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DeDeDe

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  1. Yeah, although I think that Tobal No 1 was a good choice as a game for people to revisit or to play for the first time, but discussion was hampered by lack of availability and emulation problems. As for myself, I tried playing it through emulation on my PSP, but it was quite the challenge. From what I could gather, the game files on the disc are separated into tracks, so I was able to play the game, but without sound. That dampened the experience considerably. One other thing that also failed to rouse my enthusiasm was the fact that Tobal is a 3D fighting game. I was at the arcades when Virtua Fighter debuted, but starting with VF, and all the others that followed, I've never clicked with any. I'm not good at them, but I enjoy playing 2D fighters and free-roaming fighters such as Smash Bros. or Power Stone. Games such as Soul Calibur, Dead or Alive, etc... not very much. I didn't enjoy playing Tobal very much either, to be honest, but at least it crystallized the reasons why I don't enjoy these games. The concept is clear, but the controls have always seemed too abstract. One more aspect that is always alien to me is that you're always anchored to your opponent. It worked really well in Zelda, but it feels so unnatural in a fighting game. To Tobal's credit, though, I think the developers were aware of these hurdles. The attacks are mapped not to punch, kick, etc, but rather high-, mid-, and low attacks, with blocking /throws and jumping on the shoulder buttons. Maybe it makes combat less deep, but it made it much easier to understand for me. I still didn't get on with the usual rhythms and spatial complexities of 3D fighting, but it was an interesting experience. I think I have a better appreciation of the genre. Twenty years later, it looks really good (and Tobal No 2 even better), and it has a great soundtrack. (Which I listened to afterwards.)
  2. OK. I’ve played this game for a few hours, played through all of the courses, tried all the characters... But I don’t get why people are saying this is the best golf game ever, to be honest. It’s a very good golf game, I’ll admit (although I think the NGPC version is better), but I don’t understand why people love it so much.
  3. DeDeDe

    PC Engine Mini

    Konami being Konami as usual, I suppose, but I think this is inexcusable.
  4. DeDeDe

    Gaming Luddism

    I've been thinking recently about how your tastes ossify as you age. I never imagined it would happen to me. In my childhood, I felt I didn't have a favorite genre; I could play and enjoy any great game that was put in front of me. This was in the early '90s mind, and a quarter of a century later, things have changed. Unthinkable as it would seem to me, video games have become only a tiny part of my life. The biggest reason is that I have many more things going on in my life, but I have also noticed that the games I choose to play now appeal, overtly or not, to a retro sensibility. And so I wonder if I have become a video game Luddite--in a passive, subconscious way. I don't care about online play or trophies. Analog sticks are nice, but I prefer d-pads. I hate double shoulder buttons. I find double analog controls annoying. I think game soundtracks peaked in the PSX era. I can't play FPS games, so many influential games have passed me by. In many ways, I dislike the way modern games have turned out. To be fair, the reality isn't as black-and-white in my head as I have written. (I love using touch screens to play games, for example.) But I worry that I have become close-minded when it comes to gaming--I find myself thinking "This is good, but it's not as good as [something in the past]." It's a strange feeling for me because it doesn't happen with music, movies, books, etc. I mean, comparisons to the past can't be avoided, but in the case of video games, it feels like my brain is rejecting the new. Is it just me? Anyone else feel the same?
  5. I get the negativity towards the business model, but I’m sincerely looking forward quite a bit to this game. Can’t wait.
  6. When I write meant gimmick, I meant gimmicks that were products, not products built around a gimmick. A gimmick is not necessarily a bad thing: it's a clever and/or fun idea that entertains you for some time, but not for very long. Nintendo has been really successful in building products around gimmicks, but I wouldn't call either the DS or the Switch a gimmick, personally. (I'd argue that the best games on the systems play to the strengths of the central gimmick behind them, but that's a debate for another time.) I was thinking more along the lines of a Tamagotchi.
  7. I like this a lot. I feel like gimmicks, especially in hardware, have fallen out of favor in the modern video game landscape, and something important was lost in that transition. Looking back at the Game Boy launch 30 years ago, it was sold as a distraction, and the fact that the basic premise was "playing games on the go," that there was a little something inherently gimmicky about it. Accordingly, it was sold at a lower price (half of what a Switch costs, adjusting for inflation). Other handhelds like the WonderSwan, or peripherals such as Samba de Amigo's maracas built on that gimmicky aspect, but it's not where the industry was heading, so this is a welcome surprise. On the other hand, I can't help but feel that the Playdate will end up becoming a one-shot collector's item--a tidy success for Panic and the game developers, beloved by everyone who bought it, but with only two seasons' worth of content. I'll admit that I'm equally as interested in seeing what games will be on the platform as the possibility of using it as a new Game Boy. The lack of a backlight is puzzling as well.
  8. When I decided to post my thoughts on the Mastsr System version, I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition!... Anyway, horses for courses and all that. of course. I've also posted my thoughts on the Mega Drive version above. I don't consider either game to be a masterpiece. Maybe I should've chosen my words more carefully, but in the end I felt that the SMS game was simply more interesting. Addressing the points you've raised: - Yes, I feel Mickey's movement is more slippery in the SMS version, but you get used to it--which is more than I can say for Mickey's movement in the MD version, which always feels too slow. - As Sprite Machine put it, the Mega Drive levels are lush. The SMS levels have more variety and better structure, though. - I should've really said "graphically impressive." Although neither game has great bosses, the SMS game's bosses are more interesting. - There are some cheap design decisions in the SMS game, but the MD game is not free of frustrating moments. - I do think that the two-button-press object grabbing mechanism is the game's worst design decision. But it's not too bad in the grand scheme of things. - You get used to it, but grabbing and throwing items can be frustrating, especially in the last two boss battles. Despite all these deficiencies, I still prefer the SMS version. The MD game is relatively pedestrian less substantive in comparison.
  9. I finished the Master System version last night. Despite some doubts that came up as I started playing, I have to concur with other posters here: it's the better game. It's difficult to say whether it's the better experience. Despite its flaws and lack of imagination at times, I think the Mega Drive version has more flair and charm. The Master System version, on the other hand, does quite a lot more with what it has. It has a more adventure-like structure, and feels more complete. In general, it feels as if Sega tried to correct whatever failings the MD version had with this one. Mickey feels different here--his movement is a bit more slippery, but once you get used to it, it feels more right. Levels in general are not as fancy as in the MD version, but they are more complex and more interesting. Bosses are not as impressive, but they're more of a welcome challenge. There is some amazing music there, too. Mickey himself is more interesting as well. It's as if the MD version of Mickey is the Disneyland version, and the MS one the cartoon version--a little more multi-faceted and not as cute. The fact that he is able to hold and throw items throughout the levels really adds to the gameplay. It's a shame that it falters in unexpected ways. Levels get better and better the more you play, but the Dessert Factory just isn't a very good level. (The Clock Tower and the Castle levels are impressive, though.) The constraints of the MS also hurt it a bit, when it respawns not only enemies, but also grabable objects. This comes to the fore in the last two levels, and slightly spoils the great design. The worst offense is how holding objects has been implemented, though. Unlike many other games, Mickey doesn't just grab objects with one button press. You need two: one to grab the object, and one more to lift it in order to throw it. It's not an issue for most of the game, until you get to the last two bosses, where throwing blocks is mandatory in order to succeed. It's not a game-breaker, but it makes the experience more frustrating than it needs to. Despite all this, though, I really enjoyed playing through the MS version, and I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm curious about the 2013 remake now.
  10. Like @Soulstar, this was also the first time for me to play this game. I'd heard about it often back in the day, of course. I never got into the Mega Drive, but Castle of Illusion was cited as one of the top games on the system. I had a vague idea of what it was about, and maybe I'd seen it being played somewhere, but there were so many Disney platformers back then... In any case, I started playing with fresh eyes, and after completing it this past weekend... I'm not very impressed, to be honest. I started with the Master System version, since everyone was hyping it as the better game of the two, but bounced off it quickly. Something just didn't feel right, so I turned to where I should've started, the Mega Drive version. For a 1990 game, it has nice graphics, the music is quite catchy (although I wouldn't say it's very impressive), and the overall design and ideas are quite good. But I'm really struggling to see why you’d call it a masterpiece. Sure, the game has a lot of charm, (I love how Mickey makes the bridge out of the jewels) but it feels under-animated. Mickey is a tad too slow, and his jump mechanics never feel quite right. The levels get better as the game progresses, but nothing really stands out; nothing really shines. The atmosphere reminds me of Ardy Lightfoot on the SNES, but that game is demonstrably better than this. The bosses in Castle of Illusion are especially disappointing. The bouncing attack was done much better on the NES or GB DuckTales. Still, I'm glad I played it. I can't be too harsh on the game, because it does have a lot of charm. It's interesting to see Sega games before Sonic. They have a very different atmosphere to them. Nevertheless, I can't see myself recommending it to anyone nowadays. I'll get into the MS version tonight, and maybe play the 2013 remake as well. Hopefully those are better.
  11. DeDeDe

    The Jazz Thread

    The best way to discover jazz as has been told to me (and this is probably advice that has been passed down) is to make a tree map with Miles Davis at the center. Go through Miles Davis' discography, and listen to the music. As you listen to the music, branch out to the other members of the band he worked with, and listen to the music they were making. Then, branch out to the people they were working with, and listen to the music they were making. Etc, etc. It works well overall, although it has the same weaknesses as a branching tree format, where you might like one artist linked to another artist you don't like, but realistically it's only a hurdle here and there. I love some of Miles Davis' music, although I'm not a big fan of his whole oeuvre (and the person), but it does show you just how entrenched he was in the jazz world. As for Spotify vs Apple Music, I prefer Apple Music, although it depends on who you listen to and how you listen. I almost never listen via playlists, and Spotify is missing a lot of music from artists such as Rudresh Mahanthappa, so Apple Music is better for me. (*At least in Japan, where I live; musicians' discographies on the various streaming services vary by country.)
  12. Dandara is a conceptually interesting Metroidvania game, but it’s somewhat of a Marmite game due to its controls and its core game design. It’s a high concept game with a heap of symbolism and abstract ideas running alongside the seemingly straightforward story. It helps if you familiarize yourself with the history of slavery in Brazil. If you’re into Metroidvania games, it’s worth looking into, although I can’t promise you’ll like it.
  13. After getting the new 11-inch iPad Pro last month with the Apple Pencil, I've been considering the idea of moving my photo editing and management from my current set-up (Lightroom Classic + occasional Photoshop on a 27-inch iMac) to my iPad. I probably would've jumped earlier except for the fact that at 5 TB in size, moving is not a trivial decision. (Although I appreciate the fact that not having a bigger library, like wedding photographers do, gives me the freedom to consider this move casually.) With rumors that the new iOS will allow external drive support and cloud storage on Amazon Drive and iCloud, I think it might be feasible, but the only problem left to solve is software. Using the new Lightroom on the iPad has been somewhat deflating. Adobe software in general has an odd rhythm inasmuch as it follows a mountain-like pattern in terms of usability. It starts off not-so-great, then it becomes really good, and then inexplicably it starts getting shit again. I'm seeing it again in Lightroom Classic, which prompted me to start using Lightroom on the iPad. So far, it's been good overall, but I'm waiting for the new Lightroom to get better. Much better. Performance on the iPad Pro (which is faster and more powerful than most computers, etc etc) is a joke. I can't multitask with the app. It crashes when I'm tagging photos every ten photos or so. I can't add presets or batch-edit them. The healing tool is (laughably) made for mouse/touchpad input. (In general, I'd wager healing is better on most other apps right now.) And, naturally, Adobe won't allow you to have any kind of storage outside of their own cloud service. (Even local storage.) Adobe being Adobe, of course. The system that they have works well, I think, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. Plus, apparently there is a rumor that Adobe will double their subscription prices sometime in the near future. So now I'm also trying out a lot of new apps, but nothing fits quite right. Apple Photos is too slow, and I don't want to mix all the photos I take. The new Pixelmator Photo is great, but it lacks cataloging features. Darkroom is also very good, but it lacks healing tools. Etc etc. TL; DR: Photo management. It shouldn't be such a pain, but somehow software has failed it. Apologies for the rant, but I'd be interested to read if other people are having similar problems.
  14. @Benny Another shaggy rug story.
  15. 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...
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