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Episode 413: Strip Club Regulars

by James Jones, Jon Lindemann, Jonathan Metts, and Guillaume Veillette - January 18, 2015, 8:18 pm PST
Total comments: 18

Even this extra-large episode can barely contain all the Nintendo Direct news and our Top Five Games of 2014!

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We have a special format for you this week, as there is neither New Business nor Listener Mail. That's thanks to a surprise Nintendo Direct earlier in the week, which gave us far more discussion topics than we could possibly fit into this first segment. We crammed in as much as we could and hit most of the major points, including New 3DS XL for North America, "The Latest in the Fire Emblem Series" for 3DS, an avalanche of amiibo announcements, lots of walking in Xenoblade Chronicles X, the long-awaited arrival of Wii games on the Wii U eShop, and further confirmation that Splatoon could be Nintendo's first fully-featured modern shooter. There's a lot of disagreement and controversy throughout, so buckle up for this one!

The latter half of the show is just as lengthy but far less adversarial, since we each get our own personal list for the Top Five Games of 2014. The diversity in our picks is maybe surprising, considering it was one of the leanest release calendars in Nintendo's history. Many rich discussions emerged from our passionate and sometimes shocking choices, and this feature is a great showcase for the four distinct personalities on this podcast. It's impossible for you to agree with all of us, so just let that go and enjoy the conversation!

We're currently planning to do our annual (and ill-fated) predictions feature next week. Maybe you could fan the flames with a prediction of your own -- go crazy on that email form! We are also still working on the next RetroActive roll-out and hope to announce something concrete next week. You can help a lot by posting ideas in the forum thread (where they'll be considered for many subsequent editions) or using the more ephemeral Twitter method, thanks to our brand new account: @RFNpodcast (finally!).

This episode was edited by Guillaume Veillette. The "Men of Leisure" theme song was produced exclusively for Radio Free Nintendo by Perry Burkum. Hear more at Bluffs Custom Music.

Talkback

A 2:45 podcast? GIMMICK INFRINGMENT!

GOD, did it really end up that long? We used to do these on the regular but it's been a while. I was, quite literally, exhausted after this one.

Adrock¸January 18, 2015

4:50 in and already I know I'm going to enjoy this.

Adrock¸January 19, 2015

Whew! Great show. And much love to Kirby: Triple Deluxe. As someone who enjoys Kirby platforming games, I feel ashamed that I have yet to play it. Alas, I have Kirby Dream Collection and Kirby's Return to Dreamland to go through.

On the New Nintendo 3DS XL: Not much griping on the naming as, sadly, it is an established pattern. I'm on James's side as I was only considering the New Nintendo 3DS (Regular). I wanted to try having the slightly smaller system after using the Nintendo 3DS XL for so long. Also, I was totally in to getting some dumb face plates for $10-20 a set. Now, Nintendo of America has given me no reason to buy a new system from them any time soon. While the lack of an AC adapter doesn't bother me ever since I bought a cheap USB-to-DS charging cable from Hong Kong, it is adding on to a too long list of easily-avoidable things that Nintendo has done to disrespect their fans.

On the free-to-play discussion in the stinger: It has been many years since the infamous GDC 2011 Keynote by Satoru Iwata, but I have always maintained my take-away that Iwata's point was that (mobile) game makers should strive to retain a high-value. The Internet scuttlebutt was, "Iwata says free-to-play mobile games suck," which is not what he intended.


Satoru Iwata's controversial speech at the Game Developer's Conference last year was designed to offer a "though-provoking message", Nintendo's president has clarified.

Iwata argued that pricing mobile content too low risked devaluing quality games.

"Paying attention to such value and trying to keep it at high level is very important," Iwata continued, in a recent investor briefing. "I did not intend to say that all the free-to-play games or lower-priced digital content should not exist.

"Unfortunately, my speech was reported as if I had said, 'inexpensive games have low quality'. Since this misinterpretation occurred, I regrettably have to say I should have organised my speech more appropriately."

Invincible Donkey KongJanuary 19, 2015

Fantastic podcast, guys. You pretty much hit every nail on the head, in my opinion, about the Nintendo Direct. I'm weirdly excited about Project Treasure, but I am not particularly pleased with the XL situation and I don't think Nintendo has done a good job naming, promoting, or generating interest with the console.

Interesting top picks as well. Some predictable, but I'm definitely going back to Triple Deluxe again. I enjoyed the game my first time playing through, so I'm interested in giving it another go.

Leo13January 19, 2015

Thanks for mentioning the possibility of downloading DS games on 3DS. I'd happily download Advance Watts Dual Strike (only advance wars game I don't own) and both DS Zelda games (I was in college when they came out and never got to playing them)
I'm sure there are also others as I never owned a DS (dang that tight college budget)

BeautifulShyJanuary 19, 2015

How did "Livin' Tingle-Free, Buddy!" not end up as the title of this episode?!?

K-S-OJanuary 19, 2015

When Jonny said that Sin & Punishment is worth owning a Wii for, I agree with him assuming he was referring to the second game since that is my favorite game on the Wii.  I also agree with him if he was referring to the N64 game because that is my favorite game on the N64.

CëricJanuary 19, 2015

Given how much James bags on Lightning Returns, I have a feeling he hasn't actually played it because it's by far the least linear, least corridor-driven Final Fantasy game in ages. I'm not going to say it's a masterpiece (in fact, the game in general could best be classified as an "interesting mess"), but it certainly deserves better than the total dismissal I was hearing. In fact, I suspect its sidequest, time management, and combat mechanics focus would actually appeal to someone like James. People let their overall dislike for the original FF 13 deter them from giving the sequels a fair chance, which is sad considering they're very different games.

And personally, the people who felt "left behind" by the post-FF X games deserved to be left behind, IMO. Japanese developers in general have a crippling problem with living in the past (Dragon Quest, Monster Hunter, Mystery Dungeon, 2D Mario, etc.). I applaud when developers actually try to experiment with old franchises.

But yes, that 3DS RPG you all were referring to could find an audience outside Japan at the right price and with the right marketing as an eShop download.

In fact, its predecessor did - it's from the Unchained Blades team, and that seemed to fare all right as a download-only title.

I suspect the radio silence on SMTxFE is going to last until Persona 5 comes out, so the bulk of the classic SMT demons make their HD debut in something that *isn't* a crossover.

My point on Lightning Returns did not mean to be that its linear, that was the damning point on XIII-I. I know Lighting Returns is more mission driven time based with action combat. That's all well and good, but my point - at least as I was trying to make it - is that that isn't Final Fantasy. And yes, "interesting disaster" recs well with what people who played far more of it than I described. Bravely Default succeeds (in sales) at out Final Fantasy-ing Final Fantasy. Sales figures back me up here, Bravely Default annihilated Lighting Returns in every region.


If Square Enix wants to experiment, go nuts. But throwing the Final Fantasy name on a non-Final Fantasy product doesn't MAKE it a Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy Explorers is an interesting game, but its interest is totally unrelated to it having the Final Fantasy name. If they want for the name to continue to have value then they need to respect it and what it means to people.

CëricJanuary 19, 2015

Quote from: Crimm

If Square Enix wants to experiment, go nuts. But throwing the Final Fantasy name on a non-Final Fantasy product doesn't MAKE it a Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy Explorers is an interesting game, but its interest is totally unrelated to it having the Final Fantasy name. If they want for the name to continue to have value then they need to respect it and what it means to people.

Here's my problem with that argument: what IS Final Fantasy? Is it about adventuring through medieval fantasy with a group of archetypes to save a kingdom? Because Final fantasy hasn't been that since FF 9. Is it about soldiering through an epic adventure to take down God? Because that pretty much describes every Final Fantasy game since FF 5, including FF 13; 13-2; AND Lightning Returns. Is it an epic single-player adventure at all? Because FF 11 and FF 14 exist. Is it determined by a selection of familiar series tropes like stupid spell names, Chocobos, and a guy named Cid? Is it determined by a specific battle system, because THAT'S probably changed most of all (1-3 = turn-based, 4-9 = ATB, 10 = turn-based, 10-2 = ATB, 11= MMO, 12 = wannabe-MMO, 13 & 13-2 = ATB w/ emphasis on Macro-level strategy, 14 = MMO, Lightning Returns = character action version of ATB system)?

To me, Final Fantasy is a series that's dominated by change for at least the last several decades, specifically not an adherence to a particular design or formula. And that's a good thing. It's what's allowed the brand to still be viable when more traditional series like Dragon Quest are completely irrelevant outside Japan. And yet the 13 series is where people flipped their shit. THIS is when it's "not Final Fantasy" anymore. "THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HERE! THIS FAR! NO FURTHER! AND THEY WILL PAY FOR WHAT THEY'VE DONE TO ME!"

What I find especially hilarious is that even the detractors can't seem to figure out what Final Fantasy "is", because Square-Enix very specifically tailored both 13-2 and Lightning Returns to what people claimed Final Fantasy "was" and people still claimed they "weren't Final Fantasy."

I'm not going to claim that any of the 13 games are masterpieces, but I've enjoyed them for what they each brought to the table that was different than what I had been playing for decades. To me, brands are names, nothing more, just like how Nintendo slaps "Mario" on games that aren't platformers.  I absolutely agree with you that the Final Fantasy brand is overexposed: we simply have too many games bearing the name & the baggage when Square-Enix could be making new IPs or reviving old ones. That's the modern gaming market, though: old IP sells. It's the "safe" bet, for better or worse.

As for the Bravely Default sales, we're comparing sales of an extremely divisive (some might even say "shitty") game on a viable "new" handheld (published by Nintendo outside Japan) to those of the 3rd installment of an extremely divisive trilogy (one which even its fans didn't think there should've been three of) on a dying console, with no marketing push by Square-Enix. No shit it sold better. It would have been embarrassing if it hadn't.

UnclebobJanuary 20, 2015

What is this madness, something that happened on the forums got mentioned on the podcast.

VuduJanuary 20, 2015

My first 3DS will be the New 3DS Xl, so it's not all preaching to the choir.

KhushrënadaJanuary 20, 2015

I had the exact same reaction as James Jones when they Fire Emblem trailer started. I literally jumped off my seat and started dancing only for my jubilation to be muted when the 3DS screen popped up.

Leo13January 20, 2015

Quote from: Soren

I had the exact same reaction as James Jones when they Fire Emblem trailer started. I literally jumped off my seat and started dancing only for my jubilation to be muted when the 3DS screen popped up.

I had a mixed reaction. I've been hoping that Intelligent Systems would release Advance Wars next so when I saw Fit Emblem it was a major let down. Then I realized I absolutely loved Awakening (the only FE game I've ever played) then I felt better, but I still wish it was AW
By the way, for anyone that hasn't had this realization, I'm normally a 1 play through guy with my games I almost never replay games, but with awakening I played casual the first time through and then decided just to try classic to see if I'd like it. Turns out the strategy is so different I couldn't stop. Note I really how the new one let's you code again because it seriously felt like a different game so I literally got 2 games for the price of 1

It was a brief moment of joy, followed by crushing dissapointment, followed by a salve of "Wait, I loved that game."

Leo13January 22, 2015

Quote from: Crimm

It was a brief moment of joy, followed by crushing dissapointment, followed by a salve of "Wait, I loved that game."

Great way to boil my paragraph into a single sentence

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