Open Discussion: May 28th, 2017
(Last Updated On: May 28, 2017)

The time has come once again that allows anyone to say anything: the weekly Open Discussion. These Open Discussions explore a wide range of topics that cater mostly toward video games, but they are also opened to other pressing topics too.

If you enjoy talking about whatever it is that you are about to do or are doing right now, you are more than welcome to insert it in this week’s Open Discussion forum in the comment section below. Inserting whatever is on your mind in an Open Discussion also applies to the ones to come, which stands to be like any other post on this site.

If you, however, wish to derail the conversation and talk about something unrelated to video games β€” or whatever the topic is at hand β€” you are encouraged to change the subject without any penalties.

Folks who wish to stay on topic and seek to gab about this week’s theme will find that it deals with RPGs. Yup, role-playing games that you think are the best or that you had a blast playing. The RPG title up for discussion can be an old, recent, new or upcoming title, but I should note that you can also put down a list of RPGs, too.

In addition to the above, the game can sport heavy RPG elements or it can be a light RPG that allows a player to alter some stats, whatever comes to mind and as long as it has role-playing roots you can jot it down.

Lastly, you don’t have to stay on topic if you can’t think of an RPG title that you enjoyed or are looking forward to right now, but if you do have a single game or maybe a list of titles on your mind you can sound off in the comment section below.

Ads (learn more about our advertising policies here)


Ethan was born in glitches, and pursues to find the most game breaking glitches in games. If you need to get in touch use the Contact Page.

  • Disqusted

    I was having a conversation with a friend earlier, about how in the course of everyday speech, we now have to add words to ensure people don’t assume we’re generalizing/ignorant, and get offended.

    That made me realize that it’s part of the reason why my comments tend to be long as shit. And it made me wonder if SJWs forcing people to add so many extra words to avoid offense, is actually intentional.

    The more we have to write, the less likely people are going to bother reading. That’s why SJWs keep boiling shit down into stupid made-up terms, and fling those around all the time. I’d imagine that simple buzzwords are way more effective than having to explain in detail why shit isn’t actually offensive.

    Probably a good example of a dying language/society/culture. People getting offended if you don’t write large walls of text to explain everything, and still take what you said out of context anyway, while simplifying everything into simple buzzword labels.

    • RichardGristle

      Honestly it might just be a sign of the gap in intellect and maturity.

      The postmodernists/Marxists enjoy quick labels and buzz terms while moderates and those on the right tend to want to argue things in factual and statistical ways. Ways that are logical and applicable to reality and the real world. The difference between critical theory and the Socratic method.

      I suppose doing what IS right instead of what FEELS right requires more brain power and explanation.

      • Disqusted

        True. They’re the same people who think they are geniuses, so they never seek to improve.

  • Disqusted

    I recently realized that I actually enjoy stuff people have made in 2d RPGMaker engines, more than I enjoy modern 3d RPGs (which is, not at all).

    Same reasons I’ve mentioned before, I think: text and simple graphics allow for more possibilities without worrying breaking immersion, and modern games often take away control when it matters and mostly only give you control for stupid mundane shit like walking from point A to B, while playing audio dialogue. Less time/money/effort spent on keeping modern quality/immersion/progressive bullshit, and more on game world/gameplay depth, etc.

    In other news, the way the powers that be are reacting to Seth Rich’s unresolved murder stinks SO MUCH. Even with so much evidence, so many blatant inconsistencies and bizarre behavior, and so many people convinced they are absolutely guilty, they still continue to openly commit murder and break laws with impunity. One thing I’ve learned about humans is they will keep doing nasty shit as long as they can get away with it. And the more things they get away with, the worse they’ll become. What a world.

    A friend once said something to me alone the lines of, it’s almost admirable how much power those corrupt people have that they can keep doing shit without ever getting punished. But I just keep thinking about how shit a world this is, in how it’s almost guaranteed that at some point in life, we will run afoul of one of those corrupt assholes, or their friends/family, who will all gang up to destroy our lives in some way, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

    Not just talking about government bullshit, but also SJW nonsense, the media, rival companies/businesses, etc, etc. They can potentially screw us from virtually any direction, while making it look entirely like only our fault.

    • Gozu Tennoh

      I thought you enjoyed Persona 5?

      Theres no beating those 90’s games though is there

      • Disqusted

        Oh yeah, I forgot about Persona 5. Thanks. I kept thinking, wasn’t there an RPG I recently played? Couldn’t remember what it was. Getting old πŸ™ Or just not enough sleep.

        But yeah, I feel like older games (or even just old-style games) were better paced, more interesting, etc, etc. I think recent games have a lot more drawn out parts that I just don’t want to waste time on.

        • Gozu Tennoh

          I had a look at that natsuyasumi game and I see why you took an interest in persona, that nobi-nobi feeling.

          Very easy to understand aswell (probly cause the adults are mostly speaking to the kids). Is it as innocent as it seems, no strange twists or anything?

          • Disqusted

            Had to look up the meaning of nobi-nobi. I think part of the reason I like those games is because I often feel like I just want to escape. A lot of games nowadays have too many parts that I just don’t enjoy and can’t skip. I didn’t feel that way when I played Natsuyasumi. Persona 5, I think there was stuff I didn’t care for, but I was probably able to skip those things.

            I think the Natsuyasumi games are easily relatable. One of the reasons I probably like them is because they’re representative of a childhood I wanted to have, and a world I would prefer to escape to. I also like games where I feel like I’m learning something, and some of the characters like the glass sculpter are interesting to me in that regard.

            I’ve only played Natsuyasumi 3 so far (started 1, still literally right at the start). I’m not sure what I’d call a “strange twist”, but there are lots of interesting little things and events. Not sure what to say without giving away too much. I’d say it’s paced and written well.

            As the game progresses, you meet new characters and open up new areas with new things to explore. Your relationship with those characters develops, and ongoing events in the story show how their lives progress, and you may be able to influence that.

            At one point you hear a bear is running loose. Then the next day, you hear the bear was shot, but it had a cub that they captured and are keeping at the shrine. So you can go and visit it and stuff, and later on you can decide whether to let it loose or not, against what the adults had planned for it (I forget what).

            Later in the story, one of the kids may show you a secret location; their special place. You can also fulfill certain conditions that allows you to gain access to a trail leading into the mountains.

            I kinda appreciate the “sense of world”, if you know what I mean. Where stuff you do matters, and you can see how things progress throughout the game, like how you could mess with time travel stuff in Chrono Trigger, and see the results.

            Something about Natsuyasumi feels like you’re actually interacting with the characters and not just following a story. I know games are supposed to be designed to feel like you’re interacting with the characters, so I’m not sure why it is that Natsuyasumi felt different to me. Maybe part of it is because there aren’t many/any “useless” characters? I think quality of interaction with characters does wonders for sense of world. Having too many that you can’t do anything with, detracts from that.

            To be honest, I didn’t consider Natsuyasumi’s events to be a “story” until I saw other people describe it as such, because it felt more like a natural, normal experience. I guess it’s because it’s not structured like a typical story. It doesn’t have objectives like saving the world, and there aren’t any “antagonists”.

            I tried to break down why the Natsuyasumi games are so great. This article (I’ve linked it before) had some interesting points:

            I think what Natsuyasumi does is it creates a world with a daily routine/rules, and allows you to venture outside of those things at your own discretion. The illusion of breaking routine/rules is like perceived freedom. I enjoy breaking context, so maybe that’s also why it appeals to me?

            It also goes back to how I often say that games should be more about giving players context and letting them mess around within that context, whereas a lot of recent games have pretty strict dictations and limitations that don’t allow players to experiment much.

            Another thing Natsuyasumi does well is the illusion of “discovery”, in that it successfully makes players feel like they’re making incredible discoveries on their own. That article I linked talks about how it’s designed so that just by exploring a little, you will definitely make those discoveries. I think the meaning of discovery would be ruined by shared/online experiences. It only works in an isolated, non-spoiled singleplayer experience.

            Overall, it doesn’t feel like a traditional “game”. Maybe because it doesn’t give clear objectives like, “beat this”, or “do this”, it just tells you what you can do, and you can do it if you want to. They do reward you, but they don’t entice you with the reward, they don’t use the reward as motivation. So in that sense, it’s more “free” than other games.

            Sorry if I’m not being very concise.

          • Mr.Towel

            Very interesting, I have never heard about this one. Will sure start looking for it now.

            From the article and your description, it seems a more free Harvest Moon (the good ones), in the sense that they structure you a kind of gameplay in which you will want to break sooner or later and the game is fine with that. Harvest moon feels more linear because there are very clear objectives, but the progression appears similar. Or maybe Animal Crossing… without all the fucking god damn grind.

            Anyway, seems better than those two, will definitely start looking for it.

          • Disqusted

            It’s pretty well-known series in Japan. Whenever I ask Japanese friends about it, they all know about it. It’s very easy to get 1 and 2 from the net. I think they’re for PS1, PS2 and PSP. Just slap them in an emulator. Or you can buy physical copies, if you want. 3 is on the PS3, and 4 is also on PSP. I heard 4 has some stupid stamina meter that ruins it. I think I’ve heard 2 is the best one.

            A new game was announced for mobile or something. A new PS4 game would be nice.

            There was going to be a “My Winter Vacation/Watashi no fuyunatsumi” where you play as a girl, but it never got made. The way things are going, I may have to make that myself. That’s why I was trying to break down what’s good about My Summer Vacation.

            A friend tells me the Harvest Moon games are good.I’ve only played PS2 Harvest Moon a little. Been meaning to check out Animal Crossing, haven’t gotten around to it yet. I love the Animal Crossing soundtracks. Don’t know anything else about them, other than girls seem to like playing it.

          • Mr.Towel

            Harvest moon seem to have the same rural vibe as Boku no Natsuyasumi but from what you showed me, Harvest Moon doesn’t provide as much freedom. Boku no Natsuyasumi seems to span 30 days in almost every game, while Harvest Moon it’s usually divided in 4 seasons, 30 days on each season, 120 days for a year. Usually you have a in-game deadline of 3 years to get your farming profitable and going. I suspect that Harvest Moon days run faster than Boku no Natsuyasumi because of that. Also, your schedule gets tighter as you farm advances so there is less time for exploration.

            Ironically, the time where the game gives you an immense amount of time to explore everything is not on Summer but on Winter. Winter is the vacation season for farmers as you can’t plant anything anyway. So your work schedule gets reduced to only tending the animals: cows, sheep, horse, chicken. It’s quick to do and after that you have the rest of the day to explore everything and anything you want. It’s by far everyone’s favorite season on the game because of that. I’m a Winter person so I love it even more.

            The PS2 ones are considered to be the worst of the series and I personally agree with that. If you want to play a Harvest Moon my suggestion would Friends of Mineral Town for the DS. It’s the most simple, charming and complete one.

            About the rant, I feel the same about people here. I never understood how Dark Souls got popular by its “difficulty” aspect when there are many more japanese games with similar design and the game is not even really that difficult, only for modern western standards. Guess it was just a meme game for streamers to moan about how hard it was. Not that I don’t like the game, quite the opposite, but it does feel weird to see such reaction.

            It’s also bizarre the focus western gamers have on open world games. Like, Japanese developers can make linear games that feel open while most western open world games feel linear. But somehow japanese games are too “linear”.

          • Gozu Tennoh

            “Isolated, non-spoiled singleplayer experience”

            To me. these are the only games that matter and unfortunately it’s only Japan that can make them well with very few exceptions.

            After you get to that point where you can travel the map freely, I think most, if not all the 90’s era jrpg’s offer the exploration you’re talking about to some degree but obviosly the world’s character depth/interaction varies wildy depending on who you’re speaking to.

            Nobi-Nobi = being carefree and at ease whilst doing whatever you want.
            (My bad, I thought you’d know!)

          • Disqusted

            No problem. I’ve probably heard it before but didn’t remember the meaning or something. When I hear “Nobi”, the first thing that comes to mind is Doraemon. Nobinobita. Come to think of it, I guess that’s why he’s named like that.

            I think exploration in other games usually have something that I don’t like about it. But I don’t recall exploring in many offline games. Bokunatsu is relatively small in scale, but I think it’s just right.

            I think it’s good to not have to look anything up on the internet, which is sadly something a lot of games nowadays seem to rely heavily upon.

    • Mr.Towel

      If you liked those games you should definitely give a try at Legend of Mana (Seiken Densetsu: Legend of Mana in Asia), for the PS1. It’s classic 2D aRPG from that era with the plus that the whole game have been painted by hand. It’s a beauty to behold. Look at some screenshots on google.

      If you don’t mind the weird looking 3D RPGs from the era you could also give a try to Chrono Cross and Legend of Dragoon.

      • Disqusted

        I tried the Japanese version of Legend of Mana (back when I could barely understand Japanese) and remember not liking how it felt, and I didn’t like the soundtrack. But now that I look up screenshots of it, it doesn’t look like I remembered it.

        I remember getting stuck in a dungeon at the start and not liking the feel of the action parts, like there was inconsistency between how the sprites move and the background, or something like that? I guess I expected something more like Secret of Mana 1/2. Maybe I’ll take another look at it some time.

        I meant to try Chrono Cross but for some reason just never felt like it. I already spoiled the whole plot by reading the Chrono Trigger Wiki. Heard of Legend of Dragoon but I don’t really know anything about it. I guess I’ll look it up, thanks.

        • Disqusted

          Oh, here’s something else I was looking into recently. I watched a Japanese girl playing Wild Arms 2, and it looked pretty amazing for a game of its time.

          So I looked into the Wild Arms series. Never played it before, but heard of it. It actually looks pretty interesting in general, often with many really nice looking female main characters. Skimmed through some Wild Arms 5 videos on PS2, and it actually looks damn good.

          But they stopped making them after PS2, outside of a PSP game and some mobile games. What a shame.

          • Disqusted

            Which begs the question, why is the Wild Arms series relatively unknown in the West? Obviously it did well enough for them to bother localizing up to 5, but I never see anyone talk about it. One of the YouTube videos I found even called it a forgotten gem.

          • Mr.Towel

            I have no idea myself. There are many gems from that era who were forgotten or just didn’t sell. Valkyrie Profile is another one which is very unknown through these parts of the world. I think it sold like 300.000 copies of its lifetime? It’s weird. Maybe they were overshadowed by the marketing of other huge but great titles like Final Fantasy.

          • Disqusted

            Weird, I thought Valkyrie Profile was pretty famous. Sad :/

          • Mr.Towel

            VP has rather an infamous cult following but the actual people who played it are few and far between. Exist- Archive went through the west mostly unnoticed. Though the kickstarter project Indivisible actually met it’s goal, so maybe it’s more people than I can see.

            Another good RPG from that era which is rather unknown is Legend of Legaia. The game had horrible 3D graphics, passable music and generic storyline, but the combat system is very unique, I’ve never found anything like it besides fan projects. It’s turn based but the attacks change based on which directional inputs you put on the attack command, similar to a fighting game. There’s also a monster capture system similar to Pokemon, for you to later summon them in battle to help you. Has very hard bosses too, some still give me frustration nightmares.

          • Disqusted

            I used to hang out with some American friends who really liked Valkyrie Profile. One of my female Japanese friends really likes it, too. Also watched a Japanese girl streaming it the other day, though she gave up because she’s not good at games and it was too hard for her. So I was under the impression it was pretty well-known. I didn’t play it myself, but I read the manga. It’s one of those stories that is kinda frustratingly sad.

            I did try Valkyrie Profile 2, although I didn’t get very far. Just wasn’t interested enough. I did like the combat, and the main character’s design.

            I liked the character design of Mayura in Exist-Archive, but ended up not buying it just for that. It kinda looked like one of those games where it’s all about you protecting the cute heroine or something. One of my friends donated to Indivisible but it ended up not being how they expected it to play like.

            I’ve heard of Legend of Legaia but don’t know anything else about it. Sounds like there are a lot of unique mechanics in old games that died out and that nobody has ever tried since.

          • Mr.Towel

            VP has rather an infamous cult following but the actual people who played it are few and far between. Exist- Archive went through the west mostly unnoticed. Though the kickstarter project Indivisible actually met it’s goal, so maybe it’s more people than I can see.

            Another good RPG from that era which is rather unknown is Legend of Legaia. The game had horrible 3D graphics, passable music and generic storyline, but the combat system is very unique, I’ve never found anything like it besides fan projects. It’s turn based but the attacks change based on which directional inputs you put on the attack command, similar to a fighting game. There’s also a monster capture system similar to Pokemon, for you to later summon them in battle to help you. Has very hard bosses too, some still give me frustration nightmares.

          • Mr.Towel

            There’s some rumors flying around about a new Wild Arms 6 being developed for the PS4

          • Disqusted

            Ooh. Would be nice. Thanks for the heads up.

          • Mr.Towel

            There’s some rumors flying around about a new Wild Arms 6 being developed for the PS4

          • Mr.Towel

            There is some inconsistency in perspective from the character’s sprites and scenery in Legend of Mana, your memory is not failing you on that part. But those 2D games always had that so I don’t care that much. SNEs was king of its top-down-not-really-top-slightly-front perspective on the backgrounds and sometimes downright sideways perspective on the characters. You have to use some mind abstraction of your own on those old games.

            Story is not really the strong point of Chrono Cross (it does have 11 different ending though and one of the hardest bosses in any RPG ever), rather, is it’s mechanics and characters (more than 50 characters if I’m not mistaken). Very few RPGs use that battle system too, feels fresh. Also, while Chrono Trigger had the Time Travel gimmick being its main feature, in Chrono Cross, it’s gimmick is the Parallel Dimension Travel. It was a bummer because of that for many people who liked Chrono Trigger because they were expecting more time travel(also, Dimension Travel is even more confusion than Time Travel, it’s very easy to get lost on the plot, even if you have played Trigger gazillions times). Maybe you won’t like it as well. However, if you can taste your games by your ear it will at least be a pleasant experience, the soundtrack is loved by even those who hate Chrono Cross. Same composer as Chrono Trigger, Mitsuda.

            Legend of Dragoon did not age that well to be honest, but it’s one of those very well balanced games that manages to be simple and hard at the same and it’s charismatic enough to be charming. Historically, it was also important since it was one of the first video games developed by Sony itself, it was meant as showcase of PS1 processing power. High production value for its time and many names who were part of the game development are now in high positions at Sony, the most notable being Shuhei Yoshida and if I’m not mistaken, Kazuo Hirai himself, the current CEO of the whole Sony Corporation.

            Star Ocean I have only played the old ones, after PS2 I stopped playing, don’t know why I think it just got out of my radar. The setting and plot is rather crazy to me, i never understood it but I remember the game being technically jaw dropping for a Super Famicom game. Like, voices, paralax, 3D planes. I played the game mostly because Tales of Phantasia is one of my favorite games from that era (which also has similar technology. The Super Famicon couldn’t, traditionally, have full voice acting, full spoken sentences on its game because the audio buffering was to small to fit a whole audio file in there. So what the Devs from the Tales of Phantasia/Star Ocean did was to use the SFamicon superior swapping speed to change audio file svery quickly on the audio buffer so it all heard like on single audio, it;s rather ingenious tech). But the main reason I liked the old Star Ocean was it’s composer. I’m a sucker for Motoi Sakuraba’s works, to me he is one of the greatest composers of all time, right on par with Uematsu. Tales of Phantasia, Star Ocean, Valkyrie Profile, Golden Sun even the first Dark Souls, were all games composed by him and all soundtracks buried deep inside my head which I can hum all day long. I just love his work. I played Star Ocean just for that but i remember the gameplay and story being rather generic, lifeless, not memorable. I can’t remember anything about it.

            The whole Wild Arms series, creatively, it’s amazing. It’s setting is a mix of American Old West with Tokusatsu and Anime. It’s a crazy mix and one that I’ve never found in any other game. You have cowboys, aliens and monsters all mixed up on deserts and trains. It’s amazing how they can immerse you in all that crazyness and keep you there. The soundtrack has the same elements, and it’s good, it’s more Tokusatsu with some Old Western here and there, feels refreshing to me. It’s has a similar exploration and puzzle system to Breath of Fire II, III and IV, so if you like those games, it will feel homely. I don’t remember much of the story to be honest, and I remember the slow animations driving me crazy, everything appeared to move slowly, seem to have been animated by an amateur team, at least the first ones. But I do remember the battles being interesting and hard as fuck. Played 1 and 2 mostly, no much of the PS2 ones.

            Also, another suggestion. You were talking about how you prefer games that give you freedom to do anything, including crazy stuff. I know it’s not an JRPG but I think you would love it’s freedom aspect of a Western game developed back in the 90s, almost 2000, that I spoke about here in another post. Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magicka Obscura.

            It’s an old cRPG from the likes of classic Fallout, pre-rendered isometric perspective tactical turns RPG. Setting is a Victorian Steam Society mixed with some rune magic. Nothing special till there.

            However, the game is by far the most concise and free game that I’ve ever played in my life. You can do anything on it and everything matters. You can kill any character you want, even “key” characters that traditionally would halt your progress if they were dead because they wouldn’t be able to give you some important item or give you passage to somewhere. It also has one of the most complete conversation system I’ve seen in a video game, where even your beauty stat and intelligence stat affect how NPCs talk to you. You can do a full complete run by killing every fucking one, and I mean everyone, even your squadmates, famous people and key characters. And you can also have a complete pacifist run and not kill anyone, simply talk everyone down, including the last boss. It fails my memory if there is ever another video game where you can just talk with the last boss and convince him to not be a dickhead. But you can just smack him on the head like every other game too. The game also has a reputation system for everything you do, like, if you take your armor off and walk around naked on the street people will talk awkward if you and you will be forever known as the pervert of the town. You can also make a top model female protagonist and sleep your way through many keypoints of the plot. You can not only picklock every door, chest and window in the game, you can also destroy each and everyone of them by just beating on it till breaks. Your beauty stat affects how people will react to you (if you make a character too fucking ugly, people will just scream and run whenever they see you). And to me, on top of it all, the writing is good. It’s very good. I had many memorable conversations with the character in there, like philosophy with crazy Dwarven King, society with a character who is Bill gates parody, Elves and their spirituality and even the last boss himself. Many games attempted that, but very few managed to do it as well as Arcanum did.

            The game was obviously made before all this political correct non-sense became mainstream, so you’re free to be as much of a dickhead villain as you would like, you know, not just kill everyone, but mock the hell out of them while you’re doing it too.

            I must warn you though, the combat of the game is rather unbalanced, it gets a few tries to understand what works in combat and what doesn’t. You can just talk your way through the plot if the combat is impossible to you. The game interface is rather archaic too, hard to get around (not harder than NWN though, not that archaic).

            But if you like to be free in games, I suggest you give it a try. It could be a life changing experience. The game is PC only and available through Steam and GoG store. It doesn’t enter on promotions very often, it’s rather underground game, but it’s cheap even on normal price I think.

          • Disqusted

            I guess there was just something about Legend of Mana’s side action parts that I would have really preferred done differently. I also recall getting upset at some circus-ish? vendor? NPC in town, but I don’t remember why.

            I actually listen to the Chrono Cross soundtrack from time to time, even though I haven’t really played the game. I usually only like music after having something else memorable attached to it, but I like Chrono Cross’ music on its own. I generally like Mitsuda’s stuff, though.

            I don’t think I got far enough to learn the battle systems. I only got up to the part where you meet Kid, which is right at the start.

            I remember Tales of Phantasia was famous for having that sung song for the OP. I liked that song, didn’t play through the game. Didn’t know they did the voices by fast-swapping the audio. Out of the Motoi Sakuraba composed games you listed, the only one I heard/remember the music of is Dark Souls, and I liked that.

            A friend told me something like, the Star Ocean story cheapens itself because they make everything seem serious, and then you find out it was all just an online game? So when you thought people died, they actually just logged out, or something? What the hell. No idea how true that is, haven’t bothered looking it up. I was just interested in Star Ocean 6 because I liked how some of the female characters looked, and I’d always wanted to at least try one of the Star Ocean games.

            Even as someone who used to like cowboy stuff as a kid but lost interest, Wild Arms setting does seem really nice, from what I’ve seen of it. I appreciate when they can do crazy stuff and keep it believable. It’s probably just Wild Arms 5 that has really good animation. I saw a cutscene of 3 earlier, and it looked pretty crappy.

            I did play through around 2/3rds of Breath of Fire 2. I don’t remember why I stopped playing.

            Thanks for the recommendation, will take a look later. I like Victorian and rune magic stuff. I also like games that allow you to kill anyone you don’t like. I hate that most recent games don’t even let you physically interact with important NPCs anymore. At least let me shoot them and get a game over, not that crosshair locks off attack ability bullshit.

            Not that I like being a villain. I actually can’t bring myself to make evil choices in games. But sometimes there are some characters I really can’t stand or agree with, or I just want to break the context.

            Sorry for the half-assed replies, haven’t eaten for a long time and I’m really starving.

          • Mr.Towel

            No problem, I went to sleep anyways.

            Legend of Mana exploration system is weird, way different than the Super Famicom ones, using a teleportation system of Artifacts, can’t remember exactly how it worked now.

            Tale of Phantasia OP is insane for its time. If you try to reverse engineer more simple games from the Super Famicom, Street Fighter II for example, you’ll see most of audio “files” being divided by phonemes. Like, when Ryu casts an “Hadouken”, instead of having one “file” with the audio “Hadouken!” you have one audio “file” (audio sample actually) for “ha”, another “dou” and another for “ken!”, as it was originally recorded and then divided in three parts. When you cast a hadouken, the system quickly swaps and runs the three audio files in sequence, so you’ll hear from the TV like one single uncut phrase. To do that with simple words like Hadouken was relatively easy. But a whole sung song was insane. Specially because the instruments were made in your regular 16 bits MIDI tune from the SNES while running along the swapping files for the vocals. The audio processing unit was actually two processors, an 8 Bit ones usually used for sound effects and a 16 bit one used for music, but it could change, depended how the developer would use. The problem with doing a music like that is that the less bit you have available on the CPU register, the less instruments you will have on your MIDI file so you would to code by hand when each processor was doing what in each cycle to get the best result for your music. And either of those, 16 bits or 8 bits was still too low for vocals so you will get noisy audio quality but the end result was still impressive because you could still hear which words were being sung and that was the kind of work that had to be coded in milliseconds but stretched a whole 2 minutes and 30 seconds, 150.000 milliseconds. This is the original version as it played in the game itself:


            Another very interesting factoid from this music is the fact that years later, after the game was released, when people start to reverse engineer the cartridge files, it was found that the developers actually let the original song as it was recorded on the studio inside the SNES cartridge itself. With full bitrate vocal and the raw synth instruments, before they were dithered to be run by the SNES. The SNES would never be able to play that file but it was nice that they either let the file there on purpose or just forgot in there, which considering how writing the data on these cartridges work I find hard to believe, I think they let music there on purpose. The original music is actually even longer than the one that plays inside the game, clocking at almost 5 minutes long, 3 minutes more than the one inside the game. It’s incredibly hard to find that version on the net, I think I had here somewhere but it’s lost on a pile of backups. Edit: found this version on youtube, only 2,000 views, told you it was rare.


            Other games also used this same CPU trick they used on this song but only for instrumental music because the instrumental audio samples were much more easy to divide than vocals. The samples were pretty much ready to be used as soon as they got out of the synth, you just needed to “dither” the audio quality so it would fit in the 64kb Ram the SNES audio CPU used. The most impressive one I’ve seen with that feature was FFVI music, specially “Balance is Restored”.


            This audio CPU itself actually has actually another interesting story. The man who developed the driver for the CPU and helped nintendo develop the whole audio system for SNES was Ken Kutaragi, the man that would later be the main developer engineer for the original Playstation. Legend goes that he saw his daughter enjoying playing the original Famicom and decided that would be a nice market for sony to give a try. The board at Sony at that time rejected his proposal to enter the console industry because of pride. They thought consoles were a “children’s eletronic toys”, as Nintendo before the Famicom was a children’s toy manufacturer (after their card business started to go downhill), it was too “lowly” of a market for the “great” Sony. So Ken instead, sneakied behind the board and approached Nintendo anyways, when they were still developing the Super Famicom. As at that time Sony was famous for their audio devices they put Kutaragi to help the development of the audio board for the NES. When Sony’s Board discovered what has been done they were furious but as most of the job was already done they couldn’t do nothing about. That history led Nintendo to approach Sony again to develop the CD Add-on for the Famicom, which when the deal went bust it brought the development of the Playstation 1.

            Tales of Phantasia itself also has an interesting story, but a sad one. The development of the game was one long mess, dragged itself too long, so Namco decided to release the game with only half the content being done, and that’s the Tales of Phantasia we have today. Such dickishness from Namco it’s what made the original developers, the Team Wolf, get furious and storm out of the company to make their own company Tri-Ace studios, which developed the Star Ocean for the SNES as their first game. Because of that, many believe that Star Ocean is more or less what Tales of Phantasia lore would be like if they had completed the project, though I find that a stretch. Namco kept the Tales series under its copyrights and has for many times re-released the Tales of Phantasia on other platforms, each time with additional content as it was meant to be on the SNES. The last version, for the PSP, Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X seems to be real deal, with double the content than the original one for the SNES. I have yet to play that one, unfortunately.

            The reputation system for Arcanum works great for almost any major quest. And it’s affected by how you chose to deal with the quest. Like, if there’s a bank being robbed somewhere, you can help the police, help the bandits or just help yourself and kill everyone else. Each way will give you a different reputation that will affect how other characters will interact with you. Usually, the greater the deeds (being good of bad), the longer the reach of your reputation inside the world (it’s not just the village and factions directly affect by it, but other cities and persons as well). It’s not by any means perfect but still better than many other games who attempted similar reputation systems like Fable.

  • giygas

    Neverwinter Nights -made by Bioware when they still had talent- is my favorite RPG of all time. The video game adaptation of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. The turns flow in real time and gameplay basics are easy to grasp, without sacrificing any of the depth that D&D is known for. The wealth of class customization options puts The Elder Scrolls and pretty much every other modern RPG to shame.

    There are difficulty settings for all tastes so if you don’t want the
    ruthlessness that 20th century RPGs were infamous for, you can set it to
    more laid back difficulty level. The pacing, storytelling, XP rate, level scaling, and openness/linearity depends on what campaign module you’re playing. If you finish with, or don’t like the ones Bioware made, you download community-made content or try your own hand at the editor. The modding community is still producing content to this day.

    As obsessed as I am with world games, the class system, level scaling, and combat in The Elder Scrolls leaves a bit to be desired. Realism doesn’t always equal fun. The class and skill system is robust, but some skills can be tedious to level up and it doesn’t mesh well with the simple leveling system. The level scaling system doesn’t care if the player favors combat or non-combat skills. It’s easy to end up with a character that is over/under powered depending on what skills the player focuses on and how many. This forces the player to manually adjust the difficulty setting in the pause menu just to retain some semblance of balance. That said, The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall is vastly superior to the latter installments in almost every way. Fite me IRL, filthy Morrowind peasants.

    NWN is 10 bucks on GOG.

    Daggerfall is freeware now. Here’s a convenient installer for the game. DOSBOX and patches are pre-installed and it comes with a collection of optional unofficial bugfixes, quests, and utilities. Remember to set output=opengl in DosBox.conf so you’re not using the choppy software renderer.
    Direct link in case the page doesn’t load:

    • Mr.Towel

      Hell yeah, NWN is also one of the few cRPGs that lets you play the whole game on co-op with your friends. Today you would have to use Hamachi but it’s very easy to setup. The game gets a little unbalanced with more people but on the other hand it generates way more funny situations. It’s a blast, if anyone here have friends who like RPGs and DnD they should definitely give it a try.

      While not that much inspired by DnD, Divinity: Original Sin is also one cRPG where you can play the main campaign on co-op. Not as content heavy and open-ended like NWN but fun nonetheless, I suggest to give it a try with a good friend if you haven’t.

    • RichardGristle

      I very much miss old Bioware, especially as someone who has the Baldur’s Gate saga as #2 on their all-time list and loved Icewind Dale and NWN. I also really enjoyed KotOR despite not being much of a Star Wars fan.

      Makes me sad as hell to see what they became.

  • anopolis

    this has nothing to do with nothing…however those of you out there with the windows 10 creators update, if you have programs that used to work fine but now do not work, fail to launch all that…check riva tuner..and afterburner..close those programs and your junk will prolly work. little psa from me to you.

  • Mr.Towel

    Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magicka Obscura is one hell of a underrated gem. To me, even better than classic Fallouts, which get their fare share of praise while Arcanum collects webs and dust somewhere. Sad.

  • Says a lot about my tastes in games that, unless I know we’re specifically talking about genres, the first thing that comes to my mind at the phrase “RPG” is “Russian Rocket Launcher”.

    That aside, I’ve had fun with a few RPGs here and there, most notably the Mass Effect games and Fallout 3. Heh, yeah, those two just reinforce the above, about being more familiar with firepower than role-playing.

    • Mr.Towel

      I’m a RPG guy myself but I can’t think anything similar to ME Shepard Trilogy or Fallout 3. There is some old bioware games but they’re always rough around the edges if you know what I mean. ME was their best.

      If you have the patience to play turn based tactical games I would suggest the Front Mission series. Either Front Mission 4 (PS2, easy to emulate) or the first Front Mission, from the SNES (DS version is more complete). They have a pretty good mix between RPGs, military culture and mechs. The sci-fi aspect and weaponry is decently grounded, like western mechas, no pew-pew high energy laser stuff, more like ammunition, rockets, bores/ gauges and the like. Think of it like humanoid tanks.

      You won’t find any satisfying blast sounds in there, unfortunately.

      • Not really the type for turn-based games. Only Front Mission I’ll ever play is Evolved, the third-person action shooter in the series.

        • Mr.Towel

          Have to get around to play this one yet. Been traumatized by older action mecha games, the controls always drove me mad.

          • I’ve got it in my library but haven’t had time to play it yet. I love the Front Mission games, though. My apprehension to play it stems from the fact that it’s not turn-based.

          • Mr.Towel

            If what people were saying around the launch is right, it’s Armored Core with slower gameplay and a Front Mission skin. Which I guess is alright, it’s just not Front Mission.

            Maybe if it was even slower, adding more weight to the mechs movements, then I would be interested in it. It would feel more akin to the likes of Dark Souls or Monster Hunter, were you have to plan your moves and use the scenery to your favor since you wouldn’t be able to mash buttons and a wrong button would cost you dearly, it would still be action but require more strategy and parts setups. Armored Core is kind of hack n slash, shoot and slash in this case, from the little I have played, doesn’t feel very Front Mission to me.

  • GodBowser

    Since the official trailer for Star Trek Discovery came out I’ve been reading that some members of the fan base seem to be more interested in The Orville because it looks more like a real Star Trek show compared to Discovery

    • Been seeing similar things. I’m likely not going to watch the Orville, but when I watched the trailer all I saw in the comment sections were people talking about how that show was going to be a better Star Trek than Star Trek Discovery.

      • Bitterbear

        Watch Sprite’s Death slug ad. It’s as if the suits at CBS were using it as a guideline for Star Trek: Discovery.

      • GodBowser

        Seen any comments suggesting that it might be caned after it’s first season due to it being a Fox show?

        • Surprisingly no, mostly because a lot of people (from when I was checking out feedback) were focused on it looking better than Star Trek Discovery. It was because of all the comments trashing Star Trek Discovery on the Orville trailer that I decided to go check out the full length trailer for Star Trek Discovery.

          But you know, given Fox’s penchant for canceling shows at the drop of a dime, I’m surprised more people weren’t concerned that sci-fi shows (other than the X-Files) have had a hard time surviving on Fox.

          • GodBowser

            Still give Discovery a chance because I came to the realization that it having possible SJW elements in might just be hearsay and when the SJW infested media goes on about how progressive it is just take no notice of them

            Let’s put it this way…

            If Movie Blob says that a movie is crap then it might be worth checking out and might even turn out to be enjoyable

          • If Movie Blob says that a movie is crap then it might be worth checking out and might even turn out to be enjoyable

            LOL… that’s a really good point.

          • Disqusted

            Haha, “Movie Blob”.

  • Hawk Hopper

    I’ve been getting back into emulators recently and have been having a lot of fun.

    Yesterday, I tried the 1964 emulator. This emulates 007: Goldeneye and Perfect Dark that were originally on the N64. The biggest advantage, at least to me, for using this emulator is the Mouse Injector thing that comes with it. This allow you to use the mouse to aim instead of the shitty and weird stick aiming that these games used (along with a slathering of auto aim). I think it only works with Goldeneye and Perfect Dark because I tried Turok 3 and it didn’t only let me shoot and join, but didn’t allow me to aim.

    I also tried Retroarch. It has a display like the PS3 and auto-maps the controller you’re using (in my case a PS4 controller.) It works decently, but if you choose the wrong core to use with a certain game, then it won’t work and I haven’t found an easy way to switch which core you want to use. It has MAME for arcade games, but I haven’t tried that yet.

  • ItEotWaWKI

    On Topic: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, easily.

    Off Topic: Billy. Did you pay any attention to GameFAQs ‘Best Year in Gaming’ contest? Remember me saying awhile back that I personally felt the golden age of gaming was something like ’94 to ’02, with the turn of the century, like ’99 through ’01, being the zenith? A few regulars here, you included, agreed with that sentiment. It seems a more popular notion than I thought, look at the results of the poll.

    Yeah it’s only one site and either ’97 (Final Fantasy 7) or ’98 (Ocarina of Time) were always gonna win, but GFAQs is a very well known/frequented gaming forum and it was an open poll.

    By Round 2, half the surviving years fell into that “Golden Age” range. Also worth noting about Round 2, the latest surviving year was 2011. The past half decade of gaming failed to engender enough support to move on from Round 1. By the Quarterfinal, 6 of 8 fell into that GA range. Semifinal, all remaining years fell into that range.

    • Yep. No surprise.

      All across the net, internationally, most people consider that era you mentioned the “Golden Age” of gaming.

      You’re basically indentured to praising that era when it comes to naming innovative, forward-thinking, technologically progressive titles. There was just this absolute boom in creativity unmatched by any other era of gaming.

      After seventh gen innovation died.

      • Disqusted

        I personally felt the SNES age was the “golden age” of gaming. I said that to a Japanese friend once, and they said they weren’t born then. So maybe that’s why people consider the golden age of gaming to be after that?

        I’d say SNES to PS2 age was still good. Don’t know the dates.

        • I personally felt the SNES age was the “golden age” of gaming.

          I think it’s more-so the era rather than a year. Typically 1992ish through 2001. It encompasses the 16 bit through early 128 bit eras with all the really good games that came out in between. You had some of the best RPGs out during that time, some of the best fighting games, some of the best wrestling games (AKI Corp and Human Head Interactive ftw), some of the best racing games (Fatal Racing, Gran Turismo, Ridge Racer and Mario Kart), some of the best flight and space sims (Jane’s Flight Simulator and the X-Wing/Tie Fighter games), some of the best strategy games (Warcraft, Starcraft, X-Com and the Might and Magic titles), and some of the best point-and-click games (Sierra Interactive and LucasArts), and I don’t even need to bring up the platforming games… they absolutely ruled.

          • Disqusted

            I think we had the best everything back then. A lot of genres completely died out, and I think a lot of games don’t have any kind of spiritual successor, though I can’t name any off-hand.

            A lot of the game companies I liked back then, don’t even make games anymore. Or they just died.

    • RichardGristle

      1998 is hands-down my favorite, but certainly not because of OoT.

      Half-Life, Baldur’s Gate, Starcraft, RE2, MGS, Unreal, and many others that I feel are just a tier below those. It’ll never be topped for me.

      The other finalist though, 2001, I feel was a very mediocre year in comparison. In fact, 1991 easily tops it.

      An important year to remember was 1996. Many genres and technologies were greatly improved upon or outright began that year. ’94 was also very important in that regard with Super Metroid and Warcraft.

    • Disqusted

      A long time ago, I used to check every single GameFAQs poll. I think I stopped when I felt they were full of shit, so I dunno if you should take them with a grain of salt, or not. Fanboys are probably going to great lengths to ensure that their favorite shit “wins”.