Ep. 245 - Romancing the Three Kingdoms

### Ep. 245 - Romancing the Three Kingdoms

Even Hollywood Florida can’t keep Alex Jaffe from asking the panel about Nobunaga’s Position, The Zorro Theorem, and Jonk Bonk. Hosted by Alex Jaffe, with Frank Cifaldi, Tim Rogers, and Brandon Sheffield. Edited by Esper Quinn, original music by Kurt Feldman.


**Questions this week:**

  • 1. What’s up with that Vice article about Embracer Group making a game archive? (04:47)
  • 2. What are your favorite kinds of puzzles in video games? (12:34)
  • 3. How would you design a new spinoff of Koei’s Romance of the Three Kingdom’s series? (19:28)
  • 4. When does a game need a remake? (23:16)
  • 5. Which four video games would you buy for each of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? (28:57)
  • 6. Le Fish asks: What would the title, plot, and promotional tagline of a Bonk movie be? (34:43)
  • 7. Is it always more exciting to play offense than defense? (41:02)
  • 8. Do you have any recurring intrusive video game memories? (43:35)
  • 9. What is The Orville of video games? (47:44)
  • **LIGHTNING ROUND:** Famicom Feud – Spike Video Game Awards Celebrity Hosts (53:05)

    Recommendations and Outro (01:09:26)


  • - [Growing strong and healthy…Minmo!](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEkoTeZKdRU)
  • - [Cool World (1992)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104009/)
  • - [Why Is a Game Publisher Trying to Buy Every Video Game Ever Made?](https://www.vice.com/en/article/k7b8wy/why-is-a-game-publisher-trying-to-buy-every-video-game-ever-made)
  • - ['Super Mario 64' sells for over $1.5 million](https://www.cnn.com/style/article/super-mario-auction-video-game-record-scli-intl/index.html)
  • - [Neutopia II](https://www.mobygames.com/game/neutopia-ii)
  • - [Video Game History Foundation](https://gamehistory.org/)
  • - [National Videogame Museum](http://nvmusa.org/)
  • - [Spacewar](https://www.mobygames.com/game/terminal/spacewar___)
  • - [Computer History Museum](https://computerhistory.org/)
  • - [30 Rock](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0496424/)
  • - [Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals](https://www.mobygames.com/game/snes/lufia-ii-rise-of-the-sinistrals)
  • - [Biohazard / Resident Evil series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/biohazard-resident-evil-series)
  • - [Rise of the Tomb Raider](https://www.mobygames.com/game/rise-of-the-tomb-raider)
  • - [Uncharted series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/uncharted-series)
  • - [Shadow of the Tomb Raider](https://www.mobygames.com/game/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider)
  • - [The Last of Us series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/last-of-us-series)
  • - [Hitman series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/hitman-series)
  • - [Romance of the Three Kingdoms series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/romance-of-the-three-kingdoms-series)
  • - [Dynasty Warriors series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/dynasty-warriors-series)
  • - [Angelique Games](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/angelique-games)
  • - [Tokimeki Memorial games](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/tokimeki-memorial-games)
  • - [Nobunaga's Ambition](https://www.mobygames.com/game/nobunagas-ambition)
  • - [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_Mutant_Ninja_Turtles)
  • - [Fortnite: Battle Royale](https://www.mobygames.com/game/fortnite-battle-royale)
  • - [Left 4 Dead series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/left-4-dead-series)
  • - [Back 4 Blood](https://www.mobygames.com/game/back-4-blood)
  • - [American Truck Simulator series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/american-truck-simulator-series)
  • - [Kerbal Space Program](https://www.mobygames.com/game/kerbal-space-program)
  • - [Picross series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/picross-series)
  • - [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge](https://www.mobygames.com/game/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-shredders-revenge)
  • - [Friday the 13th: The Game](https://www.mobygames.com/game/friday-the-13th-the-game)
  • - [Elden Ring](https://www.mobygames.com/game/elden-ring)
  • - [Bloodborne](https://www.mobygames.com/game/bloodborne)
  • - [Bonk series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/bonk-series)
  • - [Encino Man (1992)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104187/)
  • - [Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3794354/)
  • - [Demolition Man (1993)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106697/)
  • - [Evo Moment 37](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evo_Moment_37)
  • - [A Healer Only Lives Twice](https://www.mobygames.com/game/a-healer-only-lives-twice)
  • - [Asuka 120% series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/asuka-120-series)
  • - [Final Fantasy XV](https://www.mobygames.com/game/final-fantasy-xv)
  • - [The Orville](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5691552/)
  • - [Stardew Valley](https://www.mobygames.com/game/stardew-valley)
  • - [Harvest Moon / Story of Seasons series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/harvest-moon-story-of-seasons-series)
  • - [Castlevania / Akumajō Dracula series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/castlevania-akumaj-dracula-series)
  • - [Contra series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/contra-series)
  • - [Mega Man / Rockman series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/mega-man-rockman-series)
  • - [Mighty No. 9](https://www.mobygames.com/game/mighty-no-9_)
  • - [Ted (2012)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1637725/)
  • - [A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2557490/)
  • **Recommendations:**
    **Tim**: Smoke weed every day
    **Frank**: Be by yourself for a little bit
    **Brandon:** [The City of the Dead (1960)](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053719/) specifically for Venetia Stevenson’s performance
    **Jaffe**: [John Adams](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0472027/)

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    @“esper”#p78725 What is The Orville of video games? (47:44)

    If you want to strictly interpret the question to be about imitators surpassing their inspiration, Dragon Ball Fighterz is one of the most obvious recent examples—it effortlessly supplanted the contemporary Marvel vs. Capcom game by offering explicitly MvC-esque gameplay but also, like, care, and a budget.

    If you want to more broadly interpret it as a game that comes across as a parody or otherwise frivolous but is actually executed as deftly as its inspiration... hmm, Freedom Planet, maybe? I'm sure a lot of people reflexively bristle at the thought of such a hearts-on-its-sleeve Sonic-OC fangame, and that many of those people are taken aback by how fun it is when they finally get around to playing it—it scratches itches that 2D Sonic has yet to scratch, and a lot of people would give it the edge over any of the classic 2D Sonic games.


    @“esper”#p78725 Do you have any recurring intrusive video game memories?

    I have 2: the time I was mean to a gamestop cashier about bioshock infinite, and the most horrific instance of school bullying I ever witnessed which was sonic the hedgehog-based

    Frank was robbed,

    Re: puzzles in non-puzzle games. The noted mention of Tomb Raider's puzzles built into the level design are the only explicit ones that I find remotely acceptable, and even then they have to feel seamless and without any additional mechanics. Most puzzles are deeply intrusive the feeling of progression, are often kinetically slow in terms of animations or objects moving around and the ability to instantly reset them feels like potluck; it's often that you can't do them for built in-environment ones and sometimes I feel like I just have to kill my character to reload the environment again.

    However, despite all of the above I think the best puzzles are the ones that players imagine for themselves; min-maxing, how to most quickly finish a stage / game, and so on. I've mentioned this before in the IC Essential game thread but the gambit system combined with the dual-job system in Final Fantasy XII is a wonderful, beautiful puzzle to play with and it has dozens of solutions that reward experimentation and creativity. Crafting a set of gambits to take down either an individual enemy or to take you through the game is a real delight and overcoming the stronger hunts and bosses with a carefully thought out set of auto commands is itself far more rewarding than an arbitrary, explicit in-game puzzle.

    Nobunaga be kissin’

    can you imagine the first mcdonald‘s being relocated to japan? that’d be like if the oreo vault was in norway, or if a species left their continent of origin.

    also, the nobunaga's ambition joke i made a while back:

    Make a mystery game call it Nobunaga's Suspicion

    @“gsk”#p78742 I wonder if people would dispute that marvel vs capcom thing! some folks seem to say MvC 2 is the pinnacle - but I‘m no expert here. there’s a lot of numbers on screen in both games, I know that much.

    @LeFish frank WAS robbed. But yeah those tomb raider ones are like "ooh, time to do a puzzle!" not "dang, now I have to do this puzzle."


    @“esper”#p78725 Famicom Feud – Spike Video Game Awards Celebrity Hosts

    I'm sorry @exodus but that Billy Zane guess made me lol
    [upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/EEI0F1H.png]


    @“exodus”#p78763 I wonder if people would dispute that marvel vs capcom thing! some folks seem to say MvC 2 is the pinnacle - but I’m no expert here. there’s a lot of numbers on screen in both games, I know that much.

    I was referring specifically to Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite, which DBFZ seemed expressly designed to stomp into the dirt.

    DBFZ's by no means perfect and Capcom could regain their audience with a new MvC, but that'd first require them to a) regain the confidence of an audience who hasn't received an unreservedly fun fighting game from Capcom in a decade, b) negotiate a deal with Marvel that lets them cater specifically to the long-established MvC fans rather than running promo for MCU, and c) give it an actual budget.

    In terms of combat mechanics I'd say DBFZ is building off the direction established by MVC2 and MVC3, and Infinite took a decidedly more modern tack that sorted it into a different class entirely, alongside BBTag, both of which would eventually go on to inspire Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid.

    MvC players often find the one they like and stick with it. Few games get anywhere close to contesting MvC2's room for skill expression, so if you've devoted your life to playing Magneto or Sentinel in that game then little else will satisfy. UMvC3 doesn't quite get at those peaks but does get within striking range, and has a much more playable roster, so if you're a fan of Marvel and Capcom IPs together (instead of like, the X-Men), UMvC3 is probably the richest place you'll get to see these characters play together. MvCI has a lot of really cool things going for it -- the infinity stone system had a ton of potential, and the tag system redesign is absolutely fantastic in how it manages to crank up the action while also streamlining the way teams work, but the character selection and awful art doomed it to an ignoble end.

    Anyone who was still playing MVC2 when MVC3 came out likely did not stick to MVC3 for long, because it wasn't what they wanted (which was: more of the same, please, but Better and Newer). I think this is also true for MVC3 to DBFZ as well. Anecdotally, the local UMVC3 scene has minimal overlap with DBFZ, in part because the IPs are different (and IP celebration is a critical part of the appeal of these games), but also because DBFZ's possibility space feels dramatically smaller and flatter than either MVC2 or MVC3. So while DBFZ has certainly won the title for Best Tag Team Fighting Game, it most likely did so with the support of a different audience.

    Personally, I got about 80 hours into DBFZ after years of UMVC3, then I looked at the game and thought to myself "I don't want to do this all again in a game I like less than the game I just did this with." These days I dust off my UMVC3 team once a month at locals and have a blast.


    Do you have any recurring intrusive video game memories?

    At a friend's house (age 12ish) introducing them to SNES Harvest Moon. They're about a year in and get up to use the bathroom, jokingly saying as they leave "Don't touch that game". I lean forward and touch the cart with my pointer finger. The game crashes and when we boot it up all save files have been deleted.

    Great episode!

    2 things:

  • -

    is the music slowed down in this episode? and maybe last week‘s too, i’m not sure?

  • -

    a good puzzle is just about any puzzle in a good game _about_ solving puzzles. i don't get how sticking a puzzle in a game where the real fun isn't solving puzzles will do anything but annoy. that goes for any mechanics, actually.

  • Another really good one! Love the pun titles lately and love that Frank frankly said that there needs to be “another real animal crossing” :star_struck:

    Lots of good stuff like that. Dang Timothy played every single harvest moon?? That’s quite a fair bit

    I wish I could watch Brandon play Bonk so I could see a pro hit all the secrets.

    And every time tim says “iron-clad” I expect it to be a metal wolf chaos reference but I guess not!

    Maybe you could express 1 million ways to die in the west without counting 1 by 1 but instead doing some multiplicative ones like , die to every snake (each one a separate way to die) kind of like 10,000-in-one bootleg famicom carts repeat the same games 100 times.


    @“pasquinelli”#p78814 is the music slowed down in this episode? and maybe last week’s too, i’m not sure?

    turns out my podcast player somehow got set to .95 speed.

    Re: Romancing the Three Kingdoms dating sim. If we‘re to make it M / 18 rated then I propose it’s called…

    ### Romance of the Three King Dongs

    I'm sorry. Thank you.

    It hasn’t been done in the ROT3K^ setting (yet?) but, regarding Frank Cifaldi’s alternative wish to romance Nobunaga, this has already been done in KoeiTecmo’s 下天の華 <Geten no Hana> for the PSP, which RubyParty (Angelique’s studio) developped to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Nobunaga no Yabō in 2013. You play as a young kunoichi (female ninja) who can romance a bunch of Sengoku himbos, including – of course – Nobunaga himself.


    ^ speaking strictly of KoeiTecmo’s _otome_ releases above. There have been a few _otome_ games in the ROT3K setting otherwise, such as Otomate’s 十三支演義 <*Jūzaengi*> and Prototype’s 三国恋戦記 <*Sangokuren Senki*> series.

    When I come to a dungeon with multiple doors I take a deep breath and then anxiously go through each and every door creating a detailed map in my head, become stressed and stop having fun, sometimes back out of doors and am determined to find everything or else I will definitely miss a key item or item that makes the game much better overall. Anxiety is greatly reduced if there's no random encounters.

    One of my favorite puzzles is in Suikoden 2. You're in a cave looking for the Star Dragon Sword and you come across some boulders and some wind. It's like "Oh fack another puzzle!" but then it turns out to be extremely easy. This is the kind of puzzle I like. I think it's gonna be hard, but then It turns out it's not. Good times.

    At one point I heard crickets in the background of Brandon, and for half a minute I thought maybe tim was pulling some soundboard shenanigans on him!

    The biography of John Adams that the HBO series is based on is a good example of a biography failing by being to devoted to admiring the subject. Over the last few years I‘ve read a lot of these biographies about the American Founding Fathers and I got to tell you that the best ones are the ones that are ridiculously exhaustive because, despite the author’s intention to paint these people as heroes, there‘s enough information in there for you to understand the complexity and failings of these people.

    The Jon Meacham biography of Thomas Jefferson is maybe the worst example of this. It’s also so myopically fixated on showing Jefferson as a heroic genius who singlehandedly built the nation that it actually makes it very difficult to understand the time period.