Virtual Console is just emulation itself, so really, the choice here is between emulation and emulation.
That being said, I preferred the Wii U Virtual Console, just because there were slightly more games available (if we include the Wii backlog that was also playable on there). Just having all the Mega Man Battle Network games available on there was so sweet.
I'm about two thirds through he second "chapter" now and more or less have the same opinions as you on most things, with a few exceptions.
For one, I'm way more disappointed in the lack of unique character designs once again, and from what it looks like, this won't be changing in the forseeable future. It's not even just the Toads for me (although they are one of the biggest examples), it's also literally everyone else. We're still fighting the same kind of basic Mario enemies over and over again instead of new ones. The only difference? They're now Origiami, which literally doesn't even make a difference at all. I mean, the game doesn't even make good use of this fact, it's literally just a gimmick for story and aesthetic purposes. It doesn't affect the gameplay in the slightest, the enemies don't use special Origami-themed attacks or anything like that, so what's even the point? It's pretty weird considering Nintendo's general stance of tying aesthetics into gameplay, I mean even this game does it a lot, and yet inside battles, they seemingly completely forgot about the Origami thing and only let the enemies perform the same attacks as in other Mario games. I mean, even the ring-mechanic itself feels extremely out-of-place in the game. It doesn't tie into any of its themes at all. I really don't get it.
Back to the character, though. Even if higher ups at Nintendo set some restrictions prohibiting the creation of original Mario characters, what's even the point of making this a Paper Mario game? They literally removed one of the core aspects of the original two Paper Mario games. Not even a rhetorical question, I'm genuinely curious. This game has no reason to be in the Mario universe. Why not make this a new IP? That way, they wouldn't have to deal with the limitation and could just make original characters. You know, kinda like what Bug Fables did. I don't really even think having Mario characters in this game adds a lot to it. I mean, you have some references here and there and some situations that make use of the specific characterics of a Mario character, but like... do 90% of the characters in the game really have to be Toads for the writing to work? I don't think so at all. It really does feel like just the same character impersonating a billion different other ones. They don't really feel like unique characters to me. They feel like Toad acting. And as I said, Toads are just one example for this. I do feel this with almost all characters from the Mario universe in the game. Every now and then, there's something that references the unique quirks of a character, but most of the time, it's just "eh, it doesn't really matter if this is a Goomba or a Koopa", and considering that making a Paper Mario game is apparently what limited their freedom here... yeah, I stand by my assertion that this didn't have to be a Paper Mario game and that making a new IP might have been more beneficial.
Even accepting the fact that this is a Paper Mario game and that this restriction is something that existed for the devs: From the way it was worded in the interview, it did sound like creating entirely new characters was generally okay for them, as long as they didn't tie directly into the Mario universe. So even if altering Mario characters wasn't possible, the new characters that were made from scratch for the game should at least be unique and interesting, right? Well, I'm not sure about that. Personally, I don't quite feel it yet. I mean, was a box of pencils really among the best things they could come up with for a boss? Sure, it's funny, I give it that, but from a design perspective, it feels so boring. I really won't be thinking back to this game in ten years and be like "That box of pencils sure was a great character, wish they were coming up with character designs like that nowadays".
Of course not all new characters are this lame. Olivia and king Olly are fine characters. But that's pretty much it, they're just fine. I think being Origami just greatly limited the potential in their designs. There's just so much you can express with flat shapes and limited colors. I mean, I'm generally critical towards partner characters in Mario games, because most of the time, they feel more annoying than helpful, so I don't like them very much. However, they CAN work, especially if they feel like they contribute to the game. I do like Cappy, because he feels useful without being super annoying, and while I did consider F.L.U.D.D. to be annoying, I could at least appreciate them for their uniqueness and sassiness. Olivia just doesn't feel this useful by comparison. Her only role in this game is to give a slight story motivation and to activate the papercraft abilities - which themselves are pretty much just a gimmick in the game. I'd say she's about on the same level as Starlow in Mario & Luigi, in the sense that, yeah, she is there, she is involved in the plot, she has a personality, but she doesn't really feel essential to the game and I think I would feel pretty indifferent if she wasn't there. Whatever the case, though, an Olivia just isn't a match for an entire cast of diverse characters with unique abilities that all felt essential and useful - and that's pretty much what the first two Paper Marios gave us.
As for my second differing opinion: my feelings about the battle system so far only "mixed" and not fully positive. I generally enjoy it and I think it's cool, new twist on battles, however, I do have some problems with it. Battles are way less about strategy this time around and way more about puzzle solving, and I just don't think this fully works out in the game. Like, it COULD work, but I don't the game has fully accomplished making it work.
First of all, when I do solve a puzzle, the battle usually ends in a single turn and there is no threat at all, because the enemies don't get to attack, making everything way too easy. When I don't solve a puzzle, on the other hand, it usually just makes me frustrated, becaues I sincerely did want to solve it, but I couldn't because of the time limit. Yet I also don't feel like spending coins to extend the time limit, because that kinda feels like cheating to me, and failing a puzzle also seems like the only way to even get somewhat dangerous situations in battles. In fact, if you do fail a puzzle, this will usually lead to a bunch of enemies surviving a turn, and they will deal so much damage to you that they might legitimately end up defeating you in a single turn if you aren't careful. This pretty much leads to the unique circumstance where battles go only one of two ways: You either take a lot of damage or none at all. There's very little inbetween.
The battles really do focus on puzzle-solving instead of strategy this time around. If you solve a puzzle, you generally won't have any problems, and if you don't, you will be in some serious trouble. I don't think this is a good thing, because it makes enemies in battles feel so irrelevant and replaceable. I mean, in past Mario RPGs, battles have generally been about learning the patterns of enemies so that you could block their attacks and abuse their weak spots. In this game, however, battles are really just about Mario. Either you solve a puzzle and win easily, or you don't solve a puzzle and take a lot of damage, but since (so far) "winning easily" seems to be way more common in the game, you don't really even get to see the attacks of most enemies in the game. It's so rare for them to attack you that there's neither opportunity, nor reason to learn anything about them.
My problems with the battle system also become apparent with yet another aspect of it: item usage. I haven't used a single fire flower in the entire game yet, despite them constantly being given to me. In fact, I've barely used any items in the game so far, period. I finish most of my battles with just the base hammer and boots, because most enemies don't even survive a single attack from those as long as you solve the puzzle. Occasionally, I've used iron boots to deal with spiked enemies that were aligned in a row, and only like twice so far, I've used a shiny hammer to one-hit-kill enemies with a few more hit points. Generally, item usage in this game doesn't really come down to strategy, it more or less just comes down to "do I want to end this battle in a single turn or am I fine with enemies getting to attack". Heck, even mushrooms. I think I've used like two in the entire game so far, and it was generally just as reassurance, I didn't absolutely need to use them. I mean, if you really need healing, just giving a few coins to the Toads will generally take care of that.
I do think the ring battle system can work fine, and generally, I do even enjoy it. It just doesn't feel like the game was built around it. I mean, as I mentioned above, it feels really out-of-place. Like what happened? Were they brain-storming on a battle system for their Origami-based RPG, and then someone was just like "oh yeah, I know, we gotta have rotating rings"? Why not... I don't know... a battle system were you fold different things into Origami to attack with, or a battle system where you have to unfold your Origami enemies to expose their weak points? It feels like the ring battles were designed for an entirely different game and then just inserted into this one retroactively. In fact, with how weird the balancing in the game feels, I wouldn't be surprised if they had developed it around an entirely different battle system and then changed it very late into development.
Okay, that's quite a lot of negatives. Well, really just two negatives that I elaborated on quite a bit. But I do want to emphasize that I really enjoy the game so far. I don't think it's a bad game, and it might even be the best Mario RPG in a long while (I don't want to say "best Paper Mario" because I've skipped the last three). The world really looks amazing, the game has a lot of charme and the story and overall gameplay progression also feels nice and natural so far. At least I didn't get the feeling of playing through filler content yet, which is always a good sign in an RPG.
I would say the recent Mario & Luigi games had the more well-rounded battle system and RPG mechanics, but they all had some other things I disliked. I just never felt too strongly about the Mario & Luigi games. I don't quite know why, but they're all "play once and move on" games for me, I haven't had the desire to replay any one of them. The Origami King, on the other hand, has a lot of charme and humor that speaks to me, and the levels and story progression are really varried an unpredictable. So much so that I can legitimately see myself getting nostalgic for this game in the future. As a trade-off, the battles and RPG mechanis really feel lacking, though. For this reason, I don't think the Origami King can match up to the first two Paper Marios, at least not from what I've played so far. The thing is, they had it both. They had a lot of charme AND solid gameplay mechanis. Yeah, they might have been rough around the edges and might have had some problems, but I think the Orgiami King's problems are way more severe in comparison. And I say this as someone who isn't even that nostalgic for TTYD. I've only played through (most of) it once and I don't even consider it one of my favorite games. I still think it's the best Mario RPG we've gotten so far.
TL;DR: mixed feelings about the battle system, mostly negative feelings about the characters, but generally enjoy the game a lot and can't wait to see what happens next.
Yeah, I gotta admit, the game keeps getting better the longer it's going. Chapter 2 ended with a real banger and my jaw almost dropped. Also have to take back what I said about Olivia yesterday. She's really growing one me and has a lot of personality, and here design is also kinda adorable. Still not sure about the battle system. The battles do seem to get a bit tougher by now, but can still all be ended in a single turn by just using more powerful boots and hammers. I do love the boss battles in the game, though. They're not super difficult or anything, but all of the bosses at least survive a couple of turns, which makes them a lot more like traditional Paper Mario battles, yet still have the puzzle element mixed into them. I think the boss battles demonstrate best what this battle system can be about. The regular battles still feel kind repetitive and unspectacular.
Regarding the music, I've enjoyed all of the soundtrack so far, but gotta say that it got REALLY good towards the end of chapter 2. Mostly tying into its finale, which I've alredy praised above. Chapter 3 also started with some really epic music. So yeah, the soundtrack seems great so far.
Honestly, it was more than I even expected, considering they already tried to lower expetations in the way they announced the Direct. DLC and a physical release for Cadence of Hyrule are nice. Everything else wasn't for me, but cool for the people who are interested. SMT especially will probably be a huge deal for some people.
Just hope we're also getting a regular Direct again at some point. What is Nintendo even up to these days? Did they just stop making games entirely or something? 🤔
Alright, I'll give it a try. No warranty for accuracy.
NES: Super Mario Bros. 3 Game Boy: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening SNES: Terranigma N64: Super Mario 64 Game Boy Color: The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages Virtual Boy: 🤣 Game Boy Advance: Mega Man Battle Network 5 GameCube: Metroid Prime DS: Mega Man Battle Network 5... again... I guess! 🤷♂️ Wii: Xenoblade Chronicles PlayStation 3: Did Nintendo even release a single game on this platform? I feel like they were surprisingly absent from it! Weird. 🤔 3DS: Metroid: Samus Returns Wii U: Xenoblade Chronicles X Switch: Super Mario Odyssey
Some of these choices were more difficult than others and I could probably list some follow-up on most consoles, but I'll go with the rules this time and leave it at that.
Snif City in general is such a great place. It has such a dark, rotten atmosphere, even if it's mostly just implied and it doesn't necessarily have a lot of dark themes. The music is also great. Mashing up an "Arabian city" theme with a "Las Vegas casino" theme is a genius idea, and it really makes me wish the city had an actual casino. I love casinos in games, even though they always suck, lol.
My current opinion on the game: it definitely does seem to get better and better the longer it goes. The story progression feels just so goold and natural. Sure, it has its wonky moments, even making fun of the player at times, but it never feels completely unnatural or like it was just wasting time. It think it pretty much just works. The boss battles are also great. They are my favorite part of the battle system, I feel like they show what the battle system CAN be when it peaks.
Unfortunately, normal battles are still just "okay" for me. I mean, I have to admit, the puzzles DID get more complicated over time, and some of the gimmicks they introduced are also pretty interesting (such as Boos becoming invisible). That being said, I'm now at a point where 90% of the puzzles actually feel impossible to solve within the given turn limit, and that just makes me frustrated if nothing else. At least I get to experience more of the combat phase this way, which is kinda nice, but on the other hands, battles seems to get kinda more and more useless the longer the game goes on. In the desert, I've had enemies that gave me as little as 70 coins - in a place where you literally just have to drive around a bit to find over 300 coins easily and constantly.
I think this game is great, with the combat definitely being its bottle neck so far, though. If the combat was more solid and had a bigger purpose to it, I would legitimately consider this game a masterpiece. As it currently stands, it's just "great" for me (which already seems to be way better than the last two entries in the series, though).
Awww, dang it! 😭
I kinda expected either Team Red or Team Yellow to win, but didn't expect Team Green and Team Yellow to actually be tied. I did kinda expect Team Blue to do the worst, though, so I guess at the very least, my estimate wasn't entirely off.
Congrats to all winners!
Will we get a detailed list of all the 1-UPs collected? Would be curious to see who contributed the most to each team.
I think there is some way of factory-resetting a Windows Surface. That might work in this case. Be warned, however. I don't fully know what a factory reset on the Surface affects, but it's absolutely possible it will also delete all your data as though you were installing Windows from scratch, so if you do that, your hack might actually be lost.
The leaks are really interesting. While I don't approve of the method with which they were acquired, I can't help but being fascinated by almost everything we've seen so far. I mean, some of the stuff is just so way out there that I could have never even dreamt of it. Like some of the stuff from the SMW leak. What the hell even is it? And then there were also prototypes of games that looked aboslutely nothing like what they ended up being. I think it was a Yoshi's Island prototype were Yoshi wasn't even decided as the player character yet? Really can't wait to see even more discoveries.
How expensive would it be to expand a ROM back in the '90s? I'm rather curious.
I don't have a real answer to that, but I'm sure it would have probably been "expensive enough that you'd want to avoid it". I mean, from what I know, cartridges have always been considered expensive to produce (especially compared to other types of storage), and I'm sure the capacity was at least a major contributor to that. The main issue here was likely that this raise in cost was per cartridge, though, so I would assume that justifying even just going with the next higher capacity for a cartridge would have required way higher sales for that game.
All of that being said, while I don't think going with higher storage capacity would have been an option for a lot of these games, adding compression might have been. From what I remember, vanilla SMW doesn't actually use much in terms of compression? I'm sure there was a lot of room for improvement there, even if at the potential cost of longer load times and higher RAM usage.
I don't think the leaked model itself is the interesting part here, because yeah, we DID know that Luigi was at some point in the game. I think the interesting part is the fact that this model was discovered exactly 24 years and 1 day after the original Japanese release of Super Mario 64. Of course just a coincidence, but a very fascinating one.
The 30 FPS thing is actually really aggravating, considering the GameCube version ran in 60 FPS almost everywhere (only the world map ran in 30). Another thing that immediately felt wrong to me about the PC version was that it doesn't support analog movement, even when playing with a controller. Again, the GameCube version did. Both of these might ultimately be just minor things, but considering the game ran better on an old console from 2001, they irritated me enough to go get a refund immediately after purchasing it. I went on to play the GameCube version in Dolphin instead. I do actually own the original game on GameCube, so I didn't feel particularly guilty about it.
Allegdly, the reason for some of those downgrades is that the PC port is based on the PS2 version. I assume since the GameCube didn't end up being a very popular console, the game was ported to the PS2 to reach a wider audience, and since the PS2 was slightly less powerful than the GameCube, they probably downgraded it to 30 FPS. However, this doesn't quite explain why 60 FPS (or a variable refresh rate) wasn't added back into for the PC version. I'm assuming they simply wanted to make the port as cheap and quick as possible, which is disappointing. I would love to have a version of the game available on a more convenient platform, but I'm just too dissatisfied with what the PC port offers.
don't really think it would do much, anyways. smw has had a fairly decent disassembly available for a long, long time, so if any really cared about the bosses, that would be more than enough to work off.
At this point I doubt they will be able to get Yasunori Mitsuda and Akira Toriyama on board for music and art to be anything like what we remember, and I know people were really split over Chrono Cross. I would love to see another Chrono game in the direction of the first.
I don't think that would be too difficult, to be honest. Akira Toriyama to this day remains the character designer for all main-line Dragon Quest games, so obviously Square Enix still has ties to him. As for Yasunori Mitsuda, he recently joined as a quest composer for Sea of Stars, a kickstarter-backed game strongly inspired by Chrono Trigger, so it's safe to say he's still interested in composing for this kind of game. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to get him for a new game with Square Enix' money.
I also think it's not out of question for at least a remake of Chrono Trigger to happen. After all, even Trials of Mana got a really decent remake, despite in comparison probably being way less successful than Chrono Trigger (I mean, the SNES version wasn't even originally released outside of Japan).
As for a new game, though, yeah, that's a different story. Square Enix did release I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear, which were both new games strongly inspired by Chrono Trigger, but I honestly didn't like either of them very much. They not only didn't feel like Chrono Trigger (which in and of itself could be looked past), but I also didn't think their gameplay was as good. Well, I didn't actually play I Am Setsuna that much, so I don't know if that's quite true, but as for Lost Sphear, its gameplay really puzzled me. They added the ability to move around on the battle field and aim attacks, which is a really useful thing that might have even benefitted Chrono Trigger itself, but they completey gor rid of dual and triple techs, which in my opinion where the entire point of Chrono Trigger's battle system. The mechanic of waiting a little longer with your turn in battle to be rewarded with the ability of using a way more powerful dual tech was a brilliant one in my opinion, and one that gave the ATB system a purpose in the first place. I never liked ATB in Final Fantasy IV to VI, but I loved it in Chrono Trigger because it made so much sense there. Lost Sphear basically threw that ouf of the window by removing this brilliant mechanic. Dual techs still exist in the game, but they can only be used by a single character and only under certain circumstances, and they don't even require the bar of the other characters to be filled, so they pretty much miss the entire purpose.
Digressing here, but yeah, I don't think a new Chrono Trigger game or at least a remake is impossible, but it's also clearly not the priority of Square Enix, as games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest are simply doing better.
It's pretty much the opposite for me. I'm getting worse and worse by the day. Home office is putting my body in a really bad shape. Both of my arms are pretty much ruined right now, my left shoulder is in pain, my heart has been stinging a few times today, and that's on top of the chronic back pain I'm already suffering, anyways. I've already probably spent like 200€ this month just on stuff intended to help me get better (like mouse pads with cushions, a footrest etc.), and it's done very little for me, some of those things might have even made things worse. Now I'm waiting for the next delivery, I've decided to order a vertical mouse, but it won't be here until Monday. I'm really hoping it will do more for me than all the attempts so far. If not, I'm really not sure what else I should even do. I really don't want to go to a doctor during the current times, but I might have to. I will probably take a bit of vacation soon, which in and of itself feels like a waste during COVID-19, but I'm not even sure if that will help much. I don't really want to take more than just a single week off, but I really don't know what that would even do for me. It probably wouldn't be enough for a sufficient recovery.