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Richard Kain

Member Since 02 Aug 2007
Offline Last Active Jan 20 2017 11:55 PM

#13605276 Switch Questions

Posted by Richard Kain on 20 January 2017 - 05:19 PM

Well i read a report yesterday that Nintendo has officially announced that Zelda will be the last Wii U release title. They were also asked about bc and as of now there will be none other than however the eshop purchases will work.


Both of these things are extremely likely. Nintendo will likely have no more first-party titles on the Wii U. There's no reason to doubt that statement. There may be additional 3rd party games, but I wouldn't expect much. With the console holder themselves bailing, it is unlikely that 3rd party developers and publishers will hang around afterwards. Zelda Wii U may not be the LAST title released for the Wii U, but it is going to be close.


And backwards compatibility for the Wii U on the Switch is not impossible, but extremely unlikely. The Wii U, with it's streaming video between the tablet and console, was a much more esoteric design than what the Switch is proposing. It would not be possible to provide proper backwards compatible support to the Switch without additional hardware, and that's just not happening with the Wii U's miniscule user base. There aren't enough current Wii U customers to make it worth the trouble.

#13602076 Nintendo Switch Revealed

Posted by Richard Kain on 17 January 2017 - 08:48 PM

I'm saying that the Internet railing against an announced Nintendo system is not a gauge of its long term success.


Very true. This is old hat ever since the internet became a common tool for communication. I read all the same arguments and discussions a decade and change ago when the DS and Wii were released. Back then everyone was swearing up and down that the PSP was going to finally trounce Nintendo out of the handheld space. The most vocal portions of the internet only make for a small sub-section of humanity. And that sub-section tends to be heavily biased in various ways. One of the more obvious and prominent leanings are in favor of technological superiority. Internet discussions almost always lean toward "more tech = better." If a device is technologically inferior to its most direct competition, it is doomed to failure, end of discussion. And I see this opinion parroted over and over, despite the historical precedent being strongly against it.


One of the most common complaints I've been hearing out of the Switch reveal was disappointment in the fact that "1, 2, Switch" was not a bundled title. To a certain degree I agree with this sentiment. I like bundled software. Having a "free" game come with your system is always a plus. Apparently part of the reason for this is that Nintendo considers 1, 2, Switch to be a more robust and extensive experience than a title like Wii Sports. While this is fair, one could easily argue that the value of highlighting the systems strengths right out of the box is more important than the potential lost sales of a single title. This holds true even if the title in question has more going for it than previous pack-in games. So while I appreciate that Nintendo might want to get their money back from the development of 1, 2, Switch, I can't say that this desire was justification for refusing to pack the game in with every system.


I DO agree with their decision to have only one basic bundle, and to only separate bundles based on colors, as opposed to features. While I would have liked to see a pack-in game, I did not want to see two options for bundles that offered different options. Keeping the base bundle simple was a good move. The Wii U created too much consumer confusion with it's split bundles. And with that platform already confusing consumers with its nature, that was more variety than Nintendo could afford.


The best argument in favor of not bundling a game with the Switch is this. Bundling a game with the system more strongly targets the system toward a particular demographic or style of play. If you want to target a system toward a broader audience, bundling a game is the wrong approach, especially if the game in question heavily favors a particular demographic or style of play. Doing so can limit how the system is perceived by the general public, and by developers. This was a problem for the Wii, despite the success it enjoyed. During its run, the Wii was constantly getting mini-game collections. It was frequently viewed as a local-multiplayer mini-game machine. Every developer had their own take on the genre, and the shovelware for the Wii was lousy with that kind of experience. And all of this was a direct result of the success of Wii Sports.


If Nintendo bundled the Switch with 1, 2, Switch, people might associate it the same way they did the Wii. And that could potentially damage the long-term viability of the platform. A broader, more diverse set of experiences would allow the system to appeal to a broader swath of consumers. If the Switch gets pigeon-holed early on, that might damage its long-term prospects. Likewise, bundling it with a game like Zelda might convince users that it's just a Nintendo adventure-game machine. Bundling it with nothing makes it easier for people to choose their own initial association, in the shape of the game they initially buy with the system. For a lot of long-term Nintendo fans that will be Zelda. For more casual users it will likely be 1, 2, Switch. For some it might be Bomberman, or Puyo/Tetris.

#13601840 PS Vita Deals & Discussions Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 17 January 2017 - 06:20 PM

Taking a child to a toy store is part of the experience. I hope that doesn't go away.


This is indeed a big part of the experience. And that's the key for brick-and-mortar stores. Experience. The problem is that a lot of big-box stores no longer focus on the experience, and are trying to compete with services like Amazon on efficiency.


There is no competing with on-line services when it comes to efficiency. I can press a button on a webpage, and two days later what I ordered shows up on my doorstep. There is so little difficulty there that it's scary. Walmart can't compete with that, neither can Target. Toys-R-Us doesn't stand a chance. The only real advantage that physical stores can claim is the immediacy. I can go there and pick up an item NOW, instead of waiting a day or two for the post to arrive. But this advantage will always be more significant for necessities, and is far less important for luxuries. And 99% of what Toys-R-Us sells are luxury items. When I run out of toilet paper, I have to go get some more NOW. When I run out of new video games, I can wait. (in my case, a VERY long time)


The remaining advantage for physical stores is the experience. Toys-R-Us needs a small coffee shop/lounge area. They need a little play-area in every store where younger kids can run around, maybe play with a few of the featured products. Having the play area in easy view of the coffee shop/lounge area is a no-brainer. Parents can kick back and chat with a latte while their small children sample some of the store's offerings. That's a good experience. Stores should be scaled down to be less like warehouses. Storing ALL of the toys isn't as important as selecting and featuring the BEST toys. Being featured on Toys-R-Us's shelves should be a mark of prestige, not a matter of course. Employees should be full-time, and trained to interact regularly with customers. Talking about the products and which ones would be right for the customer is what customer relations are going to be all about.


Physical stores can't compete with on-line retailers when it comes to efficient sales. But they can compete when it comes to specialty sales, and especially when it comes to providing experiences and environments. I can't go to Amazon to relax and be surrounded by things I like. But I can do that in a physical store. It's why I always liked bookstores. Physical stores need to start cultivating environments.

#13601415 Nintendo Switch Revealed

Posted by Richard Kain on 17 January 2017 - 05:18 AM

I don't see how you're reaching that conclusion.  This totally look like the Wii U

Well, let me just put this into context for you. The Wii U was initially sold for $300 as well. However, that version came with no stand for the gamepad, no software, less flash memory, and almost no one understood what the heck it was. Most consumers who bought the Wii assumed that the Wii U was an additional tablet/gamepad that they were charging $300 for. The version that everyone wanted cost $350. The lesser bundle was incredibly unpopular, sold terribly, and was discontinued within the system's first year on the market. Ironically, that initial version is now one of the rarest, and will eventually command a much higher price on the second-hand market.


The Switch is a game-tablet with a decently-sized screen that by all accounts looks really good. There is no additional box to rig up to your TV, everything you need fits right in your hand. Explaining all of this to the average consumer is extremely easy. It's a Nintendo-tablet that plays Nintendo games. Done. That is an easier sales pitch than the Wii U ever had. This alone improves the Switch's chances in the market. Hey, did you like the Wii? Well here's a tablet that does everything the Wii did, and you can take it with you on the go.


And then you have to take into account just how low the bar was set with the Wii U. No matter how anyone feels about the system, it is one of Nintendo's worst selling consoles. It only avoids that dubious distinction because the Virtual Boy exists. And all this despite the fact that it had a very strong line-up of games. History is going to pick over the Wii U, and try to sort out exactly what went wrong. The point is, the Switch would have to sell REALLY poorly to be in the same ranking as the Wii U. Even with modest sales, the Switch will likely double the Wii U's sales over it's lifetime. It just has to shift 20 million units over the course of five years to pull that off. In this industry that's peanuts. Even Microsoft has likely managed to shift that many XBones by now, despite their colossal screw-up at its launch.

#13597213 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 13 January 2017 - 08:29 PM

It was good to find out that they will in fact be using MicroSDXC format memory cards for the Switch. Nothing proprietary, so the pricing will be competitive and will come down over time. And the SDXC means that they won't be limited to 32 GB. The SDXC format allows for 512 GB cards, which would make for a much more reasonable digital library. I'm thinking initially a 128 GB card should be appropriate.

#13593058 PS Vita Deals & Discussions Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 11 January 2017 - 06:00 PM

I have no objection to ThinkGeek. But I do take issue with GameStop's selection of ThinkGeek merchandise in-store. I'd rather they focus more prominently on game-related merchandise, instead of the grab-bag of nerd ephemera. I like Star Wars as much as the next guy, but I don't go to a store called "Game"-Stop to shop for Star Wars. Also, ThinkGeek has been an on-line store front for years, and for most of their better specialty items, I always just go to the on-line store. They don't carry the really good stuff in GameStops anyway.


I foresee a future where all GameStops basically mutate into purely geek-focused Spencer Gifts. That's the direction they're going in, and if it continues they'll lose my already flagging patronage for their physical locations. I still wouldn't mind doing a little on-line ThinkGeek shopping now and then, but I don't need to go into a store for that stuff. 

#13591511 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 09 January 2017 - 10:30 PM

Seriously, though, I'm shocked about Scalebound. I would never have even thought of it being cancelled. Sony should pick that shit up. That would be a fucking kick right in the dick to MS.


I don't know if it would be possible for Sony to pick it up. It all depends on the contracts for the game, as well as the technology being used to create it. If the engine they were using for it isn't multi-platform friendly, than porting it over to the PS4 could be a real expense. And if Microsoft had ownership of the IP as part of their contract for the game, everything would have to be ripped-out/renamed in order to shift it over. So it probably isn't just a matter of "picking it up." Still if it were possible, I agree that it would be a very effective PR move.


The PS4 is dominating on exclusive titles. In terms of Japanese exclusives, the PS4's primary competition is the PC, not the Xbox One. This is not unexpected, Microsoft consoles have never done well in Japan, and usually get much less support from Japanese developers. The only real surprise this generation is the trend for Japanese developers to start supporting the PC through Steam, a trend that only started happening in earnest after Microsoft and Sony both announced that they would be switching over to the x86 architecture.


I do still have to marvel at just how badly Microsoft has botched this console cycle. They started it off in a dominant position, with lots of momentum that they could have capitalized on. Instead they ended up making a plethora of wrong-headed decisions that have come back to bite them over and over. Even after massively shifting the direction of the system they haven't been able to turn things around. This is how mistakes are punished in such a competitive market.

#13588155 PS Vita Deals & Discussions Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 05 January 2017 - 05:12 PM

I can't (and may be in the minority here) pay a good amount of money for something I got extremely cheap or free on PSN/PC.


I don't think you're in the minority. Most people wouldn't bother acquiring physical copies of these games when perfectly good digital copies regularly go on sale on multiple different services at regular intervals. If the only objective is playing these games then you are far better served by the digital offerings. Acquiring limited print run copies of these games is a mildly obsessive-compulsive thing that appeals to collectors. It's not something that the majority of consumers are going to be interested in.


And that's fine. This aspect of the video game hobby-space is not for everyone. I know several people who love playing games, but actively avoid acquiring physical copies. This is especially true for younger gamers I know. A lot of them are fully on board for an all-digital future, and are actively attempting to empty their shelves and have all their entertainment in a digital format. Digital is convenient, and digital cuts down on clutter. Crazy archivists like myself are the ones primarily interested in stockpiling physical copies.

#13586646 Anime & Manga Steals and Deals (Rightstuf, Amazon, DD...etc)

Posted by Richard Kain on 03 January 2017 - 09:39 PM

Didn't know they were releasing Stand Alone Complex on blu-ray.


Yes, there hasn't been very much marketing buzz around these releases yet, despite the fact that they are only a month and a half away. It's obvious that we are finally getting these releases as a means of piggy-backing off of the marketing of the upcoming film. But whatever, I'll accept that excuse as long as we get a decent high-definition release of Stand Alone Complex. It's still one of the best anime I've seen over the course of the past few decades. Second Gig is decent, but pales somewhat thanks to the obvious comparison to it's preceding season.


One of the tidbits of release news that I'm really excited about is that they are finally releasing Ghost In the Shell 2: Innocence (the movie) on Blu-Ray. While it does not have nearly as much of a following as the original film, it is a movie with some stunning visuals and artistry, and would benefit significantly from a 1080p release. This has only been available on DVD for some time, with terrible box-art. The art for the Blu-Ray is stunning, and I can't wait to have this film in a proper high-definition format. I own multiple Blu-Ray copies and versions of Ghost In the Shell, so having Ghost In the Shell 2: Innocence, is going to fill a sizable hole in my collection.

#13586370 Limited Run Games Thread - Oxenfree [PS4] & Aqua Kitty DX [Vita/PS4] on 1...

Posted by Richard Kain on 03 January 2017 - 05:04 PM

I don't know how true, or untrue that was at the time, but I think everyone has noticed how quickly games have been disappearing from them in recent years at retail. They do offer reprints of the most popular titles, so who knows if its a great scheme at work or not.


I actually ran into this with a title last week. Not a Nintendo title, but a similar scenario. I noticed that Lego Avengers was no longer being sold on Amazon for current-gen platforms. When I stopped by big-box retailers, I noted that they had all seemed to have run out of stock. I was able to snag a new copy of the game on-sale from GameStop, but I had to go out of my way to a location that I don't normally frequent.


I don't think that this is part of any sort of scheme. I suspect that it is likely related to licensing. But all the same, anyone interested in picking up a copy of Lego Avengers should probably start looking now. Very soon the second hand market will be your only option.

#13575970 PS Vita Deals & Discussions Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 23 December 2016 - 07:16 PM

Thoughts on Muramasa Rebirth?  Considering it with the current PSN sale. 


Personally, I really liked Muramasa: Rebirth. It's a port of the original version of the title on the Wii, along with a bonus DLC campaign. It's a Vanilla-ware game, with all that that entails. Basically, it's Japanese style front and center, along with some truly stunning hand-painted art. The gameplay is tight and responsive, but can be a bit repetitive for anyone who only cares about advancing through the game. The focus of the gameplay is in exploring the world's map in a Metroid-vania way, while constantly getting placed in brief 2D arena fights where you are graded on your performance. If you are only interested in grinding through the story, and don't care about the combat, this experience can get quite tedious. The value in the game is when you start exploring the possibilities of the combat, and trying to master it. In this case, the constant combat encounters become much more appealing, and the challenge becomes not simply to grind through each battle, but to complete each battle as dominantly and stylishly as possible. Once you get into this sort of rhythm, you walk into every battle with a sense of anticipation, instead of frustration, and you walk out of them feeling like a champion, with the post-battle synopsis relating your glowing achievements.


The sword system in Muramasa actually works well with this gameplay loop. The different swords have different useful special moves, as well as different limitations for play style. So mixing and matching them actually has real meaning for gameplay. You aren't forced to change swords or forge new ones, but those who do will be able to dig deep into some pretty nifty gameplay permutations. And mastering sword-changing mid-battle is one of the keys to really mastering the combat system.


Overall, I would definitely recommend the game, especially if you have ever enjoyed any of Vanilla-ware's other offerings. (or have an unusual fondness for feudal Japan) The price they're quoting in this sale is very reasonable. The game also works on the PS TV (I've tested it) so it can also be enjoyed on the big screen.

#13573551 PS Vita Deals & Discussions Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 21 December 2016 - 05:20 PM

Tempted to pick this up at GS but don't know if I want to pay $30 for it. Pirate Curse on the Wii U was great.



The early reviews for 1/2 Genie Hero seem quite positive. It's sounding like it will be at least as good as Pirate's Curse, possibly better. From the previews, it looks like they have done a great job of translating the game into high-resolution vector animations as opposed to the original pixel art. The new graphical assets look like they animate well. I'm really looking forward to trying it out this weekend.

#13571239 Nintendo Switch Revealed

Posted by Richard Kain on 19 December 2016 - 09:54 PM

But, some say porting over to the Wii U will be significantly easier because of the tech involved, and won't be as complicated as doing so with PS4, X1. Hoping that is the case. 


Well, it depends. The Switch is rumored to be using a variation on an ARM processor. The ARM architecture is widely used across mobile devices, and the vast majority of third-party game engines support it. So porting to that architecture is not nearly as difficult as it would be for some of Nintendo's former systems. (which frequently used PowerPC IBM processors)


But one of the real challenges for porting to the Switch will be scalability of resources. One of the easiest ways to get a game running on less powerful hardware is to scale back the details. Whether this be the complexity of physics simulations, or the number of pixels or polygons being pushed to the rendering buffer, scaling back such features is usually how you squeeze games into a less performance-intensive device. Games that are already being developed with such scaling in mind should have fairly little difficulty in porting to the Switch. However, not all games are constructed with mobile platforms in mind. Those that aren't will find it more costly to port their efforts to the Switch. (since the game's various resources will have to be re-constructed at lower detail to run on the Switch) Games that primarily target the PC/Xbox  One/PS4 trifecta will be harder to port, as all of these platforms assume a level of performance that will likely be above what the Switch is capable of handling. If the developer isn't making scalable resources from the get-go, it will be extra time and effort to produce lower-performance assets for the Switch version.


Developers with more mobile experience should be able to easily thrive on the Switch, while developers who have largely ignored the mobile space will probably ignore or marginalize the platform. I would actually assume that the Switch will swiftly take over the Vita's current status as standard-bearer for indie developers looking to get a foothold in the handheld space. Games like Super Meat Boy and Rogue Legacy would be a great fit for the Switch, as these titles already straddle the line between console and mobile play.

#13567908 Nintendo Switch Revealed

Posted by Richard Kain on 16 December 2016 - 04:54 PM

Because Nintendo is a publicly traded company, they have to show year-over-year growth to investors. 


What you're saying is true. However, one factor that you seem to be overlooking is who those investors are. The vast majority of Nintendo's investors and stock holders aren't in the US. Nintendo has a US branch, but it is just a branch. They are still primarily a Japanese company, and aren't necessarily beholden to the whims of a US audience. This is part of the reason why they frequently make decisions that probably wouldn't help them to excel in Western markets. Nintendo does have to answer to their investors, but they aren't being driven by Western trends. And I think the majority of pressure for them to become a multi-platform software developer comes from the US, and not Japan.


It's worth noting that this bias probably affected the design of the Switch. Larger home consoles have been losing ground in Japan for quite some time, where rendering power frequently takes a back seat to size and convenience. A mobile console with a very small form factor that can also play nice in a small living space is going to be ideal for a lot of Japanese consumers.

#13566950 Steam+ Deals Mega Thread (All PC Gaming Deals)

Posted by Richard Kain on 15 December 2016 - 07:47 PM

As a long-time Sierra fan, I can confirm that the bundle they have on sale is legit, with most of the titles that you would want from such a collection. $20 -ish is the correct price as well. That's a lot of classic gaming for a very reasonable price.