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Idle Thumbs 303: Great Play Dad

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Idle Thumbs 303:

Idle Thumbs 303


Great Play Dad
An old man sits in the dark, alone, waiting for a hero to arrive. The old man has lived a full life; he has seen things you wouldn't believe, but the world has changed around him, without him. "Were you able to get the files to download? I bought the game but nothing showed up," he says to no one in particular. "I was having a lot of trouble." He continues to wait for help.

Discussed: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mac shareware, ResEdit, Nintendo Switch, Bloodborne, choose-your-own-adventure books, Wasteland, Fatal Frame 2, old man complaints about technology

 

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every time a new episode shows up in my feed now, I'm super excited. This was a great one guys - thank you!

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Man, the first fifteen minutes are packed full of vintage Idle Thumbs bits: Python-esque musical interludes over ranting, a Boost Bindburn, Twilight Princess guy, Chris being baffled Remo-style... It must be the Far Cry 2-ness of Breath of the Wild causing the throwback, but I love it!

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I don't remember if it was this episode (this is what happens when you have so many episodes and I listen to them all in a row) but I don't know if I've ever felt a greater video game kinship with Jake and his reluctance to get a Wii U for Zelda and then have to buy a Switch in a few months for Mario if it's good.

 

Like, I never had a Wii or a Wii U, and there are Wii U games I would want to play on it, but the Switch is the new and sexy thing with only 1 game on it.

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The discussion about button placement on Nintendo controllers had the hopeless Nintendo fanboy in me yelling at the pod. The thing is, I have the opposite experience of Chris: my go to gaming machines for my whole life has been PC (keyboard and mouse) or Nintendo. A year or so ago, I got my first Xbox controller for a new gaming pc, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to get used to the "weird" placements of the buttons ("Y" is where "x" should be!)

 

side note: nintendo's button scheme precedes Xbox's by almost a decade. Oh well. I hate the part of me that gets annoyed at this stuff

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3 hours ago, Vader said:

The discussion about button placement on Nintendo controllers had the hopeless Nintendo fanboy in me yelling at the pod. The thing is, I have the opposite experience of Chris: my go to gaming machines for my whole life has been PC (keyboard and mouse) or Nintendo. A year or so ago, I got my first Xbox controller for a new gaming pc, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to get used to the "weird" placements of the buttons ("Y" is where "x" should be!)

 

side note: nintendo's button scheme precedes Xbox's by almost a decade. Oh well. I hate the part of me that gets annoyed at this stuff

They got it wrong in the first place, and then instead of using any of their opportunities to fix their mistake, they doubled down on the awfulness by removing any color or shape clues that could've been used to aid in memorizing the layout...  Which is real helpful in the age of QTEs, let me tell you.

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3 hours ago, Vader said:

The discussion about button placement on Nintendo controllers had the hopeless Nintendo fanboy in me yelling at the pod. The thing is, I have the opposite experience of Chris: my go to gaming machines for my whole life has been PC (keyboard and mouse) or Nintendo. A year or so ago, I got my first Xbox controller for a new gaming pc, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to get used to the "weird" placements of the buttons ("Y" is where "x" should be!)

 

side note: nintendo's button scheme precedes Xbox's by almost a decade. Oh well. I hate the part of me that gets annoyed at this stuff

 

I don't actually care how the buttons are labeled. That's irrelevant in the face of how they're actually mapped in a game. My difficulties in Zelda are with the specific mapping choices (for instance, run and jump positioned oppositely rather than adjacent), which would persist no matter what labels are put on any of those buttons.

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12 hours ago, Lork said:

They got it wrong in the first place, and then instead of using any of their opportunities to fix their mistake, they doubled down on the awfulness by removing any color or shape clues that could've been used to aid in memorizing the layout...  Which is real helpful in the age of QTEs, let me tell you.

 

Whenever they make you press a context button, it shows the ENTIRE diamond and the relative position of the button you're supposed to press, so.... ???

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In response to Jake being a dick about Marathon:

 

I've recently played a bunch of Marathon via Aleph One, which is sort of a Source Port (kind of like something like ZDoom for Doom) that makes it possible to play it on modern systems. Also it comes directly with all the files, since Bungie released all that stuff as freeware: https://alephone.lhowon.org/

 

Playing it however, it made me realise how much Doom really got the whole "game feel" thing right, which is easy to take for granted these days. Marathon feels super clunky and cumbersome in comparison, even with all the bells and whistles added in a modern source port. By comparison, everything in Doom feels "right", down to things like the amount of friction when you move. Also the levels in Marathon really aren't that great. Everything kind of blends together, things like progression-critical switches don't really read as important in the environment, and it's full of boring and claustrophobic player-width corridor mazes. It's really tough to play nowadays, whereas Doom feels as great as ever.

 

Also shows that it's really not easy to get that stuff right, and how much lightning in a bottle early id Software really was.

 

So yeah, Jake probably was super rude and kind of a dick to the poor Bungie guy, but he was also kind of right, retrospectively. :D

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On 3/18/2017 at 1:18 AM, eRonin said:

 

Whenever they make you press a context button, it shows the ENTIRE diamond and the relative position of the button you're supposed to press, so.... ???

So that's a platform requirement like those "do not turn off your console..."  messages?  If so, somebody should tell Nintendo that developers like Capcom and Platinum are ignoring the guidelines:

 

tXcOPL9.jpg

(that's a contextual button prompt, but the game displays QTEs in the same format)

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I'm talking specifically about Breath of the Wild. Just looked up W101 and Bayonetta 2 QTEs and they show the whole diamond too so not sure which Platinum game you're talking about. 

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It was pretty interesting that Jake identified that the clip of Omar Sharif saying "That was good play" was from a Mac version of the game. When Nick first brought up that he played that game on a Dark Souls stream, I went and found a clip it from a youtube play of the Mac game, then re-recorded from the youtube video and made it available for Nick, which he uses in his streams now. So, it started as Omar Sharif's voice, which was recorded and compressed and put into the Mac version of the game, then re-recorded and compressed for a youtube video, then re-recorded from a youtube video, and then put into a twitch stream, and then heard from a twitch stream. And it still sounds great. 

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6 hours ago, eRonin said:

I'm talking specifically about Breath of the Wild. Just looked up W101 and Bayonetta 2 QTEs and they show the whole diamond too so not sure which Platinum game you're talking about. 

What does Breath of the Wild have to do with it?  That game doesn't even have QTEs!  I guess I remembered Bayonetta wrong.  It doesn't show the diamond, but it does alternate between diagrams that at least show the relative position of the button and hilarious full pictures of the entire Wii U gamepad, which is better than I thought it was.  Either way the lack of color or shape differences still make them unnecessarily harder to read in a split second, which is what you need to do for a QTE.

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I'm surprised it took this long to hear what Jake thought of the Nintendo Switch. They talked about New Donk City when all that stuff was coming out but, unless I'm mistaken, the system hasn't actually been discussed at length on IT before this episode? Something I've waited a while for, it was worth it.

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Button placement is one of the many outstanding issues I have with most controller designs.  I've long been irritated that for almost all controller actions are located on the front of the controller where sticks/d-pads are.  The introduction of triggers and shoulder buttons helped some but that still leaves four (or three depending on how you hold it) fingers that could be doing something, ANYTHING else.  Stuff like the Steam controller or the Xbox One Elite controller are better still in that they have paddles on the back that can also activate face buttons, but I want a controller with all buttons on the back.  Things like how I position my hand on the controller shouldn't have such a large impact on how I actually play the game.

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6 hours ago, Lork said:

What does Breath of the Wild have to do with it?  That game doesn't even have QTEs!  I guess I remembered Bayonetta wrong.  It doesn't show the diamond, but it does alternate between diagrams that at least show the relative position of the button and hilarious full pictures of the entire Wii U gamepad, which is better than I thought it was.  Either way the lack of color or shape differences still make them unnecessarily harder to read in a split second, which is what you need to do for a QTE.

 

Well the game that they're all talking about on the podcast is BotW? Which is what prompted the discussion about controller button positions; Nick having to look down and see which button is which on the controller. The whole B-->X to run and then jump is an entirely other issue though.

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QTEs are a terrible thing on their own, but I remember God of War 3 (I think it was that one) having their button prompts appear on the edges of the screen that correspond to their placement on the controller.  As in the bottom button prompt would appear at the bottom of the screen, the left on the left, etc.  That way you didn't have to know what letter/symbol/color/shape/whatever was on the button, just it's relative position in the layout.

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19 hours ago, Patrick R said:

I'm surprised it took this long to hear what Jake thought of the Nintendo Switch. They talked about New Donk City when all that stuff was coming out but, unless I'm mistaken, the system hasn't actually been discussed at length on IT before this episode? Something I've waited a while for, it was worth it.

 

I didn't own one until it came out, and we're not press so we didn't have eval hardware.

 

I wasnt really into the Switch conceptually, the month before launch, but I bought it for Zelda and have no regrets. 

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On 3/17/2017 at 3:10 PM, Chris said:

I don't actually care how the buttons are labeled. That's irrelevant in the face of how they're actually mapped in a game. My difficulties in Zelda are with the specific mapping choices (for instance, run and jump positioned oppositely rather than adjacent), which would persist no matter what labels are put on any of those buttons.

 

I think the reason BOTW isn't optimized to let you run then jump is that the stamina loss from even a tiny bit of running is actively detrimental for gliding long distances, and running into a jump does not actually give you much forward momentum compared to just walking. It just feels really good to run into a glide.

 

23 hours ago, SecretAsianMan said:

Button placement is one of the many outstanding issues I have with most controller designs.  I've long been irritated that for almost all controller actions are located on the front of the controller where sticks/d-pads are.  The introduction of triggers and shoulder buttons helped some but that still leaves four (or three depending on how you hold it) fingers that could be doing something, ANYTHING else.  Stuff like the Steam controller or the Xbox One Elite controller are better still in that they have paddles on the back that can also activate face buttons, but I want a controller with all buttons on the back.  Things like how I position my hand on the controller shouldn't have such a large impact on how I actually play the game.

 

Paddles make a ton of sense conceptually, but I imagine they're less intuitive for novice gamepad users, and getting used to paddles really does take some brain rewiring after 20 years of SNES-derived controller designs.

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29 minutes ago, Cbirdsong said:

 

Paddles make a ton of sense conceptually, but I imagine they're less intuitive for novice gamepad users, and getting used to paddles really does take some brain rewiring after 20 years of SNES-derived controller designs.

 

This is true, but the main user base for consoles is going to increasingly skew towards people who don't have the same history and introducing a more functional controller would be an easier adjustment for them.  Personally I didn't find it to be a difficult transition at all and I've been gaming since the days of Atari.  Then again my brain might have passively prepared itself for this given how much I hate face buttons.

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I've never had much trouble mapping button prompts to their positions. I have Playstation controllers and Xbox controllers and it just must be a thing my brain does for me because I swap seamlessly. The problem I have, like Chris, is when the commands are in the wrong spot. BotW sounds like it's a very special case of putting run and jump in completely the wrong spots relative to each other, but most people probably experience this in Playstation imports where instead of hitting X to continue (cardinal south button) you hit O to continue (cardinal east button).

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It might be apocryphal, but the original intention of O and X on the PS controllers was meant to be confirm and cancel respectively. After that proved to be an unnatural mapping that PS games flipped how they worked.

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I never understood that, since that lines up with the standard Nintendo set with SNES.

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