Comics Creators

Video games thread - "What are you playing?"


And you’re really trying to pull off a dragon punch, but it’s just not as easy as way back when.

I was a total bastard to flashy players who didn’t know how to use those moves:

  • Fireball? Block
  • Spinning kick? Crouch, uppercut
  • Dragon punch? Stay on the ground, wait for them to go up, cue uppercut or roundhouse kick


The kids haven’t really got the hang of the special moves yet, but they like the basic concept of the game, and the cartoonish characters.

I will say though that while the PS4 Dualshock 4 does actually make pulling off certain moves easier than it used to be on the megadrive - due to having the L and R toggle sticks along with the directional buttons - it’s a pisser having the heavy punch and kick buttons on the two Right Triggers rather than on face buttons. All my decades of muscle-memory is wrong now!


You can’t customise the controls?


You can but the Dualshock only has the four ‘symbol’ buttons on top, and you need six for light/medium/heavy punches and kicks. So either way you can’t get them all on there.

I need something like this.


(I know you can actually get dedicated modern controllers for this kind of thing, but I don’t play enough to justify the expense.)


This is why you should have had a SNES!

I was at a con in Cardiff yesterday and the highlight was a selection of old console set up in the corner of the hall. They had an original Atari playing Asteroids (or a clone); a SNES running Sensible Soccer; a Spectrum +2 (I think - one of the later ones with a built in tape deck) running Joe Blade (I think it was called); Mario Kart 64; Sonic The Hedgehog and the original Tekken. Sensi was fun, but I think everyone who gave it a go was rather confused by the fact that the game seems content to play itself. Setting a team as player controlled is rather unintuitive. Asteroids was fun, moreso when I realised the wonky controls were due to me holding the joystick upside down. The Spectrum game was just terrible and bemused everyone.

But Tekken was the most interesting for me. I’ve played it once, about twenty years ago, so was keen to give it a go. I got through a lot of arcade mode (I suspect it was set on easy and it was down to 1 round per match) and some kid, about 9 years old, came over to watch, clearly wanting me to vacate and let him play.

Kid: Wow, you’re really good at this game.
Me: Thanks. I’m quite surprised, I’ve only played this once before and that was around when it was released, about twenty years ago.
Kid: (aghast) You were alive when this came out?!

And that’s how I got kicked out of a con for bitchslapping a child. (Ok, not really, but screw you, child. The mid-90s was barely ten minutes ago!)

While killing time, I also went by a barcade in the city centre called Kongs, a spin-off from Kongs of King Street in Bristol. It’s a fairly spacious and gloomy basement bar with a Burger Theory menu and a selection of classic arcade machines, including Street Fighter 2 ’ Championship Edition. That was the first one I alighted up and i was a little dubious of it, as it seemed like it might have been one of those essentially knock off cabinets - where you get a generic cab, put in a raspberry pi esque board running MAME and then get some repro marquees.

But after having a go on it, and looking at their other machines, it probably was a legit machine. It’s just hard to tell because they’ve gutted it of its original CRT monitor and put in an LCD flatscreen. This takes up less space, so they’ve installed it at a shallower angle, to reduce glare. Which is an interesting, if heretical idea. Unfortunately, they hadn’t set up the displayed properly so about 1/6th of the screen was being cut off on the right hand side, which isn’t great.

They’ve done the same for most of their other machines and it’s worked better on those. You do lose the original CRT feel, but it’s much easier to see the screens in the dimly lit arcade. They’ve got Donkey Kong, Double Dragon, Pang, 1942, International Track & Field, NBA Jam, a modern Namco arcade classic machine, the aforementioned Street Fighter, Alien vs Predator and Mortal Kombat 1 (which unfortunately either wasn’t working or just wasn’t turned on, so I wasn’t able to try out the recently discovered code that opens a secret menu of bonus stuff). There’s also some classic pinball tables.

Worth checking out if you’re in Cardiff and have some time to kill.



It just feels so wrong not having the control setup be this:



So, depending on your point of view, I am either a spectacularly bad loser or have an inclination to vengeance that would put to Batman to shame, probably both, because I really needed to fuck over Diablos in Monster Hunter World!

Word was that, if you’re having problems with the bastard, use the Lance to fuck it up good. So it proved. A 30 minute, death-by-a-thousand-stabs, that saw 3 tailriders lay down their lives and depart to Valhalla, having proven themselves in glorious battle. It took a long time but the fucker finally died.

Next, a Zorah Magdaros quest. Urgh. These are irredeemable crap, just utterly, utterly shit. Not only do they fail as climatic story high points but they fail in every other respect: Poor signposting, poor indicators, strange instant death traps, rubbish map - they are vile. The only reason to do them is to get through them, maybe go back to get materials if I really have to. Still, despite it being irredeemably awful, it was done - end of the story mode! … Not quite.

So I then take a trip to Wildspire Waste, where I encounter a souped-up Pukei-Pukei, but, it turns out Level 3 poison resistance still kicks ass by giving me immunity even with this version. In what shows up exactly how utterly overpowered they made Diablos, I managed to kill the bastard with relatively weak armour and weaponry - bust its head and tail too. Also got a host of new materials, which combined with killing this thing, opened up High Rank weaponry and armoury - oh, plus decorations too. It all looks entirely nuts. In the waste I also came across new small monsters too, plus a host of new quests.

Next? Looks to be the Pink Rathian quest. But that likely has lots of stages. Might get past it eventually, might not - but I’m a lot further than I ever expected to be in this game.

EDIT: Forgot to include this: On that Pukei-Pukei hunt, I ended up crossing paths with Barroth as I chased off to the next location, followed it, then went after Pukei. Barroth then picked a fight with it, so I started to leg it, just as it tried to rampage me, then Diuabolos crashed the party! A three-way big monster punch-up, never has the strategy of ‘leg it’ been more fitting. I went one way, Pukie another, pursued by Barroth. Eventually it shook it off, but damn, when I found it the bird looked a mess, so much the better for me!


I have to give Capcom due credit on High Rank mode of Monster Hunter World.

They could have just stuck with the game as it was, whacked up the monster’s health, aggression and power levels and left it at that. Instead they’ve altered the eco-system, monsters turn up in different places, there are different resources to locate, even new monsters - both large and small, different armours to craft and opt for depending on strategy you go for, more intricate weaponry and so on.

Some things don’t change though, I still went and duffed up a Great Jagras, plus some of his Jagras minions. Also took some Kestodon and Hornateurs. Be under no illusion, the High Rank world is more dangerous. On a trip through Rotten Vale, Ogodaron turned up above ground and picked a fight with Radobaan! I got the hell out of there. Similarly, when I was doing the Great Jagras, Anjanath turned up to take a bite out of it - discretion was the better part of valour.

Got a whole lot of new stuff to craft, including a paralysis longsword I’ve really been wanting, but need the money to do so. Turns out there’s now a new load of investigations to supply that, plus better item supply too. Also, a whole lot of new, optional quests too.

For all I disagree with it, I can see the thinking behind restricting the game earlier - they want to introduce the game systems piece by piece. In that respect, it works. Also, the power of levels of the HR monsters is such that if you haven’t decked the low rank versions, you will have severe problems with the HR ones - though I’m not exactly seeking out High Rank Diabolos!

So, lots and lots and lots of stuff to do.


I finished today a 90s adventure game called Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon, which is based on a series of books by Spider Robinson. I’d never heard of them before stumbling upon the game, but after this I’m keen to check them out. Callahan’s is a bar in upstate New York that attracts all sorts from time-travellers and aliens to talking dogs and tee-total vampires. The game has you controlling folk singer Jake Stonebender (the narrator of the stories, I believe) as he gets wrapped up in a string of small adventures helping out people from the bar. It feels like a bit of a prototype for Telltale’s episodic format, as each adventure starts and ends in the bar, is relatively stand-alone and only takes a couple of hours each.

As a story, Callahan’s is pretty great. It’s varied and imaginative but coursing through it all is a strong sense of humour (and taste in bad puns). As an adventure game, it has flaws. It’s first person perspective, which means it’s a bit of a chore to get around in, the interface is a bit woolly and abstract at times and there’s a limited amount of animation and interaction with environments, which sometimes makes puzzles a bit finnicky and obtuse. But the game uses its need to smooth other the limitations of its form as an excuse to build the narrative, especially with far-out jokes and nonsense that wouldn’t be possibly in a game relying on explicitly showing you your actions rather than telling you.

If you’re into adventure games and/or comedy science fiction, it’s worth checking Callahan’s out (although you’ll have to fiddle around with DOSBox to do so).


There are seven or eight collections of Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon - and Spider dropped a few tales later on, here and there.


I figured there’d be someone here familiar with them (what with all the puns) and I’m not surprises it’s you, Miqque. Would you recommend them?


Definitely. Like any extended series (Piers Anthony’s Xanth, for example) the longer the tales are spun the thinner they get. First 3 or 4, definitely. It’s not just puns, it’s tall tales, travel, commentary - suchlike that. It’s like a comfy, familiar pub.


I took a break from Horizon Zero Dawn to play NinoKuni 2 (I always try to play the newer games first to maximize resale value), and now I can’t get into HZD again. I lost the thread of the narrative, and I feel like the world is a bit too big considering there isn’t a lot of variation in the environments.

I’ll probably sell it back and move on to the next game unless there is a compelling case to sticking with it (I am maybe 8 hours in).


Then you haven’t played it enough, as there’s a wide variety of environments.

Sure you can say they’re the usual ones: Forest, snow, desert, jungle - but they’ve been fitted together very smartly. In a way that makes geographical and geological sense.


This used to happen to me all the time and is why I’m much more strictly single-minded with games now.


“Callahan’s” is a really fun series of books. I’m honestly surprised they haven’t been plundered for a TV adaptation yet.


I actually finished NiNo Kuni 2 with the highest number of achievements I’ve ever gotten. For those who are dying to know, this is my list of games that I got at least 40%. I am not what you would call a hardcore gamer.

NiNo Kuni 2- 63%
Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time - 61%
God of War III- 55%
Pac Man Championship Edition DX- 52%
Tomb Raider 50%
Rayman Origins 48%
LEGO Star Wars- Force Awakens- 47%
Nino Kuni- 47%
Sly Cooper Thieves in Time- 43%
Batman: Arkham CIty- 40%


Agreed. I think HZD is like the new Zelda — it’s so big that it takes 20+ hours of playing just to actually get into it.

Meanwhile, Ben, I can’t tell if you like Monster Hunter World! Do you recommend it? I want to try it, but I also can’t get my head around the game mechanics — it just seems like it’s a never-ending loop of boss battles, which are my least favorite part of any game. Also, can it be played single player or is it very much an online game?


I did just turn the setting down to easy so I’ll explore a bit more before I quit. I wasn’t really feeling the random robot encounters where I was just being autokilled though.


I’ve started playing Kid Icarus II on the GameBoy. It’s an odd game. It doesn’t seem particularly hard at all, at first. Fairly simple platforming and action stuff. The hardest part is possibly getting your head around the horizontal wrapping on the levels.
But then you get to the fourth level, the Underworld Fortress and it gets a bit tougher, with a maze like navigation you have to get your head around, rather than just heading up. And then you reach the boss of that, who quickly murders you and you realise that you should have been going more cautiously through the earlier levels to farm hearts (currency, not health) and kills to get upgrades essential beating the guy. I’ve started over about four times now, trying to get better runs through the first few levels.