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Are These Poisonous? They Taste Like Poison. July 6, 2005

Heath Hindman - 11:16 EST

THE TEMPORARY ABSENCE of Jake has opened the gates for stand-ins and their lovely sidekicks. Today, that stand-in is me, and that lovely sidekick is Rachel Steiner. Yeah, we know it doesn't make sense, but then, a wise man once said, "a lot of things don't make sense after seeing a dead body."

Missing Slime

Dear Capt. Slime,

I was just wondering if you have any clue if Grandia III is going to be as pathetically(sp.) easy as the first two games. I liked the stories for both of them, and part 3 seems to look pretty good as well, but the ease of the first two games kinda turned me off. What do you think?

Thankyou for your time,

Mr. Snuggles


While Grandia was an easy game, I tend to be a person who looks past relative ease and challenge and lets the story move me. That...and I'm still stuck on the last stage. Am I really that bad at gaming? In other news, you really cannot tell the difficulty of a game until you either
A) get a review copy or
B) find someone else who has a review copy. Also, difficulty sometimes lies within the player.

I can guarantee it will be more difficult than any other Grandia game by far. Why? Take a look at the main character: he's got goggles. Check that mofo out. I saw those and I was all like "Whoa man. He means business." Players will get an hour into the game and a CG happens where Yuuki is like "Damn, man! I needs my goggles!" because the fighting is so hard. Then he has to play hoops 1-on-1 against Shaq, and loses, and Shaq's like "It's the curse of the Shaqbino," and Yuuki's like "Yeah...what does that mean exactly?" That's all the farther I've gotten in the early version the game. So far it's been decent. I hope there's a way to beat Shaq in the final cut.


Dear Google (I apologize in advance for this letter's length)

When the GBA was considered the hottest handheld, we saw a lot of ports of classic 8- and 16-bit games being released on it. Super Mario World, Breath of Fire, A Link to the Past, River City Ransom, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Donkey Kong Country, and countless others found their way to the GBA. Understandably, lots of people complained about the lack originality we had to put up with, since most of the worthwhile games for the GBA were just ports of the best games of the past generations. I think it's because a lot of developers lost the talent and passion they once had for developing creative handheld titles, and since the GBA was of similar power to a 16-bit console, people just got lazy and ported their old classics to it and make a quick and easy dollar. Now when I look at the PSP, I see some of the same thing, what with the handheld getting a lot of ports and compilations of classic, but slightly more recent, games as well. Mega Man Legends, Breath of Fire III, Dark Stalkers, Wipeout, Ape Escape, Tales of Eternia, and MediEvil are some examples. But then I see something else. The PSP is also getting ports of other games that are very recent. Midnight Club III, Mortal Kombat: Deception, Gran Turismo 4, NFL Street 2, T.H.U.G. 2, and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, are all on or coming to the new handheld, and they're not even a year old. Plus, there are games like Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, Tomb Raider: Legend, Marvel Nemesis, and The Godfather that sound like they are being developed SIMULTANEOUSLY for the PS2 and PSP! It looks like the days of waiting years for a handheld port of your favorite game are over, now you'll only need to wait weeks. So while the GBA got a lot of 8- and 16-bit ports, the PSP is getting a lot of 32- and 128-bit ports. Again, I think it's because a lot of developers lost their passion for handheld games and also got lazier. The PSP is of similar power to modern consoles, so those same developers can now make a quick and easy dollar by developing games simultaneously for consoles and the PSP. And I think that as our handheld systems get more and more powerful, the problem of unoriginality will become worse and worse.

So here's a question: There was a lot of vocal complaints about the GBA getting mostly ports, remakes, and updates of old games. But the PSP has become just as big (if not bigger) of a culprit of offering mostly ports, remakes, and updates of classic and even recent console games, and yet I don't hear anyone complaining about the lack of originality on Sony's handheld. Why is that?


Personally? I think people may have just gotten used to ports and remakes. Also, a system needs a good base of games to start off on. I think that with time, the PSP will begin to come out with original titles.


Why? Because none of those could possibly be offered in handheld form before. Now they are, so people who want to play the game on the bus or a plane or while waiting for PlayOnline to update, they can.

Also, handheld remakes make some form of the game playable to folks who may have missed it before. Take those Breath of Fire games on the GBA, for example. The only legal way to play those before was to own an SNES. When Jimmy Newtoroleplayinggames saw all these references and good reviews on the interweb, he wanted those games. He doesn't have an SNES, but huzzah, BoF can be found on his GBA. (And on that same topic, Breath of Fire 2's GBA port improved a few minor things. And oh man, FF: Dawn of Souls did a number on FF2.)

While there are indeed a high number of ports on these handhelds, there are still an awful lot of originals. Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis, Riviera, Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, Empire of Dreams, DemiKids and a bunch of others on GBA; Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, Metal Gear Ac!d, Lumines, and probably stuff I'm forgetting on the PSP cause I don't own one.

In conclusion, I'd say so many ports are made for the reasons of simultaneously making money and giving players what they want at the core. The "lack of originaltiy" is exaggerated to begin with, too. I don't know about you, but if I look at two games I've never seen before sitting side-by-side, one being a remake of Lufia 2 and one being The Amazing Adventures of Angsty Hero, I'm much more likely to remember the fact that there is a Lufia 2 remake out. (Note that this is an example. There is no Lufia 2 remake.)

Ding ding

The quote "We sat down to a small feast of snail pie... with whipped cream!" is from "Illusion of Gaia" if I remember correctly.



It totally is! I would give you a tilde, as per custom, but it seems you've already given yourself one, so screw you!


Mmmmm....snail pie.


Only three letters. Jordan, our resident "Man in Japan," will be hosting tomorrow, so give him a few more than you gave us. Granted, you didn't KNOW it was going to be us, but hey, it's still your fault somehow.
Heath Hindman goes back to writing that MMORPG column

Rachel Steiner goes back to writing reviews for Points of View

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