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Everything posted by yangfeili

  1. I'm not quite sure where I stand on it, I tend to waver back and forth a bit. I don't think these are the things that would really make a game art, but rather are just attempts by videogames to imitate other art forms (mainly film), and they usually come off as a bit amateurish in that regard, like they're being made by guys who wanted to do movies but didn't have what it takes (in fact, I think that's exactly how Ken Levine has described himself in an interview -- and I find that bit of self-deprecation far more respectable than the guys who genuinely believe their anime fanfiction-esque plots are literary masterpieces). To me, if there's any "art" in videogames, it lies in the design of the elements which are unique to videogames themselves and not just "me too" borrowings from other art forms. Good level design, clever gameplay mechanics, the tricks and techniques used to overcome resolution and palette limitations to create effective visuals... In fact, if there's one element of videogames which has achieved "art" status, it's the spritework. Pixel art has become a recognized artistic genre in its own right, originally derived from videogames but now taking on a life of its own.
  2. Great. So now excessive non-interactive cutscenes have invaded fighting games. Well, no, I guess Brawl did it first.
  3. I think the last time I checked in on the "I, Mario" project, it looked like it was starting to suffer from a severe case of bloat. I mean, there was still a lot of cool stuff and artwork that had been put out, but with regards to the story and the insertion of a lot of seemingly unnecessary characters, it was starting to show signs of "design by committee," and perhaps even more horrifying, it was starting to slightly resemble the Super Mario Bros. movie. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think there's room for alternate takes on the concept, rather than just trying to cram them all together into a single entity. I like what you've described here, and my guess is that if you continued to flesh it out, it would have more of a sense of strength and coherency thanks to having been the work of a single writer/designer. Good luck with it.
  4. I would think that if you dug around a bit, there'd be some sort of site full of "official" US military music, most likely all public domain stuff. I found one a while back which had all kinds of WWII German and Soviet military music (probabably not quite what you're looking for...).
  5. Yeah, he pretty much gets it right on Oblivion... or at least on the vanilla out-of-the-box game. It's really the user-created mods that saved both Morrowind and Oblivion. Actually, I remember how I discovered the modding scene for Morrowind. The first thing I did when I got off the boat was enter the nearest store to buy a hat... only to discover that there are no hats in Morrowind!!
  6. yangfeili

    Mega Man 9

    I think it could be kind of interesting to see a game with 8-bit visuals but with Mega Man Zero-esque gameplay. I've come to regard 8-bit visuals at their best not so much as an "inferior" step towards 16-bit visuals, but rather as a distinctive visual style in their own right, in the same way that an artist might intentionally work with a monochromatic color palette or other limitations to achieve a particular visual effect. If these rumors are true, it seems like Capcom might be thinking along those same lines: to stop thinking about 8-bit visuals as an obstacle and instead as a style.
  7. One band that I'm surprised hasn't hit the US is Oceanlane. They open for a lot of Western bands when they tour Japan, so maybe someone will invite them over one of these days. http://youtube.com/watch?v=L5h9Kn05KK8 Dir en grey actually made it over (saw them in Kansas City), although it's always seemed to me like the fans of the whole psychotic screaming bizarre music tend to be somewhat more open to foreign stuff. Yeah, I like a lot of Japanese music, but I totally know what you mean about all the lovey mushy stuff. Although again that might be why Dir en grey has successfully made the jump, since 90% of their songs seem to be about raping and dismembering schoolgirls.
  8. I'm not exactly a lurker, but nor do I post very often. Regardless, I hadn't picked an avatar, so I went ahead and grabbed Sayo-chan/Pocky here. The reason: When most people think of the SNES, they think of Super Mario World, Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, etc. But I always find that when I'm in the mood to play the SNES for a bit, Pocky & Rocky tends to be the game I grab the most often. It's like the pure distilled essence of the 16-bit era. Great sprites, fun gameplay, decent challenge, two-player mode. Also, because there aren't any Ys avatars.
  9. http://www.1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=3&cId=3152540
  10. There are tons of sounds that were used in Daggerfall which I hear all the time in stuff on TV, particularly on the sci-fi channel. The magic casting sound, the door opening sound, the skeleton scream...
  11. I think Secret of Monkey Island might have been the first PC game I really ever played (having been mostly a console gamer). I played it at a friend's house up to the point where you have to shoot yourself out of the cannon on the ship, and for some reason I couldn't figure it out. I was damned sure that I knew what you had to do, but I was apparently clicking things in the wrong order or something. Years later I picked up the bundle pack of the first three games, and finally got to beat it. And yes, I did the same thing I tried to do back then, except this time it worked. Oh damn, (mild spoilers) I also remember crashing the game on the part where you have to melt the lock with the grog. I got it down to where I could make it all the way to the jail on one mug and even click the command to use the grog on the lock. But the mug would finish melting and disappear in that short 2 seconds it took Guybrush to actually walk over to the lock, and when he reached out to use it, the game would crash. I thought there was something wrong with the game, but then I figured out what you had to do.
  12. I somewhat surprisingly don't care for manga much (surprising in light of slight weeaboo tendencies earlier in my life), but my brother got me reading BLAME! by Tsutomo Nihei, and I actually liked it quite a bit. Although, "reading" probably isn't the right word for BLAME!, since it tends to be heavily reliant on atmosphere and mood rather than dialogue and exposition, to the extent that there are often large swaths of pages with absolutely no text whatsoever. In fact, I'd say the majority of the pages are purely visual, with the visuals being a weird blend of H.R. Giger and M.C. Escher with a bit of modern Japanese flair. It's probably not for everyone, but I found its consistent tone of grim isolation a welcome change from the schizophrenically inconsistent tone of most Japanese productions ("Now we're fighting an epic battle now we're making silly faces with sweat drops over our heads now everything's all romantic now crazy slapstick stuff is happening now a guy's head just got ripped off aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh ^________^ !!!!!!"). EDIT: Tsutomu Nihei also did a short Wolverine series called Snikt!. Reviews I've read didn't have much to say for the story, but the art looks pretty cool. I've been trying to find it for my brother, but it seems to be out of print.
  13. This is actually pretty fascinating from an artistic perspective. I mean, it requires a pretty intimate knowledge of the game mechanics and physics, and then to craft them into music...
  14. Lurulu, Jack Vance's most recent and probably last novel. After finishing it, the only unread Vance on my bookshelf will be the Durdane trilogy from the early 70s... I mean, he's made up the majority of my reading material for the last ten years, and now it's about to end.
  15. I guess I'm in the odd position of being someone who liked the series before but has unexpectedly grown bored with Brawl very quickly. Whereas we used to do all-day Melee-fests, with Brawl I often find myself doing just a few rounds, and then listlessly dragging my cursor across the character select screen thinking "Who do I want to play as now? Ehhhhh... nobody, really." It might help if we turn off Final Smashes. We've all agreed that with each passing round they are inching closer and closer to being permanently disabled. Likewise, more and more of the stages are getting turned off in the stage select, almost always by unanimous agreement...
  16. Am I the only one who thinks it should be "Blade of the Exile" (not "Exiled")?
  17. I just graduated last December with a Bachelor's in History and Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice (I'm dual wielding!!!). My professors really pushed me to go on to graduate school, insisting I needed to teach... but I really don't want anything to do with it. I've been doing a combination of graphics and research/writing for musuem exhibits for the last few years (just put in a 50-foot wall-mounted timeline of the Roman Empire with actual coins of each emperor along with a short biography). I figure if I'm going to continue with either one, it's going to be the graphics (which I originally started doing entirely as a hobby, with no formal training). Sort of makes me wonder what the heck I just spent the last several years at school for...
  18. Not sure if it's quite what you're looking for, but you might like the band Onmyouza. They're metal with traditional Japanese folk influences, and all their songs are about Japanese mythology and gods and demons and all that stuff. In some songs you can hear the classical Asian sound more than others. The female vocalist sings in the enka style occasionally, and in some songs they break into Shinto chanting and Noh yells. This is one of their more recent songs, a bit more pop sounding, but it has a pretty cool Japanese-flavored solo in the middle: http://youtube.com/watch?v=4_uTeKlJmoA
  19. Maybe I'm just way too easy-going, but at times I actually find it strangely fun to be cheated against. I remember waaaay back in the day playing Jedi Knight on a public server with a friend, and all of a sudden a third guy joins in. Both my friend and I are instantly killed by a hail of rapid fire concussion rifle shots. We look up and see a giant floating stone head descending towards us, raining a constant stream of destruction upon the map. The guy hung around for about 10 minutes before he got bored, but I at least found it strangely fun trying to desperately survive while still getting the occasional kill off of my friend. Now I guess if it happened every time I tried to play the game, that might be different... EDIT: That's actually the strange thing I've found: if you laugh and continue to have fun when a cheater shows up, that seems to piss them off more than anything for some reason, and they leave pretty quickly.
  20. I was always under the impression that most policies make some sort of allowance for family members occasionally driving each other's cars, but maybe I'm crazy. I've only ever been in one accident, and while the official paperwork says it was my fault, I would like to point out that it occurred on 9/9/99 while I was making a left turn onto 9th Street. Higher forces were clearly involved.
  21. Massively seconded. Oath in Felghana is pretty much the only JRPG I've enjoyed at all in the last several years. Although that probably has something to do with the fact that it's a hardcore action game disguised as a JRPG for marketing purposes.
  22. When I was playing Cave Story and decided I needed a gamepad for my PC, my immediate preference was to go get a PSX-USB adaptor. The Playstation controllers are pretty much where it's at as far as I'm concerned, basically a beefed up version of the SNES controller (which has become the sort of underlying standard for all controllers). The only improvements I can think of would be to relable the buttons as SNES-style ABXY (although this may not be possible due to patents or copyrights or something). And then to perhaps come up with some sort of design where the analog sticks and the D-pad/ABXY buttons were on little modules, so you could swap positions. In other words, move the left analog stick to where the d-pad is for games which primarily use the stick, and then change it back for games which primarily use the d-pad.
  23. Yeah, I remember reading that, and thinking how ridiculous it was that people freaked out and wanted to get all legal about it. To my mind, that guy demonstrated how MMOs should be played. Epic heists, intrigue, mystery, murder! Some big and interesting stuff going on, rather than hundreds of hours of grinding and harvesting. I mean, there ought to be a way for him to run off with all the money... and there ought to be a way for an alliance of the victims to go after him and try to retrieve their money... and he ought to be able to use his resources to assemble all kinds of defensive measures. And if the players ever do track him down and get the goods back, one of them ought to be able to scam everyone else again and run off with the loot before it can be redistributed. Years later, bits of the original money continue to turn up, like stolen Nazi gold.
  24. I use Photoshop at work, but I've always used Paint Shop Pro at home over the years. The newest version usually retails for $100, but you can get older versions for a lot less. I bought PSP7 a while back for about $30 (I think PSP 9 had just come out at the time). They're up to PSP11 now I think, but the newer versions are by Corel rather than JASC, so I don't know what changes there have been for better or for worse. But PSP probably does about 90% of what Photoshop does. That extra 10% is some pretty cool stuff, but you can still get great results for the sort of things you're wanting to do. In fact, I'd actually say it's superior to Photoshop for "low intensity" stuff like pixel art. And just to end my excessively long recommendation with a story: I took a "Intro to Computer Graphics" class in my last semester of college since I've always done this stuff on a self-trained basis and wanted to feel semi-legitimate. The semester prior, I visited the professor to get an idea of the content of the class and to see if I needed to take it at all. I mentioned that I used PSP a lot and how it was a nice cheaper alternative to PSP. If Photoshop has the power, I'd say PSP has the more friendly interface. Out of nowhere she switched to this smarmy uppity tone: "Well, you get what you pay for." I didn't say anything at the time, but later on in the class (which I have ultimately decided was a waste of time), I covertly did a couple of the assignments at home on PSP rather than in class on Photoshop, just to see if she could tell the difference. She didn't notice a damned thing.
  25. The way I do things is to buy a new PC every several years for super cheap, and then play the backlog of games I missed, again for super cheap. At least that's what I had been doing. But the consoles are so crappy this generation, and I've been having so much fun with PC games lately (including some great import stuff from Falcom: it's pretty weird that the best console-style games I've played lately are on the PC), that I'm actually going to drop the cash to get myself a decent gaming laptop. EDIT: And I guess I might also add that I've always been primarily a console gamer, and yet my "Top Ten List" would probably be at least 50% PC games, which is way out of proportion with the ratio of console:PC games that I've played (which is probably something like 95:5).