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nullPointer
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by nullPointer Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:17 pm

The List So Far:
1. To the Moon [PC/Steam]

While To the Moon was a good New Year's palette cleanser (and a good reminder of 'the things that really matter in life'©), I typically like to start each year off with a 'landmark game' regardless of how many times I've played it in the past. For 2018 that was …

2. Super Mario All-Stars: Super Mario Bros. 3 [SNES]
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I'm certain that entire swaths of internet text have been devoted to lauding the greatness of this game, but I'm going to boil it down to the single concept that stuck with me this time around. Meticulous. Certainly not a groundbreaking revelation by any means and if you read no further that's probably all you need to know (as if you didn't already). This game is a masterwork that is simply meticulous in its execution. And it's this attention to detail, this fine-tuned gaming experience that makes SMB3 feel timeless, particularly in a sea of half-baked 'retro inspired' platformers. Even when cast under the gaze of the most discerning critical eye it's hard to find fault with this game. The graphical elements presented here codified what most of us would consider the 'gold standard' of Super Mario world building. SMB was too simple and too 'bricky' in appearance to be considered truly iconic, SMB2 didn't take place in the Mushroom Kingdom and was in fact a re-skin of Doki Doki Panic, but SMB3 finally gave us a set of immediately identifiable world building elements which Mario games would carry forward even to this day. The music is simple, catchy and memorable. The control is impeccable. It's simple enough for beginners, deep enough to keep veteran players on the hunt for its many secrets.

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In fact, if one were to find any 'troublesome' element here, it's that the game is almost too polished and refined. If you're looking for a quirky nuanced experience, you won't find that here (see SMB2). But this criticism is the very height of hyperbole and ridiculous conjecture. This is the gaming equivalent of Led Zeppelin IV; every note serves a purpose, every intonation is perfectly placed. If you wanted to listen to Black Flag you'd have done that in the first place, right? ;) Special shout out goes to the All-Stars version of the game which I feel is the very best representation of SMB3.

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Last edited by nullPointer on Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Xeogred
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Xeogred Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:25 pm

Dude, yes. SMB3 is the best Mario aesthetics and take on the Mushroom Kingdom and its zany worlds by far to me. Nowadays I lean more towards SMW being the better game, the levels are bigger and the ideas constantly interesting, but SMB3 has the best vibes, all the cool power ups, and more variety between the worlds. I think I'm more partial to the NES original, but I'm big fan of both the NES trilogy and the All Stars versions.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ElkinFencer10 Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:27 pm

I'm part of what seems to be a minority who thinks that, while Super Mario World is amazing, Super Mario Bros 3 is the absolute pinnacle of 2D platforming.
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nullPointer
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by nullPointer Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:56 pm

Xeogred wrote:Nowadays I lean more towards SMW being the better game, the levels are bigger and the ideas constantly interesting, but SMB3 has the best vibes, all the cool power ups, and more variety between the worlds.

ElkinFencer10 wrote:I'm part of what seems to be a minority who thinks that, while Super Mario World is amazing, Super Mario Bros 3 is the absolute pinnacle of 2D platforming.

I'm so wishy-washy on this that if I was forced to pick between the two, my answer would likely change depending on when I was asked, lol. Super Mario World offers a deeper experience, but SMB3 conversely has that 'pick up & play' allure in spades.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Xeogred Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:04 pm

It always amuses me how evil world 8 is on the NES as well. It's straight up Hell. :lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by Xeogred Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:57 pm

1. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis)
2. Darkwing Duck (NES)
3. Batman* (NES)
4. Journey to Silius (NES)
5. Aladdin* (SNES)
6. Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse* (SNES)
7. Run Saber (SNES)

* = replay

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WHY DID I THINK THIS GAME WAS BAD?

Wish I knew, but I'm glad I gave it another shot. The curiosity of mixing this up with Skyblazer over the years got to me. I even own the cart of Run Saber and never gave it much love. But it's great! A mix of Strider meets Shinobi basically. Enemies drop the Special power up everywhere so it was easy to spam that during bosses. There's 5 levels and most have a handful of bosses. This is about as simple as it gets and only took me 36 minutes on a second run after a game over, but I got to the 4th level on my first run so it was easy to memorize the levels. Fun times. Some tracks were cool and I really dug the graphics. I played the female since she looked way cooler. Their blade attacks are different and hers is shorter but with an upward swing, when upgraded you can easily spam it for a wide attack while jumping.

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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by prfsnl_gmr Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:16 am

nullPointer wrote:
Xeogred wrote:Nowadays I lean more towards SMW being the better game, the levels are bigger and the ideas constantly interesting, but SMB3 has the best vibes, all the cool power ups, and more variety between the worlds.

ElkinFencer10 wrote:I'm part of what seems to be a minority who thinks that, while Super Mario World is amazing, Super Mario Bros 3 is the absolute pinnacle of 2D platforming.

I'm so wishy-washy on this that if I was forced to pick between the two, my answer would likely change depending on when I was asked, lol. Super Mario World offers a deeper experience, but SMB3 conversely has that 'pick up & play' allure in spades.


This is well put. I don’t think one is better than the other. They are just different. Neither is the pinnacle of 2D platforming, however.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by MrPopo Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:44 am

1. Ultima V - PC
2. Ultima VI - PC

I noticed that Ultima VI was one of the games for AGDQ this year, so I decided to try and knock it out before they got to it tomorrow night. Ultima VI is the most advanced of the Age of Enlightenment trilogy, and yet somehow I feel like it is the least of the three games. It ends up being like early 3D platformers; crazy awesome advanced when it first came out, but in hindsight it hasn't aged as well as the older games.

So first off, you will notice that this game got an insane graphical update. You're now rocking VGA graphics (whereas the previous two were EGA), and the sprites are huge compared to Ultima V's. It's still an overhead view so you have this weird perspective to give you just enough of a 3D effect like you'd see in an isometric. I'd call it an 85 degree isometric aesthetic. Characters now have portraits, and the dialog system is much richer. People have more to say, they have unique dialog for their "I don't respond to that word" response, and keywords are highlighted so you don't have to try every word (though they frequently respond to more than just the keywords). Characters now have a paper doll, compared to the implicit one in Ultima V, and there is individual inventories for characters and a weight limit system; you can wear gear equal to your strength and can carry a total of twice your strength (where you carry what you wear).

The game also gets back to the emphasis on morals that Ultima IV had. I don't want to go into more detail than that for spoilers, but the end game involves solving a conundrum and the solution doesn't involve swords. There is a karma system like Ultima V, with the same level of impact; you need to have enough to do the final quest, but it's mostly just don't steal, don't murder people, do the main quest. You don't have the full virtue system. Still, it's much better story-wise than Ultima V was, which was basically just beat the big bad guys and rescue the princess (king).

Now where the game falls down: first, the graphics. Like Metroid II, everything is too big compared to the viewport, so it's incredibly easy to get lost in towns without a map. The towns are also massive compared to the size of the world, without actually being larger compared to Ultima V in terms of buildings and residents. As an example, Lord British's castle and Britain takes up the entire area under that crescent shaped mountain range that is the nothern border of the land it's in in the previous two games. This makes the whole game seem a ton smaller. It's really a step backwards; zooming out the view would help a ton. Combat is also now done on the map, which means the already clusterfuck combat gets even worse, as most of the time you're in areas that aren't designed for fighting like in the previous games. This makes party sizes greater than three a mess in combat, but you definitely want a party that size to carry all the shit you need to beat the game.

I mentioned the story is better than V's (though the idea of turning virtues into laws being bad was an interesting one). But there's a big piece in the middle that just sucks. You know how much everyone hates the the Triforce treasure map part of Wind Waker? Well, Ultima VI did it first and did it worse. It's a huge busy work quest that isn't even necessary if you know the piece of information it reveals. It doesn't do a quest trigger, and it's possible for you to stumble past it if you just explore the world and do some dungeon diving. It's basically a super long quest chain to tell you to visit a particular dungeon. So if you visit it on your own you'll end up doing the sequence past this asinine quest chain, making it completely useless.

For it's narrative faults, Ultima V had a good engine and was considerate with a player's time and energy. So I'd say the trilogy ends up being IV > V > VI, when approached in hindsight. Of course, at the time you'd definitely rank them IV < V < VI, because the technical advancements will utterly blow you away.
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by ESauced Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:20 am

prfsnl_gmr wrote:
nullPointer wrote:
Xeogred wrote:Nowadays I lean more towards SMW being the better game, the levels are bigger and the ideas constantly interesting, but SMB3 has the best vibes, all the cool power ups, and more variety between the worlds.

ElkinFencer10 wrote:I'm part of what seems to be a minority who thinks that, while Super Mario World is amazing, Super Mario Bros 3 is the absolute pinnacle of 2D platforming.

I'm so wishy-washy on this that if I was forced to pick between the two, my answer would likely change depending on when I was asked, lol. Super Mario World offers a deeper experience, but SMB3 conversely has that 'pick up & play' allure in spades.


This is well put. I don’t think one is better than the other. They are just different. Neither is the pinnacle of 2D platforming, however.


Nah, the answer is Mario 3 :wink:
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Re: Games Beaten 2018

by marurun Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:17 pm

Xeogred wrote:7. Run Saber (SNES)

WHY DID I THINK THIS GAME WAS BAD?


No idea! It's not like the best game ever, but it's pretty decent. I actually like it a bit better than the original Strider. I think it's a slightly more accessible take on the style.
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