The Nintendo news and discussion thread

This is where you can deliberate anything relating to videogames - past, present and future.
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KissMammal
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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by KissMammal »

The original/remaster of Flashback is on sale right now on Switch (in the US eshop at least). $5.99 i think.

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ratsoalbion
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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by ratsoalbion »

Yes, also on sale on PSN.

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Michiel K
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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Michiel K »

I know that I shouldn’t let other people’s experiences and opinions affect my own, but reading this last page makes me feel a bit sad. :(

I was playing a bunch of NES games on the original console and the Wii Virtual Console the past week and having a grand time. My boy and me especially enjoyed playing Balloon Fight side by side and playing through the full length of Kickle Cubicle was a real pleasure. Then reading that people agree that the majority of the library is virtually unplayable and that these games have had their best time when coming high off my own experiences is a bit of an unexpected downer.

Maybe a major issue is Nintendo’s oddball subscription service vs. the likes of PS Plus and GWG. Somehow this has led to the whole NES era of gaming coming under fire by a lot of people. And like I was saying to Leon before, going back to 8-bit games made before their time just isn’t for everyone. But to me, good games are good games, regardless of when they were made.

I remember seeing a horridly ignorant video on YT titled ‘BAD GAME DESIGN: NES games’. People often talk about games of the 80s as if they prefaced actual thoughtful design, but don’t realise a lot of the ground work was laid back then. As we highlighted on the Mega Man show, even a fairly rough and unfriendly game like the original Mega Man had a lot of thought put into its enemy formations and patterns (as opposed to what you would see in bedroom coded home computer games of the time). It’s just that the designers expected more of the players and consumers expected more challenge, longevity and investment out of the limited packaged lines of code they purchased.

The original Metroid is much like the original Zelda: you were going into uncharted territory and maybe you even drew out your own maps while playing through them. Now, as someone who 100%ed the original Metroid back in the 80s, I would say that even for me the game is tough to return to and has some real issues, such as tile sets that keep on repeating and having to grind for energy refills, but you might argue that Zero Mission went a bit too far in holding your hand, losing the sense of mystique and unknown danger that the original had.

I don’t know, or maybe I’m just old. :(

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Suits »

Michiel K wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 12:19 pm
I don’t know, or maybe I’m just old. :(
I don't think so man, I agree with you.

We've all had this discussion before on old games, such as the NES games on the Switch.

I do however recognise people criticisms of them and agree that they valid, I just come out on the other side of the fence.

It's cool, not everything is for everyone forever.

If I told you Nintendo had a new release of over 30 NES games, with some special remixed versions of Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, Nija Gaiden and others, with save states and rewind feature built in - for £20, would anyone be interested ??

I think that sounds like a hell of a deal.

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Stanshall »

Michiel, I don't mean to be a buzz kill but from a pure single player perspective, I find most of the games too simplistic and stiff when I go back. If I were playing on the couch with someone else, though, I think some of these would still have plenty to offer.

I remember going on a school French exchange when I was 12 and couldn't really speak any French and my exchange partner couldn't really speak any English so we communicated almost entirely through NES Volleyball for about two days. This was a great bonding and we were soon out risking life and limb on his scooter and smoking ciggies and chatting up French girls in his town and we ended up having a brilliant week. I returned home a MAN (kind of) and I can put it down to NES Volleyball. Twenty-seven years later, I was so excited to fire it up and relive some of those memories and I quickly realised that I should have left it as a memory.

I would add Zelda to my list of games which stand up well, but I'd say it's still a few rungs below SMB1-3. An amazing achievement and I have the best memories of figuring stuff out with my brothers and hearing tips and secrets from mates' older brothers or neighbours and stuff like that, so I feel like I got the very best of it at the right time, but much of it is pretty obtuse now.

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

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Michiel K wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 12:19 pm
going back to 8-bit games made before their time just isn’t for everyone. But to me, good games are good games, regardless of when they were made.
That's exactly the way I look at it.

I think we just have to acknowledge the extent by which gaming culture is shaped by recency bias. Casual consumers obviously tend to assume that the latest FIFA / CoD is automatically going to be superior to the one that came out twelve months beforehand and rush out to buy it, no questions asked. But it can still be observed in more dedicated enthusiast circles such as this one. Even if people are being significantly more polite and civilized about it than in most other places, of course.

Whenever I try to make sense of something related to video games, I like to go and see the ways other communities handle things.

So if you go to, say, a classical music forum, you'll witness a completely different mindset. People talk about their favorite instruments with genuine love and passion and they share tips and techniques as to how to maintain them properly. Money is very rarely brought up. They debate the works of various composers based on their own merits. And when they do, they talk about the music itself and not about their vague memories of having listened to that one track on the radio decades prior. They analyse, compare, critique, appreciate. They never use terms such as "aged" or "dated". They also understand the importance of perseverance and dedication. If they want to learn how to play a particular symphony, they sit down and practice until they've mastered it. In other words, they're grown-ups who are primarily motivated by love and respect for their art form. And they're willing to put a lot of effort into it if necessary.

Meanwhile, 90% of the wide gaming discussion at large primarily consists of various loudmouths arguing with each other about the latest and shiniest for as long as their atrophied attention spans allow them to and they all "move on" to the next big thing. Not to mention the rampant insistence on viewing everything through some crass monetary lens. You won't hear many of the aforementioned musicians talk about selling their sheets asap in order to recoup their buying costs or about trading their old piano in every two years whenever Fazioli brings out a new model, that's for sure.

Because most video game players don't actually respect video games. They view them as convenient shortcuts to their brain's pleasure centers to be consumed at the lowest possible amount of personal investment (be it financial, intellectual, temporal, energetic, etc...) and immediately uninstalled and tossed away afterwards. The entertainment equivalent of fast food. No more, no less.


This cultural bias even seeps into the language people use instinctively. And it's not just musicians. When bookworms talk about literary works that have been written thousands of years ago, they use the present tense. Because even though the authors come and go, their works are timeless. Because art is meant to be kept alive through the enrichment it provides, no matter when and where. A book will never die or fade into the past as long as there is someone willing to read it. That's why preservation is so important.

Video games, though? Anything "older" than three months gets shoved into the past tense, to be compartmentalized, derided and ignored. And whenever somebody does take on the burden of playing an "old" game, there are usually gonna be two paragraphs dedicated to mention how hard it is for this poor decrepit fossil to live up to modern standards. Even the phrase "modern standards" is insanely loaded and something you will almost never hear in relation to any other medium. Like I said, our entire culture is basically centered around this stuff. Whenever any classic game is being re-released, just look at how much time reviewers spend talking about the game itself as opposed to all the noise surrounding it.


Anyway, I don't think that the production year of any particular work should dictate its worth, but for a lot of players, it does. I don't have a dog in this specific fight, btw. I never owned a NES and don't share Michiel's affection for most of its library. Just a... wider observation.


...Yes, I know. I'm on my elitist soap box again. /rant over


PS: I'm aware that many of you feel the exact opposite from me on this, and more power to you. Nothing wrong with having preferences. I'm not trying to pick a fight, I promise. :)

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ratsoalbion
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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by ratsoalbion »

And with Cane and Rinse we very deliberately try to steer away from that mindset and that type of coverage. Individual contributors may have more or less patience with some older tech, aesthetics or mechanics though and they’re always free to express that (in a way that isn’t disrespectful to alternative views).

Certainly none of us would dream of lumping (say) all NES games or all games from pre-1988 or whatever together as being uniformly worthless though. Or all post-2001 games or all PS4 games or whatever. Ludicrous!

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by KSubzero1000 »

ratsoalbion wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 3:22 pm
And with Cane and Rinse we very deliberately try to steer away from that mindset and that type of coverage.
Of course man, and I appreciate that! Trying not to hold a game's age against it is probably the one aspect that made CaR stand out to me among all other podcasts when I started listening to it.

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Flabyo »

I mean, I’m never going to say ‘most nes games are bad’, because I’ve barely played more than about a dozen of them. But I’ve not really enjoyed the ones I have except for the three Mario games.

I guess my perspective is a little different in that I’m a game coder and designer by trade, so when I play something that old all I’m really seeing is things that you just wouldn’t design that way anymore. Some of the design decisions they made are due to hardware constraint, but just as many come from ‘we’ve never done this sort of thing so we don’t know what is actually good’.

I wouldn’t say that no thought went into those designs, but you can’t ignore the fact we’ve had more than twenty years of getting better at designing games since then too.

(Though for me the platform that’s suffered the most from the March of time is the N64, so few third party games on that console have held up)

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Suits »

Flabyo wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 4:13 pm
(Though for me the platform that’s suffered the most from the March of time is the N64, so few third party games on that console have held up)
Oh, this.

Doom 64 is very good. I think.

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Alex79uk »

I think it's the use of words to be honest, which people, myself included, use without thinking too much about it. Change the word good to enjoyable.

"Most of the NES games I've played have not been good, in my opinion".

Of course that's nonsense if you take it literally. A lot of them were groundbreaking, some inspired entire genres. Saying something is good or bad is an absolute definition of it, no room for subjectivity.

"Most of the NES games I've played have not been enjoyable, in my opinion".

That makes a lot more sense. Because they haven't.

I also maintain that age does make a difference. Not to a games quality, but to most people's ability to enjoy it. Just because a game was excellent in 1992 doesn't mean its not a pig to control now and entirely unenjoyable to play. You can only judge the enjoyability of something relative to right now. It's not the same as assessing somethings quality.

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Alex79uk »

clippa wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 2:08 pm
People are straight up wrong all the time. Couple of great example on this page.

"realising games could be so much more than just arcade fun"
I wasn't dismissing arcade games. I still love them. But I was saying my eyes were opened to the fact there was more to video games than only arcade experiences.

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Michiel K
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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

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Stanshall wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 1:59 pm
I remember going on a school French exchange when I was 12 and couldn't really speak any French and my exchange partner couldn't really speak any English so we communicated almost entirely through NES Volleyball for about two days. This was a great bonding and we were soon out risking life and limb on his scooter and smoking ciggies and chatting up French girls in his town and we ended up having a brilliant week. I returned home a MAN (kind of) and I can put it down to NES Volleyball. Twenty-seven years later, I was so excited to fire it up and relive some of those memories and I quickly realised that I should have left it as a memory.
That's really cool and I totally get that. I had Volleyball too, back in the days. It came with the whole lot that we bought off my mom's colleague, when we got his NES. Thing is, it was never a very good game, even back then (in fact, none of the black box sports games, save for Ice Hockey, are). So your experience could have been with any multiplayer game.
Stanshall wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 1:59 pm
I would add Zelda to my list of games which stand up well, but I'd say it's still a few rungs below SMB1-3. An amazing achievement and I have the best memories of figuring stuff out with my brothers and hearing tips and secrets from mates' older brothers or neighbours and stuff like that, so I feel like I got the very best of it at the right time, but much of it is pretty obtuse now.
There's a lot more to the full extent of the NES/Famicom library than early, crusty black box titles that were already ancient by the time they arrived in Europe and Mario and Zelda, as fantastic as those games are. For the time, you can say its vastness and diversity is akin to that of the PS2, in the 00s.

Image

This is me and my kid playing the Famicom Disk System game Bio-Miracle Bokutte Upa on the Wii's Virtual Console, a few days ago. It's a quirky but quality Konami platformer, starring a smiling, crawling baby that inflates baddies with its rattle toy and eats through gigantic cakes, Dig Dug style. The music tracks are total toe tappers and we were passing the controller around in the tougher levels, getting a bit further each time. Just as good a time as anything that came out more recently.
clippa wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 3:20 pm
Can I recommend snake rattle n roll? That was immense. Oh, and blades of steel, and Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu
For example!

Developers like Compile (Zanac, Gun*Nac), Sunsoft (Batman, Gremlins 2, Blaster Master), Capcom (Mega Man series, DuckTales, Gargoyle's Quest II), Konami (where do I even start or finish?), Natsume (Shadow of the Ninja, Shatterhand, Power Blade, Final Mission), were kicking so much ass on the NES/Famicom, especially in its later years. And there is nothing slow or turgid about most of this stuff. Also, any shoot 'em up fan owes it to themselves to play Recca.
Suits wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 1:00 pm
If I told you Nintendo had a new release of over 30 NES games, with some special remixed versions of Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, Nija Gaiden and others, with save states and rewind feature built in - for £20, would anyone be interested ??

I think that sounds like a hell of a deal.
I like how you look at this all glass half full-like. I definitely think Nintendo's online subscription service looks bad in comparison to that of Sony and MS, simply because a library of NES games has a much more limited appeal to the larger gaming populace than your average Games with Gold and PS Plus offerings. So now you've got people begudgingly trying out some of these games because they bloody well pay for the service and, with that attitude, come off the whole thing rather negatively. It's not just here, mind, I was seeing complaints about a lot of the NES games from that service all over the internet.
Flabyo wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 4:13 pm
I wouldn’t say that no thought went into those designs, but you can’t ignore the fact we’ve had more than twenty years of getting better at designing games since then too.
I don't think you have to be a developer to observe a lot of what you said, or at least not a professional one. But not everything is simply a matter of getting better at designing games. Differing design goals and priorities are also a major factor in how games are/were designed over the decades, and that does have to do a lot with memory and hardware constraints, but also with attempting to reach wider audiences.

KSubzero1000 wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 3:03 pm
Anyway, I don't think that the production year of any particular work should dictate its worth, but for a lot of players, it does. I don't have a dog in this specific fight, btw. I never owned a NES and don't share Michiel's affection for most of its library. Just a... wider observation.
Well observed! And yeah "by modern standards" is a bit of pet peeve phrasing for me as well. How about I start judging today's games by classic standards? :lol:

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by JadePhoenix »

I recently played through the first two Dragon Quest games on the NES, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well they've aged. Especially with DQ 1, being essentially the first JRPG ever, I was afraid I would spend most of my time frustrated and dying over and over, but apart from the total lack of signposting, which I more of less expected, I had a really good time, and they weren't even all that grindy by early JRPG standards. Eventually I'll get around to DQ 3, and having played the remake of 4, I'm always amazed that it even FIT onto an NES cart, that game is immense, and an incredible accomplishment for the time. I really hope that they're saving at least one of them for Switch Online to line up with Edrik coming to Smash.

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Alex79uk »

Incidentally, how is Ninja Gaiden regarded on NES? I tried it the other night and had a blast! Anyone else tried it? Whilst we're here, let's highlight some of the best games on the Switch NES library - anyone got any hot recommendations? Aside from Mario.

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Michiel K »

^^^^ Ninja Gaiden NES plays tight, fast and furious. I was never a fan of the enemy sprite design and how odd some of the stages look, but it's a very playable game. Definitely has a few very mean areas though, with constantly respawning enemies. Personally I prefer the likes of Sunsoft's Batman or even HAL's Kabuki Quantum Fighter(!).

I just had a look at the current lineup (I don't have the subscription myself yet) and aside from the obvious ones on there I'd reccommend:

Dr. Mario
Gradius
River City Ransom
Solomon's Key
Adventures of Lolo (top down action puzzle game by HAL)
Punch-Out!! (though I prefer the Mike Tyson edition :D - now here is a NES game that is as timeless and playable as ever... the Wii remake stuck to this one so slavishly for a reason)

Double Dragon II is worth checking out as well, but it might feel a bit stodgy and temperamental if you go in blank... and a second player is pretty much mandatory for a good time.

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Alex79uk »

Thanks I'll check those out. Yeah I've put a couple hours in to Punch Out, it really is the exact same game as the SNES and Wii versions and still plays excellently. I got stuck on the first guy in the second loop round and stopped playing, but I keep meaning to go back to it. Very fun game.

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Stanshall »

Totally agree that Punch-Out! is still great. I forgot that one. I also take your point that the black box sports are generally pretty weak, anyway. I'll keep digging..

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

Post by Tleprie »

God I love this forum, everybody being all respectful and shit.

I'll throw my 2 cents into the 8-bit ring, as it were.

I never had a NES, and would have been some negative years old when the system was at peak popularity, I think. That being the case, my experience of NES titles has largely come from Gameboy/GBA ports, and more recently virtual console and Switch library thing-y.

I tend to agree with the sentiment that a lot of the games I've played feel too slow or clunky to be too enjoyable, but rather than dwell on that, I'll throw out some highlights for me of the era:
-Donkey Kong JR is objectively (fire/ban me) perfect, and the 2nd level is the best level of all video games.
-Mario Bros is a romp, but has been bettered by Flicky and Super Crate Box
-Super Mario Bros is fun, and SMB3 is also a game.
-I played Excitebike for the first time this year, and it is also a romp. 4/5 exploding bicycles
-NES Open is very enjoyable, especially 2 player, but I am a sucker for all Mario Golf games.
-Kirby's Adventure was very enjoyable when I played through it on Wii VC. Maybe in my top 10 Wii games.
-Kid Icarus seemed fun and I'd like to go back to it soon.

Cheers to all!

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Re: The Nintendo news and discussion thread

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KSubzero1000 wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 3:03 pm

I think we just have to acknowledge the extent by which gaming culture is shaped by recency bias. Casual consumers obviously tend to assume that the latest FIFA / CoD is automatically going to be superior to the one that came out twelve months beforehand and rush out to buy it, no questions asked. But it can still be observed in more dedicated enthusiast circles such as this one. Even if people are being significantly more polite and civilized about it than in most other places, of course.
I hate how COD and Sports Games are used as a way to dismiss a whole swathe of gamer culture - both have massive and vibrant communities in their own right. Fifa isn't the same from year to year - the designers try to improve and evolve it within the strictures of the genre. It has new features which may or may not work that year. It may become more sim-like. For players, it's a way to connect with their friends, their team (what if there's a new superstar on your team this season?), and often engage in deep strategical multiplayer. I know this isn't the whole point you're making but writing it off as casual isn't helpful :)

Whenever I try to make sense of something related to video games, I like to go and see the ways other communities handle things.

So if you go to, say, a classical music forum, you'll witness a completely different mindset. People talk about their favorite instruments with genuine love and passion and they share tips and techniques as to how to maintain them properly. Money is very rarely brought up. They debate the works of various composers based on their own merits. And when they do, they talk about the music itself and not about their vague memories of having listened to that one track on the radio decades prior. They analyse, compare, critique, appreciate. They never use terms such as "aged" or "dated". They also understand the importance of perseverance and dedication. If they want to learn how to play a particular symphony, they sit down and practice until they've mastered it. In other words, they're grown-ups who are primarily motivated by love and respect for their art form. And they're willing to put a lot of effort into it if necessary.
I dunno, if you had Beethoven's 5th being performed on NES-equivalent technology (let's say the orchestra is made up of zithers, lyres, lutes and hurdy-gurdys) and then had another group performing it on XOX-level tech (normal instruments), you bet your ass the two groups would be at each others' throats. :D
Meanwhile, 90% of the wide gaming discussion at large primarily consists of various loudmouths arguing with each other about the latest and shiniest for as long as their atrophied attention spans allow them to and they all "move on" to the next big thing. Not to mention the rampant insistence on viewing everything through some crass monetary lens. You won't hear many of the aforementioned musicians talk about selling their sheets asap in order to recoup their buying costs or about trading their old piano in every two years whenever Fazioli brings out a new model, that's for sure.

Because most video game players don't actually respect video games. They view them as convenient shortcuts to their brain's pleasure centers to be consumed at the lowest possible amount of personal investment (be it financial, intellectual, temporal, energetic, etc...) and immediately uninstalled and tossed away afterwards. The entertainment equivalent of fast food. No more, no less.
Gaming is a lot more egalitarian, as the price of entry is a console rather than a piano. It's a much broader church, and it has strengths and weaknesses because of that. Myself, I tend to view it as disposable pop-culture, where I play a game once only, but I'm aware of and respect the various groups of enthusiasts. And there's loads of room for everyone.

I lean that way for most cuture though. If you compare The daVinci Code to Ulysses, one has brought pleasure to millions, and the other has brought pleasure to thousands. What's best - reaching millions of new and old readers, or catering to the rarefied tastes of the 'elites'? I know which one I enjoyed more.

Gaming is mass entertainment, meant for consumption, and it is driven by the coverage it receives, which has all kinds of problems in itself (young, badly paid writers and the necessity to drive traffic being the things that are possibly most relevant to your points). You struggle if you want more than the latest news on where fucking Xur is, or how to get all the Fortbytes, but it is what it is. I can't see it changing much.

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