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TalkBack / Radio Free Nintendo Episode 700 LIVE! Show has concluded
« on: November 20, 2020, 06:04:00 PM »

Join us Saturday, Nov 21 at 1 PM Eastern to celebrate 700 episodes of whatever the hell this is.

JOIN US THIS SATURDAY AT 1 PM EASTERN! Here's the link! The Discord where we will be chatting is here.

Here's how to read this in the timezone of your choice.

Okay, that's the Inverted Pyramid satisfied, so what are you doing?

Radio Free Nintendo is excited to hit our 700th episode, and we decided to share it with all of you. We'll be broadcasting live starting at 1 PM Eastern our recording of Radio Free Nintendo. We'll even take calls as our "Listern Mail" segment, so be sure to be in the Discord channel.

1:00 PM New Business
2:00 PM Jonathan Metts goes to Hades
2:30 PM Call-ins begin!
4:00 PM Sign-off

More things will happen than what's listed, but I'm not great at planning.

Why do this?

700 is special! It has multiple zeros and is the sum of four consecutive prime numbers (167 + 173 + 179 + 181), and thus is special. Michael "TYP" Cole also let me know that 2x2x5x7 = 700, and that feels pretty special. So you'll be joining us.

I will? That seems awfully demanding.I hope you'll join us. It'll be fun. Jon Lindemann might even be there. He has been explicitly reminded.

Oh right, because he forgot that time. So this is the Telethon?

Decidedly not, but that's a function of my stultifying laziness, not because there isn't major need. There isn't really anything I need to tell you about the far-reaching the impacts of this last year have been on the world, but to that end I think it's better I let you decide how to help. Child's Play is a great charity, with a wonderful mission, and I encourage its support. However, this year has exposed needs across a spectrum of causes.

I do still want to reward charitable behavior. So, I'm asking you to make a donation to your charity of choice and then email the receipt to rfn(at) We have prizes, including a Nintendo Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. graciously donated by Brian, of Beat of the Month podcast.

We'll be giving it, and some other prizes away via drawings after the show concludes. Donation amounts do not affect entry.

However, if we get $500 worth of donation receipts we'll add a Stretch Goal. A Stretch Goal we'll decide on air during the show. And like any good crowd funding program there may even be more goals to unlock!

So this is a scam?

Possibly. You'll just have to join us and found out!


Please don't ask why.

Jon was out this week, mourning his distinct lack of "power."

Greg kicks-off New Business talking about Turok, which he has bought but not yet played. James has bought RAW POWER, in the form of Xbox Series X. It's basically just Xbox One with extra power. You might say, it is the most powerful video game console. He's also playing Yakuza: Like a Dragon on it. He's not really feeling the RPG-style combat. Guillaume is playing two games he doesn't especially recommend: spooky game Observer and anime game Forgotten Anne.

After the break we planned to dig deep into the inbox but instead have a long discussion on how the "Digital Divide" is impacting the gaming industry and leaving some consumers behind. As always, the inbox is here.

THIS SATURDAY November 21, join us for the Radio Free Nintendo Episode 700 Live Show! We'll be going live at 1 PM Eastern, and we'll be hanging out in the NWR Discord. We hope to see you there.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 698: Everything's a Conspiracy Now
« on: November 09, 2020, 03:37:51 PM »
I'm vaguely familiar with the concept. But Nintendo is inconsistent about it. And they don't usually convert in English language release.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 698: Everything's a Conspiracy Now
« on: November 08, 2020, 03:08:00 PM »

I saw online that this podcast is produced by Quentin Roosevelt and the Lizard People.

This week we start with a look at Nintendo's flagging Card business. It's a worrying trend, and without significant change this could rapidly get out of control.

We also answer a couple emails: has the time to revive an IP come and gone and what is the best movie from the late Sean Connery. You can send us your question here.

After a break we dig into some New Business.

Guillaume: Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2, Moving Out, Part-Time UFO
Jon: The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair
Greg: Wallachia: Reign of Dracula

Reminder! We have our episode 700 live show on November 21 at 2:00 PM Eastern. Join us at NWR! Link to come soon.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 696: WAM - Wet Ass Mario 64
« on: October 26, 2020, 12:32:53 PM »
For the record, I have no complaints.

The complaints are about you, not from you

Podcast Discussion / Episode 693: Celebrating Our Steves
« on: October 04, 2020, 09:37:29 PM »

The REAL Steve would give you all the watches you could handle.

Jon is out this week, but Steve is in.

In Smash, that is. As expected, we have much to say about it.

We also talk about Super Mario Bros. 35, Gui talks Elisa, and Greg has thoughts on Super Mario All-Stars and Super Mario 3D All-Stars.

More Mario, you say? Why, yes! We'll be doing our next RetroActive on Super Mario 64 sometime this month. You can start posting your comments here.

Likewise, you can email your comments or questions here.

Podcast Discussion / RetroActive 48: Super Mario 64
« on: October 05, 2020, 01:14:59 AM »
Most of you are probably playing it right now anyway, so our 48th RetroActive will be Super Mario 64.

Comments posted here may be used in the relevant episode. Recording will happen late October.

TalkBack / RPG Maker MV Is a Powerful but Complicated Tool
« on: September 04, 2020, 04:03:13 PM »

You can make your own game, but you better be ready to work.

I’ve been looking at this menu screen for the last hour, and I cannot figure out how to hide the party. I’m sure you can; the third-person omniscient cutscene is a hallmark of RPG storytelling.

It’s got to be here.

Google tells me to set “Transparency” to false as part of an event, but these are instructions for RPG Maker XV, and that’s a different product altogether. Nobody in the English-speaking world has MV, and there certainly isn't much in the way of a useful tutorial available. I tweak a setting, run the demo, and my slack jawed party hangs out in the corner. Eventually an errant press of the shoulder button reveals the dark secret: three more pages of menu options. Finally, my party is hidden.

Now I just need to actually make my characters.

That’s the RPG Maker MV Experience. I’ve already seen that this is a powerful tool, and I’ve dutifully recreated the set of Internet Performance Art Cutlery Corner in alarming and exacting detail.

My kinks are my own and I will not be judged for them.

But for every drip of empowerment is overwhelmed by an entire pitcher of complexity. A laughable tutorial asks you to place some flowers, script the exit to a room, and lower a slider on some enemies before turning over the keys to the Saturn V rocket and gesturing wildly at the night sky. “You know, up there!"

Frustratingly, none of the online sharing was enabled for most of the review window, so I couldn’t see what other members of the press had been able to hew from this tool. My hope was that I could deconstruct some “finished” products to see how certain things are done. I’m a software developer by trade, and I’ve described that job as being extremely proficient at Google and moderately proficient at hiding it. This is how things are done, but with posting offline for most of the review period, this option was unavailable.

It’s entirely too soon to review RPG Maker MV. With about seven or so hours of furiously hunting, I’ve scripted a grand total of three screens. Unable to share, unable to play others’ work, and unable to process this product, I still have a way to go to render judgement. I do have some early thoughts.

Firstly, it takes a tremendous amount of time to do just about anything. I accept there is a learning curve to this process; complex tools get faster with practice. However, just navigating menus, even when I know where things are, is a multi-hand operation. Paging through menus is a task for the left hand while selecting submenus goes to the right.

Text entry using the Switch’s on-screen keyboard is a joke, but thankfully they’re using the bone-standard Switch prompts so an option for a USB keyboard is available. Sadly, RPG Maker MV makes no use of the mouse, something that might have fundamentally changed how I feel about the menus. The touchscreen does work, but that presupposes you’re playing undocked, which also means likely sacrificing the use of a keyboard. Add to that the fact nothing scales for the small screen on Switch and I’m now down to gingerly trying to use my Vienna Sausage fingers to tap a tiny button with surgical precision. It’s hard to escape the feeling that this platform might not be ideal for the tool. I understand the series’ long history on consoles, but the developers might be shocked to learn that it isn’t 1995. Better options are available. There was a 3DS RPG Maker, which I presume is a product built by sadists for the exclusive benefit of masochists.

None of this is impossible. I had a breakthrough after over an hour of just trying to get the floor to release my character from an invisible prison. You can watch the suffering in the below video.

Following my revelation, I was able to steam through creating the first house of the game in about an hour. The scripting was working, I was navigating menus with only one error per action, and I was actually seeing playable results. After this highly productive, highly uplifting hour, I stopped to see what I had made.

It lasted two minutes.

I have grown to appreciate the Character Creator system, which lets you match components to create a good looking cast for your game. I was able to quickly zip through a family and craft the faces I saw in my mind. Assigning a created body and face to characters is easy, but then when you select the character "talking" during dialog it doesn't automatically select that character's portrait, which seems to defeat the entire point.

I've started tweaking the "RPG Lingo" of my game, changing what "skills" are called and erasing magic from the entire ecosystem. This is not a land of fantasy, it is a land of knives.

And lo! The knife skills were arrayed in razored respledence.

That's what's so impressive about RPG Maker MV: everything can be changed. This tool can be used to create any number of unique and interesting games. In patient and creative hands, MV has the potential to be unlike anything else on Switch. Oh sure, you can create worlds in Mario Maker, but this is beyond that. Nothing will come fast, but the creative depths that will be explored with MV outshines any Mario making. The price is time, and hopefully people who get RPG Maker MV are ready to make that exchange.

There’s a very long way to go before I master this tool, and much further still to produce anything approaching a playable game. But once I have something built, something I can be proud to share, I will be able to review RPG Maker MV properly. For now, you can look for future updates in this space as I keep crafting my opus: Nighttime Knife Time.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 681: Eyeglasses in the Shed
« on: September 04, 2020, 07:14:30 PM »
That game is unique and wonderful.

If not more than a little obtuse.

Add a section for collecting the Song of the Song of the Hero. Before you collect the Song of the Hero, you have to collect a song that allows you to collect the Song of the Hero. The Song of the Song of the Hero is an underwater stealth section in the Silent Realm. If a Guardian catches you, you lose all progress and have to restart the section.

I feel like that's basically already in the game.

I suggest moving the pumpkin shop further away from Skyloft, and just making the airspace around Skyloft bigger.

Let's say 1000% larger. Space all the "places" on the map according to that scale. Really need more flying over nothing to get the FEEL of an open game.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 685: The Great Yoshi Robbery
« on: August 14, 2020, 11:30:35 PM »
I followed that incident not to see boobs and butts, but because I was really curious about the "chain" of celebrities to see if there was any sort of trend.

I suspect I understand a bit about it. PR sucks.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 685: The Great Yoshi Robbery
« on: August 13, 2020, 01:53:20 PM »
I can't get there. I respect that this is his opinion but I think I'm unable to divorce the action from the result.

And the action here was no-good.

But Greg's reference to the Sony leaks is fair, I've read and joked about the infamous Spider-Man emails. They're hilariously out of touch. But yeah, they were big stolen by the government of a hermit kingdom that regularly engages in the torture, starvation, and killing of its own citizens, outrageous acts of war, and nuclear provocation. And it was done in a way to "pressure" foreign companies against criticism of their monstrous regime.

In the Sony case there is a silver lining in that the end result was the bridge that let Disney and Sony talk. And they both made billions of dollars.

And a good movie or two, which historically Sony Pictures is utterly incapable of doing.

But Greg was right, it was still all bad.

Shale Jokes / Re: The official give Crimm a new avatar thread.
« on: August 10, 2020, 10:57:03 AM »
Absolutely not

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 685: The Great Yoshi Robbery
« on: August 10, 2020, 10:56:19 AM »
Yeah we're trying to get it working.

It's some goofy stuff.

Shale Jokes / Re: July 27th is broken image link avatar day.
« on: August 09, 2020, 10:29:06 PM »
I'm working on getting the Patreon image fixed, I need file server access to do that

Podcast Discussion / Episode 685: The Great Yoshi Robbery
« on: August 09, 2020, 05:56:51 PM »

Get off my source control.

This week we start off with a little news: Pikmin 3 is coming to Switch! The list of Wii U refugees grows ever-shorter, and now we wait for Pikmin 4. After covering this news, we delve into an all-email catch-up show.

We don't succeed, but we try. This week we breakdown the morality of the theft and distribution of Nintendo's internal documents and take on two distinct questions that ask, "Where's all the games?" You can ask us your moral quandaries by sending us an email.

Shale Jokes / Re: July 27th is broken image link avatar day.
« on: August 06, 2020, 09:54:00 PM »
I will rain fire and death on everyone

Shale Jokes / Re: NWR Beautification Committee
« on: August 06, 2020, 09:52:22 PM »
Which one of you bastards did this?!

Shale Jokes / Re: July 27th is broken image link avatar day.
« on: July 29, 2020, 11:21:35 AM »
unless you already did...

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 682: Xenoblade Routes: The Best
« on: July 28, 2020, 01:26:02 PM »
The J&J Text Message Thread was "lit" that night.

TalkBack / Yes, Your Grace (Switch) Review
« on: July 12, 2020, 04:25:40 AM »

When all else fails, it’s just another day.

The affairs of state have been settled, King Erik’s lineage secured, and his family remains mostly intact, but I still feel exhausted. I’ve just seen my “ending” in Yes, Your Grace and despite achieving what seems an overall positive result, I can’t escape this unsatisfied feeling. Living life as King Erik of Darven has been ten harrowing hours.

Darven is a frayed kingdom: impoverished, dreary, falling apart, and without an heir. Its king is tired. Ruling a fading kingdom while also being father to three troublesome daughters and husband to a frustrated queen has taken its toll. Yes, Your Grace asks you to respond to the challenges before our graying king while also responding to a new threat of invasion and the lingering curse of a witch. Darven must find allies, rebuild its walls, enhance its food supply, and staff its army, all before the enemy arrives. Erik must sort his family, and prepare for their future.

Each “turn” is a week, and each week begins with setting the budget. Here, major construction efforts can be financed and ministers “hired” for the week. These investments determine the state of the treasury. The damaged market needs gold in order to fix the leaking roof; failing to do so will cause some supplies to spoil each week. No supplies means no soldiers. These investments are the most impactful decisions with respect to the health of the kingdom. Deciding what staff to have on hand each week determines what tasks can be successfully completed. Investing supplies determines if your army is growing or shrinking. However, once the major infrastructure investments are done, this screen often just gets bypassed altogether.

The next step in King Erik’s week is in the audience chamber, where citizens of the kingdom will beseech the king to assist them with their concerns. These could be anything from a plague impacting the village to an overly-baudy bar being a nuisance. It’s up to the player to decide if and how the king will assist: provide gold, food, or the use of one of his ministers. Often these citizens will visit multiple times over the course of the game, forming a quest line. The choices the king makes will create branching paths or cut them off all together.

These audiences are the bulk of each week’s action, but decisions lack the necessary gravitas, as the game autosaves between weeks. If limited resources or personnel are appropriated in a way that turns out to be sub-optimal it is easy enough to reload the week and do it again. A lot of decisions that are meant to seem risky, such as deciding to open a cursed box that legend says kills all who open it, can easily be explored and undone at a whim. Late in the game, I found I was basically treating each week as a dress rehearsal, removing much of the drama in a game about making decisions. Obviously, long-term decisions are not so easily reversed, and multi-part quest lines can’t be quickly undone, but I had no concern about going backwards three or four weeks if it seemed necessary. This kills the flow and tension of the game, but I felt no reason to not.

Lastly, the king has free reign to explore his castle and speak with members of his family. Here the game’s charms are on full display. The royal family feels relatable, despite their unrelatable circumstances. The oldest daughter is depressed that she’s about to be married off, confronting all the fears of leaving home and becoming an adult. The prank-playing middle daughter is  constantly clashing with her proper mother and older sister, but deep down is worried for her own future. The strange animal-obsessed youngest daughter steals the show with an earnest sincerity, unqualified courage, and comedic world view (such as her pet porcupine named “THE STABBER;” please note the capitalization) that are only possible in youth. Cedani is my slightly unsettling daughter, and she must be protected at all costs. Even the “proper” and mature queen is racked with guilt that she’s been unable to conceive an heir and stressed by her daughters’ unbecoming behavior. The king himself is tired, proud, and above all concerned for his family. The family drama feels human, their shared apprehension understandable, and the love genuine.

This game shows well. The art, while not mind blowing, is colorful, sharp, and matches the plot. The character designs are unique and fitting. Moments of action or engaging art stand out, particularly once war finally arrives. The music fits the game, and each character’s theme reinforces who they are. Princess Cedani’s slightly menacing theme stands out both for its complexity and how it reinforces the ominous honesty that this small child exudes.

I felt a strong investment in the fate of the king’s family, but much less in the fate of the kingdom. The entire back third of the game became fairly monotonous as the major decisions that set the path of the kingdom had already been made. I found the branching paths, and seeing how they impacted the fate of my family, satisfying. But, the game itself is still very dark. Even success, presumably as successful as possible, still felt somber. The story has a number of twists, some of which hit to great effect, but they’re spread out with long periods of low action. That means the ultimate payoffs often feel distant, and the game is forced to spend time reminding you the bad guy is “bad.” A more compact game wouldn’t have required such reminders.

As a note, I played the game just before release, and encountered a bunch of weird presentation bugs. Characters or menus would have the wrong text, at one point I broke the week counter, and the king could walk out of world and effectively break the game. A patch seems to have fixed these bugs, although I played most of the game without it. Following the patch I experienced new issues, namely a couple of game crashes, but I didn’t spend a lot of time with the game post-patch. Again, they didn’t happen frequently, but they were new post-patch. As such, I can’t say the current state of the game is particularly buggy, but at launch it definitely had some weird issues.

I like Yes, Your Grace, but my enjoyment wasn’t unqualified. I felt the most affinity for the characters, and much less for the overall gameplay. Interacting with my citizens got monotonous at times, and long stretches where my family had no new interactions really took the wind out of my sails. A more compressed story with a shorter runtime would make me more inclined to explore alternate paths, or at least less inclined to “save scum” my way to good outcomes, but given the structure of the game I find it highly unlikely I go back to it. This game won't appeal to everyone, so if you’re the kind of person who really wants to explain to your wife why you let your youngest daughter keep a pet bear before then updating her on your progress with arcane rituals, then this is probably the only game that will scratch that particular itch. If you don’t care for adventure games or this kind of narrative-focused gameplay, then there isn’t much to recommend here.

Podcast Discussion / Re: RetroActive 47: Crystalis
« on: July 08, 2020, 11:25:58 PM »
Its a better game; as long as you grind when the game wants you to.

Again, like Zelda II play it with a guide.

Shale Jokes / Re: J&J Dream Factory Market Research: ACNH DLC
« on: July 08, 2020, 10:45:29 AM »
J&J Dream Factory provides educational opportunities to their interns, they are not unpaid labor.

Take that Labor Department.

Podcast Discussion / Re: Episode 680: I Don't Gnome
« on: July 07, 2020, 07:16:19 PM »
It didn't occur to me that both questions have a strong business bent until you mentioned it.

You deny me my requisite credit. I saw the stale jokes and thought of shale jokes.

When I check on the forums.

Which I do 2 - 5 times a day.

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