Ok, so E3 has been a pretty big deal this year with 2 new systems being shown off and everyone’s bashing Microsoft and arguing which system they’re gonna get, Xbox or Playstation. Well screw all that. Nintendo wins E3 as far as I’m concerned. Simple mathematical formula: Smash Bros. + Mega Man = Win. There it is, it’s science. All other arguments are invalid. I can almost, ALMOST, forgive Capcom for cancelling Mega Man Legends III….almost….
Naruto: Powerful Shippuden, the most recent release in the franchise, exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS, recently suffered a dose of poor proofreading. I noticed this about two weeks ago when the game came out and it made me chuckle. Figured I would share it with the world. It’s not like it’s an A+ title or anything, so it’s likely this will get missed by many people in the stores, so here it is. In case you can’t figure it out from the picture, NARUTO is spelled NARTUO on the spine of the game case. The funniest part about this is that on the coming soon artwork stores displayed on shelves, it was spelled correctly. So where, in between marketing and production, did this go wrong? Seems intentional to me.
So I just got my Wii U and bought the Pro Controller with it, because to play real games you need a real controller; Not that goofy remote and nunchuck nonsense. Not only does the controller feel completely natural to hold, but each one also comes with its own charge cable, – the PS3 Dual Shock controllers don’t – the d-pad is excellent, as it should be considering that technology was perfected over 25 years ago. (still don’t understand how Xbox screwed that one up), AND it has an unheard of 80 hour battery life!
I’ve wanted to do this post forever now, since before I even started this blog. However, I don’t live in NY anymore so it’s not like I could just go see Jim in the span of one afternoon, and even if I could, it took a lot of coercion to get him to sit in front of a camera.
You may remember awhile back I posted about Jim’s predictions on Nintendo’s new console – Nintendo’s Real Video Game System Coming Back At You Suck it. This was of course a joke based on the parody of him that arose from a letter he wrote to Nintendo Power’s Player’s Pulse, which premiered in the Dec 1991 issue. Sometime back in 2006 it was brought to his attention that this letter had caught some underground admiration. Joystiq did a small piece on him, referring to Jim as a modern-day Nostradamus. Later we learned that Sore Thumbs, a manga-style web comic, had introduced Jimmy Peterford as a character in their story who had psychic powers. Yet, to this day, the actual Jim Peterford remains unnoticed and uncredited.
I always found it funny that they couldn’t have gotten Jimmy Peterford more wrong. Fictional Jimmy Peterford is a skinny, green haired guy whereas the real Jim shaves his head and has a body builder’s physique. I’d also like to note that I actually would pass more for the fictional Jimmy Peterford, as I’ve actually had green hair in the past, and even a mohawk, which I believe his doppleganger had.
Jim also works in the video game industry, but I won’t say to what degree because I don’t want to incriminate him. Despite his career path, he definitely has no real direct power over the future of Nintendo, though I’m sure he wishes he did.
Below is a short interview I conducted with Jim in a room he fashioned out of a derelict cistern, buried deep under Syosset, where he plans to erupt a magma geyser (not necessarily a volcano) and destroy much of the surrounding neighborhood.
For those of you who doubt that this is indeed the same Jimmy Peterford that wrote into Nintendo Power, this is the best proof I can offer you.
NYS driver’s license, not fake, not doctored. Born in 1978, which would put him at just the right age for a child of the Super Nintendo era. His parents still keep a copy of that issue that their Jimmy wrote to.
There are many that feel that the only true RPGs are the classic, turn based, sprite infused, Japanese style RPGs. Now J-RPG is almost a dirty word since a vast majority of them that come out of Japan are piss-poor, terrible, games. Sorry, but it’s true. Star Ocean: The Last Hope doesn’t hold a candle to Mass Effect. But as much as I do love Mass Effect, it’s just not the RPG I want. It’s a great game, but I would never put it at the top of my favorite “RPG” list. Lost Odyssey was a good shot, but what’s that, 1 game? 1 good true RPG for an entire console generation. One answer to this problem has been RPG Maker.
RPG Maker has been around for quite awhile now and I just wanted to introduce everyone to the library of community built games out there. I’m not talking about the RPG Maker games that were available for PS1 and PS2. Those were cool ideas, but since the internet wasn’t readily available to those systems, those programs could never reach their true potential since you couldn’t really share this information with a widespread audience.
I was first introduced to RPG Maker with RPG Maker 2000. This fantastic program made it very easy to create your own 16 bit RPG. It came with a ton of preset tiles, characters, sprites, sound effects, music, etc. and a bunch of tools to help you create your own. Plus fan made websites began sprouting up with full games they made you could download for free, or extra tools or tips you could use to build your own game. RPG Maker VX is the current iteration of the series, which is no longer free unfortunately. Actually, I’m not sure if RPGM2k was ever free, I just remember i didn’t pay for it. Anyway, if you want to get the older version, it’s still available and easy to find. If you want the most recent version, you can get it from the official RPG MAKER website. They do at least give you a trial period if you just want to check it out.
All that said, here’s a list of games I feel are most notable:
First Fantasy: Endless Nova
This is the game that introduced me to RPG Maker. I don’t remember the specifics, but I know I was doing a search for Final Fantasy stuff and I stumbled across this. “What’s this?!” I exclaimed, and frantically located where I could download both the game and the program to run it. Endless Nova really has nothing to do with the franchise, other than that its creator thought the game they were making was worthy of sharing the Final Fantasy title. Honestly, it’s a pretty damn good game that could easily follow in the footsteps of its SNES brethren. It is of course much shorter, has some spelling errors, and doesn’t have the privilege of being touched by Nobuo Uematsu. However, the intro screen has a midi version of the Serial Experiments Lain theme song. Not that I’d compare that to Uematsu. Abandonia everything you need to play it HERE.
Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa
Yes, this is the title and yes, the game is as awesome as the title. By far my favorite on this list. First, a quick lesson; Gaiden translates into english as “tale” or “side-story”, usually used when a story has a spin-off from its original but not necessarily a sequel. For example, Joanie Loves Chachi, a spin-off from Happy Days, could alternatively be called Happy Days Gaiden. Also, saying the word as “GAY-dun” is wrong. The appropriate pronunciation is “GUY-den”, so please correct yourself. If it sounds like I’m being pushy, I am. We Americans have been saying Ninja Gaiden wrong for over 20 years now. It’s time to make a change. But I digress… Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden follows the story of Charles Barkley and his son, Hoopz, years after basketball has been outlawed due to the catastrophic Chaos Dunk, a “jam so powerful its mere existence threatens the balance of chaos and order”. His former fellow pro B-baller, Michael Jordan, is now part of B-Ball Removal Department, and where they were once rivals on the court, their rivalry now threatens the life of Charles and his son.
If this all sounds insane, that’s because it is… INSANELY AWESOME! Don’t let the ridiculous premise fool you. It’s not all just jokes and silliness. this is a very well put together game. Tales of Games Studios is responsible for this instant classic and it’s obtainable HERE
The following can all be obtained from the RPG Maker VX Community:
Unlike the rest of the games mentioned today, this one isn’t free. It’s not too expensive, only $14.99, but still a bit much for an indie game (there is a free trial at least). Why isn’t this one free you ask? You’ll see once you play it. The level of production that went into this game far exceeds any others and they used way more than the tools that are supplied with the program. All of the main characters are created from scratch. It has a well written storyline set in a Steampunk universe. I think this game could have easily been a console original.
A Japanese only Square Enix production for the Super Famicom. Radical Dreamers was a side story for Chrono Trigger and served as the inspiration for Chrono Cross. Much of the music and characters featured in Radical Dreamers appear in Chrono Cross. Although there was never an official English release, translated roms are available. So if there’s a translated rom for it, then why did someone make a version with RPG Maker? That’s because it’s a text based game that kind of reads like a choose your own adventure book. The goal of this project is to capture the feel of a true Chrono Trigger sequel as much as possible. It’s too bad that it’s never been completed. Or if it has, then I am painfully unaware and somebody, PLEASE, send me in the direction where I can find it.
These are notable enough for at least a quick mention:
Tales of the Drunken Paladin – This is your classic 16 bit, turn based, fantasy RPG, only it’s not. It plays like one and looks like one, but doesn’t have the sensibility of one. Absurd character names, contemporary dialogue with a silly tone, and a story where the main character is a cross between Joxer from Xena and Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. That may not be entirely accurate, he’s a better fighter than Joxer.
Kingdom Maker - Interesting program used to make something apart from an RPG. Part tower defense, part city builder. I don’t know if this game is technically complete or not though, but it seemed kind of bland. Liked the concept though.
Ghostbusters – Too awesome not to check out. The developer used a lot of art from the comic books and did a good job of doctoring the sprites. Battles are fought Dragon Quest style.
The Silmarillion – Nirnaeth Arnoeidad – As far as I know, there has never been a game about The Silmarillion. As a Lord of the Rings fan, I was very curious about this one. I’ve never read The Silmarillion in its entirety so I really don’t know how accurate the game is. It’s an interesting story though if you’re a fan. Lots of backstory about what happened many, MANY years before Sauron became the all powerful dark lord. Only downside of this game is that the backgrounds are extremely bland and makes it feel incomplete.
Valhalla – A card battle game. Wasn’t really my cup o’ tea, but it was interesting to see someone make a card game out of an RPG mechanic.
I too had my own RPG years ago,simply titled, Mr. T’s Adventure. You played as Mr. T and one morning you awaken to find that your gold chains have been stolen by some fiend. Mr. T roars in anger, chugs a whole carton of milk and throws it on the floor shattering it (yes, shattered a carton, for Mr. T is such a man of brute force, and his rage so furious, that he can shatter cartons), gets in his van and then the adventure begins. Months into its creation, my computer broke down and I was unable to recover the data from my hard drive. I did have back up files, but somehow they had become corrupt. I guess the universe didn’t want this game to exist. I was too heartbroken to ever remake it, thus this adventure never came to fruition.
If you still have a NES console chances are it’s main fear, as it sits alone in the darkest recesses of your basement collecting dust, is that the next time it sees daylight will be at a garage sale, being offered for a sum so low that a desperate hooker would be insulted. Though the NES glory days may be gone, there is no reason to relegate this once mighty titan to just a fond memory. Through an underground community of dedicated fans, 8 bit games have never truly died. Fan made games, and independently produced titles have been in production for years behind the curtains. The most notable game to crawl its way out of obscurity would of course be Battle Kid: The Fortress of Peril. This is not a reproduction or a run of a game that was never officially licensed, but a brand new homebrew IP designed and produced specifically for use on the NES. Do not confuse this for how we got Mega Man 9 & 10 as downloadable titles for the Wii, PS3, and Xbox; Battle Kid comes in official cartridge format.
Battle Kid plays like the bastard child of Mega Man and I Wanna be the Guy. For those of you who haven’t heard of or played I Wanna be the Guy, know that playing it is more frustratingly painful than having a goat chew on your nuts. Battle Kid isn’t quite as hard, but it’s definitely a challenge. The story is largely irrelevant – has any old school platformer ever had a story that mattered? All you need to know is that there’s some evil guys doing evil and you need to break into their lair, destroy the bosses, and win. That’s all the story we ever needed in the 8 bit days. Your ship lands on the outskirts of the fortress and then you’re on your own, figure it out from there and learn the rules of the game as you play. Like many classic platformers, your skills, reflexes, and patience will all be tested. Expect to throw your controller across the room in a monkey-throwing-feces fit of anger because you will die A LOT. One hit from anything kills you and there’s plenty pitfalls, traps, and tricks to trip you up as well, such as fruit from trees falling UP at you as you jump over them. Checkpoints are few and far between as well, making death all the more unforgiving. There are however multiple difficulty settings along with a password feature. Don’t be fooled though, easy doesn’t necessarily mean easy, just means you have infinite continues. And just forget about unfair mode – no continues and no saves, only one life to complete the whole game – which is impossible unless you’re some teenage Asian kid.
From a development standpoint, this game is the Bret Hart of the video game world. And by that I mean it’s the excellence of execution, not a geriatric, operating in a medium that it’s grown too old for. Controls are tight, accurate, and responsive, which is a requirement of any good platformer. Graphics can seem a bit bland at times, but for the most part there is as wide a variety of colors that the 8 bit palette can muster. Level design is clever and well planned out, offering a lofty challenge but without being too completely unfair. The world is broken down in a Metroidvania style, where instead of defined stages, there is one large seamless map. You are free to explore the areas of the fortress at your leisure, though many areas will be blocked until you obtain the appropriate upgrades after defeating one of the games 8 bosses. My personal favorite aspect of the game is by far the soundtrack. I can only stomach the insane difficulty of the game in small pieces, but the music is always good. 100% authentic, catchy, 8 bit chiptunes, could easily fit into any Mega Man title, and has a quick tempo that perfectly fits the gameplay.
This game is currently available at Retrozone for $30, comes with a full color manual, a dust cover, and should work on any version NES. You can check out a demo of the game in ROM format at the Sivak Games website and also check out the demo of upcoming Battle Kid 2: Mountain of Torment.
Developer: Sivak Games
Release Date: February 22, 2010
Last year Nintendo revealed their next home console. The Wii U was unveiled to a less than overwhelming reception and it was pretty much unanimously agreed it had the dumbest name in console history. But it was just the project codename… or so we hoped. Nintendo is now rumored to be considering a new name for the console. When I heard this, I knew there was one person I had to contact immediately.
I had the pleasure of sitting with the Nintendo prophet, Jim Peterford. Yes, THE Jimmy Peterford, who back in a 1991 issue of Nintendo Power, predicted the Wii console. Hoping that lightning would strike twice, we united our brains together until divine inspiration bestowed us with the NiRVGSCBAYSi. That is, the “Nintendo Real Video Game System Coming Back At You Suck it” (see how I worked those two lower case i’s in there like the Wii? Clever huh?) This no holds barred approach to naming is symbolic of Nintendo’s intention to show gamers that they’re back and they mean business and they’re more than just a toy for the whole family.
Peterford came up with his own artist’s rendition of what he believed the NiRVGSCBAYSi will look like. The front panel of the console itself seems to resemble a TV remote, which probably implies Nintendo is going more towards being a multifunction entertainment unit. There doesn’t appear to be any ports for inserting external media, which hopefully means there’s a substantial hard drive inside and any data transfer will be wireless. The most notable aspect of the new console is probably the controllers. Taking a more SNES look and style, the remotes are wired, forgoing the wireless motion controllers, thus restricting any sort of motion gaming programmers would throw in. Which is fine, because flailing your arms around and dancing to video games is stupid.
I’m pretty confident Jim Peterford is right on the money with this one. If our predictions are accurate, and they almost certainly are, Nintendo will once again be the top contender in the home console market for hardcore gamers.