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GredegHeado-san Blog

Super Mario Strikers

Did you like Sega Soccer Slam, a game commonly compared to this one? I didn't.
Did you like NHL Hitz, which was made by Next Level Games? I didn't.
did you expect Super Mario Strikers to be your favourite Gamecube game this year? I didn't.

But it is. It just might be my favourite party game since Smash Bros Melee, a game released pretty much at the Cube's launch. This is a strong statement.

The actual game is just so fun! The items, the tackling, the speed, the electrified walls, Bowser, the super strikes (it takes either a real lapse in defense or a good play involving items to pull this off), just everything combines to make a game that's chaotic and frantic but still favours skill. The little things really put Strikers over the top.

This is the first Mario Sports game where more than one person (up to 4, actually) can play against the computer in the Cup modes. The Custom Battles mode is just incredible. It's a simple round robin, but the setup is so quick and the rules (3 points for a win, 1 point for a Sudden Death loss, 0 for a loss) work perfectly for a party. Just make some teams (one or two people per team), and choose whether you want to play every other team once, or twice. If you have enough teams, a Custom Battle will go long into the night.

But I don't want to go into review mode here. The bottom line is this game is extremely fun, the reviews for it (especially Gamespot's) have not done the game justice, and you/your friends should rent it and play it together and see how you like it.

Next Level Games... you guys are Gods! to what extent did Nintendo help you make this masterpiece of a game? Thank you for saving the Gamecube's... nay, the industry's holiday season (though Guitar Hero didn't do a bad job doing that either).

Oh right, buy Guitar Hero. Trust me on that.

Dear Konami,

I see that you're bringing Beatmania to the US. Let me keep this quick and simple:
  • Do not screw up the controller
  • Do not screw up the songs
  • Do not screw up the graphics
This is pretty easy for you to do because all you'd have to do it take the latest Japanese game, replace songs you can't get licenses for with in-house songs from older mixes, translate into English, and ship a bunch of your good Beatmania controllers over here. But you'll probably end up putting in more effort than neccessary and destroying the whole game like you did DDR Extreme US. I'm here to say "don't".

Just remember: anyone will step around on a dance pad and have fun. The Beatmania audience will be mostly gamers (and hardcore ones at that), so make the game to reflect that. Don't strip out hard songs. Don't add in US covers that would be boring in Beatmania. Don't make US mixes with half as many songs as the Japan mixes and charge the same amount of money. Don't say "I don't think most Americans will like Memories so we'll just remove it last minute, even though it's free for us to use, but we'll keep the song embedded in the game, tricking the game into thinking that Memories is playable, even though it isn't, making it impossible to master the game".

(Don't screw it up).

Odds and Ends

E3's coming up soon. I like E3, though I don't know how many surprises are coming up this time around, despite the oncoming consoles. We know lots about the XBox 360 already, Nintendo said they'll be sparse on Revolution details, and the PS3 is just the PS3 in my opinion. Similarily, I can't bring myself to be shocked as Metal Gear Solid 4 and Mario Party 7 are announced. On the flip side, E3 usually delivers something really cool, so I'm still excited :D

I love Microsoft's mention that Halo 3 will release at the same time as the PS3 in a "perfect" plan to disrupt PS3 sales. What are they thinking? That Halo 3 is up on a hill ready to snipe the PS3 as it comes by? Is one single person less likely to buy a PS3 because Halo 3 is released at the same time, as opposed to, say, a month earlier? I can see MS's profile of the average consumer now: "Ok, I'm off to buy the new PS3 as it launches *goes to store* holy @#$%, Halo 3 has arrived! Well, might as well change my $400 investment on a whim and buy the XBox 360 + Halo 3 bundle instead". Right.

No one is really following this, but Konami has filed a lawsuit against Roxor for making a better dancing game that's cutting into their sales. Ok, that's not the exact reason and "better" is an opinion, but this lawsuit has the power to change the whole landscape of US dancing games. Luckily, it is unlikely that this will interfere with the PS2 release of In The Groove. If you don't know what I'm talking about and don't play DDR, then nothing to see here, please move along.

Finally, let's talk about prices in the next generation: it's been rumoured that future consoles will cost a lot more than past generations, possibly $500 US (!). Are they really chargin this much for the base console? Similarily: $70 to $90 US for games? I sure hope this is some rampant speculation; I'm not buying any console/games with these prices, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. To me, two of the big three using such pricing schemes is a surefire way to get the other one at the top of the consoles wars.

See you next time!

Make Up Your Mind, Gamespot

I made this post and decided to post it the ol' journal since, IMO, it's a pretty big discrepency.

Mario Party Advance Review:

"The game's multiplayer features ... aren't organized in a sensible manner. The dozen true
multiplayer games, which require a link cable, are stand-alone options
that aren't included as part of an overarching tournament mode."

The Best and Worst of 2002, Best Party Game on GameCube:

However, one thing that gives Super Monkey Ball
2 the edge is the pacing of its multiplayer games. While Mario Party 4
requires a bit of a time investment from the group, a satisfying round
of monkey fight can be done in minutes"

I'd also like to point out that Super Monkey Ball 2 has, like Mario Party Advance, a dozen true multiplayer minigames.

So, Gamespot, what's better, having games seperate or part of a tournament? And wouldn't a portable game be better suited for small time investments than a home console game? Apparantly their reviews go a little further than "colouring facts", more like totally changing their opinions and reviewing games accordingly.

Sorry Gamespot, my memory is just too damn good when it comes to worthless stuff like game reviews and Simpsons quotes.

GOTY 2005! a

I am deeply impressed with this web game. It's called Stick Avalanche 2 and you should play it right now. Some video game producers spend millions on making games with fancy graphics and careful styling toward their "young adult" demographic, and then Danny Miller comes along and delivers what gamers want (and by gamers, I mean at least me).

Ok, it's not a full game, but I'd rather play this than a round of NBA Street, at least when no one else is around to play with. This game is so addictive, and actually has a high score database that works... it's terribly impressive. If it was a bonus game in a bigger game, I'd say "bravo" to the company that made it!

Shouts to Danny for doing this for free (well, plus donations). Big companies could learn a lesson here.

Note: the small "a" was added because Gamespot stops you from writing in all caps in your own personal journal.

Ken Lobb can stuff it.

Gamespot just had a Q&A with Ken Lobb. Most of it is the general PR stuff you're likely to see in any Q&A ("This new game is going be great", "I think we are doing well".), but there's one passage that struck my eye:

"I think the primary way the industry has changed is that bigger more and aggressive games that require teams of 30 to 150 have gone from "Okay that's one in 100 games" (let's say a game like Shenmue several years ago) to now most games. You basically can't compete in the market unless you're working with a team that's 50 plus."

This is why, in my humble opinion, Ken Lobb is a moron, or at least his brain was somehow taken over by an alien force for about half a minute, as these words came out of his mouth.

All right, so how do you see games? Personally I don't see them as "art", but say you did. How many great works of art we made by 50, 20, or even 2 people? Not many.

Anyway, on to the main arguments for my thesis "Ken Lobb is a moron". Firstly, how about the web games out there that people have spent tons of time playing. I won't get into details, but you've probably enjoyed at least one shareware or flash game in your life, and if you haven't, find my "Flash Games" journal entry. No, they're not big games, but still, for one person who isn't doing it for money, quite a start. And let's not forget mods. Sweet, precious mods that are usually made by small groups and are sometimes more popular than the game itself.

Secondly, how about Ikaruga and Alien Homind? Both have scored over 8.0 here at Gamespot, and both were made primarily by less than half a dozen people. So why does it take 50 people to make a game? Because these big, bloated, corporations believe that more people working on something = a better game. But it's all lies, it results in an awkward disjointed game.

Let's look at Halo 2. Assuming they have the source code, couldn't half a dozen people make that? Hear me out; it's a good game, but it took 35 months to make this thing. Let's see how 6 people would do:

Let's say 2 people work on the multiplayer level design. Bungie probably spent millions of dollars making their painstakingly detailed levels, too bad most people would rather play Coagulation. Give 2 level designers 35 months, and they could make lots of actual fun levels, with simple designs (yet different in their own unique way). In this respect, two people could probably do a better job.

Graphics-wise, it wouldn't be the same, but close. We'll put 2 people in charge of graphics. Heck, the original Arcade version Ikaruga only had one (at least according to Game Spy), you'd think you could make some decent graphics with two. As for storyline, I'd say we should dedicate, let's say around zero people for that effort. Honestly, one of the graphics designers could pull out a better storyline than Halo 2's "ending coming soon" stuff. Don't you agree?

Since Halo 2 is quite similar to Halo 1 in gameplay terms, we'll put one person on gameplay programming. I'll be generous and say it'll take take two weeks to make the hijacking feature, and, say, a month for duel wielding (honestly, I don't think it'd take that long with proper knowledge of the source code... I'm being generous). With the other 33 and a half months, the game programmer could surely make the programming for the vehicles and weapons found in Halo 2.... honestly, I can't see that being horrendously difficult.

The last person... uh, sound? 35 months, one song in two months, heck, they aren't even songs, they're remixes. I'll admit, the instruments were pretty good in Halo 2, but they lost to Katamari Damacy (which, I must say, had very good music; good choice, Gamespot). Don't know if Halo 2 had live musicians or anything like that, but I'm sure one could make pretty good digital samples of those intruments. There's some good stuff going on at, and they're not even being paid!

In conclusion, Halo 2 could be made by 6 people. I mean, I hate Ken Lobb.

Disclaimer: Ken Lobb is probably not a moron, but I'm passionate about this issue, and it's an ignorant thing for him to say.


Hello. My name is Greg. And I'm a DDRaholic, or DDRholic, er... anyway, I play it a lot. A lot. I've dedicated countless time and money into this habit. I bought a console (the PS2) essentially for the series, bought a Redoctane Ignition, and when that broke, bought a Cobalt Flux. (It's coming to my doorstep soon!) I got hooked at it in the arcade, where I've plunked down plenty of quarters.

My otherwise out-of-shape body has impressive lower-leg muscles. I can take down any 9-footer in Singles and select 10-footers, as well as a good array of Doubles songs (anything 8 feet or below). I'll play Stepmania or Flash Flash Revolution sometimes, but they're not quite as fun. I keep a fairly close eye on DDR updates. I was somewhat dissapointed by DDR Extreme USA's Hands and Feet mode but maintain the notion that it was good. I fear that the upcoming Gamecube game "DDR With Mario" will be too easy. Does it look like I play the series enough yet?

I've played the DDR series much more than any other series for this generation. I loved Super Smash Bros. Melee, Paper Mario 2, et al, but nothing beats the rythmic action of a round of DDR. Why an I saying this? Because I can. I urge people to give it a chance and play a few rounds at any nearby arcades. It really is a lot of fun (at least for select people), and Konami should put some more attention on it.

This Just in: Gamespot is watered down.

Gamespot just unleashed their Genre Award for the year. I've read through a good chunk of it, and the RPG awards caught my eye. I wouldn't have been happy to see Paper Mario: The 1000 Year Door lose, but it didn't. It's the winner. That being said, I'm quite amused by this line:

"Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is by no means Mario's first appearance in a role-playing game, but it's certainly one of his best."

Ok, let's examine the situation; Mario has been in 4 RPGs. If you're going to make a stance, don't use a term like "one of the best" when there are only 4 items to choose from. It a pretty unsubstantial claim to make.

At the same time, thanks for making the right claim for RPG of the year. There was a clear winner and you chose rightly, in my opinion of course. Next time, don't use the term "one of the best" unless the title is competing against more than 3 other titles. Thank you.

Part 2:

Here's a gem of a quote in a new Star Fox: Assault preview

Those craving some straight-up Star Fox-brand shooting for their GameCube  may find just that in Star Fox: Assault.

Well, I certainly hope so.

I know this isn't horribly important, but it removes a lot of the concreteness of the topic, and just adds more for the reader to read. To quote George Orwell: "If a word can be ommited, always omit it". I would have gone with something short and to the point like "Star Fox: Assault will bring the Star-fox brand shooting that the series in known to to the GameCube". Something like that. I'm tired.

That's not a puzzle game.

What do Warioware, Katamari Damacy, and Feel The Magic all have in common? Gamespot puts them in the Puzzle genre. None of these games have anything to do with puzzles. Up to a while ago, rythm games like Amplitude and DDR were also called puzzle games (now they get their own genre. DDR is classified as a Rythm --> Music game. As opposed to a rythm game that doesn't have music? Yeah I'm used to playing rythm games where they just play a metronome in the background.) They aren't anything like traditional puzzle games and they certainly don't fit in with the definition of puzzle:

1 : to offer or represent to (as a person) a problem difficult to solve or a situation difficult to resolve : challenge mentally; also : to exert (as oneself) over such a problem or situation puzzled their wits to find a solution>
3 : to solve with difficulty or ingenuity <puzzle out an answer to a riddle>

I guess the games "challenge mentally", but so does every game (except sports games). WarioWare GBA is best described as a fast-paced action game, WarioWare GC is more of a party game, and Katamari Damacy is.. well, sort of a platform game, except you can't jump which takes most of the platforming out of it, but it's not a "puzzle" that is "difficult to solve". There are tons of adventure games that have elements more difficult to solve than Katamari Damacy.

If I were to guess, this is how Gamespot determines whether or not a game is a puzzle game:
  • Surrealist graphics
  • Minimalist storyline
  • At least somewhat innovative gameplay
  • OR it doesn't fit well with other genres
Here's where it gets interesting. Space Invaders for the Playstation. I rented this (it wasn't great, but still like a 5.0 at least, and pretty far removed from the original), and noticed that is much more of a puzzle game than Warioware and Damacy combined. There were lots of different types of ships, and if you destroy enough of the same colour in a row you get a super shot. you had to actually think to figure out what order it was best to shoot these aliens. Gerstmann even said it gives the game a puzzle like feel, but added that it feels like a puzzle game only "at times" because it's based on Space Invaders so it MUST be a shooter. Katamari Damacy has nothing to do with figuring stuff out (unless you find it difficult to run into object smaller than you), but since it has the three points I mentioned above, it's a puzzle. I'll bet that if the PDA game in Alien Hominid was a standalone game, they'd call that a puzzle game.

In my opinion, there are two types of puzzle games. In the first type, there are fixed levels that were made by the designers of the game and it is your job to solve them (like Bomberman I guess). I hate that type. The second type, which I like, is the one where there's random stuff (ie Tetris, Puyo Pop), and you have to figure out the best course of action. The second type are puzzle games just because there is usually an optimal placement and you are given a set amount of time to find it (like in Tetris, when you have X amount of time before the piece lands). The reason Tetris is a puzzle game and a racing game isn't is because in a racing game you have to follow a smooth line, not just make one good placement every so often.

It is narrow minded to call a game a "puzzle" game just because it has a style of gameplay you've never played before. Calling action-oriented games like WarioWare "puzzle" games is partly the reason people are scared of them. They don't like a game that's all about taxing the mind finding complex solutions, and if they don't read the review, all they see is "puzzle" in the genre field and move on.

Weather in Canada

Someone who will remain nameless complained (sort of) about weather being in the teens (in Celcius). I instruct all that don't live in Canada to follow these procedures:

  1. Download Firefox. If you still use Internet Explorer, you really need to get this thing. It's a free, fast download, it lets you import stuff from IE, and it's overall much better than IE.
  2. Go to the extensions page and download ForecastFox. You'll probably want to download Tabbrowser Preferences while you're there because it is awesome.
  3. Set your Forecast Location Code to CAXX0043. This is Brampton, Ontario (that's in Canada).
  4. Be horrified as you see the weather in your status bar

  5. Luckily we Canadians have a well-known pasttime of drinking copious amounts of beer, and when we do, the inner warmth and "not caring about pain" feeling you get let's you do superhuman things. I took a 20 minute drunken stroll with my friends one Friday night without a coat at -5C. No problemo. Of course it's cool because you can see your breath (which reminds me of another Canadian Pastime).

    Seriously, unless the temperature is negative in Celcius, you should not be complaining about the cold. On the flip side, I'd say it should be 30-35C before you can claim it is exceptionally hot, but I guess in some places that's a normal temperature...
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