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Episode 283: I Am Impact!

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Jonathan Metts - March 11, 2012, 3:32 pm PDT
Total comments: 18

Jonny returns to the world of compulsive game-buying, and we answer your hot questions about Wii U, 3DS, and reviving Nintendo's classic franchises.

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This week's show begins with Jonny celebrating the completion of his New Year's resolution. In addition to the inevitable praise for Mass Effect 3, he also catches up with Minis March Again for DSiWare and finally completes the main quest in Skyrim. More importantly to most of our listeners, James has extensive impressions for The Last Story, which he just imported from Europe. It's a great chance to learn more about the Wii RPG being published by XSEED in America this summer. Jon, always a fan of obscure Japanese shoot-em-ups (or "shmups"), delivers with DoDonPachi Maximum for Windows Phone 7, of all platforms. Greg completes the foursome with his long-awaited experience with Goemon's Great Adventure, one of the few (and best) 2D platformers for Nintendo 64.

In Listener Mail, we deal with a typically excellent batch of questions from our enlightened listeners. What are the implications of Wii U supporting just one or multiple tablet controllers? Why are Pokemon Black & White 2 being released for DS, and what happens to the young audience when the series finally jumps to 3DS? And how can Nintendo overcome the increasingly oppressive inertia of some of its storied franchises being dormant for one or more generations, even as their audience grows and changes much more rapidly? We'd love to hear your own questions and comments, so please do write in!

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 Konami, and is included under fair use protection.

Talkback

Some things to consider about Black/White:

- The official name is "Black Version 2/White Version 2", making it even clearer that this is a 3rd version/equivalent of a GOTY version. In order to maximize the profit and maintain compatibility, it would have to have been a DS game. (If you're wondering why they didn't stick Black/White on 3DS to begin with, they came out in Japan about 5 months before the 3DS and made $126 million US in its opening weekend. So there.)

- Black and White have sharper version differences in terms of geography than prior games - a city is entirely different based on version, and there's Black City vs White Forest. Black City/White Forest is also based on a battling v catching dichotomy, so it'd be quite difficult to combine them in a way that makes sense. Best to just leave it alone in that case.

- The last couple of Pokemon generations have ended up with 5 games - the starting versions, a remake set and the GOTY version in some order. There's no way they could do a remake/single GOTY version at this point, so with dual remakes the count of games only goes down by 1.

Pixelated PixiesMarch 12, 2012

Unfortunately, I think greg is right when he says that regardless of whether or not the Wii U is capable of handling two tablet controllers, there aren't going to be many if any games that actually require multiple controllers. Which I think is a real shame. I had some really neat ideas of what these tablets could be used for, but it's seems increasingly likely that the possibilities for more than one player will be limited to asymetrical multiplayer.
The example I always use is Smash Bros. I've always been pretty terrible at the game, but imagine how cool it would be if defeated players could continue to battle it out for 3rd and 4th on their tablets while the match for 1st and 2nd is still being fought on the television. This is exactly the sort of inclusive feature which Nintendo is wont to do.

CëricMarch 12, 2012

I was a big fan of the first N64 Goemon game and all its absurdity, and I really wanted to play the second game back in the day.  Unfortunately, I never saw that game on store shelves when it was allegedly released, let alone in the years since.  Outside of the internet, I don't know how anyone managed to buy a copy of that game.  It's a shame that 3rd parties have seemingly given-up on the Wii Virtual Console, as I'd snap up both Mystical Ninja games as soon as they were released.

geoMarch 12, 2012

Regarding the Wii U controller tablet discussion:
What would happen to the player on smash bros that uses the tablet controller as a controller?  Do they get additional input?  Are there going to be mario-tennis 3DS style shortcuts for them?  Will it just be a mirror image of what's happening on screen?  Will it be turned off entirely?  Anything besides being turned off entirely could potentially be considered an advantage (or if you're playing with little kids, the 'desirable' controller). 

Another possibility when using classic controller as your primary controller: Could you not leave the tablet controller sitting on its stand in front of you as a map or something?  Or would it be disabled because you chose a different input setting? 

I really really doubt nintendo will let you use more than one tablet controller, but if that's the case either every game will have to be single player or a 3v1 (or 4v1) scenario to fully utilize the tablet controller.

****Edit: Also, what happened at the 92 minute mark?  Greg mentions an email and then it jumps to Jonny  talking about the black box games?

Good show as usual.

I think, more than doubting the commitment of the developer/publisher for completing an announced trilogy of games, I doubt my commitment to play them. With games more than any other medium, I just get sick of the getting more of the same thing. I doubt the gameplay can hook me enough to keep going back to a series, unless we're talking about 2D platformers.

Plus I rarely get into TV shows or books (comics or novels) that have an overarching plot that wasn't completed yet, because I loathe the idea of never getting the ending should the series be cancelled or the author leave or die, and the same goes with plot-heavy games. Not that story is what draws me to games in general...

Listening to the Goemon talk, I now realize that while Suda 51's stuff is crazy, No More Heroes really hasn't invented anything, it's just one of the few wacky japanese games that escaped being published only in Japan.

Great talk on reinvigorating dormant franchises. It's really the kind of stuff you hope people at Nintendo listened to.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusMarch 12, 2012

Quote from: geo

****Edit: Also, what happened at the 92 minute mark?  Greg mentions an email and then it jumps to Jonny  talking about the black box games?

Nothing unusual happened there, that's just how the conversation went over Skype: I started to mention an e-mail we once received many months ago that discussed the black box Wii games in Japan with respect to the potential for selective branding, and before I could even finish that sentence Jonny had already anticipated what I was going to say and brought up the black box games himself. This is just the kind of thing that happens when you do this show together for more than four years and have reasonably functional memories.

geoMarch 12, 2012

Quote from: Yoshidious

Quote from: geo

****Edit: Also, what happened at the 92 minute mark?  Greg mentions an email and then it jumps to Jonny  talking about the black box games?

Nothing unusual happened there, that's just how the conversation went over Skype: I started to mention an e-mail we once received many months ago that discussed the black box Wii games in Japan with respect to the potential for selective branding, and before I could even finish that sentence Jonny had already anticipated what I was going to say and brought up the black box games himself. This is just the kind of thing that happens when you do this show together for more than four years and have reasonably functional memories.

Ah, good to know.  I was a bit confused for a second there.  Great show again, and thanks for all your hard work Mr. Leahy!

Spak_SpangMarch 12, 2012

Quote from: Pixelated

The example I always use is Smash Bros. I've always been pretty terrible at the game, but imagine how cool it would be if defeated players could continue to battle it out for 3rd and 4th on their tablets while the match for 1st and 2nd is still being fought on the television. This is exactly the sort of inclusive feature which Nintendo is wont to do.

The games already do that though. In modes like Stock Mode, the first player to lose their lives is 4th, then 3rd, etc. In Time Mode, whoever has the best KO ratio is 1st, then 2nd, etc. So what good would having more action on the Wii U controller do? When you are eliminated, you already know what place you finish.

James you can change the way attacking controls in the last story. You can choose to use A for sword swings if you want.

AVMarch 12, 2012

I remember the 1st n64 game of Goemon with such nostalgia. It was my first real dip into Japanese culture and boy was it fun. I loved Super Mario 64 and this seemed like a great next game. I laughed so much playing it with its random nature and crazy gameplay.  I remember a merchant in the game was snacking on something but it looked very odd. He was sitting criss-cross and had some food in between his legs, so the animation looked like he was going to get more food but it didn't look right.


Imagine a No More Heroes, Goemon crossover game that would be great.

I believe I said I don't really finish JRPGs anymore, outside of Pokemon (and I can't believe I forgot it, but most DQ games). I still stand by the fact that, for me, Pokemon is just like a blanket I envelop myself in. I am fully aware of how much of a JRPG it is, but my familiarity with the series just makes it nostalgic and comforting.

LolmonadeMarch 13, 2012

Also Pokemon has the whole collection aspect. Other JRPGS don't let you customize your party to the same degree and are more story driven.

On the whole refreshing franchises topic I'm not sure it's even feasible to revitalize all those old franchises. And also, is it even necessary? Yes, all those franchises have their fans but is it really advisable to try so hard to draw new gamers to an old franchise? Especially since the ones that have been left to rot are ignored because they weren't huge in the first place. Could just as well try something new and potentially have a huge hit rather than a guaranteed weak seller. Hell, did Pikmin sell so well that a Pikmin 3 is even warranted?

GoldenPhoenix¸March 13, 2012

Before this drives anyone else nuts, there is a bug in iOS 5.1 that changes the chapter titles to Chapter 1 Chapter 2 etc.

It's not Greg's standards slipping.

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3789809?start=0&tstart=0

Quote from: KDR_11k

Also Pokemon has the whole collection aspect. Other JRPGS don't let you customize your party to the same degree and are more story driven.

I think this is my usual issue with JRPGs. I like Pokémon, and I liked Dragon Quest IX and Final Fantasy I which both allowed for customization. Apart from those, I've never been a big fan of JRPGs, I think because they feel too passive.

Dasmos¸Hong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusMarch 13, 2012

Since you haven't finished ME3, I won't go in too much about the ending except to say they fuck you the player over it. There is some seriously massive backlash over it right now.

Constructing a universe like that with a trilogy in mind isn't that far out and in fact isn't that unusual. I point you towards Babylon 5 written by J. Michael Straczynski. It was written with 5 seasons in mind which ended up extended to a 5th semi-unplanned season due to the network they were on collapsing around them during the 4th. Story telling of that scale has existed for a long time and it's only recently has games caught up to some extent. For games it is far easier to do since you can include all story line possibilities assuming you have and open game oppose to having to decide what to cut out. Also once it is written, the story effectively plugs into the game. Sure the developers still have to make the assets and so forth, but they don't have a weekly production deadline to come out with an episode every single week.

For a TV production you have write in character trap doors for when you need a person to disappear from the show without disrupting the narrative. Actors working on multi-year projects can become sick, die or have unresolvable personal conflicts with the staff or commitments that require work arounds. Games don't have that problem. While there is some uncertainty with whether ME would get a full trilogy, that wasn't the writers problem. If it never made it to a full trilogy the ending would have been whatever the last game's ending would have been and if your lucky you get a DLC ending. The challenges faced by the ME writers pale in comparison and really do a disservice to far superior writers and the difficulties they faced by elevating the ME writers like that. Videogame story telling is improving, but still very much in it's infancy.


Having a minimum of 2 tablets for the WiiU is a no brainer. This is the same situation with Motion Plus which should have been included with the Wii out of the gate, but Nintendo cheaped out on. While wireless bandwidth would be a problem, they already have a solution. The second tablet can be hooked up via USB. It is a simple and elegant solution. In a future revision, both can be wireless, but right now, one wired and one wireless is a good compromise and importantly, feasible and cheap to do. I would be extremely surprise if they don't have a second tablet as it is a very boneheaded move to have only one.

Input lag should be much of an issue since the controller still functions as a controller and it simply picks up on the broadcast. Onlive as much as I don't think it is the future of gaming has already shown that encoding of the video is very fast and can fit into a very limited pipe, one more limited and error prone than a couple meters of air. It becomes a question of decode speed, bandwidth and battery life. Use more bandwidth, you can decode faster and use less battery power. It's only a matter of trail and error to see what the acceptable envelope is for all three factors. The console won't be the problem as that will no doubt have a dedicated single function chip to handle the encode at a very high speed not too dissimilar to the ANA chip for scaling found in the 360.


As for games like Mario Kart and F-zero, I don't see a reason why they could exist at the same time. They are both racing games, but they are very different racing games. It's like saying because you have Mario, you can't have a Donkey Kong platformer. It's absurd. It's a question on return on investment. Between MK and F-Zero, F-zero has a lower return, but it a positive return. Nintendo only has so many resources to expend for one reason or another, willingly or otherwise, so will tend towards the low hanging fruit. As a Franchise lies fallow, over time the return on investment increases as that segment remains unserved by new games, so like farming becomes increasingly fertile. Eventually you rotate it back in and get a bumper crop.

This is the opposite of other publishers *Cough*Activision*Cough*, which practices slash and burn which eventually reders the market segment worthless. Or Rovio with it's mono crop which is extremely exposed with one single point of failure and the fact they are not a games company, they are in the business of marketing trading on momentum alone.

This is why even Zelda with it's tendency having 2 games per generation tended to have one game that is considered Gaiden or gameplay wise somewhat out of line. It was the same "Crop" say corn, but it wasn't planted in the same field and was a different variety.

Kytim89March 14, 2012

If Nintendo were to allow the Classic Controller Pro to be used with third party games instead of the tablet controller would Nintendo make a wireless upgraded classic controller?

I would assume the Wii U supports the Classic Controller, since we know it supports Wii remotes and is backward compatible with Wii games. I'd be pretty surprised if they made a new one, though. Unless of course Capcom decides they want one.

roykoopa64March 14, 2012

It was great to hear more about Last Story, I'm just glad it's finally coming to the U.S., however late it may be.

It was interesting to hear you guys talk about the Pokemon franchise. It makes sense what Nintendo does with each new generation. I am big fan myself but fell a little behind after finishing Pearl. I am slowly catching; I just beat LeafGreen on the GBA last night and am continuing to play Heart Gold for now so I can jump into Black before part 2 comes out.

Another good show!

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