Hart & Usagi Podcast #51: Pile of Secrets

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On this edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we welcome back JiibayDan to chat about favorite controllers, 25th anniversary of the Genesis, and some hot Tetris pillow action.

Enjoy the show and remember to subscribe and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast today!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
* USgamer Community Question: What’s Your All-Time Favorite Controller?
* Sony: ‘EA Access’ Offers No Value to PS4 Owners
* Report: GameStop Changing Game Trade-In Program
* The Greatest Games for NES: 1988-89
* Microsoft Still Bullish on Kinect
* If Tetris Were Made Out Of Pillows
* Poll: What Should ‘Night Trap’ Have Been Rated?
* Debunked: Most Downloaded Games Per State Not What It Claims To Be
* Happy 25th birthday, Sega Genesis
* Playtotle 001: Character Design

Listen or Download (2:18:05)
Subscribe!
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog
Dan: @JiibayDan | That Dan Stinehart Blog | ~Natively Awkward

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@HartandUsagi

Games Finished In 2013

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The list below shows every game that I finished in 2013. The total number comes to 36. That’s down 15 from 2012.

November proved to be the best month for beating games with 8 in total thanks to TMNT Month with a monthly average of 3.

When it comes to earning those fancy trophies, I was able to earn 226 last year.

1. Double Dragon Neon (PSN) – 1/2
2. Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (VC) – 1/11
3. Batman (NES) – 1/30
4. Bionic Commando (PS3) – 2/24
5. Shatter (PSN) – 3/6
6. Rocket Knight (PSN) – 3/10
7. Tomb Raider: Legend (PSP) – 3/15
8. G.I. Joe (ARC) – 4/11
9. Resistance 2 (PS3) – 4/13
10. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (PS3) – 4/26
11. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie (GEN) – 5/4
12. Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN) – 5/5
13. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (PSN) – 5/5
14. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. (PSN) – 5/22
15. The King of Fighters ’98 (PSN) – 5/22
16. BioShock Infinite (PS3) – 5/25
17. F.E.A.R. 3 (PS3) – 6/21
18. X-Men (PSN) – 7/10
19. Streets of Rage 2 (PSN) – 8/9
20. Tomb Raider: Underworld via The Tomb Raider Trilogy (PS3) – 8/11
21. Dragon Warrior via Dragon Warrior I & II (GBC) – 8/21
22. Marvel Ultimate Alliance (PS2) – 8/31
23. Dragon’s Crown (PS3) – 9/20
24. Splatterhouse (TG-16) – 10/22
25. Dark Souls (PS3) – 11/8
26. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (GB) – 11/9
27. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Back from the Sewers (GB) – 11/11
28. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (PS2) – 11/12
29. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus (PS2) – 11/20
30. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare (PS2) – 11/23
31. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time via Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Mutant Nightmare (PS2) – 11/23
32. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters (SNES) – 11/25
33. The Mark of Kri (PS2) – 12/3
34. Kirby’s Dream Land 2 via Kirby’s Dream Collection (WII) – 12/7
35. Sleeping Dogs (PS3) – 12/13
36. Space Invaders Extreme 2 (DS) – 12/25

Now Playing: August 2013

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In the past month I had mentioned I was going to play the games I had which were listed under the Giant Bomb profile of the great Ryan Davis. As such I played Super Mario Bros. 3 via Super Mario All-Stars. My progress halted at World 8, sadly. I did, however, get to almost completing my currently played game, Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I think I’m on the last set of missions headquartered in Attilan and I should be finished soon at 15 hours and 28 minutes of game time up until now.

Speaking of finished games, I did that with three titles this month.

First up was Streets of Rage 2. I played a solid hour with the gentleman known as Jason_X on Backloggery. I chose Axel as usual because that character just kicks all kinds of ass. Jason chose Blaze. This is a character I usually stay away from. The damage output for her is weak and her double tap forward plus attack doesn’t make for a very good game, but as a team we put a whipping on Mr. X.

The second game to be finished two days later was Tomb Raider: Underworld. I’d talked about what I liked about the game in July’s Now Playing and my final stats were 25 out of 33 trophies, 143 out of 179 total treasures, and 11 hours and 12 minutes of game time.

And last, but certainly not least is Dragon Warrior. It was finished a week ago via the Game Boy Color compilation Dragon Warrior I & II. My final character level was 28.

It was a good thing I looked up an FAQ on what key items to collect. I didn’t remember the placement of the game’s best armor nor did I remember how to obtain the Rainbow Drop to form the bridge to the Dragon Lord’s castle from by childhood of playing the NES version of this game. Regardless, I still had a wonderful time revisiting this rebalanced RPG classic.

Thanks for reading and have a good one! :)

Super Davis Bros.

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It feels like it’s time for one of my patented now playing blog posts.

I noted a few weeks ago on Twitter that I was going to play some of what I called Ryan Davis games. These were listed on his profile on Giant Bomb for one reason or another. I’m doing so as a way to honor his memory as an awesomely entertaining gaming industry dude! First of three titles I decided to start was Super Mario Bros. 3. I specifically chose to play the visually upgraded port on the Super Nintendo via Super Mario All-Stars. I’ve never been very good at most of the games in the Mario series. I only think I’ve ever finished Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Land. As far as my SMB3 progress goes, I’m on World 8. I quickly did this by obtaining the two warp whistles in World 1, completing that world and half of World 2, and then using both whistles to warp to World 8.

I like that Super Mario All-Stars allows for the player to save their progress, but unfortunately it doesn’t save middle world progress. You have to complete an entire world in one sitting otherwise the save is no different. I doubt I’ll be seeing this title to the end, but at least it was great to revisit a classic.

Over on the likely close to finished Tomb Raider: Underworld, I’ve added an extra two hours on my runtime. I still haven’t found any runes, but I have collected the treasures whenever I can. I’m up to 118 out of 179. I also earned 73% of the game’s trophies. I’m at the beginning of another underwater section in the Arctic Sea. Go, Lara, go!

Another thing I asked about on Twitter was to choose one of the portable RPGs I owned from the list I provided. Of those @D_Fleischmann, @Gigastormz, and @Yokihana chose Dragon Warrior I & II (GBC), Golden Sun (GBA), and Dragon Warrior III, respectively.

I started on Dragon Warrior I. The memories of playing the NES version back in the day have come flooding back. I can’t remember everything, but the enemies and the overall layout of the overworld is still familiar after all these years. My current level is 9 with a total of 1,510 experience and I await for the moment when I can slay a Metal Slime without it running away.

Thanks for reading. Peace.

The NBA Jam Betrayal

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Over the last three days I went from telling you that the new NBA Jam was quite fun with only a minor grievance of not having a way to configure the controls to having a major hatred for the game’s half court camera angle for some of the events in Remix mode like Domination and 21.

I can’t stand this camera angle at all. It makes it very difficult to see where your player or teammate is when everybody’s position is reset after a basket is made. It’s also very hard to tell your distance vs. an opponent to make a block. The CPU players don’t help things by being merciless even on Easy.

I still love the traditional NBA Jam experience and the Classic Campaign was a lot of fun. I’d regularly win matches by a large margin. The biggest win being by around 22 points. I finished that mode on the 1st giving me my 20th game beaten this year. With that said, I’m not about to consider the SNES version I played many years ago to be outdated just yet.

Also in the previous blog update I brought up that I’d like to play Dragon Warrior again. I was convinced to do so not on the NES, but on the Game Boy Color compilation Dragon Warrior I & II thanks to the most recent HVGN video. I found a game only copy of this locally the very next day.

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Dragons and Aliens, oh my!

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A few days ago I was playing Alien Crush (PSN verison) and was having my best game ever. It was going so great that I had to save where I was and come back to it later. Once I started it again I didn’t last as long, but it did give me my best score ever.

78,533,200

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My previous best score was 36,570,300. Quite the improvement if I do say so myself. Because of this I do consider Alien Crush finished making it #19 on the year.

After finishing up Assassin’s Creed last week I wasn’t sure what to play next. I knew I wanted it to be a PS3 game which had trophy support. I let the “Fortune Cookie” on Backloggery.com choose a random game. It ended up being NBA Jam.

So far I’ve just been playing the Classic Campaign with the Utah Jazz. Record is 20-0. It’s a return to form for the series and I’m enjoying it. Despite this I do have a small issue with it: the lack of a control configuration. I prefer turbo on R1 or R2, like I’ve been playing it since the days of the SNES. Unfortunately, it’s stuck on L1 and L2. Like I said, it’s a small problem, but nothing that would lower the score if I were to review it.

I know in the future I’m going to want to experience my first RPG again, but was shown why it shouldn’t be on the NES. The game in question is Dragon Warrior.

I, like most Westerners, got their first taste of the RPG genre through Dragon Warrior thanks to the giveaway by Nintendo Power back in 1990. I remember finishing it twice back then and finding it quite fun. Despite this I didn’t play many RPGs after.

This is where the Game Boy Color compilation Dragon Warrior I & II comes in. The Happy Video Game Nerd makes a comparison of the first Dragon Warrior game on the NES and GBC showing that you can get much further in the first 30 minutes on the portable version than you can on the NES version. On the NES, the player still can’t leave the starting area and some of the minor enemies are still a problem. On the Game Boy Color, the player has already been able to start on the first dungeon. This video of his has me wanting to try the GBC version.

Choose Your Path

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When last I mentioned that I had finished Borderlands, I said that my soldier was at level 44. Well, since then I got him to the max level of 50. You’d think that I’d feel unstoppable with this character, but I don’t. In fact, I have yet to finish the second playthough because of this.

I can’t be sure, but I think it’s because I didn’t specialize my character in one of the three branches as you can see in the screenshot below.

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I was just all over the place being a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none. I created a second soldier with a current level of 21 and I’m remedying this problem now.

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I’m still offering the remaining 11 RPG games to those that are interested. If you’d like to purchase one or more of the following games from me please PM me with the titles of the ones you’re interested in. At that time I’ll provide you with photos of the product. They’ve all been tested and are in working order. Any major wear and tear on them were from previous owners. All prices include shipping.

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2; complete; $12)
Chrono Trigger (SNES; game only; $30)
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2; complete; $12)
Dragon Warrior III (GBC; game only; $13)
Final Fantasy (NES; game & box; $10)
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SNES; game only; $6)
Final Fantasy IX (PS; complete; $10)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (GBA; complete; $15)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES; game only; $9)
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (GB; game only; $4)
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC; game only $10)

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic remainder of your weekend!

Third Platinum!

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BORDERLANDS
I just obtained my third ever platinum trophy thanks to the fun I had with Borderlands. Compared to the other two platinums from Burnout Paradise and God of War, this one was the least troublesome to get.

Trophies: 51 / 51 (100%)

Current total: 525 trophies; 73% of Level 9

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ROLE-PLAYING GAMES
I was talking with a friend yesterday about RPGs and how lengthy those games tend to be compared to most other genres. Also, as most of you know, I’m not really much of an RPG fan. As such I’ve only played a scant few and finished even less of them. I’d play many more of them if they averaged 20 hours instead of 60-100 hours.

I realized that as much as I’d like to start playing Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES or Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, I noticed that I don’t because of the fact that these games are at least 60-80 hours and that doesn’t include any side missions. This is the main reason I’ve decided to part ways with 14 of these titles.

If anybody would like to purchase one or more of the following games from me please PM me with the titles of the ones you’re interested in. At that time I’ll provide you with photos of the product and the price. They’ve all been tested and are in working order. Any major wear and tear on them were from previous owners.

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2)
Beggar Prince (GEN)
Chrono Cross (PS)
Chrono Trigger (SNES)
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)
Dragon Warrior III (GBC)
Final Fantasy (NES)
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SNES)
Final Fantasy IX (PS)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (GBA)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (GB)
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (PS2)

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!

The World’s Greatest Detective

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BATMAN BEGINS
I finished Batman Begins yesterday making it the 46th game finished this year.

Despite the mediocre reviews and gameplay that’s a bit simplistic, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of enjoyment I received from playing this game. This was probably because I checked my expectations at the door before starting and left the idea of a Batman: Arkham Asylum like experience behind.

The look and the atmosphere of the game were great and it was really what made it fun for me. There’s not much replay value outside of three classic batsuits and the camo colored Batmobile which you earn once you beat the game for the first time.

To get an honest take of the game I suggest checking out ebbderelict’s review. He says pretty much what I’ve been saying and would say if I reviewed the game myself.

GIFT GIVING FOLLOW-UP REDUX
I have narrowed my choices for the games I wish to give down to four. Those games being Brain Age or Namco Museum 50th Anniversary for my niece and Sonic Rush or Wario Land 4 for my nephew.

With little time to find my first choice of Astro Boy: Omega Factor for my nephew, I decided on Wario Land 4 that I’d seen many times at the local It’s About Games store. At least that was the case until I cleaned and tested the GBA games. I switched out Wario Land 4 (for my own collection) for Sonic Rush as I know the latter game is frustrating and I wasn’t planning on getting back to it anytime soon.

For my niece I decided on Namco Museum 50th Anniversary for a couple of reasons. 1) The math, as simple as it is, would probably be a problem for a 6-year-old and 2) Namco Museum is a guaranteed hit as she specifically named that game. I own the 2001 release, which I do think is better than this 2005 version, but the best games are still included.

NEW GAMES
While I was at the previously mentioned store, I also picked up another RPG in the form of Dragon Warrior II for the NES. I liked the original and Usagi704 played the sequel on the Game Boy Color compilation aptly titled Dragon Warrior I & II and liked it.

The subtraction of Sonic Rush and the addition of Wario Land 4 and Dragon Warrior II to my collection has brought the number of unique games to 700. I’m still amazed that all of that fits within a small corner of one room.

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Like always I’ll put up another blog here soon so thanks for reading.

Retro GP Vol. 1: May 1994 (Part 1)

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Cover full view

Growing up I remember the gaming magazine that pretty much everybody had at the time. It was Nintendo Power. I also remember subscribing to it to get a free copy of Dragon Warrior. It was the first RPG that I’d ever played and finished.

However, later during the days of the Super Nintendo, I began to see NP for what it was. It was a big advertisement for their products that didn’t have any actual reviews. All games were praised and nothing negative was ever published about them. Even the letters section was sanitized for Nintendo’s protection.

I wanted something different that wasn’t loyal to one console or company. I wanted a third-party publication that would speak the truth about crappy games if they were indeed not worth the time. I wanted GamePro.

My first issue was bought off of the newsstand at a now defunct store called Phar-Mor. On a side note, Phar-Mor was also the place where 99% of the games I rented were from. Since their closing I’ve yet to rent game from anywhere else.

I figured that I’d take a look back at the years of being subscribed to GamePro. This is my first issue from May 1994.

My main interest at the time was Mortal Kombat II. The On Location feature was an interesting look at the making of the game.

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pg. 1234

The Fighter’s Edge section of the issue also dealt with the latest version of MKII at the time. The main reason I remember this section was the part of this page that was faded and I wrote in what was barely readable.

I leave you with the envelope art featured in the issue. Stay tuned for part 2.

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More art