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Vintage computing, old video games

The game, particularly the English voice acting, is… not good…

I fear Sun Ce’s voice actor has either phoned it in or is a result of a sophisticated machine-learning algorithm

 

Dong Bai’s officer offers reassurance in the English dub

 

Li Jue helps determine a strategy

 

Sun Ce comes through with an observation

 

Side thing: What a nice vantage point!
Maple didn’t think so

 

Normal, natural conversation

July 9th, 2018 at 11:08 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t use tool-assisted gameplay as a sole reference for good non-tool-assisted strategies.

Look online to find a good assortment of Super Ghouls N Ghosts videos and gameplay footage. Great! Find one. Looks good. All levels. They take no damage. A very skilled player, for sure. As I looked more closely, something was off.

1) The player had a very inconsistent level of skill.

They could always handle dense ‘bullet hell’ situations, but took many tries to jump onto a ledge. Ledge is simple and flat and not hazardous.

2) The player was unfazed with many serious ‘close calls’.

Close calls’ are a part of this genre of game, as well as some understanding of hitboxes, but these are extreme cases. In most circumstances, a typical human player* will react to ‘close calls’ by slowing down, leaving more space and using more caution.

3) The player performs normally-very-dangerous maneuvers, with some knowledge from the future that those maneuvers are safe.

For example, jumping straight into collision with a boss while attacking it. Normally that would be lethal. But if you know that your attack will be the finishing blow to kill the boss, and death disables its hitboxes, then it’s fine.
Since this game has no health bars, a human player cannot exploit the last-hit-to-kill-the-boss without keeping a mental count of hits. A boss fight is a stressful situation. It’s hard for a human to keep a mental count during it. And think of cost versus benefit. If the player is skilled enough to last the whole fight landing attacks safely, what’s one more? Is the opportunity of that suicide jump worth the mental tax that it takes? Not really.

After digging through Youtube comments a little, I found out that the run was indeed tool assisted. I’ve been burned by this before. They don’t put ‘tool assisted’ in the title or description or anywhere obvious before posting it, so you don’t know. Don’t be tricked! I would play better too, if I could rewind and replay parts…

February 26th, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts (SNES)

This one, I streamed it live on Twitch. Thanks to those who joined in! The playthrough consisted of going through all levels of the game, beating the last boss, then doing all levels AGAIN and beating the new final boss to get the “real” ending. Completion time: about 2 hours 16 minutes.

This game was released by Capcom in ’91, making it very early-gen. It is notorious for being a finicky oldschool 2D platformer. It is all about double-jumping and its unique flavor of double-jumping is hard to get used to. It is easy to take damage and taking two damages kills you.

Something I like about this game is how it’s easy to just dive in and play without much time commitment. No long, annoying cutscenes, no tutorial, you just sort of blast right through. I practiced this game a bit while listening to an audio-book and it was a nice way to keep myself occupied. As some telegraphing is sound-based it’s not super mute friendly but you can do it.

It has some things going for it: the art direction is good for the time at which it came out, and the early and midgame levels are creatively designed.

The game is severely held back by the amount of content recycling. Enemies, bosses, level progression. The hardest-to-forgive is how it forces you to effectively play through the same content twice to get to the ending.

I don’t recommend this game. If you want a sense of what its art direction has to offer, play a different but related game Demon’s Crest.

February 14th, 2018 at 1:11 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Yoshi’s Island (SNES)

In this, ‘finished’ means 100 points on every stage of all worlds including the extra stages.

The extra stages include some Kaizo level nonsense. I’m thinking particularly of Hit That Switch. I did Hit that switch while streaming though. Darn, I should have recorded it…

This game is different from the usual format. In it, instead of Mario controlling Yoshi, Yoshi must escort the infant Mario around. If Mario becomes separated from Yoshi he makes a terrible noise, so there is a strong non-gameplay incentive to not let that happen.

This is the game where it is apparently revealed that Mario and Luigi are twins. Is this canon?

October 17th, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Echo (PC, Windows)

This is a Danish indie game I first played at a demo booth at PAX last year. It made me really happy to find out that the full version was released.

This is a stealth-action game where you are pitted against copies of yourself, and there is a day-night cycle. During the day, the types of actions you perform are recorded. Come the next day, those copies will re-play an approximation of what you did. Therefore, you want to be very conscious of what you do during the day, and use the night-time wisely.

Examples of recorded behaviors: running, sneaking, yelling, eating grapes, playing musical instruments, bludgeoning, shooting a firearm.

There is something terrifying yet rewarding in going full Rambo in a stealth game

Story: The main character has been awoken after a deep sleep. Long ago, her friend Foster was about to be killed, so she put a digitized copy of him into a small red box. To be resurrected later, once the technology exists. She travels to a weird planet that appears to hold the secret to resurrecting him out of the box.

The visual style of this game is kind of ridiculous. Everything looks like a geometry instancing demo with all kinds of shiny things. But it works for this game. If nothing else it looks really unique and distinctive. It is not Mass Effect or Destiny or Dead Space. Would play an Echo 2.

October 6th, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Kirby Super Star (SNES)

Kirby Super Star consists of ‘9-games-in-one’. ‘Finished’ here means ‘100% completion’

The concept and envrionments of Kirby are so darn cute I want to hate it but I just can’t.

The game modes are different enough from each other to make things interesting:

Spring Breeze – Simple platformer
Dyna Blade – Slightly more challenging platformer
Great Cave Offensive – Treasure hunt! Look for secret passageways etc
Revenge of Meta Knight – Fast moving platformer
Milky Way Wishes – Metroidvania ish
Arena- Beat all 20 bosses in succession. 5 health refills available

And three small ‘coffee break’ games.

Why hello
http://e3.nintendo.com/…/kirby-for-nintendo-switch-working…/

Q: If Kirby ate you, what ability would he gain?

In before “debilitating depression” or “alcoholism”

September 24th, 2017 at 11:23 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Dying 10000x at Lion King Souls: Ashes of Rafiki

July 21st, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Rocko’s Modern Life, the SNES action game based on the ’90s Nickelodeon cartoon.

I remember watching this cartoon thinking was pretty funny while also kind of gross because when I was little, I didn’t like seeing eating of hearts, brains, etc. It looked really disturbing. Don’t know if I’d find it gross now? Apparently the show also had lots of innuendos which had to have gone totally over my head at the time since I don’t recall that.

The video game inspired by the cartoon is essentially escort mission genre. There are a bunch of puzzles and obstacles, and you must guide your silly dog Spunky to the goal (golden fire hydrant) at the end of each level.

Spunky moves indiscriminately, autonomously forward- but you can make him switch directions or pause in one spot for a short time, and manipulate the environment to affect where he goes. The game allows you to pause and view the entire map if you want, so you can plot out a course of which items and environmental features to use. Overall difficulty I think is low-med.

The environments and sprites are pretty sizable and visually consistent with the cartoon. There are lots of frames of animation in things. The game makes use of wavefile sound (actual voice clips). I don’t have rosy nostalgia goggles for this cartoon, I don’t have them for this game either, so it was just okay.

The game is not very long or difficult- I played basically the entire thing while on a Skype call with my mom. Now I’m finally running out of SNES games not-yet-beaten.

Maybe it’s time to suck it up and get Ringed City.

April 11th, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Pagemaster (SNES)

Do you remember this movie? I suppose I had seen it when I was little and known enough about it to get the video game tie-in. Apparently it has the guy from Home Alone and when he reads some book he enters this alternate universe and there’s cartoons or he becomes a cartoon or something like that. This another classic old ’16-bit movie tie-in platformer’- not quite as punishingly heard as some of the Disney ones (the Aladdin game, and the Lion King game, omg…) but it gets up there.

The game trolls you in some epic ways. For example, it might seem useful to grind lives for the last level. You would be wrong. You have effectively one shot to beat the last level. Why? Because at the end of the last level is a long, long path of lethal spikes, and- from all I can ascertain- you are supposed to take one long jump at the spikes, then carefully use I-frames to run that long remainder of the way and you barely have enough. You only have I-frames at all if you have an item to spare, it’s Mario style where power-ups are the only thing shielding you from insta-death. And you res with no power-ups obviously. And there are literally no power-ups present in the level. On the condition that all of these things are true, you can have 99 lives for the last level, it won’t matter- if you die you might as well hit the reset button..

One thing this game has, that I sort of miss, is some screen- could be the ending screen, could be the “I want to stop playing screen”, doing a “while(1);” basically. It stalls forever. Accepts no input. That’s where you just turn off the game.

Pagemaster’s ending screen does this. So does Chrono Trigger’s and Super Metroid’s and Super Mario RPG’s and EarthBound’s and Lagoon’s and like every RPG from that era.

An an example besides ending screens, SimCity (SNES) has an option called END. The game stops and it shows a simple animation of a moon sleeping. It will do this forever and you just shut off the console. The feature doesn’t modernize super well… You can kill the game process but it just doesn’t have that same “winding down” feeling. I sort of like it because it’s an option I can select when I really do want to stop playing, and there is nothing tempting me to go back and re-enter the game. Most importantly, the static nature of the screen takes me out of it. Actually modern MMOs- such as Blade and Soul, when I played it- do the exact opposite of this. If you select “Exit”, there will be a waiting period of about 30 seconds just to make sure you’re actually, actually sure. They probably have some argument about it curbing cheating or ragequitting. Yeah, for sure that’s true, yet I wouldn’t buy it’s not at least a little bit about hooking players in for longer. Even if it’s just a little bit.

February 9th, 2017 at 10:25 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

December 9th, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink