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Episode 171: The Ecstasy of Headgold

by Greg Leahy - November 22, 2009, 3:14 pm PST
Total comments: 30

RFN pays out big in the only currency that matters - knowledge of the games! We share our impressions of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Sin & Punishment 2, then answer your Listener Mail questions in this beefy episode.

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The holiday season is well and truly upon us, and RFN celebrates with a bumper-sized episode featuring guest Neal Ronaghan in place of our fearless leader, Jonathan Metts. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is top on the agenda, as Neal recounts his experiences of picking up the game early at the Nintendo World Store NYC launch event, and the Luigi-throwing, Yoshi-stealing multiplayer hijinks that followed.

The crew is not without other games to discuss, as Neal gives us the inside scoop on Tony Hawk Ride (plus his personal encounter with The Birdman himself); James takes a parting shot or three at C.O.P. The Recruit, and Jon finally gets around to that God of War III demo he's been threatening to play for a while now. New Business finally comes to a close with the joyous union of Greg and Sin & Punishment 2, featuring extended impressions of Treasure's latest action-packed magnum opus.

Listener Mail gets underway with your responses to the difficulty feature topic from Episode 167, featuring Left 4 Dead's A.I. Director, GoldenEye's 00 Agent missions, and the frustrations of single player Mario Kart. Then it's on to your questions about the curious absence of promotion for Modern Warfare: Reflex Edition on Wii, plus the first in a (probably short-lived) new series of So-Bad-It's-Good game shout-outs.

This gargantuan episode draws to a close with the belated RetroActive wrap-up for Shining Force II on Genesis. Neal, Jon, and strategy game aficionado James give us their take on Camelot's unique strategy RPG, while Jonny goes head-to-head with Vudu in a radio dramatisation of the RetroActive forum discussion thread. Continent-swallowing disasters, weird abbreviations, a talking Phoenix—this one's got it all!

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.)


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.


GearBoxClockNovember 22, 2009

Great episode as always.

Headgold (n): Knowledge; currency of the streets.

Lindy, you need to finish GoW2 or you're going to be lost as to GoW3.

Chains of Olympus actually takes place BEFORE the events of GoW1. GoW2 and GoW3 are tied together, much as Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revoluations are. Knowledge of the events of GoW2 are necessary to understand what's going on in GoW3.

Great podcast so far. Obviously, I've only gotten this far in it.

ShyGuyNovember 22, 2009

What was the name of the lousy golf game James reviewed? Ace of Holes or some such thing?

broodwarsNovember 22, 2009

Quote from: ShyGuy

What was the name of the lousy golf game James reviewed? Ace of Holes or some such thing?

King of Clubs

Crusher of Souls

AVNovember 22, 2009

Thank God RetroActive is over. When you guys talk about RPG's like this it's just not fun to listen too.  A little too much inside baseball and unless you have played the game before you have barely have a clue what's going on. Adventure games, action games even FPS games are easier to talk about and why you don't like or like it.

outside of that boring last piece everything is great. Spam of the week was excellent, mario discussion was awesome.

I'm excited to hear this show! I tried listening today on my friend's MP3 player, but it wouldn't play the AAC file, so I listened to a couple of other podcasts instead. I'll probably catch up with RFN on the plane back to America.

Great podcast as always, gents. Just finished it. I like the new minifeature--shout-outs to games that are so bad they're good, which resulted in a classic James rant.

Jonny was clearly trying to not wake someone up during the "Now Playing" segment this week.

I know I yelled at Mystery Dungeon a bit, but I don't know of any other rants.

GearBoxClockNovember 23, 2009

Mystery Dungeon wasn't that horrible...

But the dungeon crawl genre is hard to get right. And can be boring/frustrating.

Quote from: GearBoxClock

Mystery Dungeon wasn't that horrible...

But the dungeon crawl genre is hard to get right. And can be boring/frustrating.

You're entitled to your opinion, but I believe Mystery Dungeon games to be horrible.

Dungeon crawl games are ok when the dungeons weren't made by Satan/a computer.

The Cyber-Devil.

kraken613November 23, 2009

I always love getting mentioned on the show! Great one as always!

shammackNovember 23, 2009

It's been a year and a half... can't we please give the Mystery Dungeon stuff a rest?  We get it, you don't like them.

StratosNovember 23, 2009

Why is TYP attributed with writing the NSMB Wii review when Pap wrote it?

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusNovember 24, 2009

Quote from: Stratos

Why is TYP attributed with writing the NSMB Wii review when Pap wrote it?

Because we have more than one NSMB Wii review, and Pap's had not yet been written at the time of recording.

TYP's review: http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/reviewArt.cfm?artid=20368

StratosNovember 24, 2009

I see. I only read the one I saw today on my iGoogle NWR RSS feed and got confused.

KDR_11kNovember 24, 2009

Quote from: NWR_Neal

Quote from: GearBoxClock

Mystery Dungeon wasn't that horrible...

But the dungeon crawl genre is hard to get right. And can be boring/frustrating.

You're entitled to your opinion, but I believe Mystery Dungeon games to be horrible.

Dungeon crawl games are ok when the dungeons weren't made by Satan/a computer.

Random generation works as long as it's a good system, Diablo did it well (and so did Torchlight and to some extend Hellgate) and I believe the Roguelikes don't get many complaints either, it's just the japanese games that are terrible in that department.

Somebody has to be here to warn the next generation of the perils of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.  On this front we shall be forever vigilant.

Mystery Dungeon came up because it was thought to pertain to the conversation. It isn't as if we had in the shownotes to take a dig at the games. RFN is a free-flowing conversation.

And I have one correction, it isn't that we don't like them it is that they are at their very core flawed. There is no unique challenge, rather you are simply asked to do the same thing an obscene number of times in order to simulate what a challenge should feel like. It isn't that we don't like them; it is that they are not objectively fun.

It is that reason that they are not valid for either the discussion of challenge or the "so bad its good" construct.

There is no valid expression of challenge, much of the outcome is determined by how lucky you were when the floor was generated. Any designed difficulty is merely a product of you being on floor fifty-three out of seventy. Attrition can be a valid way of creating difficulty, but there needs to be mechanisms in place to allow me to mitigate its effects via my own skill.

And they aren't outwardly terrible games, they are mind-numbingly and soul crushing repetitive. There is nothing you could point to, while playing, and say that it is comical. At best you can take an outward view of the experience and find  some situational humor.

KDR_11kNovember 24, 2009

I think the question was specifically about bad gameplay. I mean, we all know translations and such that are funny but few games are actually fun because their gameplay is so terribly broken.

shammackNovember 24, 2009

Quote from: Crimm

it is that they are not objectively fun.

This is an absurd statement to make about any game.  Obviously there are people who have fun playing Mystery Dungeon games, myself included.  I have no problem with you disliking them (though I am pretty tired of hearing about it at this point), but I do have a problem with the implication that I'm somehow objectively wrong for deriving enjoyment from them despite the fact that fun is an inherently subjective concept.

You are objectively wrong.  Next question.

shammackNovember 25, 2009

Oh, good point!

shammackNovember 25, 2009

By the way, I was being sarcastic.

PlugabugzNovember 25, 2009

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

You are objectively wrong.  Next question.

Sure! Why haven't you acknowledged that NWR is the home of buttered camels yet? It's been a year and even google confirmed it.

jrlibrarianJeffrey Trewin, Associate EditorNovember 25, 2009

Great show as always guys. Even though Crimm's review games have seemed to be all horrible, it always makes a great segment. I listen to the show every week, even if I don't visit the site or the forums that often anymore.

vuduNovember 29, 2009

I enjoyed the reenactment of the forum discussion between Jonny and me.  ;)

Regarding AI-controlled Peter and his movement:  His level of aggressiveness isn't random as was speculated on the show.  I actually touched on this a bit in the discussion thread.

Quote from: vudu

Oh, if an enemy enters his attack range he'll kill it mercilessly.  But that never seems to happen because if there's nothing he can attack immediately he only moves a square or two instead of to the end or his range.  It seems the CPU is unwilling to put Peter into an enemy's attack range unless he's attacking another enemy.  I suppose it's for the best because it would be rather infuriating if Peter kept dying because the CPU was too aggressive.

It's the same way with the enemy characters, which is why each battle is composed of several skirmishes instead of one giant battle.  For the most part enemies won't enter your attack range unless they can attack you first.  They'll hang back on the battle field until you wander within their movement range.  Since there's no incentive to beat battles in a limited number of turns it's possible to game the system by moving all your characters just outside of their range and then luring them to slaughter with one strong character.

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