Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Everything posted by mikemariano

  1. You can safely skip Metal Gear Solid, Jake. Unfortunately, the gameplay is absolutely killed by the cutscenes. They come too frequently to build up any rhythm when playing. Here's how that first part of Metal Gear Solid went for me: I watched Snake swim in and listened to his conversation with the Colonel. I suddenly realized I had control of Snake. I took two steps and was discovered by guards. I ran behind a crate. I never played Metal Gear Solid IV, but I was curious if I was missing out. I watched a snippet of a Metal Gear Solid IV walkthrough on Youtube, where the player did the following: He started the level and a cutscene played. He suddenly realized he had control of Snake. He went into a crouch. He got shot by a bunch of guards. He ran behind a building and used some rations. I turned off the video. That part in bold is important. You are never able to just play Metal Gear, and you're never rewarded for trying to do so. As a player, Snake is perpetually waking up from a dream. It made me appreciate the Half-Life approach much more, because even if you goof around and make Gordon jump on tables and throw soda cans while Kleiner prattles on, you are never not playing. You three have said similar things about cutscenes before, but I really can't emphasize enough how deadly they can be to gameplay.
  2. Google Wave

    Do I understand this correctly? Is this a case of Google saying: "Hey, you know that XMPP stuff we used to built Gchat? Let's use it to rebuild e-mail, document editing, and everything on the Internet!" I don't think this is a terrible idea. Even if it doesn't change the world and only results in companies making a few bulked-up instant messaging clients, it should be worth a look. Google Wave requires cooperation that is frustratingly unseen on the Internet, though. Look at OpenID. So many sites will issue an OpenID, but almost no sites trust IDs issued by other websites---meaning you still have to sign up to comment for each new site.
  3. It's actually a bit heartbreaking to listen to Chris's disillusionment with Mass Effect 2. Like Chris, I find space fascinating, and I was captivated by the visuals and galaxy map for the first Mass Effect. But then I featuring the game's combat. I became hesitant. "Aw, I kinda just want to fly around in space. I don't have much interest in fighting dudes on planets." I never played or purchased the first Mass Effect, but I could see how it appealed to people that liked the gameplay.An announcement about the sequel made me feel a little more comfortable with this. Kotaku featured the headline: "Mass Effect 2 Is A 'Shooter RPG'", so hopefully that means even better gameplay. (And fewer of the frustrating combat situations Chris has described on the podcast.) But as Mass Effect 2 improves its combat, it really seems to be losing the wonder of space. But hey, they put that in the first game and people like me didn't buy it. Bring on the uncouth biotic women! PS: The best Kotaku comment about Subject Zero? "Some men are just uncomfortable with a woman able to go toe to toe with a man." My fragile masculinity!
  4. How has Idle Thumbs affected your life?

    I've been affected severely. Any letters to the editor or other explanatory posts I read are now played in my head in the "Chris Remo Reads Reader Mail" voice. Also, over a year ago I was trying to explain the appeal of the recently-announced Wii Sports Resort to my co-workers. I lamely offered, "You can throw a Frisbee to a dog." Then when the game was released, Jake began imagining scenarios for "Frisbee Dog" on the podcast. I have combined my sentence with his term, and now incessantly repeat in Jake's "smooth commercial voiceover guy" voice: "You can throw a Frisbee to a dog! It's Frisbee Dog!" None of this is bad. Sometimes I miss my own voice in my head, though.
  5. Scribblenauts

    -- IGN.com But I do agree. I'm less disappointed in Scribblenauts than I am in myself. A little part of me dies every time I type "jetpack". But I can honestly think of almost no other item that will let me reach the second floor of just about any of Scribblenauts's levels. All of the below items fail to get me one story higher: trampoline pogo stick escalator ladder mattress climbing gear And just about every level of Scribblenauts demands that you move somewhere higher than you can jump. So jetpack it is.
  6. Idle Thumbs 44: Salacious Thumb

    You might want to add a link to Steve Gaynor's predator dream to the weblog post for this episode. I guess you don't need to, since he retells the story in its entirety, but he seemed sad no one had read it. I replayed that part of the episode several times; the sound of disgust Steve makes while throwing down his controller is very convincing!
  7. Idle Thumbs 44: Salacious Thumb

    Now I'm curious about ODST. Halo 2 had a surprisingly serious story. Where the first Halo had a plot that could be reduced to "space dude kills aliens", the second game expanded on the apocalyptic religious beliefs and political structure of the Covenant and hinted at the sinister motivations of The Flood. It's still space opera, but it was far weightier than it needed to be. I wanted to know what happened next! Then Halo 3 reversed this, as if Bungie said, "Forget the story. It's just Halo. Let's just get this thing wrapped up." There were no surprises---you just killed a lot of guys. But ODST has a story? Ominous revelations? Is any of it fascinating? Does any of it reveal more about the cosmology of the Halo universe or the history of the Forerunner race? Or is it more like Homer Simpson's idea for Poochie? Inquiring genre fiction fans want to know! PS: Do the Flood appear in ODST? Does anyone like fighting them?
  8. I am especially interested in listening to Nick play Civilization IV---or any strategy game, really. He always comes back with the best anecdotes. I especially liked the "Autosaving" story in Episode 33 of the podcast:
  9. Favourite endings to games.

    Is it really dumb to say Super Mario World? <object width="320" height="265"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNcIAC30mWI&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNcIAC30mWI&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="320" height="265"></embed></object> Sure, there are no surprises, but I loved the fact that Mario's enemies get to take a bow during what's essentially a video game curtain call. "Hey, look at all these guys! You killed them all!" Too many video game endings are merely a movie---"This is what happens next. The end." I like endings that make you feel like you accomplished something.
  10. (IGN.com)

    "Oh, and there's a tank too." - IGN.com (Yeah, this quote is intentionally playful as opposed to insufferably inane, but I liked it.)
  11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wander_Donkey Oh, this page is getting good....
  12. That 55-WIZARD-NO voicemail was truly inspired. You have clever listeners. We have a long road to travel before we achieve true wizard equality.
  13. Dear crazy EA shareholder: You're welcome. This is for Michael Jordan In Flight, a 1993 EA game. I found this on a Geocities Michael Jordan fansite. It's possible this was from a magazine preview and therefore EA would not have it as a promotional photo. Check your old copies of Computer Gaming World!
  14. A Google search for "Strawberry Whammy" shows that these fruit rolls have been in discussion (and still not verifiable) since last fall. Sorry; there goes the Idle Thumbs exclusive. http://www.davidicus.com/blog/2008/11/07/closest-ill-get-to-being-on-a-wheaties-box/ http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=72222&page=39
  15. When you say there's dog fighting in Wii Sports Resort, do you mean that in the Battlefield sense or the Michael Vick sense? The latter sounds implausible (those poor Nintendogs!), but I didn't expect my Miis to shoot at each other in aerial combat, either. The Nintendo Description only mentions "Air Sports", so is it really more of a stunt flying thing?
  16. (IGN.com)

    Using Google, I searched IGN.com for quotes that fit the pattern "this game will * you". Most of the quotes aren't so good, but here are some of the standouts. "This game will assault you with mediocrity." - IGN.com -- Monster Jam: Urban Assault (12/31/08) "This game will get you drunk and get you laid." - IGN.com -- Game Party (6/12/07) "This game will let you live out your avian fantasies." - IGN.com -- Puffins: Island Adventure (5/18/09) Puffins!
  17. Last week I thought you really were talking about the old 1990 version of King's Bounty. I had no idea there was a new one. Heroes of Might and Magic (I only played II) was indeed very similar to the original King's Bounty, right down to the frustrating "find the buried treasure" overarching quest. I never once managed to find the treasure in time in either game. In King's Bounty the treasure is the bounty. I was never quite sure why I was searching in Heroes of Might and Magic. I see that the game has a writeup on MobyGames: http://www.mobygames.com/game/kings-bounty Ooh there are Commodore 64 and Sega Genesis versions? Sounds like I need to start a futile Virtual Console petition!
  18. I want to share your skepticism of Metroid: Other M. The first promotional screenshot showed Samus bodyslamming a lizard, of all things. The Other M trailer looks story-heavy, and Samus's soliloquies from Metroid Fusion were the weakest part of that game. But I used up all of my Metroid skepticism on the Metroid Prime series. I ignored all of those games when they were released---I didn't want a first person shooter! But so many people have reported that the Prime series gets the exploration right---that it "feels" like Metroid---that I feel I must give the games their due. I plan on buying the Trilogy in August. Other M has a completely separate set of issues that turn me off, but instead of jaundiced skepticism, I will treat this game with cautious optimism.