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 411mania » Games » Columns

Ask 411 Games 03.24.14: Lunar, Mario Kart, Qix and much More!
Posted by Stewart Lange on 03.24.2014

Welcome everyone to another edition of Ask 411 Games! It's been an extremely quick week and I wasn't far away from forgetting I had this to write! My computer is playing silly buggers with me which is annoying me a bit and I can't get comfortable at my chair, but hey ho. I should probably just get on with it really or I may get upset again and none of you like me when I'm angry.

Edit: after writing this intro, it turns out I had norovirus. I'm currently in quarantine in away from the world. Between bouts of being extremely unwell I may be able to write something resembling a column.

I decided to take a punt on Powershot Golf on the Xbox One store this week and I'm glad I did, it's really good fun. Yes, yes. It's still a sports game but it takes just the right amount of realism from the Tiger Woods series and the arcade element from some of the Avatar games on the 360, with purchasable upgrades in random packs to keep it quite addictive. I'm also still playing Final Fantasy VII on the PSP and I'm convinced that it's the finest game ever made. It's such a joy even just grinding levels that I've spent around 20 hours on it and I'm only just past the stuff with Barrett and Dyne. I'm sure many of you will disagree with me, but I don't even care. If you disagree, raise me something better in the comments section and tell me why. In fact, this week, I ASK YOU what your favourite game ever is and why? I'd be extremely interested to know. Just like you're all extremely interested in the BANNER.


The majority of last week's feedback was based around Dark Souls and the fact I left out an extremely important detail in an answer which would have proved extremely important to the integrity of what I was saying. Sounds about right. Let's hit Dark Souls first.

Chopsikins: Regarding Dark Souls, the difficulty is over-exaggerated. It's not a game that requires split-second timing and reflexes. It's simply a game that requires you to pay attention and be careful. And in a world where the majority of gamers have come to expect instant gratification, most of them just don't have the patience for it.
Also, it fully deserves all the high praise it's gotten.

I didn't want it to come across that the games were bad, far from it. I merely stated I didn't get the hype for them and explained why I don't play them. Through necessity, I suppose I fall into the "instant gratification" category. I'm pleased this type of game does well, hopefully it sets a trend of more in depth and satisfying blockbuster games.

Akak907: Agreed. Its hard, but there's a learning curve. Once you begin to master the mechanics and understand that patience is a virtue, they are amazing games. The amount of customization you are given and the vastly different play styles (melee, mage, etc) give the games endless replay value. I've put over 30 hours into Dark Souls 2 since Tuesday and am very much looking forward to beginning a new character who is completely different from my first.

All of you guys talking this up so much make me want to give it a shot, now. Pretty sure I'll need a few backup controllers, though.

Shockmaster- There were no zombies in The Last of Us. No one in that game dies and reanimates. I don't know why so many people can't make that distinction.

Apologies. I've never played Last of Us and so only went on what I'd heard. Obviously, I've heard from morons/assumed they were zombies. My bad.

Katamari Damacy= Hmmm the localisation question was directed specifically at localization.
Harvest Moon traditionally does well enough in Japan for sequels, they were really going to make another HM anyways after HM DS, but why would they localize it if the localization did poorly?

This is what I alluded to earlier when I said I'd missed out an important detail from my answer. Let me clarify:

Harvest Moon was a big success in Japan, where they had expected it to be. The localisation to the US sold less than 30,000 copies, yet the sequels were also ported to America, albeit with greater success than the first game garnered. My answer still remains the same- basically, profit- but with a simple detail I missed.

Cost to port. Realistically, there is very little cost involved in porting a game compared to building one from the ground up. Translating, production, shipping and that's about it. The mark up per game on a localisation is much more compared to the original release, but more than that, if a game has only been slated for Japanese release and it meets or exceeds their expectations there, then they have nothing to lose. As far as I can tell, the equivalent profit on the Harvest Moon US release compared to the Japanese one is the same as around 80,000 sales of the game in Japan but on less units.

There's not going to be a Name That Game for a while. Did. Not. Work. Anyway,


First up this week is one from Wrestling Fan that appeals to both sides of my gaming habits.

If you could update a classic game for the current gen of systems (including WiiU), which game would it be, and why?

Oh, now. Here's a question. I could go with one of two responses with absolutely no regret, so I'll just share both of them with you. First of all, I'd be inclined to say something like Populous. RTS games really died on the last generation of consoles, with Civilisation Revolution being the only real shining light, not including Halo Wars. The reason I don't count that is that not everyone wants to just fight. I'd want to be able to build up my city, build trade relationships and create a universe how I'd want to and since Populous has a track record on consoles, it'd work better than the likes of Sim City which as we've seen, is pretty much a dead duck these days. Could you imagine playing Populous with the graphics and scale that the Xbox One or PS4 could provide? It'd be insane.

The other one I'd go with would be the classic Sega platformers. If you look at how popular Rayman still is, there's no reason why we couldn't have Alex Kidd, or Wonder Boy riding as high as that. Alex Kidd games were always classic platforming, although I'll admit I'm biased and because I have no sentimental ties to Rayman, I don't find him interesting at all.

The winner though for me would be Wonder Boy. I wouldn't be looking for Skyrim detail here, nor would I be looking for it to be moved away from it's roots, but a detailed, more adult platforming game would do pretty well I'd think, especially with a recognisable name at the helm such as Wonder Boy.

What about you guys? What classic game do you think would work well with a reboot?

I'm reaching a little to call this a full question from Bahb, but whatever. I'll allow it.

Have you ever played Qix? I think it should rank as one of the great puzzle games of all time, but it seems a lot of people either never played it or didn't like it. Was it ever given an update for a new system?

Qix? I have indeed played it and it's good fun! I'd be hard pushed to include it in a top 10 puzzle games list, but that's just my opinion. To those of you who haven't played it before, get yourself up to speed. The objective is to gain the majority of the screen by boxing off areas without being touched by the "Qix."

It's been ported around a little bit, with the Gameboy one generally being considered the best version, but it has been rebooted a few times since it was remade for the Gameboy Color in 2000. Qix hasn't truly vanished into the ether as it's available as part of the Taito Legends games that came out for the PS2/PSP a while back and most recently was made available for the 3DS Virtual Console in it's original state. A reboot called Qix++ was made for the Xbox Live Arcade in 2009, but it was pretty much panned critically and in sales, regularly cropping up in the "extreme sale" section of the Marketplace.

I got two questions from Shawn last week, but I'm just going to cover one this week. I promise I'll catch up with the other next week man, but I'm too drained to do the research involved in it just now. Here's your other one, though!

This is more of your opinion, but do you ever think we'd see a Mario Kart with DLC of all the previous tracks from previous games where you could download the tracks you'd like. Meaning an SNES tracks DLC, N64 pack, etc . . . I really love playing them on the current games, but fear with the franchise continuing, the first ones may begin to fade out for the likes of "retro" DS and 3ds tracks (which are still fun, but not my true retro tracks).

Those of you who still play Mario Kart will know that there are usually retro tracks including from the original SNES version and the N64 games, but Shawn is right in that one day, when DS is considered as retro, the older ones may be pushed out in favour of including them. My opinion is that Nintendo are the least likely company to allow this to happen. They have the history with their customers and realise that people have such nostalgia for their products that while we may start seeing fewer tracks older than say, 15 years old, with the next couple of instalments in the series, but can't imagine they'd ever consider cutting them out completely.

The idea you come up with, though, certainly is a good one. If they followed the Rock Band formula of allowing you to purchase as many; or as few; tracks from the series as you'd like, either as full packs like you've stated, or individually allowing you to build up your very own Mario Kart track list. I don't really see how that wouldn't work out well for Nintendo, especially as they've yet to fully embrace the DLC side of modern gaming as yet.

Last up this week is from Jed but he did get a partial answer in the comments section too. Bold is his question, then in italics will be the response from Moog.

Here's a question: what happened to the games and trademarks owned by Working Designs? With all the love for retro collections and old game re-releases, and the popularity of JRPG's, I would think a digital re-release of Lunar and Lunar 2 would be a license to print money.

Working Designs never made a game to my knowledge. They just translated a few games. So the companies that own those games are free to re-release their own versions whenever they want, and in fact there is a Lunar game or two on a handheld that did just that, I believe on DS, but maybe GBA.
I definitely think there is a place for another WD type company because JRPGs do not get translated to the US as often as I think they should. It's definitely fallen out of favor with the big studios, so a niche company that does translations could get some licenses and get to work. Voice acting is an expected part of games now, but it's pretty easy to get good voice actors because...it's a pretty damn easy thing to do. The problem with older games with voice acting was just they were using very bad actors, rather people who not only were not actors but were not good orators at all, and were more the programmer/nerdy types. But I think now that should not be a problem.

Thanks for stealing the only reason that I'm here, Moog, if that even is your real name.

Seriously, though, Moog is right. Working Designs were only ever involved in the translation side of porting a game to a new market and as he says, a new company doing the same would do extremely well in my opinion. Either way, the rights to Lunar are owned by Game Arts, who also created the likes of Grandia, Silpheed and the Gungriffon games. They've released Lunar: Silver Star Touch as recently as 2012, but have absolutely no plans that I could find regarding a new game in the series. My only assumption (and it is just that) is that the last 4 releases have sold badly and not received good reviews so they may just be looking to continue with developing, well nothing right now. Although I believe some of their main staff have been drafted in to help with the new Smash Bros. Game, much as they did with the last one.

This week, a local game store to me was obviously caught napping and allowed me to hit a milestone- my first Mega Man cart. I've tested it out and it's a legit cart, despite only being £5! Considering that's pretty much what he sells boxed sports games for, I had to jump all over it. Doesn't mean it's not one of the hardest damn games I've ever played, though.

That's all for this week so thanks for reading! Just so you know, due to a terms and conditions change with Facebook, I've been forced to close my page down. Please continue to email your questions to Stewart.411Games@Gmail.com and keep checking in every Monday! See you all in seven!


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