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Episode 223: This Story is Happy End

by Karl Castaneda, James Jones, Greg Leahy, and Nathan Mustafa - December 19, 2010, 2:13 pm PST
Total comments: 23

Nathan and Karl join Greg and James to fill out their Wii Report Cards.

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It's not often that you can say fate itself seems to have something against a podcast, but such was the case for this week's episode of RFN. With our usual host Jonny already scheduled for a week off to cap his decade-long college career, disaster struck when James fell ill and Jon suddenly had to board a flight to an unspecified location. But never fear, for two special guests offered to step in for their fallen comrades: Nathan Mustafa of the NWR Newscast and former RFN host Karl Castaneda. Then, at the last moment, James found the inner strength/medication to join fill-in host Greg for a rather unusual but no less bro-ey show (OK, maybe a bit less given Jon's absence).

New Business gets underway with Nathan sharing some of his recent iPad games of choice, including World of Goo and the oddly Punch-Out!!-like Infinity Blade from the makers of Shadow Complex. Next, Karl shocks the world by returning from his years-long review exile for THQ's uDraw tablet for Wii (drunken Pictionary ahoy!) before James dusts off his regal robes to reconnect with his favourite WiiWare game, FFCC: My Life as a King. Greg brings an end to the first segment with some stern words for Nintendo and an outburst of joy at his conquest of Ghosts'n Goblins and the long-awaited arrival of his copy of Kirby's Epic Yarn.

Part two of the show kicks off with your Listener Mail, which continues to add to the medical lexicon with a discussion of "The Metts Condition." Then it's time for the main event: our Wii Report Card, not just for 2010, but for the lifecycle as a whole. In a throwback to RFN 78, Karl takes the reins as we grade Nintendo's revolutionary console in four categories in addition to our overall personal satisfaction with the system. It's a big discussion covering big topics - let us know your thoughts and send us an e-mail!

RetroActive will conclude soon -- if you've played The World Ends With You and haven't yet posted your thoughts in the official forum thread, please do so!

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.

Talkback

NWR_KarlKarl Castaneda, Contributing EditorDecember 19, 2010

Greg (understandably) cut a lot of toilet humor for this episode.

happyastoriaDecember 19, 2010

As a PS3 and Wii owner who barley play games at all, my Wii get's more play time than the PS3.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories = Best game this generation.

Fragile Dreams = Flawed, but amazing game.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 = The perfect gaming experience.

Sin and Punishment 2 = Hard as fuck......That's it.

Donkey Kong Kong Country Returns = Greatest platformer ever made.

happyastoriaDecember 19, 2010

The most disappointing this generation has be the PS3. There are no good games, and the "good" ones bore me to death.

Killzone 2 = Boring/generic level design.

Uncharted 2 = Couldn't finish it. It looks pretty, but it didn't hold my attention.

Little Big Planet = I'm not creative enough for that game.

PS3 is also the home to horrible ports. Fallout 3 is unplayable on that system.

broodwarsDecember 19, 2010

Quote from: happyastoria

The most disappointing this generation has be the PS3. There are no good games, and the "good" ones bore me to death.

Killzone 2 = Boring/generic level design.

Uncharted 2 = Couldn't finish it. It looks pretty, but it didn't hold my attention.

Little Big Planet = I'm not creative enough for that game.

PS3 is also the home to horrible ports. Fallout 3 is unplayable on that system.

Fallout 3 is unplayable on any system.  It was just that poorly coded and tested.  And there are plenty of good games on the PS3, especially PS3 exclusives like Valkyria Chronicles and Uncharted 2, IMO.  Some other PS3-exclusive titles don't necessarily appeal to me like God of War 3 or Infamous, but they've reviewed very well.  And aside from examples like Bayonetta, I can't think of any games that had notably poor ports to PS3.

On the fan service point, I agree that this was an exceptionally great year in that regard, but I'd stop just short of giving Nintendo perfect marks, given their stubbornness in regard to control options in games like DKCR and Metroid Other M. I hate to beat a dead horse, but if Nintendo really had the concerns of heavy users in mind, those games would have supported the Classic Controller, and in Metroid's case, the nunchuk.

TJ SpykeDecember 19, 2010

We all know why Metroid didn't support the Nunchuk (Sakamoto), but it would have been nice for DKCR to have CC support.

Kytim89December 19, 2010

The third party Wii game of the year is a tie between Monster Hunter Tri and No More Heroes 2.

I think I align with Nate and Karl when it comes to the Wii's report card. Good discussion, though. I'm extremely happy with my Wii and its games, but damn I'm also happy I have a PS3.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)December 20, 2010

As someone who splits his home gaming between a Wii and a PC, I will say that, whatever the shortcomings of how Nintendo has handled certain features of the console, I cannot fault the game collection I've built up for the Wii over the preceding 4 years. It hasn't been perfect, but it's been ever so much fun, and I'm primarily talking from a solitary perspective, as there are few people near me willing to sit down for multiplayer games. When a system is marketed majorly as a family or party play system, yet I consistently enjoy playing Wii software alone, that says it all. To this day, Nintendo still champions the franchises and the types of experiences that I like, and no matter what technical superiorities the rival systems hold, they don't have that fundamental appeal for me personally, and maybe never will.
If we're in the mood for grades, I'll thrown down a solid B. It's been very fun... like I said, not perfect, but in the area where the Wii loses marks (as the four of you discussed, the online infrastructure), I can simply scratch that itch on my PC.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusDecember 20, 2010

Quote from: NWR_Karl

Greg (understandably) cut a lot of toilet humor for this episode.

I prefer to look at it in more of a toilet-bowl-half-full kind of way--some of it was still in there! In fact, one of the more tasteless exchanges in this area was not removed by choice; we recorded a sort of disclaimer to be used if James couldn't last out through the entire show, which of course he did, meaning a discussion of his "deep" voice had to go (say no more).

Quote from: insanolord

On the fan service point, I agree that this was an exceptionally great year in that regard, but I'd stop just short of giving Nintendo perfect marks, given their stubbornness in regard to control options in games like DKCR and Metroid Other M. I hate to beat a dead horse, but if Nintendo really had the concerns of heavy users in mind, those games would have supported the Classic Controller, and in Metroid's case, the nunchuk.

I agree on this point - I actually had this down as one of my reasons for not going higher than a B+ for this year's fanservice grade, but I failed to bring it up during the "on-air" discussion. I feel especially strongly about the DKCR issue - if CC support is so simple in this case that it can be implemented via Homebrew after the fact, Nintendo is not just being unresponsive but outright defiant in the face of fan complaints.

KisakiProjectDecember 20, 2010

Hurray for Nathan being on.

Also Karl comes off very "professional" on your podcast.

You guys should mix it up more often.

As Nathan, Karl, and any other RFN guest will probably tell you, it's not easy coming onto the show (likewise, it's sometimes hard for us to find guests, especially on short notice). We keep a very strict recording schedule, often record for up to four hours, and have a well-developed team chemistry that may be difficult to complement as a guest. It was probably a bit easier in this case since half the regular crew was out.

noname2200December 20, 2010

Great episode overall, the report card segment in particular.  The only thing I would add is that I'd personally ding the lifetime overall score because the Wii promised motion-controlled games, but it hasn't delivered too much on that front.  There have been several titles that used motion controls well, but for the most part the games merely use waggle to substitute a button press, which is pretty disappointing.

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

It was probably a bit easier in this case since half the regular crew was out.

And one was half dead.

Quote from: KisakiProject

Also Karl comes off very "professional" on your podcast.

huh?

NWR_KarlKarl Castaneda, Contributing EditorDecember 20, 2010

I'm pretty sure he's referring to my review shenanigans.

KDR_11kDecember 21, 2010

I think the Wii's online suffers mostly from having the majority of its big games come from Japan, how many Japanese games are really known for great online? Golden Eye works very well (better than some PC and XBox 360 games I have seen), it's all a matter of how much effort a developer puts into that and on the Wii that's usually near zero.

The 360 isn't big on game variety either, only the PC is really offering a large variety this gen (and that only if you include indie games).

The Wii's online suffers because of the infrastructure Nintendo put in place. GoldenEye does it well, but it does so despite the flaws in Nintendo's online implementation. If only there were a unified, system-wide friends list and a better voice chat solution, things would be so much better.

SeacorDecember 21, 2010

You should rename your Online and DLC segment to "Developer use of Online functionality and DLC".

The act of swapping separate friend codes for each and every game is definitely a hardship, but it's not really the fault of the Wii architecture, but the game developer.  Are you aware of what Wii functionality Vicarious Visions implemented in Guitar Hero 5?

Starting with Guitar Hero 5, the game automatically imports your Wii address book friends.  If other Wii friends have the game, you can immediately play Guitar Hero with them.  There is no need to manually send out invites with separate friend codes.  If you need to add a new friend, just add their Wii console code.

Vicarious Visions said that this functionality is available to all Wii developers.  Why aren't other developers doing this?  Shame on them.

TJ SpykeDecember 21, 2010

I guess others are too lazy to do it.

jrlibrarianJeffrey Trewin, Associate EditorDecember 23, 2010

Great show as always guys.

Since it went free two days ago, I downloaded the Ghosts and Goblins Ipod Edition. Let me tell you, Capcom dropped the ball on the difficulty. I got to the second level boss without dying. I'm eventually going to finish it, but not for a while, once I realized how stupid and broken the difficulty is.

Quote from: Seacor

Vicarious Visions said that this functionality is available to all Wii developers.  Why aren't other developers doing this?  Shame on them.

Have you considered that it's in VV's interests to make other Wii developers seem lazy or incompetent? Note that they don't seem to have shared this mystical knowledge of Wii online architecture with other Activision-owned studios like Treyarch.

Technically, yes, there are ways to circumvent Friend Codes. They involve undocumented technical workarounds, special waivers from Nintendo, and a ton of extra programming work. Vicarious themselves have often noted the difficulty and additional burden of implementing these features on their Wii games, and the features have improved over time as they learned more about them. I am 100% supportive of their efforts, but other developers aren't following their example because Nintendo has done nothing to facilitate improvement of these features. Nintendo doesn't provide any tools or guides on how to modify or circumvent Friend Codes; the fact that VV has obtained waivers to do so should indicate exactly what Nintendo's own documentation says about this. In fact, I think Nintendo's policy is probably to avoid encouraging ways around Friend Codes; they are in effect looking the other way when studios like Vicarious and publishers like EA develop their own methods.

Kytim89December 24, 2010

I recently read that the Conduit 2 is going to circumnavigate friend codes as well, so I am betting that this will eventually push Nintendo to implementing a universal friend code system for all the games on their future consoles.

KDR_11kDecember 25, 2010

Quote from: insanolord

The Wii's online suffers because of the infrastructure Nintendo put in place. GoldenEye does it well, but it does so despite the flaws in Nintendo's online implementation. If only there were a unified, system-wide friends list and a better voice chat solution, things would be so much better.

There's a wide gulf between what most Wii games deliver and what really depends on the infrastructure. There are things like lag-handling, efficient matchmaking/server search, etc before you even need to get into the infrastructure. Just because MS is parading XBL around doesn't mean you can't make a great MP game without pre-defined infrastructure. Look at the PC, that's a giant patchwork of different systems and yet it works and has some of the most popular online games ever.

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