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Episode 370: The Contemplative Podcast

by James Jones, Jon Lindemann, Jonathan Metts, and Guillaume Veillette - February 16, 2014, 12:12 pm PST
Total comments: 14

Oven-fresh reactions to the latest Nintendo Direct, plus a Bravely Default roundtable and Listener Mail!

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Sometimes the timing works out perfectly. This week's episode was recorded almost immediately after the new Nintendo Direct was presented worldwide, simultaneously. You'll hear our reactions first thing, mutually processed within our own little group, having had little or no chance to absorb the larger community's snarky talking points. (We just make up our own as it goes.) With such a dizzying quantity of announcements for any February event, we spend a good amount of time going back and forth on the details. In general, we are all fairly pleased with the updates on known games, and we definitely have something to be excited for in the next few months.

Following that is a short New Business segment. We didn't need as much time because three of us have all been playing Bravely Default. That one gets plenty of love, and some criticism, but no doubt it's one of the best and most interesting games of the year so far. Jon also shares a few thoughts on the ending of Link Between Worlds, as well as his return to NES oddity Solomon's Key.

For Listener Mail, we have a hot trio of letters that start with us questioning whether region locking might go away, and why it exists in the first place. We next tell the stories about how we got into the lucrative volunteer game writer business/hobby. And finally, we tread into touchy waters with a discussion of Nintendo's approaches to console design and whether having unusual hardware is worth the trouble. Keep this train a-runnin' with your own email for the RFN crew!

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.


daverhodusFebruary 16, 2014

The graphical power debate is interesting. I think it's important to remember that the SNES came out two years after the Genesis and three years after the TG16.

Looking forward to listening to everyone's thoughts on the direct announcements....

Regarding the short questioning of if there is a law requiring a non-Japanese country to have an office space in Japan to do business during the region-lock email: If my memory serves me, there aren't any laws requiring this, but most international companies will make an agreement with a Japanese company because it makes the business transaction process easier to partner with a Japanese country who has local ties than trying to build a trustworthy brand name recognition with the local population, or who will have a more efficient distribution set-up.

I can see both sides of the argument regarding what the RFN crew want out of a Nintendo console.  Clearly, the strategy of Nintendo doing what they want with their consoles & telling 3rd parties their plans isn't working well (I'm in Jonny's camp that a PS4 hardware/online infrastructure with Nintendo games would be the "perfect" console for me), but I feel Nintendo has tried to be a trendsetter, trying to shape their console around where they want the video game console landscape to be, and believing the consumers/3rd parties will follow them.  This clearly has produced mixed results, but I don't feel I'm in a place to play armchair game industry analyst and make a good suggestion on which is the right way to go.

Evan_BFebruary 16, 2014

Man, the last couple of episodes have really been so on-point, guys. Fantastic work. Very inspiring, especially for someone who wants to do pretty much what you guys do.

As someone who has been raised on Nintendo consoles, their power struggles have never been of much concern to me, as I like their games pretty exclusively. That's not to say I haven't played other consoles and enjoyed games on them- but I buy Nintendo consoles because I want to play Nintendo games. This seems to work for them, for the most part, since people love their franchises, and I see their recent sales woes being a result of a poor library- and I don't mean a poor third party library, I mean a poor Nintendo library. It's true, they don't seem to be using their IPs to wow us with new ideas, instead opting for safe options. They are choosing "safe" IPs rather than taking risks, and their risks are taking forever to come to fruition because they didn't seem to prepare for an HD console. Are the games on Wii U bad? I don't think so- actually, I think there's a handful that are really good. But that's the thing- it's a handful. I think the consumer wants the reason to buy a Nintendo console to be their library but Nintendo can't put out the games fast enough, and that's seriously hurting them.

Chad SexingtonFebruary 17, 2014

If you look at the Bravely Default page on Amazon and look at the pictures and read the comments, it looks like Amazon incorrectly packaged ALL of the Bravely Default collector's edition sets: http://www.amazon.com/Bravely-Default-Collectors-Edition-Nintendo-3DS/dp/B00GV4V8YQ/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392621991&sr=8-2&keywords=bravely+default

It wasn't just Jon's copy that had issues.

Chad SexingtonFebruary 17, 2014

Speaking of one of my favorite NES games of all time and speaking of things the game doesn't explain...

Here are a few important things you should know before playing; not really spoilers, just mechanics:

Whenever you see a crystal jewel thing (shaped like a diamond), if you just gather it normally, it will just give you points (that do nothing but increase your score).  You have to use your wand on it to cycle there 3 or 4 different items before collecting it.  And you usually want to change them all into fireballs.  This is important because after the first few stages, straight up fireball items never appear for the rest of the game.  You can only get additional fireballs from these jewels.

Also, some people get confused about the items that alter your life meter (count down timer).  There are 2 types of these items: items that give you more life (bottles) and items that set your life to either 100% or 50% of the starting life (hourglasses).  So if your life is at 75% and if you get the 50% hourglass, then you'll actually lose life.

daverhodusFebruary 17, 2014

Quote from: Chad

If you look at the Bravely Default page on Amazon and look at the pictures and read the comments, it looks like Amazon incorrectly packaged ALL of the Bravely Default collector's edition sets: http://www.amazon.com/Bravely-Default-Collectors-Edition-Nintendo-3DS/dp/B00GV4V8YQ/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392621991&sr=8-2&keywords=bravely+default

My Bravely Default CE was busted too. Amazon gave me a partial refund. Then I sold the art book, soundtrack and AR cards on ebay for $50. I came out ahead and I still have the game.

It wasn't just Jon's copy that had issues.

Pixelated PixiesFebruary 17, 2014

"What determines what a system is ultimately is what you do with it, and what Nintendo does with their systems is, them, it is an outward expression of their philosophies as a company...it is an expression of who they and the character that they create around what they view as their fundamental reasoned art...So I want them to continue to be able to produce what they view as their unique perspective on creating the experience you have. I think the hardware itself, the actual nuts and, well, there's no real nuts and bolts, but you get the idea, the expression nuts and bolts in that case, that make up the hardware is a relatively irrelevant component. I think you want to have stuff in there that's relatively easy to program for, but ultimately it ends up with, ultimately that it's just because that makes it an after thought, you don't have to worry about it. I think once you introduce the complexity of having to consider it you end up with the system that, I mean, you really have a good example of that last generation not from the Wii but from the PS3 where a lot of the ports were originally Xbox 360 games, and PS3 ports have issues...It's making a system where the hardware inside is more or less just there, you don't have to worry about it, you can then build whatever kind of, ah, the interaction components that you want, that make your company unique, you can build that on top of it...Ultimately everything from the user interface down to whatever crazy controller that their R&D division has designed that particular year, is all part of that same arc of the user interaction that is where they can characterise..."

James, buddy, what the hell? I must have listened to that stream of consciousness at least three times in an attempt to comprehend what it is you're trying to say. I'm still not sure I understand :P.

I appreciate you transcribing that, but everything we do (except Now Playing...) is stream of consciousness. I expect a majority of the show's content would look weird if you typed it up like that. ;-)

Pixelated PixiesFebruary 17, 2014

Quoting people who appear on podcasts never makes them look weird. Just look at The New Yorker's excerpts from the Bombcast for proof of that. Their sophisticated discussion of face stabbing really presented them in the best possible light. ;D

ResettisCousinFebruary 17, 2014

You didn't touch on what I think is the main reason Nintendo expanded their region locking, and the reason Nintendo themselves gave: observing different cultural norms. That's why they modify bikini DLC and I think it may be why they didn't publish Pandora's Tower in the US, for example. And I think if you're prepared to import multiple games from overseas, and maybe endure a a non native language, you could probably plump for the 250USD or whatever it would cost to have a second system of the other region.

Chad SexingtonFebruary 17, 2014

In my post above, I just realized I didn't name Solomon's Key as the NES game I was talking about. ^_^

I think I get out what I was trying to say: you can still build the unique interactions Nintendo feels like they excel at without doing anything silly or shortsighted with the internal components. I cited the PS3 (namely, the Cell) because it did make development more difficult for developers. There was no reason to include The Cell, except Sony's ego. Nintendo's ego colors their hardware  design as well, and that's a dangerous game.

Leo13February 19, 2014

Forbes thinks Microsoft should sell the Xbox division to Nintendo. Nintendo games on Xbox is a better fit in my mind than PS4 (based on the kinect being included with every system).


It would be ironic considering Microsoft tried to buy Nintendo when they wanted to start their gaming division.

On another note, has anyone here played Castle Storm on Wii U? I'm surprised I haven't heard about it on any of the podcasts I listen to. My wife and I love it and we're wondering if we're the only ones.

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