Thursday, August 02, 2007

I beated it.

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Our dedicated fanbase may have discerned that tho' Reviewiera undertakes many a videogaming projekt, most of these campaigns flame out, tire out, are eclipsed by the new kid on the block, get boring, cease to be rewarding1, get frustrating, require too much MU, seem awesome at 1st but then end up sucking. And so forth.

Personally, my ratio of games completed-to-not-completed isn't too bad due to a sterling PlayStation service record2. Since those halycon days of leveling, alcoholism, & leveling, things are less productive. I've beated Advance Wars II & Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation.

And that's it.

Pokemon:FireRed? Got bored, got interested again, got bored again at Pokemon Mansion, or whatever. Still pissed I can't catch a Scyther.

Drilldozer? Love the way it looks, love the way it plays. Somehow always end up buying something else...

Much beloved Astroboy? Got really really far, like to the brink of victory, & got burned out on the 3rd or 4th consecutive sub-final-boss fight in a row.

And it was after this burnout I decided I dearly wanted to sink my GBA SP teeth into a JRPG level-fest. For sentimental reasons related to the never-finished-on-the-PlayStation Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, I was gravitated towards Lunar Legend, a GBA port-thing of the original Lunar: Silver Star, originally for the Sega CD.

Lunar's got the combat system, sorta, that I remember from Lunar 2. The hallmarks of the Lunar series (in my mind) are strong & frequent voice acting, & well-drawn & frequent anime-style cut-scenes. The anime scenes make for nice stillscreen asides in the game, tho' sometimes these seem a bit a silly. The voice acting, of course, is gone, &, sadly, the script has not picked up the slack. There's 7 playable characters but they're pretty predictable. I mean, christ, Taisen has like 3 times that many playable characters but at least they make me chuckle.3

Aside from these, admittedly, matters of taste, there are some major gameplay faults.4
1. You cannot "free-roam" the world map. You can only take "roads" from set point to set point. In other words, outside of dungeons, there are no random encounters. I believe that a prime tenet of JRPGs & rpgs in general is the ability to leave of the confines of city & town & wander hither & thither.

2. This may be more of glitch than a flaw. If you port something to a portable system like the GBA, you have to add an on-the-fly save option so that when you have to get off the bus or your boss is going to be coming by or whatever you can just save, shut down, & go back to the boring world for a bit, until later. Lunar has this, but when you do so & then turn it back on, you continue where you left off w/ all yr HP & MP recharged. I'll admit, its kinda sweet to do every dungeon in ONE FUCKING TRY but it kinda takes the challenge out of it.
So yeah, I beated it. The reward was I could put the game away knowing I NEVER HAVE TO TURN IT ON AGAIN, not that it was that bad, just nice to not have it nagging me like those other games.5

That, & that now I get to play Taisen2.6

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-d.d.

1 Stimulation of the brain's reward center being, in my interpretation of ludology, the primary appeal of video games. 'Course, different games reward you in different ways.
2 Fat suggested a theme months ago where one lists every game, going back to the dawn of time, one has beaten DEFEATED. Hence I end up the CGA-graphics Afrika Korps strategy game or maybe Duck Tales on a rented NES. Not including that kind of stuff, the graves of defeated PS games read as follows:
Final Fantasy 7-9. Legend of the Dragoon. Siphon Filter 1-3. SuikodenII. Thousand Arms. Xenogears. Front Mission 3. Legend of Mana. Parasite Eve 1-2. Dino Crisis 2. And whatever the last edition of NBALive on the PlayStation was. Games never finished (not including stuff I never liked so never really tried): the 1st DinoCrisis. Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV: Wall of Fire (which is FUCKING AWESOME!!! The only reason I can't beat it is my generals die of OLD AGE!!). Bushido Blade II. Lunar Legend II: Eternal Blue (lot of regret, there).
3 Excellen, you fucking tease...
4 In Phantasy Star II, for example, you barely see the playable characters' faces, much less get to know what they're talking about, what their hopes & dreams are, etc. But I LOVE that game b/c the RPG play element is strong.
5 Looking at you Shenmue, Space Channel 5, Jet Grind Radio ( I swear, I'm really close to the end in this one!! SWEAR!!!), Phantasy Star II (cart battery probs), Astroboy, Drilldozer, Pokemon, uh, probably others.
6 That Atlus logo came up the 1st time in Taisen2, a solitary tear marched down my chiseled cheek...

11 Comments + Unabashed Criticism:

Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Wow. Again, you have anticipated exactly where I wanted to take this conversaion. Think on the following three items:
(1) Tinzeroes' Theorem:
Different games stimulate the reward center in different ways.
(2) Fat's Formula:
In a given game, the pleasure offered by story and the pleasure offered by play systems tend to exist in inverse proportion.
(3) We finish dang little of what we start.

The reasons related to (1) & (2) underlying those abandonations should prove interesting, if only we can tease them all out. But that's not what I want to babble about to-night.

For the moment, I simply want to outline what I've managed to finish since the resurgence of the hobby. W/ 1 last digression: yr ratio of finished-to-unfinished at the moment looks like 3:9. Which ain't actually all that bad. Okay. What have I finished?

Def Jam: Vendetta*
X-Men: Next Dimension*
NHL03
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Final Fantasy IV
Astro Boy
Riviera
Iridion II
Meteos*
Ossu! Tatake! Ouendan! (tho' only on easy)
Metroid Prime: Pinball
Soul Calibur*
Gunpey*
Hotel Dusk
Karous (tho' only on easy)*
Contact

That's 16. Out of well over 100 games I can count from where I sit. Of those, 6 were fighting or puzzle games, where a campaign can be burnt thru' in well under a half-hour. Then there's the pure arcade experiences: what would it mean to "beat" Crazy Taxi? The some other stuff--how would you "beat" Nintendogs? Animal Crossing? (All three soaked up massive time in the past couple yers.)

Anyways.

-F

3:41 AM  
Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

On the run here but some quick thoughts.

re: Fat's Formula.
Game mechanics & game story tend to be inverse? I'd agree w/ that, sorta, tho' I think that's mostly the "different games" thing at play. 'Story Modes' in fighting games tend to suck, & controls in RPGs or puzzle games usually involve menus rather than button coordination. Reward center variation, I think, tends along the lines of (forgive me for using this analogy, but I think its really appropriate) anticipation-fulfillment in spectator sports. For example, sport expert-types like to say the reason soccer is not popular in the U.S. is basically that Americans don't know how to enjoy the anticipation (or tease, if you will) of a goal, being used to the rapid satisfaction (& high point totals) of, say, basketball.

I'm 3 for 12 in modern times. W/ my PlayStation record I jump to, like, 19-15 or something.

that is all

8:26 AM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Also on the run, but don't get it twisted! Neither of us could say with a straight face that our(J)RPG time is driven by the stories.

The play there, menu-driven though it be, is the satisfying, compelling part. I mean, every JRPG player is driven nuts by random battles when they're triggered every four fucking steps, but it's all that menu-time that keeps me coming back! (I include the equipment-managing, crafting, etc. in this "play" component; another "play" component would be exploration/puzzles...)

(As I think about this, I realize why it's always annoyed the piss out of me when people decry the genre as "linear"--the stories are pretty linear, sure, but the way you play the game is nigh-on sandboxy, in the freedom you have. Hell, we've all at least fantasized about fielding an all-white-mage squad...)

A couple other explorations of the Formula.

Take flying shooters. And, to a lesser extent, fighting games. These are puzzle-game-like, in that they're pure, polished, play experiences. Sports games, too, yeah?

But! These games offer their full satisfaction payload only when they're given a sliver of story!

A fighting game is only fun when I beat somebody. If it's a pal, the story element involves our history of competition and collaboration, etc. If I'm just playing the computer, though, every time I pick up the controller is an unsatisfying failure...unless I beat the game.

Sports games, same way. Unless I'm playing somebody, I've less than zero interest in bashing out a random game of hockey, basketball. Unless that game is part of a season sim...

Flying shooters: like fighting games, unless I clear the game, I feel seriously unsatisfied.

Anyways.

Also, I finished:
Final Fantasy
Ultimate M.U.S.C.L.E. Legends versus New Generation

Failed memory=part of writing drunk.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

The current list of completions:

Def Jam: Vendetta (GCN)
X-Men: Next Dimension (GCN)
NHL03 (GCN)
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA)
Final Fantasy IV (GBA)
Astro Boy (GBA)
Riviera (GBA)
Iridion II (GBA)
Final Fantasy I (GBA)
Meteos (DS)
Ultimate M.U.S.C.L.E.: Legends vs. New Generation (GCN)
Ossu! Tatake! Ouendan! (DS)
Metroid Prime: Pinball (DS)
Soul Calibur (DC)
Gunpey (DS)
Hotel Dusk (DS)
Karous (DC)
Contact (DS)
Star Trek: Tactical Assault (DS)
Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (DS)

5:42 AM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Def Jam: Vendetta (GCN)
X-Men: Next Dimension (GCN)
NHL03 (GCN)
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA)
Final Fantasy IV (GBA)
Astro Boy (GBA)
Riviera (GBA)
Iridion II (GBA)
Final Fantasy I (GBA)
Meteos (DS)
Ultimate M.U.S.C.L.E.: Legends vs. New Generation (GCN)
Ossu! Tatake! Ouendan! (DS)
Metroid Prime: Pinball (DS)
Soul Calibur (DC)
Gunpey (DS)
Hotel Dusk (DS)
Karous (DC)
Contact (DS)
Star Trek: Tactical Assault (DS)
Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (DS)
Ontamarama (DS)

7:28 PM  
Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

Beated it list so far.

Duck Tales (nes)
Super Metroid (snes)
Final Fantasy VII (psx)
Final Fantasy VIII (psx)
Syphon Filter 2 (psx)
Parasite Eve (psx)
Syphon Filter (psx)
Xenogears (psx)
Thousand Arms (psx)
Suikoden II (psx)
Parasite Eve 2 (psx)
Dino Crisis 2 (psx)
Front Mission 3 (psx)
Vagrant Story (psx)
Final Fantasy IX (psx)
Syphon Filter 3 (psx)
Legend of Mana (psx)
Advance Wars 2 (gba)
Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation (gba)
Lunar Legend (gba)
Seaman (dc)
Dragon Warrior 1 (gbc)

8:47 AM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Def Jam: Vendetta (GCN)
X-Men: Next Dimension (GCN)
NHL03 (GCN)
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA)
Final Fantasy IV (GBA)
Astro Boy (GBA)
Riviera (GBA)
Iridion II (GBA)
Final Fantasy I (GBA)
Meteos (DS)
Ultimate M.U.S.C.L.E.: Legends vs. New Generation (GCN)
Ossu! Tatake! Ouendan! (DS)
Metroid Prime: Pinball (DS)
Soul Calibur (DC)
Gunpey (DS)
Hotel Dusk (DS)
Karous (DC)
Contact (DS)
Star Trek: Tactical Assault (DS)
Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (DS)
Ontamarama (DS)
Link's Crossbow Training (Wii)
No More Heroes (Wii)

5:35 AM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Def Jam: Vendetta (GCN)
X-Men: Next Dimension (GCN)
NHL03 (GCN)
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA)
Final Fantasy IV (GBA)
Astro Boy (GBA)
Riviera (GBA)
Iridion II (GBA)
Final Fantasy I (GBA)
Meteos (DS)
Ultimate M.U.S.C.L.E.: Legends vs. New Generation (GCN)
Ossu! Tatake! Ouendan! (DS)
Metroid Prime: Pinball (DS)
Soul Calibur (DC)
Gunpey (DS)
Hotel Dusk (DS)
Karous (DC)
Contact (DS)
Star Trek: Tactical Assault (DS)
Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (DS)
Ontamarama (DS)
Link's Crossbow Training (Wii)
No More Heroes (Wii)
Ghost Squad (Wii)

4:36 AM  
Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

Duck Tales (nes)
Super Metroid (snes)
Final Fantasy VII (psx)
Final Fantasy VIII (psx)
Syphon Filter 2 (psx)
Parasite Eve (psx)
Syphon Filter (psx)
Xenogears (psx)
Thousand Arms (psx)
Suikoden II (psx)
Parasite Eve 2 (psx)
Dino Crisis 2 (psx)
Front Mission 3 (psx)
Vagrant Story (psx)
Final Fantasy IX (psx)
Syphon Filter 3 (psx)
Legend of Mana (psx)
Advance Wars 2 (gba)
Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation (gba)
Lunar Legend (gba)
Seaman (dc)
Dragon Warrior 1 (gbc)
Shenmue (dc)

8:17 AM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Hey, should we make a sidebar for these lists? Or a sidebar that's a link to these lists? Or something?

Def Jam: Vendetta (GCN)
X-Men: Next Dimension (GCN)
NHL03 (GCN)
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA)
Final Fantasy IV (GBA)
Astro Boy (GBA)
Riviera (GBA)
Iridion II (GBA)
Final Fantasy I (GBA)
Meteos (DS)
Ultimate M.U.S.C.L.E.: Legends vs. New Generation (GCN)
Ossu! Tatake! Ouendan! (DS)
Metroid Prime: Pinball (DS)
Soul Calibur (DC)
Gunpey (DS)
Hotel Dusk (DS)
Karous (DC)
Contact (DS)
Star Trek: Tactical Assault (DS)
Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (DS)
Ontamarama (DS)
Link's Crossbow Training (Wii)
No More Heroes (Wii)
Ghost Squad (Wii)
Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble (DS)

3:29 PM  
Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

A sidebar for these lists? or links to these lists? Hmm...

Duck Tales (nes)
Super Metroid (snes)
Final Fantasy VII (psx)
Final Fantasy VIII (psx)
Syphon Filter 2 (psx)
Parasite Eve (psx)
Syphon Filter (psx)
Xenogears (psx)
Thousand Arms (psx)
Suikoden II (psx)
Parasite Eve 2 (psx)
Dino Crisis 2 (psx)
Front Mission 3 (psx)
Vagrant Story (psx)
Final Fantasy IX (psx)
Syphon Filter 3 (psx)
Legend of Mana (psx)
Advance Wars 2 (gba)
Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation (gba)
Lunar Legend (gba)
Seaman (dc)
Dragon Warrior 1 (gbc)
Shenmue (dc)
Pokemon: FireRed (gba)
Phantasy Star II (genesis)

3:46 PM  

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