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Episode 166: James Unbound

by Jonathan Metts - October 18, 2009, 11:22 am PDT
Total comments: 40

We just can't do a short show anymore.

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Even when we stick to weekly segments, plan to go quickly, and even stop after two letters, we still can't make a short podcast. It's really because the four of us have developed so much chemistry in our nearly two years of doing RFN together. And honestly, it's not a real problem... unless one of us needs to be somewhere after recording!

The show notes were simple for this episode, but our playful conversation took us down many unexpected paths. New Business is a bit light on Nintendo content this week; Greg finally got Mario & Luigi 3, and Jonny has an update on FF4: The After Years, but we spend a lot of time on Uncharted 2, Secret of Monkey Island, and yes, more GRAW 2 from James (along with some explanation of why he's playing it). Amidst these planned titles, we also revisited our favorite punching bag of 2008, Grand Theft Auto 4.

Listener Mail starts with a BIG letter that launches us into a major discussion of used game sales and how they affect the industry. We also cover the support and future of Nintendo's Wii Classic Controller, before having to end the show a bit early. Thanks for all the awesome questions -- we'll catch up eventually!

We're always looking for great Listener Mail to read and discuss on the show, so please send your questions or comments! (We really love seeing your praise and feedback regarding the show itself; however, in the interest of time, we may edit your letter to be read on the podcast.)

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!

Additional music for this episode of Radio Free Nintendo is copyrighted to Nintendo, and is included under fair use protection.

Talkback

NWR_KarlKarl Castaneda, Contributing EditorOctober 18, 2009

I've always thought of Jonny as being the Michael Bluth of the group. Lindy's the alcoholic mother, James is GOB, and rounding out the group, Greg is that lawyer who's "all business."

KDR_11kOctober 18, 2009

Heh, Saints Row 2... I got that together with GRAW2, 5€ each. Still need to play more of GRAW2. SR2 runs like shit on the PC though. If you want to go back to a good Tom Clancy game I'd suggest HAWX, it's a fun flight action game.

As for demos, the somewhat recent demos I see on the Nintendo Channel here are Nintendo Presents: Style Boutique, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, Go Go Cosmo Cops (some really weird grappling hook climbing game by Namco) and Battle of Giants: Dragons.

I would hazard to guess that Johnny nor anyone else was fully aware of my gift for drawing increasingly disturbing dicks and dick monsters. Also, I would argue that James curses like a sailor in person. I shared a room with the man. ;-)

adadadOctober 18, 2009

Quote from: KarlCastaneda

I've always thought of Jonny as being the Michael Bluth of the group. Lindy's the alcoholic mother, James is GOB, and rounding out the group, Greg is that lawyer who's "all business."

Ha ha! I agree with all of them except in my eyes Greg is more like Buster - mostly reticent but with the odd outburst of unexpected profanity or quirkiness out of nowhere!

Greg is typically docile until you start talking about Brett Favre, a Bills loss, or 80s action movies.

broodwarsOctober 18, 2009

Lindy, you severely underestimate just how much the real game of Uncharted is like the demo.  I'm replaying the game now, and I'm finding it just as aggravating a game as when I originally played it.  Just room after room of guys capable of killing you in 2-3 shots, all ganging up on you at least 6-8:1.  And then you toss in the Snipers carrying Sniper Rifles, Grenade Launchers, and Desert Eagles in the second half of the game as well to make it a constant game of Trial & Error as you try to find the one path to take out all the guys in the area before they reach you and annihilate you.

Besides the removal of the vast majority of those "goon arenas" as I call them, I think the single biggest change that Uncharted 2 did was make stealth not only a viable option but a preferred one.  You could maybe stealth kill 3 goons in the entire game, because as soon as you got within 5 feet of any of them the alarm would sound off an the goon arena would begin.  In Uncharted 2, there are whole sections of the game where if you don't want to get into a huge firefight, all you have to do is watch the enemy patterns and systematically kill them with stealth kills.  If you get them all, you just avoided a huge shootout, and even if you fail to get them all the number of reinforcements is not dramatically greater than the force you started with in that room.  There's also a problem with the AI in Uncharted 1: the moment any enemy sees you, every enemy in that area knows exactly where you are at all times until you've killed them all.  From that point onward, the goons will be on one side and you will be on the other, and you will never successfully flank them.  In Uncharted 2, the AI is designed so that once you're "seen", the AI will know where you are for a while but will eventually have to look for you if you're out of sight too long.  This allows you to flank them just as they can flank you, as the AI no longer knows where you currently are.  The pacing is just dramatically better in this respect. 

Whereas in Uncharted 1 I'm finding myself repeatedly pulling back to cover further and further from the enemies to try to draw them out and take them down one at at time where it's safer, in Uncharted 2 I was continually pressing forward to closer cover to take them out easier.  It's all in enemy placement and level design, something where Uncharted 1 is weak.

PlugabugzOctober 19, 2009

RFN is 99% chemistry and 1% actual talking about stuff. THAT is why its so good to listen to.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 19, 2009

Why when talking about Hockey games did you guys not mention NHL2k10? It is supposedly a high quality hockey game that makes good use of motion plus?

Also I disagree about Saints Row 2, I thought it was a great change of pace with its zany nature not to mention fully customizable hero (or in my case heroine). Also I enjoy the GRAW series.

There's a hockey game with MotionPlus support? I didn't even know about it.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 19, 2009

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

There's a hockey game with MotionPlus support? I didn't even know about it.

Sure is. It got a pretty quiet release but everything I heard is that it is fully featured with pretty good motion plus support.

GP, is your avatar from From Dusk Till Dawn?  I just saw that for the first time last weekend.  Awful movie, but I come on here the next day and you randomly have the vampire that Salma Hayek turns into.

No way I'm playing any hockey game other than NHL 10.  NHL 09 was awesome.  I'm always skeptical of motion control for hockey games because you it's going to be some contrived gimmicky setup that feels like you're playing ring hockey.

NWR_KarlKarl Castaneda, Contributing EditorOctober 19, 2009

Awful movie? Sir, YOU are an awful movie. From Dusk Till Dawn is a classic.

NHL2K10 slipped my mind.  I took the letter at face value, that there simply wasn't one.  I'm used to the EA Hegemony on a sport franchise.

True nuff - NHL2K10

I stand by my previous statement that I'd take a Tecmo Bowl Kickoff style upgrade to the old style 2D Isometric hockey engine that powered the EA games back in the early 90s.  Upgrade the graphics, add some basic franchise functionality (trades plz, maybe drafts), add a mini-game or two ("Whack-A-City" - You know Ontario cannot support another hockey franchise.  Nobody else seems to, get it.  Show them!  CFL, yes.  NHL, no.).

Online play
- Nice-to-have feature
Leader boards - Strongly Needed feature
Canadian Voice Changer for Online Play voice chat - Required Feature (even if the game isn't online).
Gary Bettman Sim - NO!  You apparently can't get fired and lose this game.  Do not include!
Fantasy Hockey Tools (for real games) - If you play fantasy NHL you have a problem.  I will not allow my dream game to indulge your issues...I wonder if I need to renew my Center Ice subscription
UHL Development League - Any league where owners pay their players to fight is a step in the right direction.  Make it DLC

From Dusk Till Dawn is garbage.  And James, I'm too tired to respond to your statements in full, but let me state unequivocally that you are an ignorant, ignorant man.

I own the movie Jonny discusses in this episode. Easily worth the $10 I paid.

NHL 2K10 intrigues me because I believe it controls a bit like Pro Evo on Wii with pointer-controlled passing. But for once Lindy's right, NHL 10 on the HD consoles is the only way to go. It's mostly the same as 09 (though the fighting is much better and the board play is pretty cool), which is good because 09 was pretty much perfect. Lindy, did you get it for the 360? If so I should say I'm going to play you and then not do it again this year.

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

And James, I'm too tired to respond to your statements in full, but let me state unequivocally that you are an ignorant, ignorant man.

It's not my fault you don't know a good (or bad) game when you see it?
We should play Conduit again sometime, I enjoy losing the match before it even begins!

D_AverageOctober 20, 2009

For some reason, listening to this show while playing Williams Pinball doubles my score.

broodwarsOctober 20, 2009

Quote from: D_Average

For some reason, listening to this show while playing Williams Pinball doubles my score.

You might remember from (I think it was) 103, but Greg is the Pinball Wizard.  ;)  Guess some of that rubbed off on you.

Dusk 'Till Dawn is trash. I went in expecting something worthwhile, but it's a low-budget fragfest with zombies and vampires. I just don't care.

Salma Hayek is the Most Beautiful Woman On the Planet, but even she can't save this pile.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 20, 2009

Quote from: Halbred

Dusk 'Till Dawn is trash. I went in expecting something worthwhile, but it's a low-budget fragfest with zombies and vampires. I just don't care.

Salma Hayek is the Most Beautiful Woman On the Planet, but even she can't save this pile.

Halbred, proving over and over he has an awful taste in movies! ;)

Quote from: insanolord

NHL 2K10 intrigues me because I believe it controls a bit like Pro Evo on Wii with pointer-controlled passing. But for once Lindy's right, NHL 10 on the HD consoles is the only way to go. It's mostly the same as 09 (though the fighting is much better and the board play is pretty cool), which is good because 09 was pretty much perfect. Lindy, did you get it for the 360? If so I should say I'm going to play you and then not do it again this year.

I didn't get it, no.  I think I'll wait for a price drop on it, since I have a buddy that wants to play but hasn't bought it yet either.  Hmmm, maybe I should add it to my Giftmas List.

I love From Dusk Til Dawn. You get to see Tarantino killed TWICE. Also, it was the first time I saw boobies in a movie. True story.

The movie is basically Planet Terror but much better. (Both directed by Robert Rodriguez.)

I can't wait till I report on what I've been playing this week. It is going to be good times. Yet another genre 180.

If FDTD is better than Planet Terror, then I will never watch PT.  Deathproof rules, though.

ShyGuyOctober 20, 2009

The best part of From Dusk till Dawn was the song on the closing credits.

hot air hangs like a dead man
from a white oak tree
people sitting on porches
thinking how things used to be
...dark night
itsa D A R K  N I G H T (proceed to rock out)

I don't remember barenaked boobies in Dusk 'Till Dawn. Salma never takes that bikini off, Johnny, much to our collective chagrines.

I do like the Las Lobos song that plays during her dance number, though.

I don't think it was Salma, but some of the dancers before her. If it's not on the DVD then it must have been censored out to protect the actresses (that does occasionally happen). I saw it in the theater, and there was no mistake.

NWR_KarlKarl Castaneda, Contributing EditorOctober 20, 2009

I don't understand how anyone could hate a movie with a character named Sex Machine.

D_AverageOctober 20, 2009

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

I don't think it was Salma, but some of the dancers before her. If it's not on the DVD then it must have been censored out to protect the actresses (that does occasionally happen). I saw it in the theater, and there was no mistake.

Oh. I can affirm their presence. It was one of the first movies I rented after completing my entertainment center in junior high. They were a very pleasant suprise and looked great on my 27 inch Sharp.

vuduOctober 21, 2009

I'm sorry to interrupt all this talk of hockey and bad movies, but I have a question about video games.

What's this screen tearing that Jonny talked about during the new business section?  I have no (known) experience with this.

broodwarsOctober 21, 2009

Quote from: vudu

I'm sorry to interrupt all this talk of hockey and bad movies, but I have a question about video games.

What's this screen tearing that Jonny talked about during the new business section?  I have no (known) experience with this.

If my recent experience with Uncharted 1 is any indication, it's something like when you try to pan the camera and you see a visible frame skip instead of a smooth transition.  It's like someone just jerked the camera for half a frame, if that makes sense.

EDIT: Here, this wikipedia entry has a much more technical explanation and a good picture of the effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_tearing  Somehow that ended up getting put in the wrong post, so I had to go retrieve it.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 21, 2009

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: vudu

I'm sorry to interrupt all this talk of hockey and bad movies, but I have a question about video games.

What's this screen tearing that Jonny talked about during the new business section?  I have no (known) experience with this.

If my recent experience with Uncharted 1 is any indication, it's something like when you try to pan the camera and you see a visible frame skip instead of a smooth transition.  It's like someone just jerked the camera for half a frame, if that makes sense.

Yeah I think it is what it is, I hate it and it shows up too often in "next gen" games that aren't on the PC where you can turn on vsync.

ShyGuyOctober 21, 2009

Screen Tearing is sometimes more drastic than that. You turn your character's view around and the top half changes but the bottom half doesn't update for a split second.

http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k302/shyguy70/tearing3.jpg

Yeah, that's what the term makes me think of, ShyGuy.

vuduOctober 21, 2009

I can't really tell how noticeable the problem would be from ShyGuy's screen shot--it's so large you can't really get a good idea what it looks like normally.  Is this a problem you'd have to look for to see or is it obvious?  Are certain televisions more susceptible than others (like with phosphor lag)?

GoldenPhoenixOctober 21, 2009

Quote from: vudu

I can't really tell how noticeable the problem would be from ShyGuy's screen shot--it's so large you can't really get a good idea what it looks like normally.  Is this a problem you'd have to look for to see or is it obvious?  Are certain televisions more susceptible than others (like with phosphor lag)?

I see it really easily and hate it. Maybe it depends on the person.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusOctober 21, 2009

Quote from: vudu

I can't really tell how noticeable the problem would be from ShyGuy's screen shot--it's so large you can't really get a good idea what it looks like normally.  Is this a problem you'd have to look for to see or is it obvious?  Are certain televisions more susceptible than others (like with phosphor lag)?

All I can say is that it was very noticeable in the case of the Japanese PS3 Bayonetta demo, which is how the screen tearing issue came up on the show. Having played so few HD console games, I'd never seen it before and indeed was not looking for it at all, but it was so obviously apparent that I suddenly thought "oh, this is what they mean when I've heard people talk about screen tearing." Any time the camera would rotate at a reasonable speed, the view in the distance would be blighted by the kind of jagged discontinuities that you see in Shy Guy's picture. When it's that bad, I imagine you'd see it on just about any kind of TV, but I think Bayonetta PS3 is a pretty uniquely substandard case these days from everything I've heard about it.

vuduOctober 21, 2009

So is it the byproduct of poor programming or a technology limit or just the game being a little too ambitious for its own good?

ShyGuyOctober 21, 2009

From what I understand, the developers turn off vertical sync to get a little better framerate and end up with this glitch.

here's the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_tearing

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