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Episode 377: When Fun Just Isn't Enough

by James Jones, Jon Lindemann, Jonathan Metts, and Guillaume Veillette - April 6, 2014, 5:26 pm PDT
Total comments: 26

A new platform on Virtual Console gives us the perfect excuse for a Game Boy Advance retrospective feature. Also: a Mario Kart Wii fanboy reacts to the latest MK8 info!

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Jonny's back in the hosting chair and ready for action this week! He launches into Yumi's Odd Odyssey and also returns to Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate now that an expanded version is out for Wii U and other consoles. Guillaume continues to slog through Ace Attorney Investigations and also tries the ever-charming, ever-controversial Earthbound for the very first time! Jon is still waiting for his 3DS to come back, so he uses New Business to talk about the latest Mario Kart 8 details. Finally, James gets into Saints Row 4 and explains why it doesn't connect for him as much as the previous game.

After the break, we use the addition of Game Boy Advance titles to the Virtual Console (only on Wii U, at least for now) as a good excuse to look back at this odd era in Nintendo's handheld lineage. The panel's opinion of GBA as a platform is somewhat mixed, but we all agree that it has some wonderful games and a very colorful, if abbreviated, history. If you got into Nintendo during the Wii/DS boom or just somehow missed GBA in the early 2000s, you might be surprised to hear about the creativity and experimentation that did occur on a system that was and still is often associated with SNES ports. Try the links on our sidebar to the right for more info on some of our favorite titles mentioned in this episode!

Send in your own thoughts on GBA or any other topic for next week's Listener Mail segment! We're also pumped for some online thrills in Goldeneye 007 for Wii -- meet other players and arrange matches in the official RetroActive forum thread! The wrap-up discussion on our podcast will probably be coming up in the next couple of weeks.

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

azekeApril 07, 2014

Two hours until i get second character in Earthbound?..

I think i clocked four or five hours and i am still alone...

azekeApril 07, 2014

Also doesn't going into hoverboard mode makes your kart gain speed when bumping into other players? Judging from trailer, you even have a special effect when doing that.

Just dropping in to say that James saying a 2 hour learning curve is shit game design is slightly ignorant by itself. Some games, like the Souls series, do have several hour learning curves that are established to give the game a greater sense of reward and gratification when you accomplish something. It's okay if you don't like that kind of game, but it's an extremely viable design sense that appeals to a player who wants to earn every ounce of their progression. I haven't played YOO so maybe that payoff isn't there, but calling long learning curves shit in a blanket statement rubbed me the wrong way.

KDR_11kApril 07, 2014

I don't remember if James played it but Saints Row 2 has a much better city than 3/4. There's a lot of "fluff" in that game, e.g. shops that don't really matter but are there because a living world would have them. Like tons of fastfood places where you can go and buy healing items, way more different clothing and weapon stores, even a barber so you don't go to the effing surgeon to get your hair done. Mechanically it's a bit less smooth than 3 (especially the Bo-duke-en really improved the game flow in 3) but also has some advantages (e.g. the health items that reduce the times you spend hiding and waiting for health regen). I wouldn't recommend SR1, the lack of mid-mission checkpoints is really nasty.


As far as trolling the ESRB, that mission actually got banned in Australia.

Having just listener back to the Yumi topic, my interpretation was that locking 80% of the levels behind a couple of extremely difficult secret exits was the target of his "bad game design" statement. Maybe he'll come here to clarify.

Pixelated PixiesApril 07, 2014

I'm going to guess that an actual discussion of Altered Beast for the GBA took place, and that it was edited out.

If so, thanks be to Gui!

K-S-OApril 07, 2014

There is no way that Astro Boy is a cheap license to renew.  That is a huge property in Japan.  That being said, it would be great to see that game on Virtual Console as unlikely as that would be.


Other GBA games that should get on VC:
Bit Generations series
Rhythm Tengoku
Mother 3
Ninja Five-O
Game & Watch Gallery 4
Kuru Kuru Kururin

Quote from: Pixelated

I'm going to guess that an actual discussion of Altered Beast for the GBA took place, and that it was edited out.

If so, thanks be to Gui!

I wish it weren't so blatant. But you're welcome.

My issue isn't a learning curve, it's locking 80% of the game behind hidden exits that require the use of techniques the game never tells you are possible - despite the game seemingly hand-holding you up to that point - is bad game design.

leahsdadApril 08, 2014

Hey Jonny, do me a favor and picture the comic book shop owner from the Simpsons before you read the next sentence of this post.

"The 3DS launched at $249.99, not $350, thank you very MUCH."

:-)

Pixelated PixiesApril 08, 2014

I've never really been into handheld gaming, but I did receive a GBA from my parents as a birthday present. Unfortunately, my ownership of it coincided with one of my waves of antipathy towards gaming. The only GBA games I recall owning were Super Mario Advance, WWF: Road to Wrestlemania, Chu Chu Rocket, and one of the Tony Hawk's games.

Which I think we can all agree, proves I had impeccable taste.

That's partially why I'm so bummed out that GBA games seemingly aren't coming to 3DS. I was hoping the 3DS would offer what the Wii did: access to classic games that I missed the first time 'round. I lapped up the ambassador games (all of which were new to me) and was very much looking forward to more of the same. I'd love to play Metroid: Zero Mission, or Golden Sun, or any of the great games in that platform's catalogue. I'm just not willing to buy a Wii U in order to do it.

I didn't think it was possible, but Nintendo's approach to Virtual Console on 3DS makes even less sense than it did on Wii. Not offering classic handheld Nintendo games on the relatively new and popular Nintendo handheld just makes zero sense to me.

In fact, things should be going in the other direction. Give me Earthbound on my 3DS!!

Quote from: Pandareus

I wish it weren't so blatant. But you're welcome.

You're editing skills are beyond reproach. It wasn't blatant at all, but when you listen to enough RFN you get a sense of when Mr Jones is winding up to lampoon a game...

which, from what I've seen of that game, it more than deserves.

K-S-OApril 08, 2014

When Jonny was talking about his antics with Boktai, I was expecting somebody to make a Kojima joke.

SorenApril 08, 2014

Jonny made me go dig for my Cristal Chronicles case. The company was called "The Game Designers Studio".

Quote:

The Game Designer's Studio was a shell corporation set up by Square in order to develop games for the GameCube despite having an exclusive deal with Sony to only create games for PlaySation consoles. In order to evade that deal, Square only held 49% of the shares while Akitoshi Kawazu held 51%. The creation of this company also made it possible to take advantage of Nintendo's Q fund--financial support from Nintendo for new GameCube developers.


The company ended up developing only a single game, the original Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. During the development of the game on April 1, 2003, Square merged with Enix to form Square Enix, canceling their deal with Sony. Because of this, Square Enix went on to acquire The Game Designers Studio and renamed it to SQEX Corporation. After Square Enix acquired Taito in 2005, they merged it with SQEX to form Taito Corporation.

Oooh, Ninja Five-O would be a geat pick, K-S-O. Never got to play that one (like most) and have only heard good things. Stop getting my hopes up for a VC platform, dangit!

I fully expect the Somic Advance series to show up at some point. Pretty good games, too--though the latter two are more interesting in my opinion. The Tales of Phantasia port which was released internationally  is also a good candidate if Golden Sun does well.

ClexYoshiApril 08, 2014

I guess I should put in my hopefuls for GBA VC, and yeah, Ninja Five-O was one of them... but I'm also fully looking forward to stuff like the ever-underrated Sonic Advance Trilogy , Sigma Star Saga , Import versions Of Kuru Kuru Kururin, Import versiopns of the orignal Densetsu no Stafy trilogy, and... really, if they'd be possible at all, I'd want translated versions of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade and Mother 3, but that isn't ever happening ever in the history of anytime soon otherwise we'd have Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War by now... ._.

Quote from: Crimm

My issue isn't a learning curve, it's locking 80% of the game behind hidden exits that require the use of techniques the game never tells you are possible - despite the game seemingly hand-holding you up to that point - is bad game design.

Fair enough, homedog. Thanks for the elaboration.

eggface123April 08, 2014

James Jones hits it out of the Mario park again! MEEEEESTAAAA JONES!!!!!  Meesta Meesta Meesta JONES!

ShayminApril 09, 2014

My GBA VC pick: Final Fantasy V Advance, because it'd be the only version available that wasn't localized by a monkey who dipped into Rob Ford's stash.

jimwood27April 09, 2014

Fun is always enough.


Don't know why Mario Kart always gets flack for this when it only releases once per console. They make different alterations each game and of course it being in HD is a selling point, it doesn't release every year.


And screw comparing it to Madden, you guys are better than that. There have been 25 of those.

TrueNerdApril 11, 2014

I like the GBA library better than the DS library. GBA has the better Metroid, Castlevania, Zelda, Mario and Luigi, Advance Wars, and Wario Ware games. Also I just realized the DS is home to my least favorite Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games of their entire respective franchises. I should also note I never played an RPG outside of Mario and Luigi on either system.

ejamerApril 11, 2014

Quote from: TrueNerd

I like the GBA library better than the DS library. GBA has the better Metroid, Castlevania, Zelda, Mario and Luigi, Advance Wars, and Wario Ware games. Also I just realized the DS is home to my least favorite Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games of their entire respective franchises. I should also note I never played an RPG outside of Mario and Luigi on either system.

GBA had a solid library, but I think the variety on DS was much greater and would pick it over GBA if forced to choose.


While I agree with you that most of the franchises listed above were better on GBA, I'm not sure about Castlevania. Finally got Order of Ecclesia on DS and am finding it to be fantastic.  On GBA, I think that Circle of the Moon was my favorite of the three games released.  Overall, seems like a draw in my opinion...

daverhodusApril 13, 2014

I love Metal Mario, the beginning of Earthbound, and fun.

InvaderRENApril 13, 2014

I was sure FF6 would get a mention... Probably the best FF game of them all, and the GBA got a copy!


What I actually wanted to say tho, is that as an adult gamer, in the year 2014, I LOVE my Micro.


I always keep it fully charged and if I'm going away for more than a day I always grab it. I usually leave Zero Mission in there, but I often grab Advance Wars 2 (which I'm still slowly working through) or some other random game.


The form factor just makes it an easy grab. And maybe I;m a sucker for punishment, but I really enjoy playing on it.

Fatty_The_HuttApril 14, 2014

Quote from: daverhodus

I love Metal Mario, the beginning of Earthbound, and fun.

Ahahahaha. Great comment. Perfect for this episode, too.
+1

I played a little of Kirby Air Ride for the first time at PAX and loved it. And it showed me concretely that a kart racer doesn't have to be exactly like Mario Kart "but with a few new bells and whistles" to be exciting, new and fun. The game was way faster than any Mario Kart game, with track designs reminiscent sometimes of F-Zero, a cool power-up system, and did gliding mechanics way before MK did. Not to mention all the unlockables we didn't get to. And I haven't played that single-player mode lots of people I know rave about, either.


Mario Kart is fun, yes. But more could be done with it, and has. In other franchises.

Jonny describing Mario Kart 7 as "forgettable" is really the best way to put it. It's not a bad game, and I'd go as far as to say it's better than its predecessors, but I didn't spend a ton of time with it because it never really got its hooks in me.

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