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Messages - Ax23000

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TalkBack / Re: Warren Spector on E3, Violence, and Epic Mickey
« on: June 19, 2012, 04:57:46 PM »
Let's not get side tracked into whether Spector is saying that violence doesn't have a place in games.  This is one of the chief minds behind Deus Ex, which he brings up in the very interview we're discussing.   If you've played it you know that this was a violent game, rife with guns, bombs, soldiers, etc.

The issue Spector is raising is more subtle than "Violence is bad."  The issue he raises is one of how violence is portrayed in video games and what it means within the world of most games.

Several posters have mentioned movies and other art forms and how violence has a long standing role in those other art-forms.  They go on to ask why, therefore, video games should be treated any different.  The difference is that those other art-forms, taken as a whole, provide a much more well rounded view of violence.

A quick dirty example: Saving Private Ryan is an incredibly violent movie, but it asks very real questions about the nature of violence and war.  While there have been war games whose story plays lip service to similar ideas (all be it almost always in a superficial way), the gameplay nearly without exception tends to glorify the action and violence.

To be sure, there are plenty of stories, plays, movies, and poems that glorify violence.  But there are also many more that use violence to ask hard questions of the characters and the world that they (and we) inhabit.

Another, more complicated, example.  Beowulf.  The earliest surviving English epic poem is in many ways the ancient equivalent to a video game story.  It stars a larger than life male role-model.  Beowulf is hardcore to the max.  He spends his time wandering around beating down monsters, swimming in a full suit of armor and just generally all around kicking ass and taking names.

But where video games stop there, Beowulf digs deeper...much deeper.  It asks hard questions about violence and what it means to live a violent life.

Video games, and many video game developers, seem terrified to do this.  They don't want to dig deep.  They want to provide gamers with an easy, mindless, escape and violence (which is rooted deep down in the human psyche) tends to be the way they go about this.  And to be sure, there is a place for mindless violent games, but the industry seems unwilling to make anything else.

That, as I see it, is the problem that Spector is addressing in his remarks.

TalkBack / Re: Scribblenauts Unlimited Impressions
« on: June 06, 2012, 07:40:22 PM »
The stages are still boxed in to confined areas, or at least, the demo I was able to play was one set place, though a much larger one to what had previously been seen.
And yes, assigning personalities and moods to certain creations was another big new step for the series.

Interesting, because in this developer interview [size=78%][/size] they start right off saying that, "One of the biggest differences between Scribblenauts and Scribblenauts on the WiiU is that we've taken our content out of these little levels and put it into this big, open, connected world."  Wonder if there's a more elaborate open world mode they aren't showing off right now, or if they really do just mean 'bigger' levels.

TalkBack / Re: The Binding of Isaac 3DS Release Blocked
« on: March 02, 2012, 09:09:32 PM »
Just want to point out that being rated by the ESRB is not free.  That's why Binding of Issac is not rated, it means just has not been rated yet.  It has nothing to do with the game's content.  Had Nintendo agreed to allow the game to be published, McMillien would have had to submit the game for a rating and I'm sure WOULD have done so.

Since Nintendo rejected the game out of hand, there's really no reason for him to bother unless he talks to Sony or Microsoft and has better luck.

As far as what rating it would receive, I'd like to point out that Dante's Inferno received an M rating despite having bare breasts, religious content and far higher realism than Binding of Issac.  It seems very likely to me that Binding of Issac would receive either a T or M rating.   

To those saying the game is merely about 'shock' value, I disagree.  The game is legitimately fun.  I'm not easily shocked, nor was I shocked by this game, but I still enjoyed it a lot.  It's a good game.  The greatest weak point of the experience is probably the controls.  The gameplay itself is a mix between a rouge-like, zelda dungeon, and shooter.   It's a pretty fun combination of elements and for the price (cheap) provides a fair bit of gameplay due to the rouge-like nature.

Personally I don't think Nintendo should make themselves gatekeepers of what issues and concepts a game can touch on.  I understand that they need to ensure a game's quality (that it works and is playable).  I will even accept them keeping an AO game off their store.

Where I take exception is when they start trying to police thoughts and ideas.  That's what's really happening here.  Much like I don't want a bookstore to block sale of thought-provoking, but controversial, books like Catcher in the Rye nor do I think Nintendo should be blocking the sale of a legitimate (like it or not) and thought provoking (agree with it or not) game.

Thought, debate, and free discourse is being crushed down and that isn't cool.  Nintendo has the right to do what they're doing, but they don't have to and they shouldn't.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 281: Y'all Come Back Now!
« on: February 27, 2012, 09:51:41 PM »
The problem I see is: How many people want the whole experience?

I do and I don't think I'm alone.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 269: Doin' It Like We Do
« on: December 12, 2011, 10:34:57 PM »
Really quick thought on Bethesda games being a 'mess'.  I think that my experience has never really found this to be the case.  Yes, there are ALWAYS bugs.  I don't believe it's possible to create a game with the scope of Skyrim that doesn't have bugs.  I suspect you could test the game for all eternity and still have problems.  But saying the game is a 'buggy mess' implies that as you play all you do is see bugs everywhere.  By and far this is not the case.  Skyrim, and Bethesda games in general, are a prime example of the sum being greater than its parts.  I've played the game for close to 30 hours and so far seen only one minor bug where a dragon got stuck.  What I have seen, constantly, as I've played have been fantastic vistas, characters going about their lives, wildlife living in the snowy wastes, stars wheeling in the sky, snow blowing on the wind, etc.  In other words, what I've mostly experienced with this game is the wonder and joy of being dropped into an amazingly well realized world.

However, when Nintendo allegedly spends 5 years creating a new Zelda title, that's 5 years of us building up excitement that Nintendo might finally do something substantially new with the series (especially when Nintendo tries to push that with interviews about how it's going to be so new and different). 

There are TONS of things about Skyward Sword that are different from how things have operated since Ocarina of Time first came out.

To start with, I think people are really underselling the amount of time and energy that must have gone into making motion controls work on the scale of this game.  They make it feel effortless and natural, but there's a reason we've yet to see any other game with motion controls as brilliant as those in Skyward Sword.  Even with the basic building blocks in place from Resort, there are a lot of issues that game didn't have to deal with due to the very controlled enviroment that each of those minigames takes place in.

In terms of world design, Skyward Sword is a HUGE departure from the model laid out by OoT.  The way each area is closed off from one another for example.  And the way each of those areas is laid out in a maze-like configuration with lots of little puzzles to solve.  Come on.  It seems absurd to not give the developers credit for making this change.  We can argue whether it was a good idea or bad one, but there can be no doubt in my mind that it was substantial.

Yes, the game still features dungeons and yes you gather items in those dungeons, but there are times where the lead up to the dungeon is incredibly unique and interesting.  There's one section of the game in particular that strikes me as I think about this, but I don't want to spoil it.  All I'll say is that it involves a boat and a time shift stone.

This game also features a number of quests that don't ask you to enter a dungeon at all.  Instead the developers found a number of ways to set all of the action for these quests in each of the areas of the over world.  There's one quest near the very end of the game where they radically alter the entire area using water.  In another part of that same quest they turn the entire area into a sort of dungeon and restrict access to your items, forcing you to rethink how you'd normally approach the challenges.

There are also boss battles that don't take place in a dungeon.

I haven't even touched on other things I noticed, for example the way the developers really worked to create a connection with the characters in a way I can't recall from any past Zelda games.  The story in general is very well done and suprisingly emotional at points.

These are significant changes that really change the feel of the game IMO.  I suppose you could complain that the game still utilizes a structure that asks you to collect things at every turn.  I'm not going to argue that there aren't plenty of things about this game that feel like Zelda, but at a certain point that should be the case.  Otherwise why call it Zelda at all?  I think, for me, the balance between new and old elements is just about perfect in Skyward Sword.

TalkBack / Re: Xenoblade Chronicles Confirmed for North American Release
« on: December 02, 2011, 08:35:50 PM »
I get why they're going with Game stop, but it is kind of funny to think that they're cutting out Amazon considering the number of existing pre-orders over there.  I mean, that was one of the things that helped actually get Op Rainfall the amount of press that it got.  Oh well, guess I'll cancel that order and get it through Nintendo instead.

Nintendo Gaming / Re: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
« on: November 21, 2011, 07:47:24 PM »
Does the loftwing ever not suck as a mode of transportation?  I just finished catching the golden snitch at the Quidditch match winning the Loftwing "race", and I've found that thing a lot harder to control and steer than it feels like it really should (it didn't help that Zelda's endless tutorials kept getting in the way).

EDIT: Oh geez...skydiving controls even worse.  It took me probably 8-9 times to get that sequence right, and every time I failed I had to page through the same Zelda dialogue.  Ugh...

Why, Nintendo?  Why did you have to shove motion control where it wasn't needed and where it didn't make the game any more immersive?  The bird would have controlled fine with the analog stick, but at least that I can kind of understand why you mapped it to motion control.  But there's nothing intuitive about how skydiving controls, and it would have been just fine with an analog stick.  Sheesh, it's stuff like this that makes Nintendo hard to cheer for with 1st party software: putting motion control where it's not needed and actually makes the game worse just to have it there.  It's DKCR rolling and Mario Galaxy spin attack all over again...

Both the skydiving and the Loftwing are straight out of Wii Sports Resort.  Actually, they were two of my favorite events in that I guess I'm a little biased in my answer to your question.  That answer being that I find that the Loftwing is pretty easy to control once you get used to it.  Actually, because of all the hours I logged with the plane in Resort I found it easy to control right away. 

Just think of the remote as a toy plane and fly it the way you would pretend to fly planes when you were a kid.  Bank the remote and the bird banks that way.  Point down and the bird dives.  Point up and the bird points up.  The only tricky element is remembering that you have to 'flap' to gain altitude.  Don't overdo the flapping.  A few slow flaps is all it takes to climb pretty quickly.  Actually, in general, don't over do any of the motions.  Your bird will do exactly what your remote does, so if you're waving it wildly about your bird will fly wildly about.  If you need precision, for example to jump on an island, don't be afraid to use the B button to brake.

Skydiving is definitely trickier, because it's incredibly precise and because you have to do the motion just so.  I think they probably should have given a few more tips on how to move the remote for that one.  That said, it actually works really well.  As with much in Skyward Sword, practice makes perfect.  I will totally agree that they should have skipped the dialog for when you messed up though...very annoying....and not very conductive to said practice.

As for being hard to cheer for Nintendo 1st party software, I'd argue that the sharp gameplay and design is a pretty compelling reason to cheer for Nintendo 1st party software.  Not to mention the fantastic art design and music.  Especially when you're talking about games as good as Galaxy, DKR, and Skyward Sword.

TalkBack / Re: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review
« on: November 14, 2011, 09:59:15 PM »
A lot of people have been bringing up Twilight Princess, but I think there's one VERY distinct difference between that game and Skyward Sword.  Twilight Princess was a highly anticipated launch game for a highly anticipated console.  Skyward Sword is the swan song for a console that most people think died a year ago with controls that have had everyone skeptical from day one.

Twilight Princess received lots of favorable previews, where on the other hand, until the last month or so, Skyward Sword had been all but dismissed.  Even a lot of Nintendo sites have seemed down on the game.  Pretty much from the second that disastrous E3 conference took place people have been harping on the game.

My point here is that I believe that the scores for Skyward Sword have been, on the whole, less influenced by hype, because when you get down to it...there has been little hype for Skyward Sword for much of its life.  Yes, it's Zelda and that alone creates a stir, but the levels are still far lower than what I remember of Twilight Princess.  Now, certainly, this lack of hype could be having the opposite effect on some where low expectations lead to greater enjoyment of the game.  But I still believe that the high scores for this game are impressive considering the state of people's thoughts both on the franchise (with complaints of franchise fatigue at an all-time high) and also on the Wii itself

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 260: Zero-Sum Xenomics
« on: September 29, 2011, 02:56:39 AM »
KDR_11k already touched on Minecraft, but I just wanted to echo his statement that you shouldn't expect a titanic shift in Minecraft's focus come release day in November.  Yes, they are adding some sort of goal to the game at some point before release, but it's likely to be a VERY loose goal.

Minecraft is about player driven goals.  You decide what you want to do and then you do it.  Notch and his small development team set-up the world and the way your character moves through that world, but it's up to you to decide what to do.  This isn't likely to change a whole lot at any point.

In other words, don't think of this game as Zelda.  It will never be Zelda.  A better Nintendo analog would be Animal Crossing.  Your loan to Tom Nook is a loose goal, but most players aren't overly concerned with it.  I know I never fully paid the guy off at least  ;D .  Whatever goal Notch gives Minecraft will likely be something along those lines.  Yeah, it's there, and you might do it some day...but it doesn't really drive the game.

When I play Minecraft I set myself goals.  When I first started it was all about finding diamonds, which are fairly rare.  This required a lot of spelunking and underground exploration.  Later I focused on finishing a massive fortress over-looking the sea.  Eventually I set-off from home across the water in a boat and founded a new base.  Then there was the time I built a portal to hell.  Or the time I downloaded the planes mod, built an airstrip and airplane and explored via sky.

In my latest adventure I'm off searching for a Mushroom biome.  So far I've crossed forests, climbed massive mountains, slogged through swamps and deserts.  I spent two days crossing an ocean, befriended a wolf, and most recently summoned a snow golem, who wandered around throwing snow balls.

My point with all this is that there's plenty to do in the game now, but if you don't like setting your own goals you shouldn't expect to find the game much more appealing come launch.

P.S. Terraria might be more your cup of tea if you want something closer to Zelda.  Like Minecraft, it involves a randomly generated world where you collect resources to craft items.  Unlike Minecraft, it has a ton of enemies and bosses.  Probably the best part of the game are the really cool items, which include everything from laser swords, to jet packs, to grappling hooks.

TalkBack / Re: New Shipment of Xenoblade Chronicles Arrives in the UK
« on: September 19, 2011, 08:20:32 PM »
I'm really glad to hear that it's selling reasonably well.  Cracking the top ten is particularly impressive for a Wii game of this fashion.  This should throw some cold water on the "no one wants the game anyway" crowd that tried to claim the demand for this game was somehow fake or disingenuous.  Here's hoping NoA is paying attention like they said they would, although I suspect that even if they decide to release it they will have so badly missed the hype window for the game that sales will be hurt.

TalkBack / Re: 3DS Sells 207,000 Units in First Week of Price Drop
« on: August 16, 2011, 06:38:44 PM »
Parents seem worried about the long-term effects of 3D content on their children's eyes... probably a valid concern when video games are played for hours without breaks and used as babysitters in some cases.

These parents DO realize that their kids see in 3D every waking hour right?  Obviously staring at a small screen for hours at a time probably isn't great for your kid's eyes (although I suspect the lack of exercise is a more valid concern), but I get tired of people acting like the 3D in the 3DS is some magical invention.  No.  It works the exact same way as 3D in the real world.  Each eye sees the same image from a different pov and your brain uses the difference to figure out the depth.  It's math.

In fact, I might go one step further and say that it is more natural to look at 3D images, which our brains are specifically designed to understand, than 2D images.

Now, I'm not an eye doctor or expert.  Some day I may be proven wrong and at that point I'll bow my head and acknowledge my mistake.

In any case, I wonder how many parents are REALLY worried about it.  We live in a world where parents let their kids do all sorts of dangerous stupid things.

TalkBack / Re: Wii U Impressions
« on: June 12, 2011, 05:58:23 PM »
I think what impresses me the most about the Wii U and its controller is how versatile it is.  If a developer wants they could just make a standard controlled Xbox/PS3 game.  All the buttons and functionality are there.  This is in stark contrast to the Wii, which forced developers to come up with alternate...and often poor...control schemes.  At the same time though, the extra features of the controller afford the developer a lot of choices should they care to take advantage of them.  And even more to the point it might allow developers to give the choice to the player.  A simple example you guys mentioned in one of the podcasts is the ability to use a button press in place of waggle in New Super Mario Bros if you want.  Maybe in an FPS you can use motion or dual analog.  This sort of choice is really cool and might actually allow Nintendo to live up to their promise of making this a system for both hardcore AND casual gamers.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 55: Zachless
« on: June 02, 2011, 12:56:02 AM »
7) It will not have a screen in the controller. I guarantee none of the "confirmed rumors" or speculation regarding the technology or the hardware are true. I will bet you that Nintendo adopts a more Xbox Live style online system ('bout time) but makes it more boneheaded. They still haven't figured this online thing out, and it might take some time. I am hopeful, however, that they build the Cafe system around the concept of firmware updates.

You guarantee it?  I'm sorry, but I find this to be a somewhat crazy statement.  These reports come from developers who have early dev kits on hand.  They've been confirmed across multiple developers and from multiple different news outlets.  The screen/controller bit in particular has cropped up in almost every leaked report. Furthermore this industry has a wide history of leaks of this sort turning out to be true.  In order you to be correct one of two statements would have to be true:

1) Developers are lying to reporters.  I might agree with this if we were getting all the information from a single source, but most of the major outlets have confirmed that they have more than one developer feeding them the information.

2) Nintendo has lied to developers and gone so far to support this lie as to build the leaked features into the early dev kits.  I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to realize how problematic this would be for Nintendo.  Third parties have likely started early development on games with the assumption that said features will be in the final build.  Keep in mind, these rumors are also based on conversations these developers have had with Nintendo regarding the future of the console.  If Nintendo has been lying to them there would be a lot of angry developers and publishers out there.

So, yeah, I'm pretty confident the system will have a screen in the controller.  That said, I WILL guarantee that Nintendo has held things back from developers that it will reveal at E3 and that haven't yet been leaked because of this.

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