This Player’s Guide was released by Nintendo in October 1995, a few months after the game’s North American debut. Billed on the cover as “the complete guide to the past, present and future—straight from the pros at Nintendo,” the large-format guide in fact leaves much unsaid. Unlike the colorful early strategy guides from Japan, Chrono Trigger Player’s Guide is a mostly no-nonsense document. There are no illustrated bestiaries, no bonus comics, no interviews, and no mail-in prize giveaways. And a later unofficial guide from BradyGames published to coincide with the PlayStation port feels more like a technical report than a companion for playtime.
One of my high school friends had a brother playing through Final Fantasy 3 with those HUGE BradyGames guides – I think it had a table of EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF ARMOR AND WEAPONS in the game – it took about something like 100 pages.
I remember how much I looked forward to this game. Now, about 15 years later, I avoid open-world games.
In Mad Men this past season, an IBM 360 arrives at the office. Computers, it is promised, will revolutionize the way business is done and the way we live our lives. The ad agency is sold this line: “The IBM 360 can count more stars in a day than any man can count in a lifetime.”
Don Draper, everyone’s favorite womanizing philosopher and deadbeat dad, elicits this flowery sentiment: “What man laid on his back and thought of a number?” Well, everyone in Shenmue’s Kanagawa Prefecture: Suzuki says the rain and snow in the game were algorithmically generated.
All this thought went into weather patterns, but not into gameplay elements that led to about an hour walking around town asking people if they knew where you could find some sailors.
Boyan also noted that Mass Effect was a long series so players may play as “paragon” out of guilt, in that they don’t want the story to turn out poorly after investing 90 or more hours.
I don’t think it’s that difficult to understand. There are a lot of games out there. Paragon is the default. Most people are not going to play through Mass Effect or other games multiple times to get different dialog trees.
Karltorp has found that music from games he used to play as a kid, such as StarCraft, Street Fighter, and Final Fantasy, work best. Because the music is designed to foster achievement and help players get to the next level, it activates a similar “in it to win it” mentality while working, argues Karltorp. At the same time, it’s not too disruptive to your concentration. “It’s there in the background,” said Karltorp. “It doesn’t get too intrusive, it keeps you going, and usually stays on a positive tone, too, which I found is important.”
I do the same thing at work – but to say that video game music is designed to help you get to the next level simplifies what’s really going on. In many instances, I think the music was there to stop you from giving up. Consider EVERY Mega Man game.
I haven’t found a good way to articulate what I think most people mean when they say “video game music.” I think they’re talking about music from the ’80s and ’90s (and the indie games of today) when games had catchy, upbeat, driving melodies instead of the orchestral music of a Halo game.
In a Halo game, the music often served the game by withdrawing its presence from the moment, only playing to further plot points. But in a Mega Man game, and in many games on the NES back in the ’80s and ’90s, there wasn’t that same care – the music was IN YOUR FACE all the time. But those games were better for it.
Although both are technically “video game” music – one feels more like video game music and another feels more like a movie soundtrack for a video game.
There’s this part in Uncharted 3 where you’re running up some stairs in a tower, you jump over this big rock, and you get ambushed by thugs on the other side. A grenade tosses you out a tower window and you need to work your way back up by climbing the tower.
That almost happened. Instead it looks like I went to the console view and typed “idclip”
The modern-day Dungeon Keeper is not even a game. It’s just a socially engineered scam. And since people don’t remember what real gaming was like in the 90s, they are giving it the highest rating in the app store.
It’s just unbelievable.
…What EA has done here has nothing to do with gaming, and the same is true for pretty much all other ‘free-to-play + in-app purchase’ games. We don’t have a mobile gaming industry anymore. We have a mobile scamming industry.
In 1993, when the video game Mortal Kombat was ported to the Sega Genesis, the development team made a secret code in the game that spelled out “Abacabb” (with two “B”s) on the controller pad. When activated, it would enable uncensored blood (Game Informer #230 Dan Ryckert p.98). This was a deliberate reference to Genesis, one of Ed Boon’s favourite bands, which happened to share the same name as the console to which the code was exclusive.
If you’re at all interested in the video game business you’ll want to take a look at this article about the design and business decisions that went into Nintendo’s GameCube, from hardware decisions, software developer acquisitions, marketing campaigns, and the approach to multi-platform games.
This was said over 10 years ago, but man it seems poignant now.
On February 7th, 2001, former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi strongly criticized the industry for creating one game and then porting it to all three consoles.
“Now software companies are going multi-platform, running one game on lots of consoles, just to sell that little bit more. Even Sega. I can understand why the industry’s flowing this way, but, speaking for Nintendo, I can hardly welcome it,” said Yamauchi. ”When a user chooses a game, he always searches for something new and fun in a way he’s never seen before. If games on Nintendo machines are do-able on other companies’ consoles, then we’ll lose those users’ support. If we can’t succeed in separating ourselves, then we won’t win this battle. And that’s the reason why I’m not overjoyed about multi-platform tactics.”
IGN is full of videos comparing PS3 and Xbox 360 games. It’s beginning to happen with PS4 and Xbox One titles. Meanwhile, Wii-U is tanking.
Game preservation’s worst-kept secret is that piracy has done the best job of keeping classic games available and relevant. Since the mid-’90s, the Internet’s vast and varied emulation scene has made the history of video games available to anyone willing to skirt the law. And unfortunately, playing some of the best games ever made requires a disregard for copyright. Take Maniac Mansion. An icon of the LucasArts studio’s golden age, it’s one of the most important adventure games ever made, and it’s still entertaining today. If you want to play in 2014, though, you’ll need to download it illegally and run it through an emulator, since it hasn’t been in print for close to 20 years.
I don’t like buying re-releases because somehow they’ll get screwed up. HD remakes are another story and, if done right, can work very well.
But many games should be left the way they were. That’s hard to do when nostalgia is so profitable.