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Richard Kain

Member Since 02 Aug 2007
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 03:11 PM

#14388369 Limited Run Games Thread - Global Outbreak of...Delayed Shipping

Posted by Richard Kain on 01 April 2021 - 12:07 AM

It is similar to how they got Streets of Rage 4 out quickly for Switch but my copy was tied to Panzer Dragoon and I had to wait four months before they both shipped.


Consider yourself lucky. I was in a similar boat, only I also ordered Streets of Rage 4 and Panzer Dragoon in the same shipment as Tiny Metal. I only got them about a month ago. Had to wait the better part of a year for those games to ship, all because of Tiny Metal, and how long that one game took to finally be produced physically.


These days I've avoided bundling my games up TOO much. I don't mind combining shipments to save on shipping, but I'm not as obsessive about it as I used to be. So long as I can get two or three titles wrapped up into the same shipment, I'm content. I don't wait for a few weeks to bundle up four or more orders into the same shipment now. I don't want to get caught up in the same kind of delay.

#14387891 The Home Arcade Tremendous Deals and Discussion Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 30 March 2021 - 05:41 PM

Yeah, I noticed that too.  I didn't expect it was going to be valuable when it was the highest print graphic novel at the time and went on to be the most sold graphic novel ever (like over 8M copies sold).   I bet my parents are still holding onto it.


The story of the 90's comic speculation bubble is actually fascinating. There were a number of news stories at the time about very old comics being found, and then being sold for incredible prices, because they were so rare. The comic book industry had been dealing with a bit of a downturn in readership, partially due to the boom in children-focused entertainment television in the 80s. In a bid to reverse this trend, they actively started to restructure their entire business to appeal to older demographics, and specifically cater to the speculation market. This lead to 90's-style comics, which almost managed to crash the entire industry. And the speculation bubble popped once collectors realized that the shift the industry had undergone basically guaranteed that none of the new comics would ever appreciate in value the way the old ones had.

#14387687 Limited Run Games Thread - Global Outbreak of...Delayed Shipping

Posted by Richard Kain on 29 March 2021 - 11:56 PM

Sony hasn't announced anything. A news outlet with a sketchy publication history cited an anonymous source saying the store was closing, and since then nobody - Sony, other outlets (except those citing the original news article), or developers - have confirmed it.


I courteously refrained from responding to this earlier. After all, you were correct, the news was a rumor, and had not been confirmed officially by Sony.


Today, this news was corroborated officially by Sony themselves. Now that I've been patient, perhaps we can now officially speculate on the significance of this news without quibbling over its veracity?


The PS3 and PS Vita stores will be going down, and staying down permanently. Anyone hoping to purchase games digitally for either platform will not be able to do so. I personally am particularly concerned about what this might mean for PS1 Classics titles, as both of those platforms were the primary place to play such legacy titles. The PS4 has never had support for digital PS1 purchases.

#14386581 Limited Run Games Thread - Global Outbreak of...Delayed Shipping

Posted by Richard Kain on 25 March 2021 - 03:35 PM

Second, 'Windjammers' and 'Lumines' are far from unpopular. The interest in 'Windjammers' alone garnered a second after how many years from the first release.


Yeah, this. Windjammers might not have had all that much exposure in the mainstream. But for old-school gaming fans, it has a substantial cult following. It's particularly well known as a great two-player head-to-head title. And don't even get me started on Lumines. That game comes from a series that started on the PSP, had plenty of critical praise, and a famous director. Lumines is actually one of the better known and more mainstream series that LRG has published.

#14386027 Limited Run Games Thread - Global Outbreak of...Delayed Shipping

Posted by Richard Kain on 22 March 2021 - 11:17 PM

Sony just recently announced that the digital stores for the PS3 and Vita will soon be going down permanently.


AND, THIS is why we still need physical games. THIS, right here! In the near future, it will no longer be possible to purchase digital games for a console that sold around 100 million units worldwide over the course of a decade. Too much of an ongoing expense, I suppose, to continue supporting a digital store for a legacy console. So anyone hoping to buy and play some older, more obscure PS3 games are going to be out of luck. It's pick up a physical copy somewhere, or twiddle your thumbs in frustration.


The better part of 10 years worth of posted video games, now no longer available for legitimate acquisition. That's crazy. Especially for a platform as broadly supported as the PS3. I can understand this sort of thing for a commercial hiccup like the Vita. But the PS3 was an arguably successful and extensively played system. And there are a number of titles that are exclusive to that system, and haven't been ported anywhere else.


Hang on to your PS3 collections, and start keeping an eye out while shopping for obscure PS3 titles. They all just got that much more valuable.

#14385071 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 18 March 2021 - 04:00 AM

tfw i have all the ds dragon quest games. feels good man


Ditto. In fact, I was able to acquire several of them on clearance from Target. (back when Target actually had decent clearance prices, ahh, those were the days) I was able to pick up most of them in the sub $15 range, brand-new. I still remember being able to get a copy of Dragon Quest IX for just $10, mint in packaging. Those were good times, between console generations when everyone was ditching the previous generation for the newer titles, and prices on the older games plummeted. Here's hoping we see similar reactions to the PS5-XBox switchover, but the current circumstances are likely going to delay any such reaction.

#14380526 Limited Run Games Thread - Global Outbreak of...Delayed Shipping

Posted by Richard Kain on 26 February 2021 - 03:24 AM

Will Best Buy get the "Collectors" edition? No, they never do.


Will they get standard edition copies of Scott Pilgrim? Oh, almost certainly. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is THE big digital-only game from the past decade and change. There are a few other lost gems that have slipped through the cracks. But Scott Pilgrim is easily the highest-profile digital-only title to be delisted. The only way they could possibly make a bigger splash is with a physical copy of PT. The game is going to get tons of orders, and it's practically a foregone conclusion that Best Buy will be making their own order, and a sizable one at that. Scott Pilgrim standard editions will be available in-store and on-line at Best Buy, count on it.


Now that Scott Pilgrim is on the books, someone please get Konami to release a physical copy of PT.

#14379743 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 24 February 2021 - 02:01 AM

If your TV is 4K I wonder if it's some kind of fancy scaling it's trying to do to upscale to 4K. You could try turning off any option that sounds like scaling, or a marketing term for fancy upscaling (if game mode doesn't automatically get these). Also any interpolation / motion enhancement sounding stuff (but game mode will usually get these).


Thanks for the pointers. The screen in question is a relatively recent 4K. I dug into the settings, and tweaked a few things. I switched off any automatic scaling or resizing, switched on Game Mode, and made sure any sort of motion enhancement was disabled. That seems to have cleaned up the issue. Games from the same input that the Switch is going through seem to be running properly now without the noticeable lag.


I also changed my Switch's docked output down to 720p, and activated the mClassic I have rigged up. This gives me a little boost to framerate in some games, and also helps with the upscaling. I was concerned that it might smooth out the pixels a bit too much in The Mummy: Demastered, but it still looks great even with the mClassic active.

#14379450 Limited Run Games Thread - Global Outbreak of...Delayed Shipping

Posted by Richard Kain on 23 February 2021 - 01:07 AM

I believe the thinking is physical releases can be resold, and the ESRB logic is that this resaleability means the rating should be included on all packages.


No, because most game publishers are openly antagonistic towards second-hand retailers. Game publishers and platform holders like Sony and Nintendo care very little about companies like GameStop re-selling their products. If anything, they would actively want to prevent such re-selling. They don't particularly care about any ratings-associated limitations. Re-sale is not an issue.


What is potentially an issue is public controversy spurred on over a title published without an ESRB rating. When physical publishers like LRG were small, boutique shops, Sony didn't view this as a risk. This is why we got several years where pretty much no one cared or mentioned that there were no ESRB logos on the LRG games. But once LRG started getting a larger volume of releases, and in particular got more media attention, Sony changed their stance. This was a matter of public relations and optics, not re-sold games. Previously, Sony had simply relied on retailers to enforce ESRB ratings. If LRG didn't choose to enforce the rating system, that was no skin off of Sony's teeth, they got paid either way. But with greater media exposure and attention, Sony felt the need to start covering their backside.


Nintendo likely had the ESRB requirement set in stone from the word go. They've always been extremely defensive of their public image and family-friendly branding. There's no way they would ever print cartridges without ESRB ratings. The Big N having such a requirement is hardly a surprise.

#14379431 Limited Run Games Thread - Global Outbreak of...Delayed Shipping

Posted by Richard Kain on 22 February 2021 - 11:57 PM

The ones from the first 2 or so years don't because they thought they didn't need them.


They DON'T need them. Technically, they still don't. The requirement for ESRB ratings was imposed by Sony and Nintendo. The ESRB is an industry organization that companies buy into. It has no force of law. No one actually needs an ESRB rating to publish their game publicly. Any "requirements" for these ratings are imposed by retailers, or companies within the industry. In this case, Sony and Nintendo are the ones who are "requiring" these ratings.


It is also true that Best Buy "requires" these ratings in order to carry games in their retail outlets. If LRG was publishing their own games without involvement in a controlled platform, they could do so without any ESRB ratings. The ESRB was specifically created to avoid governmental oversight.

#14379321 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 22 February 2021 - 05:58 PM

There's a lot of content (and three more games in the immediate series) to enjoy.


Yes, this is a big part of why I've waited so long to dive in. I've had copies of these games on my shelf for a long time. I have copies for the PS3, Vita, and now the PS4 as well. And the reputation of the series has always been sterling, right back to the PSP days. (Trials in the Sky) Part of what prompted me to start was that early last week I got in a copy of the fourth title that I had ordered off of Amazon. I've got to try playing them at some point.


I can tell already that the visuals are not the main draw. They're certainly not bad, but they are also clearly not the focus. And the power of the PS4 is pretty clearly overkill as far as rendering power is concerned. I like the silky-smooth 60 fps I'm seeing, but anyone with a PS3 copy would probably be fine playing it on that platform. The colorful art and reasonably distinctive characters are appealing, but obviously not the main draw. No, the focus is quite clearly on the writing. And that is where this game shines. I've only gotten to the end of the second chapter, and that's enough to tell me that I'm ultimately going to be in it for the long haul. The writing, the story, the dialog, the character development and interplay, and the way the writing changes constantly as time progresses. It is catering to my love of narrative in a big way. If you are looking for high-end graphics, look elsewhere. If you're looking for mechanical excellence, you can probably keep looking. If you are looking for a good story, pull up a chair and get comfortable, because Trails of Cold Steel is here to deliver.

#14379315 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 22 February 2021 - 05:40 PM

I managed to get some really good work done on a lip-sync programming project I've been working on last week. To reward myself, I dipped into the back-catalog for a prestige title and started playing Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel on my PS4. I got through 2 chapters. Now I'm hooked, and I definitely will finish the game. There goes a huge chunk of my free time. The challenge now is to pace myself properly so that I can still continue making progress on my hobby programming project.


Also, I noticed something while trying out The Mummy: Demastered on my Nintendo Switch. Does anyone else ever get serious input lag while using their Switch in docked mode? This seems to be a regular thing with me, but it also seems to be specific to my main TV setup. I've rigged my Switch up to other TVs in other places, and haven't had the same issue. But for whatever reason my main home TV seems to just get terrible input lag when my Switch is rigged up to it.

#14379301 The Home Arcade Tremendous Deals and Discussion Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 22 February 2021 - 04:47 PM

Yes, that is more of an inexpensive curiosity than a full-on system. Hopefully you enjoy it. But if I was looking for a similar product for myself, I would feel fine spending a little more and getting something more robust. In this day and age, there are actually plenty of options in that space, so you do have more choices.


I don't buy anything like that because I'm a classic game collector, and currently have plenty of portable or coffee-table style options already, just from my normal collection of games. Every time that I start getting curious about these low-cost handhelds, I remember that I still own a fully modified PS Vita, and stop window shopping.

#14378760 Limited Run Games Thread - Global Outbreak of...Delayed Shipping

Posted by Richard Kain on 19 February 2021 - 04:52 PM

I feel like people don't realize the hardships that come with coding a release on multiple platforms.


This is true. Porting is not the push-button process that a lot of people seem to think it is. The example you mentioned, Bloodstained, was actually constructed using a cross-platform engine (Unreal). And it still had copious difficulties.


Super Giant is actually pretty wise to limit their efforts to one porting platform at a time. And the Switch is a pretty obvious target for initial porting. With its ARM architecture, there are plenty of accessible tools for getting it running on the Switch. Thanks to the boom in mobile development over the past decade, ARM is one of the most stable and well-documented platforms out there. And of course, there is the performance. ARM in general, and the Switch in particular, tend to be lower-performance. If you can get a game running smoothly on that platform, you'll have lots of leeway for getting it running on other platforms. Porting up tends to be a smoother operation than porting down.


For fans on the PS4/PS5 and XBox, I wouldn't worry too much. Super Giant has not been shy about porting their games to other platforms. It's likely just a matter of time before you get a copy, and I would imagine sooner rather than later.

#14378536 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 18 February 2021 - 07:07 PM

I love my Wii U, I do. And I genuinely believe that it was a solid system with a sizable number of great games. But one complaint that I can't deny is that the interface on the Wii U was SLOOOOOWWWW. Doing anything in the Wii U's menu system took forever. Something as simple as entering and leaving the settings menu required substantial load times. No one likes a sluggish interface, I don't care how pretty it is, or how soothing the music is.


One of the biggest improvements the Switch brought to the table was a minimalist, clean, and above all FAST menu system. That sucker keeps it simple, and keeps it snappy. It's a big reason why so many were willing to hop in on the Switch. The Wii U required too much patience for most users.


Nintendo's first-party titles are their bedrock. It's what keeps them in the industry. Their stable of exclusives keeps food on the table during the lean times. (GameCube, Wii U, etc...) Even with a much smaller install base, they are still able to shift multiple millions of copies of their first-party games. That's why they don't branch out to be a third-party developer on other systems. Their in-house development is strong enough to carry the company, even when things aren't going well.


But it is also true that luck plays a critical role. Almost every dominant platform holder in this industry has benefited from lucky breaks in order to get where they were. None of them made it purely on merit. Nintendo benefitted from the home console crash of 82'. Sega benefitted from Nintendo's over-focus on marketing to children. Sony benefitted from Sega's implosion, and and from Nintendo's failure to change with the times. Sony benefitted again from Microsoft entering the market a year late, and dividing the audience for one of their biggest competitors. Microsoft benefitted from Sony's hubris with the PS3. Nintendo benefitted from the hardware arms race that Microsoft and Sony were embroiled in, and squeezed the last use out of CRT display technology. Sony benefitted from Microsoft straight-up shooting themselves in the foot with the launch of the XBox One.


There were plenty of good, smart decisions that went into all of those scenarios as well. But there were also always pretty blatant examples of platform holders getting lucky breaks. The current generation of consoles is actually one of the most even, balanced competitions I've ever seen in video game history. We're getting a rare instance where all three major competitors are bringing their A-games, and not (yet) doing anything to screw up.