Ep. 132 - Jinn Quest

Everybody‘s played Journey. You’ve played Journey.

The Fine Line Between 'Yes, And' and 'Yeah, Actually'. Music 'Title Theme' From Bashi Bazook and 'Vecanti' from Valis IV.

**Questions this week:**

  • 1. What would it take to get you actually excited about a new console? (05:10)
  • 2. This week an English fan translation was released for LSD dream emulator. What is this game and how do you play it? (11:55)
  • 3. Hideo Kojima fans often praise the themes for his games for their uncanny predictive powers. What makes his games so apparently prescient? (18:15)
  • 4. What are the qualities of a Valis-like? (24:28)
  • 5. Improv-zone. Frank, you are Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser at your first share holder meeting. You are desperately attempting to earn the faith of Tim and Brandon, who each suspect you be the actual King Bowser. (31:30)
  • 6. Patron question: What 2D game is closest to the Yakuza series? (39:42)
  • 7. What’s the best bootleg video game merchandise you’ve seen in the wild? (46:08)
  • 8. Have video games ever been worse for taking player feedback to heart? (52:41)
  • 9. What is the Olive Garden of video games? (58:45)
  • 10. If you were given unlimited funds to develop a video game, and you had to prove all the funds were being used on the video game, how would you exploit that resource to help as many people as possible? (1:04:30)
  • LIGHTNING ROUND: SLOGAN SLINGING (1:08:30)

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    Ayyyy

    So Tim says in the ep that Yakuza didn't really have a pitch, and Frank expands on that saying that no pitch could have contained all of the actual elements that ended up in the game, and that sounds right to me

    But funny thing happened literally yesterday I found [this Games Radar post](https://www.gamesradar.com/from-shenmue-to-yakuza-toshihiro-nagoshi-looks-back-on-an-illustrious-career-of-japanese-game-development/2/) from 2018 that I think is pulling from Nagoshi's columns in Edge where he talks about the most basic idea he had for the game and then pitching it multiple times at Sega, as well as pitching it to Microsoft and Nintendo, before Sega did finally approve it under the new Sammy management (Luke Plunkett at Kotaku also references Edge interview with pitches to multiple companies [in an interview in Edge earlier in 2018](https://kotaku.com/yakuza-was-also-pitched-to-nintendo-microsoft-1828318462), maybe it was all from that article?)

    Which really makes me wonder, what exactly was in all of those pitches !?

    For some extra BTW, I found that Games Radar article cuz started Googling to find any documentation I could to support that idea that's been floating around (and that I at some point absorbed myself) that Yakuza is a spiritual successor to Shenmue, but started making less sense to me once I started to consider that there's now currently Shenmue sequels being made, but that was probably already pretty clear to y'all already

    Also, a bunch of homies here in NYC have been posting pictures on Instagram of an extremely homemade-looking sign hanging outside the Times Square Olive Garden letting people know they're doing take-out, it's like neon green spray paint on a sheet that they've fastened to some scaffolding, and it is very amusing. Nothing is coming up in Google search but I'm a post a photo if I can find one because it looks very cool

    Also also, I've heard about friends of friends going there ironically and making fun of other people just out for a meal to enjoy themselves and it still pisses me off. I could go on for days about terrible classism in NYC, but I still agree with Tim that it is confounding that people go there over other options only blocks away that are very old, family-owned businesses that are at least as good and only a little more expensive... I mean I would certainly recommend those other places over the Olive Garden if someone is trying to eat Italian food in Times Square but it's straight up mean to think of people as lesser-than just because they go to the Olive Garden. In fact, besides having extremely high revenue, I also really like[ this profile of a bartender](https://punchdrink.com/articles/olive-garden-times-square-bartender-chanta-hunter-presides/) there by drinks writer Robert Simonson that supports the idea that this place is somewhat unique. The impression I get is that this particular Olive Garden has turned itself into that unlikely thing, the individual location of a chain that is itself an institution

    Which I don't think conflicts with Frank's criticism of Assassin's Creed and the modern Ubisoft approach to the series, because the general assessment of Olive Garden's relationship to "authentic" (or authentic(!)) Italian food still stands

    Anyways yeah this one really hit a lot of major points of interest for myself. I wasn't aware of the pod during the first run, I didn't pay attention to any podcasts during that time at all, but I'm glad y'all are back !

    >

    @SmallPall#1479 For some extra BTW, I found that Games Radar article cuz started Googling to find any documentation I could to support that idea that’s been floating around (and that I at some point absorbed myself) that Yakuza is a spiritual successor to Shenmue

    That’s a weird idea. I don’t see the connection at all? RGG/Yakuza is a spiritual successor to SpikeOut, if anything. The first game shares some battle animations with SpikeOut, and some of the key members of SpikeOut worked on the first RGG (Nagoshi included).

    https://youtu.be/cnW5rZYQMX8

    Spike Out!!!

    Anyway that's interesting about the pitch thing, there might be an opportunity for tim and me to talk to Nagoshi in the future about the Yakuza series, so we can get to the bottom of what was in that pitch. I didn't agree with the idea that the game was unpitchable, but we were at the buzzer and I didn't think it would be that useful a discussion - I think enough of the language was there ("beat-em-up with a persona-like open world, but 3D, and more of it").

    Anyway welcome, and I do hope that the podcast continues to inspire exactly what happened here - we talk about stuff for a bit and it inspires people to think about it even more. None of us know these questions in advance, though sometimes they're taken from things we've been talking about recently, so it's a marvel we say anything at all heh.

    @chazumaru#1480


    >

    That’s a weird idea. I don’t see the connection at all? RGG/Yakuza is a spiritual successor to SpikeOut, if anything. The first game shares some battle animations with SpikeOut, and some of the key members of SpikeOut worked on the first RGG (Nagoshi included).

    Heh that makes a lot of sense especially re: the combat and I could easily see that would be how the meetings actually went down at the time, and I didn't know about SpikeOut at all before, that looks rad AF, love Sega arcade games from then! I think that besides Nagoshi, the other thing comes from more about the other two series giving players relatively detailed depictions of real places or fictional analogues of real places that you get to hang out in, and a general audience hunger for the "spritual successor" narrative regardless of it is actually applicable. I wanted to see if there were any statements from the designers themselves, especially contemporary (circa 2005) if possible, but I've only found recent kind of sideways comments from Suzuki about the relationship and don't really want to pursue it any further without some kind of primary documentation

    @exodus#1485
    I feel you re: the pitch re: the basic elements of Yakuza, but so much of the series is the weird vibey parts in minigames etc and I mean I guess that could've been in the pitch but I feel like if I was trying to make a sale in that somewhat iffy time for Sega I would probably leave that shit out? I forget how much of that is in the first game so maybe they played it more safe at that point anywho. That'd be extremely cool if y'all can ask Nagoshi about it tho!

    I do feel like you could pitch the hangout vibey stuff with persona in mind, but there weren't many other games doing it. My guess is mentioning Shenmue might have been a project killer rather than a boon, considering it cost them a huge amount of money they never made back. Yakuza was probably a big risk at the time!

    I'd especially like to ask to what extent asset reuse was part of the pitch for the sequel - I (obviously) am in favor of intelligent asset reuse and I imagine it kept costs way down, but!! I have only played the remakes, so I don't know to what extent they actually did this from RGG1->2 for example.

    What would it take to get you actually excited about a new console?

    Ah jeez, I am feelin the new console malaise. Personally a Gran Turismo and The Last Guardian were the reasons I got a PS4, and I don‘t see any games coming out that are going to give me the same enthusiasm. If they announced Gran Turismo for the PS5, and it has the content similar to 5 and 6. that’s probably going to get me to buy it. If it‘s got the same content of Gran Turismo Sport does (which is admittedly kind of limited compared to past GT games) I’m probably not gonna bother.

    I love RGG but as far as asset reuse goes, after 10 games I don't ever want to see Kamurocho again.

    The only sort of console that would excite me is enhanced re-release of an old console. With the popularity of the mini consoles I want someone to take it a bit further.

    For example, a PS2 that came with a inbuilt hard drive, and a few games out of the box, but it could connect to a online store where you could buy any game that publishers want to sell for about $10. It wouldn‘t be emulating but running off the console’s hardware. It would also be able to connect to original controllers, memory cards and maybe even discs.

    I mainly want this so I dont have to deal with the resale markets, but it'd also be cool to see new games being developed for older consoles.

    Ah, quite a specific case there! I think most console makers are happy to emulate, and all the mini consoles are more or less doing that as well - but an fpga hardware with some sort of store skin around it would be interesting. Not sure how you‘d get the original hardware to interact with it, but it’s a fun idea!

    @beets#1681 I think having this sort of backwards compatibility on a mini would be phenomenal, a huge boon to all the folks that already invested in the odingal system‘s library.

    I don’t understand how the minis that have come out so far all fail to have any online store/ability to purchase additional games. The playstation classic especially would get some mileage out of being able to load your psn purchased games. But hey, why do that when you can launch 20 mediocre titles with hardcoded emulation settings?