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Episode 598: Sword of Jonocles

by James Jones, Greg Leahy, and Guillaume Veillette - November 18, 2018, 4:49 pm PST
Total comments: 5

Guess who's coming to dinner.

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Despite inching ever-closer to our Episode 600 live show, attendance remains a problem. This week Jon had to step out, so again we carry on with a trio. James catches up on New Business with a look at 7 Billion Humans, the second programming toybox from Tomorrow Corporation. It's just as good as its predecessor, Human Resource Machine, but it seems like the magic might be gone. He then spends an inordinate amount of time looking at SNK 40th Anniversary Collection. Many of these games are mean-spirited quarter-munchers, but the package is a great resource for looking at the company and its history. Greg goes full-anime with sci-fi anime shooter Astebreed. James talked about this weird mech game a couple years back, but Greg has shrewdly opted to not read the subtitles. Guillaume has also caught the shooter-bug with Sine Mora EX and Chuka Taisen. He concludes New Business with Sonic Maina Plus, now with more friends.

After the break, Listener Mail ended up just being a single email. We bag on "bad" voice acting all the time, but what makes voice acting good. You can ask us for professional advice by sending an email.

Lastly, we are just two weeks from our live Episode 600 with our RetroActive on Super Punch-Out!!.
We are recording it on Saturday, Dec 1st. 1 PM Eastern US
You can get a head start on the Punch-Out!! RetroActive in our Talkback thread.

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 Staff Roll 2 (Orchestra), from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for 3DS. It was selected by Greg. All rights reserved by Nintendo Co., Ltd.

Talkback

KDR_11kNovember 20, 2018

TBh I think Tomorrow Corporation's programming games are fairly beginner level, not just in what they make you do but in what they are, they seem like someone inventing a new genre (not saying TC invented it but maybe they didn't look at what's already out there) and still not really knowing what it's capable of. Zachtronics has been prolific in the genre (hence it sometimes being called Zachlike) and their games push the boundaries much further. The latest one has you hack a Gameboy-like device in one level and users have taken it so far that they've implemented their own games on that device.

Astebreed originally came out in the west at roughly the same time as Revolver 360 Re:Actor which got overlooked...
http://crosseaglet.xii.jp/game/R360R/ss/anime.gif
I hope it and its predecessor Revolver 360 (only widely released on XBLIG) make it to the Switch...
Also I hope Locomalito's next project is going to be Curse of Issyos EX (COI being their take on classic Castlevania).

IMO the biggest hurdle for voice acting is anime. Especially once mascots get involved, those voices are just effed up. No wonder Riki the Heropon sounds scratchy as F. Plus anime tends to go for weird ways of talking that ends up sounding all wrong in English.

adadadNovember 22, 2018

I love thinking about voice acting in videogames so thanks to all involved for such an interesting question/answer. I'm 100% with Gui on Grim Fandango, the voice acting in that game is top to bottom excellent - there's not a bad or even meh voice, including all the (many) bit parts. Manny is so good, IIRC, his voice actor was in Ugly Betty. As was mentioned on the show, it helps when a game has excellent writing - an all too rare occurrance unfortunately.

I think Charles Martinet is a highly underrated voice actor. Obviously his Mario is great, but few people know how versatile he has been outside of Mario. He's easily my top pick for "great voice actor in an otherwise poor cast" for his role in an obscure Konami PS2 game, Shadow of Memories (known as Shadow of Destiny in the US). He is totally unrecognisable as a creepy, androgynous character! https://youtu.be/gKD0c5WmG2c

Also you guys mentioned Arc Rise Fantasia, what a doozy. The most incredible thing about the cast is that they brought an infamous voice actor, Samuel Rose, out of retirement to play Niko. Prior to Arc Rise Fantasia he had only "acted" as the main character of the 1998 Sega Saturn survival horror game, Deep Fear. My favourite line: "What do you mean, stuffy?" https://youtu.be/4dCaEyh1wpw?t=319 Props to him I guess for starring in two of the worst voiced games of all time?!

My god, that's beautiful.

pokepal148November 23, 2018

This is where the real gems of Voice Acting can be found.

https://youtu.be/Xrj8DCIZvsY

ClexYoshiDecember 04, 2018

Gui told me on twitter that I should come back to this episode and listen to it. He said he was worried that I didn't make a forum post commenting on his talk on Christian Whitehead's magnum opus.


It's almost like he missed me.


Sonic Mania does have bottomless pits. this is most frequent in stages like Flying Battery, both act 1's of Mirage Saloon (Knuckles gets his own stage!), and Oil Ocean. they didn't outright eliminate Pit Death entirely like Sonic CD did, but I think they did their best to avoid the problems that the DiMPS developed sonic games have.

Which of course, leads into that marketing blurb; speed. yes, there should be setpieces that promote this, but the secret to sonic is that at it's most ideal, speed is marketing BS and the real thing that is tangible is Momentum; not just the the strict Newtonian definition of it, but also the metaphysical game design end of it. you'll hear a lot of sonic fans talk about liking Sonic games for the idea of momentum. The idea that you earn the speed and hwne you've built up game knowledge, the speed feeds into you being able to blaze through levels thanks to committing it to muscle memory. Likewise, an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and so when you get stopped, when you get sent to that lower path of the multi-tiered level design and you start sucking, the likes of S3&K start to do rude things to you.

There's decidedly a lot less of that in Sonic Mania. coming to rest, that is, having the game flow halted. there's so many spots where I get going through a section, roll through a hill and mostly make it out OK, and have my 'momentum' halted by missing a special stage ring or missing the quickly falling platform speed put me up by to maintain the upper route rather than the game literally brick-walling me.

A lot of the time, I find myself using the 'cool bonus' in levels as a metric for how I do when playing sonic mania (for the record, cool bonus is the measure of how many times you've allowed yourself to get hit period. it starts at 10,000 points and gets reduced by 1000 per hit).

Still, Sonic Mania is a joy, even if it isn't as taxing of a 'track memorization' as the games that came before it. Some Sonic fans can be outright nitpicky of Mania (particularly people don't like Egg reverie or have a few other VERY minor complaints), but it breathed life into people who were so done with Sonic and it proved the mettle of a generation of developers who cut their teeth on game development through deep academic symposium via fandom internet forums with a healthy dose of passion for the heroes for whom they have deconstructed and build over again and again and again.

It's an experience I've been living the past several months.

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