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Sarge
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by Sarge Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:07 pm

I will say that it's better than the original Street Fighter, at least.
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Exhuminator
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by Exhuminator Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:47 pm

Too many curve balls from real life have severely impacted my free time for gaming lately. There's no way I'll have Under a Killing Moon finished before the end of this month. At three hours into it, I'd say "UaKM has legit funny FMV cutscenes but kinda bland gameplay." I cannot offer a more informed opinion than that on UaKM at this point. Anyway, I tried about twenty FMV games in total. Most of them weren't worth finishing, but I did finish a total of six "FMV games":

Alive (PlayStation) Ex rating: 7/10
Dennis Miller: That's News To Me (3DO) Ex rating: 3/10
Double Dragon (Neo Geo) Ex rating: 8/10
PYST (Windows 95) Ex rating: 4/10
The Yakyuu Ken Special: Konya wa 12-kaisen (Saturn) Ex rating: 6/10
The X-Files Game (Windows 98) Ex rating: 7/10

While I personally wasn't looking forward this particular TR theme, I still gave it an honest shot. I ended up having a little more fun than I expected, but overall my opinion of the "FMV game genre" remains the same. FMV games (holistically speaking) do not offer enough return on my investment to make them worth my time. That statement is based on gameplay ethos I value (high interactivity, consistent player agency, low down time). That said, I understand there are some very well made FMV games out there, and I certainly haven't tried them all yet. And I comprehend there are some who enjoy comedic schlock, so in that regard retro FMV games can be a goldmine. All in all I don't begrudge anyone who enjoys this genre. But I'm tapping out. See you all in some dank dark dungeons next month.
PLAY KING'S FIELD.
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by crazythink4 Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:56 am

Well, my play time wasn't what I hoped it would be the last couple of weeks, but I did manage to finish Riven. Ack did an awesome job chronicling his journey through the game, so I'll instead focus on my overall impressions.

First, I talk about some of the puzzles. I guess this is the time to admit that I had to look at a hint guide in order to make it through the game (via one of those nifty sites that gives you a small hint to get you past where you're stuck rather than a full walkthrough). At first, I felt a bit of shame but it quickly became apparent that there were some puzzles which I never would have solved without help. Specifically, there were three which I never would have gotten without help. (Sorry, I'm going to be vague here to avoid spoilering, skip after the list if this annoys you.)
  1. How to count higher than 10. It turns out that this was similar to a dastardly puzzle I never solved in a later chapter of Start Trek: 25th Anniversary. That said, it feels like there were more clues on how to solve this puzzle in Riven than Star Trek, but I doubt I would have ever solved it.
    I guess inferring that I should be working in a different base of number never was a strong point of mine. Here it is base-5. In Star Trek it was base-3.
  2. Solving the animal glyph puzzle to get to the rebel base. I knew what I needed to do, but it turns out I got three of the five in the combination wrong and I doubt I would have ever figured out what I was doing wrong. I wouldn't have gotten the 2 fish and I misidentified the bug glyph. Oh well.
  3. Finally, the colored stone puzzle at the top of the dome. Those who encountered it will know why it was hard, but I have the added problem of not knowing what solving the problem would accomplish. If I would have known that, it would have made it a bit easier, but not by much

I will say that one of the things which may have made things more difficult was the fact that this was one large Age rather than distinct Ages. In Myst, some of the puzzles were definitely hard, but it was mitigated by the fact that each Age was relatively small, so it the areas where you had to search for solutions was quite a bit smaller. In Riven, the problem space is much bigger so I felt that there was a lot more wandering and I couldn't be sure I was looking in the right place. It's hard for me to call this a negative, however, since the Age feels a lot more cohesive and beautiful. However, it did come with the trade-off that there was so much more ground to cover.

As for the story itself, I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with how well they integrated with the original Myst, specifically the Star Fissure. The fissure felt like a cool leaping-off point (ha!) to the first game, but it never really seemed all that important. Here, it's much more integral and it makes me wonder how much of Riven's story was determined when the original Myst was created.

The acting and the integration of the characters was well done. I mean, it's not really interactive, of course, but that suits me fine. In this series, the Stranger (i.e. player) is an observer of events rather than someone who partakes in them, despite the fact that the Stranger does influence things quite a bit. I also like that Atrus and all of the family are jerks, just to varying degrees. You have Sirrus, Achenar, and Gehn are are total jerks and Atrus and Catherine who are still jerks, but less so.
In the good ending, I was happy to see Atrus and Catherine reunited and was looking forward to continuing my adventures with them. However, I was left behind on Riven and sucked into the Star Fissure. I found out in one of the less-good endings I played afterward that they believed they were sending the Stranger home, but of course there's no way to know were he/she would wind up. It would have been nice to have been consulted, however.

I still felt put out, but it was probably an objectively good ending because Riven may never have had a sequel, leaving plausible explanations on where the player ends up (the Stranger makes it home or goes on to further adventures), and it leaves a good leaping off point for a sequel.

Besides all that, the story was satisfying to me. They covered a lot of the philosophical points brought up by the linking books in the first Myst, specifically around the brothers abusing the inhabitants of the worlds they create, and the moral ramifications thereof. It was explored further in Riven, particularly when the inhabitants begin resisting. Apparently this is covered in more detail in some of the novelizations. That said, there were a few other nit-picky things that bug me, but not enough to ruin my overall enjoyment.
Books need power? Um, this is news to me. It's handled rather inconsistently too. Apparently Gehn was a poor author and his books eventually deteriorated and stopped working. However, none of this was apparent in Myst and it's handled weirdly in Riven. Throughout the island, they have these weird rotating charging apparatuses in order to give the books enough oomph to work for a while. However, on the 223rd age, they're all powered by a single boiler. I wish they found a different explanation than powering the books as it just doesn't work in my head.

Next up is the debate about whether the D'ni authors are creating worlds or simply linking to an existing world among infinite worlds. This would be fine except that it makes no sense that Atrus rewriting the Riven book would prevent its collapse if it was just a link. I'm hoping that it's settled that new worlds are created. That seems much more interesting to me than a simple link, which just makes it yet another FTL transport mechanism. The implications of invading superior beings on lesser people have been explored extensively already.

Anyway, I really enjoyed my time with Riven. When I first saw it on the store shelf, I brushed it off as a cheap cash-in like all the other Myst clones; I couldn't have been more wrong. Also, it's a little surprising to me that the Myst series continued afterward given that adventure gaming died off at around the time Riven came out. (I guess it was a couple of years afterward. Escape from Monkey Island was 2000, Gabriel Knight 3 was 1999). I guess it's just a testament to how strong the first two games were (along with Uru and Myst V, I hear), since there's still lots of interest in them. I guess it's not surprising that a continuation is being kickstarted (as mentioned up-thread).

Anyway, that's it for me for this month. Thanks for the theme, Elkin, I really enjoyed my time with it! :)
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BogusMeatFactory
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by BogusMeatFactory Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:25 am

Oh man let's talk Riven Lore!! To answer your questions about having to power a book, this only applies to Gehn specifically as he did not have the proper tools to create linking booms. Linking books are made with a special type of paper and ink that he did not have access to, so in order to do so with similar but inferior materials, he needed that power to make them work.

As to the question about Atrus stabilizing the book by writing in it, there is a distinction between a linking book and a descriptive book that needs to be made. A descriptive book is what creates the real link to a world. It is a massive book that contains all the qualities of the age. Minor changes can be made to the descriptive book. These are the types of changes Atrus is making. If you make too drastic of changes, the age becomes a completely different, but similar age.

A linking book is a basic book that merely provides a link to the age and is tied to the descriptive book.

Also, there is no shame in getting hints. Sometimes we just need a little context to the puzzles to guide us in the right direction. It's hard to win the game if we aren't sure of the rules on how to play.

I truly hope you explore the sequels... specifically myst 5 and Uru. Both take place simultaneously in the timeline and are both made by cyan, so they have that magical world building and lore, unlike 3 and 4 which were made by the guys who made the journeyman project and rely solely on, "HEY REMEMBER THOSE WACKY BROTHERS?!"
Ack wrote:I don't know, chief, the haunting feeling of lust I feel whenever I look at your avatar makes me think it's real.

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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by crazythink4 Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:33 pm

Regarding book power, yes I remember now reading that materials were in shorter supply. I suppose that makes sense, but all the same I’m a little glad this device wasn’t used again.

Regarding the different types of books: ah, I see now. So ideally, Gehn could only create linking books when he went to 233, which is why he could have 5 books that went back to Riven rather than 5 slightly different copies of Riven.

(Though it seems a bit odd that Gehn would create a link to 233 rather than escape.)

Back to Atrus being a jerk, it seems like trapping Gehn on a world they knew was collapsing was a means of execution while trying to keep his hands technically clean. It’s established that the only reason he’s holding the world up is because Catherine is there. Perhaps he was more squeamish then (as would be expected), and all these incidents with Gehn, Sirius and Achenar made him less willing to tolerate their tomfoolery (which is why he outright wrecked the two prison books at the end of Myst when he could).

Anyway! I’m definitely planning on continuing through the rest of the Myst series and Uru! I’m glad that Myst 3 And 4 will become available soon and look forward to continuing my time here!
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by Sarge Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:37 pm

I didn't get to as much as anticipated, but at least I polished off Wirehead, Shinobi Legions, and Street Fighter: The Movie. I also gave a few more games with FMV sequences a go. NBA Jam (which probably shouldn't count, ha!), The Riddle of Master Lu, and... actually, that might be about it. I meant to restart Realms of the Haunting, but didn't get to it.

The only "pure" entry in the list was Wirehead, and it mainly stuck to what I expect from most FMV games: average-to-below-average gameplay at best, but sometimes entertaining sequences when done correctly. Wirehead actually does feel like it could have been a made-for-TV feature. Shinobi Legions, not so much. And the less said about SF: The Movie, the better. (Play the Saturn version if you must.)

A lot of CD-based games had live video back in the day, of course, especially if they were sports. So seeing clips of basketball players in the basketball games I used to play was pretty cool. I kept up with the NBA Live series for quite some time ('95-'98), and always enjoyed seeing those clips. I had the PC version of NBA Jam TE, which felt nearly arcade perfect to me. I still may end up playing through Master Lu one of these days; I have a PC Gamer mag from back in the day that had a review of the game as well as a demo.
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by BogusMeatFactory Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:48 pm

crazythink4 wrote:Regarding book power, yes I remember now reading that materials were in shorter supply. I suppose that makes sense, but all the same I’m a little glad this device wasn’t used again.

Regarding the different types of books: ah, I see now. So ideally, Gehn could only create linking books when he went to 233, which is why he could have 5 books that went back to Riven rather than 5 slightly different copies of Riven.

(Though it seems a bit odd that Gehn would create a link to 233 rather than escape.)

Back to Atrus being a jerk, it seems like trapping Gehn on a world they knew was collapsing was a means of execution while trying to keep his hands technically clean. It’s established that the only reason he’s holding the world up is because Catherine is there. Perhaps he was more squeamish then (as would be expected), and all these incidents with Gehn, Sirius and Achenar made him less willing to tolerate their tomfoolery (which is why he outright wrecked the two prison books at the end of Myst when he could).

Anyway! I’m definitely planning on continuing through the rest of the Myst series and Uru! I’m glad that Myst 3 And 4 will become available soon and look forward to continuing my time here!


Most likely, the reason why Gehn had the book to age 233 is because he had that already written and with him when he was trapped. You can only make linking books while you are at the destination you want it to link to and carry that over to where you want the book placed.

As for trapping Gehn on riven, it wa Denver Atrus intention to doom his father to death. The age was unstable from gehn's terrible writing. He had his god complex and Atrus wanted to escape without him being able to follow, which is why no books back to d'ni were left in riven, essentially trapping him.

Atrus had always been working to keep the age stable before Catherine was trapped, because it was her home and the people there were doomed, plus Atrus believed his father could be reformed.

You'll find that Atrus's sons are not eternally trapped... in the next two games all about the brothers. (Again a series of story choices I disagree with as they don't fall into the vision and intent of cyan)
Ack wrote:I don't know, chief, the haunting feeling of lust I feel whenever I look at your avatar makes me think it's real.

-I am the idiot that likes to have fun and be happy.
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by J T Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:59 pm

Damn. It's the end of the month already. A lot of things came up and I didn't get as much play time as I hoped for. There was a death, travel, career stress, and a creative project. I might still tack some late entries on to this thread regardless. Also, I started Lands of Lore 2 which is both an FMV and a first person dungeon crawler. I meant to play the X-Files game too because my wife expressed interest in playing it too, and she NEVER wants to play video games.

Anyone interested in killing more time with FMV might be interested to know that Killing Time is now on sale at GOG
https://www.gog.com/game/killing_time
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by nullPointer Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:45 pm

I managed to squeak in with one more completed game for the month. I recorded some final thoughts regarding The Dame Was Loaded over in the games beaten thread. All told I quite enjoyed my time with this one. I think in many ways this speaks to the importance of quality performances with regards to quality in FMV games (particularly where the game is composed primarily of FMV segments). Gameplay is of course of equal or greater value in this regard, but if either of these components are lacking, the game will suffer for it. In some ways FMV games had the deck stacked against them all along. They had to be a quality games and quality movies. All of this certainly required some interdisciplinary finesse that I'm afraid was lacking in many titles. The Dame Was Loaded seems to be an exception here, and I'd definitely recommend it to those seeking out FMV games past the close of the month.

I also quite enjoyed my time with the theme this month. Although in some ways I initially approached this theme from an academic angle (i.e. "Let's study these historical oddities in an attempt to discover why the FMV fad was short-lived and ill-fated"), I ultimately enjoyed it quite a lot from the prospective of gaming proper. I'm not sure it's a genre I'll return to frequently, but it was most definitely worthwhile. Thanks so much for curating this month ElkinFencer10! :D
Last edited by nullPointer on Tue May 01, 2018 12:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by Ack Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:26 pm

Yeah, Elkin, I had a lot of fun with this. Thanks very much!
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