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Good article! I came late to the game with Paper Mario, having owned/played both TTYD and the Super Paper Mario first, but I've been slowly working on this game off and on over the last few months, and though I haven't got very far (I've only saved 2 star spirits), it is quite a charming game. I agree wholeheartedly that the battle system is a bit too simplistic, though it's understandable given the target audience of a game like this. The battle music also tends to grate after an hour or so of gameplay. All things considered, however, it's a pretty fun and interesting game, definitely one for Mario aficionados.
1 month ago on N64 Review #13 – Paper Mario
I've overlooked this for years, but it does look like fun. I'll have to keep an eye out for it next time I go retro game hunting!
1 month ago on The Gamer Chronicles Ep: 21 Spider-Man
I have to hand it to you, Joshua, the 2nd paragraph of your article almost perfectly encapsulates the "outsider" view of JRPG's from someone (such as myself) who didn't grow up playing those games on a regular basis, or perhaps not at all. It made me smile, because aside from a few minutes of playing the original Dragon Warrior at a friend's house (followed by a hearty "WTH" reaction), and watching another friend play some of the original Final Fantasy, I had almost no exposure to RPG's, other than Zork and other PC-based text adventures. The only other RPG I had played as a kid was Final Fantasy Legend, which I didn't get very far in because I neglected to grind enough to make it through the first tower. So when I picked up Phantasy Star II used because I had heard great things about it, I had a similar reaction when I started to play and realized I was in WAY over my head. I didn't quite understand the concept of grinding at that point. Had I known that's what I had to do to level up enough to really stand a chance in the first "Mysterious Cave Maze" (love that description, btw). I gave up far too early in PS2 because I didn't have the manual, hadn't truly played an RPG seriously up to that point, so I never went back to it. Now that I've had some real RPG experience with FF7 (random encounters) and both Lunar titles (the PSX remakes with NON-random encounters), I have a much better idea of what I need to do to progress in a game of that scope. I still have my PS2 cart, and now that I have the Genesis collection on PS3, I plan on playing through all 4 original Phantasy Star games at some juncture to see what I missed out on years earlier.
I think there's room for grinding, especially in games with more complex battle systems. Sure, a simplistic battle system with very few mechanics can get old fast, such as the aforementioned Final Fantasy Legend. The game can still be fun, but I understand that the tedium of random battles (especially after you've sufficiently leveled up) can be somewhat exhausting. Still, I think there's nothing wrong with a game that forces you to grind a little to get where you need to be. Even in simpler RPG's, there's still quite often and element of randomness with some battles (enemies don't always pull out the "heavy guns" attacks each encounter), and I've noticed that some games also shift to harder battles in some areas if you're leveled up so there's still some challenge there and you're not just plowing through every battle in 1-2 hits per enemy. That makes grinding seem less like grinding, and those are the games that I think pay much higher dividends for your time and energy.
1 month ago on Role Playing Grind
I would LOVE to buy a shirt, but I'm a 2XL. Any chance you'll be offering larger sizes for the, erm, more portly set?
1 month, 1 week ago on Merchandising & Movin’ up in 1 More Castle
I want to vote for Night Trap SO BAD because of how well it was integrated into the episode, but Wolfenstein 3D is SO MUCH BETTER a game. I have many great childhood memories of capping Nazis after downloading the shareware version via a 1400 baud modem at my boss' house. Those were the days!
2 months, 1 week ago on 92 – Thou Shalt Not Night Trap
No shame in voting for Jazz Jackrabbit, since it's CLEARLY the best game in this particular Showdown. As both a console and PC gamer as a kid, I can vouch for JR's quality. Yes, it's sort of like Sonic the Hedgehog with a gun, but that's an unfair description. Where before, we had early Apogee releases like Duke Nukem and Commander Keen (both quality titles, I'll add) with somewhat herky-jerky scrolling and sound effects/music that was somewhat primitive, this was the first game I truly felt was a pretty close approximation of the console platformer experience on a PC. It scrolled smooth, had a protagonist with the 'tude, had cool music, colorful & bright graphics, and fun gameplay that controlled well like it should. Everyone else is on crack - Jazz Jackrabbit is the winner here, whether it wins in votes or not.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on 67 – Hoth Level Day
Sadly, I remember having and playing this game. I don't recall it being that good, but I did remember thinking it was trying to rip off Mario & Donkey Kong. Will have to try it again for grins & giggles.
1 year, 1 month ago on Aldo’s Adventure
"He looks like if Sylvester Stallone ate Macaulay Culkin then went cosplaying!"
1 year, 2 months ago on The Death And Return Of Superman
@Aggro Sky @MetalFRO yeah, I've never come even remotely close to finishing the game - it's one of those "backlog" games for me that if I ever get into a major "new game drought" and only have old stuff to go back and play, I might just take it on and see if I can do it. Otherwise, I'll just pull it out once in a while to get my butt handed to me and remind myself of how much I suck at it :)
As for Shinobi III's music, yeah, I get where you're coming from, but I actually enjoy the tunes for what they are. Shinobi III is a much more "straight" game than its predecessor, i.e. more traditional levels, more traditional enemies (no stealing licensed characters, etc), and the atmosphere is a bit darker, perhaps, so I think the music is fitting for the game, even if it isn't as well composed as that of ROS. Also, assuming you've played it, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on Shin Shinobi Den (aka Shinobi Legions) for the Saturn. I'm in the camp that enjoy the game despite its flaws, and I've had quite a bit of fun with it over the years, though due to some insane jumps required (like ROS) in the later levels, I've never finished it.
1 year, 3 months ago on The Completist Presents: The Revenge of Shinobi
Nice write-up. I must admit, this game is one of my least favorite of the Shinobi series. I generally prefer Shinobi 3 because I find the difficulty curve is much more "curve-like", whereas I always get my backside handed to me starting with the 2nd level here. I can't deny what a classic this is, however, nor can Yuzo Koshiro's excellent soundtrack be ignored.
Happy birthday, 1 More Castle! I've been enjoying the articles and content since day 1, so glad to see the site is thriving! Here's to many more!
1 year, 3 months ago on Happy 1st birthday, 1 More Castle!
@NintendoLegend I've never heard of it either, and I was a Genesis fanboy back in the day. I'll have to track this one down! I suck at racing games, but Kart racing is usually a lot more forgiving and mostly fun, so I'd probably dig it.
1 year, 3 months ago on Street Racer
MAN.....I haven't played this game in YEARS. I remember firing this up on the ole IBM PCjr and toying around with it. It's been so long, I don't recall whether or not I ever completed the game or figured out "whodunnit" but I do remember having fun with it.
1 year, 3 months ago on Sleuth: DOS
I think perhaps the larger issue is, why not offer either/or as the option? Make the VC download a single package and give users the option to play one or the other? Or if Nintendo really wanted to monetize it, during the purchase process, give users the ability to select the 50 or 60 Hz version, and charge equally for both. Default to 60Hz for modern technologies but give those who prefer the 50Hz versions of their youth the ability to select those if they so desire. If Nintendo did that, it would certainly calm the heartburn you're talking about here. If they spent a bit of time adding leaderboards and capabilities to play 2 & 4 player games with others online, that would make the VC that much more attractive. Sadly, the returns on that kind of effort probably don't justify the time to implement it.
1 year, 3 months ago on A few thoughts on the Virtual Console (Pt. 1)
As I was scrolling through your list, I was thinking, "2 or 3 obscure games and no SotN?" But I was impatient, and of course a smile crossed my face when I read the #1 choice. Bravo. Dracula's Castle is such a joy to explore, and one of the most well-designed areas in any exploration-based platformer. I salute you sir, for a fine choice.
1 year, 3 months ago on Top 10 Castles in Video Games
I don't come back to this one that often, usually due to my belief that the NES conversion of Twin Cobra isn't nearly as bad as some say - I've spent far more time on that game than this. But Tiger Heli is a good game, good conversion, and one that I remember fondly because I had a friend that owned a copy, and we spent enough time on it as kids to have cemented the first level in memory, and I would agree that it's worth a fair shake as well.
1 year, 3 months ago on Tiger-Heli
Good little article. I appreciate that you were able to share your humiliation and learn a life lesson from it all. It's only when you become an adult that you can look at those situations objectively and know that you've met your match. Bravo to you for having the presence of mind to know when you were out of your depth and leave with your dignity intact instead of pushing a rope.
1 year, 4 months ago on Live to run another day
@NintendoLegend Congrats on the score, but you earn a demerit for your flagrant use of a CG Jabba the Hutt versus the original, CLEARLY superior giant prosthetic animatronic version. For shame.
1 year, 5 months ago on 028 – Madden with Minefields
I am quite interested/excited about this. I'd be interested to see if they can pull off Castlevania 3 (US) working. That might just be worth the price of admission, but if they can get FX chip games working as well, PLUS it plays imports? I'm sold. I have my NES and SNES on the living room CRT TV, but with HDMI that would look real nice on my bedroom LCD :D
1 year, 5 months ago on Hyperkin Retron 5: 9 Consoles in 1
@actblazer I was thinking the same thing watching that trailer. Looks like wretched AI. Plus the "...beautiful style that amaze you and feel never been experienced world before." line rivals "All your base" for worst Engrish ever. That level where they're riding on the logging truck looks ultra CHEAP in terms of cheap, unavoidable hits.
1 year, 5 months ago on Double Dragon 2 Remake Launching Next Week
I would put excessive combos in the same breath as the danmaku or 'Bullet Curtain' shoot-em-ups that came out of the mid-late 90's splintering of deacvelopers interested in the genre. I grew up with the Gradius and R-Type games, along with other non-arcade titles, so when I first encountered the 'bullet hell' shmups, I balked. After some time playing them, I see the appeal and enjoy some of them, but I generally still prefer the simpler, more frenzied shmups where I have to dodge a few fast bullets versus a hundred (or a thousand) slow ones.
By the same token, fighters like Street Fighter 2 are preferred to the Marvel vs. Capcom variety, because the emphasis is on a handful of special moves (what you call combos) versus the actual combos that chain together multiple special attacks or punch/kick combinations into insane numbers of successive hits. Any player who walked up to a machine to challenge a pro would go down within seconds, and consider their quarter wasted. The only way to really get good at a game like that is practice, and in order to properly combo in the traditional sense, you really have to memorize the special moves and combinations to the point of near 'muscle memory' in order to be among the elite. That's the point where I check out with fighting games. If I can pick up a fighter and win a few matches simply by timing my attacks well, anticipating my opponents strategy (countering an air attack with a high kick/punch, etc) and perhaps pulling off a special move if I use one of the more common 'tropes' of special move combinations.
I guess what I'm saying is, I get where you're coming from, but would hope you'd recognize your own low threshold of tolerance for a genre convention that, while not for everyone, has become a staple and a major attraction for hardcore fans of the genre.
1 year, 5 months ago on Kick, Punch, Punch, Kick, Punch, uuh… HADOUKEN!
I think you're spot on with your observations, and I would concur that a person's memory is where the retro gaming consciousness lies, and for those that aren't as active in continually keeping that flame alive, the embers that still burn in 'resident memory' will naturally gravitate thoughts of this type to the titles that they have a great fondness for, or games they spent a lot of good times playing. Hence the smattering of less well known titles and games seen more through the fondness lens versus the strictly 'classic' one.
1 year, 5 months ago on Spontaneous Sentimentality: Quantifying the Retro Game Mystique
The Saturn version takes a lot of flack, but I think it plays pretty well with the 3D controller, and is still a blast.
1 year, 6 months ago on Duke Nukem 3D
Love this game! If this had been released on the SNES, it could have been huge. I would have loved to see this on the Jaguar alongside Zool 2, because I think it's a superior platformer. Either way, sweet game.
1 year, 6 months ago on Jazz Jackrabbit
@NintendoLegend Yeah, I loved how you could see eyeballs flying toward you onscreen when you wasted dudes with the bazooka. Attention to detail! Not to mention guys down on their knees begging you not to hurt them, which was one of the earliest examples (that I'm aware of, anyway) where you could make the moral choice to spare their lives, or ignore that and blow them away. Pretty sweet game, even today. I'm curious as to what the remake will be like...
1 year, 6 months ago on Rise of the Triad
Fantastic game, and one of the TG16 exclusives I wanted to make sure I got once I bought mine - got lucky and found a seller who hooked me up with a reasonably priced unit and a complete copy, even including the HuCard sleeve! It's a shame this game isn't more well-known, but the shmup faithful know how great it is.
1 year, 6 months ago on Blazing Lazers
Another classic I spent a lot of time on as a kid. Great to see there are others who still remember these titles!
1 year, 6 months ago on Spacewar: DOS
I played this game endlessly on my PCjr. Love it!
1 year, 6 months ago on Flightmare: DOS
Absolutely awesome to see Commander Keen love all these years later! After cutting my teeth on PC gaming years earlier, Commander Keen was what I spent hours playing on my family's 386, along with the original Duke Nukem (before he ran out of bubble gum), and other Apogee & Megagames titles. Love that series, it will always have a place in my gaming heart.
1 year, 6 months ago on Commander Keen
@jasonlamb Makes me glad I still own my old IBM PCjr. and all my original boxed cartridge games and disk games (though no boxes on the disk stuff).
1 year, 6 months ago on FC5025: The Mystery of the Blue Disk