What are you playing today?

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Popcorn
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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Popcorn »

You know what Nintendo racing franchise doesn't have bullshit? Diddy Kong Racing.

Kidding!

Just to confirm, it's F-Zero.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Crisis »

Coming into Mario Kart 8 out of Sonic & All-Stars, I'm struck by how much better themed MK8 is. Literally everything is Mario-themed in some way, with the possible exception of the (pointless) "Crazy Eight" item. It's like playing through a Mario-themed Disneyland.

The replay feature at the end of each race is a great addition to intoxicated local multiplayer.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Popcorn »

Really? A lot of it seems not Mario-themed enough to me. Banana peels and lightning bolts are franchise mainstays but they're not from anything, are they? And the courses in particular seem esoteric, because, like, Melody Motorway, the music-themed one, what's that got to do with Mario other than having some of those melody blocks from Mario 3 in? Or Sweet Sweet Mountain, what's that from? Maybe they're based on weird Mario Galaxy stages?

I think the barrel is being scraped, frankly. Who wants to play as baby characters? I don't get why they don't open the franchise up to the rest of the Nintendo canon, like Smash Bros. Calling Donkey Kong a Mario character is stretching at this point.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Frieza2000 »

Incidentally, yesterday Nintendo announced on their E3 stream that Mario Kart 8 is already coded to make use of the NFC figurines they're releasing, so you may just get your wish. It could explain why the starting roster was so inexplicably poor this time.

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Popcorn
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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Popcorn »

Believe it or not, having to buy toys to scan things that do whatever is not my wish. Is the roster actually poorer than previous Mario Karts? It seems like the same plus an gang of hateful baby characters and Koopa kids.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Crisis »

The courses in modern Mario Kart are explicitly not lifted from the games. They are concepts ("airport", "San Francisco", "Candyland") that have had a Mario theme applied to them.

The roster is pretty uninspiring. I don't think it's a particularly pressing issue, but when you consider that 7 characters are baby/metal and 7 are Koopa Kids (out of 30 total) it's a bit disappointing. Many of the core roster are thematically similar as well (Mario/Luigi/Wario/Waluigi, Princesses, Toad/Toadette) and it's not like there's a shortage of weird and obscure characters to draw from.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Frieza2000 »

Popcorn wrote:Believe it or not, having to buy toys to scan things that do whatever is not my wish.
It's Nintendo; you have to meet them halfway.

What I meant is that the inclusion of so many alternate versions of existing characters (5 babies and 2 metals) in this edition is inexplicable. If they're going to go to the trouble of programming a unique character, why not make it an actual new character? Even if they continued to limit the roster to Mario games there are a huge number of characters to choose from. How have we not seen E. Gadd yet? Or how about Kamek or Pauline? Dig deep and pull out the likes of Tatanga, Wanda, or Captain Syrup. They could even open it up to the Paper Mario games and exchange the generic enemy characters for ones with names and personalities. I don't see why resources would be put into Baby Rosalina and not something people actually want unless they intentionally limited the creativity of the default roster to make the sold-separately Smash Bros characters look more enticing.

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Popcorn
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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Popcorn »

I see your point, but Double Dash already demonstrated Nintendo's willingness to stuff Mario Kart with shit redundant characters. And I ain't buyin' no toys.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by G.Silver »

I strongly suspect there's a group of people out there who really likes the baby characters. I choose to believe that this demographic is primarily young kids, and not 40 year old diaper-fetishists.
If they're going to go to the trouble of programming a unique character, why not make it an actual new character?
These characters require minimal programming, it's all art assets, and that's why there's so many similarities, it isn't a question of going to some effort, it's getting the most characters for the least effort possible. The Koopalings all share the same body and are probably even just re-using the models from other 3D games they've appeared in.

I think this one is my favorite cast so far, but I like the Koopalings a lot so it's no surprise there.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Frieza2000 »

Models and voice work aside, how much more effort would go into a character made from whole cloth? I actually haven't played a Mario Kart since 64 but I'm guessing the hit boxes on the karts are minimally different. You end up having to balance the stats for baby characters too, so that's no work saved unless they're literally clones of each other under the hood (I'd think they'd at least bother to vary their weight stats so Roy is heavier than Iggy for example). The art seems like it would be the most costly portion, which they did save on with the metals and maybe the Koopalings, but baby everybody is new.

(And seven Koopalings! I mean I like seeing them, but seriously all seven of them and no E. Gadd? I don't get it!)

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Yami CJMErl »

It IS rather odd, considering that previous MK games had more out-there choices like Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, and a WIGGLER.

Ever since the Smash Bros. Rosalina reveal trailer, I seriously want some sort of Mario Kart / Kirby's Air Ride crossover.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Crazy Penguin »

I'd love to see them bring back the likes of Wart, Tatanga, Captain Syrup, Cackletta, Dimentio, Fawful, Donkey Kong Jr or even WarioWare characters like Mona, Ashley and 9-Volt. Obviously we're not going to get all of them together, but I'd rather see any one of them in exchange for all of the Baby characters, Metal characters, Waluigi and Daisy combined.

Conversely, I'm thrilled that they included all 7 Koopalings. Much of that is down to personal bias, but they're far more distinct than Daisy and Baby Luigi.

Lakitu is a strange addition. He isn't really Lakitu without his cloud, and he already has a significant role in the series as the flagman. I was also surprised by Birdo's absence, I thought she'd become a series mainstay.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Esrever »

I think you might see DLC for Mario Kart, but I don't think it's going to be connected to the toys. I think it's just going to be straight up regular DLC... or at least, that will be an option. There's space on the menu screens for more cups and at least one more row of characters, and I think eventually you're going to see both of those things. (I'm going to even throw down a bet here and guess the six characters: Birdo, Diddy, Drybones, King Boo, Shy Guy, Dry Bowser.)

Having the toys unlock playable character content, ala Skylanders, doesn't seem to be the route Nintendo is taking with these. Which is wise, since Nintendo games are targeted at a much broader audience. It's fine to make Skylanders all about toys, because Skylanders has ALWAYS been all about toys, and people who don't want toys don't play it. It's a game created for that market. Mario Kart is not. If the DLC was toy-dependent, they'd be limiting the sale of it to the percentage of Mario Kart players who are children or adult toy collectors. That would be madness!

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Frieza2000 »

I don't know. I'm having flashbacks to Pokemon, Wind Waker, Metroid Prime, Gameboy Camera, the Gameboy LttP remake, and Mario Advance 4, all of which required a Gameboy, second game, game link cables, Gameboy printer, or E-Reader in order to 100%. Those are peripherals and not toys, but somehow I don't trust Nintendo to see the difference. I was impressed by how innocuous the NFC use in Smash Bros was though. There may be more to it - you may need to collect them all to unlock all of the trophies - but so far so good.

But you're right: for something as big as extra characters there will probably always be a DLC option.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by G.Silver »

I have a short list of new characters I'd like to see (we'll never see Goombella in MK, I'm sure), but I'm a lot more interested in DLC courses. The existing Retro courses are great but that whole system is really kind of annoying, because earlier games have already "used up" a number of my favorites (mainly talking Waluigi Pinball here). I'd really like to see MK8 turn into a kind of "ultimate" MK collection by bringing in more and more retro courses.
Frieza2000 wrote:Models and voice work aside, how much more effort would go into a character made from whole cloth? I actually haven't played a Mario Kart since 64 but I'm guessing the hit boxes on the karts are minimally different. You end up having to balance the stats for baby characters too, so that's no work saved unless they're literally clones of each other under the hood (I'd think they'd at least bother to vary their weight stats so Roy is heavier than Iggy for example). The art seems like it would be the most costly portion, which they did save on with the metals and maybe the Koopalings, but baby everybody is new.
Probably not all that much to be honest! I know guys who can bang out an amazing model in Z-Brush in hours. Mario characters are largely untextured, so it's mainly in rigging and animation (which is clearly an area where Nintendo is willing to put effort). MK8 (and probably Wii, I don't know) doesn't actually vary stats per character, it's based on weight class, so all they have to do is pick one. The baby characters are not new, they were all in MKWii and if Nintendo is as frugal as I think they are, then they created the models for them at a high enough resolution that they'd never need to create them again and just down-res them to whatever LOD they need.
Crazy Penguin wrote:Lakitu is a strange addition. He isn't really Lakitu without his cloud, and he already has a significant role in the series as the flagman.
Going with my frugality theory, Lakitu shouldn't be surprising at all--he's already in the game with a high-res model so they just plop him in a cart. Again, it isn't a case of being fair to the characters or "representing" (ie, he "already has a significant role"), it's pumping out the largest cast with the least effort.
Esrever wrote:(I'm going to even throw down a bet here and guess the six characters: Birdo, Diddy, Drybones, King Boo, Shy Guy, Dry Bowser.)
Shy Guy is already in. :) (And heavily re-used as a background character, too!)

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Popcorn »

I think it's really weird that you can play as Lakitu in MK8 even though he's the flag guy. I know there's, like, more than one Lakitu in Mario land, but... it's just fucked up.

I had an argument at work today with a guy who claimed F-Zero was really just a realistic racing sim for people who like tweaking stats, but with futuristic graphics. I mean, what the fuck? Mario Kart 8 has more stat-tweaking than F-Zero GX does! His desk was cleared by the end of the day.

I don't get the MK8 stats at all. I don't understand what all these different wheels and parachutes do, and most of them look stupid. I'm kind of an asshole purist when it comes to franchises generally though. Esrever's always saying stuff like "oh wow, this new installment could take the franchise in a totally new direction!" and then I'm like "But if you're gonna do that, why make it the same damn franchise?" I want Mario Kart to be about Mario in a kart, and possibly five or six of his mates, and that's it. I don't want Baby Peach driving a fuckin' banana. Have an idea, strip out everything that doesn't strengthen the idea, and don't make another one. Unless it's a new F-Zero in HD and online play, you can make that.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by G.Silver »

When I was thinking about whether or not to recommend MK8 to you I was thinking specifically about the stats, it's especially dumb that the hide them, you have to press a key to even see what sorts of changes are being made and even then it takes a fair bit of studying to actually tell which options are changing which stats.

That guy at your work lost me at "realistic racing sim." What does he think of Outrun 2??

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Popcorn »

G.Silver wrote:When I was thinking about whether or not to recommend MK8 to you I was thinking specifically about the stats, it's especially dumb that the hide them, you have to press a key to even see what sorts of changes are being made and even then it takes a fair bit of studying to actually tell which options are changing which stats.
I know, right?! It really heavily frames the choice as an aesthetic one more than anything else, as a lot of players will probably never even see the stats display. It just muddies things unnecessarily.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Wombatwarlord777 »

So, I've been tooling around with that new Planet Freedom game. I really like it so far. It strikes me as very similar to Sonic 3 and Knuckles (I mean, aside from the aesthetics and obvious character designs) in that there's a near perfect balance of speed, exploration, straight-up platforming and gimmicks (the speed bits are less emphasized, but I can live with that, especially since that was mostly for show in Sonic's games anyways). There are also three different playable characters. They're all very different (one emphasizes flow and speed with Ristar-esque launches, another gets close-up melee attacks with motorcycle power-ups and Sonic Adventures's jump pads, and the last deflects projectiles and throws jello cubes. It all sounds weird, but each works out surprisingly well), and while they don't get separate routes, each does get a unique stage, so there's that. The story is convoluted and all sorts of ridiculous, but thankfully you can skip all but the in-stage cutscenes.

Fighting is also a huge element of the game, and the later boss battles in particular require that you be agile in dodging attacks and getting in hits when you can. To be totally honest, this is probably my least favorite aspect of the game, because some of these bosses are insanely difficult without discernible overall patterns (I can't imagine how you'd do the time attack mode on some of the later stages, since there's more than one boss per stage and they're all hard). But its so satisfying when you finally beat them, which is a feeling I haven't gotten from Sonic games since I was 8 years old.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Esrever »

Aw, Pop, I never even saw your comment until now! I probably have the attitude you refer to because I'm a cartoonist. I get attached to great game characters as much as (or more than) the gameplay mechanics they are first associated with. I think of them like I think of animation or comics characters. I don't like seeing them used and reused endlessly in the same way to diminishing returns (ie: the Simpsons) but I really enjoy seeing them reinterpreted or reimagined (well) by new artists (ie: the new Mickey Mouse shorts).

Now, absolutely... if you're going to make a game about a man made of yarn, or a ball that you steer with a stylus, it WOULD be better if you came up with a compelling new character instead of just throwing Kirby in again. I mean, why not? There are enough sequels in this industry already. We need more new characters.

But if they ARE going to make new Kirby games -- I would rather they be great, independently compelling new game concepts than endless perfect reiterations of the original design. So if the devs sit down to make the next Kirby and decide what they want to make most is some sort of very round realtime strategy game, fine. I mean, if it's good. Kirby is an icon, not just as a game design, but as a cartoon character. You can use an old character to tell a new story. That can be an interesting creative exercise.

Of course, it's a little moot with Sonic, because what we get are neither perfect reiterations of the original design OR independently compelling new game concepts. Quite frankly, at this point, I'd take either.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Crazy Penguin »

A listing for Mario Kart 8 DLC packs has been spotted on the UK store.

http://nintendoeverything.com/mario-kar ... ng-f-zero/
Each Add On Content pack will contain two new cups, each with four courses, which, in total, increases the number of available courses by 50 percent. The Add On Content packs include classics like Wario’s Gold Mine from Mario Kart Wii, as well as new courses, some taking place in the worlds of The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing. New vehicles will also arrive with each pack, including the Blue Falcon kart representing the F-Zero franchise in the first AOC pack.

Mario Kart 8 Pack 1 – Released: November 2014
Pack 1 includes:
3 Characters: Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link
4 Vehicles
8 Courses

Mario Kart 8 Pack 2 – Released: May 2015
Pack 2 includes:
3 Characters: Villager, Isabelle, Dry Bowser
4 Vehicles
8 Courses

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Yami CJMErl »

Crazy Penguin wrote:A listing for Mario Kart 8 DLC packs has been spotted on the UK store.

http://nintendoeverything.com/mario-kar ... ng-f-zero/
Each Add On Content pack will contain two new cups, each with four courses, which, in total, increases the number of available courses by 50 percent. The Add On Content packs include classics like Wario’s Gold Mine from Mario Kart Wii, as well as new courses, some taking place in the worlds of The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing. New vehicles will also arrive with each pack, including the Blue Falcon kart representing the F-Zero franchise in the first AOC pack.

Mario Kart 8 Pack 1 – Released: November 2014
Pack 1 includes:
3 Characters: Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link
4 Vehicles
8 Courses

Mario Kart 8 Pack 2 – Released: May 2015
Pack 2 includes:
3 Characters: Villager, Isabelle, Dry Bowser
4 Vehicles
8 Courses
Image

$12 to expand the game by 50% AND turn it into a borderline Super Smash Kart? Sign me the hell up!

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Radrappy »

I have actually seen people complain about the price or Link's inclusion.

They can kindly fuck off. This shit is awesome.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Neo »

I once had a discussion with a friend of mine on what a futuristic, cyberpunk Zelda would be like. We came to the conclusion that Link would be a computer hacker who rides around on a motorcycle named Epona, and Ganondorf would be an internet pedophile searching for pictures of girls with long ears.

Image

Today was the first step.

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Re: What are you playing today?

Post by Yami CJMErl »

I'd also like to point out that (for those who hadn't noticed, it's not just Zelda and Animal Crossing being added in; we're also getting an F-Zero track (and Blue Falcon kart!), as well as what looks an AWFUL LOT like an ExciteBike-inspired track.

Now I'm hoping that they inevitably announce a third pack that includes Kirby and his Warp Star, a la the Rosalina announcement trailer for Smash 4.

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