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Episode 273: The Hare with No Hair

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Jonathan Metts - January 1, 2012, 11:03 am PST
Total comments: 25

The gang is back together to celebrate the New Year with --what else?-- New Business! Plus: Zelda + Retro?

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This episode has so much New Business, we had to split it into two segments! Greg is up first with Mighty Switch Force for 3DS. He greatly enjoys this eShop title from WayForward, but Jonny is more critical of the game. Greg also experiences Mega Man X2 for the first time, thanks to Japan's Wii Virtual Console, inciting exuberant memories from James in particular. Next up is Jon, returning after three weeks gone from RFN, and he's got... shooters. Of course! Jon managed to complete all of Resistance 3 and Halo: Anniversary, which takes us briefly into the subject of The Conduit for 3DS. He also made some headway on Uncharted 3, yet has not found time to revisit Zelda since his 30-hour spearhead in the game's launch week.

After a quick break, James picks up with a surprising discussion of Animal Crossing: City Folk. It even leads us to a a round of speculation on where the series is headed next on 3DS and Wii U. Will he fulfill a promise of Wii Speak ranting next week? Jonny seals the deal on this epic New Business with a lightning round of impressions for VVVVVV (eShop version), SwapNote, Game Type (an oddly named project from our friends at Mommy's Best Games), and Aquaria, the Metroid-style underwater adventure. He also boasts of a new gaming PC that will surely inform upcoming episodes.

Finally, we wrestle with a single but searing Listener Mail question about Miyamoto's recent musings that Retro Studios could become involved with the Zelda franchise. As you'd expect from this bunch, we have some strong opinions on whether this could actually happen, and what it would mean for the series if so. We'll answer more letters soon, so let us know what you want to hear about! Oh yeah, and it's finally time to kick off the 21st edition of RetroActive. Your options are Wario Land 4, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, and Kirby & The Amazing Mirror. Many of you already have all three ready to go on your 3DS, so we hope there will be record-setting participation. Of course, all of these games can also be found on the original GBA cartridge format if you're so inclined! Head over to this forum thread to vote for which GBA Ambassador game we should play and discuss together on a future show. Do it right now!

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), oriTunes, 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

CptrobotoJanuary 02, 2012

Hey guys it's Rob (used to be South Fork on here a while ago). I've been gone a while, but now I'm back.
Speaking of being gone, it's good to hear John's purdy voice again on the podcast. Listening last night to James make his usual Lindy quips got me thinking:


I really enjoyed the episodes when John was giving weekly updates on Chrono Trigger, and James had to sit back and  take it like a man (sorry James). So why don't we hold a contest that would be great for the podcast and give John bragging rights over James.


We all vote on a game (or let James decide) that John must finish, giving weekly updates on the show. The stakes: if he beats said game, James can never rag him again for not finishing games. . . add any other suggestions here ( I was thinking that he must refer to John as Daddy for an entire episode).  There would be a time perimeter set, say a month or so, and if he is unable to beat the game, well, I haven't really thought that far.


What do you think? Could be fun. I could see Greg taking this, tweaking it and making it an official RFN sport, something like Retro Game Master.


Anyway, good to be back. Great episode as usual.

purevalJanuary 02, 2012

Never ragging him again is far too great a prize, maybe the loser has to do something ridiculous at PAX East.

StardustJanuary 02, 2012

Firstly, I really hope we haven't cut off the predictions from last year/ predictions for next year episode, for that is where the legendary 5 minute stinger appeared on episode 226 and it was an awesome episode to listen to. I hope you guys can do it again for 2011/2012.


Secondly, that contest sounds awesomely hilarious, but the reward of never making fun of him again? no, I like the Daddy thing. The episode will be a cacophony of laughter. It would be awesome.

The problem with your idea is that I could just pick a game that can't be beaten. If it has to be a game that CAN be beaten I'd need to put a time limit on how long he has to beat it.

purevalJanuary 03, 2012

I don't think beating it is good enough, I think he should have to complete the game. 100% everything in it. It should be something like Xenoblade or a huge game like that.

CptrobotoJanuary 03, 2012

Ooohhhh. Xenoblade sounds good. But I think James should pick it. . . fairly. And how about if John beats the game then he can pick ANY game that James in return must play and 100% like, oh I don't know, We Sing: Robbie Williams edition, or he must prestige in MW3  ;D

gojiraJanuary 03, 2012

I found Mighty Switch Force to be kind of disappointing.  I read the reviews saying it was much better than the previous games.  And the video on the eShop looked amazing.  But I don't think it's any better.  It's nicer looking, but I basically agree with Jonny and don't think they really take the basic premise anywhere interesting.  I was also kinda hoping it would be more of a 'real' game like Shantae.

You actually didn't need to have a memory card just for Animal Crossing if you bought a higher capacity one.  So I never had to bother switching memory cards when I played the game.  Also if more than one person in your house played the game they all played in the same village.  So you didn't need to worry about multiple cards either.  Unless everyone wanted to have their own town.  But the game is so much more fun when you share a town.  That being said, I totally agree with AC being like a quick load app. 

I have a few problems with SwapNote.  You should be able to reply to own note.  I also don't like how you can only reply with the basic setup.  It would be nice to select stationery or reply with a picture.

I'm not as enamored with SwapNote as most. Don't get me wrong--it's a lot of fun seeing amusing 3D pictures and drawings and passing notes around. It just isn't practical as a messaging service.

It doesn't download all pending messages at once. I was a week late to the party and was pretty overwhelmed. I found that SwapNote only downloaded 20 messages at a time, even if more than 20 were in the SpotPass queue. I was OFFLINE in the car and apparently was able to "download" 20 incoming messages several times in a row. Even stranger, order of the messages imported/downloaded didn't seem to be in any particular order. This means that I was responding to messages that others in that thread had already responded to, and revisiting old threads as I downloaded more messages in my queue.

Also, there's no way to determine who a message is from or if it is directed especially at you until you have opened it. This makes prioritizing SwapNote mail impossible.

These will be problems for anyone who neglects there new inbox for a week, and I predict that ultimately it will not be widely used in the long term. Fun messaging systems are well and good, but the DS still needs a messaging and/or voice chat system that is quick and utilitarian.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)January 04, 2012

Quote from: TheYoungerPlumber

I'm not as enamored with SwapNote as most. Don't get me wrong--it's a lot of fun seeing amusing 3D pictures and drawings and passing notes around. It just isn't practical as a messaging service.

That's more or less what I was going to say, although I get the feeling that it was never designed to be used as a full-blown messaging service. It's an amusing application, nothing more, so perhaps analysing it for its utility as email or chatroom software is looking at it too deeply. Your criticisms are totally valid, though.

I was very surprised that SwapNote (which, by the way, is called 'Nintendo Letter Box' on European systems) made you unlock features. That is a very game-y concept and I question the decision to do this in an app like this. When you first start, you can't attach photos, use different stationary or attach sound clips. Somebody might see this, think all they can do is create these basic notes and not use it, because why would you think you'd need to send several notes before functions become available to you?

As a fun little distraction for when you've got 5 minutes spare, it works pretty well. You aren't going to be having conversations on this. In the Official Nintendo Magazine here in the UK, every issue since the 3DS launched, they've always had a double page spread containing AR photos submitted by the readers. It's just people messing about with the AR card, so it looks like someone is fighting their Mii, or like the dog is about to eat Mario -- silly stuff like that. I reckon SwapNote is meant to propagate that kind of thing.

In any event, I disagree with some of the notions raised in this episode. "Killer app for 3DS" and "one of the best things Nintendo has ever done"? No chance. If one of you could elaborate, I'd like to hear it, because you obviously see something special in this app that I don't.

Don't lump me in with those statements. Statements made by Jonny do not represent the views of RFN, NWR, or rational thinking people.

I couldn't agree with TYP more. I thought Swapnote was amazing for a few days. Then I didn't check it over the weekend, got overwhelmed, and might never really get back into it. The UI is miserable.

nickmitchJanuary 04, 2012

SwapNote does seem more useful if you have a smaller/tighter group of friends (or fewer people spamming messages than there has been during the first week or two). A few UI improvements to better sort friends and related messages would also help a great deal.

roykoopa64January 04, 2012

The idea of Animal Crossing being an app on the Wii U main menu is very intriguing and makes a lot of sense. AC (GCN) is the kind of game where I felt like I was living a separate life, and it always relaxed me.

Swap Note is pretty awesome, as Jonny said, no doubt about that. But it takes up a lot of time having to sit and wait for the notes to download, especially when it seems they should have already been downloaded with SpotPass. It gets cumbersome when you have a long list of friends posting 'reply to all' to everything everyone is posting.

If Retro could work on the next Zelda... wow. I would love to see the franchise go in a new direction. Retro is extremely talented, for sure.

Hmm, I don't know what I could do to James that would eclipse 200 hours of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. I think after that he's probably developed a pretty thick hide (or PTSD, one or the other).

To be fair, I'd just assign you Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. I can't do worse than that anyway.

HyawattaJanuary 05, 2012

I would like to be able to play Animal Crossing on both the 3DS and the Wii U together al la Crystal Chronicles Echos of Time. I like being able to play portably as I don't have much time to play, but my wife only wants to play on the big TV screen. I want us to be able to play the same game together from both systems.

I still remember that fateful Pokemon Mystery Dungeon review. It was my first review copy, and I finished the main game, wrote my half of the review, and it seemed like James was ready to write his half, too. Then, he engaged in the rest of the game, delaying the review slightly and growing his hatred of the series endlessly.

Following that review, I didn't play a Pokemon game for nearly two years.

GoldenPhoenix¸January 06, 2012

Retro is too talented to play secondary on another project. Another team should be playing secondary to them on whatever project they are doing.

Given how NST went i'm starting to get the impression nintendo's first party american teams are being treated as minor contractors and "take the load off" developers.

And i prefer unplanned high speed full-on quips James Jones rather than planned-and-prepared organised and hosty James Jones.

Quote from: Plugabugz

Given how NST went i'm starting to get the impression nintendo's first party american teams are being treated as minor contractors and "take the load off" developers.

Which is a shame, because Retro may be the best internal studio Nintendo has. I'd personally give EAD Tokyo the edge, but Retro has demonstrated more range than they have.

Don't forget these Retro news snippets from April of last year...

Retro says their next project is something that "everyone wants us to do"
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-04-20-metroid-prime-dev-making-wii-2-game

Retro job postings point to full-scale new project
http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/news/26104

My prediction is that we'll see a new Retro-developed Metroid trilogy announced for Wii U at E3 2012, and that the first game of the trilogy will be playable on the show floor (as it will be more than a year into development by that point).

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)January 07, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

Don't forget these Retro news snippets from April of last year...

Retro says their next project is something that "everyone wants us to do"
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-04-20-metroid-prime-dev-making-wii-2-game

Retro job postings point to full-scale new project
http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/news/26104

My prediction is that we'll see a new Retro-developed Metroid trilogy announced for Wii U at E3 2012, and that the first game of the trilogy will be playable on the show floor (as it will be more than a year into development by that point).

Interesting thought. I would be happy if they were developing a new Metroid trilogy, but at the same time, I wonder if that franchise might be taking a break as Nintendo ponders its future.

That quote from Retro Studios - "something everyone wants us to do" - is a strange one. What does everyone want them to do? I feel like, after Prime 3, every suggestion under the sun as thrown out as to what Retro could do, and after DKC Returns, it became even more clear that they could probably do any of those suggestions.

I'd argue a new IP fits "something everyone wants us to do" better than them going back to Metroid does.

Spak_SpangJanuary 07, 2012

I am not sure I would agree, the Prime games are pretty much loved by everyone and I have seen more people want them to do another Metroid game than say a new IP. I am sure they would do a good job on a new IP though, don't get me wrong.

I guess I was looking at it from the other direction: I've seen plenty of people who'd be opposed to them going back to Metroid yet again, but I don't think I know anyone who'd be against them getting a shot at their own original IP.

Spak_SpangJanuary 07, 2012

I think we can agree that no matter what their next game is, their track record indicates that it will likely be a very good game.

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