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I was quite underwhelmed with Loki and rank it a distant third of the three series thus far, the finale of which was the worst episode in my opinion.

A couple of standout points which didn't work for me:

1. I refuse to accept that this Loki had such a turn around in something like a week. Remember this Loki a few days prior was invading to subjugate earth. He drilled out someone's eye mercilessly. He tried to kill his brother. Loki is the god of mischief. He has been spending countless centuries causing chaos and reveling in it. It's his life purpose. And in a week we're suppose to believe that he has completely repudiated his deeply entrenched life purpose and was willing to sacrifice himself for the betterment of humanity? Not buying it. If this was Loki prime (who died in Infinity War) then I would be on board, but not this one.

2. On average the writing was excellent. So why did they ruin the episodes with combat? The choreography was awful. Once again coming back to the theme, this is Loki. He is the God of Mischief. These conflicts could have been resolved by wit and cunning which would allow the writers more opportunities to get clever. Instead we have cheap fisticuffs which looked terrible. When Loki and Sylvie were standing on guard when Mr Remains' door was opening I was laughing because of how bad it looked. Especially since Loki uses daggers, not a machete or whatever that thing was.

3. It felt completely flat and unsatisfying. It certainly left things very exciting for the remainder of phase four, but provided absolutely no resolution to the series. I was gobsmacked when the end credits came up. I thought we were only half way through the episode. Marvel have traditionally been quite good at making each project have it's own standalone resolution but leaving further story tendrils for future projects. Not the case here.

This point is a bit different, but I was also disappointed in the fact that the end of episode two with the time bombs just stopped. That was a really interesting premise and we never saw it again, rather just Loki and Sylvie arguing with each other for half an hour.

I still enjoyed it and very much look forward to what it now means for the MCU.
General Gaming / Re: Atari VCS, Amico, Micro Consoles
« Last post by Kairon on Today at 03:30:39 PM »
Playdate preorders go live July 29! I've read some fun things, but this is probably staying on my list of "fun toys to buy if I win a small lottery or something."
General Gaming / Re: Atari VCS, Amico, Micro Consoles
« Last post by Kairon on Today at 03:28:16 PM »
A recent youtube video from Intellision themselves showing an office party and some prototypes and demos going on ended on a segment where they were talking about cornhole, which is one of their pack-in titles. (Cornhole is also one of the three main Amico games I'm actually interested in.) Putting aside the question of whether it's going to be a fun way to play the game or not, the fact that they're still tinkering and considering up-ending the tea table on one of their launch pack-in games at this stage gives me pause. Motion controls in videogames are a decade and a half old by now, demonstrated by plenty of examples not just from Nintendo but devs at every level of the industry, even with limited accelerometer performance. It would have been more encouraging to see them more locked in to a vision for this simple game concept at this point.

Also it strongly suggests that Cornhole is being developed internally, and I wonder if that's part of the situation. I wonder if they might be closer to a final product if only they'd found some external indie dev who has experience doing motion controls and having them do this game for them.

It also reminded me that while the content of these games have been approved by official ratngs boards, the actual gameplay underpinning that content could definitely still be in flux and not finished. I wonder just how much crunch they've got ahead of them for some of these games...
General Gaming / Re: Atari VCS, Amico, Micro Consoles
« Last post by Kairon on Today at 01:10:44 PM »
The internet is going all crazy over the Valve Steam Deck, and all I can think of is meh.

The steamdeck looks like a great piece of tech honestly. So have other handheld pcs in its niche product category too actually, like the GPDWin or Aya Neo. And with Valve's size and ability to make money on the valve ecosystem and the choice to have a low storage 64GB SKU the price is starting to get close enough to bring up comparisons to Nintendo and console instead of full-priced laptops. (Though the much more expensive SKUs are the true full experience, and you have to buy a dock separately, so the more appropriate comparison is against the Switch Lite.)

I think it looks pretty neat but the biggest question is how much of a mass market product it's going to be. It sounds like reservations are already stretching into 2022 so I don't think they're planning to manufacture huge quantities of it and right now I'd guess it's probably going to be pretty niche when it first arrives purely due to unit quantities available. That right now seems to be the biggest limit on it. That and a lack of an audience rallying "killer app" to market it with (Half-Life 3?).

I think the more interesting thing about it is it offers either a comparison or a ceiling to a future Switch 2, both in price and performance. My take right now is that an eventual Switch 2 from Nintendo will be slightly under the raw performance of this Steam Deck, or match it, but due to being a closed system will be able to look more optimized in actual outcomes. And Nintendo will also probably have to be aware of that when pricing a Switch 2.
Let me tell you of the demons of gacha so you may never have to feel it for yourselves!

When you say "best practices", are those determined to be such by the fans? Like is this considered acceptable/the line most paying players won't cross? Or is it determined by developers/publishers? Just sort of informal standards of equilibrium most game producers have wound up at?
Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 731: The Amiibo Shuffle ft. Zachary Ty Bryan
« Last post by Crimm on Yesterday at 10:05:53 PM »
But what if... you didnt

This is a great writeup but I'm struggling to understand how the FOMO is this powerful
Give us Hotel Mario, Wand of Gamelon, and Mario Teaches Typing!
TalkBack / Re: Smashterpieces Podcast Episode 27: Pokémon Snap
« Last post by Morningshark on Yesterday at 12:20:09 PM »
Like many, I have a lot of fun memories playing this as a kid. I think it is surprisingly still playable, and enjoyable despite its age and limitations. I also think, it and Paper Mario may have had kiosks in some locations? I want to say McDonalds, and I am pretty sure they had one at a hospital in my area many years ago. I remember struggling to figure out how to snap a picture of Muk, who was the last Pokémon I snapped as a kid, and years later as an adult. That Grimer challenge is tricky!
I've never heard of these, they look interesting, and I'll check them out. I'm also hoping they add some more obscure first party games too, like all of those spin-off Mario games, or maybe even some of the Satellaview content.
Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 731: The Amiibo Shuffle ft. Zachary Ty Bryan
« Last post by Enner on July 22, 2021, 04:59:03 PM »
Good show, especially with that tough question of the predatory monetary practices common to free-to-play games, gacha systems, loot boxes, and EA's FIFA Ultimate Team schemes.

Let me tell you of the demons of gacha so you may never have to feel it for yourselves!

Dragalia Lost, the original mobile game from Nintendo and Cygames, does have a system where you are guaranteed to get the 5-star (the maximum) character from a given gacha banner. This system is present in Cygame's web-based gacha JRPG, Granblue Fantasy, and is colloquially referred to as a "sparking" system. Basically, you gain a special token for each gacha pull in Dragalia Lost. 300 of those tokens can be exchanged for any featured character in the current gacha banner.

The "best practice" in the gacha space is that each 10-pull is equivalent to 25-30 USD. In Dragalia Lost, they sell a premium currency pack of 1230 Diamantium at US$24.99. You need 1200 Diamantium for a 10-pull on a gacha banner. So, discounting the free gacha currency, free summoning tickets, the pity rate system, the maximum amount a player can spend in getting a desired 5-star character in Dragalia Lost is (napkin math) about 750 USD.

If you wanted to know about the hot gacha-anime-ARPG-BOTW of Genshin Impact, that has the "best practices" of limited time banners, bonuses for pulling 10 times at once, and a cost rate of $20-27 per a 10-pull (depending on if you buy the worse value or the "best value" pack of premium currency. Genshin has a "guarantee system" where at 90 pulls you get the coin flip (50/50 chance) of getting a banner's featured 5-star character or weapon and at 180 pulls you are guaranteed to get the banner's featured 5-star. So, the napkin math to that is a player could be spending a maximum of US$360-480 to get their waifu. Now the fucked thing is that there's a character perk system where getting extra copies of a character (up to six extra copies, meaning pulling the same character seven times to unlock all the perks) will grant them bonuses that are sometimes very powerful, depending on the character.

Finally, you have Fate/Grand Order which has a 0.6% of summoning the featured 5-star Servant per pull and no pity, sparking, or guarantee system whatsoever. As you can guess, there are salt/horror stories of people spending a grand or more and not getting the limited-time 5-star Servant.
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