Listening around now: I’ve heard so many people with taste I respect recommend Yakuza games SO exhaustively, and yet to this day there’s something about the series that just never makes me want to pop one of the games in and try it. Maybe something about the aesthetic?? The goofiness of it? The setting? The fact that I haven’t actually been to Tokyo? The fact that the games leverage the largest sex trafficking organization in Japan into a bunch of adorable memes? I really can’t explain it. Someday I’m sure I will try a Yakuza (I even bought Zero after the last time IC showered it with praise… and then never opened it) but every time I contemplate it for even a second my brain decides I’d rather play something else instead.
Really interesting to hear about Warren Spector’s “one-block RPG” premise though. That sounds like a dream multiple different people had in the late 90s: obviously there’s the Majora’s Mask comparison, but also I think the original premise from Chrono Cross was that it would have just one village where every single NPC (even the dog) was a recruitable party member, and you can still see traces of that in the finished game in the ways its relatively small-scale geographical setting feels interconnected by a complex web of NPC relationships and histories. It’s such a cool idea.
Also I have yet to play RDR2 but I think I’ve soured on the Rockstar formula in general. Those games all feel extraordinarily empty to me no matter how much surface detail is put into them, and as both action games and (increasingly) sim/RPGs they pretty uniformly plateau into unbalanced samey experiences with a succession of different wallpapers after about half a dozen hours each.
Damn, Brandon’s Switch sounds fucked up - I’ve never had that kind of input problem with mine, and I play games regularly with my friend who’s a fighting game freak (so I would definitely trust him to notice laggy inputs). I do share the experience of gradually realizing it’s not a platform for action games though (or at least action games originally developed for higher-spec hardware). I’m sure when that Switch 2 comes out, though… the one that they’ll definitely announce this year… yeah…
LOLing and nodding my head at Tim describing how the big mind-blow in finally playing Tokimeki Memorial was realizing how influential it was on other milestone games - that’s always such a cool feeling. A couple times in just the last month I saw some less-remembered films from the 1930s and 40s with very specific elements that I realized as soon as I saw them had directly influenced Paul Schrader and Martin Scorsese in Taxi Driver (and at the end of last year I saw Pickpocket for the first time and discovered the genesis of Schrader’s entire career) so those were really fun “Eureka” moments that I then ofc had to tell all my friends and family about. (One of those secret influences, btw, is a Chuck Jones Looney Tune about a sociopathic dog who tries to assassinate FDR’s terrier!)
I think my take on New Vegas is that the one thing holding it back from greatness is being built on the skeleton of Fallout 3 lol. But then I played the Xbox version and not whatever the latest wizardry is that modders may have done with it… still though, wouldn’t mind a remaster/remake of that one?