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Richard Kain

Member Since 02 Aug 2007
Offline Last Active Today, 05:37 PM

#13964522 Steam+ Deals Mega Thread (All PC Gaming Deals)

Posted by Richard Kain on 15 March 2018 - 05:42 PM

Steam is going big this weekend with a sale on all of the RPG Maker software.


I would recommend RPG Maker MV for anyone interested in getting their 16-bit JRPG on. I've played around with it a bit, and found it fairly easy to get into. It comes with a sizable amount of existing art and sprites, so it's possible to focus mainly on the story, world-building, and mechanical systems instead of having to worry about extensive artistic content creation. (a real boon for the non-artists who want to build a game) It's also flexible enough to allow for some pretty impressive extension, and the MV version of it is far more cross-platform compatible than previous versions. (which would only run on Windows) RPG Maker MV allows you to export your games to numerous different operating systems and devices.


I wouldn't necessarily recommend the visual novel software they have on sale. This is a newer software package, and it appears to be quite buggy, and in need of some more development before its ready for proper production. There are also more seasoned options on Steam for visual novel creation, such as Tyrano Builder. (which also often goes on sale) Perhaps their VSN software will be in a more mature state in a year or two, but for now I would take a wait-and-see approach.

#13964425 amiibo Deals and Discussion Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 15 March 2018 - 02:48 PM

Look on the bright side, there will be one less retail-exclusive location to worry about!

#13960557 Limited Run Games Thread - Pixel Gear [PS4, VR game] on 3/16! Thimbleweed...

Posted by Richard Kain on 09 March 2018 - 03:09 PM

Someone needs to find out the names of any other Shmup developers that LRG is doing business with in the future, and clue them into the fact that shmup demand is crazy high. The LRG shmups always seem to get some of the smallest print runs, despite having insane, rabid demand. Hard-core shmup fans are not to be trifled with.

#13957932 Best Buy Ad 3/4-3/10

Posted by Richard Kain on 04 March 2018 - 09:01 PM

I stopped by Best Buy and was able to snag the last copy they had of Mario + Rabbids. I also stopped by the Toys R Us next door and took advantage of their closing sale to snag some other Nintendo titles for 30% off.

#13957926 PS Vita Deals & Discussions Thread

Posted by Richard Kain on 04 March 2018 - 08:48 PM

What Vita games do you guys recommend for PS TV aside from Persona?


Most of the JRPG games are compatible with the PSTV, as they tend to have more traditional control schemes. The Zero Escape series is also compatible, as well as the Danganronpa series. (I recommend them both) I'm personally very partial to Vanillaware's output, which for the Vita would include Dragon's Crown and Muramasa.


For the digital side of things, there are actually plenty of choices. The PSTV is actually one of the best ways to play PSP games, and the vast majority of them are compatible. (since their original control scheme can be easily replicated on the Vita) There are all sorts of PSP titles that I would recommend. The PS1 classics are also a good choice, and have broad support for the PSTV. I would direct you to the Mega Man Legends series, which is both difficult and expensive to get in physical form. I would also recommend Suikoden 1 and 2.

#13956820 Limited Run Games Thread - Pixel Gear [PS4, VR game] on 3/16! Thimbleweed...

Posted by Richard Kain on 02 March 2018 - 04:44 PM

The disparity between physical vs. digital is a pointless discussion. It costs money to create physical goods. There is overhead inherent in a physical product. As such, there is a baseline for physical prices that you can't get around, a price threshold that you can't dip beneath without taking a loss. This is a finite limitation that applies to all physical goods.


The up-front distribution costs for digital goods are much, much lower. Some companies like Blizzard are able to eliminate them almost entirely. Having little to no upkeep on distributing the game allows more flexibility in pricing and allows for deeper discounts. It's simply possible to sell a digital game for cheaper than a physical one, and always will be. Anyone who allows themselves to think that the two prices should be comparable is kidding themselves.


Now, in the recent Fallen Legion scenario we have a much more 1-1 example. Instead of waving around digital prices, we have another comparable physical release coming out from a different publisher. (NIS America, I believe) Making value comparisons like that is fair, we're talking about roughly equivalent products.

#13956378 Limited Run Games Thread - Pixel Gear [PS4, VR game] on 3/16! Thimbleweed...

Posted by Richard Kain on 01 March 2018 - 09:22 PM

One is vita, and one is PS4? If that is the case, and both games are on the actual cart for Switch, I guess I will grab the Switch version instead. 


The Vita/PS4 split seems odd. You'd think that both would be available for both platforms.


While I can appreciate people talking up the Switch version, I don't think the future Switch version invalidates this LRG release. I'm going to do a little research before next week. But if Fallen Legion is as good as some people are claiming, I might double-dip. (or perhaps get the LRG versions and then wait for the Switch version to go on sale) I know this is CAG. Being a cheap-ass is only normal for most of the members here. And the Switch version does make a compelling case. Even if the LRG versions end up with their lowest pricing tier ($25) they will still cost close to $55 with shipping for a copy of each game. The Switch version will cost $40, will come with the content from both games, and will be eligible for pre-order discounts. If your objective is simply to save money, it is the obvious go-to option.


If your objective is to collect games, the choice becomes murky, because hard-core collectors don't want to make choices like that. They want ALL the releases. I own every copy of every physical release of Shovel Knight. All of them. I own multiple copies of Shantae, half genie hero. When a particular game catches my fancy, I don't necessarily limit myself to one platform. Of course, this presumes a level of quality and/or personal appeal, which is where the research is going to come in. The art style in Fallen Legion is catching my interest, but I want to know more before I give it a yea or nea.

#13955638 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 28 February 2018 - 10:21 PM

Vita 2 here we come!


Ah, we can dream, can't we. While this is wishful thinking, it would be a possible direction that Sony could go in. The early momentum of the Switch is a potential threat. A good way to offset that would be a Vita 2.


Of course, a strategy like that would be considerably more effective if it was something they had already been working on, and not simply a reaction to the strong sales of the Switch. And with Sony already with 2 versions of the PS4 on the market, and a VR headset to support, I'm not sure they are going to be bold enough for another attempt at a portable system.


If they were going to make a Vita 2, there are a few items I would consider necessary.


1. Backwards compatibility, at least digitally, with the Vita 1. Even if we did get such a feature, it would probably be limited. But that's fine. As long as it was roughly comparable to PSTV compatibility, that is all that would matter. The Vita has had a decently substantial library. Having the digital offerings carry over to a successor would be a huge selling point. The esoteric hardware of the original Vita would be the only sticking point.


2. PSP and PS1 compatibility, digitally. Being able to play and purchase legacy sony software for my Vita has been a boon. Having that same functionality carry over to a new handheld would be great, as well as not that hard to pull off.


3. TV connectivity. This has been a HUGE boon for the Switch, and is a big part of why it has been so popular. A Vita 2 would need a similar feature. Being able to pick up and put down the system for on-the-go and home play is more important than most people realized. The original Vita already had a fantastic pause/sleep feature. Providing a hybrid console would help them to go head-to-head with Nintendo's offering.


4. Generic CPU. The hardware architecture for this thing would need to be fairly generic. Making it developer-friendly, with as little extra effort as possible for porting games, would be essential. Remove any excuse that a multi-platform developer has for not putting out a Vita 2 port.


5. Underpowered. This would be a contentious area, but power is not important for handhelds. The more underpowered they made this thing, the better. Hell, have the native rendering on it be 720p, and add some specific hardware to apply the same scaling that Sony uses on the PS4 Pro. (to produce a native 1080p signal) Lower power means longer battery life, and lower price points. It just needs to be punching in the same weight class as the Switch.

#13951616 Limited Run Games Thread - Pixel Gear [PS4, VR game] on 3/16! Thimbleweed...

Posted by Richard Kain on 22 February 2018 - 10:24 PM

Price appreciation on video games is extremely uneven, and unusually slow. As such, they serve as a bad medium for investment. This is why you see so many flippers. Anyone with experience in the game market can tell you that short-term flipping is the only real way to make a sure profit. And even that is extremely spotty, and has to be handled on a case-by-case basis.


Atari games were overproduced, and haven't held up well in terms of game quality, so most of them aren't worth much. A few rare cartridges can command a decent price, but not very many.


NES games are much better known, but also got sizable print runs thanks to the ubiquity of the console at the time. Rarity is only part of the equation for them. There's also the durability to consider. The boxes NES carts came in were paper and flimsy, but the carts themselves are heavy-duty plastic and tend to endure, which helps keep supply up. So at present in-box NES and SNES carts go for far more than bare carts. In-box Genesis games are far less valuable, because they came in plastic cases. It's much more normal for their boxes to last. Thanks to the competition with the Genesis, as well as the larger number of developers, SNES carts often had smaller print runs than NES games. This is why there are a sizable number of rare, high-demand SNES cartridges.


And of course, there is the brand recognition to consider. A rare NES game that hasn't had any sequels in 30 years may go for less than $10, even though it is far more scarce. But a game in a high-profile series with much more availability will command a higher price, simply because the popularity of its brand has been kept fresh. This is why Mario NES carts can often be found for $30+, despite the fact that there are more of them than almost any other NES games.


And all of this is taking into consideration the fact that it takes upwards of 30 years for these games to begin appreciating from their original prices. Some of them still haven't inched back up to their MSRP.

#13951482 Limited Run Games Thread - Pixel Gear [PS4, VR game] on 3/16! Thimbleweed...

Posted by Richard Kain on 22 February 2018 - 05:32 PM

I personally object to considering "worth" purely on the after-market value of an item. How much I can flip something for is not a measure of it's worth. It's just an appraisal of current demand. As someone who appreciates games for more than just their monetary value, I prefer to critique them on more factors than just that.


That said, pretty much the entirety of LRG's catalog will hold its after-market value much, much better than almost any other mass-market physical video game copy. The average print run for LRG is less than a quarter of what even obscure games enjoy. Most publishers don't even bother showing up if they aren't printing more than 50k copies. One of the largest LRG runs was around 5k.


As such, every single LRG release is going to be infinitely more rare than 98% of other mainstream game titles. It may take time for that after-market value to properly appreciate. (that is always the way with collectibles, and especially video games) But eventually all LRG titles will be worth more than most other games, commanding impressive prices for long-term collectors of the medium.


As a bit of a game snob, I still tend to pick-and-choose with these releases. I have no intention of flipping or reselling, so I only buy the games I want. If I WERE just in this for the re-selling, I would buy as many copies of every LRG release that I could get my hands on. I would probably flip a couple fairly quickly, especially if the demand is there and I could get some fast cash. But I would also mothball a few copies of each release and wait for the value to go up.

#13929627 Japanese Niche Games Deals & Discussion Thread 4.0

Posted by Richard Kain on 19 January 2018 - 08:56 PM

Amazon has started some manner of February anime-themed sale, including games and manga. Hopefully, this will translate into some decent deals. At the moment, the only real bargain is the Gundam Vs. Deal. It's coming in around $25 at the moment, which is a very good deal. I feel a little silly having pre-ordered the game. (and still haven't played it properly) The holiday season was very busy. But the game has had a solid critical response, and is reported to be especially appealing for long-term Gundam fans. At $25 it is probably worth consideration.


Aside from that, I'm not seeing much in the way of deals.

#13928424 Nintendo Labo

Posted by Richard Kain on 17 January 2018 - 10:40 PM

In the quasi-stealth Nintendo Direct that they put out today, Nintendo announced a new line of hobby-game things they are releasing this year called "Labo." Essentially, it is going to be a series of construction sets made from corrugated cardboard with designs perforated into them. Apparently, instructions for constructing these things will be available as interactive guides on the Switch itself. Once constructed, the Switch will slot into them in various ways, while the Joycons and their motion/vibration sensors will allow for limited interactions.


I imagine most hard-core gaming enthusiasts are going to turn their noses up at this particular initiative. It is definitely not in keeping with what the "hard-core" demographic is generally into.


At the same time, from both a business and marketing standpoint, this is pure genius. An arts-and-crafts initiative is a really easy sell for parents. Look at this! You can get your kids into arts-and-crafts and focused construction with a fun digital toy! And this sort of thing is also the kind of product that will look really good on day-time talkshows and mass-media outlets. It makes for a great pitch.


From a business perspective, it is a very low-cost, low-risk venture that could easily translate into a lot of money. The actual production for these things is going to be extremely low. It's just a matter of printing and perforating sheets of cardboard. All of the actual construction is done by the end-user. That cuts out a huge amount of expense in manufacturing. It is also a better way to appeal to retailers. Flat sheets of cardboard in a box are going to take up a lot less space on shelves as opposed to pre-assembled plastic accessories. And accessories made out of recyclable cardboard are going to let Nintendo brag about how much more environmentally-friendly they are being. (no mountains of plastic accessories clogging up landfills)


I don't expect this thing to be "the future" of videogames. But as a clever diversion with potential long-term sustainability, it's actually pretty great. The cost per-unit is low enough that they can continue coming up with new, different versions indefinitely. Almost no risk, and way less up-front investment in terms of production and stock.

#13928372 Limited Run Games Thread - Pixel Gear [PS4, VR game] on 3/16! Thimbleweed...

Posted by Richard Kain on 17 January 2018 - 09:24 PM

Well, it's important to remember that LRG aren't solely responsible for what they put out. LRG is a very small-scale physical publisher, and they are dependent on the developers they work with for all of their releases, and frequently for the actual nature of the content they put out. The cover art for their releases, for instance, is usually provided by the developers. I believe that LRG occasionally produces the cover art themselves, but this is the exception, and not the rule. And even in those situations they are still dependent on the developer for source artwork and final approval. So they don't exactly have a free hand in such decisions.


They also don't just get to release games all willy-nilly. They have to sign contracts months in advance of release, and they are bound by their contracts once signed. Breaking of any of those contracts for cancelling a release will likely involve the reimbursement of funds, as well as potentially soured relations with the developer in question. So they can't exactly go around cancelling releases to streamline their release schedule at will either. And on top of all that, the recent ESRB policy change has thrown a wrench into the whole process, which will likely derail or delay several of their existing contracts.


The whole process is not nearly as cut-and-dry as some fans seem to think. I'm always confused when people point to LRG themselves and blame them for elements that they frankly had little or no control over. If you feel a particular game they release isn't good, just don't buy it. Nothing wrong with that. I've done that myself several times. I'm not going to pretend that their catalog is without fault, not all games are gems. But it is also important to differentiate between personal taste and critical appraisal. I'm not a sports game guy. I've just never found sports sims appealing. But if LRG released one that most sports fans agreed was solid, I wouldn't claim that they had dropped the ball just because that particular title wasn't in my wheelhouse. I can acknowledge that a game is technically and creatively worthwhile, even if I personally would never want to play it.

#13927185 3rd party support including RDR,GTA V, and possibly CoD

Posted by Richard Kain on 15 January 2018 - 06:21 PM

not only is it doable, it’s easier than the other way around, and it’s probably already halfway done by multi platform base or library coding


Oh, absolutely. It is always easier and faster to remove detail than it is to create additional detail. Scaling things up requires way more work than scaling things down. And for quite some time most multi-platform developers have enthusiastically designed their games to be as scalable as possible, so that lower-powered systems can handle them. (as lower-powered systems are actually where the majority of gamers put in the most time)


And this is why it is so likely for us to see ports from a few years back. Games from that era are generally already optimized for the 720p-1080p range that fits just fine into the Switch's specs. For most of those games, an appropriate target build already exists, and most of the port work is in the back-end engine, to insure that it runs on the Switch's ARM architecture. If those games happened to be developed in an engine that is now compatible with ARM targets, than bonus. That makes the developers' jobs that much easier and faster. An Unreal or Unity game from that era would be even simpler to port, as both those engines supported the ARM architecture at that time.


I'm also kind of hoping that we see some Vanillaware releases for the Switch. But those are a little less likely. Vanillaware has been pretty Sony-focused for quite some time, and hasn't dipped their toes into PC ports yet. So Switch ports of their titles aren't really something I would expect just yet. If the Switch continues to do well in Japan in 2018, that could change.

#13927157 3rd party support including RDR,GTA V, and possibly CoD

Posted by Richard Kain on 15 January 2018 - 05:49 PM

It’s really a simple downscale from 1080 to 720....which isn’t really a big deal...


I'm not going to go quite that far. I know from experience that just shifting something over like that isn't always a matter of flipping a variable in the code. Sometimes it can require a significant amount of work, especially if the original game was created with one specific render target in mind.


The thing is, most games these days aren't developed with one render target in mind. In fact, it's quite rare for a game to be developed with one platform in mind, let alone render targets. For several years now, creating games in a more scalable manner in order to get them on multiple platforms with a myriad of different technical specs has been the standard, not the exception. And this is part of the reason why we are seeing down-scaled ports coming to the Switch. For a game designed with scalability in mind, a down-scaled port is easier and less time intensive. A lot of the graphical assets may already be designed for scalability, which makes the process even less difficult.


Since this trend is likely to continue into 2018, it's time to start taking bets on which older title is going to get a Switch port next. What game from about four or five years ago would be the best fit for the platform? Which would scale the best? Which would address a lesser-exploited demographic?


My personal pick is... Alien: Isolation. This is a bit of wishful thinking on my part, I'm a huge Aliens fan. At the same time, it does meet a lot of the criteria. It's reasonably scalable, the original release came out on PS3 and Xbox 360 alongside the PC and PS4/XBone ports. It caters to an under-exploited demographic on the Switch, there aren't a lot of horror games on the platform yet. It's a game that sold decently, but not spectacularly when it originally came out, so Sega might very well be interested in squeezing some more money out of it. And it got a decent amount of critical praise, making it less risky. An Alien: Isolation port release in time for the Halloween season 2018 would be fantastic.