Stargem

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About Stargem

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  1. Coop has already mentioned how the importance of examining the history and settings of a videogame-movie conversion would be, and I think the Super Mario Bros Z sprite series is a good example. Granted, it does combine combine the worlds of Mario and Sonic with Dragonballian fight sequences, but aside from looking great, the series also uses humor and characters that closely mirror the genuine articles. A very good example of using settings without butchering their content. Now, as for games that I think would make a good transition. Star Control II: Interesting setting, memorable and disturbing characters, good art style. Would make for a top-notch animated series. Battlestar Galactica mated with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with a dash of Babylon 5. System Shock: An concept simple enough for the common director to figure out, with the potential for a good one to really take the movie places. Perfectly set up for a trilogy. Honorable mention goes to Bioshock. Policenauts: A solid plot made by Hideo Kojima, this has a very good balance in action and intellectual aspects. Would probably be controversial in America right now, considering the state of our medicine. Kojima's Snatcher would also be good.
  2. Half-Life's achievement with Alyx is how well the graphics, audio, and gameplay based on Alyx's presence is designed, which has set a bar for 3D games, especially shooters. Come to think of it, Shodan might be considered to be a primitive and hostile version of Alyx - her audio monologues with the player really set the stage. I wasn't kidding about Visual Novels having some of the best developed female personalities, by the way. It is certainly true that a good portion of them have sexual material, but I would argue that would be like having shooters to be without guns. I recommend checking out Hideo Kojima's Snatcher or Policenaut games, or Phoenix Wright when games break away from tradition. The best characteristics of that genre is in the character interaction, which is why the genre appeals to me. (The sex doesn't hurt either, though it can be detrimental to a character or setting when forced - no surprise there!)
  3. Just about any girl from a visual novel. Aside from being pretty, they are much more detailed in terms of character development when compared to most videogame females, which appeals to me. However, the women from Baldur's Gate 2 and Planescape Torment also fall into this category. On the other side of the spectrum is probably Samus from the Metroid Prime series - she strikes me as smart and tough, but this is because of the role of a silent protagonist that she plays, in conjunction with the scanning and analysis that the player can participate in. This means that Samus is the female equivalent of Indiana Jones, in that she is capable of investigating things and beating whatever dares to stand in her way. Of course, if Link was a girl, I probably would think the same of Link, who I like in the first place.
  4. La-Mulana, Hurrican, Iji, The New Satan Sam, and Aquaria have excellent soundtracks, and are top-notch games as well. You can pick up the soundtracks through the following links, except for Aquaria since that is a commercial game without an officially released soundtrack. I hear one is planned, but since Derek Yu and the Aquaria developer has split up, it is in the air. All of the other games are freeware, so go ahead and play them if the fancy catches you. La-Mulana (Music section) http://my.opera.com/White%20Knell/blog/ Hurrican Soundtrack (German website, music in .it format) http://www.poke53280.de/download/download.php?id=16 Iji Soundtrack (Below game download) http://www.remar.se/daniel/iji.php The New Satan Sam (bottom of the page, in .m4a format) http://satansam.co.uk/satansam/files.htm
  5. Heh, I think that design is what ultimately decides how good a game is. Be it in story, gameplay, pacing, balance, or aesthetics, the design is the foundation. The music of the early Megaman games were built in such a way, that even when out of date technically, they hold up against modern offerings. Yoshi's Island? Watercolored graphics that deliberately pushed the SNES to the limits, but also was also age-proofed because of the stylization involved. Zelda utilizes puzzles and combat to challenge the player by a fair bit without overly stressing the player - a sign of awesome balance and mixing of gameplay styles. All in all, it seems to me that games ought to specialize in a relatively few areas in order to tickle our senses. Fortunately, as technology advances and ideas become better understood, the need for specializing would become less, because all areas of a videogame's design would become better and easier. Sure, a DS is probably harder to program with than the Gameboy, but it offers so many resources and applications that the Gameboy lacks, that the average developer can achieve much better standards. Eventually, technology ought to get to the point where graphics and processing reaches a point that is beyond the capacity of human perception. That is, there is only so many ideas that can be presented to a human at once, and graphics are currently the most intensive and important areas of videogame hardware development. But once the need for further development of graphical hardware has ended, developers and console designers could concentrate on the more arcane areas of game design, like graphical stylization, interface, AI - which is when the real beauty and variety of videogames should be realized. Looking to the past is great for inspiration, and sometimes the best ideas simply should be stolen for making current products better. Yet, it is when ideas are combined and reworked that they reach that next level. Things look bright to me, though we will have the dubious privilege of seeing the world shaken up by these ideas - which would be painful and fruitful, I would think.
  6. I have recently been playing Snatcher for the first time after the Policenauts patch was released, in order to get some grounding in the gameworld* lore - and Snatcher is giving me a very good impression thus far. A mix of Phoenix Wright adventuring mixed with Cyberpunk, with a dose of shooting gallery, Snatcher is just plain nifty to me. Once I play through Snatcher, I will give SD Snatcher a shot, I hear the RPG battlesystem in that game is good. Hopefully, an Snatcher DS game would be someday be made, the game's style really would suit that system, especially if the investigation system incorporated Phoenix Wright object manipulation and modern RPG mechanics. In any case, I find that the best graphics are stylized. Things like Yoshi's Island, Snatcher, Link to the Past, and Earthbound age much better than games that go for a realistic appearance. Which really alters how well I adjust to a game, determining if I get a good first impression on if a game is worth playing. Furthermore, I really enjoy exploration in the games I play, it helps me get sucked into the game. *Snatcher is related to Kojima's Metal Gear series. I didn't like Metal Gear Solid, but I ought to give the remake a shot, and find out how good the other games in the series would be.
  7. Stargem

    Sonic Games

    Heh, beat you to the punch on that count. In any case, I feel that Murmeli Weilan is somewhat correct. The Sonic community seems rather self-divided, argumentative, and generally just dim on general principle. However, the people who create these Sonic fangames have been producing increasingly playable games with increasing frequency over the SAGES. While it probably won't be for another four or nine SAGES until this scene really wows the videogame world, this is a good sign. It means that people are honing their skills at making games and can show that it is possible to make a good fangame - and these people may lay down the foundation for the philosophies and cultural heritage that is needed to create a strong medium! However, I also feel that the people who run the industry need to be switched out. The internet has changed just about everything, be it from distribution to demographics. As such, we really need foreward-thinking individuals who have enjoyed and experienced the full breadth of videogames to take the helm. With their help and future developers coming into the picture, the industry as an whole could be improved. I mean, OCR Remix was involved with Streetfighter II HD, and it was a niche website at one time! There are many ways that the videogame industry and community could cooperate. The amateur developers are the future. Just play Iji, La-Mulana, Spelunky, Hurrican, Satan Sam, Dark Disciples II, and many other games that are popping up. There is good reason to be optimistic, we just have to make sure that the laws and commercial ideologies of the world would provide fertile ground for the future of our hobby.
  8. Stargem

    Sonic Games

    Secret Rings was actually fairly decent, but it had some issues with control and some missions seemed design to play on that aspect, which was pretty painful. The final boss was also bad, but mostly because my arm isn't good enough to maintain the shaking motions needed in order to win. Hopefully, 3rd time's the charm, much like in the case of Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
  9. Stargem

    Sonic Games

    Yo. As an matter of coincidence, the 14th SAGE Expo is coming up, so there ought to be a few fangames of interest popping up. I am personally looking forward to Tikal & Chaos, Sonic Nebulous, and Sonic Retro XG. http://www.sagexpo.org/
  10. I recently noticed that Youtube has an official channel for cartoons and anime at their site, featuring nifty stuff like like Astro Boy, Slayers, and Dilbert. It is nice that the internet is starting to free us from schedules and TV networks. Granted, this means Youtube is going to be a mogul, but it is still much better than getting fixed to traditional television practices. http://www.youtube.com/shows?s=sp&t=&b=2&cr=US&p=6
  11. I have no problem with someone trying to make money, but I believe that the best way to do so is to emphasize a theme, and to stick with it. Essentially, the idea is to not dilute your audience's interests, because it means that you would receive many small, insignificant slices of interest, as opposed to a central and vigorous interest. Not good for choosing ads, or for creating your lineup. People want to go to "the" history channel, "the" cartoon channel. If someone wanted a slice of everything, they would just channel surf, so what is the point in watering down your content with unrelated material?
  12. Geez, sacrificing the Big O, Megas XLR, and Samurai Jack for reality television? On a channel meant for cartoons? Just who is leading this bunch, and how do we evict them?
  13. I would suggest giving La-Mulana a spin. Nice soundtrack, strong gameplay. http://agtp.romhack.net/project.php?id=lamulana
  14. I think the best RPGs are the ones that adopt very strong settings or involve the player's skills as a thinker. Take a look at the list below. Super Mario RPG Terranigma Earthbound Alundra Lufia II Valkyrie Profile Final Fantasy VI Secret of Mana Chrono Trigger Star Ocean Tales of Phantasia Link to the Past Metal Saga Harvest Moon Star Trek: 25th Anniversary Every single one had a distinct atmosphere, due to their music, stories, and visuals that make them leave an impression on the player. Getting the player's attention is key, and this is done by making the world noticeable - this is one of the reasons why Earthbound and other RPGs have non-party NPCs to talk to, so that the player starts thinking about the game's setting. Puzzles in Zelda and Lufia serve to cause the "Just one more minute" syndrome. Battles, at least with a good combat system, also do the same thing, as done in Paper Mario 2. In short, you want to present many small 'crumbs' of entertainment to a player, then finish off with a finale to a chapter. This would allow the player a time to rest, to absorb the ideas and settings of a game into his or her world-view. This would someday fuel nostalgia, and word of mouth. Basically the common Dungeon--->Boss formula found in most games. In any case, if I were to personally choose a combat system for an RPG, I think Paper Mario 2, Lufia II, and Final Fantasy VI are all very good candidates if you are looking for something traditional but progressive. PM2 is great in how it gives the player many abilities and choices about how to handle combat. Usually, I don't touch items at all and tend to be very conservative about my special abilities, but PM2 makes me use everything in my arsenal. This is because battle is balanced in a way that makes it difficult to 'snooze' through battles. The combination of Timed Actions and that Mario's abilities do not skyrocket has the effect of making most enemies somewhat challenging. However, bosses are often not that strong or lengthy, sometimes regular enemies are actually tougher than the local boss. I recommend giving the game a spin, just to see how that balance works out. Lufia II is pretty ordinary in combat, with the exception of Item Properties on equipment. In essence, all of the characters can equip items that have special properties, both Passive and Active by nature. For example, an early item in the game is called Bug Cutter. It causes extra damage to bugs, which is simple enough. However, every time the character wielding the item is hurt, gains IP points. Once the bar has enough energy, the Bug Cutter's active ability can be used: To attack 3 times. This makes the Bug Cutter very useful. However, since all items have their own abilities, that means your equipment setup and what you want to get out of your IP bar is a determining factor of how you carry out combat. Lufia II also had Capsule Monsters before Pokemon was released, to straighten the record.
  15. I highly recommend the two Star Trek adventure games that was released for DOS. Based on the Original Series, they got the tone and setting just right. In essence, 25th Anniversary and Judgement Rites are remarkably true to the source material and is quite fun to play. Most games based on other mediums tend to fail on both counts, so it is very pleasant to find games that break the trend. Furthermore, I think the Magic Carpet games are worth a shot. Designed by Peter Monyleux, they are actually quite impressive for implementing three things rather well: 3D graphics, the ability to alter terrain at will, and a viable real-time strategy game. Hopefully, someone will someday create Magic Carpet 3. In a DOS game, that is just plain impressive.