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Episode 361: Slap Happy

by James Jones, Jon Lindemann, Jonathan Metts, and Guillaume Veillette - December 8, 2013, 8:35 pm PST
Total comments: 27

Controversy abounds as we catch up with more holiday games and your provocative emails!

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We have a classic edition of the show this week, as Jon returns to help clean up the Listener Mail backlog. Before that, we have a solid lineup for New Business, and Guillaume gets right to it with the new Pikmin 3 DLC. Turns out that the free level is the best part, while the rest is bland and overpriced. He also gets literary with a book called History of Nintendo, Vol. 1, which thoroughly examines the company all the way up to (but not including) their first ventures into video games. Lindy finally wraps up The Last of Us with even more flame-ready comments, and he spends a little time with his new Vita. James tries out Rayman Legends for the first time, while also sharing even more withering criticism of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Don't think Jonny will let that go without some counter-balance, though! The host also describes and strongly recommends Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. It may be the best pirate game AND the best of its franchise.

After a scriptless Now Playing, we return to Listener Mail after a few weeks off from this popular feature. The batch of questions takes us all over the map, from a Pokemon soundtrack's surprising success to our expectations for Valve's Steambox platform. We consider the potential for the GamePad to become an independent device, and also consider the effects of aging on our ability to physically tolerate video games. Pro Tip: Stop immediately if anything feels uncomfortable!

We're always looking for new topics, and our listeners are the driving force. You can help out the show by sending in your own questions and ideas, or by hitting that iTunes link above to rate and review the podcast!

This podcast was edited by Jonathan Metts and James Jones.

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

yoshi1001December 08, 2013

Haven't had a chance to listen yet, but just in case you didn't mention it, a source of mine with access to SoundScan informed me the Pokemon X/Y soundtrack has sold about 5,000 copies in the US. Not a lot, really, but considerably better than the essentially 0 in the US for all the previous generations.

azekeDecember 09, 2013

Yes, "History of Nintendo" books are great for putting things in perspective. Catalog with pictures is only in the middle, regular text with stories resumes after a while.

Yokoi stands out even more in in second, Game and Watch, volume. Stuff he did and invented may as well changed not just Nintendo or videogames but entire electronic industry.

I also recommend reading to Game and Watch: Iwata Asks for more fascinating stories about GnW.

As far as i can tell from Rayman Challenge App (didn't do challenges on actual full game yet) noone is cheating. You have to "break" Rayman's weird jumping physics system and abuse it's pecularities in a very specific ways to reach this kind of times. Rayman's physics, once you start to delve into it like this, gets really, really weird and "wonky" doesn't even begin to describe it.

You learn a lot by simply observing ghosts. You can watch youtube videos and that might help somewhat, but running along with a ghost and seeing how well he does comparable to you is a much better learning tool.

Having not played Link Between World, your description that puzzles are reduced to the most simple ones sounds amazing and exactly what i wanted.

About people who have 0 experience in Zelda games and start playing it. Of course these people are going to misunderstand things about the game! When you call their performance "depressing"... THAT is depressing.

Zelda games just got way up it's own ass by now. And your reaction is also a schoolbook case of a fanbase getting up into it's own ass and looking down at puny mortals who *gasp!* -- has never played a Zelda game!

Unintuitive puzzles and misunderstandings exactly like what you described is why each Zelda game i played so far have taken me at the very least three months to finish. Because i face some BS puzzle like that and give up. For a few weeks, or month or even a year.

I finished Link's Awakening last month. It took me about 2.5+ years. I am not in a hurry to start yet another slow-burner like that.

I am playing Assassin's Creed III on Wii U right now and i have no idea how anyone can call it a comparable port. Unless PC version also becomes a slideshow at times. I am not a framerate person and honestly can't see the difference between 30fps and 60fps to save my life but when game becomes so stuttery you can't counter effectively during intense battles (like in tea party mission when there are huge crowds around you and a few dozens soldiers attacking) even i start complaining.

It's kinda weird when people say that they like or hate this guy or that guy from Assassin's game. Like some people hate Desmond. Why? Who knows, they just do. Is that his looks? Are people that shallow? But all of them look nearly identical, why do you dislike Desmond and like Ezio?..

Probably the only time where Ezio had a really a good character moment was in Revelations of all games where he sang those great songs as a minstrel. Aside from that -- he's your regular game protagonist #43242 -- his family, his revenge, his love, in a world, whatever...

Very much looking forward to IV on Wii U and hopefully it's not as much a slideshow as III is.

On Steambox. I have gaming PC and i really don't understand why would i need yet another box if i already can play anything on what i have. That controller is intriguing though.

Chad SexingtonDecember 09, 2013

About to beat A Link Between Worlds in Hero Mode.


Love the game, but yes, it's very, very easy.  I didn't die once in normal mode and died at least 7 times in Hero Mode, mostly in the beginning when you die to 1-2 hits from anything.  It's a little weird because I have the same complaints as James does about the game and yet I still love the game.


For reference, my favorite 2D Zelda is A Link to the Past and my favorite 3D Zelda is Wind Waker.  I absolutely hate and despise Majora's Mask.  I don't remember if I liked Link's Awakening.  I attempted to play through it on 3 separate occasions and the game just isn't for me.  I'm also pro-touch controls for Phantom Hourglass.


Also, Adventures of Link is my 3rd favorite Zelda game.  I'm waiting for the day when they return to that style for a game.

broodwarsDecember 09, 2013

Regarding the question about availability of localized video game music, Square-Enix has been selling some of their soundtracks on their North American website for years. The selection isn't fantastic and it's changed a lot over the years, but they are available for purchase at non-import prices.  For people who don't value physical media, they also have a site for digital downloads here.  I purchased my Chrono Cross, Last Remnant, and Final Fantasy X CDs from that site, though I had to import most of my soundtrack CDs (Xenoblade, Chrono Trigger, Ogre Battle 64, etc.) via CDJapan.

So while Nintendo may not value bringing their soundtracks over here for people not willing to buy entire new consoles just for them, other companies (as usual) have been more on the ball.

WeetrickDecember 09, 2013

Quote from: Chad

About to beat A Link Between Worlds in Hero Mode.

Love the game, but yes, it's very, very easy.  I didn't die once in normal mode and died at least 7 times in Hero Mode, mostly in the beginning when you die to 1-2 hits from anything.  It's a little weird because I have the same complaints as James does about the game and yet I still love the game.

I must really suck at games because I died plenty of times in Normal Mode. It definitely gets easier as you gain more hearts/items, but I think this is one of the more challenging Zelda games in years. And I've played every single one.


(Note: I haven't listened to the episode yet - I can't wait to hear the Zelda talk)

Great episode. Getting the full crew together for a classic-style talk is always my favorite.

Also, Jones is right. The difficulty of LBW is pretty pitiful. Also, that game could have used another 6 hours of good content.

I know Jonny generally prefers shorter games and especially shorter Zelda games, but I think I'm in a different camp where I almost feel entirely ripped off by any 60 dollar purchase unless I get at least 15 hours of tight, high quality content (more lenient on 40 dollar games like Zelda). This is probably one of the reasons why I generally only go full price on certain RPGs, certain Nintendo games, and certain open world games (barring exceptions like  launch titles). I honestly don't think there's any modern 10 hour experience that is worth 60 dollars.

Zelda ALBW took me 23 hours to complete with everything but a few heart pieces. I even beat the Treacherous Tower on Advanced, twice, and found all 100 Maimais.

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

Zelda ALBW took me 23 hours to complete with everything but a few heart pieces. I even beat the Treacherous Tower on Advanced, twice, and found all 100 Maimais.

I wish this game compelled me in that way.

Quote from: azeke

Yes, "History of Nintendo" books are great for putting things in perspective. Catalog with pictures is only in the middle, regular text with stories resumes after a while.

Yokoi stands out even more in in second, Game and Watch, volume. Stuff he did and invented may as well changed not just Nintendo or videogames but entire electronic industry.

I also recommend reading to Game and Watch: Iwata Asks for more fascinating stories about GnW.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Yeah, the "Nintendo History" text resumes after the catalog of pictures. I meant to go into some things more, but I was kind of out of it that night. Now I feel like I need to clarify some things, for instance the show notes imply that the Famicom was Nintendo's first foray into video games, but the book talks about their arcade games as well as their first home consoles, which played Pong knock-offs and variants, and some other basic shooting or racing games.

I got the subsequent volumes on my Xmas wishlist...

I know that Johnny & others are liking the idea of a Wii U Gamepad Pro controller upgrade, but wouldn't that fragment the userbase for Wii U?  Unless the idea of an upgraded gamepad is limited to a sleeker design, improved battery life, or other cosmetic improvements, i'd think having an additional feature set would make it similar to the Wii motion plus in which only a small handful of titles use it, the large majority of the games don't use it, and then you potentially miff early adopters by having sold them the system with an inferior gamepad.

Everything I've ever proposed or speculated for a GamePad Plus would be cosmetic/performance improvements. I agree that a new compatibility format is a bad idea. This is more if a DS Lite or 3DS XL kind of hardware update.

yoshi1001December 10, 2013

Glad to hear you folks discuss my letter. Hopefully it is a sign of things to come. Back in the 90's, Nintendo did make some effort to sell their game music (either through the Nintendo Power Super Power Club or game stores) on CD in the West (they mention it on the '94 DKC promo video). I would totally plunk down $10-20 for the Galaxy soundtrack.


Side news-they just added the FireRed/LeafGreen soundtrack-complete with the Japanese vocal tracks.

eggface123December 10, 2013

Great episode! Uh Uncharted, .....Uncharted its like Uncharted. 20 hours of Uncharted. Hmm hated it. Story....hmmm. So many Uncharted. :Q

TrueNerdDecember 10, 2013

I think James' complaints have merit. I don't agree with any of them, but I get it. I also think, and I'm sure James would agree, that it is incredibly important to the continued longevity of the Zelda franchise that they keep mixing things up and trying new things with these games. Of course some experiments are going to be more successful than others. But, by my count, there are 12 Zelda games that have the dungeons structured the typical way James likes them. They are past due trying something like this.

I really hope the next console Zelda game brings at least a bit of this non-linearity along with it. I think it could be more interesting in a larger game world.

vuduDecember 10, 2013

On the podcast James mentioned an interview about how Nintendo hacked the original Zelda and then watched current "experienced" gamers play and subsequently fail at it.  Can we get a link?

ResettisCousinDecember 10, 2013

Especially good episode this week, thanks.


About Black Flag, which I bought, plowed through to the ending, and traded-in over this past weekend: It's awesome to finally have a giant game on a Nintendo platform. I yearned for a Farcry 3 port to come to Wii U way back when, and Black Flag in many ways does that one better. I have one observation. My final percentage upon completion was about 55%. The game has a little pop up at various points that says "You are now the XXXX most feared pirate!" The last popup I remember seeing was 3500. So you're telling me that over a month after the game's release, I broke 5000 on the leaderboard in a weekend doing a completely lazy playthrough and not even uncovering all the map? Somehow, I think a WiiU port of Watchdogs is a long shot with sales like that.

HOLY CRAP VUDU

SarailDecember 10, 2013

Quote from: Shaymin

HOLY CRAP VUDU

I just choked on my eggnog.

Whoever hijacked Vudu's account.


I read the excepts on a forum (the dangers of patrolling for new info during the podcast). I'm trying to verify them now. It is possible I was had.


The game is still embarrassingly easy.

ejamerDecember 11, 2013

Quote from: azeke

...
Unintuitive puzzles and misunderstandings exactly like what you described is why each Zelda game i played so far have taken me at the very least three months to finish. Because i face some BS puzzle like that and give up. For a few weeks, or month or even a year.
...

Wait... aren't you the same azeke who loved, and I think eventually finished, La Mulana on WiiWare?
But Zelda games make you give up?  Am I confused here?
;)

Ron-FDecember 11, 2013

Great episode! Thanks guys.


Regarding the Steambox, it seemed that the panel is missing the point you can actually install the Steam OS in a partition of your current PC. As such, one can enjoy a Steambox experience with his or her current hardware plus a brand new Steam controller.

Doesn't do me any good.

azekeDecember 11, 2013

Quote from: ejamer

Wait... aren't you the same azeke who loved, and I think eventually finished, La Mulana on WiiWare?
But Zelda games make you give up?  Am I confused here?
;)

Yes. The thing is, LaMulana can be explored in many directions at any given time, so if you're stuck with one puzzle - you can leave it be for a while and keep progressing by going somewhere else. If you're stuck in Zelda — you're stuck, you can't even enter the dungeon or something.


I can't wait for second game.

Glad0sDecember 11, 2013

I don't quite agree with Jonny's point about game soundtracks; while it may be a niche market, I think there IS the potential for non-gamers to get into game soundtracks if they ever reach a certain level of respectability. I think that any music fan could respect and enjoy the soundtrack of, say, Sword and Sworcery; I've let quite a few friends listen to the highlights of that game's album, and nearly all of them have enjoyed it quite a bit.

You could also take something like the theme to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; the song is almost more prolific than the actual film at this point. Of course, gaming has yet to find its Ennio Morricone (although Kondo comes close), but the point still stands -- good music is good music no matter its context.

And as far as the whole concept of the Pokemon soundtrack being a novel idea, that's a load of bull -- all sorts of soundtracks for games have been on iTunes for AGES. Everything from Bastion to Uncharted 3 to Mass Effect is right there at your fingertips; releasing soundtracks in the US is hardly anything new.

AwesomeUnicornDecember 13, 2013

To speak specifically as to soundtrack availability on iTunes, it's somewhat random. The best supported composers and series are almost fully available. Nobuo Uematsu and Akira Yamaoka have very robust selections available, and companies such as Square Enix and Konami seem to be making efforts to keep their selections vast and varied.  Most Final Fantasy soundtracks and a number of arranged albums are available, but there seem to be various licensing snags that can affect their availability, as they come and go from the store. One of the most frustrating examples is the Final Fantasy XIII soundtrack. Most of the soundtracks can be purchased for between eight and twenty-five dollars, but FFXIII can only be purchased by individual track, because the vocal theme at the end (presumably) couldn't be licensed for release in America.  (Interesting note: the Lightning Returns soundtrack is available already.)

As far as Nintendo soundtracks go, I can't think of any first-party titles that have any official soundtracks available, and I tend to check every couple of weeks. Otherwise, it's all third-party material.  Amusingly, Opoona's soundtrack is available. (A game that all too few people know about).  I really have no idea how well these sell, but they all seem to have a healthy number of reviews, and they all have high ratings.

Finally, sorry, Jonny, but the Brink of Time arranged album (which is incredible) isn't available. Only the Chrono Trigger original soundtrack.

Did anyone ever find that Zelda interview James talks about?

HyawattaDecember 16, 2013

Non-Capacitive for Stylus Use
The LeapPad is great for my 4-year old to practice writing with the stylus. It's much better than the educational apps that are on the Nabi tablet. With those, she has to use her finger to write, but with the LeapPad apps, she can practice holding the stylus like a pencil. I vote yes for non-capacitive touch screens.

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