rpgs

Abnormal Mapping 56: Does Tom Nook Own the People?

finalfantasyvi_scene_dream_opera_by_yoshitaka_amano

Today we’re rejoined by regular guest and former co-host Destiny Sturdivant for a romp through one of the most storied RPGs of all time. Please enjoy, have a good holiday if you celebrate it, and try to be kind and healthy in these trying times.

You can get our podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher, or you can download it directly by clicking here.

Things Discussed: Animal Crossing: New Leaf, The Witcher, Thumper, NBA2k17, Presbo, Sombra, Final Fantasy VI, the US FF6 commercial, the horniest character in video games, best birthdays in video games, being in the new games bubble, Idle Thumbs 288 about Titanfall 2, The Great Goal Pole in Super Mario 3D World 

This Month’s Game Club: Final Fantasy VI

Next Month: MUSIC and GOTY

Songs in This Episode
Omen by Nobuo Uematsu
Blown Away by Kevin MacLeod
Aria di Mezzo Carattere by Nobuo Uematsu
Coin Song by Nobuo Uematsu
Dancing Mad by Nobuo Uematsu

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Abnormal Mapping 45: Octogenarian Lunarian

FF4 Cover Final

Welcome to another fantastic edition in the internet’s favourite Tella fan club podcast. This month, we’re counting down our top ten Tella moments, and we’re asking our audience the million dollar question: what would you do… with that much MP? Tella all your friends, and rate comment and subscribe!

EDITORS NOTE: we are not fans of Tella or his Moon Dwelling Counterpart and never shall be. The host responsible for implying such a thing has been reprimanded appropriately and regrets their words and deeds. Please enjoy this Tella-free discussion of Final Fantasy IV. Thank you.

You can get our podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher, or you can download it directly by clicking here.

Things Discussed: Ben Kuchera’s boob controller, booby Vita ad, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Jackson’s thoughts on Season 2 of The Walking Dead, 10000000, Hatsune Miku Project Mirai DX, David Letterman Miku, Wossy, Final Fantasy IV, Legends of Localization breakdown of FF4 script differences, Final Fantasy IV’s two different logos, M’s Final Fantasy XIII breakdown via LP

This Month’s Game Club: Final Fantasy IV

Next Month’s Game Club: Lili: Child of Geos

Music This Episode
Blown Away by Kevin McLeod
Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV by Nobuo Uematsu
Theme of Love by Nobuo Uematsu
Battle with the Four Fiends by Nobuo Uematsu

Abnormal Mapping 35: Crumpet Up Your Strumpet

Bowser

Legends tell of a man, a quiet man, a man who jumps and a man who spins, a man who one day—this day—must rise and save us all. But that man was not available, and so it falls upon this paper plumber to embark upon a journey to the stars to save a princess oft and once more kidnapped.  The Mappers embark upon this man’s journey through a twisted land of pun-laden characters and self-aware deconstruction, and arrive finally at the end of their quest with only the corpses of penguins to show for it*.

(*No penguins were harmed in the making of this podcast.)

As a companion piece to this episode, Matthew produced an zine for Paper Mario, featuring cool and cute paintings and sketches of the characters and the world of this month’s game! You can (and totally should, it’s really good!) pick it up at either itch.io or gumroad.

You can get our podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher, or you can download it directly by clicking here.

This Month’s Game Club: Paper Mario

September’s Game Club: Framed

Games Discussed: Papa’s Donuteria, Racially Diverse Kitchen 3, Metal Gear Solid, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Roger Ebert’s Great Movies, Player 2, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl, The Minesweeper Wall, Paper Mario, Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars, Iwata Asks for Paper Mario Sticker Star, Upon Reflection, Retro Game Challenge, NES Remix, Shovel Knight, Attack of the Friday Monsters, Yakuza 3, Gone Home, Her Story

Music This Episode
Blown Away by Kevin MacLeod
Attack of the Koopa Bros. by Yuka Tsujiyoko & Taishi Senda
March Ahead by Yuka Tsujiyoko & Taishi Senda
Nice To Meet You by Yuka Tsujiyoko & Taishi Senda
Detective Mario by Yuka Tsujiyoko & Taishi Senda

Great Games: Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl

81ux19hIa5L._SL1500_Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl

Developer: Atlus
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Year: 2013

Like most RPGs, Etrian Odyssey Untold has a bunch of side quests, and most of them are of little import outside of the hefty chunk of XP and item you get as a reward for completing them. So when I took a quest that challenged me to spend 5 real time days on floor 8 of the single, massive dungeon that comprises EOU’s gameplay, I hopped to it expecting little more than a boring back and forth shuffle, killing now-trivial enemies as I waited for the in game clock to tick towards my goal. What I found instead was the heart of this game, and of Etrian Odyssey in general. (more…)

Abnormal Mapping 16: Cait Sith’s Unbridled Heroism

final-fantasy-vii-cover-cloud-box-artwork-ps1

The Mappers are joined once again by Honorary Cartography Extraordinaire Destiny Sturdivant for the inaugural meeting of the RPG Explorers Club. Matthew leads them down the Mako-soaked lanes of his memory as they dig up that burning question for the ages: what exactly does happen to Aeris? It’s a long journey, full of pitfalls and pratfalls, and together they all learn to love again. Just like Cloud. Who learns to love a certain flower girl. Who dies. Oh right, Aeris dies.

Destiny Sturdivant can be found at Badland Girls!

You can get our podcast on iTunes, on Stitcher, or you can download it directly by clicking HERE.

Games Discussed: Sims 3, Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call, Neverending Nightmares, EGX, Even the Stars, Clicker Heroes, Cookie Clicker, Candy Box, and of course, Final Fantasy VII

Music This Episode:
Blown Away by Kevin MacLeod
Anxious Heart by Nobuo Uematsu
Turk’s Theme by Nobuo Uematsu
The Great Warrior by Nobuo Uematsu
Theatrhythm Curtain Call End Theme by Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

Gingiva

In playing these small free games, it’s not often that I’ll spend more than two or three hours with a game. In part that’s because I’m ridiculously hyperactive when it comes to my playing habits lately, but also just because few games can inspire that kind of investment. Increasingly, I wonder to myself whether games even should strive for that kind of investment. Which leads me to Gingiva, an RPG Maker game.

There’s a lot I like about Gingiva. First and foremost is the art, which is gross and surrealist and full of character. Second is the story, possibly about sweatshops? but definitely about the link between capitalism and misogyny. It’s expressed through a world in which you are a headless woman paired with a murderous set of teeth, set loose to take down The Man, which manifests in a lot of weird ways. 

The problem is this storytelling is presented in the context of a turn-based JRPG, and along with that come a lot of the trappings of such a game. All of your attacks and statuses are weird, but they all map faithfully to Final Fantasy style tropes. Your characters are strange and the enemies even stranger, but they all line up time and again to play out battles. Gingiva is a cool game that struggles under the yoke of being an RPG that demands a lot of grinding and constantly throws enemies at you.

It’s a problem with a format like RPG. RPGs are either about a complex numbers game or a (admittedly less ubiquitous) vehicle for delivering big complex stories in games. The problem is that in a smaller, more individualistic game-maker space there’s no need to wrap your strange narrative-driven game in a bunch of ‘gameplay’ to pad it out and meet some semblance of expectation. Instead, all that stuff just gets in the way.

I played Gingiva all the way through, which took me several full evenings of effort, and at the end I felt like my time and energy had been badly misused. Not because the game is bad, because I really liked a lot of what it was about, but because the very genre and its baggage made what should have been a very focused, entertaining exploration/narrative game into a total slog. Which is unfortunate, because this is a game otherwise worthy of people’s time. But in a world with thousands of games