Episode 490: Puzzling in Progress

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Guillaume Veillette - August 28, 2016, 1:50 pm PDT
Total comments: 16

Why do we discount the value of puzzle games? That's a riddle, please answer it.

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After a month in the wilderness, RFN is reunited. And to celebrate, the team has all the newest titles for New Business. First up, Guillaume has a report on Metroid Prime: Federation Force, the most controversial non-issue in recent gaming. After burning himself on the hot takes, he takes a look at Donkey Kong Land. As you can imagine, the GameBoy was an imperfect home for the detailed sprites for which the Donkey Kong Country series was known. Jon explains World of Warcraft to us, in anticipation of its upcoming expansion, Legion. This is not a show of restraint in not making a joke here; literally all of the possible jokes have already been made. James takes a look at the demo for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice. Cognizant of the fact this demo has been discussed by TYP, and the game by Syrenne, he quickly falls back into talking about .hack//Infection - and the polymorphic products it portended. Greg concludes New Business by violating all the rules of animal conservation in Pokémon Snap, now available on the European Wii U Virtual Console.

After the break we dive into another load of Listener Mail. Topics covered this week include the devaluation of puzzle games, hidden gems in the 3/DS libraries, childhood-defining consoles, and the perils of localization. Controversial statements don't stop on RFN, and you can put us in position to speak uncomfortable truths via the power of email.

Next week we'll be announcing the games for our next RetroActive poll. We've settled "Open World" games for our topic, so if you have any suggested games beyond the obvious (Bully, Chinatown Wars, etc) let us know.

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's SoundCloud. The new Radio Free Nintendo logo was produced by Connor Strickland. See more of his work at his website

This episode's ending music is Footsteps of Time from Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. It was requested by Dingens. All rights reserved by Atlus Co., Ltd.

Talkback

Itunes and/or Chapter and Verse were being uncooperative this week, so let me know if the file isn't playing properly for you, and in the meantime, use the MP3 version.

purevalAugust 28, 2016

Always wanted to play Scarface, I heard it was a fun open world game. The Godfather Black Hand edition was a great game, I keep meaning to go back to it.

EnnerAugust 28, 2016

Hey, The Legend of Zelda counts as an open-world game, right? I think that was already in a Retroactive though.


Good show. Enjoyed the answer to the localization question.

azekeAugust 29, 2016

Elite is one game that created modern open-world and it is available (legally) on Nintendo system through emulation:

http://www.elitehomepage.org/nes/index.htm

lolmonadeAugust 29, 2016

It's funny, truly "Open world" games for Nintendo consoles, I'm coming up blank, with exception to Spiderman 2 on the gamecube, which i'd be happy to find an excuse to play again. 


Simpsons Hit and Run?



SteefosaurusAugust 29, 2016

Quote from: lolmonade

It's funny, truly "Open world" games for Nintendo consoles, I'm coming up blank, with exception to Spiderman 2 on the gamecube, which i'd be happy to find an excuse to play again. 


Simpsons Hit and Run?

True Crime: Streets of L.A.! And what about Hulk Ultimate Destruction? No More Heroes on Wii? Aaaarguably Beyond Good & Evil, kinda, sorta, a bit~ish? ...Maybe Wind Waker? Are the Assassin's Creed games open world btw? Because those are on Wii U just like Watch_Dogs, though I've never played one.


EDIT: Of course Ultimate Spider-Man works too, which looks better but plays worse than Spidey 2.

SorenAugust 30, 2016

I think one space where puzzle games aren't as devalued is on PC. Just this year we've had the moderate successes of The Witness, Steven's Sausage Roll and Quadrilateral Cowboy. The first two managed to raise a bit of an eye or their pricing, but overall the content and gameplay that existed justified the pricing.

pokepal148August 30, 2016

Lego City Undercover is older than TWEWY was when that game got its retroactive which makes it worth considering, especially now that it's been re-released as a Nintendo Selects title.

rygarAugust 30, 2016

Great show.

http://kirk.is/journal.aux/2001.10.23.runningman.gif

That's my Mario. Some of you gentlemen were a bit rough on my beloved Intellivision, lol. It obviously doesn't hold up now, but it was my favorite console of that generation. Collecovision had the best graphics, but I only knew a couple kids who had them, and they never seemed to own many games. I don't know if it was a function of a greater price or less availability, but it seemed a problem. The various Atari iterations were more popular, but I thought the Intellivision had a much better game library. Not only were the graphics and game play better; it had a diverse catalog of genres for that time. Some highlights:

For the time, AD&D Treasure of Tarmin was an excellent approximation of the tabletop game, and it was a legitimately rich CRPG. It included rudimentary character design options, giving the players treasure items that re-calibrated stats. This effectively enabled nascent magic vs. physical attack builds. It also included stat grinding that increased your chances of survival in the more dangerous levels. It was a glimpse into how much permadeath increases the stakes, because you could spend hours building a character, but it would still be vulnerable to high level monsters. It added a layer of actual trepidation to the encounters, which was accentuated by the death screen you where instantaneously switched to when you received the fatal blow. The sound effect and little tombstone marker on the map were brutal, lol.

AD&D Cloudy Mountain was a fun adventure game that presaged Zelda. The over world had obstacles that could only be crossed if the player retrieved the appropriate item from a dungeon. It had an open world aspect too, because players could make strategic decisions about which items to retrieve. Each item type was guarded by monsters of different difficulty levels, and the randomly generate maps rarely required you to retrieve every item to reach the final boss. So you could often make choices about taking a shorter path with more dangerous bosses or a longer one that required you to clear more dungeons. The other really cool feature was that the game gave your graphical and aural hints about the location of monsters. The confined spaces, coupled with the high speed of the monster sprites, created an environment that rewarded players who tracked their prey through these clues. You could set traps, strategically choose which room to attack from, and if I remember correctly, even use stealth tactics to draw monsters away. I found this gave the game huge replayability and a greater array of gameplay options than what other games offered at the time.

Utopia was a relatively politically sophisticated competitive RTS TBS game that pitted players against each other as rulers of competing banana republics. The game gave you a continuum of strategies from the militaristic to benevolent all of which had appreciable in game consequences.

In addition to the games above that I felt were ahead of their time, the Intellivision had some really fun action, multiplayer, and sports games. In order, Tron: Deadly Discs, Space Battle, Pittfall!, Nightstalker, Microsurgeon, Star Strike, Dragonfire, Atlantis,and Space Hawk / Sea Battle and Armor Battle / Skiing, NFL Football,and NASL Soccer were my respective favorites.

The final fun thing about the Intellivision was that adults played it. I remember going to parties with my parents where the adults would play Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack and Horse Racing (with actual gambling on the side). It was kind of like the Wii era, but with a lot more booze and cigarettes. My uncle even competed in a NFL Football league that had a trophy and cash prizes.

rygarAugust 30, 2016

Despite how much I loved and played them, it wasn't my early home systems (Intellivsion, NES, TI & PC games) that fomented me as a gamer. It was the arcade cabinets (which I played as much in pizza shops or bodegas as I did in actual arcades) that really sucked me in. The brilliant sounds and bright colors were just so exciting and fun and are what I have the most nostalgia for. I have a long list of cabinets I have very fond memories of, but Tron, Wizard of Wor, Ghosts n' Goblins, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, Punchout, Donkey Kong, Bezerk, Star Wars, Dragon's Lair and Spy Hunter were probably my top ten at the time.

Also worth mentioning, although it was terribly cruel in retrospect, was the arcade in NYC's Chinatown that had a live chicken you could plat tic-tac-toe against. I never beat it, but you could win a bag of popcorn if you did.

azekeAugust 30, 2016

Quote from: Soren

I think one space where puzzle games aren't as devalued is on PC.

I will argue that PC is actually the platform where these games are almost as devalued as on mobile (because EVERYTHING is insanely devalued on PC due to Steam sales and bundles). The fact that so many mobile games nowadays go to PC after making rounds on mobile doesn't help.

Quote from: Soren

Just this year we've had the moderate successes of The Witness, Steven's Sausage Roll and Quadrilateral Cowboy. The first two managed to raise a bit of an eye or their pricing, but overall the content and gameplay that existed justified the pricing.

These games are also 2d puzzle games wrapped in pointless 3d walking simulator to bolster a feeling of value.

ejamerAugust 31, 2016

Quote from: pokepal148

Lego City Undercover is older than TWEWY was when that game got its retroactive which makes it worth considering, especially now that it's been re-released as a Nintendo Selects title.

This is a solid recommendation - load times are bad, but the rest of the game is pretty good.


I was going to recommend Toki Tori 2+ on Wii U eShop, but feel like much of the RFN crew have already played that game and remember them talking about it.  Open world puzzle games seem relatively uncommon though, and while this game was a bit dense at times it was very well made.



lolmonadeAugust 31, 2016

Quote from: ejamer

Quote from: pokepal148

Lego City Undercover is older than TWEWY was when that game got its retroactive which makes it worth considering, especially now that it's been re-released as a Nintendo Selects title.

This is a solid recommendation - load times are bad, but the rest of the game is pretty good.


I was going to recommend Toki Tori 2+ on Wii U eShop, but feel like much of the RFN crew have already played that game and remember them talking about it.  Open world puzzle games seem relatively uncommon though, and while this game was a bit dense at times it was very well made.

I kind of bet Lego City: Undercover would be the run-away winner in a retroactive poll for open world games, and the price makes it something most here could scoop up relatively easily.  I think the conversation will easily devolve into comparisons between this & GTA though, as it's basically a goofy, kid-friendly lego themed GTA game with a collectable focus.

SorenAugust 31, 2016

Quote from: azeke

These games are also 2d puzzle games wrapped in pointless 3d walking simulator to bolster a feeling of value.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

ejamerAugust 31, 2016

Quote from: lolmonade

...  I think the conversation will easily devolve into comparisons between this & GTA though, as it's basically a goofy, kid-friendly lego themed GTA game with a collectable focus.

Maybe.


It seems like an interesting moment in the evolution of LEGO games though - with voiced content making everything more accessible and upping production values, the open world structure used with an entirely original world/story, and choosing to go exclusively single-player. It's also an interesting moment in the history of Wii U games - a rare third party exclusive that makes pretty strong use of the Wii U features and comes from a significant brand (even if LEGO City doesn't have a licensed property like most other LEGO releases). Pricing of the game was unusual for LEGO branded content, staying quite high until the recent re-release - which might have limited exposure as many people who I know consider LEGO games to be best suited for cheap co-op gaming.


Not sure that means there would be enough discussion to carry a retroactive session, but hopefully the conversation could go deeper than just comparing LEGO City Undercover to a family-friendly GTA clone.

ejamerAugust 31, 2016

Quote from: ejamer

...
I was going to recommend Toki Tori 2+ on Wii U eShop, ...

It's been more than an hour. Where's Azeke to back me up on Toki Tori 2?
(C'mon... I know you love it.)

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