(Might as well) Jump!

Quickie post tonight. Still chugging through Cursed Mountain and Metroid: Other M as my at-home games, with IA/VT Colorful on Vita in my portable slot for lunch breaks and the like.

IA/ VT is pretty brilliant, as an aside. It’s all vocaloid music, so not to everyone’s taste, but it does some really evil stuff with note charts.

Cursed Mountain continues to be almost everything I like in a horror game. It’s not a Fatal Frame game, but it really works the “outsider stumbling in to ancient evil rituals gone wrong” thing well. If it weren’t for the motion control finishing moves, I’d have nothing to kvetch about, and I am a dedicated kvetcher.

Other M also doing very well, though again it’s a game that makes me really wish the Wii had come out with a more conservative controller. If you’ve never played it, you spend most of the time running around with the controller held like a NES d-pad, but frequently need to point the controller at the screen to lock on to things and shoot missiles. I’m maybe a third of the way in and loving most everything about it except the controls.

It does make me really appreciate the Detective Mode/Witcher Sense/Focus Vision mechanic in so many recent games. There’s a lot of getting stuck and not knowing whether I’m supposed to be backtracking or whether I’m just missing the one inconspicuous grate I need to bomb.

It ALSO made me realize something that kind of blew my mind, because I am a big fan of control “language”, if you will, the little things that seem to show up in game after game that make playing newer games easier once you catch on to it once, and I’d never really thought about this particular bit of control language.

That is, the jump button, and the difference between tap-to-jump and tap-and-hold to jump. Both the Mario games I played recently and Other M use tap-and-hold, where the duration the button is held determines the distance or height covered by the jump.

This is VERY weird to me, because I mostly play games where “jump” is a constant regardless of how you press the jump button. It’s taking a huge effort to unlearn that, and I’m pretty sure that watching me run Samus around and fall off things would be a painful sight for anyone more tuned-in to how jumping works.

I’m kind of wondering if the difference can be traced back to a particular evolutionary branch. Probably a topic for smarter people than me, though.

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8 Responses to (Might as well) Jump!

  1. Geddy says:

    I loved Hatsune Miku and, as a white dude in his 30s, this says a lot about the fun factor of the games. I wondered about IA/VT Colorful, as the music seems awesome but it’s import only. Is it easily playable without being able to read Japanese? Obviously I’m a-OK with the vocaloid music being in Japanese from playing HM, but how’s this one play? Easy to navigate menus and stuff?

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    • baudattitude says:

      I’d say it’s one of the more English-friendly games for the system. The menus are all in English, and the game play works the same in any language. It’s kind of similar to the Idolmaster: Shiny Festa games, with notes heading towards a (generally) stationary target along rails, rather than the Miku games, where each note has its own target.

      The only things that are going to be confusing are the unlocks – as you unlock new songs and costumes, you may not know WHAT you’re unlocking, just that something unlocked. There are also a pair of challenge modes where the objectives are going to be in Japanese but will probably be pretty easy to figure out since they’re usually just “get a B rank or better on this song while getting at least 50 COOL notes” or similar. You can completely ignore the challenge modes, of course, they’re off to the side of the Free Play mode which is where you’re likely to spend 90% of the time.

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  2. Pete Davison says:

    I’m the opposite with jump controls, I much prefer the additional control that tap-and-hold to jump provides, and find myself really struggling with games that have constant jump heights or inflexible jumping (the original Castlevania’s inability to control yourself in the air really throws me off, for example). It’s almost certainly due to what kind of things were your formative gaming experiences.

    The Wii is such a funny old beast. There are a few games where the Wiimote controls are well implemented — the best example I can think of is probably Pandora’s Tower, where the physicality of pulling chunks off the monsters with your chain was emphasised through the motion controls — but likewise plenty of others where I find myself reaching for the Classic Controller where possible… and silently cursing the developers if it is not possible! 🙂

    Still a vastly underrated console in terms of interesting “core” games, though. I have Cursed Mountain in my own library, but am yet to give it a go. Very curious to, though.

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    • baudattitude says:

      I think you’re on to something there – the formative games-with-jumping for me are almost certainly Ladder (1982) and Jumpman (1983) so I will need to load those up and see which scheme they used. Ladder in particular had mid-air jump cancelling that completely dropped all forward momentum, so you went straight down. Not the most realistic physics. 🙂

      Pandora’s Tower is one of my last 10 Wii games, so I’ll get to see what you mean pretty soon! That one actually has Classic Controller support, and I’d planned to play it that way, but I’ll at least give the motion controls a shot on your recommendation – it sounds like it may be similar to Oneechanbara’s motion controls, which were pretty good.

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      • Pete Davison says:

        I’d definitely recommend using the Wiimote. Besides the waggle, it’s also much easier to aim the chain to grapple on to things. One of the few games I’d recommend Wiimote over anything else.

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      • Pete Davison says:

        Previous reply was on a phone so a bit hasty! Allow me to elabtorate a bit on some other points while I have a bit more time 🙂

        Ladder and Jumpman, heh. Never played the former (though interestingly enough, I have seen it mentioned a few times recently by a couple of YouTubers I watch) but I had Jumpman Junior on my Atari 8-bit as a kid, along with a few other similar games like Mr Robot’s Robot Factory and Miner 2049’er.

        I was never very good at platform games on home computers for some reason; it wasn’t until I got a SNES with Super Mario World that I developed a real appreciation for the genre. I wonder if this was due to the disparity in jump controls we’ve been talking about, or just due to my childish (and dyspraxic) reflexes not being up to the task at the time!

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      • baudattitude says:

        I had a 130XE in High School, and I couldn’t afford a disk drive with it, so for the first few months I had exactly two cartridges – Miner 2049er and Pac-Man. In theory, this should have resulted in me turning in to an expert at one or the other, but I don’t recall it working out that way. Still, fond memories. 🙂

        Interesting to hear that Ladder is remembered. I think it only ever came out for the Kaypro CP/M machines, and those weren’t exactly everyday household items – I only got to use one because it belonged to a friend’s father. Then, after we wore out the space bar playing games on it, he got his own computer (an 800XL) and we were banished from the serious work computer.

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      • Pete Davison says:

        I came across Ladder via Lazy Game Reviews on YouTube (one of a few YouTubers I can tolerate, largely because he does well researched work without any sort of clickbait, it’s just pure passion) and yeah, I think you’re right, it was a Kaypro game.

        I grew up with Atari 8-bit. We had a 400 upgraded with typewriter keys and a mighty 16kb of RAM, then an 800xl, then a 130xe. (and onward to the ST after that!) I have an 800xl of my own now, with our old 1050 disk drive and our mountain of pirated games, but I’d still like to get my hands on the rest of the stuff my folks still have in their loft 🙂

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