• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by marginalgloss

  1. I played about five or six hours of this on Saturday, over three sittings - the most I've played of a video game in one day for a while. That was enough to clear the opening area / prologue with what I thought was a pretty thorough investigation, though I'm sure I missed lots of stuff. I'm happy to report that the Wii U version is perfectly fine. It looks lovely. Yes, the framerate sags a bit at times, but somehow I find that it 'settles down' after 10 or 15 minutes of play - though more likely I just stop noticing it because I'm so engrossed in the world. Either way, I haven't encountered any technical issues that have affected my enjoyment. I think it's astonishing. I have laughed out loud so many times: with glee, or when I've died in some hilarious fashion, or just when thinking 'I can't believe they've actually made this'. I've never encountered a game quite like it. It hasn't just borrowed from open world games; it's swallowed them whole, digested them, then pooped one out as a beautiful new thing. It used to be said of Nintendo that they made games which had no indication that other trends in gaming ever existed - that's never been less true than with Breath of the Wild. An example: you learn very early on that to make areas of the world visible on your map, you've got to climb up and activate some big old towers that litter the map. Okay, fine - it's a cliche by now, but whatever. But unlike every Ubisoft game for the past ten years, the towers don't put any new icons on your map, and they don't actually 'unlock' anything - you only get to see the map. This changes everything! So you use your binoculars from the tower to figure out what you want to do next, and you place your own stamps on the map according to what you want to do. You set out for a place for no reason other than it looks interesting - and invariably, they've put something cool there. To an extent, this is kind of what Zelda games have always done - characters giving you directions with in-world references rather HUD markers, etc. But combining this with an open world which is extremely serious about letting you go where you want gives the whole thing a dizzying feel. I love that in the prologue area, you can keep asking the first guy you meet for more help with the thing he wants you to do, and he'll just tell you to get lost and figure it out by yourself. And he really means it!
  2. I think part of the reason Nintendo get such a harsh rap in some quarters is because they are one of the few companies left in the video games industry who can be regarded as monolithic, even if they don't actually operate that way. But because they make their own hardware with bespoke software, because they develop internally and publish work under their own name, and because their branding is so strong, there's a tendency to regard any really good (or really bad) thing they do in one part of the company as part of the same generalised blessing/malaise. One example is when everyone was praising them to the skies for Pokemon Go, even though they only have a partial stake in the Pokemon company and none at all in the developers, Niantic. Similarly, it can be difficult for a casual audience to understand that hiring decisions at Nintendo of America might have nothing to do with the developers who made Breath of the Wild or Fire Emblem - because from the outside, all we see is 'Nintendo doing stuff'. You could of course take the position that no part of any company who does unethical things should be rewarded with my money as a consumer, but then you might as well back out entirely of the question of whether their games are any good or not. It's complicated! I think it's important to call out companies when they get things wrong, perhaps even more so than it is to acclaim them when they get it right - but specificity is important, and valuable. Anyway, that ZAM review summarises itself quite neatly in the final paragraph: 'Exploring can be fun, but it doesn't make up for a lack of other things I want and expect in a Zelda game'. Which is a totally valid reaction, imo, though I'm not super clear on what exactly the writer wants from Zelda - I can't figure out if they want something just like the old games, or something new. Still, it doesn't give me much cause for concern - hopefully my Wii U copy will be here tomorrow...
  3. Modest Tech: The NX Generation (Nintendo Switch)

    Confirmed: Nintendo made the Switch cartridges taste really bad on purpose. This is my favourite video game story of the year so far.
  4. Modest Tech: The NX Generation (Nintendo Switch)

    I think the Nindies stuff is another big difference between the Switch launch and the Wii U announcements. It seemed to take Nintendo years after the Wii U actually launched to build the relationships and trust and infrastructure required to get to this point; but now they're building on that, and coming out swinging. I'm well up for another Steamworld Dig, although it seems odd that they've decided to make a sequel to that and not Steamworld Heist: Part Deux. Wargroove looks right up my alley, though I'm not super keen on the art style. But I suppose if Intelligent Systems won't make another GBA-style Advance Wars then someone else might as well have a go? And of course the Switch version of Stardew Valley is basically the version of that game I've been saving myself for. Working on my town while out and about, then coming home and sharing what I've created with my partner on the TV - it sounds like the perfect platform for that experience. Between now and a proper Animal Crossing, this could clean house.
  5. The chat about the possibility that Murder She Wrote might once have been filmed on the set of the Jaws ride reminded me of the movie Escape From Tomorrow, which is an independently-made feature film that was shot covertly in Disneyworld without permission from the big D. I don't think you guys have discussed this before but given the frequency with which Disney parks are mentioned I think it might be relevant to your interests? It's not a great movie, though it's weird and silly in a kind of sub-Lynchian way. But I'm sure it will be super interesting to any fan of the parks, and it's really remarkable what the filmmakers achieved with consumer-grade cameras and actors pretending to be tourists. I have no idea how it got made on a technical level, and it's amazing that Disney's reaction has basically been 'eh, whatever'. Though to be fair, it did kind of make me want to go to Disneyworld...
  6. Movie/TV recommendations

    Just a heads up for UK Thumbs (and the VPN-savvy amongst us) - BBC iPlayer is streaming last year's acclaimed documentary OJ: Made in America free, for the next 30 days or so. It's the whole eight hours, split into three parts. I've only watched the first hour, but so far it looks to be an incredible piece of work.
  7. Thumbs too idle? Enjoy this Idle Animation

    It seems almost churlish to refer to what Trico does in The Last Guardian as an idle animation, but my god - I could stare at him all day, even when he's not doing anything. Just hanging out. Glaring at me. The mooing noise he makes when I wander off and he can't see me. The effect of the breeze on his feathers, all in constant rippling motion. The catlike flicking of his ears. It's the kind of thing that makes me want to call somebody into the room and say 'have you seen what they've done with this? yeah I know, but have you seen it?'. It's so good it just steamrolls all the less-good stuff about the game for me. There's probably dozens of insanely good idle animations in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but I particularly like the one where the little faerie familiar will settle on Alucard's shoulder if he stands still for too long. When he moves, she goes 'eeee' and falls off. It's great. In The Lion King video game, when you're little baby boy Simba, if you stand around for too long a little butterfly appears and he starts trying to pounce on it. That's a good one. I like the way the protagonist fiddles about with his kit in Metro 2033. That had some very characterful weapon-fiddling. Dark Souls: why does my character keep scratching their head? What could it mean? And I do enjoy the all the idle animations in the Shantae games, even if they are a bit, uh...jiggly. I love a good idle animation. It feels to me like the modern tendency of games is to make such things into 'emotes' rather than just neat little easter eggs for the perceptive. A bit of a bummer, IMO.
  8. Modest Tech: The NX Generation (Nintendo Switch)

    Aside from a few lucky souls who've had their preorders sent out early, it looks like Nintendo have started sending out consoles to games writers and outlets. Presumably most things will be 'bargod till release day. I'm a little worried that we've still heard nothing about Virtual Console. It suggests to me that you won't be able to re-download stuff bought for Wii U and 3DS, and that the position will be essentially the same as with those machines - you want it again, you buy it again, with (at best) a substantial discount. There might not even be a substantial back catalogue available at launch...surely they would have announced that by now, at least? Or are they just saving it up to give the preorders one last boost in the next week or two? From a certain business perspective, I can understand it: when I bought Super Mario Bros 3 on Wii U, I bought it with the understanding that I was getting one digital copy to play on one console. Much as I wish they would, I can't see them changing to a position of 'well, now you get an extra second digital copy for free for an entirely new platform!' - even though that would bring them closer to what Sony and Microsoft are doing in this space. Nintendo don't have much history in giving their stuff away, apart from the occasional time-limited sale or reward for loyalty (the 3DS Ambassador thing, that ridiculous deal where you got another game free for buying MK8). I still probably won't buy one at launch. That could change so easily if they sorted the VC thing! But man, I keep taking longing looks at the hardware. And I just realised that Super Bomberman R has a two player coop campaign - that sounds ideal for playing at home with my partner. But is it actually gonna be a good game? I'll probably wait for the reviews to find out. Same with Zelda - I don't really expect Nintendo are going to screw it up, but I'm a little worried that it's so very unlike anything else they've ever made.
  9. Are you afraid to be Alone in the 2Dark?

    Oh wow I had no idea this was happening. The original Alone in the Dark, plus the two LBA titles, are some of my all-time most important and influential games. For some reason my dad bought me AITD when I was way too young and it gave me nightmares for years - perhaps it still does. I sometimes think it could be one of the most atmospheric games ever made. And the LBA games were just so charming - often super frustrating, of course, but also incredibly ambitious and unique for their time. 2Dark isn't procedurally generated, is it? The homepage doesn't seem to suggest as much but it's not very clear. With a few exceptions - well, Spelunky - I need a fixed campaign of some sort to get through this kind of thing. Also my goodness the art style is, er, bloody. Amused to note they named the bad guy 'Delicatessen Lewis' after the Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie, though.
  10. Didactic Thumbs (Pedantry Corner)

    Hot Rod was great. I haven't seen MacGruber but if, like me, you have a high tolerance for Andy Samberg's gurning face and the Lonely Island shtick, you will also find Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping to be very entertaining. Apparently it bombed at the box office while maintaining a fanatical following in some quarters, so I think we can file that one under 'cult movies' as well.
  11. The Book of Dust

    This is tremendous news. Aside from that rather odd little novella about Jesus, and one or two other short things, it's been a very long time since Pullman had a new book out. I'm excited to see what becomes of this. I too enjoyed the His Dark Materials trilogy, and it would be nice to reread them before this comes out. In particular I remember The Subtle Knife as being tremendously strange and affecting, though I don't know that I could wade through The Amber Spyglass again, good as I'm sure it was at the time...
  12. Other podcasts

    tbh it's probably not a very good or useful term, but the New Yorker used it so it must be real, right? Just like how we're all using umlauts over the word 'cooperate', you know? Here's another thing I read by Kurt Newman which takes a critical look at this tendency. To me it's a useful shorthand for a certain tone that is so preoccupied with 'punching up' in eye-catching ways that it strays into something which looks a lot like gratuitous personal abuse. But all these terms stop being useful when they start becoming generalisations, I guess. I somewhat regret mentioning it now because the podcast is really very good!
  13. Other podcasts

    Lately I've been enjoying a podcast called The Relentless Picnic (soundcloud, iTunes) which I discovered because it has lazenby on it. I only know him as one of the best writers to fall out of the tumblr scene - a blogger in the old sense of the word, I suppose. Read his stuff: it good. The podcast is mostly about post-Trump trends in American politics. It shares some of the trappings of the 'dirtbag left' but it is quite often better than that, though they are not entirely above cackling at easy targets on social media. The first couple of episodes are a bit rough - I'd be inclined to start with episode 3, which focuses on the extraordinary career of Vladislav Surkov, a sci-fi novelist who may or may not be one of the most influential spin doctors of the current Russian administration. I just finished ep 5; I never knew that I needed to hear Sean Spicer dubbed over Modest Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' until now. It feels strange to encounter a podcast in this way because I know almost nothing else about any of the presenters - it's quite well edited but there's no introductions, no explicit mission statement, no pleas to 'like and subscribe', no personal framing of any kind. Not that there's anything wrong with that stuff but there's something refreshing about this more austere style.
  14. Mr. Robutt

    It's fun to imagine Christian Slater is just playing a grown-up version of his character from Heathers here. The vibe is so similar I'm sure Esmail thought of it already - even down to his self-destructive and sometimes murderous impulses. The first time you see him on the subway he's basically in exactly the same pose - slumped over like a moody teenager with his hat pulled down low. It's great. (Heathers is great, everyone should watch Heathers..) I think if Mr Robot had maintained the straightforwardly anti-corporate, Anonymous-masked, Reddit-haunted, Fight Club-fandom feel of Season 1, I probably wouldn't have stuck with it through Season 2. (And they definitely take far too long to get the 'big twist' out of the way in S1.) So I totally understand if people don't have the patience to stick with it and honestly, I'm not really sure it's a show that rewards patience. But the overarching vibe of Season 2 is more pessimistic in a way that appeals to me. A lot more shades of grey. It's less like 'everything would be great if we annihilated Goldman Sachs' and more like *metal gear voice* 'everyone is a footsoldier in a proxy war without end'. Plus the constant reminder that the system you thought was worth destroying is actually a vastly complex interrelated machine made up of human beings, not just economic actors. And yet the same things that have kept me gripped all throughout Season 2 are the same things which leave me wondering if anyone running the show really knows where it's going. I'm happy for it to spin out little mysteries forever but it's so rare for shows which do that to ever come to any kind of satisfactory resolution. A few other random points:
  15. Film and TV Demasters

    The one movie I've always wanted to see in its unadulterated form is The Exorcist III. Put all your preconceptions about 'threequels' aside - and forget about The Exorcist II - this is a really interesting and unique horror film that deserves to be seen if you have any interest in the genre. It was written and directed by William Peter Blatty, who wrote the novel which the original movie was based on. It's a strange and haunting film, partly inspired by the Zodiac murders, which at first glance has almost nothing to do with 'The Exorcist'. For the most part it's highly restrained, dreamlike, and incredibly atmospheric. The stark differences in tone and plot didn't do the film any favours: after they did some test screenings, the studio were like 'why is there no exorcism in this movie called 'The Exorcist'?' and made them go back and put an exorcism in it. I've always wanted to see the Director's Cut, which apparently restores it to something resembling Blatty's original intentions; apparently there's a new Bluray out that gets somewhere close, but annoyingly, it's not available in the EU region. But for the most part I don't care too much about digging out special/uncut versions. I still enjoy going to see old movies projected in 35mm, not so much for the opportunity to see extra scenes or effects in their original format, but because it still retains a certain depth and luminosity of colour - an aura? - that I don't feel can be entirely replicated through digital projection. Sometimes this becomes manifest as a kind of raw scuzziness - I saw a print of Hardware by Richard Stanley last year which had exactly that effect, for example. But I once went to a screening of The Taking of Pelham 123 where the print was so bad the celluloid kept slipping out of the gate, so you could suddenly see the black bars that divide the frames at the top of the screen, or it would fly off the reel entirely. It was quite annoying but somehow also appropriate for a movie about a runaway train. On the other hand, last year I went to see Magnolia (in 35mm) and The Master (in 70mm) and both of them looked absolutely stunning. I'm glad to support an independent repertory cinema that makes a point of screening films in this way. I do wonder if it's partly a sentimental thing, since I know that digital projection has its advantages too - especially for smaller independent filmmakers, for whom it's always going to be more economical to shoot and distribute digitally. But the experience of celluloid is valuable and worth preserving. And the tendency for cinemas to replace trained projectionists is, of course, lamentable.
  16. Mr. Robutt

    I'm glad you started this thread because I've been dying to discuss this show somewhere. My partner and I have been working through it at a glacial pace - we still need to finish the final two episodes. I've extremely mixed feelings about it. I think the performances, music, cinematography and production design are outstanding, but (and I don't know how else to describe this) it's also one of the silliest serious dramas I've ever seen. I don't mean 'silly' in the sense of 'not serious' - although there is a fair bit of that in season 1, with the omnipresent men in black, the heavy-handed references to 'Evil Corp', etc. I found a lot of that stuff too heavy-handed, and I'm glad they reined it in for season 2. I mean 'silly' more in the sense that in trying to constantly accelerate the tension the plotting ends up wildly overreaching. The second season in particular is super ambitious, and suffers from the worst tendency of modern big-budget TV shows - it's the mid-season Breaking Bad/Game of Thrones thing of long, ponderous sequences in which a lot seems to happen but almost nothing actually happens, except for another brutal/inconsequential cliffhanger two minutes from the end credits. And yet I don't really care? In many ways it's beautifully made. I like shows where mysteries are piled upon mysteries, in the vein of early Twin Peaks. I'll always be happy to watch more of something where the reach exceeds the grasp on a regular basis than something where I know exactly what to expect every week. Thus far, a fascination with that oppressive, paranoid, languorous atmosphere has been sufficient to keep me coming back, even though at times I feel like I'm just submitting my patience to more punishment. I read somewhere that Esmail said he wanted to use this season to tie up all the loose ends from season 1, which seems like a particularly cruel joke. It's almost like a totally different show. Season 1 was relatively conventional. Everything was pointing in the same direction towards the Scooby Gang of hackers and their big heist. The audience is kind of hoping they succeed, even though they're doing some dubious things. Season 2, on the other hand, is a mess of difficult and contradictory fragments. It's suddenly about everything and about nothing at the same time - hyper-referential in that superficial way so common to so many TV shows. Some more detailed, spoiler-heavy thoughts on season 2: Sorry if this ended up being a bit of a ramble. Clearly in spite of my mixed feelings I have a lot to say about this show! I too have heard good things about that mobile game but I have not played it yet!
  17. I like these lists - certainly I can find nothing to disagree with in @Patrick R's top 15. But I'm surprised to see that nobody rates A.I. Artificial Intelligence more highly. Surely it's at least better than The Lost World? I haven't watched it all the way through in a long time, but I'm very fond of the version of A.I. that exists in my head. For all its problems I'd take it over something like Catch Me If You Can in a heartbeat.
  18. Fire Emblem Heroes (iOS/Android)

    Been playing this a bit over the last few days. A few boards a day is enough for me - I don't seem to have the gene that makes mobile games a compulsive draw, so I'll probably let it go in a few weeks. But the basic gameplay is quite satisfying. Despite the small size of the maps, I'm impressed at just how much traditional FE strategising is possible. It is odd that you can't choose where to start your units, though. It's a bit tedious having to shuffle all my lads and lasses about at the start of every round so I don't get my weapon compatibilities screwed up. I strongly recommend going to Settings and changing 'Confirm Action' and 'Confirm Move' to 'Tap', if you find you are sometimes moving and attacking by swiping in a careless manner. It is odd that there's no pairing up of characters, nor any support conversations between them. I know that would require an impossible amount of dialogue given the number of characters supposedly present, but that aspect has become such a huge draw for the series (ever since Awakening) that it seems odd to just leave it out entirely. Perhaps that might be an interesting focus for another Fire Emblem mobile game - a dating/life management sim that abstracts out the strategy layer entirely in favour of a Sims-esque life management/virtual pet thing? We can but dream. Oh and I have no idea what friends are for in this game but my friend ID is 9567957345. If you get a request from someone named Paddy it's probably meeee.
  19. Dune

    I thought this looked familiar so I went to my bookshelves, and lo... This actually belonged to my dad as well - I'm sure the had the other Dune books in the series, but I no longer own them. This one was special, I suppose. He had loads of old sf novels and anthologies from the 'New Wave' era - Clarke, Asimov, Ballard, Harry Harrison, Michael Moorcock, and many others. They were hugely influential on me as a youngster, even if a lot of the time I'm not sure I knew what I was reading. Certainly I read Dune (the first one) through at least once or twice when I was twelve or thirteen, though I don't think I could manage it today - and certainly not with this edition. As with so many sci fi books of that era, it was printed on the cheapest, most acid-laden paper, and it's looking awfully fragile today. My memories of the original movie are more vivid. It was one of those that my dad taped off the TV and for some reason I was allowed to watch it despite being probably too young - probably because to my parents it was all high camp, not much more 'adult' than Star Wars or the Flash Gordon movie. As well as being a bit more dull than both. But I was astonished by the atmosphere of the film; by the sight of the black gunk spewing out of Baron Harkonnen, and more besides. And I thought the idea of giant sandworms that could swallow you up from beneath your feet was terrifying. I guess I have no opinion on the potential quality of the new movie version. I'm sure it'll be great! Did anyone have any experience with the Dune video games? I played quite a lot of Dune II, which was a Westwood Studios joint that became the basis for their Command and Conquer series. But the first Dune game was a strange hybrid of adventure game and RTS - I've never tried it but it always seemed to be quite ambitious for its era.
  20. The Idle Book Club 23: Silence

    Excited to read this one - I've just ordered my copy. Here's a thing: this may be the first book featured on Idle Book Club so far for which there seems to be no Kindle/ebook edition, even though there's a movie tie-in paperback version...
  21. The King of Comedy

    I watched The King of Comedy for the first time over the weekend, and I think it might have already become my favourite Martin Scorsese film. My partner found it almost unbearable; she could appreciate it, but she had difficulty 'enjoying' it. But I loved every minute of it, perhaps because I found something uncomfortably familiar about Rupert Pupkin. As someone who has been quietly doing his own creative thing (in my case writing) for a very long time, and who finds any kind of self-promotion - or indeed any real self-expression - incredibly challenging, there's a lot about him which is familiar to me. The way in which I secretly crave recognition while being too afraid to actually work for it through normal means; the way in which non-codified social interactions are awkward for me to the point of painfulness; the craving for the arts as a kind of release for the kinds of impulses most people satisfy from entirely ordinary means. And of course there's the occasional cameo by the violent manifestation of my Id, probably also played by Sandra Bernhard. But in a way I found it comforting rather than embarrassing to watch. It's much like how I feel about Curb Your Enthusiasm, a show which I've also been (re)watching. I love Curb because it takes the most absurd, overwrought inventions of my own anxieties and lays them out as if they were something that could actually happen. It's like somebody over-thought every situation in the same way I frequently do, except it doesn't end up with me getting stabbed or pushed in front of a train. It's a way of saying: see, maybe it won't be so bad? If this idiot can muddle his way through, so can you?
  22. Modest Tech: The NX Generation (Nintendo Switch)

    A couple of new Switch trailers have emerged and they are extremely good in a deeply cringeworthy way: This longer one has everything you could ask for: a Nintendo Switch theme song! A sinister voice whispering 'Switch!' in the background for no reason! A man falling into a swimming pool with a Joycon in hand and probably breaking it! And, for those who have fond memories of terrible video game advertising in the 90s: a guy ignoring his girlfriend because he's too busy playing with himself, and another guy playing Mario Kart on the toilet. It's very good/bad. There's also a Superbowl commercial, which is a bit more concise and impactful. I'm curious to see what people will make of this one. To me it's a good example of why they didn't initially show off the motion controls at all - if I didn't already know what this is, I'd think the guy playing Zelda in bed and the people playing ARMS in the living room were playing with two different consoles.
  23. A Decade Ago: The Games of 2007 Thread

    I've been slowly making my way through the original Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii U. For some reason I have a very clear memory of the first time I ever saw this game in action: it was 2007 or 2008, and I was visiting an old friend at her flat in Manchester. I'd never known her to show much interest in video games, but she had a Wii, and for some reason she was wildly enthusiastic about this new Mario game. This was at a time in my life when I wasn't playing too many games - I would sometimes play old things on PC, but I was totally out of touch with the world of consoles, and Nintendo stuff was entirely alien to me. So I remember seeing it on her little 20" CRT and thinking 'this is very nice but I have no idea what is going on here'. Perhaps it didn't strike me as being so very different to the old 3D platform games of the N64 and PS1 era - but those were out of my wheelhouse too, because games like that were never released on PC. So basically I was clueless. Fast forward ten years or so, and oddly enough, it would be the Wii U that rescued the reputation of the Wii in my mind. By the time the Wii U came out, I feel like I'd been through the stage of scowling at its shovelware and underpowered specs, and a new appreciation was starting to form in my mind around a good number of indisputable classics in its back catalogue. For me at least that was part of why I bought one - because there was so much that I didn't want to miss out on. Super Mario Galaxy is one of those classics. And it is very good. I'm not sure I can say too much more about it that hasn't been said already, but a few detached observations: I have no idea how anyone would go about designing a game like this. I'd have trouble drawing many of these maps on a piece of paper; how they were conceived and built in 3D space, I cannot imagine. The gravity manipulation and use of 'slingshot' physics mechanics stills feels revolutionary. The way they use it to solve the first problem of platform games - it doesn't matter if you fall off the platforms now! - is instantly satisfying. But of course they then have to provide a whole lot of ways in which you can fall off the world. It looks great. I don't much care that it looks a little fuzzy now on a HD TV. I wonder about the extent to which the art design - much of which is a lot of otherwise unremarkable Mario stuff - is elevated by the game design. To put it another way: you have a lot of familiar and fairly unremarkable Mario tropes that suddenly look amazing and new because they're painted on to a set of tiny, meticulously crafted little interlinked worlds. It's a very, very, very good idea. I think the controls are fine, though if I were given the option of using the Classic Controller Pro, I'd take it in a heartbeat. Shaking the Wiimote/Nunchuk to do the spin attack becomes tiresome almost instantly, and shooting star bits at stuff feels like a disposable mechanic included only to support the pointing functionality (though let's be honest - shooting stuff with a light gun is always kind of fun, isn't it?). The story of Rosalina - seemingly inspired by The Little Prince - is a really extraordinary thing. I've no idea how it got made, or why it is in the game. On a certain level, it's totally irrelevant to Mario's actual quest (to rescue Peach) and it's hard to make any kind of link between the story and what it is you *do* in the game. Rosaline never features in the actual levels, that I can recall; she only presides in the hub world as a sort of maternal deity. A bit like the Fire Keepers in the Dark Souls games, perhaps. I should add that I don't really care that Rosalina is irrelevant to the game at large. The storybook is beautiful. Her home is beautiful. But questions abound. Am I the child Rosalina is reading to? Or is the whole thing a story being told to Mario, who is her child? Or is Mario just her corporeal messenger in the galaxy, the agent through which she is slowly consolidating her power through the accumulation of chubby little star dudes? It's all very confusing, and - if I stop to think about it too much - deeply weird. I find it kind of compelling and haunting at the same time. I wonder if Nintendo would ever include such a defiantly odd bit of myth-making in one of their most prominent games again. I suspect not? New Super Mario Bros U, Super Mario 3D Land/World and Mario Maker were all devotedly pedestrian* by comparison. It'll be interesting to see if Super Mario Odyssey brings anything new to the picture - beyond, you know, the horrors of forced interaction with actual human beings. * - There's a gravity-related joke to be made here but I can't for the life of me figure out how it might go.
  24. All the stuff about Toxoplasmosis in cats and rats and its bizarre effects on the human brain reminded me of a bunch of very similar stuff in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - I'm sure Kojima could do some wild stuff with cat poop. Oh, and I also wanted to add my voice to the many people who've already said they really enjoyed this episode and appreciate it when the podcast veers away from its stated subject matter. Though I would also add that, like glimpsing a comet with an elliptical orbit some hundreds of years long, it would be nice to have a good stare at the bright glimmer of some intense game-specific chat once every so often. But not too often! It's less special if it happens too often.
  25. The Nintendo Wii U is Great Thread

    I've owned NSMBU since I first bought my Wii U and I've never managed to finish it. Every time I get a few worlds in and find myself giving up - I just find it ball-bustingly difficult, especially if you try to play it cooperatively. I dread to think what the Luigi DLC is like. To be fair, I've never actually finished any of the NES/SNES Mario games either, so perhaps it just maintains that classic level of difficulty - but I don't know how much of that stuff was worth keeping tbh. I don't understand why it maintains the old tradition of only letting you 'hard save' after finishing a castle - if you run out of lives, you can end up losing vast chunks of progress. I guess that's one way to make lives meaningful? But I dunno - I completed Tropical Freeze and by comparison it never made me feel like busting the gamepad over my knee after a particularly bad session. Super Mario 3D World, on the other hand, gave me relatively little trouble. It's just like sinking into a warm bath for my brain. I'm actually trying to finish Galaxy for the first time at the moment - I might write something else about it on the games of 2007 thread... I am surprised to not see more love for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker here. There is never a moment in that game when I am not thinking 'this is delightful in every way'. No sane person relates to Mario, surely? But Toad: it me. It me. They literally made a game about my life. Oh, and on the topic of Zelda - there's a fairly substantial EU eshop sale on all the Zelda games running from tomorrow. I might pick up Minish Cap and one or both of the DS titles on Wii U - anybody have an opinion as to which is best?