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1  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Recently Viewed Movies Episode 2: The Vampire Bites Back on: August 09, 2015, 11:37:06 PM
So Pixels was utter garbage.
2  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Top 5 JRPGs for Total n00bs! - Post Yours! on: August 07, 2015, 10:30:12 AM
I'm doing less of a "n00b" list and more of a "this is what I think you should play, period" entry.

5. Xenogears - Complex and conceited lore, rich with both real-world and fictional philosophical elements, some great characterization, and enjoyable gameplay systems. Probably some of the best music Yasunori Mitsuda ever scored, as well. Atmospheric in all the right ways.

4. Phantasy Star IV - Graphically advanced for its time, killer soundtrack by Izuho Numata, some great characters and plotting, and a really fun combat system. Aesthetically one of my favourite games, and featured a lot of female staff including both the director (Rieko Kodama) and the aforementioned composer -- one of the few RPGs where this happened.

3. Suikoden II - While I love the first game, II is so much more satisfying across the board. Better aesthetics, more refined gameplay, far more engrossing character development, and one of the better villain build-ups in both Luca and...
Code:
Jowy
Scenes in the game can still make me emotional, either due to sadness or triumph. Lots of love for Nanami, Pilika, and mah boi Viktor.

2. Persona 4 - Not unlike Suikoden II, Persona 4 is the "everything we did in P3 but better" game for me. Daring, modern aesthetics, great gameplay systems in place, and a story that blends Jungian psychology with YA fic tropes to produce something really unique and engaging. Serves almost as actual literature, which is hard for a game to do.

1. Final Fantasy VI - In my mind, still the end of the 16-bit-era's style of "storytelling as adapted from stage productions", which would be largely replaced by the cinematic method FFVII introduced. An excellent, diverse cast and plot, with gameplay which further refined the look and feel of its predecessors. Great opening to the second world, and outstanding visuals. Quite not quite the same aesthetic calibre as Star Ocean and Tales of Phantasia, it was nonetheless more balanced in other ways, and felt like one of the first truly large iterations of the FF brand.
3  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Is brand loyalty "worth it?" on: August 07, 2015, 09:52:40 AM
RE: Nintendo

It'll be a long walk off a very high bridge before Nintendo ever actually tanks. Unlike Sega and other companies that failed at the console hardware biz, Nintendo is nowhere near financial ruin. Let's remember that the Saturn did so poorly for Sega, they had to have a sugar daddy bail them out. Even if you consider the Wii U a flop (I prefer underperformer, since it doesn't lend itself to exaggeration), the 3DS makes money hand-over-fist, they had an enormously good run with the Wii and DS, and they'll continue to make their great hardware-software combo work.
4  Media / Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal on: August 06, 2015, 11:08:16 AM
Watching Ore Monogatari/My Love Story and lovin' it.
5  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Is brand loyalty "worth it?" on: August 06, 2015, 09:40:23 AM
Brand loyalty only counts when the brand has a good track record.

It doesn't matter what properties a brand has produced, it doesn't matter how cutting-edge their products are, and it doesn't matter if the company appeals to your nostalgia, heritage, or other sensibilities. It matters if a brand manages itself well.

I'm a Nintendo fan because, despite some missteps and the occasional console flop or faltering, they have really strong credibility. It's extremely rare for Nintendo to make a bad decision, even if they march slowly with the pace of technology and don't always do what the public wants or expects. This is the company with an estimated 50 years worth of financial assets saved up, where their competition often runs ferociously close to red zone. I will give Nintendo my money because I want to support what they do, largely because I want more of it.

If Nintendo started fucking up year after year, started making tremendously bad decisions, and effectively pulled a Konami, then yes, my loyalty would and should erode.
6  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The demise of the Sega Saturn and why we chose the consoles we did on: August 06, 2015, 09:32:01 AM
I actually owned a Saturn (still do, same machine no less) and a PlayStation concurrently (yay for birthday/Christmas and aunts & uncles who know you like videogames), so I never had to make a severe choice. I played a LOT of Virtua Fighter 2, Shining Force III, and Dragon Force back in the day, but I was always kind of aware that the PSX had a larger library and better graphics. I think it was around the time that FFVIII came out that I really started to see my Saturn gaming drop off, largely because of how many new things the PSX had to offer. It's sad that Sega constantly shat the bed with the Saturn, 'cause it wasn't a bad little machine, just ill-positioned to succeed in the market.

HOLY SHIT. IT'S HIDOSHI. It's only been about 3 years since you posted....


I had a Saturn and a PS as well. I mainly bought the Saturn for Shining Force....then we only got the first part and I was sad.

Also, hi! I think it may be like... 5 years since I posted here? Not even sure. Back now, I guess. OFF TOPIC OFF TOPIC OFF TOPIC INTO BANLAND I GO.
7  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The demise of the Sega Saturn and why we chose the consoles we did on: August 06, 2015, 12:14:43 AM
It's sad that Sega constantly shat the bed with the Saturn, 'cause it wasn't a bad little machine, just ill-positioned to succeed in the market.

This is kind of what I was trying to get at. Retrospectives are constantly gushing about how much they loved the Saturn and Dreamcast, yet contemporary money and public interest largely went elsewhere.  The Saturn finished 3rd (like 100 million units behind the PS1), and the Dreamcast 4th (even behind the much shallower Xbox).  So I thought it would be interesting to hear why specific people sort of bucked the trend and still went with Sega.

Sadly, hardware isn't much of a market for an underdog. If you go small, you tend to go home. The Saturn and Dreamcast were good consoles, perhaps not great, but they did feature some excellent software that you couldn't get anywhere else. In a weird way, Sega did the Nintendo thing: Offer strong first-party content that strongly promotes your brand and iconic properties. Where they went wrong was, with the Saturn, leaving Wal-Mart and other retailers out in the cold with their surprise launch date, and with the Dreamcast, not giving the consumer a deeper reason to care.

Unlike Nintendo, who had years of credibility -- tyrannical policies or not -- Sega had only just made it with the Genesis/MegaDrive. The Master System had sold a pittance compared with the NES/Famicom and was quite obscure. The Genesis was a runaway success on the other hand and I think that newfound power went to their heads. If you look at the way Sega of Japan fought with Sega of America, it's clear there was some kind of strange, dysfunctional power struggle at work that ultimately culminated in the false start of the Saturn. Between the offensive posturing against their rivals, the high pricetag, developer-hostile hardware environment, and -- to cap it all off -- the insane "let's surprise-announce when the Saturn is being released without letting retailers in on it" bullshit... Well yeah, of course the Saturn tanked.

On the other hand, I think the Dreamcast could have been a real contender if not for two things: First, Sega was suffering from the Saturn's absolutely miserable reputation and probably had to court retailers back with lowered profit deals and a whole lot of begging. The history at work likely made quite a few retailers less willing to work for Sega as for their rivals, and that's just unhealthy. Second, the Dreamcast had a hard time reaching beyond the invested audience. If you were already a Sega fan or part of the core demographic, you likely got a Dreamcast or at least knew a fair deal about it. But new attachment? Low. Glib marketing like "It's thinking" tells the consumer nothing about your product, and there wasn't a real plan to explain the console to potential new buyers.

The Dreamcast is a landmark for quality software, just on a system that wasn't destined for greatness thanks to what had come before. For me, it was easy to love back then and it's easy to love it now, but it's definitely not the class favourite. Microsoft and Sony were simply better at pushing their systems to the fore in an era where the target demographic had moved out of being children and were hung up on being "cool" teenagers. No matter how good your product is, it won't matter if you can't explain it to the public and make them care.
8  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The demise of the Sega Saturn and why we chose the consoles we did on: August 05, 2015, 10:42:52 AM
I actually owned a Saturn (still do, same machine no less) and a PlayStation concurrently (yay for birthday/Christmas and aunts & uncles who know you like videogames), so I never had to make a severe choice. I played a LOT of Virtua Fighter 2, Shining Force III, and Dragon Force back in the day, but I was always kind of aware that the PSX had a larger library and better graphics. I think it was around the time that FFVIII came out that I really started to see my Saturn gaming drop off, largely because of how many new things the PSX had to offer. It's sad that Sega constantly shat the bed with the Saturn, 'cause it wasn't a bad little machine, just ill-positioned to succeed in the market.
9  Media / Multiplayer RPGs / Re: Guild Wars 2: Were-Vikings, Technomidgets, and Plant-Based Pedobait on: April 29, 2012, 12:37:41 PM
Liking Norns so far myself. Gotta play around a bit more though. There's a lot of hectic movement going on with so many people in the early game. It's hard to figure out kills and the like sometimes.
10  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Xenoblade on: April 16, 2012, 07:10:43 PM
So I just got this in the mail and it won't play in my Wii. Do I need that stupid cleaning kit or is there another way?
11  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Legend of Grimrock on: April 14, 2012, 01:37:31 AM
So who the fuck is playing this fine piece of gaming throwback? Just spent a good hour and a half with the first section of the game and HOT DAMN is it hard.

Newschoolers, this is how dungeon crawls were done in the past. All kinds of tile-based, first-person awesome.
12  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Lollipop Chainsaw; Don't worry, she's 18 on: April 11, 2012, 11:21:50 PM
I like good cosplay, too.  I've always had a guilty desire to try it myself, but the cost of an outfit and the possibility of looking like an absolute knob stops me.  The hell was wrong with a scandelous outfit for [some of] the very games appearing at these conventions?! So silly, not like she was showing nip.

It's PAX's bid to end sexist marketing, which I wholly support. It's not about nudity, it's more about sexual pandering towards men and how unbalanced it is.
13  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Mass Effect 3 (expect ME1&2 spoilers) on: April 04, 2012, 02:57:11 AM
1 was the best at world building and exploration.

2 was the most well paced.

3 was the most solid and well-rounded.

Well, that's how my judgments of quality goes with the series anyway.

You sir, are an incredibly poor judge of quality as far as Mass Effect is concerned then. I did read your review, and I haven't seen someone work a dick that hard since Gauge got into porn.

But then, you also ignore arguments that actually poke giant holes in your logic. Hi there FTL theory.

(I am fully aware of how antagonistic this is. I was incredibly ticked off how fanboy you got in your review.)

14  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Mass Effect 3 (expect ME1&2 spoilers) on: April 04, 2012, 01:15:30 AM
In fact I'm more bummed out by this than anything to do w/ the ending.

It's stuff like this that'll get to me longer. It's seriously one of the most half assed ways to deal with revealing something like this, only way this could've been worse (albeit more hilarious) if they revealed the mask under her mask REALLY IS HER FACE.

In general, ME3 was a huge downgrade from ME2. I played both beside each other and I'm watching the wife replay all three now. Just in general, ME3's storytelling is worse, its graphics are actually overall worse except the environments (holy shit did character models get a downgrade besides Shep), animations are worse, questing is worse, etc etc etc. There are basically only three major improvements in ME3: Upgrading weapons using the bench, the non-stereotype gay option, and the melee controls. Pretty much everything else is worse.

Heck, even the planetary exploration is worse. They kept the WORST aspect: Fuel consumption, and stripped the rest of it bare. There isn't even an option to actually combat Reapers or use evasive maneuvers beyond "GTFO system". No meaningful ship upgrades, a huge reduction in cast to the bare essentials, VERY poor conversation pieces (no cut-to-dialogue-and-expression, just dialogue and flapping mouths makes for VERY awkward quest results), and a general visual downgrade...? Easily the weakest of the trilogy.

The ending, even if it is justified, is hardly the weakest note. It's definitely the one that leaves you with the biggest hole in your stomach because it lacks true, meaningful closure, but it's not the worst thing the game does. Now don't get me wrong, the game is still good, it's just not as good as its companions, and that really stings considering it had the most to build on. Phoned-in crap like Tali's face is just icing on the cake.
15  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: What one RPG would you award 100% to? on: March 30, 2012, 01:35:56 PM
No offense, but you guys sound like you're talking out of your butts about Earthbound's graphics. Don't get me wrong, I like the game and still do. I beat a rental copy three times when it first came out and a few more times on [redacted]. Yeah, its art direction fits the game well, but FF7's has great art direction too.

Basically, Earthbound has always had crappy graphics, but now people decided they like it now because they finally realized the rest of the game is so good (which it is). Final Fantasy VII had good graphics, but over time look dated. Wind Waker (since somebody brought it up) always had good graphics, but people were too butthurt over the cell shading to realize this at first. All of these games have good art direction.

Except it doesn't. Speaking as a designer and art director, Earthbound is beautiful. And I didn't need 4 years of higher education, a degree, and 6 years of industry to tell me that. I knew that at 13 years old, because art and technical fidelity are not the same thing. FFVII had great art direction, but it has technical issues which interfere with that. Earthbound does not.

The team behind Earthbound was more than capable of making it look like Chrono Trigger or Seiken Densetsu 3. They didn't, and that was on purpose. Earthbound was meant to be whimsical and childlike. It was meant to allow for a cartoon-like level of expression (not to be confused with animated cartoons, I am talking about cartooning itself), which it succeeds in. As well, it was meant to have a surreal quality, which it also accomplishes.

Now, is it for everyone? No. Earthbound is an "art" game, more than anything. It's Shigesato Itoi delivering a story that is unapologetic in its weirdness, which is pretty much Itoi's calling card. Itoi is whimsy, wit, and weird rolled into a single package, and Earthbound (Mother on the whole) reflects that. He managed to make a game that was not only very light-hearted and strange, but also had really poignant moments, on par with (and largely exceeding) anything Square has had to offer in emotional value.
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