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Messages - Ian Sane

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1
I'm with you on the time deduction for the wrong button.  There were some where it went down to the wire but I failed because losing two minutes when you had a weird moment where you crossed buttons in your mind made all the difference.  Also since the penalty increases, when you press the wrong button could make a big difference.  Maybe I legitimately made a true mistake early on and it cost me two minutes.  Then the wrong button press costs me four minutes.  The two minute was a deserved penalty but the much more costly four minute one wasn't.  I also noticed that the d-pad on my SNES controller (I played it on the Super Game Boy) is a little stiff because sometimes I would press the d-pad to move the cursor and then pressed the "chisel" button and then get punished for a wrong guess when I didn't mean that spot, just the cursor didn't move when I expected it to.

I wasn't sure what the Time Trial was doing though and that it had unique puzzles.  I played this game in two segments where I played about half the puzzles months ago so I couldn't remember if I had seen those Time Trial puzzles before or not.  Since there are more I will probably get back into it.

For some of the more difficult puzzles I suspect I lack the patience to solve puzzles beyond the typical approach I take.  I tend to look at one line at a time.  If I can't eliminate more possibilities in one line I go to another.  I am bad however at planning moves in any strategy game multiple moves ahead so if I have to look at two lines at once and eliminate spots that way I'm screwed and I think the game moved in that direction towards the end.  I actually feel like this needed three conditions: chiseled, identified empty space, and hypothetical.  I would make marks of hypothetical empty spaces to determine pieces that had to be chiseled no matter what but I had to remember to go back and erase them because there were indistinguishable from identified empty spaces.  If I could do that I could probably solve multiple lines since I can mark down the hypothetical situations and eliminate them.

2
As an old wrestling fan, the NBA playing at Disney World reminds me of the WCW Disney tapings and thus amuses me.

NASCAR, and auto-racing in general, is unique in that the participants do not have to make any physical contact with each other.  If I can maintain social distancing at the drive-thru then you can do it racing cars.  You can't possibly play basketball safely even with no travel or fans.  If someone gets infected then you have to test everyone and possibly halt play if a whole team is infected.

3
Scrapping the season for the NBA or NHL would suck because there was enough of a season that teams and fans for the best teams would have been thinking "This is our year!  We've got the right personnel and everything is gelling and we might never have everything come together like this again."  The 1994 Montreal Expos had the best season prior to the World Series being cancelled.  It remains the ultimate "what if" team and arguably started a domino effect that ended with them moving to Washington.  They looked like favourites and were not able to duplicate that success after that.  Do we really want more stories like that if we can avoid it?  Winning the championship in the COVID 19 season still seems better than being the best team all year and then not getting a chance at the championship.

Funny that Shaq brings up 1999.  Oh yeah I guess the damn Spurs, that would win five titles through Tim Duncan's career, were some lucky fluke team that sullies the record books, as opposed to an organization that clearly knew what they were doing winning a title.  Like if it was some one season wonder, I get it, but it ended up being a team that contended and won titles for years afterwards.  No asterisk needed.

4
So I just completed Mario's Picross on the Game Boy.  The ending is basically "Congratulations!"  Not even a Mario cameo.  But you don't play a Picross game for a story.  It's a great game and very addictive.  Though at the end the puzzles became hard enough that you had to make educated guesses as to what spaces to clear and couldn't systematically solve the puzzle through elimination.  Each puzzle has a 30 minute time limit and if you guess incorrect spaces you lose time, starting with two minutes and exponentially increasing with each wrong guess.  There is a flaw in that after failing a puzzle you can just try it again and I can remember a few key spaces that I successfully guessed on.  So while I failed a few puzzles towards the end as they got harder I never failed any twice because I could use what I learned from the previous attempt.  I don't know how you get around that though and today if you really wanted to cheat you could take a photo with your phone and use that as a reference for your second attempt, or literally pause the game and look at your photo to figure things out without the timer going.  You can't really fault a game for not anticipating future tech and of course there is Game FAQs for anyone that really wants to cheat anyway.

I don't think I would recommend this to everyone as I don't think it has universal appeal.  My brother for example was completely turned off.  So look up Picross as a concept and see if you like it and if you do, you'll enjoy this game.

5
General Chat / Re: The COVID-19 Virus is Coming For Us All Thread
« on: May 21, 2020, 08:58:18 AM »
Tracking the average daily death toll for Canada in weekly increments, the last week was the first time it went down, going from 170 to 130.  So far this week it is even lower but coming off a long weekend I expect there to be late reported stats as yesterday's number was noticeably higher than Monday and Tuesday.

British Columbia has entered Phase 2 of our restart plan.  They have a nice web site outlining it:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/bc-restart-plan

Oddly enough the Province slowly re-opening has not been met with much backlash.  Gee, it's almost as if this didn't occur in an election year for our country and no parties stand to benefit from steering the narrative in one direction or the other.  I've been quite happy with how the Provincial government has handled the situation.  The lockdown was never that draconian to begin with and it felt more like we were encouraged to social distance more than forced to.  Treating the citizens like adults seems to have worked.  There were rules in place but there wasn't the horror stories of people getting large fines for taking their dog outside to pee.  However today they reported 21 new cases after having single digit amounts for a while.  But phase 2 only started on Tuesday so it is way too early for that idea to have backfired and have to be scaled back.

Following the phase 2 rules (small groups, keep distance, no hugging, stay home if feeling ill) I've been able to visit my parents again which was great, though a little weird with us sitting on opposite sides of the living room.

6
TalkBack / Re: Paper Mario: Color Splash Is Great, Actually
« on: May 19, 2020, 10:49:49 PM »
“With regard to the story, we did a survey over the Super Paper Mario game in Club Nintendo, and not even 1% said the story was interesting.”

No matter how many times I read this quote it always makes me mad.  "Ian didn't think the dinner we served was very good so we stopped feeding him."  Saying the story isn't interesting doesn't mean the concept of story is not interesting.  It means the specific story you came up with sucked so make it better next time.

I suspect Nintendo will not learn the correct lesson from Color Splash.  Sticker Star would have sold on the reputation of the series itself.  When a series goes in a direction the fanbase generally doesn't like the effect on sales is more likely to show up in the follow-up.  You can't vote with your wallet if you bought a game at launch based on hype and didn't end up liking it.  I'm going to guess that Color Splash did not sell that well but it was a Wii U game and the weak sales of the system itself restricted the sales of every Wii U game.  So Nintendo doesn't get clear feedback.  They can use the weak system sales as an excuse for an entire generation of titles and really can't tell what worked and what didn't.

7
I first played A Link to the Past at some point in the N64 era but before Ocarina of Time had come out or possibly had even been announced yet.  Not owning an NES, LttP was my first Zelda and I knew to get hyped for "Zelda 64" so I must have played it before in 1996 or so.  My brothers and I played it as bit at a friend's house and thought it was cool how it resembled a real place with a village and such.  I had really only played linear level-by-level games at that point so this was something new to me.  I am sure it was after the N64 had come out because we managed to buy a used copy from my brother's friend who was unloading his "old" SNES games.  Maybe he had bought a Playstation or Saturn but clearly SNES was being considered outdated.

The coolest thing about our first play through is that the parallel worlds thing was a complete surprise.  We didn't have the manual and getting the three pennants and defeating Agahnim seemed like the typical length of a videogame to us since we hadn't played longer games like RPGs and such.  And by the time you get to that part you've covered the entire world map.  So we were very pleasantly surprised to find out we were not even half done!  Of course you do travel to the dark world to get the third pennant, being stuck as a bunny briefly.  I think we just thought it was a specific puzzle for that part of the game, not the first taste of the game's core mechanic.

8
It's funny in that I don't think you would ever see a something like the Tetris Attack naming again.  Naming a game you already released in another region as it's own thing with that of a licensed IP you don't own seems incredibly short sighted.  But in 1996 the idea of re-releasing a SNES game sounded ridiculous.  Arcade compilations were only just starting to show up on the market and that was the first example of videogame nostalgia of any sort.  Nintendo of America was likely not thinking that there would be any demand to sell Tetris Attack beyond the next two years or so.  By the time their rights to Tetris had expired the SNES wouldn't even be on the market anymore.  Today I would assume any company would take into account future re-releases of their title and would only go with licensed properties if the game was specifically designed to use it.  Tetris Attack itself has no real reason to use the Tetris name other than a hope it will encourage sales.  The game itself looks more like Yoshi's Puzzle League than anything else.  Maybe she should just rename it that.  Is there anything other than the title screen that says "Tetris"?  They could probably hack in a different title screen.

9
Hey, Amazon just changed the estimate data to be between June 2 - 5!  That's 2020, by the way.  I hope it sticks to that.

10
So is it an RPG?  Because I don't suspect this series is going to return to glory unless it goes back to being an RPG.

It's funny because even though I liked the first two Paper Mario games, they felt like they were thumbing their nose at RPG fans.  Like if you loved Super Mario RPG these games were seemingly going out of their way to avoid having the elements of that game you found enjoyable.  Now the irony is that Paper Mario games thumb their nose at people that loved the first two Paper Mario games!  The whole series is like some passive-aggressive attack on the players, wrapped up in a game that looks so inviting which makes the passive-aggressiveness all the more effective.

11
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I was hyped about Dinosaur Planet.  A Zelda clone made by Rare?  Hell yeah!  And then it turned out to be a pretty unfun chore of a game and Rare's one Cube title before being purchased by MS.  E3 2000 is really the last E3 of classic Rare.  We didn't realize at the time that Perfect Dark and Conker were going to be the end of an era.  There is a part of me that still tells himself that it was shoehorning in Star Fox and switching from N64 to Cube and the upcoming departure from Nintendo (ie: wrap this game up NOW!) that screwed that game up.  Like in an alternate universe Dinosaur Planet was released as an N64 game and was great.

I saw a documentary on DP recently, something on youtube, where it was revealed that for years and perhaps even to this day, Rare kept life size statues of the original Dinosaur Planet characters in their front lobby for all to see. As a kind of "**** you" to Nintendo.

The history and development of that game is fascinating to me. The end result was a breathtakingly beautiful game that was so linear and boring it was beyond description.

Star Fox Adventures was also the first time I ever gave the stink eye to a Miyamoto suggestion.  Being such a legendary designer himself I thought he would lean towards the artistic side but shoehorning in an existing franchise seemed like a boardroom decision from suits that haven't created anything in their life.  Imagine someone meddling with your movie and it was Martin Scorsese or someone meddling with your album and it was Paul McCartney.

12
Having graduated high school in '99, the early 2000's is when I became an adult and so that era seems like how the world was/is and everything that has happened in adulthood was a "few years ago".  Nope, that's 20 years ago and Billy's incredibly dated hairdo demonstrates it.  It's strange when what you see as the present becomes the past.  This is from a different world.  A good web site would have digital cameras, instead of film like lots of people still used, so they could upload the pics once they got back to the hotel.  You weren't uploading in real time from a phone.  Hell, at that point it was like web sites were what the really hip people used for their gaming news.  Game magazines were still a thing and videogame web sites were pioneers of a new era.  Being online at all, using dial-up except when at college, made me feel like I was part of a scene.  Now everyone is online and it sounds funny to think of the internet being a sub-culture itself.

I was hyped about Dinosaur Planet.  A Zelda clone made by Rare?  Hell yeah!  And then it turned out to be a pretty unfun chore of a game and Rare's one Cube title before being purchased by MS.  E3 2000 is really the last E3 of classic Rare.  We didn't realize at the time that Perfect Dark and Conker were going to be the end of an era.  There is a part of me that still tells himself that it was shoehorning in Star Fox and switching from N64 to Cube and the upcoming departure from Nintendo (ie: wrap this game up NOW!) that screwed that game up.  Like in an alternate universe Dinosaur Planet was released as an N64 game and was great.

13
General Gaming / Re: What are you playing?
« on: May 07, 2020, 08:46:49 AM »
Recently got back into Mario's Picross on the Game Boy, which I'm playing on the Super Game Boy.  It's, uh, Picross, which is really it's own thing and I don't really want to go into a detailed description of how it works.  It's very addicting and it works well in short spurts.  Each board has a 30 minute time limit and I usually can complete two of them in a half hour block so I'm playing it at lunch or in the morning before I start work.  I just wrapped up the Mushroom courses today and unlocked the Star ones.  It's too bad that the sequels to this stayed in Japan but I just realized that there isn't really much of a language barrier.  Maybe I should keep an eye out any imports at future retro gaming expos, if there ever are any again.

14
Okay, I clicked for the WCW reference.  A Capital Combat '90 reference?  How delightfully obscure!  I'm disappointed it wasn't an actual WCW wrestler but I guess it could have been worse and have been Chucky from Child's Play.

15
Movies & TV / Re: Star Wars Fanhouse, Chewie, we're home!
« on: May 04, 2020, 08:58:01 AM »
So today's May the 4th but I have nothing Star Wars related to do because by coincidence my brother and I watched the original trilogy over the last three weekends.  Though he pointed something out about Return of the Jedi that doesn't make much sense.

What is the whole point of Leia being Luke's sister?  Like from a storytelling perspective what does this contribute to the movie particularly since at the time this was the final film in a trilogy and I don't think they were planning anything else?  Leia does nothing of significance related to that other than saying "I can feel it" at the end.  Vader mentioning his sister causes Luke to go bezerk in their lightsaber duel but it is really not needed in the movie at all.  Leia is the backup if Luke fails but Luke doesn't fail so it serves no purpose.  What it does accomplish is make Leia kissing Luke in Empire come across as creepy after the fact.  My guess is they threw that "there is another" thing in Empire with no real plans and then had to pay it off in Jedi despite it not contributing to the plot in any real way.

Hell it isn't really much of a mystery to Luke.  Yoda tells him there is another and then dies and then 10 seconds later Luke talks to Obi-Wan who reveals his sister.  As a kid when I would demand instant gratification at all times I didn't notice this but as an adult it's pretty lame.  Like Luke trying to figure out who Yoda was talking about could have had a chance to build up throughout the film for a dramatic pay off but they just reveal it instantly.  Contrast this with Luke's father who is referenced throughout two movies before the ultimate pay off.

I always loved Return of the Jedi as a kid because it had lots of exciting action scenes and it paid off all the plot threads but as an adult it's flaws are much more obvious.  It's still a good film and thus the whole original trilogy works but it has some issues and I say this as someone that has no problems with the Ewoks.

16
General Chat / Re: The COVID-19 Virus is Coming For Us All Thread
« on: May 04, 2020, 08:34:08 AM »
Semi-related: I did have a particularly weak moment in which I considered using my facial hair trimmer to try to give myself a fade. It would not have turned out well. A cooler head prevailed.

My co-worker did that.  He tried to get his wife to cut his hair but she wasn't going to take the blame for a bad haircut.  He didn't look terrible in that a stranger wouldn't think he looked weird but you certainly wouldn't tip your barber for it.  The funny thing is that until only a few years ago he had pretty shaggy hair, far longer than what his hair would have grown out to during the lockdown.

17
General Chat / Re: The COVID-19 Virus is Coming For Us All Thread
« on: May 01, 2020, 12:36:21 PM »
Yesterday my brother had to drop something off at our parents.  While he has been losing his patience with social distancing he said that upon seeing our parents in their yard, a safe distance away from him, he felt much more uncomfortable about us all getting back to visiting each other.  He interacts with other people in public for his job.  When presented with the opportunity to just interact with Mom and Dad like normal he couldn't help but think "what if someone I had contact with has it and I'm infected but don't have symptoms yet?  I couldn't live with myself if I got my parents sick."  I hope other people have that moment before rushing into things.  On the bright side my other brother, while still working from home, is back to doing full-time hours.

I've noticed a disproportionate amount of opinions for reopening being based on... haircuts.  Let's examine situations where people would be begging to reopen:

I'm unemployed.
My business is on the verge of collapse.
My non-essential surgery has been delayed indefinitely and I have chronic pain.
I live alone and am suffering depression from isolation.
I want to go to a baseball game.
I need a haircut.

Don't those last two come across as very minor priorities?  Like I can see a person thinking that.  I've certainly thought about how disappointing it is that fun stuff I had planned has been cancelled but I'm not so immature and selfish to actually express that disappointment as an argument for reopening.  If you're going to argue for reopening do it for SERIOUS stuff, not "eh, this isn't fun".  You're not eight years old.

18
General Gaming / Re: Meanwhile, Over At The Other Developers...
« on: April 30, 2020, 08:39:10 AM »
So, what's the fix for "crunch culture"?  I've seen people want to see an end to that and better treatment for developers, but what's really the fix?  You can't work on a game forever, that doesn't work because you need some revenue to keep things going eventually.  Publishers could raise the price on games, a suggestion I've seen, which would make sense because it reduces a lot of risk if the demand for the game evens out.  The market already doesn't like the DLC model and the "episodic content" model also didn't seem to pan out, so the thing that makes the most sense is to raise game prices.  Games could also try to cut costs by reducing the scope of big titles.  Does a "AAA" game need so many hours of 4K content?

I'm basing this on PC game development since console development historically was largely Japanese so we don't get as many behind-the-scenes in English about them.  Anyway, if you go back to game designed by small teams and they'll often talk about putting in 16 hour days and sleeping at the office and such to get the game done.  But this is a small team of people passionate about the project so you get the sense that putting in this much time is somewhat voluntary.  Like this is their baby and if they don't work on it it doesn't get done.

I wonder if some of that just remained as the companies grew.  So it starts as the founders putting in crazy hours.  Then it's the founders and a handful of employees that they've become friends with and then eventually it's a huge company with all sorts of employees that have no real creative input into the game that are to just do what they're told.  It goes from volunteering to asking your friends to help you out to mandating crunch time from employees that you don't even necessarily know.

I haven't done game development but I have made a few indie films and I've put in crunch time on those, simply because if I didn't it would drag it out for months or even years.  Now I haven't made other people do that but I also haven't had anyone to boss around either.

And of course if other teams are doing crunch time then you're that developer where games take twice as long to develop as everyone else.  It's the competition of it.  You can't take twice the time or have games with half the production values and expect people to buy your game over others.

19
General Gaming / Re: Meanwhile, Over At The Other Developers...
« on: April 29, 2020, 02:58:26 PM »
Videogames were a lot better before big corporations discovered they were a thing.  In the past you had classic games being made by a handful of guys, sometimes literally in a basement if they were just starting out.

But that was going to happen eventually because videogames are too much damn fun to remain a niche hobby so they were going to eventually generate revenue that would interest the corporate world.  And improving the hardware was the most obvious way to justify a new console or to help new PC or arcade games stand out so eventually it was going to get to the point that the amount of work involved would require large movie-sized teams and large budgets.  It's annoying that we're there now but we were going to end up here no matter what.  I feel Iwata was just pushing back on the inevitable, stretching out as much time as possible for Nintendo before the market would demand that they make big budget games as well.

20
General Gaming / Re: Meanwhile, Over At The Other Developers...
« on: April 29, 2020, 01:47:38 PM »
I've never played Last of Us and am not really that interested so I took a look at the spoilers at a high level.  That's like the sort of **** that damages the previous game in retrospect.  Ha!  That's terrible!  MGS 2 is a good comparison but I also get Alien 3 (movie, not game) vibes as well.

21
General Chat / Re: The COVID-19 Virus is Coming For Us All Thread
« on: April 28, 2020, 12:09:22 PM »
I've realized that if my parents, my brothers and I all lived in the same house that we would have no real impatience regarding social distancing.  I can go months without seeing friends in person but splitting our family into two groups has been rough.  My family members are increasingly becoming cynical about the whole thing and are expressing more and more interest in getting together.  I can freely admit that that temptation is pressing on me too.  The invisible nature of this makes it hard.  I don't know anyone, or know anyone that knows anyone, that has caught the virus.  Canada (and the US) being a very large country geographically also plays into it.  With a large country you can have one area that is heavily infected and other areas where it appears like this is all an overreaction.  What you really need is restriction of travel so that heavily infected areas are locked down but areas with little infection are not.  But I don't know how you could have the manpower for the amount of checkpoints on the roads that you would need to enforce something like that and in America at least it wouldn't be constitutional.  It's a good idea in theory that isn't feasible.

I would like anti-body testing to increase.  The lingering cough I had for seemingly two months has gone away.  My Dad also had a similar cough and I may have caught what I had from him.  So naturally we're wondering if we had Covid 19.  If we did then my Mom and brothers have been exposed to an infected person this entire time, which would likely mean they caught it too but were asymptomatic.  If that were the case I wouldn't run off to a packed movie theatre but it would be nice for the two households to interact again.

Of course I would like more positive messaging to encourage people to keep this up.  Today the BC government said "We are getting close to the point where we can open up" which is great.  Not "we're reopening this weekend no matter what" and not "you will remain in your homes for two years and life is NEVER going to be the same".  Take the situation seriously.  Don't trivialize it, don't fear-monger.

22
General Gaming / Re: Reggie Joins GameStop Board of Directors
« on: April 24, 2020, 04:25:11 PM »
I think GameStop's biggest competition has been other big corporations, not local stores. People buying games on Amazon or digitally straight from the console manufacturers.

But I'm talking about a different business model.  They're not a retro game store now, they focus only on current systems.  Selling new games (or used games for current systems) in stores is a shrinking business model.  Transitioning to retro gaming, like selling old NES games and such, is a change in approach.  So the local stores aren't their competition now, they're just a similar type of business that Gamestop could probably transition into and they can replace failed stores.  Pre-COVID you bought retro games at a local store and bought probably nothing from GameStop.  Post-COVID you buy retro games at GameStop because the local store went out-of-business and GameStop switched to selling that kind of product.

23
I would hope it's a placeholder date but Dec 31 is a nice round date that you could see an algorithm generating.  Supposed to come out in 2020 but delayed indefinitely so pick the last day of the year.  But this was a specific change to move it back almost but not quite two weeks.  That's not an algorithm style date which would probably pick the 1st, 15th or last day of a month.  And if there is no real targeted date then why adjust it when both dates are so many months off that you have tons of time to change it as the situation becomes more clear?

24
General Gaming / Re: Reggie Joins GameStop Board of Directors
« on: April 24, 2020, 02:43:52 PM »
Covid-19 is making me rethink GameStop's potential strategy.  I hate the situation but there is a realistic possibility that the lockdowns from the virus are going to kill off a considerably amount of locally owned retro game stores.  Large corporations will have a better chance of survival.  The failures of those stores will leave a vacuum that GameStop could fill.  Hell, you'll probably have independent game stores that have closed but still have unsold stock they want to liquidate and GameStop could buy that stock.  Remember that this will be a recession due to a pandemic which is a unique situation.  So that doesn't mean the demand for such stores won't still be there as things open back up, it's just that these local stores can't pay their expenses while having a sustained period of diminished revenues.

I can see a near future where large corporations take over the market share for closed small businesses and that totally sucks but it's an opportunity for a corporation like GameStop.  Replace closed local retro game stores with GameStops and sell retro games, instead of Funko crap.

25
General Chat / Re: Official NFL Discussion: Great Googly Moogly
« on: April 24, 2020, 11:43:00 AM »
Looking further into it the logic that the Seattle GM explains is that first rounders aren't really first rounders for all 32 picks.  1-20 are first round level talent but 21-60 could all be considered second round level.  So if you're a playoff team picking late in the first round you essentially don't really have a first round pick and should take who you think is best of the second round level players.  The difference in the number 20 guy and the number 60 guy is minimal and the projected ranking is considerably less of an accurate predictor after the top 15 or so.

That explanation is pretty well thought out and explained and far better then dumb "we like his speed" caveman analysis you sometimes hear.  I'm not completely sold on it though since none of their first picks of the last four drafts have impressed me.  The strategy sounds logical but the results aren't panning out.

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