factor as well. Looking ahead two or three years, a revised Switch could become Nintendo’s only portable game system, though one curiously splitting the development teams with iOS and Android projects. When viewed on the timeline of Super Game Boy, GameCube’s Game Boy Player, and Wii U, it’s easy to see Switch as just the latest phase in a long-term strategy to expand what we think is possible for portable gaming.

Although it’s more delicate than any previous Nintendo hardware, Switch is so light and capable that I’ve been finding excuses to carry it to increasingly strange places.  Though hard to appreciate until you see it in person, Switch has Nintendo’s largest, sharpest, brightest screen ever. It finally brings a modern capacitive touch display to the studios that pioneered and popularized touch-screen gaming. Compared to the New 3DS line, which launched just two years earlier, the Switch is a massive advancement in graphical power. The analog joysticks are easily the best ever built into a portable game system.

The Joy-Con makes Switch far more than just a powered-up mobile device (or mid-power tablet). It is a spontaneous video game party (rooftop is optional). Nintendo has seen their game systems connect schoolkids, dorm suites, and families – but now, you can easily share Mario Kart with a co-worker or even a stranger at the airport bar. For lounging at home or immersing yourself on a long flight, having a wireless controller (even my trusty Pro) is a great option for portable gaming – and it’s more comfortable for those of us with wide shoulders, repetitive stress injuries, etc. This attention to ergonomics is a perfectly Nintendo touch, the kind of perspective-shifting feature that I didn’t know I wanted so much.

There will always be Switch games that feel awkward as portable experiences (I suspect the upcoming port of Skyrim may be one), but at least we’ll have the option. Some games that were only portable on a laptop can now run on the more elegant Nintendo handheld. From independent Steam studios to Microsoft’s culture-defining Minecraft, we are seeing game creators experiment with what’s possible on a portable game system.

What I’d like to see next is Nintendo’s vision for bringing their portable hits to Switch. After launching with Zelda and rolling out Mario Kart the next month, the company has already proven that Switch can deliver their huge 3D worlds and slick online competition. More marquee titles are coming soon: Mario, Splatoon, Xenoblade, Metroid…?

Meanwhile, Nintendo fans who’ve become co-dependent on solid portable lineups through lean console years are wondering what’s next for our favorite 2D action series and all-ages RPGs. This year’s 3DS lineup is surprisingly robust and supported by an appealing new model, but almost no first-party projects are currently announced for the veteran handheld. There is a pregnant pause in original development, as rapid-fire franchises like Pokémon, Etrian Odyssey, Animal Crossing, Kirby’s Noun, Yokai Watch, Monster Hunter, Fire Emblem, and Branding Warriors have lately gone dark, dabbled in the phone market, or depended upon rehash versions.

It’s inevitable that most of these portable-centric series will migrate to Switch, long as the sales momentum holds up through a competitive holiday season. I’ve heard the notion that Nintendo should be wary of touch-only games on Switch, but why? No accessories are required – you don’t even have to press a button to undock the Switch and play it anywhere (even your couch, in front of the TV). There really are no boundaries for this weird little system, and unlike every Nintendo portable before it, there’s not a more powerful console stealing away the biggest development resources.

When Nintendo talks about unifying their game creation tools and merging console teams with handheld teams, it may seem like a dive for corporate efficiency – probably is, too. But the exciting part for Switch owners is that soon, every new Nintendo game will be portable… if you want it to be. Great option for fans, sure, but portability means outright access to Nintendo’s full lineup for people who can’t or won’t play games on a TV. This isn’t quite the same blue ocean that Wii navigated, but it may be just as deep.

To be clear, I think a future version of Switch will ultimately realize the does-anything-goes-anywhere dream. This one has a few limitations that are to be expected with a new product line – and Nintendo never misses a chance to tweak their portable systems. Regardless, the Switch is already a magical sort of gadget, the kind you want to put into a friend’s hands while you rave and share delightful anecdotes. In a near-future where nearly all games are portable, and display to the nearest big screen is as common as today’s Bluetooth audio, we might look back on the Switch as the turning point, or at least a prophet of a new portable technology revolution. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Nice! I call this my "convenience discount"

Podcast Discussion / Episode 520: MY NACHOS ARE ON FIRE!
« on: April 30, 2017, 09:49:43 AM »

I'm trying out titles for my inevitable memoirs.

This week saw 353 young men selected in the NFL Draft as the newest contestants in America's greatest bloodsport. Greg Leahy, America's greatest podcaster, did his American duty and watched this - America's greatest made-for-TV casting call. In his place we adopted a modern retro-modern cast with the first post-Switch appearance of Dr. Jonathan Metts.

This deeply un-American foursome instead focus on video games...America's seventh-best bloodsport. Jonny gives his first, non-vicarious, thoughts on Switch and The Legend of Zelda: Bills Trade Down. Given all the catching up he has to do, he has a lot to say. Don't expect any major departures from him on the game's quality. His New Business is interrupted by Nintendo's sudden announcement of the new 2DS XL, a system that's name is now 95% based around it being a version. Returning to New Business, he also shares some praise for Blaster Master Zero, a pseudo-remake of Blaster Master (which just happened to be the RetroActive game RFN covered on his very last regular episode). Jon played the Witcher 2. No, not 3. 2. He actually enjoyed its relative compactness, when compared to its newer sequel. Gui and James are still down the Persona hole, and Gui celebrates this by looking at Towerfall: Ascension. See what I did there? He enjoyed its multiplayer-focused arena gameplay, and encourages people to watch out for it when it finds its way onto Switch later this year. James has another Switch indie game this week, with impressions of Kamiko, a Zelda-inspired action game that finds its beat quick, and gets out just as fast.

After an unpatriotic break, it's Listener Mail, our ninety-third greatest bloodsport. Covered this week: the parallels between NWR and the now defunct (and cartoonishly evil) Brash Games, the discontinuation of the NES Classic Mini, and the only ACTUAL bloodsport mentioned in this episode: standing in line for amiibo. You can fight to the death for Advent Children Cloud by sending us an email.

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