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Episode 202: Cruelcumber Sandwich

by Greg Leahy - July 18, 2010, 4:16 pm PDT
Total comments: 46

Neal drops in to tell us all about Minstrels and Meowgicians in DQIX.

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With Jonny being mobbed by hordes of jubilant Spaniards, the RFN crew called in Neal Ronaghan of the NWR Newscast to give us the inside scoop on his review of Dragon Quest IX. There's much praise for the latest instalment in Square Enix's whimsical RPG series in New Business, and even Jon gets in on the Dragon Questing upon his long awaited return to the show, but he has larger concerns as news breaks of another Cho Aniki game being inflicted on an unsuspecting (and largely uninterested) Western audience. Meanwhile, Greg ruminates on the prospect of Face Training being localised for Europe, and James is appalled to discover his beloved Mega Man franchise taking cues from Samus Aran in Mega Man ZX for DS.

In Listener Mail, we grapple with Nintendo's shifting position in the distinctly dubious "casual-hardcore" spectrum, pondering how much things have really changed since the days of the N64. Next, we discuss what is behind the enduring appeal of old-school side-scrollers and the notion of history repeating itself over the console cycles, before closing out the show with a healthy dose of portable talk, including plenty of 3DS musings and some more of your cherished DS memories.    

Our next RetroActive discussion has started - head into our forum thread for Mother 3 to contribute your thoughts on the game for a future episode of RFN!

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 (CD) (MP3), 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.


TurdFurgyJuly 19, 2010

Another high class podcast as usual

Says the guy with the screen name TurdFurgly.

AVJuly 19, 2010

Great discussion on 3DS and pricing in the podcast.

I think it's going to be $229.99 and include some demos built in, and a few aps built in to add value, but not a real game.

Game demos:

Wario Land Virtual Boy remake level 1
Nintendogs + Cats play around stage
Brain Age 3 demo
Kid Icarus demo
Tetris 3DS demo


Opera internet browser 3.0
Pictochat 2.0
flipnote studio 2.0
youtube 3d video editor software (make 10 minute videos that are in 3d that posts to youtube and has simple video editing tools)

I think having all that and $229 or even 250 would seem like a great value and really show off what the 3DS can do out of the box.

Kytim89July 19, 2010

I might have to stick with Nintendo consoles for because I am both simultaneously disgusted and dissapointed with Sony for fumbling the ball with the PS3 and PSP. Five years, If some one told me that I would say such a topic I would have slapped them in the face and told them that there was no way that I would ever give up on Sony. After seeing the $600 price tag for the PS3 back in 2006-2007 I was very pissed off. I was a loyal fan of both the PS1 and PS2 and would have gladly payed $300 or less for the PS3. But now that the PS3 is fianlly at that price point, I have lost interest in owning their console because and see my reluctance as a way of punishing them for such blunders. Basically, I might dump the PS4 for the wii 2 when they come out.

However, I have never liked Microsoft's Xbox systems, so I will never buy an Xbox 360 any time soon. The RROD is comparable to Sony's pricing blunders and I am not impressed by the Xbox either. Although I love the game series on Xbox, and I like the redesigned slim model, but the xbox is just not me, it does not represent my tastes as a gamer.

I grew up playing the NES in the mid-ninties and liked what Nintendo had to offer, but for atleast ten years I ignored Nintendo. Up until the GBA and eventually the DS were released, I really did not now that Nintendo exsisted. I thought of my DS systems in the same way I admired my PS2. Eventually I bought a Gamecube for Twilight Princess and I slowly stopped playing my PS2. I bought a subscription for Nintendo Power and found both a preview of Brawl, No More Heroes and Madworld and these games propelled me to buy a wii because at the time, fall 2008, the PS3 was $600 with very few good titles and the 360 was RROD all over the place.

This is why I like Nintendo, they have found a balance between affordability and quality. Although they walk a thin line between ripping people off when it comes to the components of their systems, but I have always admired how they can always do more with less.

I was once in a Gamestop buying Sword of Mana for my GBA and I got into a discussion about the consoles available at that time. I told the manager that the Gamecube was more of a family oriented, social skilled based console. The Xbox, at the time, was mainly for sports titles and high quality action games(Ninja Gaiden) due to its built in hard drive and the PS2 was a jack of all trades because you could find just about any titled genre on that console. Being the jack of all trades was the main reason why the PS2 sold so well.

Hubris is what made Sony and Microsoft fall from grace.

yoshi1001July 19, 2010

Did Greg reference Kaiser Souzai in the stinger? I only recognized the name because he teamed up with Mellow Trax to create a remix single for the INXS song Mystify (the INXS song most easily misconstrued as a Pokémon song, believe me  ;) ).

NWR_KarlKarl Castaneda, Contributing EditorJuly 19, 2010

Greg was referencing the villain from The Usual Suspects.

And I'll have you know I've only told the post-drunkcast story three times. Once to Zach and Andy on the Newscast OFF-RECORDING because they ASKED me to, again on RFN (okay, this time I brought it up), and then again on Rough Draught (where, again, I brought it up). And every time I told the solid gold truth, kids.

(Okay, I also told it to TYP after recording Radio Trivia, but that was only because he asked me to)

You also told it to that hooker on Mermaid Avenue.  Or were they hookers?  I don't remember paying them!

But seriously folks, it was Kaiser Soze.

And the PS3's $600 price tag is one of the most absurd things in the history of gaming.  It's actually a testament to their brand that they've sold as many as they have.

NWR_KarlKarl Castaneda, Contributing EditorJuly 19, 2010

Hey now, Cherry Bomb is a classy lady, and I won't hear any of this smack talk about her!

SarailJuly 19, 2010

Quote from: NWR_Karl

Hey now, Cherry Bomb is a classy lady, and I won't hear any of this smack talk about her!

Thanks Karl, you just made me think about that oh-so horribly, awful movie with Kristen Stewart... The Runaways.. I think it was called. >_

Radio Trivia with Karl is now up. /end shameless plug.

Good discussion, guys. I feel like anything higher than $199 for a Nintendo portable goes against the company's traditional wisdom that portable consoles should be affordable. If they price themselves too high, they risk falling into the same trap as Sony did with the PSP.

LittleIrvesJuly 20, 2010

TYP speaks the truth.  Over 200 bones will force me to think about what should be an instantaneous purchase.  Nintendo doesn't want people to think about buying the 3DS.  They want them to buy it, boom, no questions.  That's the genius of the Wii's single SKU - no options, no indecision.

I was having this conversation with someone else, and they said how the DSiXL is 189.99, so the 3DS will have to come in way over that.  But the DS tech is 6 years old! Sure the screens are NASA quality.  But the main guts are still from 2004. My hope is that they drop prices across the DS line and slip in their shiny new toy at 199.99.  But the way people are talking, it sounds like 250 is the expected selling point.  That's console range.  I'm as psyched as anyone to see this 3D magic show, but I can't afford a quarter-grand.  And now, I cross my fingers....

$250 is old console range, not new console range.  New console range is $400+. The Wii was $250, but without the slightest bit of trolling I will say it was hardly a "new" console.

SarailJuly 20, 2010

I agree, James.  I really think Nintendo's gonna price their next console at $299.  I think that's gonna be the new "sweet spot".

broodwarsJuly 20, 2010

Sorry for the off-topic, James, but I remember you talking for weeks on RFN about The Last Remnant.  I've seen several (cheap) copies of it for 360 in my local GameStop, but I've held off on getting it because I couldn't remember if you actually liked the game or not and would recommend it.  All I can remember is lots of ranting about the game's difficulty spikes and some technical hitches.

As for the 3DS, I'm not buying any handheld that costs more than $200, especially one that's guaranteed from Nintendo's history to be gimped in some way so a superior version can be released 1-2 years later.  Any higher than $200, and you start getting into console pricing territory and if I wanted to buy a console, I'd buy a console.

jrlibrarianJeffrey Trewin, Associate EditorJuly 20, 2010

Great discussion as always. I really appreciate the great podcast every week.

Just a quick question here. Will any of you be going to PAX Prime this year? And if so, will there be another live panel? For various reasons, I was unable to get to PAX East, so it would be great to meet those of you who came to it this time of year.

happyastoriaJuly 20, 2010

Wow, James was actually very funny this episode! This was actually one of the best episodes I heard.

James is always funny; that's his job. James and Jon are there to crack jokes and troll, both about games and about each other, and Jonny and Greg are there to have real discussion and keep things relatively on topic, to keep every episode from turning into 103.

Great episode, guys. I hate to miss a week, but you carried on fine.

I can see 3DS being $250 but only if it includes a game (not just demos), like Wii and Wii Sports. Otherwise, $200 is the natural limit based on the target demographic. Ultimately, it all comes down to the component parts and how low Nintendo can negotiate those prices from the various manufacturers. They aren't going to take a loss on the system, so the launch price may have little to do with consumer-level market forces or historical trends.

And by the way, we are unfortunately not going to have a panel at this year's PAX Prime. I applied for one, but we didn't make it onto the schedule. We'll try again next spring for PAX East and keep trying thereafter, because it was a great experience. There will probably be a few NWR staff members attending PAX for media coverage and personal pleasure, so maybe you should start a PAX meet-up thread to coordinate all of that. I don't know who is planning to go, but I cannot justify the travel without some kind of official function. (I've already traveled too much this summer!)

I don't even remember anything particularly funny about this episode. I remember going off on Megaman ZX for ruining a perfectly good game with Metroid design (proving me eternally correct on the issue of Metroid titles).

And yes, I quite liked The Last Remnant. It is excessively long, of uneven difficulty (to be kind, criminally hard boss battles), graphically buggy, and it killed my Xbox. I still like its combat system quite a lot. You also get a lot of game for your buck.

My experience was harmed significantly because I A) rage quit because of the fucking black dragon boss, and B) the game died on me before the endgame started.

I reviewed Mega Man ZX way back in the day for N-Insanity, and I found it challenging, but not ridiculously so. I did hate the useless map and Metroid-esque level design, though. Since I hadn't played MMZ games, I was kind of lost as to what the heck this game was supposed to be.

Isn't there a sequel? Mega Man ZX Advent or something? James, you should get it and see if it's any better.

Great episode as always, gents. Greg, I actually just replayed Uncharted 2, and I have much the same complaint you do: cover-based shooters just aren't my bag, and there's a LOT of that in Uncharted 2. I mean, it goes a little overboard. Nathan Drake is committing genocide over there, although Lazarovich apparently hired the entire population of an Eastern European country as his personal bodyguards, so there's that, too.

ZX isn't Mega Man Zero 1 hard. However failure is punished so harshly it ruins the game.

One of the things about the original games and the X series is that failure was expected. The punishment was slight, restocked lives but inner-level progress (five minutes of gameplay or so) was lost. They expected you to fail until you found some power-ups, got better at the game and finally took down a Robot Master/Maverick. Once you got that toehold you could use his power to down one of his colleagues. However, they expected you to fail there too, at least until you learned who would be decimated by that power.

No way they expected you to know that Volt Catfish would be vulnerable to a drill attack without experimentation.

Also, fuck yeah Volt Catfish!

Hell yeah, Volt Catfish. I remember the Nintendo Power strategy section describing his boss fight. It was titled "Assault the Battery." Brilliant.

TheFleeceJuly 20, 2010

I wouldn't mind paying $200 for the 3DS, but I would be upset if a year later a better version showed up or if it were priced higher. I could see myself paying more for a bundle package, but that's neither here nor there right now.
BTW I'm with the same girl so there is no philandering going on and thus this incarnation of RFN doesn't have to die.

Did Greg say that Jam With The Band has Final Countdown done with a pipe organ?




jrlibrarianJeffrey Trewin, Associate EditorJuly 20, 2010

Quote from: Shaymin

Did Greg say that Jam With The Band has Final Countdown done with a pipe organ?




I really hope that someone at PAX has a copy of this, since I really want to try it, even though I might not be able to purchase a copy of it for a while.

Regarding Jam with the Band: I loved the original and its expansion pack, which I imported and played like crazy. I purchased the Japanese sequel and barely touched it--probably because I wasn't able to successfully navigate the online music selection. Also, my used copy came with a bunch of terrible renditions of the same J-pop song.

Anyway, at this point I have no interest in purchasing the European version, but I'm glad to hear others are enjoying it. Using the composer is pretty fun--hopefully you don't have to unlock that in the European game.... Also, reading the note chart makes sense if you're used to reading music on printed paper :)

Quote from: Shaymin

Did Greg say that Jam With The Band has Final Countdown done with a pipe organ?

The new version lets you set different musical styles to any piece you have... so you can have orchestral, rock, 8-bit, horror, etc. renditions of any song.  It works really well.

$300 is and will always be the console sweet spot.  Any company that goes higher than that does so at their own peril.  Look at this generation: the PS3 sold very poorly at a $600 launch price, the 360 sold well at a $400 launch price, and the Wii sold like crack at a crackhead convention at $250.  Here's the console launch price/units sold scale:

$250 or less - will sell like crack at a crackhead convention
$300 - will sell very well
$400 - will sell well
$500 - will sell in limited quantities
$600 - will sell poorly/are you effing crazy
$650 or more - Neo Geo

Of course this is assuming that there's actually a decent game library (meaning that price is the only barrier to purchase).  For example, the PS3 only started really selling in September 2009, when its price dropped to $300 and Uncharted 2 dropped in October 2009.

PS2 - $299
PS3 - $599 ("US dollars")
PS4 - $899?

Would that be the ultimate act of trolling? I'm pretty sure it would be.

My guess is that the PS4 will be bleeding-edge more in terms of online connectivity than anything else (maybe the first "cloud" console?).  Graphics are at the point of diminishing returns nowadays, outside of 3D (which they're already doing).

WTF does "cloud" mean?

broodwarsJuly 22, 2010

Quote from: Halbred

WTF does "cloud" mean?

That you pay money for the license to play a game completely off someone else's server using their computational power and your internet connection.  In other words, it's complete digital distribution, and I hope it's a long time before that becomes the standard.  The day that becomes standard will be a sad day for people who actually like to own their games.

Yep. Think of it this way:

Super powerful servers do all the high-end computing bits for lots of users and the users, instead of having to buy lots of high end machines, can use what are actually just cheap input and display devices.

Of course, cloud computing for consoles means you simply cannot play without a fast network connection AND uptime/cycle time/bandwidth availability at both ends of the line. 

IT outlets like cloud computing because buying a super-powerful mainframe and a bunch of simple terminals is cheaper than a lot of moderately powerful computers.

Quote from: Crimm

IT outlets like cloud computing because buying a super-powerful mainframe and a bunch of simple terminals is cheaper than a lot of moderately powerful computers.

No, cloud computing is handled by lots of moderately powerful computers since they are cheaper than buying a super-powerful mainframe.  It's just that these computers are not local -- they're in the cloud, i.e. connected to the internet somewhere.

As an aside, the term "cloud" is derived from the fact that network topology diagrams of computer networks always have "The Internet" (i.e. networks outside the local network, or more specifically outside the firewall at the perimeter of your network) represented by a fluffy cloud symbol.



Kytim89July 23, 2010

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that if Sony pulls another PS3 situation where they charge a large sum of money for their fourth console, they might as well forfeight their standing in the console market.

Look at this way, if Sony had made the PS3 cheaper and released it for $300 back in 2005, the console would have sold out so quickly and they would not have suffered financially for this blunder. The established brand of the Playstation would have been enough for people, and loyalist, to buy the PS3 and make them lots of money. Instead, they pulled the **** they did and lost a lot of customers to both Nintendo and Microsoft. Although these customers eventually came back to Sony in a about 2009. They are still laging behind because they are currently where they should have been two to three years ago.

I am just curious to see what Nintendo has in store for their next console. It will most like be $300 even and will be on par with atleast the xbox 360 in graphics. One could argue that the 3DS is simutaneously the DS successor, but in some way, the wii 2 at the same time. I do feel as if Nintendo is going to emplement some kind of cloud computing for the wii 2 when it releases, which I am wagering that it will be 2012.

SarailJuly 23, 2010

Oh, I sure hope not.  I want "cloud" computing to stay far far FAR away from my console/handheld gaming. FAR AWAY.

It's certainly going to be part of things next generation, at least for Sony and Microsoft. It's not going to be the only way to go for a long time, though, if ever.

I think the market rejection of the PSPgo showed Sony that people still really like physical media.  Heck, Sony has even said as much.

There's no way that Sony will pull the $600 launch price shenanigans again.  That was a one-time poison pill that they had to swallow to introduce Blu-Ray and win the HD format war of the mid-2000's.  The Blu-Ray drive effectively added $200 to the launch price (IIRC), and even at that price it was selling at a huge loss.  In retrospect, they viewed the inclusion of Blu-Ray as more important than maintaining their stranglehold over the console business in the long-term.

I wouldn't say they were TOTALLY wrong, either.  After all, it's not like they're getting killed by Microsoft nowadays...they're pretty much neck-and-neck in worldwide sales, with both commanding around 25% of the console market.  I think the PSP has been a far bigger failure than the PS3, overall.  Heck, you could even look at Sony winning the HD war and still being tied with Microsoft in console sales as a victory of sorts.

Kytim89July 24, 2010

What has Nintendo won this generation?


Except for the Dudebro genre.

KDR_11kJuly 25, 2010

The 3DS may have impressed people but I don't think the components are actually very expensive so I could see a price below 150.

KDR_11kJuly 25, 2010

The reason I didn't beat Megaman ZX shortly after it came out (in the US) was that the final boss was too hard for me, not that I couldn't navigate the game. ZX Advent is structured better.

The discussion about old school games is pretty lengthy considering it could be answered with "those games are good". It doesn't require nostalgic indoctrination, the games are just fun on their own merits.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusJuly 25, 2010

Quote from: KDR_11k

The discussion about old school games is pretty lengthy considering it could be answered with "those games are good". It doesn't require nostalgic indoctrination, the games are just fun on their own merits.

Not only could it be answered that way, it was answered that way; in fact, I used similar phraseology myself when addressing that question. Yes there was additional discussion around that fundamental point, but the point was made very deliberately - do you object to there being further discussion or are you under the impression that this point wasn't made? As both the podcast editor and a regular participant, it is important to me how the discussion comes across to our listeners, and I would like to better understand your feedback.

KDR_11kJuly 25, 2010

I heard the point later on but I thought it was kinda unnecessary how much back and forth there was over nostalgia and whether it could be a factor or not.

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