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Topic: Where's AlexSays?

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mrmicawber

41. Posted:

I have the game pretty well memorized actually. It is a learned reactional activiity, all of it. It has it's own set of rules that only make sense in the game world. It is a ludologist game.

Narrative games are adifferent animal, and I personally do not find them fun, because I do not believe games and cinema mix, any more than oil and water do. If you have a good story - why break it up with inane gameplay? If it is an inane story - why the hell is it getting in thew way of me playing the game???

Here is my deal - if you are a talented director/actor/whatever shooting for the heights of cinema - do you set out to make a videogame? No, that is more or less the bottom I would say. So it is not the best and most talented people punching out game stories. And even if it was, it would make no sense, because you cannot 'play' a movie. All is vanity and striving for wind I say.

To criticise Mario for a simplistic plot as another poster did here is just plain silly and obtuse. I criticise Galaxy for having all of those unskipable cutscenes at the begining and end of the game and am gald to hear Miyamoto is putting a stop to it in Galaxy 2....

I like game atmosphere, but you do not need heavy, obtrusive narative to pull that off. Metroid Prime 1 for example.....(heard this before)?>>???>

IGN: The holiday Wii lineup looks thin for the hardcore crowd. We see this. Gamers see this. What, if anything, is Nintendo planning to address it?

Oh good, I am neither a gamer or hardcore. Saves me from having to be IGNorant.
Right, Down, A, Down, Right, Up

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mrmicawber

42. Posted:

Look at Excite bots?

Who made them who races them who built the tracks why do they raqce for points why do they fly why do they get aboost for landing square why do they get super tree runs?

Who cares?

None of it is explained. You play the game, learn the game, and it is fun.

IGN: The holiday Wii lineup looks thin for the hardcore crowd. We see this. Gamers see this. What, if anything, is Nintendo planning to address it?

Oh good, I am neither a gamer or hardcore. Saves me from having to be IGNorant.
Right, Down, A, Down, Right, Up

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Adam

43. Posted:

Yea, that's basically what I meant about Mario. I think you just took "instinct" too literally, and I hope you didn't interpret what I said as a slight against the game. I merely meant to differentiate it from another type of fun, not to degrade the game. Super Mario Brothers 1, 3, and World are all easily in my top 20 favorite games, if not top 10.

And I agree completely about atmosphere, but I think it's possible to convey narrative in other ways. Heavy Rain looks interesting without being heavy or obtrusive since the game is entirely based on the story, which isn't linear or told through cut scenes like MGS4 or similar games, but actually told through your choices and actions. Time will tell if it succeeds, but I think it's a worthy attempt and a neat idea that could better differentiate storytelling between games and film.

EDIT: Well, Excite Bots is different. Adventure games benefit from story if done right. Racing games, sports games, party games, etc. really should not have story forced on them. It just doesn't belong. I don't need to know why I'm racing a car, but I do sometimes like to know why I am journeying across a huge land. Sometimes. Of course, I didn't know what was going on in Shadow of the Colossus, and that worked out very well, so it's also not necessary.

Basically, I prefer minimalist story, too, but I think there's potential to have a more involving story... it's just that game writers and designers need to work more together. The only games I ever wanted to read anything and everything in as far as dialog and story were the Mother games, but they were written and designed by a famous and professional writer.

Edited on by Adam

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warioswoods

44. Posted:

weirdadam wrote:

Maybe your enjoyment of games has absolutely nothing to do with instincts, but my enjoyment of Mario is almost all about instincts. Platformers are all about instincts and precision, and refining those skills.

I truly find it hard to even believe that you are enjoying Mario in simply the way you describe. It's not about instincts at all, as I'll try to get at in a moment, but perhaps this would explain why you don't enjoy the later 3D games which, if you ask me, are largely the culmination of the direction the games have been reaching towards all along (and Miyamoto certainly appears to sincerely believe that Galaxy is one of the finest moments in the series). It seems as if you're latching on to some incidental qualities of the gameplay that were left behind, for the better, as the series headed further towards its goals.

I don't understand how you can say that Mario would be enjoyed the same way if you removed all the context and made it an abstract ball of colors and then say it has nothing to do with the skills involved. That seems like a strong argument for instinctual enjoyment. I have no reason to enjoy looking at abstract balls of color otherwise.

It absolutely would be enjoyed in the same manner, the "context" is mostly irrelevant. Actually, to be more precise, the context is a part of the way the game presents things to you, so that you can grasp how an object in the game world will behave by some sense of familiarity, which a good game might then toy with by having it behave in a surprising manner which thwarts your expectations. But more to the point, you would not just be staring at abstract balls of color, you'd be enjoying the mechanics of the game as it unfolds (Kururin (sp?) is one of my favorite 2D games, and it just consists of moving a line through a bizarre course as the line rotates, without hitting the walls -- the design is brilliant throughout). However, it's nothing like what you're describing, where your enjoyment is primarily tied to perfecting almost mechanical skills like precisely jumping. That plays a role, but without question the enjoyment of a brilliant Mario platformer is in the level design.

A little experiment: play a fan hack of a Mario title in which the author does nothing but give you difficult leaps and similar level passages that simply put your Mario fundamentals to the test, but with a blandly repetitive design. Nothing could be more dull. Now, play a great hack, and you'll have an experience much like the original games, insofar as the layout of the levels as you play through them will put on a smile on your face, due to the tiny details of level planning and design that really require a certain brilliance to put together well, a brilliance that separates your mediocre platformers from the truly great ones.

I'm thinking of the real Mario games, though.

Let's skip the questions about the 3D games, then, and look at what anyone could easily agree is one of the peaks of the history of platforming: Mario 3. What made this game such a sensation? Well, many things that combined to create a total, polished package that is unparalleled, but if you had to pull something out as particularly groundbreaking, it would again be the design of the levels. I don't have the reference, unfortunately, but I do remember reading an interview once where Miyamoto compared Mario levels to Beatles songs (he's apparently a fan of the Beatles above all else--I also regard them as the perfect of the pop song), and that's the best analogy you could possibly use for great platforming level design. You enjoy passing through it the same way you enjoy the unfolding of a song; it's short, starts out with certain elements and themes, then takes a few turns that develop those and throw in some nice surprises, and, when regarded as a whole, it feels as if every single minor element is absolutely necessary, that it would ruin it to simply move around one section or change the layout here or there. Mario 3 is one of those games where the joy of visiting each level is unsurpassed, and the brevity of each of these little sketches goes hand in hand with the perfection of design.

I am not intellectually engaged whatsoever with Super Mario Brothers, but it's one of my absolute favorite games, so that's not a slight against it.

I don't believe I agree in any way with your concept of what constitutes an intellectual or higher engagement with a thing. The explicit plot or story is often (not always) the lowest engagement with a game you can have, since it's generally just a repetition of tired tropes and average dialogue. Enjoying the way a thing unfolds, the cleverness of its design as you play through it, however, certainly qualifies as an exercise of our uniquely human minds, and, again, is paralleled most closely by listening to music--not in a passive, background way, but engaging the song as it plays, letting yourself be taken along the course the song lays out, just like making your way through a Mario 3 level.

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Adam

45. Posted:

Admittedly, I skimmed through the latter half of the post, but I just don't follow where you're going with this. The whole "level unfolding" thing is rather vague to me.

Regardless, I don't understand why you wouldn't believe I enjoy games in the way I say I do. I'm not sure what the benefit would be for me to fool you, haha. I enjoy the old Mario games for the challenge. The original has the perfect difficulty curve for my skill level, and I often go through phases where I'll play it once a day for over a week, despite having played it hundreds of times.

I do appreciate the context of the Mushroom Kingdom, but mostly from nostalgia, probably. As for the level "unfolding," if you mean just appreciating the design, yea, that's nice the first time through, but when you've played through a game once or twice, you already know what to expect.

Playing games for challenge is completely ordinary, so I really don't see the difficulty in believing it. Many people play sports for the same reasons, to try and improve their abilities and push their limits. I definitely enjoy other games in other ways, but I love games like Mario 1 and Zelda 2 for the sheer challenge of it. My personal preference... Seems pretty normal to me, but if it is bizarre, it'd be understandable -- I guess there's a reason I'm known as weirdadam...

Edited on by Adam

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Gabbo

46. Posted:

This is the most off topic thread in the history of the internet.

Gabbo

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pixelman

47. Posted:

Gabbo wrote:

This is the most off topic thread in the history of the internet.

OFF TOPIC!! :P

I made Kid Tripp! PocketGamer gave it a 9 out of 10! You should totally buy it now!
[16:39] BadKitty: you trying to steal stuff from me? u_u
[16:41] kribs: don't worry Emmy, even if poix tried to steal something from you, he wouldn't finish stealing it

3DS Friend Code: 1123-6536-5321 | Nintendo Network ID: pixelpowa | Twitter: pixelpowa

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grenworthshero

48. Posted:

I'll be leaving for the weekend. Don't anybody get too depressed without me

PSN ID: grenworthshero
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YouTube--backloggery--tumblr--Facebook--last.fm

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J-Man

49. Posted:

@grensworthhero
Nooooooooooooooooo!!!

J-Man

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Oath

50. Posted:

AlexSays? Gamespot AlexSays? Oh dear....

Oath

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pixelman

51. Posted:

Oath wrote:

AlexSays? Gamespot AlexSays? Oh dear....

HAH!

Yes, it is. I gather he has an infamous record there.

I made Kid Tripp! PocketGamer gave it a 9 out of 10! You should totally buy it now!
[16:39] BadKitty: you trying to steal stuff from me? u_u
[16:41] kribs: don't worry Emmy, even if poix tried to steal something from you, he wouldn't finish stealing it

3DS Friend Code: 1123-6536-5321 | Nintendo Network ID: pixelpowa | Twitter: pixelpowa

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J-Man

52. Posted:

What's with the thread about Alexsays? He usually argues.

J-Man

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Oath

53. Posted:

pixelman wrote:

Oath wrote:

AlexSays? Gamespot AlexSays? Oh dear....

HAH!

Yes, it is. I gather he has an infamous record there.

Meh. He's known for speaking his mind... which almost no one there likes :P. I wouldnt say infamous though.

Oath

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AlexSays

54. Posted:

I'd like to think I'm just as awesome everywhere.

I've been around here much longer than I was around there though.

AlexSays

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Oath

55. Posted:

AlexSays wrote:

I'd like to think I'm just as awesome everywhere.

I've been around here much longer than I was around there though.

Thats a pretty long time.
I just stumbled upon this site.... today.

Oath

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J-Man

56. Posted:

It's a bird. It's a dog. No it's Alexsays. (applause)

J-Man

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theblackdragon

57. Posted:

I thought it was the Red Baron, myself. :P

BEST THREAD EVER
future of NL >:3
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warioswoods

58. Posted:

@Adam

That's fine if you only really see the first Mario game as the height of the series, but there's really no question that Miyamoto's intentions and what he's always hoped to achieve with the games has absolutely nothing to do with high difficulty. In fact, he wasn't even involved in the Lost Levels game, and that's the hardest one by far (similarly, he wasn't involved in Zelda II, the hardest of its series -- and both of these are rather blandly designed games that don't really live up to the others, if you ask me). Mario is absolutely about enjoying the levels and the way they roll out. You say: "As for the level "unfolding," if you mean just appreciating the design, yea, that's nice the first time through, but when you've played through a game once or twice, you already know what to expect.". However, the musical analogy is still by far the best way to describe the enjoyment of a game like this, as replaying the level is then just like listening to a favorite song again; that doesn't bore you, does it?

Miyamoto said exactly that, when asked why there are checkpoints in Galaxy that make the game easier; his answer is that he wants you to be able to experience and remember the level as a totality, so it needs to be both shortened and set up so that you don't get frustrated starting over from the beginning again and again. "This is something personal, but when I listen to classical songs that are about an hour long, I only tend to remember its main parts. But if this was a song from the Beatles, I remember mostly every song. I think depending on the song, there are some that you remember things like the place and the situation of when you heard it for the first time. I wish things like that would happen with games." Iwata Asks. And that's why we replay levels from Mario 3--it's not the challenge, it's more like listening to a great song that captured us years ago, and it sort of takes you back to that time as you enjoy going through it again.

Anyhow, all I'm saying about enjoying the way a thing unfolds is that we do indeed enjoy more ostensibly "childlike" things on a much higher level than most would realize. It all still comes down to my question earlier: which engages you on a higher level, a mediocre crime drama you could find on any network on any given night, or a wonderfully well produced and imaginative children's program? It's certainly the latter, and that's why something like Mario Galaxy can easily be said to engage the player on a level as high or higher than all the more "adult" games that have a long (yet fairly cliched) plot and characters, etc.

Children, in fact, are often more discerning viewers than one gives them credit for. I leave you with a bit from Sesame Street, one of the heights of imaginative children's programming. And this one is entirely abstract, it's all about enjoying the forms as they unfold to the music.

EDIT: I'd also like to add that, for many people (an ex-girlfriend of mine, my sisters), watching someone play a great Mario game is just as enjoyable as actually playing it. That's pretty solid evidence that one's enjoyment is not dependent in any way on the challenge in the way you've described. In Galaxy, they finally realized just how important this is and how enjoyable the games are for someone to watch, so they put in the simple pointer functionality for the second player, to justify it and maybe let you help the first player out from time to time, since they know that it's extremely common for Mario games to be played with one person actually playing the whole time and another watching. People do enjoy that greatly. I've know many people who don't even ask for the controller, as they don't care about that at all, but they love just sitting and watching the levels.

Edited on by warioswoods

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Adam

59. Posted:

Well, I understand that, but I don't think even the greatest Mario levels compare too favorably with a good piece of music in terms of just watching. I like watching people play, but it's no different than watching sports. I like to see how well people can do. I like to comment on what they did well or could do better. Most importantly, I like laughing at them when they get killed by a goomba.

Seriously, who gets killed by a goomba?

But all that is related to the challenge -- their challenge. I think of the game primarily as a game. I know their are elements beyond this, that it's not just checkers or soccer on TV, but these things take a back seat (and not like a back seat in a car, but perhaps a short bus with a few seats between) to the simple game elements of winning, losing, doing well, doing not so well, etc.

Also, I don't think SMB1 is the pinnacle of the series. That is my favorite one to play on my own, but with company I prefer to play World or 3, depending on the other player's skill level. Seeing someone flounder around in the first world is just embarrassing, and I know most of the people I play with don't play Mario games as much as I have.

About Miyamoto's intent, his intent has certainly been obvious since the N64 (or really, perhaps since the SNES) but I don't think that nullifies what he did prior to that time. I think his intentions have simply changed. He said very recently, actually, that his team always has to stop him from making the games too hard. It could well be that he is being held back by corporate policy to be more family accessible. Of course, it could also be that he was just trying to please the gaming press and didn't mean it. Either way, I think his intentions are too hard to know for certain, and they shouldn't matter anyway. Lots of people enjoy the same games for different reasons, which is wonderful. I know others play Mario for the same reasons I do, and I know others do for the reasons you do.

And on a side note, Mario 2 (JP) and Zelda 2 were not made with Miyamoto involved? I can't believe I didn't know that. I wish I knew who directed Zelda 2. That game is amazing.

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To the bear arcades again.

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warioswoods

60. Posted:

@Adam

That's perfectly fine, I do agree that the way you enjoy the challenge is perfectly legitimate, and plays a role in certain games in the series more than others; mainly I set off on this tangent in order to refute what I saw as an extremely problematic statement by clickity, namely the notion that Nintendo games engage the player on a simpler level or a more basic level, and also to refute your supporting statement about platforming and instincts, which I found even more problematic. Certainly, though, both are legitimate ways to enjoy these titles, and part of the strength of any well produced game is that it can be approached enjoyably from multiple angles.

A simple anecdote that might give a sense of why I love Mario games, and why I feel that Galaxy may come as close or perhaps closer to realizing the strengths of the series than any other entry to date: I remember when I initially played through the first galaxy in the game (Good Egg, I believe?), and how wonderful I found every detail of the gameplay as I made my way through. Some of it was the little things: the first time you hit one of those green buds and have it yank back and knock you down, the smoothness of the controls, etc. Some of it was the bigger innovations: the bizarrely disorienting yet satisfying moment when you first leap around the edge of that initial planet and land on the opposite, darker side, and then just staying there for a minute leaping around that edge a few more times, getting a feel for this new experience and the very different relation to gravity in the game. The most enjoyable moment was probably when I first landed on that glass cylinder that floats in the center of the galaxy, and that I'd been staring at curiously throughout the level until that point, as it floated there in the distance looking fascinatingly different from all the other planetoids. When I landed on it, heard the change in music to that sort of chime-like arrangement, and ran around on its exterior surface while looking in at the path that makes its way through the inside, it was just a moment of pure joy, which then continued as I jumped inside and suddenly was given a very different kind of gameplay reminiscent of past Mario titles. Shattering that glass as I exited then punctuated a sudden shift back to the new world of disorienting gravity, and I soon landed on that little star shaped thing that you feel like you're going to fall off of, and then there was that dizzying moment where you grab the little blue stars and yank yourself back and forth in order to hit the star floating in the center.

That's brilliant level design, a pure joy from the start to the finish, with each section carefully planned out in order to play off the previous section, surprise you, disorient, etc. The entire course of it sticks with you like a song, and you will want to replay in order to enjoy it again, albeit a bit differently now that there is a sense of familiarity. That kind of 3D game plays off the sense of curiosity, exploration, and general wonder that you had as a child, yet it is a uniquely human experience, not something that "instinct" should be used to describe in any way; and, when you're a bit older, you sort of enjoy it on two levels at once, both the experience and the admiration for that caliber of design. You won't find anything on that level in 99% of the games in the history of the medium. That's certainly an experience that has stuck with me much more powerfully than most "adult" films (no pr0n jokes, please) that I've watched in recent years, except for the most exceptional ones. The closet experience in film would have to be some of the early sections of Wall-e, or a few other isolated moments in the more clever animated films of recent years.

I get tired of people acting as if something that presents itself in an adult manner is therefore playing on higher or more intellectual functions of your mind. More often than not, particularly in the gaming world, it's the opposite that is the case. Not always, however, and I certainly recognize some noteworthy exceptions.

Edited on by warioswoods

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Wii FC: 8378 9716 1696 8633 || "How can mushrooms give you extra life? Get the green ones." -Lakitu 64
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