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DeDeDe

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  1. DeDeDe

    Playdate-A new handheld console thingy

    When I write meant gimmick, I meant gimmicks that were products, not products built around a gimmick. A gimmick is not necessarily a bad thing: it's a clever and/or fun idea that entertains you for some time, but not for very long. Nintendo has been really successful in building products around gimmicks, but I wouldn't call either the DS or the Switch a gimmick, personally. (I'd argue that the best games on the systems play to the strengths of the central gimmick behind them, but that's a debate for another time.) I was thinking more along the lines of a Tamagotchi.
  2. DeDeDe

    Playdate-A new handheld console thingy

    I like this a lot. I feel like gimmicks, especially in hardware, have fallen out of favor in the modern video game landscape, and something important was lost in that transition. Looking back at the Game Boy launch 30 years ago, it was sold as a distraction, and the fact that the basic premise was "playing games on the go," that there was a little something inherently gimmicky about it. Accordingly, it was sold at a lower price (half of what a Switch costs, adjusting for inflation). Other handhelds like the WonderSwan, or peripherals such as Samba de Amigo's maracas built on that gimmicky aspect, but it's not where the industry was heading, so this is a welcome surprise. On the other hand, I can't help but feel that the Playdate will end up becoming a one-shot collector's item--a tidy success for Panic and the game developers, beloved by everyone who bought it, but with only two seasons' worth of content. I'll admit that I'm equally as interested in seeing what games will be on the platform as the possibility of using it as a new Game Boy. The lack of a backlight is puzzling as well.
  3. When I decided to post my thoughts on the Mastsr System version, I wasn’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition!... Anyway, horses for courses and all that. of course. I've also posted my thoughts on the Mega Drive version above. I don't consider either game to be a masterpiece. Maybe I should've chosen my words more carefully, but in the end I felt that the SMS game was simply more interesting. Addressing the points you've raised: - Yes, I feel Mickey's movement is more slippery in the SMS version, but you get used to it--which is more than I can say for Mickey's movement in the MD version, which always feels too slow. - As Sprite Machine put it, the Mega Drive levels are lush. The SMS levels have more variety and better structure, though. - I should've really said "graphically impressive." Although neither game has great bosses, the SMS game's bosses are more interesting. - There are some cheap design decisions in the SMS game, but the MD game is not free of frustrating moments. - I do think that the two-button-press object grabbing mechanism is the game's worst design decision. But it's not too bad in the grand scheme of things. - You get used to it, but grabbing and throwing items can be frustrating, especially in the last two boss battles. Despite all these deficiencies, I still prefer the SMS version. The MD game is relatively pedestrian less substantive in comparison.
  4. I finished the Master System version last night. Despite some doubts that came up as I started playing, I have to concur with other posters here: it's the better game. It's difficult to say whether it's the better experience. Despite its flaws and lack of imagination at times, I think the Mega Drive version has more flair and charm. The Master System version, on the other hand, does quite a lot more with what it has. It has a more adventure-like structure, and feels more complete. In general, it feels as if Sega tried to correct whatever failings the MD version had with this one. Mickey feels different here--his movement is a bit more slippery, but once you get used to it, it feels more right. Levels in general are not as fancy as in the MD version, but they are more complex and more interesting. Bosses are not as impressive, but they're more of a welcome challenge. There is some amazing music there, too. Mickey himself is more interesting as well. It's as if the MD version of Mickey is the Disneyland version, and the MS one the cartoon version--a little more multi-faceted and not as cute. The fact that he is able to hold and throw items throughout the levels really adds to the gameplay. It's a shame that it falters in unexpected ways. Levels get better and better the more you play, but the Dessert Factory just isn't a very good level. (The Clock Tower and the Castle levels are impressive, though.) The constraints of the MS also hurt it a bit, when it respawns not only enemies, but also grabable objects. This comes to the fore in the last two levels, and slightly spoils the great design. The worst offense is how holding objects has been implemented, though. Unlike many other games, Mickey doesn't just grab objects with one button press. You need two: one to grab the object, and one more to lift it in order to throw it. It's not an issue for most of the game, until you get to the last two bosses, where throwing blocks is mandatory in order to succeed. It's not a game-breaker, but it makes the experience more frustrating than it needs to. Despite all this, though, I really enjoyed playing through the MS version, and I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm curious about the 2013 remake now.
  5. Like @Soulstar, this was also the first time for me to play this game. I'd heard about it often back in the day, of course. I never got into the Mega Drive, but Castle of Illusion was cited as one of the top games on the system. I had a vague idea of what it was about, and maybe I'd seen it being played somewhere, but there were so many Disney platformers back then... In any case, I started playing with fresh eyes, and after completing it this past weekend... I'm not very impressed, to be honest. I started with the Master System version, since everyone was hyping it as the better game of the two, but bounced off it quickly. Something just didn't feel right, so I turned to where I should've started, the Mega Drive version. For a 1990 game, it has nice graphics, the music is quite catchy (although I wouldn't say it's very impressive), and the overall design and ideas are quite good. But I'm really struggling to see why you’d call it a masterpiece. Sure, the game has a lot of charm, (I love how Mickey makes the bridge out of the jewels) but it feels under-animated. Mickey is a tad too slow, and his jump mechanics never feel quite right. The levels get better as the game progresses, but nothing really stands out; nothing really shines. The atmosphere reminds me of Ardy Lightfoot on the SNES, but that game is demonstrably better than this. The bosses in Castle of Illusion are especially disappointing. The bouncing attack was done much better on the NES or GB DuckTales. Still, I'm glad I played it. I can't be too harsh on the game, because it does have a lot of charm. It's interesting to see Sega games before Sonic. They have a very different atmosphere to them. Nevertheless, I can't see myself recommending it to anyone nowadays. I'll get into the MS version tonight, and maybe play the 2013 remake as well. Hopefully those are better.
  6. DeDeDe

    The Jazz Thread

    The best way to discover jazz as has been told to me (and this is probably advice that has been passed down) is to make a tree map with Miles Davis at the center. Go through Miles Davis' discography, and listen to the music. As you listen to the music, branch out to the other members of the band he worked with, and listen to the music they were making. Then, branch out to the people they were working with, and listen to the music they were making. Etc, etc. It works well overall, although it has the same weaknesses as a branching tree format, where you might like one artist linked to another artist you don't like, but realistically it's only a hurdle here and there. I love some of Miles Davis' music, although I'm not a big fan of his whole oeuvre (and the person), but it does show you just how entrenched he was in the jazz world. As for Spotify vs Apple Music, I prefer Apple Music, although it depends on who you listen to and how you listen. I almost never listen via playlists, and Spotify is missing a lot of music from artists such as Rudresh Mahanthappa, so Apple Music is better for me. (*At least in Japan, where I live; musicians' discographies on the various streaming services vary by country.)
  7. Dandara is a conceptually interesting Metroidvania game, but it’s somewhat of a Marmite game due to its controls and its core game design. It’s a high concept game with a heap of symbolism and abstract ideas running alongside the seemingly straightforward story. It helps if you familiarize yourself with the history of slavery in Brazil. If you’re into Metroidvania games, it’s worth looking into, although I can’t promise you’ll like it.
  8. DeDeDe

    Photography Equipment & Software Thread

    After getting the new 11-inch iPad Pro last month with the Apple Pencil, I've been considering the idea of moving my photo editing and management from my current set-up (Lightroom Classic + occasional Photoshop on a 27-inch iMac) to my iPad. I probably would've jumped earlier except for the fact that at 5 TB in size, moving is not a trivial decision. (Although I appreciate the fact that not having a bigger library, like wedding photographers do, gives me the freedom to consider this move casually.) With rumors that the new iOS will allow external drive support and cloud storage on Amazon Drive and iCloud, I think it might be feasible, but the only problem left to solve is software. Using the new Lightroom on the iPad has been somewhat deflating. Adobe software in general has an odd rhythm inasmuch as it follows a mountain-like pattern in terms of usability. It starts off not-so-great, then it becomes really good, and then inexplicably it starts getting shit again. I'm seeing it again in Lightroom Classic, which prompted me to start using Lightroom on the iPad. So far, it's been good overall, but I'm waiting for the new Lightroom to get better. Much better. Performance on the iPad Pro (which is faster and more powerful than most computers, etc etc) is a joke. I can't multitask with the app. It crashes when I'm tagging photos every ten photos or so. I can't add presets or batch-edit them. The healing tool is (laughably) made for mouse/touchpad input. (In general, I'd wager healing is better on most other apps right now.) And, naturally, Adobe won't allow you to have any kind of storage outside of their own cloud service. (Even local storage.) Adobe being Adobe, of course. The system that they have works well, I think, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. Plus, apparently there is a rumor that Adobe will double their subscription prices sometime in the near future. So now I'm also trying out a lot of new apps, but nothing fits quite right. Apple Photos is too slow, and I don't want to mix all the photos I take. The new Pixelmator Photo is great, but it lacks cataloging features. Darkroom is also very good, but it lacks healing tools. Etc etc. TL; DR: Photo management. It shouldn't be such a pain, but somehow software has failed it. Apologies for the rant, but I'd be interested to read if other people are having similar problems.
  9. DeDeDe

    Do you ever remember texture maps?

    @Benny Another shaggy rug story.
  10. DeDeDe

    Game Boy & GB Advance Appreciation Thread

    It was my second console as well. I have a lot of fond memories of the Game Boy, but like many other people looking back, it does feel like I didn't pay a lot of attention to it. I was thinking about it yesterday, and what I've come up with is that the novelty and the small sense of the future that playing Tetris on the go faded somewhat quickly, and by 1992 or so it was not quite forgotten, but very overlooked. It had some nice, solid games, but everything around it was much more exciting and shiny. I suppose even Nintendo was not complaining so much, given the fact that every unit sold probably had a very healthy profit margin for them. Back when the SNES mini was announced, there was talk about the possibility of Nintendo releasing a Game Boy mini the following year, and at the time I was skeptical about whether there were enough games worthy of re-releasing. In the past year, though, in large part thanks to Jeremy Parish's Game Boy Works series and his work at Retronauts, I've completely changed my mind. His Switch-like concept is intriguing, but, more importantly, his dream list of games serves as a good list of the best games on the system. (He would rectify the lack of Metroid and Balloon Kid later. Although I would argue that Metroid II doesn't hold up that well these days.) I didn't own many Game Boy games. Tetris and Super Mario Land, of course; Ducktales was amazing. I loved the first TMNT game on the platform, Fall of the Foot Clan, which I ended up misplacing on one of the many adventures I undertook with my brother in tow. Playing it again last month was a slightly shocking experience. It hasn't aged well. But the music has––the Game Boy probably has a lot of my favorite 8-bit music, in large part due to Konami's efforts, and there's something in the MIDI system that the GB uses that literally resonates with me. (The soundtrack to Belmont’s Revenge is absolutely amazing.) It's easy to make a list of the highlights, most of which I owned: Tetris, Wario Land 1&2, Link's Awakening, Kirby's Dream Land 2, Pokémon, Donkey Kong 94. More than any other console, the GB was really the little engine that could. And there is so much more. I've been thinking about how to replay the classics and also play all of those games that I missed the first time around, but what's the best way to do so these days? I own a hacked PSP, but I wonder if playing on the 3DS (via the eshop) is a better experience...
  11. DeDeDe

    The first one is still the best one

    When I started this topic, I expected to find some controversial opinions, but this is all kinds of wrong. I'm not the biggest fan of the New Super Mario Bros. series, but they've gotten better and better with each installment. The first one is undoubtedly the weakest one.
  12. As time has gone by, the view of game sequels has changed. It used to be back in the day that almost all sequels were superior in every way to the games before them. Gradually, this has changed to the point where it's not a given that the sequel will be better, but there is still that sense that everything evolves. For some games, though, I feel that the second game took a step in a direction I didn't agree with, and I still prefer the original that started everything. I'd be interested in reading what games other people might bring up (Super Mario Kart? Bayonetta?), but my choice is Super Smash Bros. (N64) The Smash Bros. series has become a viable, respectable fighting game franchise in its own right, but I feel that something was lost when it retooled everything for Melee and subsequent sequels. The fact that the game relies as much as it does on nostalgia for the characters, arenas, and items plays a part, but not significantly. The huge roster of characters is also not a factor. It's probably just me, but I feel that the feel and atmosphere of the series changed from Melee onwards, and it has lost me. The characters feel different. The fighting system has become much deeper and complex. The frame rate is much better. Sure, I can now see that the original was broken in many ways, but I miss the more primitive, sumo-like feel of the original, slower and more decisive. I also miss the conceit, where it wasn't about figures and trophies, but simply about a child playing with their Nintendo dolls on their desk or bed. Smash Bros. is a series I can respect, but never really enjoy.
  13. DeDeDe

    Edge #331

    It’s... It’s true!!! And used by none other than PG Wodehouse!
  14. DeDeDe

    Currently playing...

    After about 13 hours of playtime, I finally finished Symphony of the Night. It's an odd feeling. I've been living in the world of SOTN for the past month, so to see it come to an end is somewhat sad. After I completed the game for the first time with something like 191% clear percentage, I went back to it for a few more times to get more items (Crissaegrim!) and to get that percentage up to get the true ending, but after all of that, it feels like the end of an amazing journey. Despite what how it has been portrayed, I felt like the inverted section chapter of the game was, due to Alucard's abilities, the last quarter of the game. It masterfully hides it in the beginning with a sense of dread and the fear of the known unknown when you first teleport to the inverted castle, which in turn made it longer than I'd expected to get used to the new-but-familiar castle. But the game really opens when I beat the second boss and I realized that the whole castle was open to me. Comparing notes with a few walkthroughs after I beat the game, I now realize that I unwittingly chose one of the harder routes to go through the castle. I also made a mistake in the first castle, making some bosses much more difficult than they should have been, but this was exacerbated in the boss fight with Galamoth, which I faced with basically nothing to shield me from electricity attacks. That's the appeal of SOTN, however: there are a lot of rough edges and places that are unbalanced, and some of them, such as Crissaegrim or the Shield Rod+Alucard Shield can legitimately spoil the game. But it's all because of the open nature of the game, and it feels like everyone who plays through the game plays their own unique experience. What an amazing, amazing game.
  15. DeDeDe

    Currently playing...

    Playing Symphony of the Night for the first time, on the Vita. I've actually been on a Metroidvania kick over the past three months or so, and after listening to a few podcasts about the history of the sub-genre, I thought I'd go back to its non-Super Metroid origins. A few thoughts: I'm surprised at how open and non-linear the game world is. Super Metroid creates the wonderful illusion that you're exploring an open world, but, unless you know what you're doing, it can be quite linear. This is not really the case with SOTN where, after the initial two hours, you're left to your own devices. The non-linear nature, along with the clunky menus, might have worked against the game, though; I can see a case where someone would have flown up towards the final boss and finished the game without knowing about the second half of the game. I had actually bought the soundtrack to this game about ten years ago, and, although the element of surprise is gone, the music itself hasn't aged at all. Metroidvania games usually go for an atmospheric approach, but SOTN is defiantly different. ... Except for the song over the credits. I wonder if it was put there as a joke by the composer. More than other Metroidvania games I've played, SOTN makes almost physical the sense of progression in the game. By the time you get the bat transformation ability, your approach to the castle has changed completely, and the sense of freedom you get by how smoothly you traipse through the castle surprised me. I haven't played any Castlevania game post-SOTN, so I didn't know what to expect. Playing the game twenty-two years after its initial release, I've been spoiled on a few things, but it's been an amazing experience so far. The only thing that annoyed me in the beginning was the aspect ratio of the game. I suspect the PSN (PSX) version has the wrong display ratio set as default. It squashes the frame into sort-of widescreen when it should be closer to 4:3. Changing the ratio is trivial, but it's something to keep in mind.
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