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General Gaming / Re: What are your thoughts on modern games?
« on: May 12, 2021, 04:24:12 PM »
There's a lot of cool games on older portables, yeah. Some of them have aged quite well thanks to their simplicity. I had a Gameboy so there's a lot of nostalgia for that soundchip too.

Personally I would characterize modern gaming mostly by volume and availability. This extends to big swathes of older games too, there's been a real effort across the industry to re-release (and re-monetize) older games. Obviously not every game is playable on modern hardware, and outside of maybe Steam PC there is no centralized method of distribution. As a result it's a real patchwork of solutions, but if you combine this with the whole retro aftermarket, and retro revival through the indie scene, it's honestly not too bad of a time even if you have retro sensibilities.

As for the complexity of games, I wanna note older games on PC were often quite complex too. But in general I think we're seeing movements in multiple directions. Some games, like Xenoblade 2, and many PC-only series, are ramping up in complexity. Simultaneously the big budget console field is pushing hard on timesaving/QOL features (cloud saves, faster loading, automating lots of interactions) to prolong when players will drop off.
On Mobile we see the Simple Concept, Deep Systems approach working out well. I think a lot of today's biggest games are similar: a simple core concept, with as much permutations as possible. Minecraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Fortnite, Rocket League, Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG, CrossFire, NBA 2k, etc.

For a long time I thought games would trend towards open world design, and try to incorporate as many genres (stealth, action, shooting, exploration, crafting, vehicles, base building, etc.) as possible. But nowadays I'm not so sure. Very few studios are given the time and budget to compete in the GTA/Assassin's Creed/Zelda BOTW/MMO-RPG sphere, while big hits tend to be smaller scoped projects with theoretically endlessly varying results (FIFA is ultimately just some fields and people playing soccer, but generates endlessly varied matches).

My personal taste has been heavily influenced by art styles, growing lack of patience, and available free time. I used to be into endless sports games and big RPGs, but 50 hours over several weeks/months in one game equals 5-10 shorter games, and with sales they might even cost around the same. As a result, my taste has trended towards the bigger indie games. They tend to present aesthetics I like but don't see in most AAA projects, and are often designed to play through once and never again.

Definitely still like paying attention to the bigger releases, at least those by Nintendo, but the reality is I don't really buy/play those types of game often. A 3-5 hour campaign would be my ideal nowadays, and I barely interact with multiplayer or even sidequests. Certainly run into the occasional exception, and most games tend be longer, but I'm glad there's a pretty big market out there for people like me.

Big games I'm currently looking forward to: the ports for Outer Wilds, Umurangi Generation, Disco Elysium, and maybe the Tony Hawk remake.

General Chat / Re: Official "Happy Birthday Internet Friend" Thread
« on: May 12, 2021, 11:22:57 AM »
Big congrats in advance to the 43 members who will all share their 39th birthday soon!

Nintendo Gaming / Re: Run the Developer 1: Shin'en Multimedia
« on: May 06, 2021, 05:11:33 PM »
I lumped Nanostray in with Nano Assault since they were both shooters and had the Nano prefix. It doesn't sound like they are the same series.  ???

I think it's fair to lump them together, but they are quite different in terms of gameplay, and even setting. The core idea (there's a nano-virus, we hate it) is a constant presence throughout the NanoStray and Nano Assault games.

NanoStray is set in space, you travel to I believe the center of a solar system, stopping by planets to blast enemies. I feel like the setting was very mechanical: space ships, robots, machines, steel & concrete buildings. The gameplay is vertically scrolling, similar to Xevious, Raiden, Star Soldier and such. Levels auto-scroll, end in bosses, movement and aiming are paired, and there's an emphasis on score multipliers and such. Frankly, it's hard to see what the enemies have to do with a virus, since they might as well be aliens.

Nano Assault executes better on the nano-virus presence imo, by changing the setting to individual cells. Enemies are now mostly biological, looking like microbes, tardigrades, viruses, coral/anemone derivatives. Rather than a space setting they're trying to suggest you're in a bloodstream.
In terms of gameplay this hews a lot closer to Robotron, Assault Android Cactus, or Geometry Wars. You control the pace, move in all directions, shoot separately from movement and have free aim. Unlike most twin-stick shooters, the environments are 3D, rather than flat terrains at an isometric angle. You can move along all sides of the cells, reminiscent of the tiny planetoids in Mario Galaxy.

I'd see them as an iteration on a premise, just different branches of arcade shooters. I believe the 3DS game, Nano Assault EX, also incorporates rail shooter stages in the vein of Space Harrier, Starfox, and Panzer Dragoon. Kinda odd no version of Nano Assault is on Switch yet, wonder if they'll make that happen.

Nintendo Gaming / Re: Run the Developer 1: Shin'en Multimedia
« on: May 05, 2021, 09:18:15 AM »
Huh, they've made more games than I knew. Never realized they came from a licensed games background either, good on them for escaping that cycle and striking out with multiple franchises of their own. I like Shin'en a lot, they squeeze so much performance out of hardware, and their games look lightyears beyond the efforts of similarly small teams.

The only ones I've played:
- FAST Racing Neo: As a big F-Zero (G)X fan, this is an absolute no-brainer. Looks great, sounds decent, and it nails the sense of speed. Even has the announcer voice from F-Zero GX. The one thing holding this entry back is the brutal A.I. difficulty on higher levels, which I believe was fixed in the sequel FAST RMX.
I've been meaning to look into the differences between NEO and RMX, to see if it's worth grabbing such a fairly iterative sequel. As someone who dislikes the floaty feel of the most recent WipEout, I'm pretty sure the FAST series is the best anti-gravity racer in town nowadays. Wish the ships looked a bit sleeker and had more personality.

- Nano Assault Neo: Good, but not great twin-stick shooter. Was a tad disappointed by the bossfights in this. Again it looks really slick and controls are tight, so the whole aesthetic of shooting viruses on cell organisms really shin'es.

- Art of Balance: Looks gorgeous in HD, and the zen garden theming fits the block stacking gameplay quite well. I would get the Switch or Wii U version for the better graphics and touch controls.

- Nanostray: The first Shin'en game I played, since it went for dirt cheap at the time. It's a competent vertical shooter, with some touch screen shenanigans to activate special lasers. Not an enduring classic, and it's a lot harder than Nano Assault, but it's all right.

Movies & TV / Re: Khushrenada's Annual Oscar Thread. 2021 Edition.
« on: May 04, 2021, 03:52:19 PM »
As for Stunts, it's a touchy subject as stunt work always has been in movie history. Yes, stunts are big business and definitely an evolving part of film making along with people dedicated to their craft. Yet having an award for it may push some of these people to risk their lives even more then they already may do or bend safety measures to pull something off to now win an award. Watching Jackie Chan's work in the 80s is full of impressive stunts yet the outtakes show the toll it takes and some of the real risk of death that's being done in those stunts. That was just done for the sake of wowing an audience and trying to top what they'd already done and shown in previous movies. What might happen if now there was an award for what they were doing? I just don't think it will happen. Pretty much the only way stunt people may be honored is at the end of a long career with a lifetime achievement Oscar if the Academy does want to find a way to give some credit to the stunt profession.

That's a fair concern I suppose. Although the obvious counter-argument is, well, people are already risking their lives on movie sets. The Resident Evil movies have hospitalized at least 15 stunt performers, leading to amputations, and the death of one performer. Harry Potter's stunt double was paralyzed after a stunt on the last movie. Stunt performers died on the sets of recent movies/shows like Expendables 2, Deadpool 2, CW's DC Titans, and Walking Dead.

Right now it feels like Hollywood tries not to acknowledge this stuff at all. But I see the argument an award category for it would push productions to attempt even more reckless stunts to nab a statue.

General Gaming / Re: Four on four
« on: April 28, 2021, 12:28:37 PM »
Finished nothing, but here's some shady statistics to get me to 4 on four:

1. Pac-Man 99 - Switch. Never won a round, but placed second a bunch of times. Isn't the real prize the friends we made along the way?
2. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams - Wii U. Kinda lost interest towards the end as it gets very difficult.
3. Don't Starve - Wii U as well, but I'll count it as a PC port to get a third system.
4. Sega Ages Thunder Force AC - Switch again, but this is an arcade port. Four on 4 baby! I'm super bad at this game and got absolutely nowhere so dropped it within the hour.

Can only conclude the experiment was completed entirely successfully!

Movies & TV / Re: Khushrenada's Annual Oscar Thread. 2021 Edition.
« on: April 28, 2021, 12:16:05 PM »
Completely missed the Oscars happened. Feeling a bit culturally ignorant as I've seen zero of the nominees, and mostly spent the pandemic watching netflix trash. Of the ones you saw, are there any you'd recommend seeking out?

Interesting they combined the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing categories. Was that done for brevity's sake, or because they're difficult to separate? Dumb there still isn't a prize for stunt performances.

Looking at your predictions, seems like you got everything right except Best Actor, Actress, Song, Adapted Screenplay, and Short Documentary? Is that your new record?

Not to be cynical, but presently I don't expect to see permanent price drops (yet). I think the time-limited Voucher programme, plus time-limited releases (3D All-Stars etc.), plus occasional time-limited 30% eShop price cuts are teaching Nintendo there's more value in keeping prices high and discounting them during controlled time frames.

If they do roll out a new line of Selects, I'm thinking they'll be $40 instead of $30, and it'll be a combination of opportunity to reprint and pumping up sales of less successful releases. TOPHAT is probably right about ARMS, Kirby, and 1-2 Switch.

DKC:TF, New Mario U, Pikmin 3, and Mario Party 10 were part of the Selects line previously, but I don't see them discounting Super Mario Party and Mario U this time. Maybe DK and Pikmin though, especially if those need reprints.

Seeing them all lined up like this does highlight how crowdfunding is a really viable path in the right hands. Sure, some projects will disappoint (thinking of Mighty No 9, and I'm not sure how well Shenmue 3 is regarded either), but there's some genuine GOTY contenders here between Shovel Knight, Kentucky Route Zero, and perhaps Thomas Was Alone.

Sure, we're only seeing the ones which even make it past the funding and creation phases, so there's a real survivorship bias going on, but there's a lot of at-least-decent games in this list.

Playing Giana Sisters right now, and I couldn't have told you it was a Kickstarter product, feels pretty polished. I've never really backed a project on there, but I respect the hustle.

Blue / Re: I'm making an NFT of this thread
« on: April 17, 2021, 11:32:50 AM »
Hm. . . That would be going in the opposite direction.

We may need to shut down due to extreme market volatility. . .

I'll buy on the dip!!!

General Gaming / Re: Four on four
« on: April 14, 2021, 01:10:14 PM »
Does the game have an end or is it an endless survivor?

There's an ending, yes. There's a door/portal you can find, which supposedly makes you lose all your items and basically makes you start over in a stage. There's 5 of these stages in a row, and they culminate in a boss fight. I haven't found the door yet in the hours I walked around the world, presumably because I'm not exploring far out enough. Not sure if it only appears during specific seasons or something.

To be honest though, I've already mentally written this game off so probably won't go back to find it. This might be a weird comparison, but it reminds me of playing ToeJam & Earl. You walk around somewhat aimlessly, vaguely aware of your goals, and learn mechanics through trial and error.
Kinda wish you could just start the 5 stage campaign thing straight from a menu, especially if it's so divorced from the sandbox anyway. Maybe they're more interconnected than I'm assuming.

General Gaming / Re: Four on four
« on: April 14, 2021, 10:41:17 AM »
Congrats on learning useful language skills!
Meanwhile I've been learning uh... survival skills... in Don't Starve (Giant Edition).

Gotta be honest, this game ain't for me, but it is neat. It procedurally generates a world for you, and the goal is to, well, Not Starve. You're managing things like constantly increasing hunger, slowly depleting sanity, crafting systems, health, resource gathering, etc.
During the daytime things are mostly fine. You run around picking berries, chopping trees, trapping rabbits and such. When nighttime hits monsters come out (think Pikmin or Minecraft), so you'll want to build a campfire to fend them off. Of course as seasons begin changing nighttime gets longer and daytime more limited, and you'll have likely strip-mined your surroundings for easy pickings already, necessitating trips through the dark anyway.

My issue with the game is it's very obviously dense with systems, and encourages players to trawl through wikis and cooperate to figure them out. But if you don't want to put in that work, it's easy to get stuck in a loop. I can pretty reliably set up camp near 10 rabbit holes and a forest, continuously capture rabbits every day, chop down & replant trees and use those materials for new traps & campfires... and just rinse-repeat?

Meanwhile going out of my way to explore mostly results in finding spiders and monsters, less hospitable environments and some more mysterious things I can't really use yet. I'm sure it's the wrong approach to just sit around and slowly build a home base with farms and berry bushes, waiting for new wolf attacks, since that runs counter to the central goal of escaping the wilderness... But it sure is easier than relocating every 2nd day. Feels like the systems inadvertently reward a sub-optimal play style, if that makes sense.

Nintendo Gaming / Re: Game Boy: Finally time to Play It Loud!®
« on: April 14, 2021, 09:42:12 AM »
I saw the trailer the other day. I’m conflicted. While I like the Shantae games, my favorite one was Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. I haven’t played Shantae and the Seven Sirens because Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero felt like a step back to me. Going all the way back to the original (which is apparently hella difficult) seems like an even further step back.

Basically feel the same way. Pirate's Curse was my fave (although the final dungeon was too difficult for my liking), with both Risky's Revenge and Half-Genie Hero falling a bit short. The series is just very iterative, recycling everything from level lay-outs to music, so going back to the original will probably mostly trigger a "huh so that's where this all started" thought.

I did enjoy Half-Genie Hero though, and the new style looks much nicer than the pixel art ones. Might grab this one for curiosity's sake (I'm never buying a 300$ cartridge), or try out Shantae Seven Sirens one day. It's at least cool they're making the original more available, and afaik the series has never really been bad, just kinda average with one major outlier in the great Pirate's Curse.

Nintendo Gaming / Re: Game Boy: Finally time to Play It Loud!®
« on: April 13, 2021, 04:32:17 PM »
I intentionally left Shantae (GBC) and Ninja Five-O (GBA) off that list. Those cartridges go for hundreds of dollars so nope, not going to happen. I missed the Limited Run Games re-print of Shantae last year. My preference for all these retro games is to have the physical cartridge.

For what it's worth, Shantae is releasing on Switch in a week or two. Includes both the GBC version and the improvements you would get if played on a GBA. See trailer here if you're interested.

Nintendo Gaming / Re: What will Nintendo release in 2021?
« on: April 13, 2021, 12:22:03 PM »
OP updated to include the new Indigo Blue Switch Lite, tomorrow's Indie World Showcase, and Pac-Man 99.

Nintendo Gaming / Re: Game Boy: Finally time to Play It Loud!®
« on: April 11, 2021, 05:41:00 PM »
You've got a lot of cool ones already! Perfect Dark looked really cool in magazines back in the day. I agree with Uncle Bob on recommending Mario Land 2. The progress they made between 1 and 2 is very impressive. Supposedly Tony Hawk on GBA is fantastic too.

As for Pokémon, I never liked Yellow as much back in the day. The early game is a bit more difficult than Red/Blue because you're saddled with Pikachu. He isn't useful in the forest, against Brock, or in Mt. Moon. So you'll probably want to grind up a Pidgey/Spearow to make it through the forest, and then a Mankey or Nidoran for Brock and the cave, and then you need to train a few others for Lt. Surge/Digglett cave. Although it's probably easier than I remember lol, so maybe you'll like it still. The FireRed/LeafGreen remakes on GBA were really cool.

If you're into technologically impressive ones like V-Rally 3, I suppose SSX 3, James Bond Nightfire and Lego Drone Racing could be worth a look. Although they're mostly just impressive for the system, maybe not so much as actual games.

Another curiosity I don't really recommend, but wanna note: there are some turn-based Harry Potter RPGs on GB Color, with Chamber of Secrets being the last game ever released on that system.
Meanwhile the GBA games were overhead action games, but weirdly the third movie got just a single portable game, and that was an RPG again. None of these rpgs are particularly strong, but they always made more sense for the franchise imo (roam around the castle, study spells to level up, talking to students) than the action games.

General Gaming / Re: What are you playing?
« on: April 11, 2021, 04:50:06 PM »
So at this point you've played most PS5 exclusives right? Anything you're currently looking forward to on the platform?
If I had one I'd probably be excited most for Returnal, I wish HouseMarque were still a multi-platform developer but they seem pretty firmly in Sony's camp at this point. Not sure what else is out soon though, Ratchet and Clank in June and then DeathLoop in September?

Nintendo Gaming / Re: Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch/Wii U)
« on: April 09, 2021, 11:24:07 AM »
Like what is the best way to get rupees at this early stage? I imagine ore and gems are a good option but I think I remember some armors/weapons nead those for upgrades.

Selling ores is probably your best bet right now, as is selling fully cooked meals (anything with 5 ingredients). You do indeed use ore for upgrades, but I generally held on to 10-30 of each and sold any excess. Don't sell armor or items with Ancient in the name.

General Gaming / Re: Four on four
« on: April 09, 2021, 11:17:00 AM »
Cool to see Khush supporting obscure indie devs.

I played some mainstream stuff:
- Pac-Man 99 on Switch: Really pretty fun, and I can pretty consistently place in the top 25. Helps how rounds are shorter than in Tetris 99. Finished 2nd a few times, but usually choke on some unforced error when I do.

- Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams on Wii U: I really don't like the visual style of this game, it tries for a fairytale style with too much bloom lighting so you can't see where you're going in dark caves. Similar to Trine 1 & 2 in that regard, which I also didn't care for. However, it's a surprisingly decent 2D platformer where you switch between dimensions a lot. Feels a bit like Sonic at times, but with the collection elements of Rayman. Not finished this one yet, and it gets pretty difficult, but so far it's exceeding my expectations.

Will reach the other two systems through virtual console/Switch Online later this month.

Nintendo Gaming / Re: Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch/Wii U)
« on: April 08, 2021, 12:57:19 PM »
Hell yeah BShy, you're in for such a treat. The game is definitely difficult early on, but there comes a point when you accrued enough upgrades and skills to basically break the difficulty curve. I won't spoil anything for you and highly recommend going into the game as fresh as possible, but two pieces of advice:

1. Treat weapons and food like ammo in a first person shooter. Use everything all the time, don't be precious and fight giant trolls at low health with a spoon and pot lid when you're sitting on 20 katanas and heaps of mushrooms.

2. Death is more of an annoyance than true punishment in BOTW. Try your dumb ideas. If they fail, try even dumber ones.

General Gaming / Re: Four on four
« on: April 07, 2021, 11:27:56 AM »
I don't know about four, but I'll try for fourth place in Pac-Man 99 this month.

Thanks for all the work you put into these weekly retrospective topics Mr. Bungle. Bummer some of them got very few replies, I can't believe people aren't interested in hot Wii U virtual console discussions in the year of our lord 2021.  >:(

This is some peak boomer energy, but it was a lot easier to feel like you understood everything that was coming out on the platform compared to the avalanches of games on Switch eShop. I took a lot more chances on games on Wii U than I do on Switch, although seeing the absolute chasm between sales on both platforms that's obviously not the reality for most people lol.

Nintendo Gaming / Re: Official Sales Thread
« on: March 29, 2021, 12:42:07 PM »
Densha de Go, Momotaro Dentetsu, A-Train All Aboard... The market has spoken, publishers, make more train games!!!!

General Gaming / Re: Sitting on the sidelines: PS5 vs XB Series X
« on: March 27, 2021, 09:12:37 PM »
Sounds like it's still in very rough shape. Are those disc reading issues firmware or hardware problems you reckon? Hope they'll smooth out when they inevitably overhaul the user interface. Wild how one of the controllers is drifting a month in. Seems like several of the modern controllers have this issue currently. With Nintendo it seems to come down to poor design, but I wonder if increased complexity and/or lower quality components are compounding issues, or something else is causing these issues.

Podcast Discussion / Re: RetroActive 49: Resident Evil: Revelaitons
« on: March 26, 2021, 04:27:36 PM »
Wrapped up the campaign. Feeling rather done with the game now, so won't try the online, but here's a few more thoughts.

A hint for those still playing: do pay the Solarium a visit once or twice.

- Game seems like it'd be very impressive on the 3DS. On console the lack of enemy variety and dearth in bossfights feel a bit more noticeable, but it cleans up very well in HD. Couple of decent voice performances despite poor material.
- The Queen Zenobia is a pretty decent setting. Gives 'em license to do anything from cargo holds to Titanic esque suites and casinos. Easy excuse to have swaying environments, cramped hallways, and an aquatic theme for the monsters.
- Big fan of the pacing. Short episodes with cliffhangers make it easy to put the game down, or do one more chapter. Initially the recaps annoyed me, but they're nice to have after not playing for a few days. Towards the back half things get a bit more exciting since they don't cut away to useless side-stories as often.
- Love 3D maps like Metroid Prime.

- It's just not scary at all. Nor funny, nor moving. At most it has a few intense action scenes, but I felt very detached from the whole thing.
- The plot's events wildly outscale your sphere of influence: what are Jill and Parker going to do about orbital laser satellites? Basically nothing besides release a drone. Which means you flat-out don't interact with entire sections of the story, including the ending where you fight one of the pawns while the actual chess endgame occurs miles away in cut-scenes. I'm not saying stories need to revolve around its main characters, but why are we even here, just to find one USB drive?
- Every time we cut away from the Queen Zenobia to do beach clean-ups, protect office supplies, or press buttons in airports & planes, all tension evaporates. I get the campaign needs to hit the 10 hour mark to satisfy the spreadsheets, but the game is already action-heavy. Slotting in extra action segments feels redundant. At least the turret sections are a change of pace.
- Most characters really suck and many don't even complete a dramatic arc. Do the bad guys even have a master plan? Sure would've helped make their threat feel more immediate if we had an idea what they were working towards.
- The game is over-reliant on "shocking twists" to cap off episodes, only to immediately undo them the second you continue playing. You really expect me to believe Parker, Quint, Raymond, and Keith died for real this time, when you're constantly faking their deaths?
- Besides shooting zombies you're just not doing a lot here: puzzles are throwaway fetch quests, and rarely is your curiosity to explore rewarded with things other than ammo.

On balance I wasn't super impressed, but on 3DS this is probably one of the more impressive games along with MGS 3, Kid Icarus and Smash. The game does improve a bit in the back half, but I'm not really sold on the series by it.

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