Ep. 255 - It's Boss Time Now, with John Learned

### Ep. 255 - It's Boss Time Now, with John Learned

[Game annotater](https://www.youtube.com/user/admissionsjohn) and journalist [John Learned](https://twitter.com/john_learned) joins the panel to cover dead babies, doing a Batman, and Mr. Bones and me. Hosted by Alex Jaffe, with Frank Cifaldi, Brandon Sheffield, and John Learned. Edited by Esper Quinn, original music by Kurt Feldman.


**Questions this week:**

  • 1. What’d you think of Return to Monkey Island, Frank? (04:57)
  • 2. What have been the most significant improvements to the Metroidvania format since Symphony of the Night? (11:30)
  • 3. How many fighters should be in a fighting game? (16:53)
  • 4. What’s the best use of a musical instrument in a non-music based video game? (21:53)
  • 5. What job in the video game industry are you not qualified for, but could do an okay job at anyway? (27:14)
  • 6. Spencer’s Gifts asks: Are lost memories a compelling story device? (35:27)
  • 7. Violence Island Season 2 (41:37)
  • 8. Other than an achievement or trophy, what’s the best way to reward a player for 100% completion in a video game? (58:00)
  • **LIGHTNING ROUND**: Pull Quotes (01:03:30)

    Recommendations and Outro (01:08:19)


  • - [Alexey Pajitnov](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexey_Pajitnov)
  • - [Street Fighter series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/street-fighter-series)
  • - [Legend of Zelda series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/legend-of-zelda-series)
  • - [Perry Mason](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050051/)
  • - [Asuka 120% series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/asuka-120-series)
  • - [Radiant Silvergun](https://www.mobygames.com/game/radiant-silvergun)
  • - [Perry Farrell](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Farrell)
  • - [Demon's Souls](https://www.mobygames.com/game/ps3/demons-souls)
  • - [Dark Souls series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/dark-souls-series)
  • - [Return to Monkey Island](https://www.mobygames.com/game/return-to-monkey-island)
  • - [Monkey Island series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/monkey-island-series)
  • - [Castlevania / Akumajō Dracula series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/castlevania-akumaj-dracula-series)
  • - [F.I.S.T.: Forged In Shadow Torch](https://www.mobygames.com/game/fist-forged-in-shadow-torch)
  • - [Chasm](https://www.mobygames.com/game/chasm)
  • - [Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon](https://www.mobygames.com/game/bloodstained-curse-of-the-moon)
  • - [Hollow Knight](https://www.mobygames.com/game/hollow-knight)
  • - [Super Metroid](https://www.mobygames.com/game/super-metroid)
  • - [Yoku's Island Express](https://www.mobygames.com/game/yokus-island-express)
  • - [King of Fighters series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/king-of-fighters-series)
  • - [Tekken series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/tekken-series)
  • - [Skullgirls series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/skullgirls-series)
  • - [Big Band](https://skullgirls.fandom.com/wiki/Big_Band)
  • - [Mr. Bones](https://www.mobygames.com/game/sega-saturn/mr-bones)
  • - [Ninja Baseball Bat Man](https://www.mobygames.com/game/arcade/ninja-baseball-bat-man)
  • - [Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures](https://www.mobygames.com/game/pac-man-2-the-new-adventures)
  • - [Darkstalkers series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/darkstalkers-series)
  • - [Super Mario series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/super-mario-series)
  • - [Mortal Kombat](https://www.mobygames.com/game/mortal-kombat)
  • - [Fatal Fury Special](https://www.mobygames.com/game/fatal-fury-special)
  • - [Windjammers](https://www.mobygames.com/game/windjammers)
  • - [Sunset Riders](https://www.mobygames.com/game/sunset-riders)
  • - [Power Dolls](https://www.mobygames.com/game/power-dolls)
  • - [Vagrant Story](https://www.mobygames.com/game/vagrant-story)
  • - [Final Fantasy series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/final-fantasy-series)
  • - [Dragon Quest III](https://www.mobygames.com/game/dragon-warrior-iii_)
  • - [Deckard Cain](https://diablo.fandom.com/wiki/Deckard_Cain)
  • - [Abel](https://streetfighter.fandom.com/wiki/Abel)
  • - [Marina Liteyears](https://mischiefmakers.fandom.com/wiki/Marina_Liteyears)
  • - [U-1](https://inis.fandom.com/wiki/U-1)
  • - [Yuna](https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Yuna)
  • - [Raidou Kuzunoha XIV](https://megamitensei.fandom.com/wiki/Raidou_Kuzunoha_XIV)
  • - [Captain Marvel](https://marvelvscapcom.fandom.com/wiki/Captain_Marvel)
  • - [Captain Commando](https://capcom.fandom.com/wiki/Captain_Commando_(character))
  • - [Batman: Arkham Knight](https://www.mobygames.com/game/batman-arkham-knight)
  • - [Yakuza / Ryū ga Gotoku series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/yakuza-ry-ga-gotoku-series)
  • - [NieR series](https://www.mobygames.com/game-group/nier-series)
  • - [Stardew Valley](https://www.mobygames.com/game/stardew-valley)
  • **Recommendations:**
    **Brandon:** Buy stuff from Japan right now since the exchange rate is so good, [Cypher (2002](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0284978/)),
    **Frank**: [Beavis and Butt-Head](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt20859904/)
    **John**: [Breaking Bad](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0903747/)
    **Jaffe**: Send proof of new or upgrading Patreon membership to personally choose an obscure video game reference to open a future episode with! [Wishlist Demonschool on Steam by Necrosoft](https://store.steampowered.com/app/1900250/Demonschool/). Check out our sister show, [The Video Game History Hour](https://gamehistory.org/the-video-game-history-hour/). Enjoy the new [action button reviews boku no natsuyasumi](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=779coR-XPTw). Subscribe to [Annotated Games by John Learned](https://www.youtube.com/user/admissionsjohn).

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    As a member of the “young people listening to this” collective, I think I speak for all of us when I say that I like these obscure references to ancient medias; reminds me of watching old Simpsons episodes and knowing that when a joke went over my head, it was probably a reference to something good I could look into later. Do not have a clue what a Perry Mason or Perry Farrell is at the time of writing, but Esper's links have me covered.

    Haven’t finished it yet, but Brandon somehow out-punning Jaffe so far in this episode is very amusing. All that code-switching mind-crunching he mentioned in the last couple episodes must have sharpened the ol’ wit!

    I like that the metroidvania genre was likened to a sport. It's nice that the 2D action-adventure platformer was more or less figured out and has just been continually refined for the last 30 years.

    I would potentially mention the "soulsification" of a lot a games of late where you have to do corpse runs as a possible Innovation. BUT I actually vehemently despise corpse runs in every game, including the souls series, so I it wouldn't be a mechanic implementation or "innovation" that I would applaud...

    _Hollow Knight_ has a really really good map; it's something that made that game more enjoyable to navigate. SotN or _Super Metroid_ with a map where I can put markers on it would only improve them imho.

    [Now that I think about it...](https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/139-shout-room/276)


    @“Catherine”#p87114 Perry Mason or Perry Farrell

    I haven't listened to the show yet, but now I'm very excited to see how these two connect.

    For our listeners who are not 40+, here's a rhyme to help you remember this important difference:


    If the guy is a lawyer on TV, it‘s Perry Mason that you see.

    > If they guy is a singer and is bat-shit crazy, you’re watching Perry Farrell on MTV.

    Hope this helps everyone out.

    When Brandon said give people an NFT I audibly wretched. Knew it was a goof but still. I've already rolled off the 100% train for nearly all games but that would prevent me from ever doing it again.

    I do really love Frank's comment, and I'm going to use it long term of "looking for the end of the rainbow" because at this point the only time I 100% something is because it's something that's narratively interesting and fulfilling and its stuff I would have done regardless of being a reward.

    @“antillese”#p87150 dang I didn‘t know either of these Perrys. Thanks! Haven’t finished the episode yet but I‘m not sure I’ve ever actually parried anything correctly until Dark Souls.

    Brandon wanting more pets and hangout areas in metroidvanias made me immediately think of Unsighted. People should play that if they haven’t!!

    @“citrusity”#p87114 I always feel a little silly linking to the Mobygames “Super Mario Series” page, but one of the first things I wanted to do when I started editing was make this (sometimes very arcane) show as accessible as possible. glad it helps!! :3

    @“connierad”#p87162 the pressure of everybody turning into an enemy makes it not relaxing for me though ;_;

    I hadn‘t had this experience with it before but Violence Island sure sounds like straight up nonsense when you don’t know anything about any of the characters involved

    I think Marina would pretty much win all of them, since she can also just block or grab long distance energy attacks, and sometimes even shake them to power them up and throw them back! One fight was going up against a weird being that throws Concepts at you. She can grab those too. Doesn't matter the speed or strength, in the game, if you time it just right she can grab it and toss it. She wins!

    Way to go, Marina!

    I wouldn't necessarily call it an overall improvement but one of the more substantial advancements in metroidvania dev has been the adoption of procedurally-generated maps and other similar elements like randomisers.

    Toki Tori 2 could be described as a no-combat metroidvania—your only moves are whistle and stomp, and progression is gated by your own understanding of how they affect the environment rather than any explicit upgrades—but is a game without explicit key-and-lock progression and a performative real-time action element really a metroidvania? Do I actually want to have this discussion? Why am I posting questions I can just not post?


    I can't believe Jaffe let a Marvel character win. Marina would shake-shake Captain Marvel until her neck snapped.

    Re: fighting game rosters. Street Fighter V launched with 16 characters which was only disappointing for people because it paled in comparison to what Street Fighter IV eventually became once it had its final roster (44 characters). I remember dropping off hard from that game because there was so little to do.

    Separately I remember the first time I played KoF 2002 and CVS2 and being genuinely overwhelmed by the number of characters they had, especially as I was much less familiar with SNK properties at the time. I guess that's since been dwarfed by the Switch Smash Bros which launched with more than 70 characters and got a dozen more through DLC and I wonder what ridiculous roster numbers can be realistically achieved given how well documented Sakurai's exhaustion was for that game

    <26m48s> Your guest John is thinking of Lilith’s Gloomy Puppet Show in Vampire Savior, which coincidentally can now be specifically practiced in the brand new free update for Capcom Fighting Collection.


    <40m45s> Hard to openly comment on this without spoiling a few games’ important plot twists but at least a few RPGs toy with the “why don’t I play the original heroes instead?” premise.

    Besides Dragon Quest III (1988) mentioned in the show, two popular examples that come to mind and state their intent from the start are Lufia II (1995) and Langrisser III (1996), which isn’t as much about the "original heroes" as it is about how the titular holy sword Langrisser came to be, a millenium or so before the events of the first game.



    However, I guess this kind of counter-argument is not entirely in spirit with Brandon’s original point. These examples are basically _prequels_, i.e. they take advantage of the mythology set by a previous game to entice its players to find out what Darth Vader was like as a kid. (Or, in the case of DQ3, to give a nice payoff at the end for returning players.)

    My understanding is Brandon was specifically complaining about games, not necessarily having a mythological element to their world setting, but rather hastily evoking an epic backstory in order to support a new adventure when the backstory itself could just as well have been the setting for the game.

    @“chazumaru”#p87229 correct! It‘s a weird and unnecessary device that makes me feel like I’m supposed to be living up to a past story rather than creating a new one.

    @“exodus”#p87171 You can turn that off and there's a lot to like about Unsighted besides that mechanic!