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April 18, 2014

Do you know what produces the strongest, most addictive high the human brain is capable of? It's not a drug, it's faith. More specifically, maintaining faith in the face of all argument and evidence is more gratifying than cocain mixed with meth. Think about that when you're on the forums this week guys.

These are the things you get from fill-in columnists.

- Scott "Fowl Sorcerous" Wachter

This Edition's Contents:

Peak Robots

A few months back you brought up the interesting concept of "peak robot," that Bandai Namco had mined so many series for material in the Super Robot Wars series that the devs were having trouble bringing anything new to the table. If you were in charge of SRW, what would you do to alleviate this problem? Would you consider reaching outside the Japanese mecha genre for inspiration?

Micheal Baker

Fowl's Comment

First thing, context. Late last year, Gaijin had opined that many of the 'new' members of the roster for Super Robot Wars Z3 where in fact merely 'new to the Z trilogy' and that franchise had been leaning on familiar stable of millennial mech shows since the move from the PS2 to handhelds as primary platform. I responded by claiming that the only franchises left to exploit were either too new, thus falling into banpresto's "no spoilers for two years rule"; too hard to get the rights for the game, as is the case with Transformers and Zone of the Enders; or so ancient and obscure that all but the hardcore obsessive remember them, Astro Gangar and Srungle ring any bells? No, thought not. This isn't to say there aren't a few properties that have been unfairly neglected, the lack of Dougram in the franchise is just criminal.

As for fixing it there are a few options: the simplest being to just wait it out. In the next few years we have a bumper crop of new mech series to mine for games. Things like Gargantia, Majestic Prince, Valvrave the Liberator, Knights of Sidonia, Broken Blade, Captain Earth, another Evangelion movie and four new Gundam projects. Drop these in for a few of the more tired shows and we might be in good shape. The other option is to mix things up, there are a number of series with only an appearance or two under their belts that might be better served by crossing over with newer content. Expand the Sousuke Sagara/Heero Yuy stoicism bros dynamic to include Setsuna F Siei and Chirico Cuvie, or get a full-on fantasy mash-up with a Dunbine/Escaflowne/Rayearth/Scrapped Princess/Broken Blade combo.

Reaching outside Japan is a dicier prospect on the licensing side, but considering that I'm candylanding already lets see a game where Macross and Robotech play out as alternate universes with the OG cast bouncing in-between trying to figure out this crazy scenario. Mechwarrior might be a great place launch a large-scale space opera plot and have some in-jokes about the 'unseen' mechs. And perhaps most obviously, the rangers from Pacific Rim need to show these namby-pamby teenagers how to cancel an apocalypse, and remember Idris Elba is drift compatible with anyone.

Municipal Politics

Thoughts on Ford? Think he's a gamer when he's high?

Anna-Marie "Paws" Privitere

Fowl's Comment

Ford gets a lot of attention for all the scandal and buffoonery, which distracts from the fact that he has absolutely no clue what the entire city needs and wants from their municipal government and also refuses to change track from his assumptions no matter how much evidence to the contrary. The only game the matters to him is high school football for some reason.

Not D&D

We've seen plenty of Dungeons & Dragons based video games, but what tabletop system would you like to see in a video game?

Micheal Apps

Fowl's Comment

Michael, I value you both as a co-worker and a human being but I would stab you in the face if it meant I got a Deadlands game. The world needs more nerd-troped westerns.

Trail of C'thulu would make for a good game as well. The blend of investigation and action with strong forward momentum inherent in the mechanics needs to be experienced by more people. Also, good Lovecraft games are hard to come by.

Not Mail

There have also been a number of Warhammer ones as well.

Personally I'd love to see other variety of D&D style like Arthas or such based ones[sic] and not just Forgotten Realms or Eberron.

Also single player games based of either Mutant and Masterminds or Champions and not just the MMO.


Fowl's Comment

Take it Morbo.

Futurama memes are the best memes

Top Tweets

Fowl's Comment

1. BULLDOGS! the Fate-powered sci-fi game would be best suited to Privateer clone, so first person.

2. There are a few flavours of good robot, but Zone of the Enders 2 is great for flying around fast shooting lasers and Chromehounds is good for the big stompy robots. The best robots for Beckys are probably in Solatorobo because it has cute little doggy and kitty people. Shogo: Mobile Armour Division gets it wrong on every level. The game offered three mechs that all moved and played the exact same way, a dozen different guns that all handled the same way, and on-foot segments that played the exact same as the mech combat. The story was flat and predictable and everything occurred in cramped postage-stamp sized environments. It is the anti-Titanfall that way.

3. Maybe it's the corners of the internet I've been spending my time in, but it seems like gamers are much more willing to speak ill of their beloved series than before. Granted this means we've traded stubborn refusal to acknowledge any criticism of Square Enix, to endless whingeing and wankery over how Final Fantasy can never be good again. But if there's one thing I will never understand the praise for it has to be Kingdom Hearts. Nothing about the combat feels special, they've never really fixed the camera, and the core premise of mashing-up Disney and Final Fantasy gets lost almost immediately in favour of Nomura's typical gobbledy-gook, but people still love it.

4. I have. I am getting close to the end of chapter one. I wish it was slightly more old school in terms of combat, most random encounters can be solved by mashing 'Brave' over and over. The job distribution also leaves a lot to be desired, hitting a new crystal in FFV or III felt like a whole world of possibilities had opened up, I would re-spec my entire party on the spot just to see what all these things could do, getting them one at a time in BD just feels anticlimactic. I got the Thief asterick and my first thought was "well, I could try it but I'm only a few JP from getting new monk stuff". And that's just disappointing.

Hot Topics

Here are some hot topics I've seen around the net:

  • Sony has sold it's shares in Square Enix. Upon whom is the sky falling?
  • PAX saw the announcement of the return Ravenloft and Dragonlance to D&D, excited or too jaded to engage emotionally?
  • The Kepler program just spotted a Earth-like planet in a habitable zone 500 light-years out, are you signing up for the first colony ship?

See you, space cowboy!

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