RE: Crystal Shards

You know, it’s funny. Despite my affinity for both the Nintendo 64 and Kirby games, I’ve never really written at length about Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.

I like to think the direction we’re going from here is obvious.

In anticipation of the release of Kirby: Star Allies today, I have been doing a replay of Kirby 64. And it’s going by pretty quick, almost speedrun fast. Though speed is actually the first thing I want to talk about: Kirby 64 is kinda slow. Not quite as slow as Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (which is why my attempted replays of that game never go far), but nearly every action cuts Kirby’s forward momentum, if not stopping him dead in his tracks. While this a common among most Kirby games, Kirby’s dash seems slower than usual here, and so many other games at least provide dash attacks for a lot of powers, where this one does not.

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Designer Diary: Episode 3: The Shootening

I took last week off of working on my GameMaker project because of the way that a lot of other events lined up. This isn’t to say that I was too busy to do any work on it, but rather that I made the decision to put it off in favour of other ways to pass my evenings.

This may have been a huge mistake. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it’s like, taking that one week off set a precedent for me ignoring the project, and now that I’ve broken the chain, so I don’t have to feel that obligation for follow-through. And on week three! Look how quickly I’ve fallen off the wagon! Sad face.

But I hopped back on this week and sat down to absorb tutorial #3: giving my guy a gun. So now he can run and jump and shoot in every direction. There was even a little extra bit on the end to give the gun a little recoil animation. It doesn’t really make sense because I drew my gun as a stereotypical cartoon raygun, but there’s recoil!

This particular tutorial was a fun learning exercise, but the fact of the matter is that I don’t want to make a shooting game, so it’s only somewhat relevant. Even if I did, I would never use mouse aiming. Obviously there may end up being some way in which I incorporate some of what I learned into other things, but the guy’s not going to have a gun in the end. At least not for the game I have in my head. Though at this point I’ve actually been entertaining the idea of making a shoot-em-up, just because it would be a moderately simpler project. Way fewer animation frames necessary :p

You know, now that I think about it, I’m like halfway to the point where I could create my own ripoff of Deep Space Waifu. That certainly would be a thing! I think next week’s lesson is on making enemies, so that’s pretty much all I would need to know. That, power-ups, and menus.


I randomly clicked into the oldest archived posts on Nintendo World Report yesterday, only to find… Silly little bloggy-type posts. Just like you’ll find if you go back to the beginning of my own archive. I mean, yeah, I’ll still post something silly and irrelevant every once in a while, but it definitely hit me in the nostalgia for blogging all those many years ago.

And… I actually really miss the old “Page of Death” look, with all its poor design decisions, gaudy article backgrounds, and text of every colour on a single page. Actually I think a lot of it is that I miss designing everything from the ground up. Whether it looked good or not was irrelevant; I put thought into every aspect it! Now it’s just mash text into a box and hit the “schedule” button.

Well that went in a completely different direction than I’d intended… Oh well. Happy Wednesday!

Knack is not the best game

Hey hey hey, it’s that time again! Time for Ryan to complain about a game that he’s been playing for free! On this edition: the PS4 launch game, Knack.

I went into Knack with hope in my heart. A quick check on Wikipedia confirmed that the critical consensus was not great. But I figured, this is kind of a cutesy action platformer, right? I should dig it. Only I’m not. I’m really not. Because Knack is, at least on the gameplay side, incredibly bland. It also sits quite firmly on the wrong side of the difficulty fence.

For all the frustration I’ve felt while playing Knack, it’s been something of a joy to watch. The cutscenes are fun, and remind me very much of a second-tier CGI film. Like Astro Boy or Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. It’s super colourful, the plot is light but not too fluffy, and Knack is an all-around fun character. It’s no golden-era Pixar, but it’s definitely adequate. Which is good, because there are lots of cutscenes. I’m willing to bet that if I didn’t lose so much time to dying repeatedly, I think there may have been more cumulative time spent watching cutscenes than in actual gameplay.

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Last Month in Movies – February 2018

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters – An anime movie made for Netflix, apparently because Toho isn’t allowed to make a live-action Godzilla until Hollywood’s done with their movies. Also, the first of three!

This movie begins with the remnants of humanity floating through space, after having been chased off of Earth by Godzilla and scores of other monsters. But with supplies dwindling and no prospects for another habitable planet, the plan ends up being to turn around and go back to Earth. After all, time dilation has caused time on Earth to advance roughly 9 thousand years for the eleven years that the people on the ship have experienced. Godzilla has to be long dead, right?

Obviously, Godzilla is not dead, and so begins an operation to expose and destroy his weak point. It’s really convoluted and incredibly padded down with anime/sci-fi jargon, but whatever. It’s still a unique plot for a Godzilla movie, and I dig it. Not as much as I dug Shin Godzilla, but it was still good. I think the only thing that I actively disliked was the 3D animation. It wasn’t bad or anything, but it just didn’t quite work for me. Mostly because despite the fancy animation, it held true to the anime trope of not much actually being animated besides mouths and special effects. Oh well.

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Happy Borntday, Mr. Switch

Saturday, March 3rd was the Nintendo Switch’s first birthday. I celebrated in the best way that I could: I baked a cake and spent the bulk of the weekend playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It was a pretty darn good weekend.

Although I definitely tore through that cake too quickly. My belt is feeling a little too snug…

Anyway! Switch is a year old now, and there’s certainly a lot to reflect upon. Most of them good! That said, I guess let’s start with the more negative things.

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Thinks and Thoks – Nintendo Direct (March 8/18)

Remember last time I did a write-up of a Nintendo Direct, and I wasn’t really interested in most of what they showed off? Well, there was another one yesterday afternoon and it was a whopper. This time, I found myself profoundly interested in nearly all of the titles shown. That said, let’s take a more detailed dive into the presentation.

The first slew of games are all for 3DS, pretty much confirming my theory that Nintendo intends to keep riding the 3DS train until the end of time.

Wario Ware Gold – Yeah, I’m very interested in this. I haven’t played a Wario Ware game for what seems like forever, and they’re always super fun. But I don’t think I’m actually going to buy it. Since my budget is a lot tighter these days, the fact that I already own all the Wario Ware games I need is reason enough to take a pass on this “greatest hits” version.

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – February 2018

~ Game Over ~

Monster Hunter World (PS4) – I’ll level with you, I didn’t actually beat this last month. I write up these entries beforehand based on assumptions and when the game turned out to be much longer than I anticipated, couldn’t be bothered to correct it. But it is beat for real now. Promise.

Super Mario RPG (SNES) – Initially, I thought that this was a game one could burn though in a couple quick sessions. That is not the case. It’s actually respectably long! And still a lot of fun!

Uncanny Valley (PS4) – A neat indie horror adventure, which I played to the least satisfying ending and then couldn’t make more time for because of my obsession with Monster Hunter.

RiME (PS4) – I was having a great time up until chapter 2. Then I was having an adequate time up until chapter 5. Then I just sat there and quietly wept for 20 minutes. (More words.)

Thimbleweed Park (Switch) – I thought it would be a brisk run, but it took me 15ish hours to solve this bad boy, and that’s having used the hint system very liberally. …I may just be really dumb.

Lords Mobile (iOS) – I downloaded and played a bit to get free hashcoins in Greasy Money, but the offer expired long before I reached the requirement T_T What a waste of a Sunday morning.

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Now I’m an animator (but not really)

I continued through Chapter 2 of my video game making odyssey last night, wherein I learned the basics of animating a player sprite. So really, I spent most of the time drawing out a crappy little sprite seventeen times for all his jumping and running frames. But hey! Progress! It seems again like I really did very little in the two hours or so that I spent working on this project, and I keep having to remind myself that this is a massive thing I’m trying to do and it’s always only going to move forward in baby steps.

This time I also took a screenshot of my project in GameMaker Studio. You know, to prove that I’m actually doing this. Future Ryan will be filled with so much sorrow when he looks back at this post and remembers giving up on this dream.

It’s not at all what it seems

So, I played Rime finally. Mostly because it has been free on PS+ during February. I was mildy interested otherwise, but not $40 interested. After the fact, though, there is a part of me that kind of wishes that I hadn’t played Rime.

I knew nothing about it going in. It looked like another “guide this character around the island and solve some basic puzzles and we’ll tell you a story” kind of game. Not totally a walking simulator, because you can jump and climb and swim and all those good video game verbs, but fairly close. It’s a generally non-violent game, too. You never attack anything, and your main means of interacting with the world is to shout at stuff.

And the first forty minutes or so substantiated my hypothesis. You’re set free on an island, with some basic puzzles, a short list of collectibles, and a few mysteries to discover. This is great. It’s really pretty, very scenic, and the world design is quite good. To keep you from swimming too far away, there are schools of jellyfish that you can’t pass. Much better than an invisible wall!

But then you reach the tower, which appears to be the goal, and which I sort of thought was going to be the endgame. There are so many collectibles left, though! Maybe I just did a bad job of exploring? No, there’s a lot of game after that. Four more chapters. Each entirely distinct from the rest. The fun, colourful island replaced with desert ruins, wooded ruins, rainy ruins. A lot of ruins, is what I’m getting at.


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