Monday, May 28, 2012

Big Tease

Apologies for the lack of updates recently - I've been dealing with a lot of stuff. Some of it business, some of it personal, some of it related to the absolute hell of real-estate shopping in Massachusetts, some of it good and some of it just plain old shitty and unpleasant.

In any case, EPISODE 71 has been recorded, edited and readied to go - though I don't have an exact date yet, I believe it will be in the near future and I'll specify when I know for sure. For now, here are three things I can tell you about this particular installment:

1. This will be the second-to-last episode to feature The NecroThinker. Does the same hold true for RetroThinker? I'm not telling.

2. The title of the episode is "Eulogii."

3. A Special Announcement will be made at the conclusion of the episode.

Stay tuned...


Derpin said...
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Derpin said...

"Eulogii", heh, I love terrible puns.

Can't wait to see the new episode once you've cleared up whatever personal problems you're having.

In terms of a Eulogy for the Wii, I'd unfortunately have to be rather critical, which is a shame, because I love the console. To me the Wii was a very fun take on a console and I'm disappointed that Nintendo is moving away from Motion Controls for Wii-U. I never really felt that the Wii delivered on its promises until Skyward Sword (more than likely due to Motion+), and its a shame that we couldn't have had more games that were designed so heavily around Motion Control until that late in its life cycle.

I also found it weird that there was a lack of FPS games on the platform, because Pointer aiming is easily the best FPS input next to a mouse and keyboard, to the point where all PS3 shooters felt sluggish and dull after Metroid Prime 3. I can't help but think how amazing it would be if Nintendo had made a series based on Perfect Dark or Timesplitters.

I also felt that Mii's were underused (though many would think the opposite!). I can't believe that we never got a local co-op sword fighting game where you would use your Mii's to fight Monsters and Dragons (StreetPass Quest comes close to meeting the theme, but is the wrong genre). Or even a Mii shooter similar to one of the demos they were showing off for WiiU to complement the more 'core' shooter mentioned above. It would have been so cool if the "Wii Parties" that I threw for my non-gaming friends started out with some Tennis, Dancing and Mario Kart, then after a few hours evolved into fighting Dragons and shooting Space Lasers!

The lack of new series (beyond the 'Wii' line) was also disappointing. The DS's innovative input inspired many new ideas and lots of awesome new franchises were spawned, it's a shame the same never occurred on the Wii. Lack of staple series like StarFox and F-Zero were a shame as well.

But while the Wii may have had some flaws, I am very happy that the system was made the way it was. The lower horse-power allowed developers who couldn't handle the insane PS3/360 budgets to still make awesome games that wouldn't have been made otherwise (seriously, the budgets for HD consoles is well beyond the line of irresponsible. I'm surprised any companies could justify development to their shareholders). I also thoroughly enjoyed the great 'core' titles we did get, with Mario Galaxy 2 being the most fun I've had this entire generation. The revival of 2D platformers certainly didn't hurt!

Ultimately, while the Wii had a lot of unused potential, I'm still happy with the system. It will be interesting to see how the WiiU influences how Nintendo makes games in the future; will the longer dev time of HD games lead to worse game droughts? will a much more online console lead a smaller focus on the (arguably superior) couch co-op? Will higher budgets lead to more Nintendo DLC instead of complete experience? Hopefully we'll find out more after e3.

Wow, this has made me think about the Wii a lot more than I thought I would have today, I guess I'll go and play some smash brothers!

Edit: I made a few spelling mistakes and then accidentally deleted my original post while trying to edit it. Is there even a way to edit posts?

Not Political James said...

Ultimately, I'd say that the Wii had a lot of potential, but I have to agree with Yahtzee Croshaw - motion controls generally don't help you really get into the game. Then again, Metroid Prime 3 is still awesome, and it's never let me down either with the pointer or the actions...

About the only thing, to me, that's particularly unresponsive or unintuitive about the Wiimote is the "generic waggle" command - every other pose in the Warioware handbook works just fine, first time, every time.

And Super Mario Galaxy's challenge levels wouldn't have been the same to me if I'd just been rolling the ball with the analog stick.

Sabre said...

While I am by no means a 'wii hater', for me the wii is like how bob described GTA. "Scads of potential being either ignored, or pissed away.".

We all know what happened. Very early on people realised that there was no point in making good games that cost alot of money when cheap party games make a ton of money, and thus the wii which had the potential to change gaming and bring lots of new people into the hobby was little more than a passing fad.

As for the Wii U, I share almost none of the optimism that retro gamers and nintendo fans have for that system. A very cynical way to describe it would be a Xbox 360 that can also play ports of iPad and DS games.

James said...

If you are doing a tribute to the Wii, I might as well join in (it was the first console of this generation I purchased, after all). So here's a rundown of what are, in my opinion, the best Wii games. If you own the system but don't have any on this list, I highly recommend checking them out. Here we go:

- Xenoblade Chronicles (possibly the best Wii game I've played, though that could change if Pandora's Tower gets a U.S. release).
- Twilight Princess
- Skyward Sword
- Zack and Wiki
- Metroid Prime trilogy
- Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
- Little King's Story
- Madworld
- Boom Blox
- de Blob 1 & 2
- Mario Galaxy 1 & 2
- Super Paper Mario
- Muramasa: The Demon Blade
- Epic Mickey
- Endless Ocean & Endless Ocean: Blue World
- Punch-Out
- Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
- No More Heroes 1 & 2
- Red Steel 2
- Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
- Deadly Creatures
- Elebits
- Lost in Shadow
- Okami
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
- Sonic Colors
- Trauma Center: New Blood
- Trauma Team
- Mushroom Men
- Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Monster Hunter Tri
- Jett Rocket (virtual console)
- Cave Story (virtual console)
- LostWinds & Winter of the Melodias (Virtual console)

Aiddon said...

It'll be interesting to see what the Wii U does; Randy Pitchford over at Gearbox won't shut up about how great it is.

Anonymous said...

The Wii basically had two kinds of owners.

1) Fad followers. This includes all of the middle-aged-plus people who had absolutely no interest in video games until the Wii became a huge fad. You know the type, the parents and grandparents that we all got Wiis for christmas, who loved the hell out of Wii bowling and Wii tennis for a couple of months and then let the machine collect dust afterwards.

2) Hardcore Nintendo faithfuls who got left out in the cold. Very occasionally tossed a bone in the form of a first-party Holy Trinity game, or even more occasional third-party games that were only on the Wii because being on the Wii meant lower standards for graphical bells and whistles and hence cheaper development (Monster Hunter, Xenoblade, etc.).

Extremely few games ever used the motion controls as anything other than a button replacement (waggle) or mouse replacement (pointer). Of those that did, the VAST majority of them relegated it to gimmicky distractions (Mario Galaxy) that, if removed, would have subtracted nothing of substance from the game.

If this is a eulogy for the Wii, good riddance, maybe we can get back to some real game hardware now.

Aiddon said...

the problem with Wii was actually not with the Wii; it was with developers who were lazy in their implementations of the hardware. They only jumped on the system briefly for stupid cash-ins and when they realized they actually had to make an effort they panicked and fled. Nintendo fully made the most of the motion controls, Skyward Sword especially, and proved you could indeed make some pretty interesting functions with motion controls.

Anonymous said...

That's the thing though, even Nintendo didn't really do anything significant with the motion controls except for Skyward and the Wii Sports minigames. Twilight Princess was a gamecube game with waggle. Retro's Metroid Prime 3 (I count this as they're really second-party) was an FPS with waggle for opening certain doors. Mario galaxy was Mario 64 with waggle and brief minigame distractions using the motion controls. Other M was a game that could have been done on the gamecube, just using "Hold this button and use the stick" instead of that awkward hand-switching to pointer mode. NSMBWii didn't even bother with waggle really, it was just a straight-up Mario game with classic controls.

Even for the big N themselves, the Wii's motion controls basically came down to minigames and gimmicks, with the only real notable exception that I can think of being Skyward Sword -- and even then there's a substantial part of the gaming population that doesn't think it was all that great as far as Zelda games go.

Marcomax said...
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Marcomax said...

I'm just going to wait until the episode comes up to post my Eulogii. I don't know whats worse, the pun or the fact that I didn't get it until some one pointed it out.

Anyway, the episode title got me thinking. People always reflect on past consoles. NES, SNES, N64, PS1 Sega Genesis and Dreamcast. How ever I've never really hear of anyone being nostalgic or even reflect on the Xbox, the original one. It may be because I didn't own one but it seems like no one really talks about it any more.

Even recent ones like the PS2 and Gamecube are still talked about. the PS2 for it's great library of games and the Gamecube for its few unique hits. But when it comes to the XBox, it feels all but forgotten. It may just be me but it's kinda weird.

Joe said...

Best of luck on entering the crazy world of property ownership. It can be a total pain in the ass sometimes, but the satisfaction of owning your own place is worth it. My knowledge of American real estate is limited to the bubble-bursting horror stories that trickle over the border, but from what I saw of the Greater Boston Area when I was there a few years ago, it looks like a really robust market. I'm sure a smart, informed guy like you will make out fine.


While I am by no means a 'wii hater', for me the wii is like how bob described GTA. "Scads of potential being either ignored, or pissed away.".

I tend to agree. I never owned a Wii. Every once in a while, a game came along that stoked my interest, but not enough to justify buying one. I quickly tired of the party games I played at my friend's house. I was never as big a fan of Nintendo's first-party titles as the NES' big third-party franchises (Castlevania, Mega Man, Contra), so the retro-appeal wasn't there.

Honestly, I'm bored with the console scene in general. The Big N can only churn out new iterations of its old cash cows, which as I said, I wasn't as keen on as others, and Sony and Microsoft have steadily become the homes for boring and derivative Lowest Common Denominator games. There's too much money and too many shareholders involved for AAA titles to take any risks anymore. The action is moving to the indie devs, the Steam releases, and some of the cooler stuff on XBLA and PSN--most of which ends up on Steam eventually anyway.

I've regretted missing most of the Golden Age of PC Gaming. Think I'm going to pass on the next generation of consoles and buckle down with my PC.

Not Political James said...

Joe, more and more I find myself agreeing with you. I already own a 3DS and I do love the Wii, or at least a few games for the Wii, but for the most part I'm a PC gamer as well and between used game blockage, ads interrupting play, nobody having any idea what Ninty's up to and CliffyB's blanket statements about the industry that'll still wind up being taken to heart as budgets get more and more overblown, stifling creativity as they do...

Yeah, the only platforms I really want for this round are Steam and GoG. And I will keep playing the Wii, too, because Super Mario Galaxy is still fun five years on.

Not Political James said...

Joe, more and more I find myself agreeing with you. I already own a 3DS and I do love the Wii, or at least a few games for the Wii, but for the most part I'm a PC gamer as well and between used game blockage, ads interrupting play, nobody having any idea what Ninty's up to and CliffyB's blanket statements about the industry that'll still wind up being taken to heart as budgets get more and more overblown, stifling creativity as they do...

Yeah, the only platforms I really want for this round are Steam and GoG. And I will keep playing the Wii, too, because Super Mario Galaxy is still fun five years on.

maninahat said...

Well there are some truly excellent games for the wii, but the control scheme and graphics engine presents various restrictions that other platforms simply don't have. You could make plenty of good games with cartoonish aesthetics and simplistic controls - but that is pretty much all the Wii can do. That's not good.

I'm surprised, however, that we didn't see many innovative aRPGs or strategy games. The Wii is the one console where point and clicking was part of its design, so controlling units/selecting targets would be easy and intuitive with the streamlined control scheme. Also, those genres are more open to colourful, simplistic graphics.

biomechanical923 said...

I have not owned a Nintendo product since the N64, however, for the next generation, I will be going with the WiiU. The business practices of Sony have become so despicable as of late, that I cannot in good conscience buy another Sony product. Nintendo has become the least of 3 evils in every way measurable.

As for the Wii itself, the major glaring flaw in its design was their approach to online play. The large number of 8-12 year old kids playing shit by call of duty might not have been only because they think nintendo is "for babies" or some other nonsense, but because Nintendo overcomplicated its online play and other social features by requiring you to punch in some kind of "gamercode ID" or something.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

I like my Wii and still play it (mostly for Xenoblade and the occasional Gamecube dalliance), but has it been the revolution that some claim it has?

Honestly, not really.

The potential for motion control was there, but, as many others have pointed out, the vast majority of the Wii's library devolved into generic waggling and unintuitive gameplay mechanics.

The Kinect is currently experiencing the same thing, as the majority of functional games on it are dance games. A lot of the other games for it simply don't work. Microsoft seemed to notice this when they started marketing it mainly as the Netflix device you can talk to.

We won't even talk about the Move because Sony seemingly forgot it existed right after it came out, and that's coming from a Sony fan.

Back to the Wii, in games that gave you the option to use either the classic controller or motion controls (such as Monster Hunter Tri or Super Smash Bros Brawl, is there anyone that didn't choose the classic controller?

And the Wii's online interface (outside of Monster Hunter Tri) was flat-out broken. Friend codes? Really? Those are almost as ridiculous as online passes, though the FC only wastes your time instead of your time and money.

In terms of sales, the Wii burned up the sales charts as the "hot item" about 5 years ago, but how many of those people that jumped on the bandwagon still use their Wii? Not many. Honestly, the 360 may have the largest active user base of the three major consoles.

Again, the Wii was a good system but not a great system. If you ask me, the last great system was the PS2.

I won't prognosticate on the future of Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft because, honestly, I don't really care.

My Wii and PS3 are the last home consoles I'm going to buy because my wife and I are planning on starting a family in the next couple years, and video games are way too expensive; however, I'll continue to collect comic books until the day I die.

I may get a Vita down the line for quick gaming jaunts, but we'll see. It depends on how soon they drop the price and whether or not Battle Royale gets put on it.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

Oh, Bob, I forgot.

Good luck house hunting!

Peace out!

Aiddon said...

Like I said though, most of the shovelware and gimmick games that showed up weren't by Nintendo but instead by 3rd party developers. It actually goes to show an inherently two-faced attitude a lot of devs have. They scream for "innovation" and wanting to change things. Nintendo did EXACTLY that by introducing motion control and then what happens? Developers panic because Nintendo has introduced them to something that requires an ability that a lot of devs don't have: LATERAL THINKING. Let's face it, most devs lack the ability to think outside the box and find new ways to use current hardware and instead just resort to brute force with processors doing most of the work of "innovation." That's not being creative, that's pathetic and it seriously smacks of an industry that needs a kick in the balls.