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Episode 551: Two Pinballs Came at Once

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, Jon Lindemann, and Guillaume Veillette - December 17, 2017, 1:30 pm EST
Total comments: 7

I saw a movie like that. It was nuts.

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The holidays are upon us, and that means more time to ignore family and play video games. We've done just that! All of us have been playing the free-to-play Pinball FX3, now available for Switch. Menus aside, it's a pretty solid pinball game - which is good because Greg also played Stern Pinball Arcade, also for Switch, that came out exactly the same day. It's an interesting contrast, with each game having its own advantages over the other. But, Pinball FX3 has online leader boards. You can beat your friends, gloat online, and then get humiliated when they quadruple your score. James and Jon, in preparation for survival inside their biodome, played the trial for Monster Hunter World. Stalking giant dinosaurs that puke "mud" at you has never been so high-rez. They're a little surprised that the game isn't more of a departure from previous entries in the series, and confirm that this is some Monster Hunter-ass-Monster Hunter. Guillaume has let enough time pass from the Etrian Odyssey deluge of 2015-2016 that he's able to get into Etrian Odyssey V. This one is "for the fans", removing many of the conveniences of later Etrian games and reverting to the "pureness" of the original title. Play EOIV instead. He also got his hands on Has-Been Heroes but found himself unimpressed with the strategy/roguelike hybrid. Greg and James round out New Business with an update on Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Very minor "spoilers" in the form of discussing specific rare Blades await, but it's nothing you probably haven't seen on Twitter anyway.

After the break, we attack a trio of emails. We start with two emails dealing with Nintendo's monetization strategy, one dealing with micro-transactions and the other on the fate of 3DS-style games within their Mobile ecosystem. Our third email asks us for our "Christmas Wish"; nobody asks for Peace on Earth, unsurprising for this bunch of misanthropes. You can send us your Christmas Card via the inbox.

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 Perry's SoundCloud. The Radio Free Nintendo logo was produced by Connor Strickland. See more of his work at his website.

This episode's ending music is requested by Ben: "Proof Of A Hero" (end credits version), from Monster Hunter Tri. All rights reserved by Capcom Co., Ltd.


ClexYoshiDecember 18, 2017



For Jon Lindemann

KobeskillzDecember 19, 2017

Hey crew,

I think the Stern pinball game should have gotten more props over Zen.

Zen is cool but as you guys mentioned the ball physics are a bit off at times.

Stern Pinball presentation is dry as paint but the actual pinball is absolutely spot on and the ball physics the best in the biz. Farsights has always done great pinball.

Wish their presentation would get up to snuff.

Though the super ass generic art style of Zen is off putting. They need to hire a better artist. lol. That asian charlies angels type girl freaks me out.

KobeskillzDecember 19, 2017

i think the email was less about loot boxes and more about nintendo resisting the urge to go that route outside mobile.

Imagine how much Mario would have gotten knocked for making the costumes loot boxes even if it's cosmetic.

They would have gotten destroyed when a lot of devs do this.

Michie_December 19, 2017

Mr Lindemann said it best, third parties don't have other sources of income. They need all the money a game can make them. Nintendo (or first party Sony/Microsoft developers) on the other hand don't have that problem. They don't need things like lootboxes or micro transactions.

KobeskillzDecember 19, 2017

Bethesda does alright.

ClexYoshiDecember 21, 2017

Quote from: Michie_

Mr Lindemann said it best, third parties don't have other sources of income. They need all the money a game can make them. Nintendo (or first party Sony/Microsoft developers) on the other hand don't have that problem. They don't need things like lootboxes or micro transactions.

And yet, development cost for games that Electronic Arts have made over the past 6 years has dipped, hitting a low since 2009 in 2016.

What it is is that Microtransactions offer stable profit Vs. the Boom-or-bust sorts of profit that just putting out more games and hoping they'd all sell tend to pay out. This, in turn, tantalizes investors to keep their money in EA as they make money hand-over-fist with Ultimate Team and-until Battlefront 2's big stink- Ultimate Team-like business models shoved into games like Dungeon Keeper Mobile, Need For Speed, Mass Effect 3's co-op hoarde mode thing.

likening this business practice to the likes of the Booster Pack or the Blindbag is frankly, disingenuous, and I do think the practice of monetization in this way is a predatory practice in ALL forms. sadly, unless the consumer base keeps up it's ire to the point where this sort of thing becomes unprofitable and profits from this sort of thing plateau, we're only going to continue down the slippery slope... and yeah, I know, slippery slope arguments are shit, but really, We have evidence of this ACTUALLY being the case so far.

You know what I'd be fine with? a company subscription service that has a monthly ceiling and you can spend your free tickets for digital tat in whatever game is under said subscription fee's banner... but otherwise it's stuff you can earn in game. yeah, you're still in insidious pay-2-win territory, but then there's at least a cap on the amount of pay-2-win buggery that goes on.

I inherently don't like the structure of loot boxes or any add-on content that you cannot purchase up-front using money.  Even having an in-game currency you have to buy in order to buy items/content is preferable, as long as it's up-front about what the real money cost is going to be to obtain those items.

But like many things, I think there isn't a black-and-white line to what's acceptable writ large, and I think the Jim Sterlings of the world are as off the mark as those who claim that lootboxes are a necessary evil in gaming.

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