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Episode 181: March of the Muscles

by Jonathan Metts - January 31, 2010, 4:50 pm PST
Total comments: 17

This episode is narrated by Morgan Freeman.

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We've got the whole crew this week and, with the exception of Greg, we all went on a very special journey. But first there's the usual New Business, as Greg recounts finishing four games in the span of just a few days, James and Jonny pick up the Nintendo material with Tales of Symphonia 2 and Silent Hill, respectively, while Jon buys a sequel to a game he barely played two years ago. Before the segment ends, it's the moment everyone's been waiting for as we tackle (pun intended) Muscle March in a vudu-sponsored round of hilarity.

After the break, you'll hear four more Game of the Decade entries, this time with a handheld theme. Zelda, Wario, Metroid, Mario, and Luigi further complicate the upcoming verdict. In your Listener Mail, we ponder which early Wii games could benefit from MotionPlus remakes, what should happen with game reviews to reach a larger audience, and why Nintendo is more committed to physical interaction than emotional interaction.

Don't forget to play along with us on Super Mario RPG for RetroActive! Leave your comments and join the discussion in the dedicated forum thread.

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

kraken613January 31, 2010

I don't know how this has happened but I am 3 episodes behind....

happyastoriaJanuary 31, 2010

I wonder what is the average age group that listen to this podcast? Judging from the questions that the podcast constantly receives. It seems that you guys have a very "sophisticated" audience. It's a breath of fresh air from the other podcast I listen too. Great questions and podcast as usual. This is not only a great Nintendo podcast, but a great podcast about games in general. Thank you!

VuduJanuary 31, 2010

There is some sort of bizarre Mass Effect shame spiral thing going on here.

AVFebruary 01, 2010

The viewer mail segments as of late have been  FANTASTIC


Great questions, but you guys seem to know how to perfectly talk about issues in adult, intelligently fashion.


Muscle March sounds like crazy fun, but not sure if it's worth buying

SundoulosFebruary 01, 2010

I keep hoping that someone will nominate Perfect Dark as game of the decade.

LolmonadeFebruary 01, 2010

I think Zero Mission should never be called the peak of Metroid. It's clearly inferior to Super Metroid even if the controls are a bit better (shift key for shooting missiles instead of having to select-cycle). Prime is a contender for the top spot along with SM but ZM should be kept away from that trophy. I think one annoyance about ZM was also that it felt cartoonier (the backgrounds looked much more drawn than realistic but pixelated) than SM and that just doesn't seem appropriate for Metroid.

CëricFebruary 01, 2010

Glad to see you're liking Silent Hill, Jonny, though I'll never understand how anyone can call this game creepy or scary (especially compared to the other Silent Hill games) at any point in the entire game.  The stuff you find in the investigation sequences (with the exception of some of the stuff in the woods) is just...well...normal, nothing you couldn't find just walking around town in real life.  Combine that with a fairly bland (and oddly upbeat) musical score and a total lack of danger aside from the ice sections, and you have a game that spends most of its time being much ado about nothing.  I can tolerate that because the eventual payoff is so good, but I really hope they bring back the horror in the next SH game.

I really want to play the 2 Mass Effect games (incidentally, Jon, what is with you saying game names like this: "Mass. Effect" or "Dead.  Space"?), but they aren't available on PS3; I'm not buying a 360; and my PC's probably not good enough to run them.

I'm surprised that no one brought up Twilight Princess when talking about early Wii games that could really benefit from Motion +.  The swordplay in the Wii version is pure waggle, and is probably the main reason I can't stand playing that game anymore.  Sure, we're getting the new Zelda with Motion + sometime in the future, but I would have liked to see Twilight Princess fixed.  And yeah, I might be tempted to buy Samba de Amigo if it had Motion + support.  Red Steel could have also used it, as could Metroid Prime 3 in places (some of the motion control was a little glitchy in places).

Shattered Memories feels like playing a David Lynch movie. You know there probably isn't a giant monster hiding out there, and you know there's no real danger. (It is, after all, just a game or a movie.) But it's effectively disturbing and creepy because you are shown a steady stream of weirdness that is half-normal, half-impossible, all of it seeming to have a deeper, intentional meaning that you cannot quite discern and aren't totally sure that you want to.

The part of the game that most people seem to think packs some real "danger", the nightmare escape sequences, I actually find much less creepy or effective than the exploration scenes. Running from the monsters is just annoying and sometimes frustrating. If there is ever a sequel or follow-up to Shattered Memories, I hope those sequences are left out. A couple of the later icy scenes have the right idea, conveying that other-world sense without bothering with the chase action.

ControlerFleXFebruary 01, 2010

Quote from: happyastoria

I wonder what is the average age group that listen to this podcast? Judging from the questions that the podcast constantly receives. It seems that you guys have a very "sophisticated" audience. It's a breath of fresh air from the other podcast I listen too. Great questions and podcast as usual. This is not only a great Nintendo podcast, but a great podcast about games in general. Thank you!

That is exactly what I said when I start listening to these guys, as a 30 year old gamer I was the most "sophisticated" dude around, especially with the young  demographic I'm surrounded by in the Military. With this podcast and this site in general, I am yet a young Padawan learning from these gaming sages.

Jonny, congratulations.... you have just sold one copy of Shattered Memories. Muscle March, here I come!!!

yoshi1001February 01, 2010

When I sent in the letter, I thought, "it's a good idea, but what's the game?" I can see you were faced with the same quandry. Maybe if Red Steel 2 does well, we'll see more Motion Plus action. By the way, I'm still waiting for New Play Control! Pokemon Channel.

Quote from: broodwars

I really want to play the 2 Mass Effect games (incidentally, Jon, what is with you saying game names like this: "Mass. Effect" or "Dead.  Space"?), but they aren't available on PS3; I'm not buying a 360; and my PC's probably not good enough to run them.

Hmm, I'll have to listen to myself, but it's probably just a bad habit with my speaking.  I'm not the greatest public speaker.

adadadFebruary 02, 2010

I'm in agreement with everyone else, listener mail has been very good these past few weeks, and there have been some really interesting discussions in the segment. Enjoyed hearing everyone's thoughts (except for the tired James!) on the questions. There's an interesting study about the challenges of teaching games at a university standard that inspired my question about the gaming media, which can be found here: http://gamestudies.org/0802/articles/zagal_bruckman

One of the most interesting points raised for me was this one:

Quote:


We experience games at a very visceral level and don't have, as a culture, a strong literacy in discussing games. You might go to a movie and someone who's not a filmmaker can discuss with you, at a deep level, the character motivations, or the editing of the film. The same can't really be said about gameplay.

I think Greg is quite right that to say that there is a supply and demand relationship between the media and fans, and Johnny makes a good point too that variety in games, and games that escape the typical confines of a review will be what make the current practices of numerical scores out of 100 and listing a games features less relevant, and help to tease out further methods of critically analysing games. That's not to say that the current review model doesn't serve a purpose and I don't mean to sound elitist by implying that it should all disappear in favour of in-depth critical analysis, however I think there ought to be a greater diffentiation between media outlets, just like there are in many other areas of journalism.

In my opinion, a strong literacy when it comes to analysis of gaming will benefit all involved, from gaming arm-chair analysts to the staff of behemoths like IGN. As it stands however I don't feel as though many media outlets are making particularly good use of reviews in order to solve an issue like literacy, something which is characterised by the frequent over-reliance on the quantitive scoring method. It seems to me that sites like Metacritic hinder progress by formalising the process whereby a double digit number summates the merit of any given game and suggest that that is the only worth of a game. As Johnny mentioned, it is now editorials, podcasts, blogs etc. that are being used in order to initialise critical dialogues that might eventually lead to a decline in the use of scores in reviews for certain outlets. I suppose it's on its way.

We can only take so much credit for the recent quality of Listener Mail segments. We have received so many fantastic questions -- every week, we seem to talk so long and so enthusiastically about the first few that I have to end the show before we get to the last one I had picked out. That one usually gets carried over to the next episode... so we're even behind a little bit. This is a first for RFN, considering that we're still doing mail every single week. That tells me that more people are listening, more people are writing, and more questions are worth reading and discussing on the air. It's all so heart-warming!

kraken613February 02, 2010

Great podcast!

Jon, stick with Mass Effect. It is amazing! And trust me when you start the 2nd it does not start slow. First 10 minutes of ME2 my mind was being blown!

noname2200February 02, 2010

Quote from: broodwars

Glad to see you're liking Silent Hill, Jonny, though I'll never understand how anyone can call this game creepy or scary (especially compared to the other Silent Hill games) at any point in the entire game.  The stuff you find in the investigation sequences (with the exception of some of the stuff in the woods) is just...well...normal, nothing you couldn't find just walking around town in real life.  Combine that with a fairly bland (and oddly upbeat) musical score and a total lack of danger aside from the ice sections, and you have a game that spends most of its time being much ado about nothing.  I can tolerate that because the eventual payoff is so good, but I really hope they bring back the horror in the next SH game.

It may not be horrifying, but there were plenty of moments that were unsettling and chilling. One of my favorites is the overhead projector in the chem lab. The message isn't obscene, there's no horrific image, and yet I got some goosebumps when I read it. The same goes for the writing the monsters scrawl on the car when you're underwater, and the moment in the movie theater.

I'd even argue that the normalcy contributes greatly to the effect: 95% of what you see IS normal, so where is everybody? Why are there these completely inappropriate things scattered about? Why do the few folks who flit in and out keep changing and acting like nothing happened? Calling numbers only heightens this: there's clearly a world out there, just beyond your sight, yet things around YOU are subtly off-kilter. Johnny's correct: the feeling that something is slightly off is what makes the game so disturbing, in a Jacob's Ladder-esque way.

StogiFebruary 05, 2010

Quote:

Before the segment ends, it's the moment everyone's been waiting for as we tackle (pun intended) Muscle March in a vudu-sponsored round of hilarity.

Best 1,000 Wii points I ever spent.  (Well, except maybe the ones I used to get Mega Man 9--that game was pretty rad.)

That was awesome, and very generous Vudu.  Thanks for the help!

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