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Episode 172: Turkey Kick

by Jonathan Metts - November 29, 2009, 2:24 pm PST
Total comments: 16

Jonny returns with tales of Yuropland. Greg has no idea what he's talking about. And for once, James isn't the angriest guy on the show.

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We recorded this show on Thanksgiving night, so it's no surprise that Jon chose to spend that time with his loving family. The other three of us couldn't be bothered, so you get a podcast despite the holiday!

Jonny has a lot of New Business, catching up on two weeks, one of which was spent in Europe. Naturally, that means portable gaming, which in this case translates to the Netbook-friendly Torchlight. Book-ending the trip were sessions of WiiWare demos, including a sell-through for FFCC: My Life as a Darklord, and the excellent Bit.Trip Void. James talks about torturing his family with Mario, leading us into another big discussion about the Wii game du jour. Then Greg knocks out Sin & Punishment 2 and revisits another Treasure oddity, the N64's Mischief Makers.

The second half is all about you, since we catch up on no less than five letters in Listener Mail. There's an update on Modern Warfare, a concise analysis of game music with notable examples, and whether Nintendo fans are "settling" for New Super Mario Bros Wii. But wait, there's more! Jonny gets on the soapbox regarding Earthbound's localization woes, and we finish with an explosive topic: Nintendo's greatest mistakes of the current generation.

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

broodwarsNovember 29, 2009

The general lack of recognition that video game music gets has been a pet peeve of mine for years (especially as a relatively serious music student in high school).  Personally, I often use a game's music as a barometer for how the game in general will be when I first start playing, because if a company's put the effort into making sure their game  has quality music they probably also put the effort into making sure the rest of the game measures up.  I know there's the old adage of "well, if you don't notice it it's doing its job" when it comes to music, but especially recently I've just found that having that big, epic orchestral sound can make a dramatic difference to the feel of a game.  Just to give a recent example, the best set pieces of Uncharted 2 (especially the big firefight late in the game) wouldn't be anywhere near as interesting without that epic score with the violins and horns coming in to highlight the drama.  That Zelda hasn't had a similar treatment up till now is shameful on Nintendo, though I suppose it couldn't be helped with Twilight Princess since that had to release on the space-limited GameCube as well.  I definitely agree that the big orchestra sound isn't appropriate for everything Nintendo does, but they could at least use better MIDI quality.

On a sidenote: The Australian ESRB (which has been a pretty good forecaster for North America as well) has rated Ogre Battle 64 for the Virtual Console?  Square-Enix and Nintendo had better not be screwing with us like they did with Earthbound.  That game would be phenomenal on Virtual Console.

DropkikNovember 29, 2009

Good show though I do have to disagree with Johnny's comments on earthbound.  I personally never got a chance to play it and by the time I learned about it and wanted to experience it I could only get it by piracy (which I refuse to do) or paying a ridiculous amount of money for it on ebay or amazon (money I don't have).  So I suppose I may be the one person on the planet who could really use a copy of earthbound on the virtual console or a DS port.

On the topic of music in video games (even though it doesn't have to do with orchestration), everyone should check out Gl33k. They're a game music company in Texas.

I happened upon them in Mushroom Men Wii, where they basically cemented that game's awesomeness with the music they did for it. They also worked on Ghostbusters and the well sound-designed Food Network game I just reviewed. A few of the guys who started it also did some work on Metroid Prime 2 and 3.

Also, there was something I wanted to call you guys out on and correct you, but I plum forgot it. I did LOL at the fact that I'm "attempting to become a Greek god."

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)November 30, 2009

Thanks for the great show once again. It's a shame you guys aren't enjoying New Super Mario Bros. Wii as much as I am, but to each his own. Amusingly, the multiplayer anecdotes from James, although described in a way that sounded like it irritated him, actually makes me more excited to try out some two-player action.


I'm very grateful for the music discussion. The aural design of videogames is obviously important in the review space; let's be fair, if the music and sound isn't up to par, it would annoy you and wilt your enjoyment level of the overall package. It really is one of the lesser mentioned aspects of software, though.
Often, a game's soundtrack can reflect on the diversity of the game's design, as representing a large number of music genres would generally be for the purpose of matching them with a large number of suitable environments. Speaking of which, I like that game composers are starting to broaden their cultural scope with the music they create. We are hearing more of the Chinese, Arabian and African styles being used, which is fantastic because the instruments each of those have all add their own distinctive flavour, oriental stuff especially.

I should stress that my Earthbound comments and rant were intended for the rabid fans of that series, not people who have never played it before. Of course I want it to come to Virtual Console, along with every other game ever made, and I would likely pay for it on VC since my Super Nintendo is back home.

If you've never played Earthbound, I highly encourage you to do so by any means necessary. Illegal does not equal immoral. I always try to support the developers and publishers when there are options to do so, but purchasing a used copy on eBay will not help Nintendo or the game's developer anymore than emulating a ROM. I encourage you to play the series via the original form of digital distribution, and if Nintendo ever releases it on Virtual Console, you can pay for it at that time.

Also, Mother 3 is totally worth playing. It improves on Earthbound in just about every way. The combat is better and has some timed attacks, and the story's surprisingly good. It also has some spectacular throwbacks to the prior game.

ShyGuyNovember 30, 2009

Jonny seems angry

- NintendoFan -December 01, 2009

Jonny's Earthbound rant was amazing.

D_AverageDecember 01, 2009

Quote from: -

Jonny's Earthbound rant was amazing.

I lol'd.

And not playing it over the internet doesn't make sense.  They're not going to release it here.  You only live once and it could be the best thing you ever experience.  Or, it could just be a good game that got over hyped.  Only one way to find out.

It's the second one. How it reached its cult status, I'll never understand. I played it back in high school and experienced a very standard SNES RPG.

broodwarsDecember 01, 2009

Quote from: Halbred

It's the second one. How it reached its cult status, I'll never understand. I played it back in high school and experienced a very standard SNES RPG.

Well, at the time it was a game just completely unlike anything else out on the market, and it was certainly the best RPG Nintendo ever put out till Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.  Most random until that game, too.

Aside from everything else, "Pollyanna," the music theme of Mother 1 is one of Nintendo's greatest musical compositions.  Mother 1 also introduced collecting melodies long before Link's Awakening.

Quote from: ShyGuy

Jonny seems angry

Only momentarily! Greg actually cut out a choice rant in which I chastised Jon Davidson for letting his kids play bad Cars and Lego games. It was related to a conversation we had before recording started, so Greg may have thought it sounded overly harsh or confusing without that context.

KDR_11kDecember 02, 2009

Say Jonny, did you grab any PAL-only games while you were over here?

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusDecember 02, 2009

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

Thanks for the great show once again. It's a shame you guys aren't enjoying New Super Mario Bros. Wii as much as I am, but to each his own. Amusingly, the multiplayer anecdotes from James, although described in a way that sounded like it irritated him, actually makes me more excited to try out some two-player action.

I have actually enjoyed playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii immensely, and that has been mostly in single player though the relatively small amount of two player time I've got in was a riot. To elaborate on some of the thoughts I expressed during the show:

Much as I expected coming into it, the fact that it is heavily patterned on the DS game, Super Mario Bros.3, and Super Mario World means that there hasn't been the kind of powerful sense of discovery that I've experienced when playing previous Mario games for the first time. However, there is undoubtedly some creative inspiration on show that was lacking in the DS game, so while it may not astonish with a whole new aesthetic or set of gameplay elements, I think it's vastly more interesting than its portable predecessor. I do find the boss encounters to be excessively repetitive, which isn't to say that they're bad in themselves, but much like in many other Mario games, the repetition makes them predictable and so lessens their impact. Mixing things up just a little with respect to how many hits finish the battles could have made a positive difference for me, but regrettably the 3-hit doctrine prevails strongly here.

With all that said, none of the issues above change the fact that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a joy to play, and it's great to have the side-scrolling Mario formula executed to such a high standard on this occasion. The multiplayer offers a fresh and unique experience, and then on the single player side it's all familiar fun, but it's a whole hell of a lot of fun, and as long as Nintendo can complement titles like Punch-Out!! and New SMB Wii with innovative new experiences, then there really is no downside to revisiting classic game designs when they're done this well.   

jrlibrarianJeffrey Trewin, Associate EditorDecember 03, 2009

Great show as always guys. I'm probably the only person on these forums that doesn't have a Wii or GameCube either, but I enjoy listening anyway. I'll probably buy a $30 GameCube eventually, but until then I'll stick with my DS Lite and broken DS Phat signed by the Brain Age guy.

I agree that I don't want to download an emulation of Earthbound. I might try to the Japan GBA version of the Mother games and just get a translation.

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