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Episode 263: All My Rowdy Friends

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Jonathan Metts - October 16, 2011, 10:01 am PDT
Total comments: 33

They're coming over tonight to play golf and talk video games. We might watch some football, too. You know, whatever.

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We know you listen to RFN for the huge variety of games and to hear our discussions on listener-requested topics, so this episode is all about those things! First up is New Business, and Greg kicks off with the latest 3DS Virtual Console release, Catrap. You might be surprised how much our discerning editor appreciates this primitive Game Boy puzzle title. (Note: We also briefly stray into Metroid II talk -- be sure to check out our extended RetroActive discussion on that game in RFN Episode 193.) Next up is James, who comes around a bit on Solatorobo and finally boots up his import copy of Inazuma Eleven, the impressive and bizarre soccer RPG from Level 5. Jon has an update on Demon's Souls, so if you were hoping for a break from all the Dark Souls chatter on other podcasts... I guess this is technically a different game. Jonny has been pushing to finish several games before jumping into Xenoblade and other major fall releases, so he wraps up Rochard, closes out the co-op campaign and DLC for Portal 2, and makes serious progress in the HD remake of Ico, a game heavily influenced by Zelda that may now be returning the favor.

We've had a bounty of Listener Mail lately, so the second segment is devoted to answering no less than six of your thought-provoking queries. Topics include gaming conventions, out-of-context game music, our blindness to the cold reality of the gaming market, the second Slide Pad for Resident Evil: Revelations, developer closings, and Radiohead's "Honest Box" model applied to video games. We're always looking for more great letters, so please sow your questions and ideas on this contact form, and we'll harvest them soon!

Also, you should know that River City Ransom won the RetroActive poll. It's a cool little game available worldwide on Wii Virtual Console for 500 points, so download your copy and post your impressions and analysis in the official RetroActive #20 forum thread!

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

happyastoriaOctober 16, 2011

Demon's Souls > Dark Souls

Greg, Demon's Souls has no story - the only RPG element is upgrading your character. Demon's Souls, unlike, Dark Souls, has a hub world and the levels are structured (1-1,1-2,1-3, 2-1, 2-1, etc). The game is very liner, unlike Dark Souls, and doesn't bother with any romantics. I would love to hear what you think, Greg! The game is pretty cheap now. Please pick it up. It did take me 5 months to beat it,  it's a game you take your time with, but it's never boring and you're always in control of your character. By the way, I hate long games, so if I can do it, you can, too!

Dr. Metts, I loved the Ico/SotC collection, but I was disappointed they didn't improve the controls! The games are pretty easy, but every death was because of the controls, not my skill as a gamer. Also, if you like Ico, get Lost in Shadow! It's like Ico, but a sidescroller. The game, for me, is a masterpiece! It has tons of problems, but any Ico fan would love Lost in Shadow - in some cases, the game rips-off Ico.

James, I don't know if this has been mention before, but it Xenoblade blurry? Every video I've seen the game looks like a blurry mess. :/

So, blurriness is kind of an interesting point. The world isn't really that blurry. If you get right on top of things it can be, but that's more of a Wii thing.


The faces though...yeah they're blurrier than a lens covered in vaseline.

AVOctober 17, 2011

I loved the discussion on iOS games. Games like Professor Layton and the Unwound Future will never be made on iOS, because the voice acting, full motion video and extensive scope of gameplay. I just beat the game this weekend and got about 22 hours from it and the ending and almost in tears because of how well executed it is. In theory the iphone could handle the game because it just uses touch screen and top screen stuff is not all that important, the quality presented will never be matched because the profit margin would not exist on the iphone. If any game DESERVES to be $30 or more as a handheld game it is professor layton.

PlugabugzOctober 17, 2011

My question was very long - and i'm glad you guys shrunk it because it took me THREE go-arounds to shrink it to the final size that you got - and even then it was still too long!

No more smartphone questions

There, I feel better now...

KDR_11kOctober 17, 2011

Funnily it's the faces of the player characters, especially Shulk, that are blurry. Most story NPCs have much crisper face textures (take e.g. Dickson or the Emperor).

Sequence should be out on Steam before the end of the month (I don't remember the date, it was either the 20th or the 27th) but it currently isn't.

The online features appeal to the exact opposite of the people that are satisfied with app store games. Sure, those have online leaderboards but that's not what people buy them for. Nintendo's biggest problem with the app store is the unsustainably low pricing which is why everything is more expensive on DSiWare than on the app store but they want to avoid a culture where people aren't willing to pay more than a buck up front (the app store developers have instead adapted by nickel and diming you for ingame items). Even just having a marketplace with such an attitude around poisons the platform for AAA devs since the prices people pay drop like crazy. The XBox has XBLIG with its 1$ prices but MS is doing its best to prevent that from becoming a viable platform so that any serious developer will be forced to migrate to another service (XBLA encourages 15$ prices...).


Nintendo is directly opposed to the value corrosion that the race to the pricing bottom and even quick price drops cause. That's why it took them until now to drop the price on Twilight Princess.

Quote from: KDR_11k

Nintendo is directly opposed to the value corrosion that the race to the pricing bottom and even quick price drops cause. That's why it took them until now to drop the price on Twilight Princess.


I for one am glad that the mobile phone market has lowered the barrier to entry for gaming through value corrosion.  And your Twilight Princess example to me illustrates how archaic Nintendo is with their pricing structure.  To think that any game, regardless of how good it is, should retain a retail value of $50+ for five years before having any reduction in price is in my opinion completely silly.  I would love to compare pre-price drop sales with post-price drop sales figures to see how much pent up demand there actually was at this point, as my assumption would be that anyone who has wanted to play this game without paying $50 have either rented it or purchased pre-owned copies.

Nintendo takes their pricing structure to the polar opposite limit, where they treat their games as such a valuable commodity that you don't see official price drops until the end of the system's life cycle.  It works well for hot commodities like MarioKart & New Super Mario Bros, but I can't imagine Twilight Princess has been selling any reasonable numbers lately to justify having it at that price point.

CericOctober 17, 2011

Are there any digital games on PSN that are at the iOS price point? (Specifically for the PSP.)  I really don't think so.  At least I can't think of any  really.

Quote from: Ceric

Are there any digital games on PSN that are at the iOS price point? (Specifically for the PSP.)  I really don't think so.  At least I can't think of any  really.


The most you'll get for $0.99 are themes and maybe costumes for littlebigplanet.  I think the PS minis are $2.00 + even though most of them are iOS equivalent games. 

I don't think most reasonable people expect Nintendo to sell all their classic games for $0.99, but it would be nice if they would consider the occasional "sale" on their e-shop or virtual console games".  I don't have one, but I hear xbox is pretty good at offering sales on digital content.

CericOctober 17, 2011

That's what I thought.
Back to Steam but, Nintendo could learn a thing or two from there marketing vi pricing.

KDR_11kOctober 17, 2011

iOS equivalent doesn't necessarily mean 1$, plenty of iOS games go for 2-3$, a few even for 5$. However since prices drop so quickly (even temporarily to 0 for many games) people consider even 3$ to be expensive and will gladly wait for a price drop, knowing that it'll likely come soon.

It's great for the buyers' wallets but it greatly limits what developers can do and those that don't end up hitting it big end up making next to no money.

Quote from: lolmonade

Nintendo takes their pricing structure to the polar opposite limit, where they treat their games as such a valuable commodity that you don't see official price drops until the end of the system's life cycle.  It works well for hot commodities like MarioKart & New Super Mario Bros, but I can't imagine Twilight Princess has been selling any reasonable numbers lately to justify having it at that price point.

It's not about what it'll sell NOW, it's about what it sold BACK THEN. By avoiding price cuts people learn that if you want a Nintendo game you'll have to pay full price, you can't wait for a price drop so they'll be more willing to buy the game when it's new. When people know that a publisher will drop prices quickly they are more willing to wait for the pricedrop.

broodwarsOctober 17, 2011

Quote from: KDR_11k

It's not about what it'll sell NOW, it's about what it sold BACK THEN. By avoiding price cuts people learn that if you want a Nintendo game you'll have to pay full price, you can't wait for a price drop so they'll be more willing to buy the game when it's new. When people know that a publisher will drop prices quickly they are more willing to wait for the pricedrop.

Except that all it does is encourage me to buy the game either Used or when a vender like Amazon drops it in the bargain bin, if I'm not going to buy it immediately.  Especially these days, I don't care if Nintendo sees my money for a game or not, so it's up to them to make me want to buy it their way.  Unless rarity is in play, the longer an item is on the market the more the demand and price accordingly fall.  Nintendo trying to fix the prices of its games to try to combat supply & demand just encourages customers to buy the games in ways where Nintendo does not see any money.

As for the response to my question on the show, yeah I figured that's what you guys were going to say.  I was hoping maybe you'd go more into the press side of the issue since your resources are so limited, but the discussion was fine.  This was more a personal gripe of mine since I listen to so many podcasts, and I'm getting thoroughly sick of every couple of weeks having to hear about the seeming 3-4 Comic Cons; 2-3 PAX Cons; GDC; SGC; E3; Tokyo Game Show; GamesCom; etc.  It's especially irritating when you have press coverage going to these events when they could be talking about the games that are out at that time.

But yeah, that's just my experience with podcasts, which I listen to way too many of.

fordrobOctober 17, 2011

For anyone who cares, I have enjoyed many tunes from a video game music cover band called Minibosses - they have some nice NES covers using actual rock instruments, which includes (I think) a jazzy SMB2 theme.

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: KDR_11k

It's not about what it'll sell NOW, it's about what it sold BACK THEN. By avoiding price cuts people learn that if you want a Nintendo game you'll have to pay full price, you can't wait for a price drop so they'll be more willing to buy the game when it's new. When people know that a publisher will drop prices quickly they are more willing to wait for the pricedrop.

Except that all it does is encourage me to buy the game either Used or when a vender like Amazon drops it in the bargain bin, if I'm not going to buy it immediately.  Especially these days, I don't care if Nintendo sees my money for a game or not, so it's up to them to make me want to buy it their way.  Unless rarity is in play, the longer an item is on the market the more the demand and price accordingly fall.  Nintendo trying to fix the prices of its games to try to combat supply & demand just encourages customers to buy the games in ways where Nintendo does not see any money.


Beat me to it.  It is true that them having a "gated community" strategy of maintaining a $50 price level will constrain supply to where their used games may level off at a price of $25-30 instead of $10-20, but the price sensitive consumer will either buy used or continue to wait.  I may have considered buying the game new two years ago if the new price was somewhere around $30-$35.  I still haven't played Twilight Princess because the price was never right and now that it is a reasonable $20 I will most likely forego it and rent Skyward Sword.

There are plenty of examples of games that lose all their value.  I bought No More Heroes used for $4.50 on ebay.  I understand Nintendo doesn't want to devalue their franchises by bringing them down to bargain-bin prices, but what would it have hurt to discount a game like that gradually over the last 5 years instead of hatcheting the price when the majority of the people who wanted to play the game have already? 

CericOctober 17, 2011

On the discussion about Nintendo's pricing model.  I think my biggest beef with the model is that it takes so long for sputtering games to get a price drop.

Simply if Nintendo would evaluate prices at about the Year point that would help.  Long enough that if someone wanted the game they would have found a sale by then so, have a copy.  If a game is still going strong, Mario anything on the Wii, then leave it alone and bring it up again next year.  If the game had lost its momentum, Anything Zelda this generation, then lower the price appropriately.

I really want Punch Out but not at the original price.  Now that it has dropped after waiting so very long I'll probably not pick it up in a force of habit.  Not a good thing to culminate in your customers.

A lot of Nintendo games do drop in price quickly, though.

I remember seeing sales for Other M, Kirby, DKCR, Golden Sun, etc. at a variety of retailers regularly. It might not be a permanent price cut, but what difference does it make? I picked up DKCR for something like $35, I think, around a month after it came out. I toyed with getting Golden Sun for $20 around the same time.

motangOctober 17, 2011

F*** I totally forgot to vote, stupid work. Sorry guys.

broodwarsOctober 17, 2011

Quote from: NWR_Neal

A lot of Nintendo games do drop in price quickly, though.

I remember seeing sales for Other M, Kirby, DKCR, Golden Sun, etc. at a variety of retailers regularly. It might not be a permanent price cut, but what difference does it make?

I imagine it making a big difference to the retailers when they have to sell them at a loss in those sales.

If you have trouble remembering to vote in RetroActive polls (I know many people listen to the show when they may not be able to get to the site soon afterward), try Liking the RFN Facebook page and/or following @Nintendo_NWR on Twitter. I try to post a reminder on there a day or two before each poll ends.

PlugabugzOctober 18, 2011

A good example of stubborn prices:

I got an email alert for Metroid Other M noting that the cheapest price was £9.85 new (about $16).
Mario Galaxy 2 is £21 new.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is £32 new (almost no change in price for a YEAR?).

All three were released a few months apart last year.

KDR_11kOctober 18, 2011

Quote from: Plugabugz

A good example of stubborn prices:

I got an email alert for Metroid Other M noting that the cheapest price was £9.85 new (about $16).
Mario Galaxy 2 is £21 new.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is £32 new (almost no change in price for a YEAR?).

All three were released a few months apart last year.

That reflects their success. DKCR went for the NSMB audience while Galaxy 2 went for the Galaxy 1 audience and Other M for the Doki Doki Majou Shimpan fanbase.

FZeroBoyoOctober 18, 2011

Great show, boys. Have a number of responses to share. (Thank for making these acceptable, NinSage!)

Greg, I believe you have just sold me on Catrap. (By the way, I pronounce it "Cat Rap".) Inazuma Eleven sounds wonky, in a somewhat delightful way. I'm a bit more open to massive world games after playing through Fallout: New Vegas four times so maybe I'll give Demon's/Dark Souls a look later on along with Skyrim. Nice to hear Jonny making progress on his backlog, something I'm hoping to do before Super Mario 3D Land and Skyward Sword release.

I'm not a member of the gaming press, but I don't think there are too many expos for developers/publishers to show off their creations. They can certainly get me hyped up, though. I almost always listen to game music, as it can help me feel better in about any situation. I do agree that dedicated handhelds and mobile devices can live together in the world of portable gaming. The "Slider Pad" has the potential for some cool games but it still waits for a game that absolutely requires it, to my knowledge. It's a shame when a developer has to close their doors, but I agree that there is more than enough innovation and quality to go around in the industry. I do agree that some publishers can make some strange moves with marketing and releasing the games, but sometimes a weak launch can be offset by the quality of said game.

Overall, a very fun episode. Look forward to the discussions on RetroActive. Hooray for bunching six topics into one paragraph!

KDR_11kOctober 18, 2011

On topic of the honest box model:

The Humble Bundles never included a game that was not available for purchase previously. Cortex Command is still not "released" but it's pretty much a perpetual beta and has been selling as a beta for a while now, Revenge of the Titans was available at a fixed price as a beta previously though it only got an official release when it was included with the bundle.

A game that I can think of that was honest box right from the start is Jason Rohrer's Inside A Star Filled Sky. No idea what the outcome of that was.

RazorkidOctober 18, 2011

Excellent podcast as always Gents!


On the point of pricing, I think people would be a lot happier if Nintendo (and Sony and Microsoft) would adopt a tiered pricing scheme on their retail games.$50-$60 for top tier, $40-$30 for mid tier, and $20 for the budget retail game.  The problem with implementing that is twofold. First, it would have to be a joint venture across ALL major publishers and platform holders to follow the model.  If only Nintendo did it, or Sony, or Ubisoft, etc. then that company will just see themselves as the only ones not charging the most they can while everyone else is doing just that. Secondly, the consumer (ironically) would have to be trained to actually buy things that are priced cheaper because the perception in general is "if something is more inexpensive than its competitor, then it's inferior".


As to how to get every game publisher and platform holder to agree to adopt a tiered pricing scheme is beyond me.  But I think a way to train consumers to buy games across multiple tiers of prices equally is to follow Steams model.  They constantly have sales on games (pre-order now get 15% off, Today only this game is 40% off, For this weekend every game in this series is 66% off).  This constantly drives people to not only splurge on games, but keeps them coming back to your digital store.  There are always going to be the Day 1 Folks and games usually stay at their original retail price for at least 6 months, but those fire sales really encourage people to buy a lot and puts awareness of older games in the conscience of the here and now. Unfortunately, as far as the Steam-like sales go, it could only happen on a digital distribution platform as retail outlets would never conceit to something like that. But imagine if the eShop had sales every weekend where they picked a game form each category (virtual console, 3D Classics, DSiWare) and slashed the price by 50%? Advertise it through Spot Pass and watch tons of sales generate over a short period.  Best of all, after the sale is done, a lot more people have an awareness of that particular game and will generate good word of mouth which will help increase sales of those games at their regular prices. It sounds like such an easy thing to implement.


On the subject of videogame music, I listen to it all the time.  It really only hooks me if it's music from games I've played in the past.  I have tons of nes, snes, psx, Blizzard, Nintendo, and various anime soundtracks.  Also as mentioned by Jon, ocremix.org is a phenomenal resource for fan made remixes of whole game soundtracks. It will bring nostalgic tears to your eyes :'( .

CericOctober 19, 2011

The thing about Tier pricing is that most developers believe they are making a Top Tier Game.  Sort of like most Parents believe that there child can do great things.

Quote from: Ceric

The thing about Tier pricing is that most developers believe they are making a Top Tier Game.  Sort of like most Parents believe that there child can do great things.


Beyond that, I think most people probably think a game isn't a quality game if released below the typical full retail price.

That's why I tend to think a gradual reduction in pricing over time is more economical than tiered pricing.  Early adopters will get their top shelf game earlier than anyone, then as demand slows to a trickle, then the price can be gradually depreciated over time.

CericOctober 19, 2011

Quote from: lolmonade

Quote from: Ceric

The thing about Tier pricing is that most developers believe they are making a Top Tier Game.  Sort of like most Parents believe that there child can do great things.


Beyond that, I think most people probably think a game isn't a quality game if released below the typical full retail price.

That's why I tend to think a gradual reduction in pricing over time is more economical than tiered pricing.  Early adopters will get their top shelf game earlier than anyone, then as demand slows to a trickle, then the price can be gradually depreciated over time.

I don't think the Price drop should wait till the trickle level.  Need to find that good spot where the sells are slowing and need a shot in the arm.

Quote from: Ceric

Quote from: lolmonade

Quote from: Ceric

The thing about Tier pricing is that most developers believe they are making a Top Tier Game.  Sort of like most Parents believe that there child can do great things.


Beyond that, I think most people probably think a game isn't a quality game if released below the typical full retail price.

That's why I tend to think a gradual reduction in pricing over time is more economical than tiered pricing.  Early adopters will get their top shelf game earlier than anyone, then as demand slows to a trickle, then the price can be gradually depreciated over time.

I don't think the Price drop should wait till the trickle level.  Need to find that good spot where the sells are slowing and need a shot in the arm.


Splitting hairs when we're basically on the same page.  I just mean as demand diminishes.

CericOctober 19, 2011

Quote from: lolmonade

Quote from: Ceric

Quote from: lolmonade

Quote from: Ceric

The thing about Tier pricing is that most developers believe they are making a Top Tier Game.  Sort of like most Parents believe that there child can do great things.


Beyond that, I think most people probably think a game isn't a quality game if released below the typical full retail price.

That's why I tend to think a gradual reduction in pricing over time is more economical than tiered pricing.  Early adopters will get their top shelf game earlier than anyone, then as demand slows to a trickle, then the price can be gradually depreciated over time.

I don't think the Price drop should wait till the trickle level.  Need to find that good spot where the sells are slowing and need a shot in the arm.


Splitting hairs when we're basically on the same page.  I just mean as demand diminishes.

Correct.

NinSageOctober 19, 2011

Here are my thoughts on this fabulous episode...

1. It makes me sad that Activision (?) didn't take their time with a follow-up to the solid Shattered Dimensions and made Edge of Time an "expansion pack" type of experience.  Spider-Man games should have limitless fun potential.  Yet, I can only think of 3 or 4 really good games out of the dozens that have been made =\

2. I don't listen to too much VG music.  But the MegaMan 2 soundtrack is truly some of the best of all time.  I listen to "The Megas" a lot.  They are fantastic.  I was quite obsessed with them around December.

When I do listen to VG music I am usually doing exactly was was discussed in the podcast. I do it while doing other things.  ... boring things.

3. More good discussion on the handheld/phone debate.  Someday the market for all things digital will settle in to a sensible business model.

4. I'm a fan of the idea of 3DS nub support bubbling up from necessity instead of the other way around.
Also, DKCR needed CC support.  I have NO idea why it didn't.

5. Those anti-MarioKart advertisements were done so poorly.  You'd have to be a real ass for those ads to appeal to you.  At the end of the day, I wouldn't recommend anyone poke the bee's nest that is challenging Nintendo's quality.

5. When was an Epic Mickey HD port confirmed? I can't find any confirmation of that online.  That would be such a shame.
Also, I think Epic Mickey got "mixed" reviews at worst, right? Not "bad."

6. Of all the decisions SEGA has made, Sonic Generations is by far the worst.  They got things right with Sonic Colors, and then they went right back to foolishly listening too closely to the vocal minority of Sonic "fans" that can't be pleased.  In my opinion, SEGA has never stopped having ideas for great games, they have just somehow lost the ability to successfully manage the those ideas.  Most of the time the quality comes through, but sometimes more than others.

7. That Nathan guy has a pretty smart response to piracy.  It is true that even if one pirate donates $1 it is more money than would have been made otherwise.

CericOctober 20, 2011

Quote from: NinSage

...
When I do listen to VG music I am usually doing exactly was was discussed in the podcast. I do it while doing other things.  ...terrible boring things.
...

On Epic Mickey I never follow completed the game I was 75% through I say.  The biggest flaw of that game and one of the reasons I didn't finish it was the concept and everything was a one-time through type of thing but, you have to have multiple play through to get everything.  They should have limit the scope a bit.

KDR_11kOctober 20, 2011

So it was the 20th: Sequence is now available on Steam.

leahsdadOctober 23, 2011

Quote from: Razorkid

On the point of pricing, I think people would be a lot happier if Nintendo (and Sony and Microsoft) would adopt a tiered pricing scheme on their retail games.$50-$60 for top tier, $40-$30 for mid tier, and $20 for the budget retail game. 

I think for Sony and Microsoft and 3rd party publishers, this tiered model you're describing is already in place and in full effect, at least defacto.  When games are first released, they' all in the $50 to $60 top tier.  It's just poor initial sales which start to drive games to the lower tiers that you're describing.  I mean, I just picked up Portal 2 for like $20.  New.  6 months after release. 

Hate or love Nintendo's pricing scheme (maybe pricing fortitude?), it does work.  I know this sounds horrible, but this holiday season I will most definitely be picking up Skyward Sword, 3D Land, and Mario 3D Kart on their respective launch days, and that's because I've been trained as a consumer to know that Nintendo will never, ever lower the price on those games, and the chances of getting those games for a price anywhere lower than its MSRP is almost nil.  So I might as well get those as soon as they come out, because I'm going to want them anyway.  But that also means that games like Shinobi, Cave Story, Nano Assualt, and Bit Trip Saga are going to stay on my Amazon wishlist, because I know those suckers will go on sale at some point, maybe soon.  End result:  Nintendo gets my money.  I know I'm playing right into their hands, but still, from a financial standpoint, it's also the most cost-effective for me.

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