Hart & Usagi Podcast #49: EA’s Uncomfortable With Change

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On this edition of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we talk about how awesome Platinum Games is and how much EA isn’t. We also give our thoughts on what being an “indie” game is. All this and more can be yours with a simple download of the episode below.

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

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Assassin’s Creed IV, Code of Princess, Shovel Knight, and Klonoa: Empire of Dreams reviews
* Phil Spencer: Consumers love Kinect, they’ll still buy it
* Microsoft Arc and Logitech K750 keyboards
* The Legend of Korra: as told by Bayonetta dev Platinum Games
* Gamers Uncomfortable with Change, Says EA’s Peter Moore
* EA Mobile Says Dungeon Keeper May Have ‘Innovated Too Much’
* It’s Impossible to Define “Indie” So We Should Stop Using It Altogether
* The Best and Worst Character Reboots and Redesigns
* The Greatest Games for NES: 1985-87

Listen or Download (1:51:16)
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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog

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@HartandUsagi

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Hart & Usagi Podcast #45: A Landfill of Myths

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We’re back at you with dose number 45 of the Hart and Usagi Podcast. Off the top I let you know of our new Twitter account for the show. It’s @HartandUsagi! So please do follow for updates and notifications on episode releases.

As for the rest of this episode, Usagi704 and I give our thoughts on various topics. We reminisce about the Game Boy which recently turned 25, Adam Sessler leaving video game coverage for other interests of his, the infamous Atari landfill, and much, much more!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Games recently played
* A Legendary Brotherhood
* In Tangier the Parade Bar is closed….
* Are Video Gamers Athletes?
* Mozilla CEO resigns, opposition to gay marriage drew fire
* Xbox One’s Kinect is “unnecessary” and “a joke,” Molyneux says
* The Game Boy Legacy: A 25th Anniversary Celebration
* Sony Suddenly Makes Almost Every PlayStation Classic and PSP Game Downloadable and Playable on PS Vita
* The Gaming Historian – The Atari Landfill Myth
* Turtle Rock community manager let go after Donald Sterling Twitter remarks
* Net Neutrality R.I.P. (1969 – 2014)
* Think The Cassette Tape Is Dead? Then Why Did Sony Just Squeeze 185TB Of Data Onto One?

Listen or Download (1:46:08)
Subscribe
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog

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@HartandUsagi

Games that Need Sequels

A recent Game Sack episode was on the topic of past games which they felt needed sequels. If you listened to the previous episode of our podcast you would’ve heard us slightly touch on this topic.

Well I’m here to give you my top five games which I’d love to see a new entry from.

Burnout Paradise 2
It wasn’t until Burnout 3: Takedown that I’d even heard of this game series, but that didn’t stop me from becoming a fan right away. I’m sure a number of fans would like Burnout: Takedown 2, but I opt for a sequel to Burnout Paradise from 2008. All Criterion would have to do is give me a new city to drive around in.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within II
Before the reboot of Prince of Persia with The Sands of Time in 2003, I wasn’t a fan of the 2D games. However that all changed once I got a taste of the wonderful wall running and platforming that was on display. The combat wasn’t very good, though, just serviceable. In the follow-up, Warrior Within, the combat received a surprisingly fun upgrade and it didn’t feel ridged anymore. Sure the tone can be lightened up for a Warrior Within II and, no, I don’t count The Two Thrones as this wanted title. It introduced speed kills which made the combat engine mostly useless.

Power Blade 3
Natsume has quite a good track record as a developer. They take what would likely be an otherwise typical licensed game and make the gameplay actually competent. When it comes to the series in question, Power Blade was a fun take on the choose-any-stage-in-any-order style which started with Mega Man. The hero’s weapon of choice, a boomerang, was also quite fun to use. Power Blade 3 for downloadable services, please!

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks II
In 1997 Midway tried their hand at an action game for their Mortal Kombat fighting franchise. The idea sounds great on paper, but the ultimate result, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, was a disaster. However, in 2000, a larger disaster in the form of Mortal Kombat: Special Forces was also created and released. This is why in 2005 their third attempt was surprisingly successful. Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks was a great 3D brawler with all of the usual MK flair along with a huge helping of MK and MKII nostalgia. Maybe for PS4 NetherRealm Studios can try their hand at creating Mortal Kombat: Black Dragon starring Kano and Kabal. I’d be up for that.

Final Fight 4
As a big fan of the beat-’em-up genre, I hold the original Final Fight in high regard. With the two Super Nintendo sequels I loved the series even more. As least where Final Fight 3 is concerned. This third SNES game gave the characters the ability to have fighting game like special moves. Each also had a super bar which could then be used to unleash a super move. A fourth game with Final Fight 3 as a base would be awesome. Also because we still need to wash the taste of Streetwise out of our collective mouths.

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New Releases 2013: July 7-27

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WEEK of 7/7
Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection (PS3)
NCAA Football 14 (PS3, X360)
Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Brave New World (PC)
Toki Tori 2 (PC)

WEEK of 7/14
Dynasty Warriors 8 (PS3, X360)
Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
The Serious Sam Collection (X360)
Time and Eternity (PS3)
Turbo: Super Stunt Squad (PS3, X360, WII, DS, WU, 3DS)

WEEK of 7/21
Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame (IP, AND)
Shadowrun Returns (PC)
The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief (PC)
The Smurfs 2 (PS3, X360, WII, DS, WU)

2012 Award Winners (Part 1)

I somehow came up with 17 award categories. A few of them are joking around and others are serious. In this first part it will feature more of the former. Enjoy.

CRAPPY SHOOTERS I HAVEN’T PLAYED BUT ARE STILL CRAPPY
007 Legends
Battleship
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
WINNER: Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified

Promises of greatness fell flat for these games (expect for Battleship which was obvious crap from the beginning). 007 Legends ended up not being for Bond fans or shooter fans and Medal of Honor had nothing authentic going for it despite the desperate pleas from its developer. The newest Call of Duty on the PlayStation Vita gets this award for promising a great CoD experience at E3 and being nothing of the sort. Other strikes against it include selling at full price and being included with a system bundle. Stay away from this one.

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OVERHYPED
Journey
Asura’s Wrath
Fez
WINNER: The Walking Dead

A lot of love gets thrown in the specific direction of these four games. Other than Fez, there’s little actual gaming to be had in these titles. Story is great and all, but the game part of a video game really should come first. I know you’re probably already typing up a comment to prove me wrong, but please don’t bother.

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WORST BEAT-‘EM-UP
Alien Storm
Growl
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GBA)
WINNER: Golden Axe III

I did have a little bit of fun with these games. Growl was decent, but the Vince Russo style swerve at the end with the final boss being some kind of alien was pretty stupid. Alien Storm on the Genesis wasn’t very exciting at all and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on GBA (based on the 2003 show) was somewhat frustrating. However the classically bad Golden Axe III still remains worst of its respective series.

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MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME
Need For Speed: Most Wanted
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (GBA)
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
WINNER: Prince of Persia Revelations

All were disappointing in their own right, but Price of Persia Revelations was the most disappointing. It took one of my favorite games, Warrior Within, and added extra areas to traverse. Sounds great until to see the worse graphics for these areas and how they weren’t as well thought out as the main part of the game. Because of this I don’t expect the new parts of Prince of Persia: Rival Swords to be good either.

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CRAP GAME OF THE YEAR
Prototype
Medal of Honor: European Assault
Batman Forever
WINNER: Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures

As impossible as Prototype, Batman Forever, or Medal of Honor: European Assault felt at different times, Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures on the Super Nintendo was the most impossibly crap game I played all year. I couldn’t pass the first level and I never felt it would clue me in as to how after trying for an hour. Screw this game.

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FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURE
Fighting Force
Beyond Oasis (Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection)
Mortal Kombat (Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection – PSN)
WINNER: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES)

I’m always had Mortal Kombat as a guilty pleasure of mine. Fighting Force is another which I played through several times this year. I didn’t give it much of a chance to warm up to it before Usagi704 tackled it. Beyond Oasis was a fun Zelda-style romp on the Genesis. The SNES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, however, gets this award for being more competently fun than it has much right to be. Thanks for that Natsume.

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BEST SCORE CHASER
Metal Slug Advance
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
WINNER: Super Hang-On

My favorite game to get a high score in and then try and best it was a close race between Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and Super Hang-On. Before last year I never seriously tried to play any Tony Hawk game. The original was fun, but I do see why Pro Skater 2 is seen as one of the best in the series.

With that said, I was quite amazed at the fun in besting a friend’s time in Super Hang-On via PSN. It’s a nostalgic trip back to the arcades of old. Now I want to see Outrun!

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BEST SHOOTER
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Max Payne
WINNER: Half-Life 2: Episode Two

I think you could say that these four games were fairly unique when they initially were released. Maybe not so much for the winner, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, but the variety of environments along with the strong gameplay of Half-Life 2 to begin with pushes it to the top.

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BEST BEAT-‘EM-UP
Darksiders
X-Men
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
WINNER: Yakuza 2

While I was disappointed with the overall story of Yakuza 2 as opposed to its previous entry, I did find enough to enjoy along the way to stay entertained. I ultimately can’t be totally down on a game which allows for a Heat move to pick an opponent up and throw him into a glass display case.

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Thanks for reading. Part 2 of my awards are up next.

Games Finished In 2012

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The list below shows every game that I finished in 2012. The total number comes to 51. That’s up 11 from 2011.

1. Metal Slug Advance (GBA) – 1/11
2. Batman Forever (SNES) – 1/14
3. Riot Zone (VC) – 1/15
4. Mortal Kombat via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN) – 1/30
5. Darksiders (PS3) – 2/14
6. Daxter (PSP) – 2/19
7. Super Street Fighter II (SNES) – 2/24
8. Max Payne (PS2) – 2/27
9. Contra (NES) – 3/6
10. Fighting Force (PS) – 3/7
11. Deus Ex: The Conspiracy (PS2) – 3/22
12. Medal of Honor: European Assault (PS2) – 3/26
13. X-Men (PSN) – 4/4
14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GBA) – 4/10
15. Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival (GBA) – 4/12
16. Assassin’s Creed II (PS3) – 4/17
17. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PS2) – 4/30
18. Yakuza 2 (PS2) – 6/1
19. Super Hang-On (PSN) – 6/14
20. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (PS3) – 6/23
21. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within via Prince of Persia Trilogy (PS3) – 7/1
22. Prince of Persia: Revelations (PSP) – 7/21
23. Beyond Oasis via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 7/24
24. Neo Contra (PS2) – 7/25
25. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (PS) – 7/30
26. Tetris DS (DS) – 8/6
27. Tetris DX (GBC) – 8/8
28. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (PS) – 8/17
29. Rise to Honor (PS2) – 8/19
30. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (PSN) – 8/22
31. Half-Life 2: Episode Two via The Orange Box (PS3) – 8/29
32. Mortal Kombat II via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN) – 9/4
33. Mortal Kombat II (SNES) – 9/5
34. Devil May Cry via Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS3) – 9/7
35. Crash Commando (PSN) – 9/14
36. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES) – 9/23
37. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (FC) – 9/24
38. Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth (VC) – 10/5
39. Marvel Super Heroes via Marvel vs. Capcom Origins (PSN) – 10/10
40. Alien Storm via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 10/17
41. Streets of Rage 2 (PSN) – 10/27
42. Growl via Taito Legends 2 (PS2) – 10/30
43. Contra (FC) – 11/1
44. Prototype (PS3) – 11/16
45. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3) – 11/22
46. Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2) – 12/2
47. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow via Castlevania Double Pack (GBA) – 12/7
48. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (PS3) – 12/8
49. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES) – 12/10
50. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES) – 12/13
51. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3) – 12/18

August, September, and December proved to be the best months for beating games with 6 in total for each with a monthly average of 4.25.

When it comes to earning those fancy trophies, I was able to earn 207 last year. One of them was a platinum from Assassin’s Creed II in April.

My Favorite 6th Generation Game Titles

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Burnout 3: Takedown
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Counter-Strike
God of War II
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil
Max Payne
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Sly 2: Band of Thieves
Yakuza

*Based only on games I’ve played.