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    Chopper Commander

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  1. Harder than you could guess for the time; Saturn had like 8-9 processors in it each dedicated to some specific task(s). It would never have been as simple as taking one or two processors and sticking them in the new system the way Sony did bringing PS1 back-compat to PS2. At least, not for the price SEGA were aiming for ($200). I kinda chuckled at the Dreamcast/Wii graphics comparison tho; 6th gen is interesting because even tho in general the systems seem pretty easy to distinguish going from most to least powerful (Xbox > Gamecube > PS2 > Dreamcast), each of them had some (pretty specific) areas where they excelled over each other and allowed them to punch above their weight in those areas. That's more applicable to DC, PS2 and GC than Xbox, but still. That said, there's certainly some beautiful DC games and some ugly Wii games but given Wii is a slightly more powerful GC, taking a game from Wii and DC with great art direction in both, on a technical level the Wii game is going to look somewhat better. That's not a knock on DC tho, it obviously has its gorgeous games (both artstyle and technical). If you're looking for more Dreamcast games like the ones you have now, try: Resident Evil Code Veronica, Dead or Alive 2, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Power Stone 1 & 2, D2, Virtua Fighter 3TB, Daytona USA, Speed Devils, and Metropolis Street Racer. There's also stuff like Jet Set Radio and Chu Chu Rocket you might dig. I can't speak on personal experience b/c (sadly) Dreamcast is one of the SEGA console I've yet to have, but some of the games that are arcade ports I've played or games similar to them and basically go off of that (Daytona USA for example is basically a port of the Model 2 arcade game but if you get it you'll definitely want to get a steering wheel b/c the default sensitivity levels are VERY high on the Dreamcast version. But the Dreamcast version has more tracks and cars and online play (might just be a specific version with online play), and people have been managed to get back online with their Dreamcasts these days which is really cool). EDIT: Also W O W, a necro bump? Really?!? xD
  2. They probably saw how mediocre the PS1 Classic is and decided to step back from an N64 Classic for a little bit. FWIW, PS1 Classic being ass isn't so much an issue with the specs (IIRC they're just repurposing PS TV tech), but them using a super-old emulator build that isn't optimized for the hardware. If I could get pretty great emulation on games like Tomba! on my Wii, I have a feeling they could've gotten solid emulation in PS1 Classic if they cared. I am not sure if the mini-system craze is really cooling down or not, but if it is, that'd suck for SEGA if they bring out that MegaDrive mini (and it's actually quality) right as people are cooling down on wanting mini systems. Tho myself personally, am more interested in getting things like the Mega Sg and Super NT as time goes on (itching to see if they're cooking up a PSX Sy or so).
  3. Apologies for being late with adding to that initial post guys; truth is playing 3S even more has rekindled some of my hatred for the game. Like, it's *really* shit in some monumental ways, and I was even considering if it was worth doing a write-up over. More to that though, I want to dig in a bit deeper with some of the games I was going to be comparing it to, including VF2, Tekken 3 (again; it's been a while since I last played it), Last Blade 2 and Garou: MOTW. Games that I remember actually being more fun than stressful to play. In other words, I'm kinda gonna put the rest of this thing on hold and come back to it in a couple of months, by then should have all my thoughts organized and written down.
  4. The question still tho is...what's this new market? The casuals that went to Wii moved over to either smartphones or PS/Xbox (or heck, even PC) after that. So who is left, theoretically? Just a personal opinion, but in terms of potential mass-market (ish) territories I think two underserved markets would be an enthusiast-leveled system, and arcades. For the former, I still think there's a market for a modern-day enthusiast system without the multimedia focus, not overpowered to try being some beast capable of RDR2 at 4K, but not so underpowered that it'd only be seen as a quick stop for cheap Android ports. Something that can provide some inspiration for the type of passion projects in the demoscenes for old-school systems like SNES, MegaDrive and Neo-Geo, but for a modern archietecture, emphasizes physical media for collectible reasons, priced between $99 and $199. The Amico as it is right now satisfies some of that, but not all of it imho. We have to see what they're doing with these revamps, what developers they can get on board, revising their game pricing (at those prices they'd literally need hundreds of millions of units sold to make it profitable for publishers, which isn't happening. Even for smaller-scale efforts, they'd likely need at least a couple dozen million, and that will be a STRONG uphill battle). Then there's the arcade market; there's been a lot going on there that's been impressing me personally. The Exa-Arcadia platform, companies like Raw Thrills supporting it big with Halo and Walking Dead games, SEGA recently with HOTD: Scarlet Dawn and Sega World Driver's Championship, that Pong arcade machine etc. But there's still SOOOO much room in that sector I feel; in this day and age actually having a gaming environment where people can socialize in person would probably be an exotic appeal for people who are just normalized to online gaming, plus there's methods of game controls that can be done with arcades that are 100% impractical for most people who game on mobile or at home. It'd of been nice to see Intellivision throw their hat into that ring again, even if historically they don't have a strong lineage with the arcade industry. They could even leverage that with this home console initiative, which could've made for some interesting marketing points. Still tho, I'm looking forward to this; as said before it's much better off than the new Atari, but they really need to clarify what's up with the 2D capabilities, and fix that game pricing. Lots seem to be mixed on the controllers; personally I don't have much an opinion on them just hope they're quality.
  5. Will have to give it a try over the weekend; I've been piqued for these kind of games since trying Game Dev Tycoon a couple years back. There's a line of other games where you get to make your own gaming console and games for it as a dev sim. Can't remember their name, but really intriguing concept there, but sadly I think the games are not available on modern supported platforms (Windows 7 and above). Oh and Happy 30th Birthday, Genesis! First gaming system, love the damn thing, arguably my favorite of that gen and one of my favorites of all time. But MegaDrive sounds way cooler, wish the American version could've gotten that name.
  6. I don't think that's too fair a comparison; those 4 million were over a range of different unit iterations, while w/ NES Classic is just a single SKU. There's also the pricing disparity so it's easy to see the NES Classic made more revenue (and profit), not to mention NES Classic was supply-constrained (artificially so, but still). The question now is, can they manage a 4 million sold-through rate at a price substantially higher than those Intellivision clones and NES Classic (or other mini clone systems of other popular consoles), at a price that puts it in contention (either directly or indirectly) with PS4, XBO and Switch? That's going to be the test, and even if Intellivision's saying they're aiming for a much different market, people only have so much time to play games; most of the casual parental types are going to be eying those PS4 bundles at $149/$199 PS4 bundles by then, or those $199 Switch holiday specials by the time this thing releases. That's what most parents are going to be comparing the Amico to if they're looking for cheaper family-friendly gaming options for the kids (and that's assuming they aren't already occupied with a new smartphone on a contract family plan).
  7. Ironic phrasing given a certain console's 30th anniversary of recent
  8. Looks like I WON'T be posting it today because shitty Notepad magically happened to delete 3/4 of the post and then SAVED the file contents without me realizing. Really, REALLY hate when that crap happens; I won't have time to redo all of that text until the next weekend maybe (plus quite honestly, I'm pissed off that all of the that text just got deleted. Can't be arsed to re-type all of that right now. ....Damnit...
  9. Gill's a bastard, but right after him's Elena w/ Healing, although it's much easier to stop since it doesn't push you away like Gill's. Also Gill's meteor shower Super that does INSANE chip damage but hey, that's a boss character for you :/ I'm really itching to get into the VF series again, I think it's woefully underappreciated in the West, tho it didn't help the first few installments were on platforms that didn't necessarily set the West on fire and arcades were declining at the time. It's just so alien to see so many other fighters get updates (even Fighting Layer!), but not the originator and standard-setter of 3D fighters :/
  10. Lol don't worry, that's what I'm here for Hoping to post the next part tomorrow.
  11. The whole deal w/ the 2D chip is one of the few big alarm bells for me. There's a thread for this on another forum (ResetEra), and one of the posters there named Krejlooc had a couple of really good posts about how 2D hardware worked in the old systems and how systems like the PlayStation changed all of that because of them having a full framebuffer you could access, and just enough RAM to work with. I'll try my best to summarize but I might not have the details as well-put as them. If you're interested just check out their posts https://www.resetera.com/posts/14013694/ , https://www.resetera.com/posts/14015829/ , and https://www.resetera.com/posts/14042432/ (in fact I recommend reading those b/c I might have certain things misunderstood below that those posts correct) Basically, older 2D systems used vector quantization, a form of data compression. Pre-PlayStation (and Jaguar) systems never had enough RAM to ever directly address the full pixel range of a framebuffer, and/or were too slow processor-wise to do so, so an older 2D game's backgrounds would be built based on tile sizes (like 8x8, or 16x16) and each of these tiles could have certain ranges of color defined to them, depending on resolution and color-depth modes being used. This is where other concepts like palettes came from, and clever devs could accomplish effects like waterfall animations etc. by essentially composing base tiles for the waterfall pixels out of tilesets, composite them into a waterfall, then cycle the palettes using various hardware features to make the effect look like its a convincing animation. Stuff like that saved immensely on the RAM footprint that would otherwise be eaten up without vector quantization being enforced at the hardware level; it also helped alleviate the CPUs of some cycles which was sorely needed since game CPUs were generally slower compared to microcomputer and PC CPUs (even of that time). The idea of sprites came about to define assets that could be moved and positioned anywhere on the screen on a more pixel-based basis instead of tile-based, otherwise all games would have "snapping" with animations that wouldn't allow for smooth scrolling (since each frame of movement would be on a tiled bases of every 8 pixels, every 16 pixels etc.). What all of this meant was that 2D systems of the past could never access their entire framebuffer ranges completely, be it to either read or write to pixels. It also meant that many of those systems had ranges in their framebuffers that could only be accessed (either read or write) as a range of pixels, instead of individual pixels. The Jaguar was the first system in gaming (that I'm aware of) that had a direct framebuffer memory access, but it had a range of other problems negating this innovation. The Saturn had a lot of custom support for 2D graphics and enough RAM to technically have a full direct framebuffer memory to access, but that was only in terms of reading; it would still need to access certain ranges of pixels in a framebuffer to write to certain ranges of pixels (you can think of this as basically duplicating all the pixel values in that accessed range except for the specific pixels you KNOW you want to change, which would be altered when the framebuffer image was replaced for the next frame cycle), but in this case the memory bandwidth, CPU bandwidth and system RAM amount mitigated that as an issue. However, the Saturn did 3D a bit odd b/c its geometry and transformation hardware for manipulating sprites into 3D objects was in the other VDP, which would then pass the transformed sprite back to the first VDP to put to the final framebuffer image. The PlayStation had all of its polygon generation and transform hardware on a single GPU IC (integrated circuit), so it didn't need to go through the steps the Saturn did. The system had enough RAM, bandwidth, and CPU/GPU speed to also have a direct framebuffer memory, BUT it could ALSO write to individual pixels in the framebuffer, unlike the Saturn. This and other issues is why it was generally better at 3D graphics, while the custom 2D hardware and bigger RAM pool gave the Saturn a better performance in 2D games (PlayStation did not actually do "sprites" like older systems or the Saturn did; sprites on PS1 were basically flat polygons with textures slapped on them, like how 3D polygons on Saturn were basically transformed sprites). Now the thing to take from this is simple: while specialized 2D hardware was still important with the 5th gen systems, nowadays current 3D systems have enough RAM and are fast enough to do 2D games in a way much more accessible than older systems ever allowed. Plus, GPUs these days have programmable shaders, which just make it that much easier. So technically you can make any of the current systems today act like 2D systems from the past without any issues other than perhaps if you're doing sprites at certain large sizes and resolutions pushing them to hundreds of MBs each one, and you need like a dozen of them uncompressed in a system's RAM (nevermind the space you'd need to store music, sound effects and other game assets). If there's anything the Amico could be looking at to make modern 2D more doable, it could be that, and maybe they're working with something based around SVG (Scaleable Vector Graphics)-like techniques but for raster images? Because there is definitely a certain "look" to raster 2D that vector-based 2D does not have, and vice-versa, and if they're working on a processor to bring the benefits of vector-based 2D to raster-based 2D (namely, flexible scaling with lossless compression, artifacts or pixelization, and path-like features to aid in animations...there is actually some Japanese animation product on the market ATM which does this sort of thing, but that's in terms of art production), then we could be looking at something pretty interesting there. ...otherwise, the whole "21st century 2D" talk is just for marketing, because there's nothing hardware-wise making PS4, XBO or Switch any worst for 2D than SNES, Saturn or Neo-Geo. Hell, they're actually better at 2D than those systems ever were, the real issue now is lack of budget allocated to producing 2D graphics and animations. People seem to forget that at some point, games like Chrono Trigger, Alien Soldier, Metal Slug and SF3 were the "AAA" games of their day, meaning they had pretty big teams (for the time) put on them, and big resources as well. 2D games these days generally don't have that caliber of a workforce involved, or that amount of budget, meaning what budgets and team sizes (and/or talent) are involved usually lack the time and money to pour into comparable 2D artwork for their games. It's not a tech issue, it's a budget/time issue.
  12. Lol, I've been kinda busy past day or so but most likely next part'll be on Saturday. Yeah; remember David Sirlin mentioning this in his blog entries years ago. At the time it got me curious but I wasn't playing the game as much then as am these days, but I can feel what he was on about in those posts. Chun's completely ridiculous in the game; I love the hell outta her (obviously , but every button of hers is godly safe, and almost every button feels like a safe hit confirm into her SAII, which is one of the best in the game without question.
  13. Yeah, at a casual level the game's great. One's able to really appreciate the visuals, sounds and all the good stuff while not getting frustrated with certain other aspects. I'm nothing like a Daigo at the game, but playing it at some deeper, serious level I just can't help but notice issues, some of which haven't seen mentioned by others when they discuss the game. The goal's ultimately to highlight those things, but still be fair to the game on its strong merits, because even with the faults there's a reason I keep playing it a little everyday (or just about).
  14. [**NOTE: Had originally posted this at Eventhubs, but their forums are pretty much dead so I'll be completing this little analysis here instead. Probably should've done that from the start, altho I'm not sure how many of you play fighting games (randomly or regularly :/)**] [**NOTE 2: This will be something of an ongoing thread; I'll update with more to this post when I have the time. So you can kinda look at this as an "article" of sorts, just spread among a ton of posts. I can't promise when additional parts will be up as I'm pretty busy during weekdays, so for those interested just keep an eye on the thread and share your own thoughts on the topic as well. Also, I'm aware this is going to be a VERY controversial thread and topic, and I'm ready for that. The opinions expressed here and in future parts are my own, but if others agree with them, that's great. If they don't, that's cool. But most importantly let's talk about it. Let's get a little civil discourse going.**] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay, so a disclaimer: I've been playing 3S more or less regularly for the past 2+ years, but first got my hands on the game about a decade ago. At that time, I was like many other disillusioned types, who saw the game on a godly pedestal at least in terms of fighting games, the king whom could not ever be challenged, supremacy reigning eternal. Like others, I felt EVO Moment #37 was among one of the most amazing moments in all of competitive gaming. The game's sprite animation unparalleled, soundtrack sublime, and game design/game mechanics perfection and the pinnacle of 2D fighters... ...and then I actually started investing in the game at a higher level, and boy oh boy, did the flaws show themselves to run deep. That the game continues to get praise to this day over more deserving fighting games is a testament to the power of the Capcom and Street Fighter brand name in the FGC, and the clout the FGC enjoys with casual gamers outside of the scene who are likely only aware of its more immediate elements. But when a game that enjoys a recent re-release with better netcode than its little brother (SFV) can't even maintain a playerbase beyond its initial launch phase, or even a consistent tournament presence post-launch of said port, it's maybe time to take the skeletons out of the closet and dissect what the nature of that game truly is. [bUT FIRST, SOME HISTORY] The history of 3S doesn't actually begin with said game, but dates back to New Generation, the first iteration of the game released in arcades in 1996 on the venerable CPS3 arcade hardware. At the time of its release, New Generation was arguably the most visually impressive 2D sprite-based game in the industry; no one had seen animation fidelity quite as robust or smooth, and it alone garnered the game a lot of praise. However, what wasn't so fondly looked upon was the game's lacking cast; a mix of few returners (only Ken and Ryu from past installments would be present here, and they were only added AFTER initial ideas of even axing them out of the lineup!) and new characters with designs not as iconic as the now-classic SFII cast of fighters. In terms of gameplay, New Generation introduced the parry, a mechanic wherein if a player pressed forward on the joystick at the exact moment an attack would otherwise hit them (this isn't *quite* true in terms of the timing but I will explain later), they would be able to deflect the attack while taking zero chip damage, and have a small frame opening to counter-attack with almost any option of their choosing. This added a level of depth and complexity to the 2D fighting formula that was perhaps both underappreciated and too complicated to get a handle on by most of the gaming public. Such was not helped by the game's questionable balance issues or certain bugs that made high-level play a nightmare. Adding to the mediocre reception was the presence of other, arguably more polished and flashy fighting games in arcades at the same time, some of which being Capcom's own such as the Darkstalker series, Street Fighter Alpha (and its sequel), Xmen vs. Street Fighter and even Street Fighter EX, the franchise's first attempt into the realm of 3D. Combined with the general downslide of arcade gaming in the West that was occurring thanks mainly to the powerful performance of Sony's PlayStation (and to a lesser extent, Nintendo's N64) in the home gaming market, and you have all the makings for a solid, if not spectacular, first impression of the III series that unfortunately did not make much of an impact in arcades. Capcom would try again a short while later with Second Impact, an update of sorts with more playable characters, new stages, new music, and a further progression of the developing storyline alongside various adjustments to the game mechanics and balance. It was a noticeably better game than New Generation on most all fronts, and did help to improve the III series' reputation among fighting game players and arcade goers, but yet again, it was something of a financial flop. By this time Capcom was losing money on the CPS3 hardware by the boatloads, as other CPS3 games like Red Earth also failed to take off. While some gamers pondered of a possible home port to Sony's PlayStation or Sega's Saturn, the truth of the matter was that neither system was up to the task of doing a home translation of the III games justice, even with expansion modules in tow. PC gaming was consumed by the explosion of FPS games during this time and were never known as havens for arcade-style gaming outside of say the Sharp X68000, which remained a curiosity for the Japanese market exclusively, and whose time had already passed. Other than arcades, there was no other true avenue for the III games to do good business and both New Generation and now Second Impact had failed to make much of a dent with operators and even many of the hardcore arcade goers and fighting game players of the time. In 1999, Capcom decided to give it one last go in the III franchise with Third Strike, arguably the most remembered and cherished release in the series. Third Strike would be a stylistic overhaul of mammoth proportions, switching up the soundtrack to something more akin to a hiphop/jazz fusion with some drum 'n bass/jungle music thrown in for good measure, and made further overhauls to the various game mechanics, such as the introduction of Red Parries, universal overheads, and a "pathway challenge" system for the Arcade mode which allowed players to choose from two opponents per match on a forking path, eventually culminating with a penultimate match against the player character's rival, and a final battle against series boss Gill. This edition of the game also brought back series favorite Chun-Li, as well as adding several other new characters to the roster such as Q, Twelve and Makoto, bumping the playable roster to 19. Third Strike would be both the final release in the III series and the last CPS3 game produced for the system, totaling out to a paltry six (6) releases in its commercial run. The hardware was now a certified anchor on Capcom financially and the company at this point eyed the opportunity to move onto other systems such as SEGA's newly released NAOMI arcade board, based upon technology of that company's then-new Dreamcast home game console. And just as well; Third Strike, outside of a small yet dedicated fanbase in parts of Japan, simply failed to resonate with most gamers in other markets, a casualty to the shrinking Western arcade market and scaling back of popularity of fighting games as a whole, particularly those of the 2D variety. The game befell the same fate of 2nd Impact and New Generation financially, even if it was a technically superior game to New Generation and *arguably* better game than Second Impact (again, I will explain later). It was time for Capcom to move on, and they did, leaving the III series behind as their time became occupied with other fighters such as Marvel vs Capcom 2 and the Capcom vs. SNK series.... ...and then EVO Moment #37 happened. This iconic moment, which involved fighting game legend Diago Umehara taking on yet another fighting game legend, Justin Wong, in a heated match of Third Strike with the two taking to Ken and Chun-Li, respectively, is perhaps both the most viewed and most venerated single moment in FGC history. Daigo was able to perfectly parry every single hit in Chun-Li's SAII, as well as neutral jump for a setup into Ken's bread-and-butter combo for a hit confirm into his SAIII, WHILE HAVING ONLY A PIXEL OF HEALTH TO HIS NAME! The moment, taking place at EVO 2004, has since cemented itself in the annals of fighting game and competitive gaming history, and to those who likely nary even know anything about fighting games beyond fleeting memories of SFII at the arcade, SNES or Genesis, this single moment is likely the first that comes to mind when they think of fighting games. It's simply that iconic. The moment itself gave Third Strike a shot in the arm that, along with the continued dedication to the game in years leading up to it thanks mainly to a small-but-closely knit scene in Japan, helped push 3S (and to a lesser degree, Second Impact) to a new place in the zeitgeist of the fighting game (and even gaming in general) pedestal. Coupled with the impending release of Street Fighter IV, a game that many (somewhat overstated) consider the "rebirth of fighting games into the mainstream", and it seemed that after all these years, the III games (Third Strike in particular) was finally getting the overdue respect it deserved. "The God of 2D fighters". "A pinnacle master of its art". "Pure. Perfection". ....except it really isn't ANY of those things. Not exactly, anyhow. Over the years Third Strike has enjoyed a near mythical level of fervor with gamers, many of whom have either never played it whatsoever, or only done so a handful of times at a casual level. Others still are only familiar with the game from watching tournament footage on sites such as Youtube. While this is all well and good, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to discussing the game's true merits outside of the cloud of its fandom. As someone who has sunk more time into this game than many, I feel it time to delve into what exactly elevates this game to god-like status for so many, and see in what areas what other games do these things better. For the sake of trying to keep this simple, I will be limiting comparisons only to other fighting games that came out before or around the release of Third Strike. That means no comparisons to, say, Tekken 4 or later, Virtua Fighter 4 or later, Guilty Gear XX, or Dead or Alive 3. All games in this comparison will have initial releases on or before the year 2000. So with that, let's get on with this :/ [NEXT TIME: THE AESTHETIC (OVERALL PRESENTATION, CHARACTER DESIGNS, BACKGROUNDS, ANIMATIONS, MOVELIST CREATIVITY)]
  15. Honestly? Well, because the Mega Sg's just kinda eaten their lunch, so to speak. It's only a few dozen dollars more but for the extra price it's got 100% accuracy on FPGA, 1080p support, native compatibility with Sega CD systems and more. And Analogue themselves are kind of the cream of the crop when it comes to retro clone systems these days. If the Mega Sg weren't as close to release as it is, this'd probably get more attention. But as-is it's probably a bit over-priced by $30 or so for what it's providing in comparison. People who want an ultimate MegaDrive clone solution willing to spend $130 wouldn't have an issue spending $60 more for an even better solution. ...of course if all the Mega Sgs are sold out by or near release time that'd probably send some people (myself included) to the Hyperkin depending on availability.
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