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Kirk

Kirk

United Kingdom

Joined:
Sun 20th January, 2008

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Kirk

#5

Kirk commented on Interview: GungHo's Daisuke Yamamoto Talks Puz...:

@krakensoup That sounds more like it.

Do you still HAVE to go through the 20 minute "tutorial"—which you simply cannot avoid in the mobile version and is a really manipulative element of this particular type of usually mobile-centric "game" design imo—or can you just start playing the game and organically learn everything as you go, as and when you choose, and skip all the stuff you don't give a crap about in the first place; like being asked repeatedly to invite a friend or a popup reminding you to log in and play every day for random "rewards" etc?

Kirk

#8

Kirk commented on Video: These Rhythm Tengoku: The Best Plus Tr...:

That first video was really strange to me because you very rarely see slightly chubby Asian girls :-o

Also; it was kinda strange to see more "normal" looking people [presumably these people are not famous Asian pop stars, films stars or TV presenters etc] in both the videos actually.

Just and observation lol

PS. I love the Rhythm Heaven games :-D

Kirk

#9

Kirk commented on Exclusive: Slightly Mad Studio Head Ian Bell S...:

So it's looking very iffy for Project Cars coming to the Wii U and imo if it doesn't come to the Wii U then it probably won't happen for NX either because by that point it will just be too late for anyone to care.

Kirk

#10

Kirk commented on Interview: GungHo's Daisuke Yamamoto Talks Puz...:

I wonder if this Nintendo-endorsed console version has a simpler/smoother setup and starting chunk than the utterly abysmally designed—as far as I'm concerned—mobile game...

"What do you mean when you say it's utterly abysmally designed?" you might ask...

Oh, well let's see... After downloading the game I had to accept some random terms and conditions otherwise I couldn't even play the game (a worrying sign right from the get-go) [confirmation box]; input my name (with a box below it that said something weird I don't quite get) [confirmation box]; select my dragon [confirmation box]; register something, for reasons beyond me (My name? My Dragon choice? That I'd accepted the terms and conditions?), then download some random update/install pack or something (that took about 6 minutes); see some extremely cluttered looking screen where visually I had no idea what they hell was going on; go through about twenty minutes [popup box] of totally annoying and totally forced tutorials [popup box] that just threw everything [pop-up box] and the kitchen [pop-up box] sink at me right out the [popup box] gate (so many text popup [popup box] boxes to read, confirmation boxes to tick [Ka-Ching!] and [popup box] random stuff [Ka-Ching!] I was forced to go through [popup box] before I [Extra Coins] [Send a Friend Invite?] could just start playing the game [popup box] [BONUS POINTS!] [Send a Friend Invite?] for [popup box] [Free Egg!] [Send a Friend Invite?] myself)...

Oh, and I just happened to be signed in to Game Centre already so at least [popup box] I didn't also have to do that during the rest of the setup/start process above—but that is something you can add to the long list of crap to wade through if you're setting up this game first time and aren't already signed into Game Centre.

So; simple and straightforward, intuitive, not convoluted, bloated or confusing, or intentionally and insidiously manipulative at all—basically great game design 101!!! [SARCASM] [Ka-Ching!]

[popup box]

[Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!]

[Send a Friend Invite?]

This, to me, is psychologically manipulative and abusive video "game" design—VERY CLEARLY coming from the whole insidious gambling machine and Farmville-type school of "game" design; where it's all about overwhelming you and hooking you into these compulsion loops and variable ratio reinforcement systems etc—at its worst.

[Send a Friend Invite?]

[BONUS POINTS!!!]

[Ka-Ching!]

[You've spent all your coins...]

[Now... Would you like to spend some of your hard earned real world money to buy a whole load of virtual stuff and take this awesome game experience—You ARE having a amazing time!—to the next level...?]

[Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!] [Ka-Ching!]

Do you think I'm exaggerating and/or being unfair to this developer? Then go download their game [PLEASE DON'T—REALLY!] and see for yourself [Ka-Ching!]...

Kirk

#11

Kirk commented on Feature: What the Heck is Puzzle & Dragons? - ...:

@PuzzleBoss I hear everything you are saying but all that comes to my mind is "The lady doth protest too much".

Do you work for the company?

The amount of stuff you have to do before you get to the actual game--you know; the dungeon with the enemies and orbs you slide to make rows that allow you to attack enemies--is absurd. It's bad game design imo to ask the player to absorb so much information upfront; which is clearly just designed to overwhelm the senses and put them into that almost zombie like automatic state of "putting the next coin in the slot". They should make it so you only have to press a couple of menu buttons to get into the main gameplay and then gradually introduce everything else over time. Keep it simple, intuitive and welcoming; instead of being like someone/something just presenting you with a bit of a cluttered mess (the game/menu screen) and giving you an endless feedback loop of orders to follow until your conscious brain switches off and you go into auto-pilot without really even processing if you're actually enjoying the task you're locked into. I honestly don't even understand how your average casual mobile type gamer even bothers playing the game long enough to actually get to the point where they can play the game themselves--the point somewhere beyond all the tutorial stuff--other than they feel compelled to do so because of all the psychological manipulation techniques I mentioned above. It's just all kinds of wrong imo.

Yes; I too could try to rationalise anything in this world that I want to--justify it all away--but all the stuff I've mentioned about the techniques CONSCIOUSLY and DELIBERATELY employed to manipulate the player in certain "games" is also in this game and imo that's where making a business out of "gaming", based on this type of design model, turns into something slightly insidious, sinister and abusive; even if the people "enjoying" the game cannot see this. I do not and will not support that kind of business practice. It comes from the worst kind of place in man's heart--GREED (to be clear; not just making a living but absolute detached GREED)--that turns something pure and innocent into something dark and twisted as far as I'm concerned.

There is a very big difference between things that can become addictive because they are highly fun and rewarding experiences and things that are intentionally and specifically designed to make you addicted to them in order to repeatedly extract something from you--usually money--like the difference between gambling machines (that use very specific and focussed behaviour modifiers and manipulators for insidious purposes) and your typical/classical video game. Only people trying to manipulate you and/or take advantage of you in some way, or those that really don't know any better, will try to convince you otherwise and make you believe there is nothing sinister in this kind of "addiction" based design approach and that everything is potentially "addictive" in exactly the same way.

I know you maybe just think there's just a simple and fun game here, that as a result [a byproduct] is addictive, but I think that's exactly what games like this are designed to make the people addicted to them think. Much like all the gambling machines out there or "games" like Farmville and its ilk,--one of the games that started this whole highly manipulative and abusive psychology based approach to video game design imo--I see this kind of game as a blight on the entire video game medium in many ways.

If you've ever played Mother 3--if not I'd HIGHLY recommend it by the way--then you'd see what I mean...and not because Mother 3 falls victim to the same sin as the type of games I'm condemning above but because it actually highlights the problem of the type of thinking that is at the core of these types of "games", in a really honest, creative, inspirational and brilliantly genius, fun way.

Anyway--unless you work for the company--my advice would be to just pause for a second and think about what you're actually doing in this game...what you're getting from it... Is it actually a genuinely rewarding experience or just a feedback loop that when you finally do stop playing you'll just feel slightly empty inside--like you kinda just wasted countless hours just filling a bucket with water that could never be filled and that isn't actually that much fun at all, when you think about it, and doesn't actually really serve any purpose or meaning anyway--instead of feeling uplifted and inspired, as though you'd just experienced a genuinely magical moment in interactive entertainment...

Or maybe you just think I'm being way too melodramatic. I mean it's just a game, right...?

PS. None of the above means there can't be an actual and probably decent game in there, somewhere in among all the insidious stuff, but the problem IS all the insidious stuff.

Kirk

#12

Kirk commented on Feature: What the Heck is Puzzle & Dragons? - ...:

@PuzzleBoss Well if you're doing something constructive with it then it's not so bad--if you can make some money back I guess that doesn't make you a total victim at least--but I downloaded it today for a quick look and to be brutally honest all I can see is a glorified gambling [addition] machine disguised as a mobile video game, with blatant but sneaky/insidious [imo] examples of variable ratio reinforcement, avoidance, compulsion loops... It even has the equivalent of a jackpot machine where you pull the dragons "hand" to get some random "gift".

You probably don't know what I'm talking about. Or maybe you know exactly what I'm talking about...

Also; the whole introductory part of this game--in terms of actual design (things like user interface, intuitiveness, ease of access)--is abysmal. It's just a bunch of things you have to sign up to, link into and download etc; followed by multiple screens of stuff getting chucked at you, one thing after another, with no real clarity about what is actually going on--despite the endless text popups and handholding etc. You just go through the motions of clicking what they tell you to click, levelling up this, collecting that, beating this, clicking that, selecting this, bonus points, egg collected, matching a few orbs, a flash and ka-ching! Repeat...

I deleted it shortly thereafter.

I worry that this is what gamers these days think of as rewarding game experiences when I expect the vast majority of people playing this game are just going through the same basic motions as a gambling addict, over and over and over; like all those people you see sitting in front of jackpot machines endlessly pulling that handle and hoping for their...

PS. I can see there's and idea for a half decent game in there, somewhere, that could be pulled out from all the crap that's currently drowning it; something that could be simplified and purified of all the misdirection and manipulation and that could actually result in a game that's maybe even genuine fun--actual healthy, rewarding uplifting and enriching fun, as opposed to the illusion of fun; like I'm sure most people think they are having on those jackpot machines--but that's a lot of crap to have to wade through.

Kirk

#13

Kirk commented on Dragon Quest VIII Won't Support The 3DS Consol...:

@Pod They aren't really attempting to look 2D at all. They're attempting to look full 3D but with a kind of cell-shaded/toon-shaded style with the outlines around the characters capturing part of the look/style of those old 2D cartoons, comics and illustrations etc. I don't know how much hassle the outlines on the edges would or would not cause in 3D, so I'll just take your word for it, but it's not because the game is trying to look 2D that they've not added the stereoscopic effect.

This game, as a random example, seems to manage just fine with the whole 2D look and style gone full 3D plus stereoscopic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=199&v=p5x875He5ns

As does this game during the battles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmCiAZZZwyo

Kirk

#14

Kirk commented on Dragon Quest VIII Won't Support The 3DS Consol...:

Pretty disappointing. I mean already it's a slight step down visually from the PS2 version based on the couple of comparison screens I've seen and this news isn't exactly great. I'm sure it will be cool but it's the little things. It's always the little things.

Kirk

#15

Kirk commented on Nintendo Renews Eternal Darkness Trademark as...:

Now; to be clear; the original game isn't perfect. It was a shame they removed the full realtime dynamic shadows that were seen in early builds. Some of the designs were a bit rough, both monsters and environments (like that big temple blob thing that I can't remember if that's just "The Eternals" or whatever), although most of them were pretty high quality. The controls were sometimes a little clunky although still leagues ahead of the likes or Resident Evil. There's a few other small niggles here and there that I have. All in all however, it was just a brilliant game with some great ideas and gameplay elements. I mean I don't usually care about managing inventories and stuff like that, such as having to faff around with all your items in Resident Evil for example, but the rune and magic system in Eternal Darkness was genuinely brilliant imo; even just the chanting as the magic was performed was so cool and atmospheric. Playing as multiple different characters across different time periods with interconnected/intertwined stories and fates etc was very cool too. Also; obviously the whole insanity stuff was just a touch of genuine genius. Basically; a new Eternal Darkness game, if done right, could be something truly special as far as I'm concerned.

Kirk

#16

Kirk commented on Nintendo Renews Eternal Darkness Trademark as...:

Sweet!

Now just bring the game out already and maybe for Wii U...

Actually; get Nintendo on board too, as like a support developer/advisor or whatever, just to help make sure the game is really polished to that Nintendo level of all-round quality.

Kirk

#17

Kirk commented on Feature: What the Heck is Puzzle & Dragons? - ...:

@PuzzleBoss Maybe I'm not understanding how this works but I find this kind of sad and depressing :-(

You could buy a brand new current-gen console, multiple controllers and around 80-90 full retail games (possibly hundreds if you go for lots of digital/download/indie games) for the same amount of money you have already thrown away, imo, on just playing the same old mobile puzzle game over and over but constantly adding some probably kinda meaningless micro-transactions or whatever they are.

You could buy a Wii U, an Xbox One, a PS4, a PSP, a 3DS and the Top 15 games for each of those systems and still have money to spare for $5k.

You could literally buy a SNES with an extra controller (for some multi-player action) and almost every single game ever made for the system (there's like 1700 or so games for the SNES), many of which are some of the greatest games ever made and outright timeless classics, for the amount of money you have spent on Puzzle & Dragons (P&D).

There's literally tens of thousands of hours of gameplay and variety in all those different games you could be playing, different gaming experiences you could be having, various digital adventures you could go on and different stories you could be told, multiple worlds you could be immersed in full of almost endless exploration and experimentation, countless characters you could interact with either as allies or enemies, genuine and fulfilling gaming fun you could have with that amount money.

I mean I'm sure P&D is fun and all, possibly even a genuine masterpiece like the games I alluded to above, but WTF?!

I don't even know what to think :-o

Kirk

#18

Kirk commented on Feature: Yoshi's Woolly World, Like Kirby's Ep...:

This looks good and all but for whatever reason I'm not feeling it quite as much as when I first saw it and I'm getting that sense that it's not going to live up to the sheer greatness that was/is Yoshi's Island or feel as well realised as Epic Yarn in how it really played to the best strengths of its aesthetic, yet didn't feel forced with it, and really created one of the most endearing games that I've played. I mean even just aesthetically I think Epic Yarn's 2D felt/fabric and wool type approach actually worked slightly better visually for me. I might ultimately be proven wrong and this could turn out to be a genuine classic but there's just something that feels ever so slightly lacking about what I'm seeing. I can't quite put my finger on it because obviously it looks pretty sweet and it's clear the developers have put a lot of love and passion in it.

Kirk

#20

Kirk commented on Dark Half Is A Twisted SNES JRPG From The Make...:

@Shiryu We probably chatted on a forum or something, maybe even in here, but I have a terrible short term memory so I'd have little recollection of such a conversation lol

Do you have any sample music maybe online or somewhere that I can check out?

I'm not working on anything just now but I'll give it a wee listen :-D

Kirk

#24

Kirk commented on Dark Half Is A Twisted SNES JRPG From The Make...:

I hope to God @Tempaura doesn't think the same about Mother 3 because I just played a fan made English translated version of that game on emulator recently and it was one of the greatest video game experiences I've ever had. Mother 3 is an utter classic and seminal moment in gaming imo that achieves something most games can only dream of, which I won't go into but it's worth playing to discover it for yourself, that I would recommend to anyone and especially Nintendo and/or Mother/Earthbound fans, yet I certainly wouldn't have had the opportunity to enjoy it and experience something so brilliant if it was only the original Japanese version that was available and I had to go out and buy it then learn Japanese just to play it.

Sometimes I think it would be fair of someone to call me a total douche for pirating/emulating certain games but other times I actually think it's a perfectly reasonable/acceptable thing to do under certain circumstances and I actually believe those acceptable circumstances are far more broad than many people think; especially in today's world.

PS. I am a video game developer myself and I say you are all welcome to go and copy/pirate/distribute any of my own games as much as you like:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iNCEPTIONAL
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/kirk-johnston/id908692477

Have at it!

Fair's fair ;-)

Kirk

#25

Kirk commented on Talking Point: The Fragility of Buying Downloa...:

This is what it means in many cases...You DON'T and CAN'T own a game anymore. You just have it out on loan until the company you paid for the "privilege" decides otherwise and basically 'takes it back' :-(

Some people think everything in the past is old hat and pointless now but I think some people are blind to the FACT that actually, some things were indeed OBJECTIVELY better back then (more things than they realise and in some very significant ways). Yup, in most ways the tech has evolved and the graphics are far more shiny, you can also talk to your "friends" and stuff online now and freely curse at strangers for amusement etc, but what about the actual underlying ideals...like consumer ownership for example and you being able to do what you want with the product your fairly paid for...

Yeah; when I say it was better back in the likes of the NES and SNES era and/or that I think the 16bit generation was all-round the best and most satisfying console generation ever, I actually mean it.

PS. The fundamental issue isn't digital but the way it's being handled imo. I'm all for digital in principle, there's a lot of genuine advantages to it, if it were actually done right...but it's almost inevitable that the more time moves forward the more it won't and indeed can't be done right ultimately.

PPS. This is what comes of our modern "free" market capitalism by the way; where it always comes down to increasing the numbers on the books and always striving to find the next big way to be more economically efficient and turn a higher profit etc; no matter what the real cost to the people at the other end. The games will get bigger and better for sure but the user experience, at a core fundamental level, will in many ways only continue to get worse and especially for those with less money than others. It is an inevitability of the particular socioeconomic and corporate business-centric system we have created and what are video game developers and publishers if not businesses...

Kirk

#26

Kirk commented on Feature: Go Fast - An Ode To The Glorious Chao...:

A new F-Zero could be one of the greatest future racing games of all time, of any type/genre of racer for that matter, but I don't expect Nintendo to deliver that IF a new F-Zero game EVER even comes out for Wii U. IF it happens I just expect it to fall short for whatever reason. I'd like to be wrong in both ways.

Kirk

#28

Kirk commented on Project CARS Studio Boss Admits to Problems Wi...:

@Project_Dolphin That would be a nice fantasy but these developers have to survive in the real world and I'm not sure it's that simple and idealistic; especially not with a game this ambitious. They need to get actual sales and Wii U is a far bigger risk to bet on, even though some developers obviously to manage to be successful on the platform. Basically; Nintendo didn't really make it easy imo.

Kirk

#29

Kirk commented on Project CARS Studio Boss Admits to Problems Wi...:

@polarbear I guess it's different when you don't have all the money, experience and resources in the world and have to work hard just to get a game running on hardware that's basically below the spec you've designed the game for in the first place. I'm sure it would be possible to get the game running better with a bit more time and effort etc but if it takes that much time and effort, compared to the other consoles where it's obviously just nowhere near as much hassle to get the game running half decent, then is it really worth it for these developers. Unlike EA they probably can't afford to spend loads of money and time on a Wii U version and just hope it sells half decent and/or not worry about it too much if it doesn't. This is what comes of having underpowered hardware relative to the general expectations of developers of the time, so it takes more to ultimately do less basically, along with a gimmick they probably feel compelled to support too...as well as crap sales.

Kirk

#30

Kirk commented on Project CARS Studio Boss Admits to Problems Wi...:

Remember when some people said the Wii U wasn't underpowered for a current-gen home console...without really understanding the issues having an UNDERPOWERED system could cause and most certainly with games that weren't made specifically for it and were either multi-plat or primarily developed with other platforms in mind initially...

Well here's a great example of one issue it can cause, even when you have a developer that actually wants to support the system with their brand new current-gen game.

Kirk

#32

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@SuperVirtualBoy I've actually been playing both Star Fox and Star Fox 64 over the last couple of days, as well as watching multiple Let's Play videos etc, and I still think Star Fox is just a better overall game.

It's hard to really explain it but if you just play both games side by side, as it were, then you can sort of see and feel how Star Fox 64 is just a bit more loose or something in multiple areas, in a bad way, and just doesn't have anywhere near the cohesion of vision or ambition in terms of creating something genuinely special. To me it's like watching the original Star Wars vs the prequels or something. Watching 64 has all the technical aspects that on the surface might make some people think it's a better game but to me that's more about being blinded by a shiny light rather than really getting a good look at the meat of what's actually there. Star Fox is just a better and more satisfying game to actually play imo.

I mean as a random example, even something as simple as the level/route selection screen is just better looking, more intuitive, and just better designed/implemented overall in Star Fox. To me, as I have tried to explain previously, that kind of thing applies to the entire game overall; if you really sit there and analyse both games properly.

Another seemingly small but important thing is the way the ship swings outside the view if you fly too far in any direction on the N64 game but always stays within the view in the SNES game, which imo is actually a pretty big design flaw in the N64 game because it means there are going to be times where the player is literally unable to see the character [ship] they are supposed to be in control of and that does affect the game in a few ways, like making it harder to judge your position relative to obstacles or projectiles when you are at or outside the edge of the screen for example.

There's loads of things like this but I can't be bothered going through them all or really going into depth with them because it would require a proper multi-pare article imo and clearly I already write too much as it is. It's all the little but important things/details that I think people aren't picking up on because all they can see is the fact the N64 game has more polygons and actually has texture maps (as bad as they look) etc.

Again; if people could just see beyond the tech, play both these games right now, and really think about how much fun they are having and how engaging, atmospheric and satisfying the experiences actually are etc; not how the designers are trying to make you feel by recreating some scene out of Independence Day or whatever but how you ACTUALLY feel playing those levels, set-pieces and boss battles etc; I think they'd realise Star Fox is the better game. I mean I found that Independence Day area in Star Fox 64 to be totally and utterly boring and non-engaging. I literally just flew around in circles shooting an enemy everyone once in a while until somehow the big blob ship moved over the badly texture pyramid and then the level basically end. There was absolutely no sense of genuine tension, excitement or actual fun at all. It was going through the motions, which is sort of how a lot of that game feels to me.

I mean just the watching, listening to, navigating and playing the intro, initial menus, first level and first boss of each game should make that abundantly clear imo. All the signs; both the strengths and weakness, are right there in those first few minutes or so.

Still; obviously some people really can't see, hear and feel what I am getting from each of these game experiences.

Kirk

#33

Kirk commented on Feature: What the Heck is Puzzle & Dragons? - ...:

I find it basically offensive that a company that puts out a couple of big hit mobile games, and presumably little else other than hosting some servers and a handful of random games no one outside of Japan has really heard of, can be valued at more than Nintendo.

I mean let's get totally serious here for a second...Nintendo has created countless genuinely amazing gaming masterpieces, many of which can matter of fact be considered as some of the greatest games of all time, ever. It has a history going back over a hundred years and apart from a couple of blips recently in terms of financials has always been highly profitable. It has created some of the biggest selling gaming platforms of all time and currently has two current-gen gaming consoles out in the market right now, alongside a few older consoles that are still selling a few units. It's still creating some of the best games in the world and I presume is also still putting out more games per year than GungHo. Yet it's valued at less than a frikin mobile developer that's really only made a couple of genuinely huge and arguably good games. How messed up is that?

I guess that's the world we live in today :-o

PS. I hope Nintendo is a massive success on mobile and combined with it's more traditional games and console business ultimately ends up blowing all these other guys, who are most of the time really just cashing in on the casual mobile crowd and fleecing them for the most part, outta the water.

Kirk

#35

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@TheRealThanos I don't have any Xbox consoles (so no Xbox Live), or Playstations, or even a Wii U or 3DS etc.

I'm too poor right now lol :-(

Friend me on Facebook and we can chat: KirkDJohnston, or if it's easier to find iNCEPTIONAL Facebook etc.

I'm off to bed now though cause it's like 1:30 in the morning.

Kirk

#36

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@TheRealThanos Oh yeah. My Wii is soft modded so I could maybe give it a try on that. It's been a while since I used my Wii though and I expect it will be a hassle getting all the homebrew stuf to work properly at this point. I know last time I tried it half the games that previously worked fine didn't anymore so I know it's going to be a hassle and I'm not sure it's fully worth it :-o

Edit. Yeah, I noticed that too and added the 64 in during the last tweak to my text lol

Kirk

#37

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@TheRealThanos Those are just the videos and screens that pop up when I do quick searches. I know these games def look better in real life but they're good enough just for example purposes :-)

Yeah, I agree that games should be judged relative to their time but at the same time it's also a very good judge of a game to see how well it holds up over time too. The best games hold up well over a long time despite technology advancing. Turok 1 is a great example that at least visually has not stood the test of time at all in some ways. That fog, basically hiding pop-in a few feet in front of you, is just bad and again the overall look of the textures is just muddy and dull. Turok 2 holds up much better; which goes to my next point...

Even judging Turok 1 relative to the hardware it was running on at the time of its release it's still pretty bad because as I already mentioned, Turok 2 does a much better job, and something like GoldenEye just trounces it and holds up so much better visually and technically.

So it is possible to judge games in a few different ways but you do have to fair to the relevant variables in each specific case.

The retro magazine reviews were just to show that the definition of the use of the word 'graphics' in terms of video games has always been BOTH aesthetics/art AND technical aspects; just in case anyone brought up the idea that when someone says one game has better graphics than another they must only be referring to such a thing on a technical level, which isn't the case and it's certainly not the case in what I've been saying. Just wanted to make that point clear, because of an earlier comment, and I thought the magazine reviews would be a good way to clearly show how other professionals have always use the word and it's meaning, even back in the day.

I personally am discussing the various qualities of the graphics between both Star Fox and Star Fox 64 although primarily in regards to the artistic/aesthetic aspects and the overall visual design. So I'm saying the original game has better art and design overall but ultimately I personally think that also equals better graphics overall too in this case because I don't think the technical aspects carry as much weight. Certainly not enough between these two examples to really sway anything imo.

I'd like to try Star Fox Assault but I only play these retro games primarily via emulators nowadays so I doubt I'll be able to do that since I don't have a GC emulator and probably couldn't run it if I did :-(

Kirk

#38

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

I'll tell you something I just discovered with Star Fox 64...

That you can turn on/off the aim cursor by pressing R while on the Pause menu :-o

This makes aiming in the game SOOO much easier imo because now you're actually using the blaster's trajectory to aim precisely, just like in the original Star Fox, rather than that awkward twitchy aim cursor in Star Fox 64 that tracks slightly ahead of the actual blaster, which I've never liked.

Edit: Not ideal for targetting with the powered up lock-on blaster however lol

Kirk

#39

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@TheRealThanos Haha! I totally missed the 'thin lines' dig lol

@shani Technically speaking; he can say an older game running on clearly less powerful hardware has better graphics because the definition of 'graphics' when it comes to video games means BOTH the aesthetic/artistic elements, like the use of colour, the artwork that went into the textures, the character designs, the level designs (visually) and composition for example, alongside the technical aspects, like the resolution, frame-rate, how many parallax layers there are, how many polygons it's pushing and all the shader effects it's running etc. In the case of the original Star Fox; when people say it has better graphics I think they generally mean from the art & design side of things because it's clearly not as technically advanced as 64 in any area and ultimately impressive tech is always fleeting whereas great art & design can last forever.

So, personally, I think Star Fox has better realised graphics than Star fox 64, from an aesthetic/artistic and just general/overall design point of view. I think objectively it does too, in terms of the aesthetics and overall visual design. Star Fox 64 clearly trumps the original technically though...but are we REALLY debating that the tech, which by its very nature is always destined to look dated, is what's important in a game's graphics? I know I am not (as cool and impressive as it sometimes; for a little while).

I mean this was considered technically stunning in its day (So much fog!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRyBadLUwOA It's not however technically stunning now. It is in fact fugly as hell.

There's also absolutely nothing about this that's remotely technically impressive in this day and age either: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6em4GRiRY0 It does however still look great. Of course, it can be argued it's not even a real video game; just an interactive cartoon :-P lol

PS. Just in case; for anyone that doesn't believe me when I say 'graphics' means BOTH the art AND the tech then just check out a few professional video game reviews from back in the day (Look at the 2 editor comments in each review and what it says at the end under "GRAPHICS'):

http://www.meanmachinesmag.co.uk/pdf/superalestesnes.pdf
http://www.meanmachinesmag.co.uk/pdf/thunderforce4md.pdf
http://www.meanmachinesmag.co.uk/pdf/streetfighter2snes.pdf

Kirk

#43

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@TheRealThanos I'm terrible for forcing my views. It's a bad habit I have lol

PS. I think I get what you mean by 'thin lines' lol Clean, sharp, smooth edges; like the ones on the edges of the polygon models in Virtua Racing as opposed to the ones in the original Star Fox, right?

Although; again; I'd say this is judging technology rather than art & design and the game designers, artists and creators can't be blamed or judged on the tech they were stuck with at the time but what they did with it and to me it's very clear the Star Fox team wielded that SNES tech way better than the Star Fox 64 team did the N64 tech in terms of creating great looking art & design that 'flows' together cohesively and in most ways, beyond the tech, stands the test of time.

Do you get where I'm coming from here?

Not tech; I don't really care about SD or HD (well obviously I do but not in the context of the point I'm making); but artistry and actual visual design. I mean jaggies weren't an art or design choice on Star Fox on SNES but going with blurry muddy textures on Star Fox 64 absolutely was because the art and design team actually had other options and imo a couple that would have just looked way better and held up far better over time. I mean if Star Fix 64 looked closer to either that Star Wars type game I linked or Virtua Racing i.e. didn't try to force the textures, then I'm hoping you too can picture/imagine that it would have actually looked better in many ways and almost certainly if we could view it today, many years later.

I honestly would love to make an HD version of the original Star Fox that's basically identical but just with smooth anti-aliased polygons (still no texture maps), a solid 60fps and a draw distance where you basically see all the level geometry all the time with no visible pop-in of the graphics in the distance.

I think that would be sublime...and pee pee all over Star Fox 64 :-D

PS. This video is a better example than the one I linked before: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DhBSEN2xBhI

Kirk

#44

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@Donjwolf I mean I def get where @TheRealThanos is coming from when he talks about all the elements flowing together, visual or otherwise, but that's exactly what I think the original Star Fox does do better than 64 :-o

Funny how people can see things so different, although again, I think my actual training in multiple areas of art & design, including both 2D/3D graphics and 2D/3D animation, as well as my experience making games (including design, art an programming etc) gives me a slightly more qualified perspective on such things. Also; I just have good taste :-P

To me it actually is objective fact that the original Star Fox has superior aesthetic and artistic cohesive design etc but of course, everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on such things :-)

As wrong as they sometimes are ;-)

@TheRealThanos I've not tried a modified version of Star Fox 64 but I'll have a look for it...

Cheers.

Kirk

#47

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@CanisWolfred I get what you are saying and it's not specifically the fact they were animals that felt slightly off with me but just the more kid-centric portrayal of the characters, which I think stemmed in part from the choice to make them these particular slightly super-deformed animal designs in the first place.

I guess what I'm saying is a think something like this would have worked and fit just a tiny bit better overall: Untitled

There's still alien characters in there (there's even what is basically a human Fox McCloud) and I think the end result would have just been a little less childish, especially when you think where the Star Fox characters went in the sequels like 64 where with the Nickelodeon voices they did become even more kiddie.

Does that kinda make sense to you?

Although, to be fair, the characters have come around to being done less kiddie overall these days and are just generally more appealing overall because of it imo, while still being totally appealing to kids, so that's cool and is more what I'm after. They don't detract from the core Star Fox design sensibility but add to it.

@shani Again; I think this is a case of someone confusing tech with artistry and visual design.

The lack of anti-aliasing is not a fault in Star Fox's art or design but the SNES hardware itself. Technically someone could argue that the blurry low-res textures in 64 are similarly because of the hardware but the fact is the artists/designers could have actually chosen to use various other ways to represent the visuals, like flat-shading or gouraud shading for example; both of which I think would have looked better in many ways and certainly would have held up better over time. The same applies to various other aspects of the game's graphics etc.

Here's a kinda example of what I'm talking about; where it's more advanced 3D than the original Star Fox but still used mostly flat-shaded or gouraud shaded polygons so it generally holds up better visually than Star Fox 64's dirty blurry textured visuals:

https://youtu.be/qsihiqjsIQ8?t=114

In fact, the only bits that look bad are the explosions, which are either animated sprites or single polygons with an animated texture map (possibly made from actual footage of explosions), and the objects that do actually have some texture maps, like the large asteroid.

Try to imagine if 64 had gone more down this kind of route; like a pure evolution of the original Star Fix visual design and style (see the Vritua Racing image below for example)...rather than adding lots of fugly textures everywhere just because they could but where the hardware simply couldn't do them justice.

Does it make more sense to you what I'm talking about now?

@Damo Yeah; arcade Virtua Racer holds up amazingly well visually. Just a bunch of flat-shaded polygons in a variety of colours is basically like looking at an actual artwork and/or graphic design to me.

Just about any screenshot of that game could be framed and put on a wall and it would look like lovely minimalist modern art.

Untitled See; art :-D

That game is frikin 23 years old! :-o

You simply couldn't do that with Star Fox 64 as it would look like exactly what it is; a fugly looking screenshot from a dated video game printed out and stuck on your wall lol

Kirk

#48

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@TheRealThanos Well I tend to run Star Fox 64 through an emulator, which is about as sharp as it's gonna get, so when I say 'muddy' and 'blurry' I don't mean thins like the screen resolution or clarity of the display but the often garish color palettes, low resolution, blurred and repeated patterns of the actual textures themselves, which is a separate thing to the display.

There's def some things that are better in 64, such as the smoother framerate for example, but I genuinely still prefer playing the SNES game. It would take too long to go through all the reasons for this (why I think it is objectively better), as well as try to explain them all effectively, but there's actually quite a lot of them.

I imagine if someone could magically switch the game engines around, such that you could play Star Fox on the N64 engine and Star Fox 64 on the SNES engine, then it would be a lot easier to demonstrate to people why I ultimately think the original is just a better all-round game design in almost every way...but I can't. Lol

Edit: In fact; you can sort of half do that just by playing Star Fox 2, which 64 was definitely influenced by in a few areas, and seeing how the sequel still on SNES (although you'll need to play it on an emulator) falls short of the original in almost every way ;-) Although Star Fox 64 is way better than Star Fox 2, so it's probably not really a fair example.

Kirk

#49

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@CanisWolfred
I don't think the exact time period it was done really matters. Using anthropomorphised animal characters in the way it was done in the game is basically kiddie by design. I'm saying it was done with the intent of making the game a bit more appealing to kids basically and obviously so; giving it some "cool" but appealing to kids characters they could catch onto. I mean it worked because we all kinda love the characters now but they were and are kiddie. Even more so in 64, when they were given those Nickelodeon like voices with the cheesy voice acting.

Note: When I say the characters were designed to specifically appeal to kids I mean kids who are like 15 years old or whatever and not 5 year olds. Teens i.e. basically the general gaming demographic at that time.

I just think a less obviously young teens approach to the character designs (such as the examples I mentioned before; Captain Falcon and Samus Aran etc), rather then sticking in basically Sylvanian Families characters (I exaggerate slightly), could have resulted in an even better game and would have been even more in-keeping with the rest of the game's generally more "serious" look and feel; especially with the later games in the franchise. I mean I actually like the characters they went with ultimately, I think we all do, but they were always the one element that looked kinda out of place with the whole feel and tone of the rest of the game for me.

@TheRealThanos
Yeah, those are better examples. Still doesn't look particularly great though imo. It's perfectly serviceable but I think the general art direction and aesthetic design of the original still trumps the N64 version overall; despite the original's graphics obviously being far simpler. The 3DS version is a nice improvement over the original N64 games original textures and some of the models though.

Kirk

#50

Kirk commented on Feature: The Full Story Behind Star Fox 2, Nin...:

@liveswired No; Cuthbert is most def right on this one as far as I'm concerned. The core designs in the orginal Star Fox, such as the ships, are better than in 64. Don't let the lower amount of polygons and lack of textures fool you. A simple and well known exercise to test good "character" design, which is what the ship in Star Fox is (a character), is to picture the silhouettes of both designs and see which has the stronger clearer and more instantly recognisable shapes. It's def the original designs imo. I definitely think the view of the ship you get during actual gameplay in the orginal Star Fox is just far more iconic than the equivalent you get in 64.

Untitled (SNES)

Untitled (N64)

Just my opinion but I think it's pretty objective and coming from a art and design background I also honestly think it's correct too.

I mean I struggle to find half decent looking shots of the N64 game to be honest (something easily and clearly readable visually), whereas almost every screen from the SNES game could basically be a graphic design poster imo.