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Conversation 002: Backwards Compatibility & The Top Ten Games We’ve Never Played

I told you I’d get this done before Otakon! OK, so we’re leaving for the convention later today, but that’s still on time…

That’s right, the second episode of our show is all up and ready for listening. We had an awesome time with this one, and I think that’s reflected in the content of the show. This month we took a look at backwards compatibility: what is it, how does it affect us as gamers, and where on Earth is is heading? We go all the way from the very beginning of console gaming, up through today and various, confusing SKUs that have either full, half, or no backwards compatibility what-so-ever.

In addition to that, you’ll hear a little bit about some updates in our gaming lives (new systems, beaten games, etc.), as well as our Top 10 list… The Top 10 Games We’ve Never Played. That’s right… after trying to establish some credibility in the first episode, we’re completely destroying all chances of that with this list.

Enjoy! See you down in Baltimore, or see you next month on the show!

(I owe you guys the top ten list of the PS2 games I own and have never played… that’ll come soon! Don’t worry!)

10 Comments

  1. Posting right after hearing you guys talk about FFT and FFT Advance/FFT Advance II.

    In truth, FFT’s story is far more complicated then FFT Advance, so it’s actually pretty hard to compare the two. Saying that they are part of the same continuum is also a bit…weird, because the two Ivalices never have any clues that suggest they are connected, unlike FFT Advance and FFXII.

    In my case, I played FFT Advance through one playthrough and FFT Advance II for approximately 5 hours. Even though FFT Advance’s gameplay was a little better then FFT, I really got tired of FFT Advance by the time I finished it and FFT Advance II was just bearable for even only 5 hours. By comparison, I played FFT for 200+ hours over several playthroughs. Part of FFT’s magic, to me, was the story, but I’m not about to claim that its story is mind-blowing. It focused more on the political side and it left a lot of the characterization ambigious to the gamer, which might be good or bad. If you’ve ever played Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, think that kind of story (which is another game I absolutely love). The other part was that it actually paced itself well over levelling and challenge, unlike FFT Advance’s absolutely boring training and pathetic challenge. Another part, although I never tried this, was that a lot of challenge can be THEN added by making your own restrictions on yourself, like all single-classes. FFT Advance’s challenges, by comparison, were never that great because the game was too easy anyway. And the final part, which probably doesn’t apply to many people, was that there’s an FAQ on Gamefaqs.com which lists gameshark codes as ways to modify characters to become absolutely custom in many different ways, with custom abilities, etc. A lot of my playthroughs was me messing around with strange movesets, like Ramza with the Mighty Sword/Holy Sword moves, etc.

  2. After hearing the rest of the Podcast…

    Yes, I’m going WTF at you not playing Halo, Chrono Trigger, or FF6. To be fair, I absolutely hate Halo with a passion, so I can understand, but even someone like me played the friggin’ game >_>.

    Devil May Cry was indeed to be developed as the next Resident Evil. If you’re jumping into Devil May Cry, though, be warned the Devil May Cry II sucks and Devil May Cry I is very different, action wise, then Devil May Cry III and IV. And, yes, it is kind of a fangirl game. Hell, Devil May Cry III has a cutscene which basically consists of Dante putting on his jacket. Yes, most of the cutscene is him putting on his jacket. Blah. It’s loads of fun though with messing around with the combos.

    Sort of liked God of War, but the battle system was kind of bland for me.

  3. Desire’s unnecessary super-response, activate!

    10. Maniac Mansion: Great game, but I’d be hard-pressed to say it’s a better game than ‘Day of the Tentacle’ (MM’s quasi sequel) or ‘Sam and Max Hit the Road’, which you don’t seem to have played either. Both benefit from a more advanced ‘point and click’ interface and full voice acting.

    9. Final Fantasy Awesome, cough, I mean, VI: Kekekekeke! If that doesn’t make you both shudder and smile at the same time you are not yet a man. Beg borrow or steal this game, guys. Anything I could say to express how fantastic this game is would probably spoil something for you. Hmm, how about this? In battle, a second player can help issue commands to your party.

    8. Chrono Trigger: Seriously, Mike? The Dream Team means nothing to you? Play it right now Everything you thought was done well in FF7 was -actually- done well here. Plus time travel and a talking frog!

    7. Halo (series): Not to sound elitist, but Halo is a poor man’s FPS. At the time of release (2001) the visuals were sub-par, the controls clunky, and the story laughably cliche. If you want a great story-based FPS play Half-life, or Deus EX, or half a dozen other fantastic games, not Halo. You want a FPS multiplayer with great use of vehicles and over-the-top weapons play Unreal Tournament 2004 or 3, or even the Battlefield series.

    6. Dragon Quest (series): Aw come on guys, this is the third block buster RPG on the list, and this time it’s freakin’ ALL OF THEM. DQ is Final Fantasy, if FF didn’t get all pretentious and fan-girly. I haven’t played many of the newer editions, but of what I’ve played my favourite is the remake of DQ3 for Gameboy Colour (a couple extra dungeons, enemies are now animated, added thief class, some game mechanic retooling, and the new personality system). I just love the game, and is the closet thing to a perfect RPG as I’ve played.

    You start out with your Hero and can add in up to three more party members at a time that you can create in the tavern of the first town. And you can use the same interface to switch in and out party members. I love that you can do the whole game alone, or take just as many people as you want. When you finish the game, you can continue playing, enjoying the world you’ve saved, and you can leave your Hero in the bar and take out other characters instead. After you beat the game, you can try and battle the Sky Dragon – if you defeat him fast enough, you can choose one of several wishes (including wishing your father back to life), and then you can try and defeat him again for more wishes. I just can’t say enough about this game.

    5. Devil May Cry (series): I’ve never been a fan of the games. I’ve only played a bit of the first game, and found it slow and uninteresting.

    4. God of War (series): I haven’t played it either!

    3. Super Metroid: It’s been so long that I can’t even remember how this game was different from the original.

    2. Metal Gear Solid (series): I love this series, but it’s not a series that’s easy to get into. The story in convoluted and long and have a tremendous amount of back-references (to really have a hope of understanding you’ll have to play the original two Metal Gear games on MSX), and the gameplay is slow and punishing. But if you like the idea of a game where you try -not- to be seen rather than attack

    If you do want to give the game a shot, I suggest trying to find an MSX emulator (the NES versions of the games are basically trash) for Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. If you’re still willing to keep going, grab the remake of MGS for the gamecube (the original PlayStation versions graphics did not age well). If you’re -still- up to it, grab MGS 2, 3, and (the only one I haven’t played yet) 4.

    1. GTA San Andreas (and others): I loved the original GTA games (GTA, GTA2, GTA London) but the move to 3D really opened up the world. GTA3 did a great job of taking the silent mobster protagonist from the original games and stepping into the new generation of games, GTAVC improved on the mechanics of GTA3 but added a storyline and the best licensed soundtrack I’ve ever heard in a game, and GTASA took GTAVC, again improved the mechanics, and made the world larger and more life-like (though the soundtrack isn’t as cohesive). No the games didn’t deserve as high of scores as they received (the visuals have always been sub-par, the gameplay repetitive, and on consoles the controls aren’t great) but the reason I loved GTASA more than any of the other games (again, haven’t played 4 yet) is because it lets you become part of the world. GTASA does better than most RPGs in the respect: you aren’t the son of a great hero, you aren’t some wild boy with cat ears and great hidden power – you’re just some guy wrapped up in stuff you don’t really want to be. The world is large and you are small.

  4. @desirecampbell: I wouldn’t say you have to play the MSX Metal Gears to enjoy the story of Metal Gear Solid. The 2D Metal Gears are hardly ever mentioned in the 3D games, and they aren’t that essential to understanding the story. Reading the mission summaries in the MGS manual is enough for players to understand everything.

  5. I hate being the guy who apologizes for his fandom (Mike knows what I’m talking about), but as someone who’s biggest fandoms are DBZ and Halo, I’m getting used to it.

    Halo is pretty much the video game equivalent of DBZ: It’s mainstream, somewhat mediocre, extremely over-hyped, and the biggest hit against it is the rabid, lowest-common-denominator fandom. Halo: Combat Evolved had some of the best (console) graphics at the time, a beautifully simple-yet-tactical combat engine, and a story that seems derivative on the surface, but gets deeper the closer you look at at.

    But don’t pop it in the Xbox and expect to be immediately wowed. I, like many Halo fans, came to love it after playing the demo for hours on end. It was a single, full campaign level that was one of the most open and free-form of the entire game. I was a fan before it was even released and it’s the depth of the expanded universe–the print media and community analysis in particular–that keeps me engrossed. In the same way, a newcomer to Dragonball won’t get the same enjoyment out of it as someone that grew up reading Goku’s exploits.

    Now, I’m not an FPS guy. Don’t really like ’em, they used to give me motion sickness. I found the legendary GoldenEye to be a strain on the eyes and it’s controls felt horribly counterintuitive. Halo’s “slower” gameplay appealed to me, as did the limited weapon selection, because I hate juggling a dozen different guns (that in other FPSs, all basically do the same thing). So, yes, it is a poor man’s FPS. That’s the beauty of it. Half-Life is for snobs and Unreal is for the overly-competitive twitch gamers. Halo only needs to be fun, which is does quite well.

    P.S. It helps that Halo isn’t one of those fire-and-forget games where the developer just moves on to something else. Bungie is actively involved in the fan community. They’re constantly updating the online playlists and new DL content is always right around the corner.

  6. RE: Halo

    Fully aware of its status and perception among the various FPS circles (both console and PC). Just like I felt I should at least check out GTA / Vice City, so should I check out Halo. I actually do own The Orange Box on PC (mainly purchased for Portal and messing around with TF2), so I’ve got a fully-functional Half-Life game sitting right in front of me, too. I think the only FPSes I’ve actually played in any depth in single player have been Doom II and Duke 3D on PC. Played a bit of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark on N64, but solely in multiplayer. So yeah. That’s basically where I stand. It’s another area that I know an awful lot about, but it’s all essentially just an outsider’s perspective.

    @SonGoharotto

    I hear ya’ on LCD fandoms. I can at least say that I don’t really have a problem dabbling here and there with said “low-brow” franchises… I mean, shit… DBZ.

    @desirecampbell & @Taku128

    I’ve thought about picking up Twin Snakes time and time again, but never did. This is probably going to be one of the series that I just continue to watch grow, evolve, etc… without ever actually playing them. I just don’t feel any compelling reason or desire to do so.

  7. @Taku128 I disagree, I played MGS 1 and 2 before playing MG 1 and 2 and knowing the story of the first two games helped immensely. Plus, the mechanics of hiding are easier to use in 2D.

  8. Hiya Mike, Jeff, and Andrew. Think the show is kick ass. Ya I have to agree with most of the games I have not played either. I am interested in play Chrono Trigger for the DS when that comes out. I have never really played the MSG games it was just not my thing and does not interest me. I think the only reason I have played Halo cause my friends played it too. Other then that I am not a FPS guy either. GTA I kinda played but it was never really a game that tied me down to it. I just kinda played it for a bit and then I was like yeah I am done. I would love to play FF 6 when it comes out for the DS if it does.

  9. I totally forgot to metion that I had also picked up the (Super) GameBoy Color release of “Dragon Warrior I & II” from GameStop maybe two years ago when they were clearing out all the really old inventory. Probably paid no more than three bucks for it. Unfortunately, the game wouldn’t load up no matter which system or add-on I threw it into. I returned it and since they had no more to replace it with, I have gone without ever since.

  10. I’ve listened to all 3 podcast episodes so far.
    I’m one of those people who has a 60 GB PS3, so I have backwards compatibly with my PS1 and PS2.

    I also listen to Daizenshuu EX; hell, that’s how I found this.

    It’s nice how in Pokémon (other than the 3rd Generation with the 1st/2nd Generation) they’ve always tried to make an effort to make it backwards compatibility. Whoo, I’m gonna get Platinum. (New Pokémon game)

    It will never happen; but, I wanna battle Mike in Pokémon.

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