Matt Chat 12: Metroid

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Matt Barton's picture

Hi, guys, this week Matt Chat is about Metroid, one of the best games ever for the NES and probably my favorite game for the platform. I doubt there are many gamers who haven't heard of this game, but if it's been awhile you might be surprised by how modern and playable it remains so many years after its debut. As of 2:14 a.m., the video still isn't done processing, but I thought I'd go ahead and announce it anyway. If the HD or HQ settings aren't showing up for you or the image looks muddy, just wait a few hours and try again.

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Mark Vergeer
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Lackluster gameplay? Not very good at this?

Lackluster gameplay? Not very good at this? Well Matt I am sorry to tell you that you do seem to have solid Metroid-reflexes in place. You're just being humble here.

When I saw the title my heart jumped and I thought you had actually acquired a famicom or nes. You obviously used an emulator.
So how did you go about recording this? svideo out on your system or did you do some screengrabbing? I find that connecting the real McCoy to my tv card and using DScaler to do the video grabbing produces the best results.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Bill Loguidice
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Nice video as always. I must

Nice video as always.

I must admit though to being disappointed that you picked a post-crash system and a game you were still intimately already familiar with. I really am genuinely looking forward to your take on pre-Crash consoles and think Atari ones would go through the roof for you.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Rowdy Rob
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Many thoughts.
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Nice video as always.

I must admit though to being disappointed that you picked a post-crash system and a game you were still intimately already familiar with. I really am genuinely looking forward to your take on pre-Crash consoles and think Atari ones would go through the roof for you.

To be honest, Bill, I'm not sure Matt would be the right guy to comment on Atari stuff, unless it was the Atari 5200 and beyond. The impression I get is that Matt was not very familiar with Atari 2600 gaming, and approaching that platform without a sense of nostalgia might garner the impression, "you know, this stuff is really primitive. Nothing to see here."

All of Matt's videos (and even writings) seem to indicate he's drawn to "meaty" games, but most of the Atari's offerings come up short in that department. That would mean that he'd have to either be disingenuous and say "Yeah, 'Adventure' was a really great game," or go for the sarcastic "How did you guys survive this primitive crap?" The sarcastic approach would probably generate a lot of hits, but wouldn't exactly get the Atari enthusiasts on his side. :-) The only "deep" game I can think of that might be up Matt's alley is "Pitfall II," which is coincidentally somewhat Metroid-like.

Perhaps a better "pre-crash" platform for Matt might be the Intellivision, with its deeper games, and even some AD&D-based games!

Okay, commentary on the video itself. The usual kudos. About the only bad part was the focus on the "Metroid" title screen to listen to the theme music. Matt may have been enamored by the music, but I suspect most viewers (including myself) were wanting to hear Matt's comments instead. Once past that part, Matt's commentary picks up, and all was right again.

By the way, Matt's pronunciation of "Hirokazu Tanaka" was close enough. :-) Japanese pronounce their "R's" similarly to the rolled "r's" of Spanish, but otherwise a decent enough pronunciation. Japanese is actually fairly easy for the Westerner to pronounce (if not speak), more so than Western languages are for the Japanese. Ironically, the average Japanese person can't even pronounce the names of most of videogames that come out of that country! "Metroid" would probably be pronounced as "Meh-toh-roy-doh."

Ok, some other thoughts (man, I can't shut up)....

Since the title of the series is "Matt Chat" and not "Classic Game Reviews," there's a lot of directions Matt can go if he chooses. Heck, he can comment on gaming controviersies, he can talk about the advancements in RPG's from the old days on, or even trashing a game! etc. etc. The key is Matt himself. We want to hear what he has to say.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
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Suggestions
Rowdy Rob wrote:

To be honest, Bill, I'm not sure Matt would be the right guy to comment on Atari stuff, unless it was the Atari 5200 and beyond. The impression I get is that Matt was not very familiar with Atari 2600 gaming, and approaching that platform without a sense of nostalgia might garner the impression, "you know, this stuff is really primitive. Nothing to see here."

If Matt's not qualified to comment on any type of videogame on any platform from any era, then he needs to immediately tender his resignation. ;-)

My point was that it would be good in a lot of ways for Matt to tackle something like the Atari 2600. So what if his conclusion is "eh, this stuff is too primitive to hold my attention"? There's nothing wrong with controversy and maybe, just maybe, today that conclusion might be right without the nostalgia goggles a lot of us have. It would also get people talking, maybe not in a good way, but certainly if Matt's arguments were well reasoned, what's the difference? And yeah, he has huge gaps in his videogame experience, particularly consoles, which is why I'd love to see him immerse himself into something foreign and see what the result is. It will help in all ways, both personally and professionally.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

Perhaps a better "pre-crash" platform for Matt might be the Intellivision, with its deeper games, and even some AD&D-based games!

That was one of my suggestions, particularly because it's RPG and action RPG heavy, not just with AD&D stuff. However, the reality is that's still more of his specialty and wouldn't be the same challenge or of interest to see what he does with it (at least to me). Also, it's harder to get an appreciation for the Intellivision through emulation because of the complex controller. I'd rather see any number of other platforms discussed, be it Atari 2600, ColecoVision, Atari 5200, Arcadia 2001, etc. I'd rather reviewers avoid reviewing platforms like the Fairchild Channel F/VES, RCA Studio II, Intellivision, Vectrex, Bally Astrocade, Microvision, etc., if the real thing can't be covered because those either have specialized controllers or other things that need to be experienced first hand and are not accurately captured via emulation. Something like the Atari 2600 is a no-brainer for emulation because of the single button digital controller and the fact that the emulation is so robust/accurate.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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VL-Tone (not verified)
3d Metroid Remake

I must admit that this is shameless promotion on my part but if you are a fan of the original Metroid, a few years ago I've remade almost the entire game in 3d voxels using the original tile graphics as a basis (kind of like re-doing the game with little lego bricks).

The main build is using a fixed isometric perspective, but I also have a demo where you can rotate the view and switch seemlessly between the original flat 2d view and the 3d voxel view.

You can play both versions online using the Shockwave plug-in at:

http://homepage.mac.com/qubedstudios/metroidcubed.htm (full isometric version)
http://homepage.mac.com/qubedstudios/metroidrotation.htm (rotation demo)

And if you have trouble with the Shockwave plug-in are just too lazy to play it, you can watch a few videos of the game on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsO23lNp_Hs

Mark Vergeer
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comment on Shockwave flash 3d isometric recreation of Metroid
VL-Tone wrote:

http://homepage.mac.com/qubedstudios/metroidcubed.htm (full isometric version)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsO23lNp_Hs

Now this definitely is worth checking out. Just tried the full isometric version and it really gives a special spin to the original.
The effect it has on me is rather strange. On the one hand it creates a very nice realistic esthetic 3D lego block feel enormously enhancing the original graphics. But on the other hand this exact thing makes the game less real as it leaves less to the imagination. Very crafty creation though.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Hammer
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Great video as always...

...although I think you let the title theme music play too long. : )

The reason why you couldn't beat Kraid is that you were woefully underequipped - not enough energy tanks and not enough missles. You basically just need enough power and enough firepower to stand toe to toe with him and blow him away. : )

Matt Barton
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Wow, lots of comments! I

Wow, lots of comments! I think Bill must be on to something for sure--a helluva lot more interest in Metroid than Civ!

I agree about the theme music being too long. I wanted to play the whole thing for musical reasons, but it's a shame there isn't more of an intro to watch (the intro reminds me of an arcade game's attract mode). It may have made more sense to wait until the end to play it, though.

As far as my pre-crash consoles and such go, I definitely wouldn't mind exploring those areas. I like learning about obscure systems, though I'm often indifferent about the technologies involved (again, more interested in what the developers were able to achieve on the system rather than the system itself). That said, it's fun to think about how quirks of a particular platform hindered or helped developers--we talked about the Apple II and Atari 2600 in the context of how the "primitive" hardware left more responsibility on the developer side, allowing for far greater innovation and differentiation.

I'm surprised that our videos (Dr. Mark, MaximumRD, etc.) hasn't persuaded Bill to whip out that flipcam more often and do some work. A lot of my inspiration to do Matt Chat came from his Atari 2600 mini reviews. Bill obviously has me licked when it comes to hardware and authenticity!

Still, I think one reason AA has worked so well for so long is that Bill and I complement each other rather than compete. He's got his background and interests and I have mine, and though they frequently overlap, we naturally defer to each other on certain topics. You'd just be silly coming to me asking about homebrew for the Bally Astrocade or how many pins were in a plug on Kaypro or what not. I'm not certain what aspects of retrogaming and computers Bill isn't interested in, but I tend to gravitate towards adventure, strategy, and RPGs more than action games. That's probably because my background is limited to computers with little exposure to consoles. Note I say "limited" there because I feel I would be better off today if I had had access to not just computers (and something besides Commodore!) and lots of consoles as well. I did get to play other computers and consoles when I went to visit friends, but that was rare. I generally had a chip on my shoulder as well, since my dad was a Commodore fanboy. :)

I'm sure I will get around to covering a pre-crash title soon. I have had lots of recommendations for Adventure (both Colossal Cave and the 2600 version), so it might be neat to try to talk about both.

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Bill Loguidice
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I have my cheap hi-def

I have my cheap hi-def camera ready to go, and in fact have a "studio" area ready as well (because of the photos for Wii Fit for Dummies) complete with green screen, and plenty of ideas, but I simply don't have the time. It's crunch time with Wii Fit for Dummies and really everything else has to be secondary at this point. I think it's important to focus on that as I think it could mean further big things for us and AA in general since it has a chance of being more mainstream than typical projects we're involved in (outside of the film, but that's still a ways off). Here's a tip, though, if you're offered a "For Dummies" book or want to do one, reconsider. They're a true PITA to write, and this is with my wife doing at least 50%+ of the writing.

I figure my time will free up by August 1st, then I want to have some fun (besides putting even more focus on the film, which is also taking up time now).

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Midipixel (not verified)
Great series

Hey Matt,

Just to say that I'm lovind the Matt Chat series. I'm a frequent reader (if not a poster) of AA. It's one of the few feeds that haven't gotten deleted from my reader as time went by. Being a practicioner and scholar on games, as much as a gamer, I think the work you guys have been doing here is amazing to keep game history alive and spread game culture from its roots.

Keep up the good work.

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