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The foursome is back together with loads of cool games and a sprawling edition of Listener Mail!
Hooray, Jon Lindemann is back, and he's got a lot to say! But first, we've got your New Business, and it's a great crop of games this week. Gui opens with Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, which leads to a long dissection of the game's co-op multiplayer. That gives Jon time to prepare for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, which he thinks is by far the best game to introduce new players to this uninviting series. James continues his Sony adventures with the Zelda-inspired Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, while Jonny finally gets to blast through Star Fox 64 3D (thanks, Club Nintendo!).
In the Listener Mail segment, we finally get to open up the completionist topic, AND WE AREN'T STOPPING UNTIL IT'S 100% FINISHED. We also pick out the best Donkey Kong Country/Land games from the recent Virtual Console dumping, and we consider the resurgence of Abraham Lincoln as a video game hero. (So, real talk, there's no way we could cover every angle of the first discussion, and we would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for how to revisit the topic. Please send in your feedback on completing games or anything else from the world of video games!)
RetroActive is officially on for next episode, and by the time you read this, there's only a couple of days at most to get in your thoughts about Pokemon: The Trading Card Game. Hit up that official forum thread ASAP if you want a chance to be heard on the podcast! Oh hey, and you might also want to hear Jonny talk about movies or music with cool people on Crosstawk's Box Office Poison or Discover Music Project, respectively.
Our friend Josh Hillyer helps induct the New 3DS XL into the RFN tradition of Things-We-Really-Like-But-Still-Complain-About.
The streak is still dead, as Jon had to miss this week (and we missed him too), but we were very fortunate to get Josh Hillyer back on the show. You know, it's not everyday that we get to talk about a brand new Nintendo system, and the new New 3DS XL is the newest New system of all. Three of us got a new New one at launch, and we have plenty to say about the bizarre and awful New setup process, new Super Stable 3D, and that weird little New C-stick. Jonny also reports on the excellent 3D remake of Majora's Mask with a new New camera, and he provides an update on Moon Chronicles with true new twin-stick New controls. Next up, Josh revisits those paid StreetPass mini-games, now super-charged on a fast new New processor. James follows with a new game that works just fine on old 3DS systems, except you should definitely never play it on any system, because it's Pokemon Shuffle and is of the devil. Guillaume finally puts this segment to bed with the Floridian group-napping documentary game, Siesta Fiesta, and he tacks on Kirby Star Stacker because why not.
There's still one big Listener Mail topic that has to wait for Jon's return, but we have plenty more where that came from. (It came from the email address that we say every week.) We start with a question about the best period of gaming in our lives, and this bit of background on the "Golden Age Theory" might be helpful. We also investigate what kind of company would release DSiWare games in 2015, and why the hell. And then, whaddya know, what goes around comes around as we take a deep look into Nintendo's recent system names and other crimes against human communication perpetrated by branding consultants. Light up the inbox with your own question or topic for the show, especially if it's going to piss off James!
We may do RetroActive as soon as next week, so hurry up and post your comments for Pokemon: The Trading Card Game in our official forum thread, where you'll also find loads of helpful tips and detailed techniques that will make you realize that you have no idea what's going on in this game. Oh, and while you're entrenched in the link-clicking business, check out the game Josh Hillyer is working on for Wii U! It's called Neon the Ninja, and you can play it and meet Josh at PAX East in Boston.
We're more than happy to recommend a few Club Nintendo rewards.
We have a snappy episode for you this week, starting with New Business As Usual. Jonny tees off with Gunman Clive 2 from the 3DS eShop, and he also recounts multiplayer (very multiplayer) bouts of Mario Kart 8 and ye olde Nintendo Land. James digs into the new demo for Code Name S.T.E.A.M. and finds cause for both hype and (mild) concern. Guillaume goes full retro with Wario Land 3 and Mighty Final Fight, and Jon gets annoyed by one of his all-time favorite games with Metroid Prime Trilogy.
Listener Mail includes three letters this week. One requests our top picks from the final set of 100+ Club Nintendo rewards. The second laments Joystiq's demise and asks about which gaming news sites we can recommend to fill that void in everyone's hearts. The final letter asks about the possibility of using the 3DS as a Splatoon controller, which launches a discussion on Splatoon local and online multiplayer.
We still have lots of good emails to cover soon, but you should never wait to send in a hot idea for the show. Also, we had to close RetroActive voting earlier than planned, due to a problem with the survey service... We'll fix that next time, but as it is, voting was cut off after 100 votes, and the winner is Pokemon: The Trading Card Game! Download your copy on 3DS (or find the old Game Boy Color cartridge) to play along and discuss the game with the RFN crew on an upcoming episode.
Get ready for RFN's first-ever live unboxing (of horror).
After two annual specials in a row, it feels good to slip back into our usual format this week. New Business gets a strong start to thanks to Guillaume's post-game evaluation of Bayonetta 2, including some positive sessions with its online cooperative mode. James gives quick updates on Atelier Escha & Logy and Persona Q, but his main topic is the level editor in Smash U. Jon transports us all back to 80s arcades with his impressions of 3D After Burner II, while Jonny also regresses with the lovely (and awkward) HD remake of the GameCube remake of Resident Evil.
Listener Mail is abbreviated this time, but for good reason. The questions concern Club Nintendo and a very personal discussion of how games can help us cope with loss. Things get serious for a while, but we end the show on a thrilling note, as birthday boy James opens a mysterious and frankly nefarious package from one of his admirers. However, we don't really want anyone to mail us anything except musings of the electronic kind!
Finally, we are excited to announce the return of our community-driven RetroActive feature. After sifting through dozens of your great suggestions, we settled on a trio of nominees with little in common, except that they're all readily available on Virtual Console: Castlevania III (NES), Pokemon Trading Card Game (GBC), and the original Sin & Punishment (N64). Listeners will determine which game we play and discuss on a future episode, so please vote without delay and try to play along once the winner is announced! Voting will only be open for about a week and a half from this posting, so vote now, before you forget!
We catch up with a few games that didn't make our Top Five lists, and then a special guest lends a credibility boost to our stupid yearly predictions!
There are two particular episodes we do every January. One is the Top Five Games show, which you heard last week. The other one, which we on the show don't enjoy nearly as much as our audience, is the annual predictions feature. This time, we enlisted an old friend to make this chore a lot less cringe-worthy... But more on that later.
Up front in New Business, we take a critical view of several new games that are promising, but with obvious flaws. Leading that pack, perhaps inevitably, is the brand new demo for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on 3DS (with enhancements for New 3DS). Both veteran Jon and dabbler James had a taste of Capcom's upcoming game, including an online session together. What we learn is that yep, this sure is going to be Monster Hunter, and nope, the demo probably won't help anyone unlock the secret to enjoying this divisive series. Gui is far more positive on Chariot, the indie platformer just released on Wii U eShop, but the controls may be frustrating for the kind of intricate cooperation this game requires. Jonny finished up Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and definitely comes out positive on this weird little package from Nintendo, even though it ends in a whimper. James rounds out the opening segment with his first dedicated report on Persona Q, and his take on it will probably surprise you as much as it did us.
Then, it's finally time for our dumbass predictions for the rest of 2015. Thank goodness we have such a great special guest to class up the proceedings. We tried to keep it secret, but if you haven't heard by now... (spoiler alert) Chris Kohler accepted the challenge of predicting one of the most unpredictable forces in video games. He's a true Nintendo expert in the world of professional games media, and you better bet that he came prepared. The rest of us delivered the usual mix of trend-spotting, wishful thinking, and completely goofball ideas that our listeners know and love to mock all year long.
We'll try to get back to normal next time, so feed that email inbox and/or fling something pithy at our new Twitter account: @RFNpodcast! You should also read Chris Kohler's provocative work over at Wired Game|Life and listen to his fun and informative podcasts, Game|Life and Good Job Brain!
Even this extra-large episode can barely contain all the Nintendo Direct news and our Top Five Games of 2014!
We have a special format for you this week, as there is neither New Business nor Listener Mail. That's thanks to a surprise Nintendo Direct earlier in the week, which gave us far more discussion topics than we could possibly fit into this first segment. We crammed in as much as we could and hit most of the major points, including New 3DS XL for North America, "The Latest in the Fire Emblem Series" for 3DS, an avalanche of amiibo announcements, lots of walking in Xenoblade Chronicles X, the long-awaited arrival of Wii games on the Wii U eShop, and further confirmation that Splatoon could be Nintendo's first fully-featured modern shooter. There's a lot of disagreement and controversy throughout, so buckle up for this one!
The latter half of the show is just as lengthy but far less adversarial, since we each get our own personal list for the Top Five Games of 2014. The diversity in our picks is maybe surprising, considering it was one of the leanest release calendars in Nintendo's history. Many rich discussions emerged from our passionate and sometimes shocking choices, and this feature is a great showcase for the four distinct personalities on this podcast. It's impossible for you to agree with all of us, so just let that go and enjoy the conversation!
We're currently planning to do our annual (and ill-fated) predictions feature next week. Maybe you could fan the flames with a prediction of your own -- go crazy on that email form! We are also still working on the next RetroActive roll-out and hope to announce something concrete next week. You can help a lot by posting ideas in the forum thread (where they'll be considered for many subsequent editions) or using the more ephemeral Twitter method, thanks to our brand new account: @RFNpodcast (finally!).
We played games over the holiday break and would like to tell you about all of them!
We're back with the whole crew to deliver a double-dose of holiday New Business. Mister Lindemann is back from the frozen north with all kinds of retro fun, starting with the supremely underplayed Bionic Commando: Elite Forces from ye olde Game Boy Color. Guillaume, still in the frozen north, delivers much-requested coverage of that Sportsball eShop game that sounds like a pretty nice indie multiplayer thing. Next up is James, who confounds everyone with his instant conversion to the cult of Atelier Escha & Logy -- no kidding, that is the name of a video game being sold in America. He'll tell you all about it. Jonny follows that with a game that's equally insane but much more relevant to our listeners, as he goes back to Bayonetta five years after the first attempt.
We had enough interesting games for a whole other round of New Business, so Jon picks up after the break with a little story about uncovering his childhood games and a debate over what to do with them. He also posits a fun but controversial question for the ages: is Final Fantasy VI better than its adored contemporary, Chrono Trigger? Then, Gui deftly connects his impressions of Shantae & the Pirate's Curse and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker by asking if they might both be a little too polished and familiar. Jonny concludes this big episode with updated thoughts on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, thanks to a fun visit from friend-of-the-show Michael "TYP" Cole.
During the recording of this very show, that same TYP finally joined Twitter, and in the days since, this momentous occasion ignited a chain of events such that we now have an official Radio Free Nintendo account on Twitter! Follow that to be alerted when new episodes are posted, get previews of upcoming content, and submit pithy questions and comments to our entire crew. Also, we are revving up for the next RetroActive feature, but we need your help identifying candidate games/themes! Post your ideas in the sticky forum thread, or just email us directly about this or anything else in the world of Nintendo. Finally, you can learn more about Jonny's recent book release (not at all related to video games) over here at Amazon. It's short and cheap/free!
Welcome the new year with a special episode that's all emails, all the time.
We recorded this show right in the middle of everyone's big holiday break, and only half the regulars were able to make it. Not to worry though, because Alex Culafi from NWR Connectivity and our new Nintendo News Report video show popped in to help James and Jonny work through some of our Listener Mail backlog. It's a short episode, all emails, but we still had a good time!
This week's selection of listener-submitted topics begins with a quick take on winter gaming, then proceeds with a pair of Mario Maker discussions, first on the balance of Nintendo-created levels and then how this bold new direction for the franchise could affect plans for future 2D Super Mario games. Next, we get insider coverage of how Canada's eShop has saved the Wii U for some Nintendo fans in Brazil. Last up is one of the best Amiibo ideas we've seen yet, from a listener who wishes the figurines could lead to more fan-focused sports games.
We'll always make time for the best emails, so please continue sending yours and special end-of-year thanks to everyone who did so over the past year! Gui and Jon will return next week for post-holiday New Business, and we're getting ready for our Best of 2014 show around mid-January. Here's to another big year for RFN!
The Famicast crew's present to our loyal listeners, please to enjoy!
As mentioned on the latest episode of the Famicast, we have gone back through the past four live telethon recordings and edited the 8-4 Play X Famicast segments into regular episode length shows. All episodes are already available on the iTunes feed, although you may have to scroll down quite far to find them all. To make things a bit easier we have also included the episodes here as a direct download, so please enjoy them as you see fit!
Topics: Dragon Quest VII, Band Bros P, Wii U Report card, and 'Gaming Jesus' name origins!
Famicrew: Danny and JC (Also featuring Ty and Jonny Metts)
8-4 Play: Mark MacDonald
Direct download (AAC)
Direct download (MP3)
Have a great holiday and a happy new year from the whole Famicrew here in Japan!