Jeremy Parish Presents: Retronauts Video Works (Chronological Retrospective Series)

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Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,411
GameBoy is over?
There's so many games that would have been interesting to discover (or make discover).
I think he's just changing the format to shove the chaff into compilation videos like he's been doing on NES Works these past few months, but of course the man himself can correct me if I'm wrong.
 

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
6,162
I think he's just changing the format to shove the chaff into compilation videos like he's been doing on NES Works these past few months, but of course the man himself can correct me if I'm wrong.
To be fair the current format is pretty heavy and it would probably be his life work to do the whole thing in the way he's doing it now.
I still want a dedicated video about Monster Max !
 

JeremyParish

Retronaut
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
265
Raleigh, NC
Yeah, the only post-N64 console I'd ever be interested in tackling is DS, because that library had so many game concepts that appear nowhere else. I guess Dreamcast could be good, too, because it didn't fare well enough be buried beneath the piles of trash that every other disc-based platform suffered.
 

Knurek

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,229
Yeah, the only post-N64 console I'd ever be interested in tackling is DS, because that library had so many game concepts that appear nowhere else. I guess Dreamcast could be good, too, because it didn't fare well enough be buried beneath the piles of trash that every other disc-based platform suffered.
Check the Japanese library for the system though - tonnes of VN ports.
Not as much as for PS2, granted, but still a lot.
 

JeremyParish

Retronaut
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
265
Raleigh, NC
Pretty sure the only JP-exclusive Dreamcast content I would find even vaguely interesting is El Dorado's Gate. That series, if I actually tackled it, would be 100% U.S.-focused.
 
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Nerdkiller

Nerdkiller

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Yeah, the only post-N64 console I'd ever be interested in tackling is DS, because that library had so many game concepts that appear nowhere else. I guess Dreamcast could be good, too, because it didn't fare well enough be buried beneath the piles of trash that every other disc-based platform suffered.
It would be a good opportunity for you to tackle some of the online enabled games that fans are bringing back.
 
Virtual Boy Works: Panic Bomber
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Nerdkiller

Nerdkiller

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Panic Bomber retrospective: 99 red bomb-balloons | Virtual Boy Works #09


Another perfectly decent game appears on Virtual Boy, this time starring Bomberman. It's not your standard Bomberman fare, but nevertheless it's a pretty solid rendition of Puyo Puyo with a bit of Bomberman flair (or should that be flare?). Fortunately, this game is a little less difficult to track down play nowadays than its VB contemporaries...
 
Virtual Boy Works: Vertical Force
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Nerdkiller

Nerdkiller

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Vertical Force retrospective: Red squadron | Virtual Boy Works #10


Hudson's second (and final) Virtual Boy game sees them visiting comfortable territory with a vertical shooter very much in the Star Soldier vein. A plane-shifting layer effect makes good on a central concept of that franchise, though the realities and limitations of the hardware somewhat gum up the works...
Next time...

 
Virtual Boy Works: Waterworld
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Nerdkiller

Nerdkiller

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Waterworld retrospective: The girl with the Dryland tattoo | Virtual Boy Works #11


It's the worst game in the world! Ha! Ha. No, not really. Despite being based on a dud of a film and appearing exclusively on a failed game console, Ocean's Waterworld isn't the most atrocious thing ever committed to silicon. Make no mistake, it's not GOOD—but there are certainly worse things you could cram into a game system. It's an interesting (albeit extremely rough) attempt to bring some classic arcade concepts to Virtual Boy.
 
Virtual Boy Works: Nester's Funky Bowling
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Nerdkiller

Nerdkiller

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Nester's Funky Bowling retrospective: Empty Nester syndrome | Virtual Boy Works #12


One of two Virtual Boy bowling sims, this one stands out from its Japanese counterpart by virtue of featuring Nester, the unlikely antagonist of Nintendo Power's "Howard & Nester" comics. And his twin sister Hester, whose existence had never been mentioned prior to this game. Which shipped a couple of years after Nester's comic had been canceled. What a strange and inexplicable game.
 
Game Boy Works: Square Deal | Parasol Henbee
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Nerdkiller

Nerdkiller

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Square Deal & Parasol Henbee retrospective: Happy birthday? | Game Boy Works #113


We return briefly to Game Boy Works to mark the system's 30th anniversary... not that this these games are necessarily glorious celebrations of Game Boy's existence. But then again, maybe they're perfectly apt? Square Deal combines two of the system's most common genres—puzzlers and casino games—and Parasol Henbee is a licensed platformer. Together, these comprise the fundamental Game Boy experience. And while they're not amazing, they're both above average for their genres. So... a concise summary of the Game Boy experience, I guess.
 

Lucas M. Thomas

Editor-in-Chief of Nintendo Force Magazine
Verified
Oct 30, 2017
423
Kentucky
Congrats on hitting the five-year mark, Jeremy! Your dedication is inspiring. And I appreciate always having a new episode to watch while eating lunch each Wednesday. :p
 

takoyaki

Member
Oct 25, 2017
854
Polygon: The 30 greatest Game Boy games [by Jeremy Parish]
One for each year of the system’s life

Nintendo’s Game Boy made its Japanese debut on April 21, 1989. With a murky screen and chunky physical design, Game Boy wasn’t the most impressive of game systems — but what it lacked in power, it made up for in affordability ... and, over time, an incredible library. Ask any Game Boy owner for a list of their favorite games and you’ll get a huge variety of answers thanks to the fact that the system saw north of 1000 games over its lifetime, many of which were good and some of which were truly great.

Ahead of Game Boy’s 30th anniversary on Sunday, here are the 30 greatest games and franchises ever to appear on the system.
  • 30: X
  • 29: Trip World
  • 28: Game Boy Wars/Turbo
  • 27: The Sword of Hope (series)
  • 26: Chalvo 55
  • 25: Avenging Spirit
  • 24: Harvest Moon GB
  • 23: Cave Noire
  • 22: Kid Dracula
  • 21: Space Invaders
  • 20: Metroid II: Return of Samus
  • 19: Mole Mania
  • 18: Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge
  • 17: Gargoyle’s Quest
  • 16: Heiankyo Alien
  • 15: Final Fantasy Adventure
  • 14: Mega Man 5
  • 13: Bionic Commando
  • 12: Balloon Kid
  • 11: Game Boy Gallery (series)
  • 10: Super Mario Land (series)
  • 9: Mario’s Picross (series)
  • 8: Kirby’s Dream Land (series)
  • 7: The Final Fantasy Legend (series)
  • 6: Tetris
  • 5: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  • 4: Wario Land (series)
  • 3: Pokémon (series)
  • 2: Game Boy Camera
  • 1: Donkey Kong
 
Virtual Boy Works: 3-D Tetris
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Nerdkiller

Nerdkiller

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3-D Tetris retrospective: Red rain | Virtual Boy Works #13


And just like that, we've reached the end of the American Virtual Boy library. Does this slim collection of games at least receive a grand sendoff, you may be wondering? Well... eh. Not really. At the very least, they could have given us a REAL Tetris game....
 
Super NES Works: Lagoon
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Nerdkiller

Nerdkiller

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Lagoon retrospective: Bad ending | Super NES Works #029


Super NES Works 1991 limps weakly over the finish line with the third dud in a row. Lagoon makes a pitiful capstone for an otherwise strong opening period for Nintendo's 16-bit beast, a hobbled conversion of a fairly respectable PC game that suffers horribly from a single ill-considered new design choice. Oh well! At least we have 1992 to look forward to...
Lagoon, French for...

 

SabinFigaro

Member
Oct 27, 2017
33
Oh man, Lagoon is such a trash-tier Ys clone.

Interestingly, its title music is hot fire and probably one of the best on the system.

 
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JeremyParish

Retronaut
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
265
Raleigh, NC
It kills me inside that this music is tied to such a poorly designed game. It's like seeing a beloved friend trapped in a toxic marriage and you can't do anything about it.
 

Meatwad

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
918
USA
Never played this one back in the day and well it doesn’t look like I missed much.

That music though is hot fire, would buy a soundtrack
 

JeremyParish

Retronaut
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
265
Raleigh, NC
Aw, I love X68000 and SNES music equally for different reasons. Let’s not make this a needless battle when our common enemy is the game itself.
 

Knurek

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,229
Also, if you want your heart broken, compare another Zoom game with a X68k->SNES port, Genocide 2.
That developer did not have any luck with licensing their IP for CS use (I don't think they made any of the ports themselves)
 

Nairume

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,053
It kills me inside that this music is tied to such a poorly designed game. It's like seeing a beloved friend trapped in a toxic marriage and you can't do anything about it.
This is my life as a fan of Masashi Hamauzu's music.

Though I still like most of the games he works on, even if others don't
 
Oct 25, 2017
137
3-D Tetris retrospective: Red rain | Virtual Boy Works #13

I mentioned it in the comments on Youtube as well, but Jeremy Parish makes a critical error in this review. No, it's not just that he clearly dislikes the Virtual Boy and most of its games, while I like them (I have 10 VB games, and would grade all 10 of them at least a B score...). It's that he's wrong, you can very easily freeze the motion in 3-D Tetris! Just press the Select button. Presto, it locks the screen in place until you press it again. The main problem he complains about in this video does not exist.

I played the game again myself to confirm this on my VB, and yeah, you just press Select to lock the view where you want it, then play the game. I don't know how he missed it, the game uses every single button and d-pad direction on the controller and I'd think someone playing the game would have pressed them all at some point, but unfortunately somehow he did.

That's too bad, but I really hope that he plays the game again, presses Select, and maybe has more fun with the game; I think it's fantastic. 3-D Tetris is, in my opinion, the best Blockout/Welltris game ever made. In fact, I've never really liked Blockout or Welltris all that much, so I wasn't expecting to like this at all when I got it, but I l love it! The five-layer well, versus the much deeper ones of Blockout, make for a better game I think. Regular Blockout games take a very long time, with how large that well is, but 3-D Tetris, while also slow, is better paced than that game. The way you can lose and gain layers adds to the tension, too. Those maps of all the pieces on the side are extremely useful, and I definitely think that Blockout sometimes needs something like that! You couldn't do that with a well as deep as Blockout's, though, that'd require way too many little map images, so by reducing the well to only five layers deep they enable this great feature. Oh, the controls are another reason why 3-D Tetris is a great game -- it uses both d-pads and multiple buttons for precise and detailed 3-d piece movement control in a way quite impossible in, say, the Genesis version of Blockout. It works very well once you get used to all of the controls. It's an aspect of the game that is important to highlight, but he doesn't really in the review. Oh well.

On the down side, even though it has only five layers, 3-D Tetris is pretty slow paced. This game doesn't have the quick pace of 2d Tetris, filling in a layer takes time. It's a somewhat deliberate game I don't always want to play, but that doesn't make it less good.

On a worse note, it seems that the battery in my 3-D Tetris cart has died since I last used it, which is pretty sad. I really need to get that one replaced at some point, I'd like to play Puzzle mode again... it's a great challenge done very well.

On that note, as far as content goes, the other criticism I would have of this video is that 3-D Tetris is the first Tetris game on a Nintendo platform which saves your best scores and such to the cartridge. It's a great addition which adds to the game; what are you supposed to do in, say, V-Tetris? Take a screenshot through your viewfinder of your score? Just write it down on paper? But in this game you don't need to do that, it saves your scores to the cart... well, until the battery dies like mine did. Ah well. It saves your progress in puzzle mode as well, of course.
 

JeremyParish

Retronaut
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
265
Raleigh, NC
The claim that I “clearly dislike” the VB and most of its games is super bizarre considering that the overarching theme of the entire VBW series outside of two or three genuinely bad games has been “this game and the system aren’t nearly as bad as they’re made out to be.” I mean, jesus, I found nice things to say about Waterworld. Of all the VB retrospectives to accuse of some kind of nefarious takedown agenda, pointing a finger at this one is pretty wild. Reminds me of the time Chrono fans went after me for “hating” Chrono Cross after I recorded a podcast talking about how great it was and how it literally changed my life.
 

Meatwad

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
918
USA
Incidentally I just bought a new sealed copy of Chrono Cross off of Amazon for $10. I was surprised new copies are still so readily available so cheaply. Square must have printed a ton
 
Oct 25, 2017
137
The claim that I “clearly dislike” the VB and most of its games is super bizarre considering that the overarching theme of the entire VBW series outside of two or three genuinely bad games has been “this game and the system aren’t nearly as bad as they’re made out to be.” I mean, jesus, I found nice things to say about Waterworld. Of all the VB retrospectives to accuse of some kind of nefarious takedown agenda, pointing a finger at this one is pretty wild. Reminds me of the time Chrono fans went after me for “hating” Chrono Cross after I recorded a podcast talking about how great it was and how it literally changed my life.
Sorry, that's not what I meant to say, that came out wrong; what I meant was that you like the system and games a lot less than I do, and that makes the videos hard to watch sometimes, when you're making side insults aimed at it and such, being hard on games I really like, etc. You've been more negative to much more negative than I would be in the reviews of 8 of the 9 VB games I have that you'rve reviewed so far. (The 10th I have is V-Tetris, probably your next VB review. It's okay.) The one game you probably like more than me is Jack Bros., which is good enough, but is actually probably my least favorite of 10 VB games I have. It just does so little with the hardwares' 3d!

But anyway, that was just an aside and wasn't the point of the post at all, that you didn't realize that you can lock your view and criticized the game harshly for something that it doesn't do is. That's an important fact-based issue, not just an opinion. 3-D Tetris' view does not just wiggle around all the time. It moves around until you lock it in place with the Select button when it's where you want. Everyone will differ on opinion issues, of course, but getting facts right is important! And that's an important one.
 
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JeremyParish

Retronaut
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
265
Raleigh, NC
I regret missing the lock feature my first time through, but I went back and found it doesn’t fix 3-D Tetris' other issues: Unpleasant wire frame visuals at awful, headachy frame rates; weird difficulty curve that is either tediously dull or frustratingly fast; overly complex piece shapes that read poorly due to the visual design; etc. It just makes an iffy game a bit less annoying.

I have found both praiseworthy and negative elements in every game in the library so far. (Except for that baseball game, that thing is hyper-ass.) my approach is not scornful bias. It is basic, critical, fair-minded evaluation.
 
Oct 25, 2017
137
Here's another thing that annoyed me a bit in one of the VB reviews -- when you compare Vertical Force (A great game! Easy, but really, really good.) to the pretty bad game that is D-Force. It's really not much like D-Force at all, that game only has switching in half of the levels and does it badly. There are several games before it that have similar dual-plane gameplay (where you can fly to an upper or lower level in a shmup), which you don't mention in that review. Most notably (though FAR worse) is Sega's Blade Eagle 3-D for the Master System. It's also a 3-d game, since it requires the 3d glasses, but is a very slow and flawed game. The 3d is cool, but I don't find it all that fun to play. Vattle Giuce (a Japan-only Game Boy game from 1991) is a lot better, though it's not in 3d of course. Good game though. The Death Star levels (last two stages) from the Game Boy / Game Gear version of Super Return of the Jedi (1994) also lets you switch between two planes to avoid obstacles and such. You don't need to mention D-Force, of all things, to mention previous games which are like Vertical Force; Blade Eagle 3-D ior Vattle Giuce are closer comparisons. I like Vertical Force better, but that's a matter of opinion, I'm sure some prefer Vattle Giuce. (Aerostar, another GB shooter from '91, also has some slight similarities here; you're on roads and can jump up into the sky temporarily with a button.) None of those games have anything like Vertical Force's feature that lets you store your different powerup addon pod things on the right d-pad, though, they're simpler games. Anyway, this is minor I know.

I regret missing the lock feature my first time through, but I went back and found it doesn’t fix 3-D Tetris' other issues: Unpleasant wire frame visuals at awful, headachy frame rates; weird difficulty curve that is either tediously dull or frustratingly fast; overly complex piece shapes that read poorly due to the visual design; etc. It just makes an iffy game a bit less annoying.
The wireframe graphics of dropping pieces aren't "awful", they are necessary. And the game has both shaded and wireframe polygons, it's not all-wireframes like Red Alarm. Remember, the reason why pieces that are dropping are wireframe is because you need to see what's underneath them! If the dropping pieces were solid, the game would be impossible, you couldn't see anything. As soon as pieces hit the bottom of the well they turn solid, so this is not a wireframe 3d game, it has wireframe pieces dropping for visibility into a polygonal 3d well full of flat-shaded polygonal blocks. This is exactly the same thing that Blockout does -- in that game you have wireframe pieces dropping into a solid-color well. Unless you're on a platform where you could do semi-transparent pieces, it's what you have to do to be able to play the game. This isn't a flaw, it's the only way to make this kind of game at the time. Again the polygons become shaded once they reach the bottom and stop moving. As for wireframe graphics in general, before I got Red Alarm I kind of expected to dislike the wireframe visuals, since telling what is a wall and isn't should be hard, right? However, in the 3-d environment of the headset it isn't a problem, the game plays well. Red Alarm isn't one of the best VB games, it has some issues, but it is good. But anyway.

As for the framerate, I'm a horrible judge of framerates so I have nothing to say on that one except that nothing on VB bothers me much framerate-wise. I'm lucky to not be one of the people really negatively affected by the thing.

On the difficulty curve, isn't that pretty much how Tetris works? I've been playing a lot of Tetris 99 over the last few months, the difficulty spike at the end is steep indeed. I haven't won a game yet, but have finished third a few times. Sure, Tetris 3-D starts out easy and then gets hard, but I'd think that that is what it is supposed to do. I do agree that the game is slower paced than 2d Tetris though, that is an issue with all variants on Blockout.

And complex pieces... again, this is a staple of the genre. It's a 3d game, so naturally you're going to have 3-d pieces, and not just the same set of tetrominoes from the 2d games. Blockout for the Genesis lets you choose if you want the "Extended" piece set or not, and the basic ones are simpler than 3-D Tetris's piece selection, but Extended in that game has some crazy shapes that go way beyond 3-D Tetris. It is true that 3-D Tetris doesn't have an option to use only the basic pieces, but the piece selection strikes a nice balance I think, and after not too long you get used to what the options are. As with everything else about the game it's a big improvement over Blockout's weird Extended shapes (go try that mode, it's way harder than 3-D Tetris, and not nearly as good...), and thanks to the 3d visuals you get a much better sense of what they look like too, and control is a lot better thanks to the two d-pads letting you move and rotate individually. Once in a while it can be hard to figure out exactly what a piece is, but between the minimaps on the side and the wireframe, it's something that once you learn you can deal with well.

Oh, and I like the little portraits of the block types, it gives the game more character than your usual, standard block-dropping game.

It's an A-grade classic.