Growing up, I was one of those kids who didn’t have an original NES. I always had PC games to play (and I played plenty of them), but there was always something magical about the NES. I never felt like any of the PC games I had could capture the awesomeness of something like Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda. Luckily, a friend decided it would be an acceptable choice to let me borrow his NES for a few months some time back in 1989 or 1990, and I finally had a chance to catch up.
At one point previously, a different friend of mine demonstrated Final Fantasy to me. It reminded me a lot of the Ultima series, one of my favorite PC RPGs, which got me really excited. Unfortunately, I did not have a copy of Final Fantasy and the prospect of buying a game for a system I did not own was obviously unacceptable. Luckily, this was the era when video stores rented NES cartridges. The store my family regularly went to had two copies of the game, so I rented it one weekend and started playing.
Many Friday and Saturday night rentals later, I finished the game (with a fair amount of assistance from the official Nintendo Power Final Fantasy Strategy Guide, borrowed from yet another friend). As it was my first JRPG experience, I enjoyed it quite a bit and made a point to get myself some sort of video game console so I could play more of these games. I always kept my eyes open for JRPG ports on the PC, but that was a relatively rare event in the 1990s.
Looking back, it occurs to me that one of the things that appealed the most to me as a PC RPG player was the linearity of the game. Where a game like Bard’s Tale or Ultima threw you into “the world” and let you figure it out on your own, Final Fantasy was a relatively directed game. You begin the game stuck on an island with only one dungeon to explore. When you complete that, you get to move onto another land mass with a cave and a city to explore. Each piece gives you access to a little bit more of the world, but that little bit ends up being the next bit you needed.
I will undoubtedly have more to say about the game as I continue to play through it, but here’s to the beginning of the Final Fantasy. Final, insomuch that there have been some twenty something sequels.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew spent his week diving deeper into the Lego muck and mire, watching a bit of the Lego Ninjago animated series in order to get some more context to the more esoteric Lego Dimensions levels he has encountered.. Dan didn’t stray to far, playing Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour, the proof-of-concept demo for Capcom’s sequel Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (or Biohazard 7: Resident Evil in Japan).
MAKING UP WORDS: In the first look at mobile gaming this week, Dan and Andrew talk about a game that seems to be made just for them, Square Enix and A-Lim’s Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and how it scratches certain itches while causing others.
POKE MONGO: Pokémon Go is just about the biggest thing in the world right now, topping the charts of the iTunes free apps and is, purportedly, even bigger than porn with Google searches. It’s a veritable point-counterpoint discussion as Andrew relates his experience playing the game while Dan remains in ignorance while discussing the world-wide phenomenon that is Nintendo’s latest genius move.
-Help local Sacramento comic shop, Big Brother Comics, recover from a dreadful fire that ravaged the store by contributing at the GoFundMe page.
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Cayenne (Cyan)” by Nobuo Uematsu (from Final Fantasy VI)
-“The Chase is Better Than the Catch” by Motörhead
-“Through the Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce
Last Wednesday saw the release of the newest addition to the Pokémon family of games: Pokémon GO, developed by Niantic, Inc. (formerly, Niantic Labs). Niantic, Inc. was previously known for doing the popular mobile game Ingress. They partnered with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company to apply that GPS/map-based play to the popular Nintendo franchise. Although Dan and I will have more to say about this in this week’s podcast, it was worth taking a moment to address all of the news (both good and bad) that has been popping up over this new title.
Stories about Pokémon GO and the outcome of so many people playing have been circulating around various social media and news websites. In Wyoming, a nineteen year old woman found a dead body while pursuing an elusive pokémon. A police station in Australia has warned players against entering the station in order to collect pokéballs or to catch pokémon that spawn there. A police department in Missouri recently reported that a group of teens have been luring people to a pokéstop in order to commit robbery. But, with all that gloom and doom, there are some brighter notes. A large number of Pokémon GO players have been discovering that they are inadvertently exercising by playing the game.
As could be expected with something this popular, Pokémon GO has had a few awkward moments. Notorious Amazon Kindle “author” Chuck Tingle recently released Pokebutt Go: Pounded by ‘Em All, another title in his (her?) series of erotic (?) fiction. Several websites have been documenting peculiar places that have been designated Pokéstops, including a Los Angeles bathhouse, a Seattle bathhouse with a “mirrored gloryhole maze,” and other odd and inappropriate places. Most of the peculiarities in location data come from the fact that the Pokéstops appear to be primarily based on location data taken from Niantic’s previous title, Ingress; the “Portal” locations of Ingress were user/player submitted. This explains how so many child-inappropriate Pokéstops came to be in the first days of the game.
All in all, Pokémon GO has been making quite a lot of news since its release.
Even in the face of a near disastrous behind the scenes technical glitch, it turns out that Andrew and Dan can’t be stopped. Again, they bring you another outstanding episode that covers a straight-up plethora of topics, including:
Week in Geek: Andrew plays the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game while Dan watches How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Looper and also finds time to play a few hours of Metal Gear Solid 3 in the wake of last week’s episode.
Boasts of Bethel: This week, Dan ruminates on how animated films are marginalized by modern American society and wonders what we can do to move it forward.
Discussion: Nintendo guru, Shigeru Miyamoto, makes a startlingly bold claim that video games are in a state of “creative immaturity.” Andrew and Dan discuss what this means and what it may take to get out of it.
Who Cares: Going back to the well, they discuss not an episode or story but a villain! This time they venture into the mind of Davros, the creator of the Daleks.
Geek Thoughts: After going over last week’s very debated question, this week they ask:
What is a game/movie/tv show/comic/book/album/etc. that you feel helped move its medium forward? Why and how?
Leave a comment on the episode’s post at forall.libsyn.com, or on either Andrew’s or Dan’s Facebook/Google+/Twitter posts. You can also leave a comment on iTunes or e-mail us at forallpod [at] gmail.com
Until next week, for all intents and purposes, that was an episode breakdown.