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Episode 145: Tito, Use the Dagger!

by Jonathan Metts - May 10, 2009, 12:07 pm PDT
Total comments: 22

Jonny returns for RetroActive revenge, and the crew answers a bonus-sized stack of your emails.

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With thanks to the RFN crew and recent guests, Jonny is back in the hosting chair with a big backlog of New Business. Not content with "Listen Up" besting our previous podcast coverage of Excitebots, he steps up to the plate for a healthy continuation of Nick's impressions. There's also a nod to Gears of War 2, mild praise (and damnation) of de Blob, and a contentious follow-up to the Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts topic, since he wasn't around for last week's formal RetroActive segment. With all that out of the way, New Business finally continues with selections from everyone else. James has been playing GTA4 and Rune Factory Frontier (finally, a good review assignment?); Jon is easing into the recent Ys remake for DS; Greg's "ExciteStrike" continues, but the anguish hasn't kept him from playing the superior Japanese version of Castlevania III as well as a demo of Picross 3D.

In the second half of the show, we catch up on your Listener Mail with six recent letters. The questions lead us into even more game discussion, covering Henry Hatsworth, Twilight Princess, and Red Steel 2. We also (finally) hear Jon's impressions of the DSi and try to understand why so many gamers want to become developers.

Credits:

This podcast was edited by Greg Leahy.

Music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is used with permission from Jason Ricci & New Blood. You can purchase their newest album, Done with the Devil, directly from the record label, Amazon.com, or iTunes, or call your local record store and ask for it!

Talkback

PlugabugzMay 10, 2009

Why didn't i notice this earlier?!

It was the cutscene's HUR HUR HUR HUR bit in Henry that i was referring to. Because i was subjected so much to it at the start of the game i just put it in mute. I actually turned the volume up today and i actually quite like the music.

ShyGuyMay 10, 2009

Speaking of Listen Up, you guys have a lot of competition from them this week. Professional E! network studio recording, the return of Shane, and the first appearance of our own Billy F'n Berghammer. James better pull out the full hate buffet.

DAaaMan64May 10, 2009

I guess since I'm going to school at DigiPen in hopes of entering the game industry I should throw my two cents into this. 

Dear the mother of the aspiring Game Designer,


Here is a list of facts about the video game industry that I think everyone should know:
1.  Most of the time game programmers and computer science majors only stay in the game industry about 5 years.  The game industry proves to be very stressful compared to others, as well as less profitable. (Often employees will going into weeks of "crunch" time and be heavily over worked.

2.  A little know fact about Game Designers, you don't get to design a game ground up (in other words, you will not be making your dream game anytime soon).  What happens is the Producer and the Marketing Team throw you a pitch, and you design the implementation.  Also, your implementation techniques can be revoked by the Producer.

3. No one just "becomes"  a game designer out of college.  There is no miracle degree for this, designing games can be learned, but not unlike art, you still have it or you don't.

4. You will need to choose between the tech side and the art side.  If you pick the art side, expect a hell of a job market.  The tech side however, can open a lot of doors and is more likely to actually lead to Game Design.

5.  Don't by into B.S. (and I mean bull shit) Game Design degrees from colleges you never heard of, do research and figure out where you want to go).  Personally, the best in the industry are supposedly DigiPen and Full Sail.  However, it's not impossible to do it some other way.

6.  Scholarships are really hard to find for this stuff and you need to have nice grades.  Definitely not getting better as the economy worsens.

7.  Learn to make games now. There are lots of ways to do this.  Learn flash/action script and make games, use the torque engine etc.  These are relatively free/cheap ways to get started, but they will pay off because your son will find out if he's really enjoying himself.  Also DigiPen offers summer workshops that can help out too.

8.  Best of luck, dedication and passion is your best bet.

adadadMay 11, 2009

Interesting to hear Jonny's Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts thoughts elaborated on some more, and major props to Greg for asserting there as being more than nostalgia to it. I'd never had any prior experience with SGnG before it came out on the VC (used to be an Amiga gamer back in the day) and still found it immensely enjoyable without any rose tinted glasses. I do however understand where Jonny is coming from, and I expect everyone knows the feeling of not getting or not enjoying something that everyone else seems to like - I don't think I ever will understand how anyone can enjoy Banjo Kazooie for example.

I think SGnG's appeal was summed up very well last episode; uncompromising but not unfairly so, it is incredibly satisfying when you're doing well at it, and even when you're not it is still fairly fun.

I found out a little while ago that my brother, who is not good at videogames, and is a real sore loser, actually went through and completed the first run of SGnG. I can only imagine how mind numbing it would've been to watch him do it, and how long it must've taken him, however I have to applaud the fact that he persevered with this game to a far greater extent than he does with pretty much any other game - to my knowledge he's never beaten a single Robot Master in a Megaman game, never made it to the second stage of NES Ninja Gaiden, he's never ever completed a Zelda game, the list goes on and on. Anyway I've never been sure if this giving up trait is to do with difficulty/frustration or just a lack of interest but regardless; SGnG evidently held some incentive for someone who very frequently will not persevere with a game, despite the fact that I informed him that he would be sent back to the start as he approached the end and wouldn't see the end credits first time round.

Anyway I'm only part way into the episode (fell asleep some ways in), but it sounds very good so far, great to have the regular crew back - after all Greg can't say 'ahoy-hoy' in his plaintive yet playful way if he's the one introducing everyone. Looking forward to Excitebots, why oh why no european release date?!

GoldenPhoenixMay 11, 2009

Quote:

not getting or not enjoying something that everyone else seems to like

True but then again I think SGNG is the opposite of that, most people don't like it though some like it.

yoshi1001May 11, 2009

One other thing I would suggest if you want to get into game development is to spend a lot of time looking over existing games and try to figure out why they work or don't work. Video games is one of the few computer-related fields where you can really get into the customer's shoes before you even apply.

adadadMay 11, 2009

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Quote:

not getting or not enjoying something that everyone else seems to like

True but then again I think SGNG is the opposite of that, most people don't like it though some like it.

I'm not so sure about that - how did it win the poll if it was so maligned?

kraken613May 11, 2009

My second or third letter read on the podcast!

Also Star Trek was awesome! I have seen it twice!

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusMay 12, 2009

Wanted to respond to my de Blob love:

I like it because it is vapid. I can sit down and play that game and enjoy just listening to the music and seeing the world. It also satisfies my insane OCD. Painting every building is very satisfying for me and just doing that is enough of a goal for me.

It's definitely not for everyone, but like I said in my review (I think), people who enjoy Katamari Damacy will most likely enjoy this game as well. After talking to Jonny about KD, it was pretty obvious to me that he wasn't going to be a huge de Blob fan.

As for one of the best Wii games of 2008, I think it absolutely is. I'm actually highly anticipating a sequel for this E3.

SGnG is an acquired taste for certain types of gamers, namely those that like to do something just to prove that they could do it.  Not everyone likes doing that.

D_AverageMay 12, 2009

I never bothered renting de Blob for the main gripe Jonny stated on the show.  I would end up cursing the developers with every jump I was forced to waggle.  Pain. In. The. @ss.

DasmosMay 12, 2009

except that it's really not a pain. at all. after 30 seconds it becomes natural.

I think Nick is remembering our conversation wrongly, because I'm a big fan of Katamari Damacy.  However, I think it's easy to overstate the similarities between it and de Blob.  Katamari is a time attack game, so you can't really be OCD with it except on the unlockable "forever" stages.  And within every level of Katamari, there is a natural progression due to the influence of size.  Your plans and tactics are constantly changing because your size is constantly changing.  The progression in de Blob is more sporadic and artificial -- get enough points, and a gate is unlocked so you can continue.

The games have much different pacing, as well.  Levels in Katamari rarely last more than ten minutes -- again, it's a time-attack game.  You play it frantically and try to be efficient.  Although there is a timer in de Blob, I'm not sure why it's there, because I haven't even come close to running out of time.  It's a more leisurely game, and even if you race through the level as fast as possible, most will take half an hour.  If you're actually trying to paint a lot of buildings and collect some trophies, you can spend well over an hour per level.  That's part of the problem for me, actually, as I am more than ready to quit playing by the time I finish a chapter.  It's something I can enjoy playing for a certain amount of time per day, but I'd get sick of it with a longer session.

DAaaMan64May 12, 2009

I do kinda OCD on De Blob for sure.

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusMay 12, 2009

Ah yeah, I guess I had that mixed up.

Maybe it was after you explained to me what you had played of the game at E3 and I told you that it didn't really change much from what you had played. I believe you expressed that you doubted you'd have interest in the game.

I will concede that the levels are far too long, which gives it the feeling that one level is enough to stop playing. Had Blue Tongue broken the levels out into more reasonable mission lengths, I think it would be more easily appreciable.

I also agree with Dasmos, the jumping wasn't that big of a deal.

D_AverageMay 12, 2009

Quote from: Dasmos

except that it's really not a pain. at all. after 30 seconds it becomes natural.

Not for me.  My right hand can not handle more than 10 seconds of waggle, then its done for the night.

DAaaMan64May 12, 2009

Quote from: D_Average

Quote from: Dasmos

except that it's really not a pain. at all. after 30 seconds it becomes natural.

Not for me.  My right hand can not handle more than 10 seconds of waggle, then its done for the night.

Girls must love that.

There are many reasons that at platformer shouldn't use motion control for jumping.  Yes, it can be tiring after a while.  Moreover, the timing is harder to grasp because the game is interpreting your movement in a non-instant fashion.  Human movement is naturally inconsistent, so the timing, and in fact whether the jump registers at all, is also inconsistent.  And finally, there is no logical hand-eye connection between the required motion and the character's movement.  You could say the same for a digital button press, but a benefit of the simple button press is that the action is so quick and simple that you can do it automatically.  Gestural controls draw your attention to the physical action, by definition, and that's why it's important that the result of your interaction have a clear, natural connection to the motion itself.  This has been a problem in many, many Wii games due to the inaccuracy of its motion sensing, and it's something that certain kinds of games will be able to improve dramatically with good application of Wii MotionPlus.

gojiraMay 12, 2009

Great ep.  I looked it up and here's the Retronauts blog post about the Castlevania 3 music.

There is some complete reuse of ExciteTruck tracks in ExciteBots, but so much of the new stuff has been added that they hardly feel old.  Although I do agree the general aesthetic of the levels isn't that amazing.

I somewhat enjoyed de Blob, but the game actually gave me motion sickness.  I didn't like the jumping at all, but painting and stuff was fun.  I regret not renting the game first, but I've never had a game make me sick before.

DasmosMay 13, 2009

Quote from: DAaaMan64

Quote from: D_Average

Quote from: Dasmos

except that it's really not a pain. at all. after 30 seconds it becomes natural.

Not for me.  My right hand can not handle more than 10 seconds of waggle, then its done for the night.

Girls must love that.

lol i was gunna say this.

also 10 seconds of waggle then you're done? maybe the wii isn't the right console for you.

D_AverageMay 13, 2009

Waggle can also remove you from the out of body experience some games have on you once you're really drawn in.  Most of the time, I just want to kick back and escape for awhile, waggle then becomes a constant irritation drawing me back to the real world.

Thanks for pointing out Jason Ricci's new album, I bought his others a while back soon after discovering the podcast and as soon as I heard the different opening I checked iTunes and bought the new one.

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