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Episode 451: Just Add an H

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, John Rairdin, and Guillaume Veillette - November 1, 2015, 11:54 am PST
Total comments: 8

Who would have thought finding a guest would be as easy as throwing around a letter.

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Jon is still recovering from all the excitement of episode 450, so in his place we invited John Rairdin. As the guest, he leads off this spooky New Business with impressions of the de-spookied Slender: The Arrival, now on Wii U. Guillaume reports from Nintendo of Canada's annual media event. He gets time with the English version of Xenoblade Chronicles X, but don't ask him about the dub, and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, which turns out to be a bit...wanting. James dives into Tomorrow Corporation's Human Resource Machine, a fun take on translating Computer Science concepts into the soul-crushing madness of corporate work (video, and programming lessons, available). Lastly, Greg TRI-es his hand at playing The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes with the great unwashed masses on the Internet. Does he grasp the Pom Poms in happiness or his face in dejection?

After the break, we catch up with the news out of Nintendo's investor meeting as well as the subsequent briefing from Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima. Topics include: Nintendo's financial heath, "unannounced" games coming out "this year," the new account system, and of course Nintendo's first mobile app, Miitomo. A couple email questions are weaved into the conversation, specifically covering the lack of Nintendo Directs and Pachinko as a Business Plan.

You can have your questions and thoughts expertly woven into the fabric of a larger conversation by sending them to our mailbag.

You can find more of John's work on YouTube, at Nintendo World Report TV. Especially recommended, the best of the first half of his playthrough of Star Fox Assault.

This episode was edited by Guillaume Veillette. The "Men of Leisure" theme song was produced exclusively for Radio Free Nintendo by Perry Burkum. Hear more at Bluffs Custom Music.

This episode's ending music is the Treasure Room theme from Super Castlevania IV. All rights reserved by Konami.


EnnerNovember 01, 2015

Great show.

I really hope that Nintendo gets it shit together with software storage, game management, and other account stuff with the NX. But until I hear it, I assume it will be the same as it is now.

While Miitomo isn't an app for most of this website's audience, it stands a chance to grab others who are looking for a weird, possibly fun social app. While I can't see myself sticking with it, I'm curious to try it.

TOPHATANT123November 01, 2015

Now playing just isn't the same with out Jon...

Nintendo Account is a worse name than Miitomo? I beg to differ. The account system sounds neat but I doubt it'll be what fans what, ie having to pay for Super Mario Bros 7 times on each different platform.

I was watching UK children's tv with a nephew and I was honestly surprised how many adverts there were for Nintendo games, like 8 or so different 30 second commercials in a half hour period. Splatoon, Mario Maker, Tri Force Heroes, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire/ Omega Ruby with Hoopa, Smash Bros 3DS, Happy Home Designer, Yoshi's Woolly World and Skylanders specifically on Nintendo platforms with Donk and Bowser. Maybe it was a coincidence but unbeknownst to me kids get blitzed pretty hard with this stuff around Christmas time.

Nintendo Direct blew up in popularity and hype, but the reason people want directs is for game announcements and killer updates, something Nintendo doesn't have an ample supply of at the moment compared to the height of the 3DS and the arrival of Wii U. If they put out bad directs with games that have nothing to show then they kill the event status that they have been culturing for many years now, better to wait until they have some thing of substance to show that would warrant a 40 minute presentation.

The Cat Mario show is the new Nintendo week, but don't worry about the permanence of the digital media, kusoge master of not only games but also e-shop exclusive webshows; Daan Koopman, has you covered.

ClexYoshiNovember 02, 2015

Quote from: TOPHATANT123

The Cat Mario show is the new Nintendo week, but don't worry about the permanence of the digital media, kusoge master of not only games but also e-shop exclusive webshows; Daan Koopman, has you covered.

I don't even live in the UK and I look forward to every episode of the Cat Mario show that Daan uploads because it mystifies me in endless horror.

azekeNovember 02, 2015

Quote from: TOPHATANT123

The Cat Mario show is the new Nintendo week

No Alison though...

KDR_11kNovember 02, 2015

Human Resource Machine looks like regular assembly language (except spelled out). Seemed fairly easy from the Giant Bomb video, even Vinny managed to get very far. If you need a challenge there's TIS-100 from the maker of Infiniminer and SpaceChem which HRM players can imagine as having twelve rooms with four in/outboxes each connected to the other rooms and trying to make all those rooms work together to produce an output. Oh and you can't place things on the floor...

azekeNovember 02, 2015

Quote from: KDR_11k

Human Resource Machine looks like regular assembly language (except spelled out).

HRM is more primitive than that. It's closer to more abstract Post machine than to any real world counter part. Even processors with reduced instruction set (including those that power 3DS and Wii U) have a lot more operations.

Which makes sense, since it's a (puzzle) game first.

I've watched James trying to optimize his solutions, it was kinda insteresting how i would fare considering i also have more than a decade of programming behind me.

The later ones get into straight up sorts of strings of indeterminate length. At some level you need to manage two loops, the outer loop that iterates over the entire string and the inner loop that sorts each element. This means you need to try to preserve state for multiple operators at once. It's helped with the addition of what are essentially pointers. If you have 6 stored in field 13 you could say "Copy From " and it would go to field 6, versus "Copy From 13" where it would just go to 13. The trick to getting better efficiency in instructions used and in total moves is maintaining as few variables as possible. Each interaction with a variable is 2-3 moves so cutting a single one makes a huge difference.

I was able to run a "remove duplicated values from strings of indeterminate length" operator on less variables than the designers seemed to intend and chopped a solid 20 moves off the "target."

ejamerNovember 04, 2015

Bought (and later beat) Human Resource Machine last night, due to being interested in your comments from the podcast and enjoying the previous games from this team.  Left with mixed feelings overall.

The programming aspect is interesting enough and generally well done. The efficiency challenges are an important addition though - for someone with some programming background (which I assume will apply to many gamers) the base challenges aren't that difficult. I suspect that people with no formal experience in logic or programming will probably struggle with later challenges though, so having optional challenges is important.

The one thing that disappointed was the overall story. There was an interesting framework but it didn't seem to develop far enough or match the humor from World of Goo or Little Inferno. Granted, I didn't realize you could talk to your manager a second time each level for more color text until mid-way through the game... that certainly did add to the humor. The ending was a significant letdown compared to those other games though. Was hoping for a bang instead of a whimper. Maybe if I finish all optional levels there will be something more?

Glad to have played the game and happy to support the dev team, but probably would have waited for a sale in retrospect. Not exactly a ringing endorsement...

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