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  1. DeDeDe

    Game Boy & GB Advance Appreciation Thread

    It was my second console as well. I have a lot of fond memories of the Game Boy, but like many other people looking back, it does feel like I didn't pay a lot of attention to it. I was thinking about it yesterday, and what I've come up with is that the novelty and the small sense of the future that playing Tetris on the go faded somewhat quickly, and by 1992 or so it was not quite forgotten, but very overlooked. It had some nice, solid games, but everything around it was much more exciting and shiny. I suppose even Nintendo was not complaining so much, given the fact that every unit sold probably had a very healthy profit margin for them. Back when the SNES mini was announced, there was talk about the possibility of Nintendo releasing a Game Boy mini the following year, and at the time I was skeptical about whether there were enough games worthy of re-releasing. In the past year, though, in large part thanks to Jeremy Parish's Game Boy Works series and his work at Retronauts, I've completely changed my mind. His Switch-like concept is intriguing, but, more importantly, his dream list of games serves as a good list of the best games on the system. (He would rectify the lack of Metroid and Balloon Kid later. Although I would argue that Metroid II doesn't hold up that well these days.) I didn't own many Game Boy games. Tetris and Super Mario Land, of course; Ducktales was amazing. I loved the first TMNT game on the platform, Fall of the Foot Clan, which I ended up misplacing on one of the many adventures I undertook with my brother in tow. Playing it again last month was a slightly shocking experience. It hasn't aged well. But the music has––the Game Boy probably has a lot of my favorite 8-bit music, in large part due to Konami's efforts, and there's something in the MIDI system that the GB uses that literally resonates with me. (The soundtrack to Belmont’s Revenge is absolutely amazing.) It's easy to make a list of the highlights, most of which I owned: Tetris, Wario Land 1&2, Link's Awakening, Kirby's Dream Land 2, Pokémon, Donkey Kong 94. More than any other console, the GB was really the little engine that could. And there is so much more. I've been thinking about how to replay the classics and also play all of those games that I missed the first time around, but what's the best way to do so these days? I own a hacked PSP, but I wonder if playing on the 3DS (via the eshop) is a better experience...
  2. DeDeDe

    The first one is still the best one

    When I started this topic, I expected to find some controversial opinions, but this is all kinds of wrong. I'm not the biggest fan of the New Super Mario Bros. series, but they've gotten better and better with each installment. The first one is undoubtedly the weakest one.
  3. As time has gone by, the view of game sequels has changed. It used to be back in the day that almost all sequels were superior in every way to the games before them. Gradually, this has changed to the point where it's not a given that the sequel will be better, but there is still that sense that everything evolves. For some games, though, I feel that the second game took a step in a direction I didn't agree with, and I still prefer the original that started everything. I'd be interested in reading what games other people might bring up (Super Mario Kart? Bayonetta?), but my choice is Super Smash Bros. (N64) The Smash Bros. series has become a viable, respectable fighting game franchise in its own right, but I feel that something was lost when it retooled everything for Melee and subsequent sequels. The fact that the game relies as much as it does on nostalgia for the characters, arenas, and items plays a part, but not significantly. The huge roster of characters is also not a factor. It's probably just me, but I feel that the feel and atmosphere of the series changed from Melee onwards, and it has lost me. The characters feel different. The fighting system has become much deeper and complex. The frame rate is much better. Sure, I can now see that the original was broken in many ways, but I miss the more primitive, sumo-like feel of the original, slower and more decisive. I also miss the conceit, where it wasn't about figures and trophies, but simply about a child playing with their Nintendo dolls on their desk or bed. Smash Bros. is a series I can respect, but never really enjoy.
  4. DeDeDe

    Edge #331

    It’s... It’s true!!! And used by none other than PG Wodehouse!
  5. DeDeDe

    Currently playing...

    After about 13 hours of playtime, I finally finished Symphony of the Night. It's an odd feeling. I've been living in the world of SOTN for the past month, so to see it come to an end is somewhat sad. After I completed the game for the first time with something like 191% clear percentage, I went back to it for a few more times to get more items (Crissaegrim!) and to get that percentage up to get the true ending, but after all of that, it feels like the end of an amazing journey. Despite what how it has been portrayed, I felt like the inverted section chapter of the game was, due to Alucard's abilities, the last quarter of the game. It masterfully hides it in the beginning with a sense of dread and the fear of the known unknown when you first teleport to the inverted castle, which in turn made it longer than I'd expected to get used to the new-but-familiar castle. But the game really opens when I beat the second boss and I realized that the whole castle was open to me. Comparing notes with a few walkthroughs after I beat the game, I now realize that I unwittingly chose one of the harder routes to go through the castle. I also made a mistake in the first castle, making some bosses much more difficult than they should have been, but this was exacerbated in the boss fight with Galamoth, which I faced with basically nothing to shield me from electricity attacks. That's the appeal of SOTN, however: there are a lot of rough edges and places that are unbalanced, and some of them, such as Crissaegrim or the Shield Rod+Alucard Shield can legitimately spoil the game. But it's all because of the open nature of the game, and it feels like everyone who plays through the game plays their own unique experience. What an amazing, amazing game.
  6. DeDeDe

    Currently playing...

    Playing Symphony of the Night for the first time, on the Vita. I've actually been on a Metroidvania kick over the past three months or so, and after listening to a few podcasts about the history of the sub-genre, I thought I'd go back to its non-Super Metroid origins. A few thoughts: I'm surprised at how open and non-linear the game world is. Super Metroid creates the wonderful illusion that you're exploring an open world, but, unless you know what you're doing, it can be quite linear. This is not really the case with SOTN where, after the initial two hours, you're left to your own devices. The non-linear nature, along with the clunky menus, might have worked against the game, though; I can see a case where someone would have flown up towards the final boss and finished the game without knowing about the second half of the game. I had actually bought the soundtrack to this game about ten years ago, and, although the element of surprise is gone, the music itself hasn't aged at all. Metroidvania games usually go for an atmospheric approach, but SOTN is defiantly different. ... Except for the song over the credits. I wonder if it was put there as a joke by the composer. More than other Metroidvania games I've played, SOTN makes almost physical the sense of progression in the game. By the time you get the bat transformation ability, your approach to the castle has changed completely, and the sense of freedom you get by how smoothly you traipse through the castle surprised me. I haven't played any Castlevania game post-SOTN, so I didn't know what to expect. Playing the game twenty-two years after its initial release, I've been spoiled on a few things, but it's been an amazing experience so far. The only thing that annoyed me in the beginning was the aspect ratio of the game. I suspect the PSN (PSX) version has the wrong display ratio set as default. It squashes the frame into sort-of widescreen when it should be closer to 4:3. Changing the ratio is trivial, but it's something to keep in mind.
  7. DeDeDe

    Game Boy & GB Advance Appreciation Thread

    @rafaqat I'm not sure I would recommend any of the DX games these days. All of them (Super Mario Bros., Link's Awakening, Tetris, R-Type... Maybe Wario Land 2 also belongs in this list) are at the very least very good ports or, in the case of Tetris, a fresh take on the original. However, now I find I prefer the originals. The Super Mario Bros. DX extras are fun, though. @Ninja Doctor You mean GBC-only games? If so, I'd recommend: Metal Gear Solid: Not a port, but an entirely original game. The best classic Metal Gear game. Wario Land 3: Some people rave about Wario Land 2, but I've never liked it. Wario Land 4 is the best game of the post-VB trilogy, but 3 is different enough to warrant a visit. Mario Tennis and Mario Golf: In many ways, both of these games have been superseded by subsequent versions, but they're still a lot of fun. I personally think that Mario Golf GBC is the apex of 8-bit arcade golf games. Pokemon Trading Card Game: It's a little on the short side, but this is an incredibly addictive digital version of the eponymous card game. The Japan-only sequel is next on my to-play list. Bionic Commando Elite Forces: This is not a port or a DX version of the original Bionic Commando; not wholly original, but a brand new game, and surprisingly good. Stranded Kids (Survival Kids): A somewhat open-ended game about trying to survive on a desert island. Very underrated. Shantae: Arguably, this game has become more of a collector's item now, and the sequels have bettered it in every way, but the original is still quite enjoyable. Toki Tori: The sequel is more sophisticated, but this is a great little platform puzzler. Pokémon Pinball: I revisited this a couple of months ago and found it lost a bit of its luster. There are better pinball games now, but it's not bad. Bonus: Kirby's Tilt 'n' Tumble: I've always been a fan of games that use gyroscopes for gameplay, and this game is fun. I'll admit that it’s not for everybody, though. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages: I hated these games when I played them back in the day, but I've been meaning to revisit them recently. A lot of people rate them highly, though.
  8. I disagree. Nintendo’s real mistake, and one that they’re still paying for now, was their treatment of third-party developers. The market would be different, sure, but I think that even if Nintendo had released the N64 with optical media instead of carts, Sony would’ve still released the PlayStation.
  9. Surely this is really about the Vita. Sony had a good thing going there with the PSP. @dumpster It’s really sad to see just how badly Sony handled the Vita. Bundling Minecraft (which eventually became the best-selling Vita game) was obvious. But in hindsight it feels like Sony was never really interested in a new portable, and even grew to resent it. Remote play itself was a mistake, I think. Terrible way to build an ecosystem—and even just looking at it from Sony’s perspective, it was a big feature for a niche case, given the requirements. Sony should have simply let Nintendo take a stab at the concept first.
  10. DeDeDe

    The bad gaming parent thread

    As the father of a two-year-old, I feel conflicted. I don't want to go into details, but there was a tragedy in my family when I was nine years old due to gun violence, and that obviously had an influence on how I interacted with media as I was growing up. Still, I was allowed to play any game; more violent video games were met with a frown, but nothing was forbidden or banned. Puzzle games became my favorite genre, but although I think that what happened to me influenced my taste in games, it's more due to other reasons. FPS games in particular have never appealed to me. I played through normal in GoldenEye, and the last FPS I played was the multiplayer mode in Perfect Dark--but I stopped due to motion sickness. Still, I must admit that there's something in me that dislikes the notion of violence in media. I understand that violence is the most common method of resolving conflict in video games, and even the likes of Advance Wars or Mario are built upon violence, no matter how cartoon-like they might present it. I don't want to ban video games (violent or otherwise) from my home, but at the same time I don't want to present the idea to my son that violence (and gun violence in particular) is natural and a good way to solve problems. I'm trying not to say here that games are worse in comparison to other media. I know that I will have to talk with my son about violence throughout his childhood. But I am less certain about what to do when he starts getting interested in games.
  11. DeDeDe

    Photography Equipment & Software Thread

    Mark 1. I tried out the Mark 2, but I didn't like the design, and what worries me the most about this camera--the battery life--hasn't been improved significantly, apparently.Being accustomed to bodies with image stabilization, this is also one thing that's made me hesitate about this new camera. Following film rules for exposure has not failed me so far, but I suppose I might have to be a bit more careful.
  12. DeDeDe

    Photography Equipment & Software Thread

    A more-than-cursory look at other cameras earlier this year has tempted me to trade in my Pentax K-5 for the Sony A7. Like the PS3, the A7 has no lenses, but one of the most interesting aspects about the camera is the fact that it's very adapter-friendly. I have a fair number of vintage lenses, and I'm looking forward to trying out other older lenses on it. But I must admit that I'm a bit nervous: I feel like this is a bit of a risk.
  13. DeDeDe

    The Trouble with Nintendo. A TL;DR topic.

    That's one of the game's rules: you need five missiles to open pink doors. It's arbitrary, but not illogical. And pink doors show signs of opening after a missile is shot at it. If you don't notice, you're not looking closely.
  14. DeDeDe

    The Trouble with Nintendo. A TL;DR topic.

    It doesn’t matter one whit. The game gives you enough information to pass the first few tests to understand how to traverse the game world. It doesn’t give you all the information, and what it given to you is told implicitly, which should lead the player to experiment with what they have at their disposal. It’s not unreasonable to ask for help at such an early section. What is unreasonable is to expect the game to give you the answers as soon as you are stuck. And I think it’s very sad that many developers these days bend over backwards to deliver on such expectations.
  15. DeDeDe

    Photography Equipment & Software Thread

    This is probably much too late now, but have you considered a Pentax DSLR? Not for any good reason related to back-compatibility, of course--Pentax DSLRs are arguably very different to their film SLRs, and if I'm correct K-mount lenses can be used in bodies with an adapter... Nevertheless, if video is not a real priority, Pentax cameras are a good deal.

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