Friday, February 23, 2018

Repented, seen the light, and played a Switch

Admit it: that is the GREATEST FUCKING POST TITLE ALL TIME. And a google post reveals that I appear to be the first person on the internet to have made the pun. Go me!

The Nintendo Switch: I have to admit, it's a lovely little machine. I never thought I'd buy a videogame console again, but Nintendo sneakily hit my weak spot by making a console that's also a portable. And I'll buy any portable Nintendo system. I've actually never played it in docked mode; as I say: for me, it's portable or nothing.

And you've gotta believe the hype: Mario Odyssey is truly sublime. Easily easily EASILY the best 3D Mario; admittedly, me saying that doesn't mean much, since I've always had a bit of a jaundiced attitude towards 3D platformers, but seriously, it is REALLY good. There's such a dazzling array of different kinds of gameplay challenges, and I love them all. Well actually, that's not true; I don't love the koopa racing segments. But that just points to another thing about the game that I DO love: the fact that it's designed such that you don't have to complete every single possible challenge to see everything the game has to offer. If you're frustrated searching for moons, you can just buy them (with coins, of course, not--*sign of cross*--microtransactions). Perfect compromise.

Of the many things I appreciate about it, one is that it has a perfect relationship with Mario history; it does nostalgia, sure, but in a good, smart way that looks to the future. Let us, for a moment, make a contrast: the mobile game Mario Run. This game is vaguely entertaining for a little while, but let's face it, that's more about the novelty of playing a new, official Mario game on a phone than anything else. It rewards you after you finish races by giving you an absolutely endless array of little doodads and bits of scenery, a LOT of which is, like, eight-bit-style statues and stuff. And BOY you have never felt the hollowness of empty nostalgia more intensely than after you've accumulated a few dozen of these suckers for absolutely no reason with nothing to do with them. Ugh. Whereas Mario Odyssey...boy. My favorite part of the game--hell, one of my favorite parts of ANYTHING--is the celebratory climax of New Donk City, where you play through a sort-of rendition of the original Donkey Kong as the game's vocal theme, "Jump Up Super Star" kicks in for the first time. It really feels like a jubliant celebration of the entire series. It's great! Hurrah! Six fireworks for me, please!

On the other hand...hmm. I don't know if I should say this or not, but...can we perhaps admit that the much-fetted Zelda: Breath of the Wild is actually...kind of...boring...? I mean, I'm not saying it's not an impressive achievement, but boy, for such a massive game, it gets VERY repetitive VERY quickly. I actually liked the tutorial-y bit, where you're getting your bearings and finding your abilities, but very soon after you leave the initial Great Plateau area it becomes clear how very little there is to actually DO. Yeah, the open world seems kind of fun to explore at first, but then you realize that everything basically blurs in to everything else, and then you realize that the entire gameplay cycle revolves around these damn shrines, and while there may be some debate about the relative repetitiveness of the outdoor regions, there can be none about the shrines: they are LITERALLY all the same damn thing. I mean, I agree that regular Zelda-type dungeons wouldn't really work in a game of this scope, but my goodness, the shrines are NOT a good replacement. Bah. Maybe I'll try to get back into it later, but so far (having done a few dozen shrines), I am NOT impressed.  It's doubly disappointing because the last Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds, was marvelous.  What I wouldn't give to see them make a new game in the series using that same engine.

What else? Right now I'm enjoying Dragon Quest Builders, and what I'm ESPECIALLY enjoying is that the dialogue is devoid of those obnoxiously intrusive cartoon accents that Squenix felt obliged to give to the localizations of the DS/3DS games. Minecraft is boring to me, but this is fun. Hurrah!

I also like that so many indie games are being ported to the system. If this is like the Wii and WiiU, there won't actually be THAT many big games that I'm interested in buying, but if there are a lotta cool indies and just a handful of further first-party AAA games (more Odyssey than Breath, plzkthnx), that'll be good enough for me.


Blogger Pan Miluś pontificated to the effect that...

I have large nostalgia for Mario including the oryginal "Mario Bros game" but even bigger for game boy game "Super Mario Land 2 : 6 golden coins" (which as far I recall was debute of Wario) Mario could eat an cartoot, grow tow bunny ears and use them to fly ~ just like in real life.

When I was kid gameboy games where very expensive for my pocket so I got new one or two every six months when it was my birthday or christmas or something. I had so much nostalgia of just watching diffrent booklets with drawings from diffrent games over and over. Even when I didn't play them they still sparkle my imagination. I still get vibe from familiar images.

This Mario game sounds like a good feast for nostalgia. I musct give it a try but I don't think there will be PC version.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś pontificated to the effect that...

Coincidentently I recently watch few vlogs of people talking about very old games and it just put me in a warm nostlagic blankets, and even if I didn't played all of them I was like "Oh, yhe! Remember that cover! It was in magazines all over the place when I was 11". Great stuff...

My favortie was o watch a video interview of this Polish creator who use to make games in the 90's. He had like crew of about 7-10 people - all friends - and they made only few games (one being a flop that sadly killed his company but is cult classic in Poland now) There was just something magical to hear stories how things where more simple back then. Now it's all big company, marketing, PR etc. Then it was just bunch of people with passion trying to make the best darn game that's good as long it entertain them. Again - great stuff...

10:01 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. pontificated to the effect that...

Tell me the name of this cult classic game!

My first-ever videogame system was an original Gameboy, so I remember the Mario Land games extremely well. I loved he first one; it was very challenging to me back in the day. It took me A LOT of practice to beat it, though these days it's hard to see why--I go back do it every few years for nostalgic kicks, and you can beat the game AND the second quest in less than an hour. Goodness.

I awaited the sequel with avidity, but although I certainly played through it a few times, somehow I never really LOVED it. The graphics were certainly 8000% better than the original, but I dunno. Somehow, it was never quite my thing. I DID love Wario Land, though. And then failed to love the sequels, because the "no-dying" gimmick was uninteresting to me.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś pontificated to the effect that...

The game is WACKI - - an point and click adventure game (it looks cheap now, but back in the day it had an "undergorund look" appeal)

I didn't mention the name since the game never appear out-side of Poland. In the video I mention the creator even talk how when they try to distributed it out side of Poland it was hard sell as a lot of the game was satire on Poland at the time and even with localization of the dialog gamers out-side of Poland simply coudn't relate to a lot of stuff in the game ("Chłopaki nie płaczą" a game I like way more from the time pirot had similar issues - the diaog and humor is great but every other joke is some Polish current culture related punchline and it's more of time capsule now)

A Polish game that's still way bigger classic and actualy had an world wide release is "Książe i Tchórz" (The Prince and the Coward) - Which not only is conisder (in Poland) one of best adventrue games ever made but dosen't have the same localisation problems as it set in a fantasy land and bearly rely on pop-culture (irocnialy there is a "Witcher" refrence, which later became bigster Polish franchise of all time... so far) plus it's just great to look at.

The small studio I mention also made game base on "Kajko and Kokosz" which was big hit in the early 90's and actualy got distribution.

I'm use to be big fan of adventure (point & click) games, which next to strategy where my favorite games and I think it's a shame they aren't as big as they use to once. I use to love Larry Laffer, King Quest (V!!!!!) and many others. Poland use to be all about prodcuing this type of adventure games (interesting enough a lot of American games distribiuted her got celebrity vocie cast, which wasn't the case in the oryginal - Larry 7 notably got for titular character Jerzy Sztur, one of best Poish comedy actor who also vioice Mushu in Dinsey Mulan and Donkey in the Shrek movies)

As far gameboy goes one of best games I remember was Mole Mania :

The game had some very interesting logical puzzels mix with timing (not only you had to figure out how to open the game while avoiding the monsters but you had to act very fast as half of thime you only had one shot do it) It was great for the mind.

Plus I ADORE the music in it. There is this show "Steven Unierse" which I mostly like a lot but I swear half of time the sound track is riping of Mole Mania themes ( ) Or maybe it's just my imagination.

I recall I had the 94 version of Donkey Kong but I don't have that big nostalgia for it. I use to have gameboy games base on "Lion King", "Mulan", "Asterix and Obelix" (which was very fun), "Bugs Bunny Crazy castle 3" and few other that escape my memory at the moment. I think the very last game I got was "Pokemon" which love it or hate it was phenomenon at the time and from point of view of 11 kid... yhe, it was adictive as drug.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś pontificated to the effect that...

Nice video on Mole Mania btw -

2:19 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. pontificated to the effect that...

It's very interesting that there's a whole popular culture in Poland that's just invisible to the rest of the world. Well, maybe it's kind of obvious. I suppose all countries who speak languages without large international populations must be similar. But still.

You're making me nostalgic for the ol' Gameboy. I had a whole lot of games. I suppose the standouts for me have to be the three Final Fantasy Legend games and Final Fantasy Adventure. Oh, and Link's Awakening, of course. But I DID love me some Donkey Kong '94, even if if was a bit past the height of my Gameboy mania (I and my brothers had a SNES at that point).

9:14 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś pontificated to the effect that...

Yhe, we are like Wakanda :D

And that's true - there is plenty of European countries that have their big pop-cultural icons (characters, series) so popular, beloved and with rich history in their countries that to them asking 'Who's that?" in is like asking an American "who's that Bugs Bunny characters?" or a Japanese person "What's Sailor Moon?", only these sadly never (or bearly) set foot out-side of their homeland.
[Than again I'm sure people in USA and Japan grow to be aware that almost all of their stuff get's exported and familiarized around the world, so that's makes the question more odd ]

I'm only aware of some Europan comicbook and cartoon franchise that are only big and significant in their counries but never got any export or popularity over the border (Poland has few of them as well), so I guess same must be with video games.

Interesting. Friend of mine who grow-up in France told me she is shock that people out-side of France get Asterix as apperently oryginal is very deep in "You have to live there to get it" humor and regional stereotypes, yet I never had problem enyoing these books or notice something is off. I guess some things might be more universal then what we give them credit for. I do enjoy the hell out of "King of the Hill" even if - from what I understand - that show is one big satire on modern Texas.

Zelda is one of those things I was aware of for years but I never played it as a kid... There once was a TVc channal that had a "Video-game" ralted shows in the evening that would show music video from one of the games - all I recall some levels you would play with Link as a kid some as a an adult... [Funny story - from years of just seeing clips of people play it here and there I asume that ZELDA is the name of the main character and that's Link is a "She"...]

Anny way when I never actually played Zelda until I was an adult - and I enjoy it and I have big respect for what it is, It's just never stuck with me and makes me exited when I hear it like let's say "Mario".

5:20 AM  

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