Ask @Evilagram:

Are their any 2D Beat Em-Ups that have solid depth to them? I'm sure they exist, but I don't know what they are.

Andrew Anderson
I honestly haven't played any so I can't really say, but the usual recommendations are the Streets of Rage series, and Alien versus Predator.
Oh, and I recently got linked this demo for a game in production that turned out to be pretty fucking sick: https://kopskop.itch.io/shattered-realms
Give it a whirl.

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I was more specifically referring to Classic Sonic. Modern Sonic is more a linear track, but Classic Sonic have multiple paths that intersect and have physics that encourage experimentation with both the paths and physics to get the optimal route, at least on paper that's how I viewed it

I was including classic sonic. I'm aware of the multiple tracks thing, but I don't think the classic sonic games are amazing speedgames (though they are good ones).
Oh, and to add onto the previous post, a good speedgame isn't necessarily fast or slow in its pace; instead a good speedgame has a lot of opportunities to apply skill to go faster than the normal means of progression, and a lot of different possible progressions that affect one another in an intertwined relationship, making total optimization of the game extremely difficult, both to attain skill-wise, and to discover routing-wise. It's about allowing players to demonstrate a range of competency at the game, rather than simply going fast in a time pressure scenario (literally running with speed) as some people tend to interpret it (like mario maker level creators).

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I sometimes like to watch SpeedRuns, one thing that I noticed is that Sonic doesn't appears as famous in the speedrun community as I thought it would be, It is somewhat popular but its really small compared to Mario and Zelda. Its a design thing or its simply due to the overall quality and sales?

This raises an interesting point, the distinction between what makes an actually good speedgame (game that people speedrun) and what people think correlates with a good speedgame.
People tend to think of what would make a good game to speedrun as being a game which involves speed and has a fairly linear track, much like a footrace, or a car race.
The games that tend to work out best for speedruns are more like an obstacle course or a playground, things with multiple possible means of approach. Mario and Zelda tend to be a bit closer to this generally speaking than Sonic games, which tend to be a bit more straightforward, usually. Of course it does help that Mario and Zelda are more popular games overall.

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What is the best game?

My favorite video game.

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Now that Samus Returns is out, why are there suddenly people comming out and saying things like, "Samus Returns is totally waaaaay better guys, AM2R is just a bad fangame anyway!"?

Contrarianism. Saw it with Project M too.

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wait you're playing super mario odyssey? Did you buy a switch?

I received one for my birthday on the 10th.

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Is there a name for 'reverse Bloom'? Weapons that gain accuracy from sustained fire? Can't recall ever seeing it in a game.

I can't think of any games that do that either, but it sounds like it could be cool, reward people for commitment. I still hate anything with randomized bullet spread though.

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In regards to "bloom" in FPS or randomized bullet spread, what would be your alternative? I assumed it was for skill purposes. My assumption was that instead of your gun being a laser beam, you now have to control the recoil in order to win the gun fight.

Bloom is not Recoil. It's about the cone of fire expanding over time, not the cursor moving upwards over time.
Bloom does add a skill element, burst firing the weapon instead of holding the trigger down, but it's questionable if adding a skill element like that is the actual intent of bloom, because that's a pretty lame and linear skill element to add, requiring people to tap the button instead of hold it down.
My alternative would honestly be just having the gun be a laser beam, with falloff in damage over a range. Barring that, deterministic bullet spread, similar to Counter Strike.
If you wanted the skill of pacing your shots, you could have damage decrease as you fire longer.
I don't see the point in having some of your shots randomly miss, and therefore your DPS randomly being higher or lower sometimes. I don't see the point in being able to compensate for this by pacing your clicks.
Honestly, I'd like to be able to just point the gun at people and hold down the trigger while keeping the reticule on the target. I don't get why we need all these other things getting in the way of that. I don't get why we need to randomly vary how much damage you do. I get that bullet spread makes shots less accurate over a distance, so you do less DPS the further they are, but you could do that just be reducing damage based on distance. It's a very indirect method of accomplishing the objective.

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Do you think that AI in competitive vidya will ever get better at simulating playing against a human opponent? Is that even something that should be strived for? I've been getting into fighting games and am really realizing how entirely different it is playing against the CPU and other players.

That's tough. I think it depends on the game. For fighting games, I think it's hard to say if it will ever reach that point.
Sethbling did an interesting proof of concept here with neural networks being trained to copy his style of play, with the fitness criteria being how closely it matched the actions he'd take in a given scenario, so you end up with an AI that plays very similarly to a human player.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipi40cb_RsI
Of course this is a lot easier because Mario Kart is what I call an "Efficiency Race". It's a game about efficiency, more than a game about Rock Paper Scissors. There's a tiny bit of RPS in the use of items and passing opponents, but not much.
I doubt the ability of AI to play like a human in that they can really play RPS in a complex game with multiple RPS loops and we the same way a human would. Or to be able to learn and adapt to a player over the course of a few games. I feel more like it would just have an expert policy and do the best thing each time, rather than play with the mentality of a human player. Also it's hard to say if AI trained on imitating human behavior would really be capable of being "read" the same way as a human.
It would probably work pretty okay for FPS games, racing games, maybe RTS?
It's hard to really say how this stuff will turn out, whether AI will develop patterns that can be read, and attempt to read your patterns in turn, or whether it could be programmed to play with a personality, like intentionally repeating the same move that the opponent loses to a lot.

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What do you think of the "bloom" mechanic in FPS games?

I dislike randomized bullet spray in general, so naturally I don't like Bloom either.
For those not aware, Bloom is when a gun's bullet spread area increases over time as it's fired, resetting when you stop firing. It's supposed to encourage burst shots as opposed to spray fire. I don't understand the intention of doing this, except maybe some sense of realism. It seems like whatever it accomplishes could be accomplished a different way than this.

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Hey there, General thoughts on Mario Odyssey ?

Preliminary thoughts are, "Meh."
They decided to go back to more open level layouts, which is cool, but also turned it into a huge collectathon, collecting coins, purple coins, power moons, and bits of power moons that add up to a power moon. It's kind of like the whole game is a big scavenger hunt, with some light platforming, and a few puzzles.
You have a moveset that is similar to Mario 64's, but the levels are much less challenging so far. So you have long jumps, you have sideflips, and a few new moves, like a high jump from ground pound, which works fairly well. And Cappy allows you to throw him, dive to him, and bounce off him in the process, which opens up a lot of options for jumping really far and scaling walls. The dive input to cappy jump is actually fairly tricky, you gotta jump, tap Y to throw cappy, then ZR to ground pound, cancel the groundpound with Y for the dive, and be sure to hold Y to get the jump. You'll probably have to do this twice in any given wallclimb or long jump sequence. These allow for some significant sequence breaks through levels, but levels are tightly designed enough to avoid skipping straight to the end. Also, the sideflip and walljump are nerfed. Sideflip is practically impossible to perform compared to mario 64 and sunshine, walljump can only jump straight off the wall practically. Spinning is also more difficult to initiate than it was in sunshine, requires more revolutions before the spin state initiates.
There's also capture abilities, which are pretty simple and one-note, you usually capture enemies to play some minigame with alternative controls for a bit in order to progress or collect a power moon, then ditch them when you're done.
The levels are pretty tame platforming-wise. They more emphasize the scavenger-hunt nature of the game by having a lot of nooks and crannies to hide stuff in.
I just got through New Donk City. I heard the post-game stages are pretty tough, so I'm looking forward to those.

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This is stupid even by my standards. I'm convinced this guy is a troll.

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I would like to hear you elaborate on what you think of the state of games and the industry as a whole for this year. I have no idea why lol. If you want to ignore this question feel free to.

Alright, so, big events for this year:
We got a ton of japanese games that blew up the charts and left journos going, "WHAT? Japanese games are GOOD?"
And a bunch of AAA games failed because of poor marketing, no press review keys or whatever.
Then AAAs realized that lootboxes earn them a fuckload of money, so conventional single player in AAA is over, lootboxes and multiplayer are required from here on out, to generate continuous revenue streams ad infinitum.
And the cuphead thing happened and we're having a journo backlash to hard games again.
So overall, I think the resurgence and new competitiveness of Japanese games is a good thing. Japan is still pretty middle market compared to western AAAs, and we need a middle market right now.
Lootboxes are cancer and take advantage of the same mental processes as a gambling addiction, so obviously that's bad, but the trend seems contained to the west, and the west wasn't making amazing games anyways. Even the monster hunter devs said they wouldn't add lootboxes, despite their game being heavily about random drops, so that's kinda pleasant.

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Which of the JoJo parts has your favourite artstyle?

Part 7 easy.

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What genre, if any, do you think benefits most from an open world?

The open world genre.
I mean, open world is kind of its own genre at this point, right? Among the big entrants we have RPGs, like Skyrim and the Witcher 3, "Stealth" like Asscreed and MGSV, and a ton of 3rd person shooters, like Just Cause, Watchdogs, GTA, Far Cry, MGSV, Red Dead Redemption, plus a lot of others, and we have sandbox games like Minecraft and No Man's Sky.
I don't think any genre benefits particularly more than any other genre from being combined with open world. It's just a content presentation style really. Probably games that are more sandboxy like minecraft or breath of the wild benefit a bit more, but I mean, that comes with being an open world game to a degree.

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Why are NRS fighters considered inferior? I'd guess the block button in the case of MK is a factor,but i'm sure there is more than that.

I honestly don't know the full story, I just know that playing NRS games feels like ass. The animations feel terrible, and pretty much have always felt terrible.
This video does a pretty good job explaining why, just skip the first 2 minutes or so. Skip to 7:18 to hear him talk about something that isn't idle animations.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t06Dkdg6fEo

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How do you think Hotline Miami 2 compares to HM1? I remember some people complaining about the level design, specifically there being too many windows and being killed from off-screen.

I liked Hotline Miami 2. The way I think the differences between the two are best summed up as, Hotline Miami is about Melee, and Hotline Miami 2 is about Guns.
I played HM2 after I had been on a binge of Speedrunning HM1, which is a seriously fun game to play quickly. HM1 had become easy to me, and HM2's changes added a lot of difficulty, so I had a bunch of fun with it. HM2 had larger levels, and generally more guns, and Tony got nerfed so he couldn't hold weapons anymore.
I mean, I feel like a lot of the complaints were just complaining the game was too hard. There wasn't anything truly unfair about the game in my opinion, especially since you can see ahead of you to avoid any offscreen enemies. Some of the levels where you played as Tony were kind of a pain, mostly because they had long hallways you had to go down without any cover, with guys that had guns at the other end, and you weren't allowed to pick up weapons and throw them or anything, but that's about it.
The other thing is, since the levels are bigger, and you always respawn at the start of a given floor, it meant that when you died, you had to redo a lot more shit. So in some sections you had really wide open areas and you could get gunned down from extremely far away, and you'd lose all sorts of progress when it happened, and that could be a bit frustrating, in comparison to the first game where floors were never especially big, even at their hardest.
So, some complaints about pacing, but I think a lot of the criticisms of the game were overblown, and I liked how it was more difficult than the original game was. Also the new characters and abilities were pretty cool.

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Does Capcom have much of a future?

We'll find out with Monster Hunter World!
Apparently they're pushing more units of SFV and MVC:I, so they're treading water.

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What are some deep NES games you would recomend?

Probably everything in this list. Might be missing a few things, a few might actually suck, I dunno. Should give you a lot to start with.
If I were looking for more NES games to play, I'd watch a bunch of Game Center CX for games that look like they have potential.

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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=F09B9Tib7Vs what do you think of this?

It's difficult to criticize this video because he doesn't describe what he actually means. He repeats the same point over and over again, "It just feels like I've seen everything" "It's just a fighting game" "It's just that static screen and that's it"
He's expecting differentiated consumable content. Fighting games are about fostering the highest number of different ways of fighting a dude, they funnel all their resources into making a million animations for each character, and making a dozen characters, they're not really about completion or clearing out areas of content like other games are.
Chances are he just doesn't understand how to actually play fighting games, but whatever, he doesn't give enough information in this video to actually determine what his reasons even are, so it's not worth worrying about it.

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What do you think about the Revenge Value System on KH2?

Kay, so, Revenge Value is super simple. It's a system that exists to prevent infinite combos, by allowing enemies to break your combos after being hit a certain number of times.
So how many times do they need to be hit to trigger this combo-breaker attack? It varies based on what you hit them with. Each type of attack has a hardcoded number that adds up when you attack the enemy, documented here:
https://www.khwiki.com/Forum:Notes_41_(Revenge_Value)
And each boss has a hardcoded value that determines how much revenge damage is required to trigger their combo breaker attack.
So basically, you're allowed to stunlock the boss for a set period of time more or less, and once that's up, they get to attack you. Thereby you can't just stunlock the boss forever and actually have to deal with threats every so often.
There's actually a lot of systems similar to this in various games. The most obvious is Poise from Dark Souls, where bosses need to take a certain amount of poise damage. Or Yokai Ki in Nioh, where, once expended, you can stunlock the enemy, but it has a Ki Regenerating combo breaker attack that triggers after a bit, which has super armor.
In fighting games, they just build the combo system so combos naturally end eventually. Skullgirls actually has a similar system to Kingdom Hearts, called Drama. Drama is built up every time a move hits in a combos, dealing more drama based on whether the attack is light, medium, heavy, or special.
By having values tied to attack type in this way, it means that combos in skullgirls and kingdom hearts can be optimized by trying to hit with moves based on their damage relative to combo breaker buildup. Each attack can be evaluated for efficiency by calculating damage/revenge value, then it's a matter of building a combo that hits as many of the highest efficiency attacks as possible, and in Kingdom Hearts' case, having a followup to hit the boss when revenge is triggered.
So yeah, it's a pretty cute system. Lets you have combos, gives you an optimization pressure, and keeps it somewhat challenging. I'd personally have designed the combo system to allow for shorter combos instead with more varied revenge attacks to make things more interesting. Probably also would have added additional constraints on what moves in combos link to make combo optimization harder, and vary combos based on their starter, so you have a more complex neutral game, but whatever.
Bonus:
https://youtu.be/0EGRQIhA_oM
https://youtu.be/RV2fM2UtfTU

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What do you think makes for good enemy placement?

There's a lot of factors that go into this. In abstract, it's about placing the enemies in spots where it is tough for the player to deal with them, but where the player has a variety of options for dealing with them, without allowing the player an easy way out.
This means also building the level around what the enemy can do. If the enemy is good at pushing, put them next to a cliff. If they toss projectiles that drop down, put them up high. If they require the player to jump, put down something dangerous to land on.
Castlevania 3 (and the Souls series) is my standard reference point for good enemy placement. Enemies are placed strategically, in places where you need to expose yourself in order to attack them, or manage some aspect of navigating the environment at the same time. Enemies are paired to create a combined threat, by each covering the spaces the other one doesn't threaten, then they act at asynchronous intervals to vary the patterns that come your way, requiring you to solve situations on the fly, rather than just memorizing a solution.
Probably the most simple example of using enemies together is pairing a ranged enemy with a melee enemy. Castlevania 1 also has the classic example of the axe throwing knight paired with a medusa head.
Castlevania will force you to walk up stairs into bone pillars or patrolling enemies. It will force you to drop down onto crumbling floor to chase an enemy that moves forwards and backwards relative to you. Or force you to jump a gap onto crumbling floor as a floating enemy comes down from above. It will place bone throwing enemies up on high platforms or ask you to jump up into the path of axe throwing enemies. Dark Souls does a lot of the same.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFFKAl2A898

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What games released this year do you believe have strong speedrunning potential?

Breath of the Wild is the obvious one, Super Mario Odyssey seems to have strong potential immediately after release. A Hat in Time was being speedrun even before release. Prey's speedrun is pretty crazy. Nier Automata has an okay speedrun, not amazing. I imagine Snake Pass would be pretty cool.

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Which is better, Guilty Gear or BlazBlue?

I like Guilty Gear better, combo length tends to be shorter and I like the characters and systems better.

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The gamecube is not conmpatible with the Switch. You can play games with a controller 3 consoles back. Thoughts on why it lasted this long?

Smash Bros. Plain and simple. The Gamecube controller is the best controller for Smash Bros.
Beyond that, the Wii had backwards compatibility with the gamecube, so you needed to be able to use a gamecube controller to play gamecube games on it. They did that because the Wii is based on the gamecube architecture, which afforded them an advantage from a production standpoint, best practices had already been developed for the hardware. This afforded them an advantage in producing new games for the system easily, which was a component of their gen 7 success.
And the converter for the Wii U is literally only there for Smash Bros, no other game supports it.
As for the Switch, system update 4.0.0 actually implemented Gamecube Controller Adapter support, treating the GC controller as a classic controller, however this was immediately rolled back in 4.0.1. This suggests that a port of Smash 4 will be coming to the switch. We'll see how that turns out.

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About Chris Wagar:

Hey I'm Chris. I talk about video games. Rest assured, I read everything sent to me. Please send me specific directed questions. I am unlikely to respond to questions that just ask what I think about a game, but feel free to send them anyway. My twitter is @aGrimVale Archive of best posts below: