Archive for January 2013
Fred is joined by Derrick of All Games and Rob “Trees” from EZ Mode Unlocked to talk about Atari, Inc.’s illustrious past in light of the information it is entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy (don’t worry, the company will survive no problem, they’re just restructuring). We discuss the history and origins of Atari and what the company did after splitting off from the games division.
I’ve only just begun Persona 3 with about five hours under my belt, but already I can tell I’m going to like this game. It’s a massive hybrid of so many genres woven together in a nice JRPG shell that sucks you in and gets you hooked, fast – just one more day, am I right? I’m glad to see that, too, because having just completed both Shin Megami Tensei Persona and Persona 2 (both Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment) I was beginning to fear I was missing something. That’s because by all accounts the first two installments in the Persona series (Persona 2 was split into two games and up until recently Innocent Sin was never technically available in the US) are a dated, rough ride through all of the confines and setbacks of traditional JRPGs along with a steep difficulty and very complex battle system to boot. From the start, both games are a daunting task and none of the remakes update the gameplay at all. In the end I only made it through with step-by-step instructions in a strategy guide, lots of patience, and a little luck. This is not what I signed on for and given the current landscape of this genre it appears that for most gamers the PS1 outings of Persona are caught between two amorphous worlds (much like the characters themselves) when the genre was drastically changing. After somewhere between 150-250 total hours to complete (there is no game clock, I’m completely guessing), a total of five different games, and an incredible hunger to extract the draw of the early iterations of the series I must issue a strong suggestion to bypass Persona’s roots and start with the third title, you’ll be thankful you did.
Fred and Rob “Trees” discuss Rare titles. We actually mean the developer Rare as opposed to video games that are considered “rare.” Originally formed as Ultimate Play The Game, we go over the history and game library of one of the most influential and abundant 2nd party developers on Nintendo’s platforms.
As promised, here’s gameplay footage of Nightmare on Elm Street for the NES:
Ron Gilbert, known mostly through the retro circles as the creator of Maniac Mansion and various other games that ran on the SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) engine, said it best way back in 1989 when he wrote his rant entitled “Why Adventure Games Suck.” In it Gilbert attacks the myriad of tropes and issues he foresaw with the very genre that made him famous. It’s quite an impressive read and I suggest you all check it out because there are things he mentions within that piece that are still true today.
All snark aside the point-and-click adventure genre, which saw its largest degree of popularity in the mid-late 80s and early 90s, was always doomed to fail. Not quite a game, not quite a movie (Gilbert is the apparent father of the term “cutscene” because of script he wrote in Maniac Mansion referring to scenes you were forced to watch as “cut-scene”), and despite its general solid writing definitely not a book. It spins a yarn and in many cases tosses in some comedy as one of the only gaming genres that can still control timing without forcefully restricting the player. In concept the genre seems perfectly suited for being a form of interactive fiction and one who hasn’t played these titles may wonder why it performed so poorly and had such a short shelf life in the industry. This is because you haven’t played an adventure game. As enticing as the chuckle-filled story may seem, point-and-click adventure titles were still video games and thus had to adhere to certain rules. No one has quite found the balance and I do believe nostalgia is to blame for the reason anyone still likes these games, because the balance between telling a story and making a game has never found its happy medium. Before you kill me, let me explain.
Fred and Rob “Trees” from EZ Mode Unlocked get together and talk about the various television game shows and cartoon shows revolving around video games on television in the 1980s and 1990s. With a little time left over, they even get into some of the shows from the UK and Japan.
Released: September 1985
Developer: Nintendo Creative Department
Instruction Manual: Not necessary – Link
Played it as a child? Yes
Value: $5.79 (used), $1,000.00 (new) (pricecharting.com)
Other Releases: Yes – SNES (Super Mario All-Stars), Gameboy Color (as Super Mario Bros. Deluxe), Gameboy Advance (Nintendo Classics), Wii (Super Mario All-Stars Wii)
Digital Release? Yes – Virtual Console for both Wii and 3DS
This week we celebrate our game club by discussing the entire plot of Chrono Trigger. We cover the game start to finish, touch on side missions, and discuss the universal ending. We also remind you of January’s game club and pose a question for the game club in February. This show is for those that have previously played Chrono Trigger or would like to hear the plotline in lieu of playing the game.
Happy New Year! This week we discuss an old Retronauts tradition of delving into the past in 5 and 10 year intervals. We discuss 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, and 2003 including all the significance to gaming Fred can cram into 90 minutes. There’s also an early special announcement of our show going live on All Games starting Sunday, January 6.