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Episode 227: National Pastime

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Jonathan Metts - January 16, 2011, 12:52 pm PST
Total comments: 20

In this week's New Business... a 3DS hands-on report! Also, we catch up on Listener Mail.

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On this special episode of RFN, we kick off with a tri-continental version of New Business, as James Charlton reports on the recent 3DS event in Japan while Greg and Jonny ask him annoying questions. James recaps the game impressions he already posted here at NWR and also tells us about his overall thoughts on seeing and playing 3DS just a few weeks before its launch in Japan.

After that, Jon and James (Jones) return for a full-on buffet of Listener Mail collected over the past few weeks. Big topics include horror in video games, Retro's next game after DKCR, reasons for high prices in Europe, our views on both the Sonic and Resident Evil series, and finally, which HD console is best for a Nintendo gamer.

The next edition of RetroActive is coming up soon, and you have just a few days left to vote before the poll ends on Thursday, Jan. 20!

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

LolmonadeJanuary 17, 2011

If you need a proper scary game then try Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The sanity meter there is restored only by making progress in the game, you lose sanity for looking at monsters and hiding in the dark. So don't hide in the dark closet for too long but when you're hiding in a well lit room you better hope the monster won't check this room.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/2092-Amnesia-The-Dark-Descent

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)January 18, 2011

Thanks for the discussion on horror in games. When you lay it out like that, contrast between the creepy aspects of the design and the rest of the game is quite important in terms of actually getting a reaction out of the player. In a game like F.E.A.R., where the theme is explicitly stated on the face of it, it doesn't really get to you because you're expecting the weird little girl to try and mess with you at every spare moment. As you put it so well, you quickly become desensitised to the effects that the game throws at you.

KisakiProjectJanuary 18, 2011

I agree with James Jones about Fragile Dreams.  The use of the wiimote sound design for that game definitely shocked me at several points.  Especially the juxtaposition between the beautiful parts and then having to go into creepy areas and fight. Its a pity the wiimote speaker wasn't higher quality.  That game really is underrated. 

Johnny,

What if Retro did a Star Tropics re-imagining in the style of a WRPG like Fallout or Mass Effect?

LolmonadeJanuary 18, 2011

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

Thanks for the discussion on horror in games. When you lay it out like that, contrast between the creepy aspects of the design and the rest of the game is quite important in terms of actually getting a reaction out of the player. In a game like F.E.A.R., where the theme is explicitly stated on the face of it, it doesn't really get to you because you're expecting the weird little girl to try and mess with you at every spare moment. As you put it so well, you quickly become desensitised to the effects that the game throws at you.

The real problem with FEAR is that it's a generic repetitive FPS with the horror elements just thrown in randomly. Crazy images are just CG and most adults have grown out of the phase where they're amazed by special effects, when you want to instill fear the gameplay mechanics must match that. Being a superhuman death dealer just doesn't really do much to help there. In Shattered Memories the enemies were too predictable and the mechanics too easy, I'd often just charge at an enemy and use the QTE to push him over. I wasn't afraid of the enemies because I could just shake them off. In Amnesia they don't cling to you, they slash at you so every close encounter is detrimental to your health. At one point I resorted to running like crazy instead of hiding, that was much scarier because I knew if they caught up with me I'd die, not just be prompted to tell them to get off. I managed to make it to the level exit and only took one hit but still, that was intense.

noname2200January 18, 2011

I have to agree with the idea that a horror game is going to stop being scary pretty quickly, and that the best moments occur in games that aren't otherwise going for the horror effect, and that creepy atmosphere is more effective than having things pop out at you.  Shalebridge Cradle comes to mind...

CëricJanuary 18, 2011

Quote from: KDR_11k

The real problem with FEAR is that it's a generic repetitive FPS with the horror elements just thrown in randomly. Crazy images are just CG and most adults have grown out of the phase where they're amazed by special effects, when you want to instill fear the gameplay mechanics must match that. Being a superhuman death dealer just doesn't really do much to help there.

Indeed.  At least the developers would learn somewhat from their mistakes with FEAR and put out the really well-done Condemned: Criminal Origins, which fixes a lot of the issues I had with FEAR (though it's still nowhere near a perfect game).  Now that game had loads of atmosphere that would just get under your skin over time, and the few jump scares are pretty well-done.  ;D

Spak_SpangJanuary 18, 2011

Quote from: broodwars

Indeed.  At least the developers would learn somewhat from their mistakes with FEAR and put out the really well-done Condemned: Criminal Origins, which fixes a lot of the issues I had with FEAR (though it's still nowhere near a perfect game).

You mean in the 1 month period in-between their releases?

CëricJanuary 18, 2011

Quote from: TJ

Quote from: broodwars

Indeed.  At least the developers would learn somewhat from their mistakes with FEAR and put out the really well-done Condemned: Criminal Origins, which fixes a lot of the issues I had with FEAR (though it's still nowhere near a perfect game).

You mean in the 1 month period in-between their releases?

*shrugs*

Maybe they learned during development of one and put the knowledge towards the other while the projects were being worked on simultaneously.  Whatever happened, Condemned is a noticeable improvement over FEAR in all the right ways.

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusJanuary 19, 2011

....and they called him the King of Kings.

Spak_SpangJanuary 19, 2011

Quote from: greybrick

....and they called him the King of Kings.

http://img.skysports.com/08/05/218x298/TripleH_839327.jpg

Haha!  ;D

I just got around to listening to this week's podcast, and heard I got name-dropped.

My legend is growing, muahaha!

Though when I heard Greg call my Pac-Man CE DX score "silly, scary", I hope it's in a good way. I mean, earlier this week someone told me trying to beat my Marvel Pinball scores was starting to make him like the game less. That's not what I want at all! I want the people in my friends list to be motivated and keep challenging me.

In my defense, you don't have the context of my Friends leaderboards, on which I have some crazy competitive people. From my perspective, I'm really just a few points above the next person. I'm first only on the first two tables, the only ones I've truly spent any significant time on.

I actually don't think I have Johnny on my friends list, though. Add me (PSN name, Pandareus)! I don't play multiplayer games much (or at all), but I do enjoy competing on leaderboards obviously: Marvel Pinball, Pac-Man, Shatter...

MarioIsFrenchJanuary 21, 2011

Thank God they kept Ocarina of Time as is... I'd be less inclined to pick it up if they "remixed" it...

Pandareus, I'll add you to my PSN list if you're not on it already.  I think I know what your answer will be, but is Marvel Pinball worth downloading?

I think it is, even though it's not perfect. I have some issues with each table, but the real treat is the leaderboards. They are really well done and do things I really wish Pac-Man CE DX implemented, for instance warning you when you are about to beat your own high score, then the score of the friend above you, and so on.

The game keeps track of all sorts of stats, and even compares the total of your scores with those of your friends, so you can compete for the highest overall score that way. I love that stuff.

If you intend to actually play and try to beat your friends' high scores, then yes, it's worth a purchase.

Hmmm, it sounds a bit like how Geometry Wars treats high scores.  I always thought it was really clever that they don't show you your high score, but rather the score of your friend just above you.

purevalJanuary 23, 2011

Just wanted to thank you guys for answering my question about Xbox vs PS3 and actually pronouncing my last name correctly. Could someone please give me some more information on overcoming the motion sickness? I was able to play Goldeneye on the N64 more or less ok but had trouble with Perfect Dark. I tried Metroid Prime on the GC but could only play for 10 minutes or so before I had to stop. Any suggestions for newer games to try that might not affect me as badly as those ones?

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusJanuary 24, 2011

Pureval, I'm not sure what systems you own, but the Call of Duty games are well known for running at smooth framerates on the HD consoles. Most modern shooters should be a bit easier on you.

Whatever you do, don't play Mirror's Edge.

purevalJanuary 25, 2011

I have a Wii and am looking at one of the HD consoles. Does Metroid Prime 3 run smooth?

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusJanuary 25, 2011

Quote from: pureval

I have a Wii and am looking at one of the HD consoles. Does Metroid Prime 3 run smooth?

The way the screen lurches may give you problems, but the framerate is top notch. Consider that I know very little about motion sickness or its causes.

IGN notes that the game "runs in 480p / 16:9 at 60 frames per second."


Spak_SpangFebruary 07, 2011

I am catching up on podcasts and is listening to this. I have to disagree, Sonic Adventure IS a good game IMO (well, except for the terrible Big the Cat sections). The sequel was really good too (except for the Knuckles/Rouge sections). I don't know if they hold up now, but they were great when they came out.

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