Whatcha Been Playing?

This is where you can deliberate anything relating to videogames - past, present and future.
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Joshihatsumitsu
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Joshihatsumitsu »

Mini Neo Geo Mini update!

I did pick up the controller and a cheap HDMI to mini HDMI cable (and a micro one too, because I'm a dope and bought the wrong one), so I was able to play to through the TV...

And like most reviews have already pointed out, it's not really optimised for a HD TV, but it's okay. I tested on my 32 inch, so it wasn't too bad, but yeah, couldn't been better.

So from that perspective, if you're genuinely interested in experiencing the Neo Geo library in the best possible way with modern devices, the ACA/Arcade Archives releases are fantastic, and affordable, and at the very least offer filters that make the most of the sprite-based artwork on HD TV's.

I love my little Neo Geo Mini, no regrets about buying it at all, but if you're budget conscious, there are great alternatives, across multiple platforms.

As for the controller, it's the Japanese version, so it doesn't have the beloved "clicky" joypad. I've heard rumours that the international version does, but I cannot confirm that firsthand. But it works beautifully, and it's much more comfortable to use that the built in controls. And for two-player sessions, you'd need them anyway.

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ratsoalbion
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by ratsoalbion »

Good info, thanks.

A desirable item for sure, but as you say, the increasingly comprehensive ACANG series is there on multiple formats too.

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Joshihatsumitsu
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Joshihatsumitsu »

I was going to say "at least the Neo Geo Mini has Cyber-Lip", but I saw it a ACA release on the Switch today, so that's null and void!

Not the best game, but I didn't really get ported either, until now.

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Michiel K
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Michiel K »

Yesterday I treated myself to that lovely Switch hard copy bundle with artbook of Sonic Mania Plus and I'm freakin' loving it. I've always had some issues with even the '90s Sonic games, with nothing ever topping the first one on MD for me, but this one just might make me truly fall in love with 2D Sonic for the first time, after all these years.

Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, with it feeling decidedly Saturn-like in its presentation, but it's just so smartly designed. The levels are still massive (even more massive than before) with many points-of-no-return, which always has been a tough pill to swallow for my Super Mario World conditioned brain (wanting to scour every nook and cranny in 1 go), but I've not yet encountered one death trap that's near impossible to avoid when playing a stage the first time, or one ridiculous leap of faith. There is a lot more mitigation in the stage layouts, the controls and physics are tighter than they've ever been and the additions and new twists are integrated wonderfully and make everything much more interesting.

Maybe I'll feel differently when I'll continue playing, but first impressions are amazing and lead me to believe there's a lot more goodness in store.

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stvnorman
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by stvnorman »

Coming off the back of finishing Mega Man 2 and the 11 demo, I thought I’d find Mighty No. 9 in my PS+ library and give it another go. That didn’t last long - it’s just soulless compared to Mega Man. Shame.

As I was on the PS4, I had a go on the less glamorous PS+ games from this month. Nothing about Q.U.B.E. was for me - the aesthetic, the music, the moving-block puzzles - so that was binned after the first sector. Foul Play next - button-mashing brawler that look like Victorian South Park. It’s all set in a theatre with each act taking place on a different stage set, but some really nice looking environments can’t hide it getting very repetitive after 30 minutes or so of play. Doesn’t seem very long or very challenging though, so might return to this when my thumb stops hurting. Sparkle 2 is a match-three game that just doesn’t sit comfortably with a Dual-Shock so quickly binned too. Even more quickly binned was Another World. I’ve tried this on so many platforms over so many years, but I still think it’s awful!

Also finished Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon on Switch after eventually working out which characters to use in the different phases of the final boss - once you’ve done that it’s a cinch. Now playing the Nightmare Mode that finishing it gives you, with the three characters you unlocked on the way available from the start, allowing you to explore those bits you couldn’t reach. I’ve really enjoyed this game and I love how it looks.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by KSubzero1000 »

I'm currently replaying the original Devil May Cry on PS4, a game I've often dismissed in the past in favor of some of its sequels / competitors, and I'm having a mild existential crisis about the fact that, all other things being equal, this game still speaks to me in a way that even the latest God of War, a game I genuinely like a lot, doesn't. There is something about the purity of its overall design and its audiovisual presentation that I find incredibly compelling.

This really hammers the point home just how narrow my tastes actually are. I feel like I'm missing out in a way... I see the other members of this community play hundreds of modern games a year and the "Games Completed" thread being updated with incredibly insightful contributions every day. Meanwhile I'm staring at my overloaded PS4 home screen and I'd rather spend my evening playing some janky outdated game that came out seventeen years ago on a now discontinued platform that no video game website is writing about than to have a go at any of the shiny new, but ultimately predictable stuff I've bought in various sales over the course of the last six months.

I guess I just have very little in common with the average video game player out there. The consensus seems to be to treat games like ephemeral sporting events, soon to be replaced by inexorable technological improvements, whereas I view them as unique and timeless activities, which explains my enduring love for all the flawed but irreplaceable classics of the 6th generation. I cherish and welcome the idiosyncrasies that so many others reject. I didn't even own a console when this one originally came out. I'm basically nostalgic about a time I've only marginally experienced... :(

Just a load of nonsense, I suppose. Not sure where I'm going with all this.

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Scrustle
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Scrustle »

Now that it's finally out of Early Access I've been digging in to CrossCode. Really glad to finally play the final version after waiting so long after the crowdfunding campaign. First impressions are really good. I'm enjoying it a lot. It's got really fun and fast-paced combat, some really nice pixel art, and a fun cast of characters so far. They manage to give a lot of personality to the main character through just expressive character portraits too, since she's effectively mute. The game does throw quite a lot at you at the start though, once you get past all the tutorial stuff. The starting town is pretty big, with lots going on that you need to check out. It can be a bit much at first, learning all the systems and sifting through quests. But it certainly makes the game feel like it's chock full of content, and is way more ambitious than some small modest indie game that one might think it is upon first appearance. The story hasn't really got going yet, but I am intrigued to find out more. Despite it leaning on some very well-worn tropes (set in an MMO, mute protagonist with amnesia), it manages to make them seem like they're putting a fun twist on them. For the moment at least. Still yet to see how things turn out, but at least I want to actually find out what happens, rather than groaning and rolling my eyes at how uninspired it is. It feels pretty self-aware with some of its trope-ish aspects too, so it has a good sense of humour about it at least.
KSubzero1000 wrote: September 21st, 2018, 9:33 pm I'm currently replaying the original Devil May Cry...
I totally get where you're coming from. No need to feel shame in it. Games from that era, and that subgenre in particular, definitely do have a purity of design that you very rarely see these days. Everything is trying to be all things to all people, and with the industry trying to indefinitely push (certain) boundaries, it often seems like they only way they can think to do that is to progress towards some hypothetical "ur-game" that is a mix of everything, polished to a degree that all distinguishing features are smoothed off.

While I appreciate moderns games, I tend to not be that moved by these "ur-games" myself either. The recent God of War has been a big exception for me in being one of the very few of them I've been interested it. I never expected to be when they first announced it, and even now I think there's a lot about it that is unnecessary and ultimately bogs down the experience somewhat. I liked it, but it'll never have that special place in my heart for something that focuses down on something I really appreciate. Especially games which have no problem in being very game-y. That's why I'm such a fan of Platinum. They're the best example of doing this sort of thing today, which is still very much a 6th generation mindset, but just updated to modern production standards. The best of both worlds. It's also why I had no interest in playing Spider-Man lately (even though it seems like a perfectly fine game considering), and I was much more interested in playing that remaster of Zone of the Enders 2 instead.

But you shouldn't feel bad about liking what you like, and not being that moved by what happens to be the current popular trend. There's still stuff out there that serves different tastes, and it's good to keep some perspective of where the industry has been too. I went through a period of feeling like the industry had left me behind as well. Only in recent years have I stopped feeling that the vast majority of stuff shown at E3, or coming out during the usual autumn rush, had nothing to offer me whatsoever. Yet even in that time where things felt very stagnant, I was still enjoying myself and was able to find enough to keep me interested in the medium.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Simonsloth »

KSubzero1000 wrote: September 21st, 2018, 9:33 pm

This really hammers the point home just how narrow my tastes actually are. I feel like I'm missing out in a way... I see the other members of this community play hundreds of modern games a year and the "Games Completed" thread being updated with incredibly insightful contributions every day. Meanwhile I'm staring at my overloaded PS4 home screen and I'd rather spend my evening playing some janky outdated game that came out seventeen years ago on a now discontinued platform that no video game website is writing about than to have a go at any of the shiny new, but ultimately predictable stuff I've bought in various sales over the course of the last six months.
I don’t think I’ve completed a game released this year aside from possibly Detroit (Shenmue doesn’t count!). I’m merrily working through my backlog and huge games in my gaming history and loving every minute of it so you’re not the only one loving the older games.

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Michiel K
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Michiel K »

KSubzero1000 wrote: September 21st, 2018, 9:33 pm Just a load of nonsense, I suppose. Not sure where I'm going with all this.
I feel you to some extent in that I often go back to older games and not just because we're covering them on Cane and Rinse. Only thing is maybe that I go further back and I find something interesting in many games of many different genres and design philosophies. My heart beats faster for games that are tactile and mechanically deep, though.

I just love going back to older games I never played much of before and discovering interesting mechanics that have been tossed aside and streamlined out of the games we play today.

And there's still plenty coming out today that I think is interesting and will stand the test of time.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by KSubzero1000 »

Scrustle wrote: September 21st, 2018, 9:43 pm Games from that era, and that subgenre in particular, definitely do have a purity of design that you very rarely see these days. Everything is trying to be all things to all people, and with the industry trying to indefinitely push (certain) boundaries, it often seems like they only way they can think to do that is to progress towards some hypothetical "ur-game" that is a mix of everything, polished to a degree that all distinguishing features are smoothed off.
Precisely. I think you and I have a very similar outlook on this. There are plenty of modern games that I like, but very few that get me as irrationally passionate as the classics of yesteryear.
Scrustle wrote: September 21st, 2018, 9:43 pm But you shouldn't feel bad about liking what you like, and not being that moved by what happens to be the current popular trend.
It's not that I feel bad about liking stuff, it's that I feel bad about knowing so little about so many other things. Despite video games being my main hobby, I feel like I only have a very superficial understanding of so many of its facets as opposed to a near-encyclopedic knowledge of a select few. I sometimes envy the folks who have such a broad frame of reference as to have informed opinions about so many different genres and games from different time periods, like most of the CaR crew to name the most obvious example.

And the thing is not just that I love older games, but also that, given the choice, I'm much more likely to replay a classic than to play the hot new thing for the first time.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Flabyo »

I only have the breadth of knowledge I do for two reasons:

1) I’m a game dev and it’s part of my job to play lots of stuff. As much as I can.
2) I’m in my 40s and have had a lot of time to do that in.

Call of Duty and Battlefield do very little for me, but I love Overwatch. Gran Turismo leaves me cold, but Forza Horizon I find amazing. If you asked me to choose between Breath of the Wild and Horizon Zero Dawn, I probably wouldn’t be able to. I think the entire Dark Souls series can get in the sea, yet buy every Dynasty Warriors game that comes out.

Basically, my tastes don’t even remotely run to the ‘rational’, and I think it’s perfectly fine for them to do so.

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Joshihatsumitsu
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Joshihatsumitsu »

KSubzero1000 wrote: September 21st, 2018, 9:33 pm This really hammers the point home just how narrow my tastes actually are...
I can’t relate to this post at all!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play Real Bout Special: Dominated Mind on my Japanese PlayStation Slim, with the PlayStation 5” LCD screen attachment! ;)

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by KSubzero1000 »

Joshihatsumitsu wrote: September 22nd, 2018, 12:53 am [...]Real Bout Special: Dominated Mind[...]
I was convinced you were fucking with me but I looked it up and I stand corrected because that's apparently a thing.

...I think we've come full circle somehow! :lol:

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Joshihatsumitsu
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Joshihatsumitsu »

KSubzero1000 wrote: September 22nd, 2018, 12:58 am
Joshihatsumitsu wrote: September 22nd, 2018, 12:53 am [...]Real Bout Special: Dominated Mind[...]
I was convinced you were fucking with me but I looked it up and I stand corrected because that's apparently a thing.

...I think we've come full circle somehow! :lol:
:)

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dezm0nd
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by dezm0nd »

Regarding Sonic Mania, I found it to be a great game but the closer to the end you get, the more shite creeps in.
There’s a 10 minute level which has instant kill platforms and it almost put me off.

I returned after months of putting it away and finished it but man, sometimes Sonic can really push my frustration buttons

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Chopper »

KSubzero1000 wrote: September 21st, 2018, 9:33 pm I'm currently replaying the original Devil May Cry on PS4, a game I've often dismissed in the past in favor of some of its sequels / competitors, and I'm having a mild existential crisis about the fact that, all other things being equal, this game still speaks to me in a way that even the latest God of War, a game I genuinely like a lot, doesn't. There is something about the purity of its overall design and its audiovisual presentation that I find incredibly compelling.

This really hammers the point home just how narrow my tastes actually are. I feel like I'm missing out in a way... I see the other members of this community play hundreds of modern games a year and the "Games Completed" thread being updated with incredibly insightful contributions every day. Meanwhile I'm staring at my overloaded PS4 home screen and I'd rather spend my evening playing some janky outdated game that came out seventeen years ago on a now discontinued platform that no video game website is writing about than to have a go at any of the shiny new, but ultimately predictable stuff I've bought in various sales over the course of the last six months.

I guess I just have very little in common with the average video game player out there. The consensus seems to be to treat games like ephemeral sporting events, soon to be replaced by inexorable technological improvements, whereas I view them as unique and timeless activities, which explains my enduring love for all the flawed but irreplaceable classics of the 6th generation. I cherish and welcome the idiosyncrasies that so many others reject. I didn't even own a console when this one originally came out. I'm basically nostalgic about a time I've only marginally experienced... :(

Just a load of nonsense, I suppose. Not sure where I'm going with all this.
Don't worry, I'm running this through the Dr Dekker Psychonanalysis Machine right now so we'll soon have you sorted out. It's telling me....it's telling me..... hmm, its conclusions seem wholly unsupported by the premise, I'm afraid, so we'll have to discount that, sorry! Nevertheless, very interesting conclusions it has reached here though..... ;)

More seriously, interesting thoughts above about the 'ur-games' and appeal etc. I'm probably on the more casual end of the spectrum when it comes to Cane and Rinse forumites and their gaming habits, and tend to approach games more for what interesting experiences they can offer rather than tightness of gameplay or purity of design. With that approach, I can get something positive out of most games, and I'm happy with that, but I can see how an approach based on different standards could lead to frustration.

It's a bit worrying, given that we are in a time when supposedly the greatest range of gaming experiences is being promised. Does the narrow focus preclude the indie and retro-inspired games too, or are they not up to par either (thinking along the lines of Dead Cells, Celeste, Spelunky etc)?

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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Chopper wrote: September 22nd, 2018, 8:17 am It's a bit worrying, given that we are in a time when supposedly the greatest range of gaming experiences is being promised. Does the narrow focus preclude the indie and retro-inspired games too, or are they not up to par either (thinking along the lines of Dead Cells, Celeste, Spelunky etc)?
Well, I appreciate a lot of indie games for their creative potential and I think they certainly have their place, but I'm also not going to go full hipster and pretend that I don't also appreciate solid production values. I don't count that many indie games among my all time favorites for that very reason. I think that great games (and great movies) should have a clear directorial vision at their core, but that they should also have the means to express themselves and bring that vision to fruition without too many compromises.

There is also the tangentially related issue of a large percentage of indie / retro games being somewhat hesitant to spread their creative wings too far and relying instead on the tried-and-true formula of "2D platformer with a twist!". Braid, Limbo, Inside, Celeste, Shovel Knight, Spelunky, Fez, Thomas Was Alone, Axiom Verge or Hollow Knight can all be classified under that category. All above average to great games, but not only do I think that most of them will have a hard time to compete with the best that 2D Mario, Mega Man or Metroid have to offer, I just think that the market is over-saturated with them and that I find it rather difficult to generate much enthusiasm for any one of them in particular. With that said, I'm still very much looking forward to Hollow Knight based on word of mouth alone.

Randomized rogue-likes aren't really my thing for multiple reasons, although I think Isaac probably makes the best use of the concept.

Basically, I like indies and I'm always curious to see what the next popular one will be like, but they rarely stimulate me like the total classics I'm so fond of.


PS: I had to look up "preclude". Hope you're happy now, you walking Thesaurus. :P

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Stanshall »

I'll be really interested in your thoughts on Hollow Knight as I have found it boring as fuck and ditched it after five hours or so. Atmospheric, well presented but a mechanical midget.

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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

Post by Stanshall »

Totally with you on that one, dez. The first few stages were like a spectacular journey into the past but via the future and Sonic actually clicked for me and I was getting it and then...DOOF. Back down to Earth.

I've been playing Blaz Blue Cross Tag Battle, Blade Strangers and SNK Heroines, which are in order of quality. The latter two are very much inspired by the former's Sys Arc fighting mechanics, lots of dashy dashy and flashy flashy, but I'm genuinely enjoying them all - even SNK Heroines, I must admit. I have tired of ARMS and try as I might, SFV is just painful for me, it's too close to SF4 but minus all the wondrous depth and freedom that game offered in spades. I have too much in muscle memory that I can't learn something which is so similar but different that it's a constant disappointment and frustration. So, here is am, playing Blade Strangers against the same four or five people and getting no better and knowing it's literally pissing in the wind at this point.

But I'm having fun, nevertheless. I'll definitely be hitting up DBFZ.

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Michiel K
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Re: Whatcha Been Playing?

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Stanshall wrote: September 22nd, 2018, 11:22 am Totally with you on that one, dez. The first few stages were like a spectacular journey into the past but via the future and Sonic actually clicked for me and I was getting it and then...DOOF. Back down to Earth
Ooh, that doesn't bode well. You and Darren are killing my high, here. Just when I thought I was starting to get 2D Sonic as well!

Actually, some old pet peeves already started to come back to me. Let me just say that visual clarity in the level designs isn't 2D Sonic's greatest strength and I'm often totally befuddled why I'm all of a sudden flying or shooting off in a certain direction and Sonic Mania is no exception here. Coupled with the crazy speed, I sometimes have no idea why things are happening the way they do. I guess it all comes with lots of repeat play of the levels, what these games are seemingly designed for.

Did appreciate all the classic SEGA references in Studiopolis Zone, though.
KSubzero1000 wrote: September 22nd, 2018, 10:03 am There is also the tangentially related issue of a large percentage of indie / retro games being somewhat hesitant to spread their creative wings too far and relying instead on the tried-and-true formula of "2D platformer with a twist!". Braid, Limbo, Inside, Celeste, Shovel Knight, Spelunky, Fez, Thomas Was Alone, Axiom Verge or Hollow Knight can all be classified under that category. All above average to great games, but not only do I think that most of them will have a hard time to compete with the best that 2D Mario, Mega Man or Metroid have to offer, I just think that the market is over-saturated with them and that I find it rather difficult to generate much enthusiasm for any one of them in particular. With that said, I'm still very much looking forward to Hollow Knight based on word of mouth alone.

Randomized rogue-likes aren't really my thing for multiple reasons, although I think Isaac probably makes the best use of the concept.
Get out of my head, you!

I do look forward to playing Hollow Knight, however.

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