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Episode 289: S.O.P.H.I.A. on the Sauce

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, Jonathan Metts, and Guillaume Veillette - April 29, 2012, 2:39 pm PDT
Total comments: 32

We return to RetroActive to discuss an overlooked (and contentious) WiiWare game.

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While Greg kicked back to enjoy the NFL Draft, the rest of us kept RFN running smoothly with plenty of help from our friend and frequent guest (of late), Guillaume from Negative World. Jonny doesn't really have a fresh game to discuss in New Business (just a quick wrap-up on Fez), so he leads a brief tour through the recent Nintendo Direct announcements. Most notably, the group expresses both concern and optimism for New Super Mario Bros. 2 (as of recording time, we didn't yet know about the digital release plan). James digs deeper into the dark hole of Freshly Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, and now we have the bemused perspective of Guillaume, who also played it at some point. Jon teases the host and much of the Internet masses with his glowing impressions of Diablo 3 from the recent open beta test. Finally, our guest jams on Mario's Picross (for Game Boy/3DS), SSB Brawl training, and 3D Classics: Kid Icarus.

After the break, we bring RetroActive #22 to a noble conclusion with a comprehensive, warts-and-all feature on MotoHeroz. This critically acclaimed, little-played WiiWare title comes from the developers of Trials HD and Trials Evolution on XBLA. The Wii off-shoot is quite similar in many ways, but it also incorporates thoughtful platforming and a baffling online mode to complement the very challenging, often equally satisfying races. We all developed quite different feelings about MotoHeroz after playing it for this feature (including a near-complete turnaround for Guillaume), leading to one of the most ambivalent and enlightening RetroActive segments yet!

We'll have Greg and Listener Mail next week, so please send in your very best questions (recent Wii U news might be a good starting point). And if you have suggestions for the next RetroActive, there's a forum thread for just that.

This podcast was edited by Guillaume Veillette.

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

Pixelated PixiesApril 29, 2012

I really didn't find the physics in Motoheroz all that fun. I became better at controlling the vehicle but never really had the sort of control I felt like I needed. The physics issues for me were just exacerbated when either other vehicles or water were involved. Bumping into AI characters was just frustrating for me and I absolutely hated the underwater challenges which controlled terribly.

Yay for more Guillaume. Boo for no Greg.

LUIGI205April 29, 2012

There seems to be a bug with the podcast.  :(

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusApril 29, 2012

Quote from: LUIGI205

There seems to be a bug with the podcast.  :(

Can you provide any specifics relating to the trouble you've experienced? Everything passed through the usual checks on this end.

http://static.fjcdn.com/comments/Mother+of+god+_0e29a0446d96d138e7f1b06aa63261cf.jpg

I can attest to these bugs, maybe.
I'm skipping around and my VLC won't have any of it. Just gets stuck on the 32nd minute. That's the MP3, btw.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusApril 29, 2012

Quote from: Webmalfunction

I can attest to these bugs, maybe.
I'm skipping around and my VLC won't have any of it. Just gets stuck on the 32nd minute. That's the MP3, btw.

Thanks for the info. I can only assume something went wrong in the uploading process as the original file does not have any such problem--hopefully this will be remedied shortly.

YoshidiousGreg Leahy, Staff AlumnusApril 29, 2012

I've re-uploaded the mp3 file, and having also downloaded it to test the playback, it now seems to work fine (I was able to skip around the file while playing through VLC and WMP with no bother). Absolutely no idea what went wrong in the first place as there was nothing wrong with the original file and it clearly uploaded in its entirety, but hopefully you should have no trouble if you re-download the mp3 version now.

LUIGI205April 29, 2012

Oops, sorry for the late response.  :Q
The file got stuck for me at the 1 minute mark in all formats but it seems to be working fine now.
Thank you!

NinSageApril 29, 2012

SOPHIA? Gotta be a Blaster Master reference ...... *begins listening to podcast!*


CëricApril 29, 2012

Quote from: Yoshidious

I've re-uploaded the mp3 file, and having also downloaded it to test the playback, it now seems to work fine (I was able to skip around the file while playing through VLC and WMP with no bother). Absolutely no idea what went wrong in the first place as there was nothing wrong with the original file and it clearly uploaded in its entirety, but hopefully you should have no trouble if you re-download the mp3 version now.

Good to hear.  I started listening to the episode about a half hour ago, and several minutes in there was an audio blip and suddenly Jonny was talking about what I assume was MotoHeroz.  I'll listen to the new version now and see if it still does that.

LolmonadeApril 30, 2012

I'm short 6.125 cubes in Fez, three of them are in the clock. I haven't figured out the owl in the graveyard, the bell and the security question plus some other stuff (e.g. a ground painting that requires more treasure maps I'd guess, I solved one half of it). Got a weird thing from the telescope that doesn't show in my inventory. Still haven't decoded the numbers above 5 and haven't used the internet yet.

Just one hint I'd like: The book seems to be encrypted, is that a simple character substitution cipher or does it require a more complex algorithm? I'd be willing to crack a substitution cipher but not something more complex, e.g. DES.

geoApril 30, 2012

Even though I, too, am a Diablo noob, I think it's funny that john said that Diablo III's inventory is like RE4.  I remember that when RE4 came out people said the inventory was like Diablo. 

Ryadin91April 30, 2012

can someone repeat those twitter accounts?

geoApril 30, 2012

Hey, I'm currently playing fez but trying to avoid all spoilers (thanks jonny, you're doing a much better job than the bombcast!  I have to skip huge segments when they talk about fez).  Do any of you know of a good spoiler-free walkthrough?  I haven't 'beaten' the game yet and I have yet to reach 'new game +', but I dont want the puzzles spoiled entirely for me when I try to solve them.

Is there a place that just tells me the starting place for the puzzles, where to begin to solve them, rather than just telling me the solution?  I've figured as much that there's an alphabet to decipher, but I don't want it deciphered FOR ME, rather, i'd like to know where to go in the game to get HINTS about how to solve it.  Like "This room has the necessary bit of info you need", not "A is this symbol, B is this symbol, " etc.  Has a FAQ been written up like that, or is everything just spoiler-tastic at this point? 

Once again, another great show guys, keep up the good work.

LolmonadeApril 30, 2012

Go for new game +, many puzzles become solvable, some quite easily, after that. Also there's a rosetta stone type of thing in the game (doesn't require new game plus), you don't need to do any cryptanalysis on the characters but you may need some general knowledge that isn't part of the game (e.g. pangrams).


Tingle gives feedback on how good your bid was if it succeeds, if Tingle smiles and the NPC frowns then you're pretty close to the optimum value, if both are happy you're somewhat off and if Tingle frowns you're way off. I got a feel for the amounts to ask for quite quickly. Also combat isn't zero-sum if you have a bodyguard and hover up a combo of enemies, fighting alone does cost a lot though.

nickmitchApril 30, 2012

Good discussion about MotoHeroz, although it's too bad you didn't get much forum participation. 

The game came at a bad time for me with other concerns limiting my gaming time and after being very unimpressed after about 45 minutes with the demo there was no way I wanted to purchase/play the full game.  I wonder if others had the same experience, or if the cost and platform was what turned people away?  (Interesting to note that the next game being played on Connectivity is Metroid Other M - a full retail title that should easily be available for less than MotoHeroz.)

It's funny how people seemed to maintain "it's not a bad game" on the podcast despite having more gripes and negative comments than actual praise.  It's also funny that this game nabbed an 82 overall score on Metacritic; based on my experience and the overall tone of the discussion here, that seems rather generous.

Anyway, my biggest take-away from this MotoHeroz experience is that demos really are worth looking for, as they can help me spend my limited time and funds where they will be more appreciated.

Quote from: Ryadin91

can someone repeat those twitter accounts?

jonnymetts
MrDiamondJ
NWR_James
PandareusRex (though I'm getting tired of it and it's meaningless, add it before I change it!)

Quote from: KDR_11k

Tingle gives feedback on how good your bid was if it succeeds, if Tingle smiles and the NPC frowns then you're pretty close to the optimum value, if both are happy you're somewhat off and if Tingle frowns you're way off. I got a feel for the amounts to ask for quite quickly. Also combat isn't zero-sum if you have a bodyguard and hover up a combo of enemies, fighting alone does cost a lot though.

Ah, good to know. I only played the game for an hour or so, bought it while on vacation and I wished I had internet access to just look up prices. I'll probably try to get back into it after hearing James praising it so much.

Quote from: ejamer

It's funny how people seemed to maintain "it's not a bad game" on the podcast despite having more gripes and negative comments than actual praise.  It's also funny that this game nabbed an 82 overall score on Metacritic; based on my experience and the overall tone of the discussion here, that seems rather generous.

Yeah, I suppose, though perhaps that's just because the anecdotes of when the game messed up and frustrated us were more interesting than when we'd play 30 levels in a row and had fun. That, and we're more likely to recall Spiderwood, which we all got stuck on, than the fun levels that we played through only once or twice.

I wish I had taken notes about some of the levels as I played, actually, some of them were quite clever. I mentioned the "rag doll in a basket" once, that comes up twice. There's also another similar one in which you carry monkey eggs. That was fun.

geoApril 30, 2012

Quote from: KDR_11k

Go for new game +, many puzzles become solvable, some quite easily, after that. Also there's a rosetta stone type of thing in the game (doesn't require new game plus), you don't need to do any cryptanalysis on the characters but you may need some general knowledge that isn't part of the game (e.g. pangrams).

I don't even know how to get to new game plus.  I have 16ish cubes and 3 nega cubes and dont even know where to go to beat the game.  I'm kinda stuck as it is, but I haven't really tried too hard.  I opened the 4/8/16 cube rooms but didnt really find anything inside that led me to where to go next unless i'm just not looking hard enough.

NinSageApril 30, 2012

Great show.  Hate to lose Greg but Bills football is a good excuse.  Glad to see more Gui!

Responses...

1. 2D Mario games are starting to come out too frequently.  But you have to give it a bit of a pass because, at the moment, they are trying to solidify two new platforms.  My biggest gripe? I still think the naming convention is ridiculous.  New Super Mario Bros?  ugh. Still awful.  Every game is "new" at some time!

That said,  I think we're all going to enjoy the content of these games.  History shows that for the most part, Nintendo announces something, doesn't spill every bean, people scoff, then play it, are pleasantly surprised, and then completely enjoy it.

Given the sheer number of times this has happened, let's save the cynicism for AFTER we play the games and then lambaste them with proper hindsight and informed opinions if that happens to be the case.

2. I've said it before, I'll say it again... Kid Icarus NES? mehhh. Kid Icarus 3D Classics? Astounding.  The art in the backgrounds? The 3D parallax? Oh my god it's all gorgeous.  Actually makes the completely ridiculous inverted difficulty curve worth the effort!

3. hahaha, "Demoontium"! I liked it, James.

4. I gotta say, excellent point about the "MotoHeroz" name holding back the title.  I know that when I first heard of the game, I read the title and immediately my mind went to terrible shovelware and the damage had been done.

5. What's the record for mentioning Rube Goldberg on a podcast series? I think RFN has the crown!

In the retroactive when the follow-up game Trials HD was commented on, and it was mentioned that your driver could fall out of the vehicle and die forcing you to start over, it made me think of happy wheels.

I enjoyed listening to the segment, but it solidified my thinking that the game isn't for me.  I think the game would have been at a better "impulse buy" range if between $5-10.

geo, the Fez guide you seek is this one by GameSpot:


http://www.gamespot.com/features/the-secrets-of-fez-6372274/


If anything, I found it to be overly cryptic, but it did at least point me in some useful directions.


KDR, you are doing amazingly well for not having any help. I couldn't even figure out how to open the book, but I know from reading online that it is indeed encrypted. Solving that puzzle is what one developer called "practically impossible". It took the collective Internet over a week to solve it, which is pretty amazing both ways.

LolmonadeMay 01, 2012

My first thought was that Gomez was holding the book wrong since the Zu write top to bottom and the symbol on the front is turned 90° from how it looks on the shortcut doors and stuff but that's evidently not enough. Also I think I triggered a glitch and got an extra anti-cube (inputted the code in the starting village's rich guy's room after already getting a cube for the same code from a QR code)...


So I looked up the book translation, doesn't seem to amount to anything useful except for fluff and even then it's not something I didn't already know. Maybe the only clue is to think in three/four dimensions.

Also in the class room shown in the last video there's a long strip of numbers on the wall... is that a phone number? I'm not gonna phone to the US just for Fez.


For a comparison, I beat the main campaign in Braid without any help but didn't even notice the stars.


The first thing like Trials that I've seen was Motocross Maniac on the original GB, later Elastomania on the PC.

gojiraMay 01, 2012

In terms of hours played, Mario's Picross is my most played 3DS game.  It definitely has some control issues.  But considering I do Picross-type puzzles with pen and paper in puzzle books, the whole black and white aspect doesn't really bother me too much.  But I do agree that the game would be so much better with little things like greying out what you've found.  Even though I love the DS Picross games I wasn't sure about their ancestor.  But obviously I really enjoy it.

geoMay 03, 2012

Thanks jonny.  That's perfect.  I have 3 golden cubes left, then i'll take a look as soon as i'm stuck.

Hey Einstein!May 03, 2012

Another nice podcast fella's. Glad I passed on the retroactive, it just sounded too frustrating.


And speaking of frustration, I think Johnny's opinion on New Super Mario Bros 2 is a bit unrealistic (trying to be kind here!).  It sounds like he wants Nintendo to function like an indie developer in the same year that they published their first annual loss.
New Super Mario is a series that makes money, it's not like they have annualized it or milked it beyond redemption like an Activision or Ubisoft franchise and the previous 2 games are both solid 2D platformers. Not my favourite Mario games but nothing to be ashamed of.


One of the things I like about Nintendo is that they do experiment as well as milking their classic franchises.
So I think it's a bit unreasonable to moan about a predictable money maker that will massively help their bottom line, especially one that comes out a year after Mario 3D land which is pretty unique for a Mario game.

Quote from: Hey

Another nice podcast fella's. Glad I passed on the retroactive, it just sounded too frustrating.


And speaking of frustration, I think Johnny's opinion on New Super Mario Bros 2 is a bit unrealistic (trying to be kind here!).  It sounds like he wants Nintendo to function like an indie developer in the same year that they published their first annual loss.
New Super Mario is a series that makes money, it's not like they have annualized it or milked it beyond redemption like an Activision or Ubisoft franchise and the previous 2 games are both solid 2D platformers. Not my favourite Mario games but nothing to be ashamed of.


One of the things I like about Nintendo is that they do experiment as well as milking their classic franchises.
So I think it's a bit unreasonable to moan about a predictable money maker that will massively help their bottom line, especially one that comes out a year after Mario 3D land which is pretty unique for a Mario game.


I think it may be unrealistic, but it's the wish of not only him, but several Nintendo devotees that believe the New Super Mario Bros style is lazy/stale, and want to see a new visualization and way to play a Mario platformer. 

As gamers, we should be able to understand why gaming business may make the decisions they make, but also be willing to criticize them if we don't think they are meeting our needs as gamers. 

Nintendo often (unjustifiably) gets complained about as a company that keeps on re-releasing the same game under a different console each couple of years.  I think there's legitimate concern about them eventually falling into this cycle.

NinSageMay 04, 2012

Here's how I would sum up the situation:
"Rehash" game + awesome = no problem.
"Rehash" game + not awesome = problem.

That said, I've yet to have a problem with Nintendo.  I officially think that the release of NSMB2 and NSMBWii U so close together might start calling awesomeness into jeopardy.  However, based on Nintendo's history, they have definitely earned the right to be pronounced innocent until proven guilty!!  To think the opposite would be to neglect history.

Even I, who had gone on the record saying I welcomed a little rehashing from Nintendo when it comes to 2D platformers, since we fans of the genre hadn't gotten catered to for essentially two whole gens, feel like the NSMB series could use a little break if it wants to remain fresh. I'm still hopeful and looking forward to NSMB2, though.

Uncle_OptimusMay 07, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

That said, I've yet to have a problem with Nintendo.  I officially think that the release of NSMB2 and NSMBWii U so close together might start calling awesomeness into jeopardy.  However, based on Nintendo's history, they have definitely earned the right to be pronounced innocent until proven guilty!!  To think the opposite would be to neglect history.

Itsa me, Mario Party!

I think I get what Uncle Optimus is saying, and I'll spell it out:

Mario Party 9 is freaking awesome and actual forward leap for the franchise. Yet still, most people ignore it and rip on it for being the same old crap. Humorously enough, MP9 was looked at with a raised eyebrow when it was announced last E3. Unfortunately, everyone who raised an eyebrow at that likely never cared to read anything else about the game again.

If that same dismissal happens with NSMB2, then I don't really know why you're a Nintendo fan, if you can even call yourself that.

Uncle_OptimusMay 08, 2012


I figure that Nintendo, like other game publishers, are more than willing to serialize a money-maker. Mario Party is a very interesting test case: glancing over the series rough performance over its iterations (via vgchartz, not perfect, I know) Nintendo was pushing out product annually on the GameCube, despite waning critical reception. The reason is as any would guess, the games sold very well and the development budget was likely relatively spartan compared to most of Nintendo's 'Cube efforts. With ROI like that, and remembering Nintendo's platform struggles during those times, who could blame 'em for capitalizing on what the public apparently wanted anyway?
If anything, I am now very surprised that they have only thrown 2 Mario Parties on the Wii...number 8 (released 2007) leveraged that wide "casual" Wii userbase for some spectacular sales! This would indeed support an argument that Nintendo is "better" than many of their 3rd parties when it comes to milking a series. "Better" sure is subjective tho; If it were me running Nintendo, I would have wanted at least one other New Super Mario Bros. on the Wii. (30 million presumably happy customers would likely be quite receptive...but Nintendo's unfortunate failures to adequately support their successful platform is another topic.)

Game companies that leverage a popular property with multiple sustaining releases is the logical tact, I don't think there is anything "wrong" with it perse. In fact, I wouldn't mind if they could "milk" a couple OG-style Metroid adventures outta themselves (listening to RFN's Super Metroid spectacular as I type)...a second NSMB for Wii would likely have paid for it and then some.

Hey Einstein!May 08, 2012

Quote from: NinSage

Here's how I would sum up the situation:
"Rehash" game + awesome = no problem.
"Rehash" game + not awesome = problem.

Couldn't agree more!
I would buy a NSMB rehash every year so long as I keep enjoying them.
And if I don't enjoy it then I am happy for a million other people to buy it and line the Nintendo pockets again and hopefully further widen the 3DS install base. I'll just play something else.


I think people are making too much of the Wii U Mario demo at E3 last year. It was a demo, let's wait for an announcement before we criticize the release schedule. How long was Skyward Sword demoed before we ever got an accurate release date?


Stroof, based on the 3DS time line there won't be a Mario game on Wii U until summer 2013 anyway ( although I do hope they learn their lesson and have some plumber ready for the launch)!!!

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