Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Series VII, bad Dwarf but good comedy tv?

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  • #5814
    Tonguetied
    Participant

    I’ve been watching Red Dwarf VII recently and although in the past I had been an avid supporter of the series, I found myself not enjoying it as much. I started realizing and buying into why some people don’t actually care for it and why they see it as ‘bad Dwarf’, not up there with the classic series.

    However is VII good television? On it’s own merits is it a good Sitcom or as some woud prefer to call it Sitcom Drama? Compared to say Hyperdrive, do you think it beats the aforementioned show humour wise?

    What do you all think?

    #106338
    ChrisM
    Participant

    It certainly beats Hyperdrive for me. Mind you, I don’t think it’s particularly bad Red Dwarf either.

    #106339
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    I really like Series VII. It’s easy not to like it because it’s so very different from everything that came before it, but it contains some of my favourite Dwarf moments and, being frank, I like the film effect.

    There, I said it.

    #106341
    JamesTC
    Participant

    I don’t really care either way for the film effect. I thought Series VII was good Dwarf but fantastic television though that is because I hold Red Dwarf in such high regard.
    I think at times it is trying a little too hard to be funny culminating in a sketch show as episode 8 but it is still highly entertaining, I’d rather watch Series VII of Dwarf over the best my other favourite shows have to offer.

    #106344
    Bob Loblaw
    Participant

    >I?d rather watch Series VII of Dwarf over the best my other favourite shows have to offer.

    Really? I like VII okay (Kryten’s head explosion was incredibly funny when I was younger) but over the best of Seinfeld, The Simpsons, The West Wing, Battlestar, Arrested etc? Probably not, for me.

    #106345
    JamesTC
    Participant

    Erm, pretty much, maybe I’d rather watch ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ over 3 episodes of VII (the same amount of minutes basically) but that is it.

    #106346
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    I will staunchly defend Series VII. It takes flak because it tried a lot of different stuff, all in one go. A re-jigged cast, new writers, no studio audience during filming, film effect production values, new CGI effects…

    Yeah, sure some stuff didn’t work. The added studio audience laughter occasionally overwhelms dialogue. The CGI has dated horribly (although I still love that one shot of Starbug swooping into camera that they use at the end of the opening credits. Kochanski was not as interesting a character as Rimmer, and his loss certainly hurt the show. The loss of Rob Grant also had a huge impact, and I stand by my opinion that Beyond A Joke is hands down the worst episode of Red Dwarf EVER.

    But…

    Until Back To Earth, Red Dwarf never looked better. There’s some great Red Dwarf moments… the entire teaser of Stoke Me A Clipper, Lister replacing Kryten’s head in Tikka, great little character moments in Blue and Duct Soup… I remember Epideme just had me on the edge of my seat for the whole episode… the feeling of triumph when they finally found the Dwarf and Holly…

    Does it work as traditional sitcom? I’m going to say no… but it’s not quite got to the comedy drama stage either. It’s in a weird sort of limbo in that respect… but it’s still funny. Certainly funnier than Hyperdrive.

    Is it funnier, or as consistently funny as earlier Dwarf? No, but when it hits, it hits hard – the Munchkin song, Ace Rimmer’s escape, Lister’s arm removal, protocol-free Kryten. And when humour lacks it makes up for it with deeper character moments.

    Is it funnier than Series VIII? Again, no. But Series VIII’s humour was not as clever or as witty as anything before it, relying more on crap puns, poorly telegraphed gags, slapstick and toilet humour.

    Series VII arrived after a three gap when a taut, exciting cliffhanger had whipped up fans into a fervour. It was never going to meet expectations – but it does NOT deserve the drubbing it gets by a lot of fans.

    Well, except Beyond a Joke. That DOES deserve a good kicking.

    #106347
    JamesTC
    Participant

    To be fair about the CGI it was not meant to go that way was it? It was all models originally but that all went tits up since they were doing the model filming while they were filming so the couldn’t account for changes in the script and couldn’t film any additional bits.

    Then again the CGI doesn’t really effect the final outcome too much, only a few times does it look really bad, I remember ‘Ouroboros’ having the worst but looking at the time and money available it is a massive accomplishment I think. I could say the same for the entire series though, it is a massive accomplishment under such pressure, same with VIII with the lack of money causing loss of scripts and the need for re-writes to extend episodes and the same with BtE which had a tiny budget.

    #106348
    JamesTC
    Participant

    Oh and I like ‘Beyond a Joke’, I don’t think it is the worst episode of Dwarf, I don’t even think it is the worst in Series VIII

    #106350
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Beyond A Joke is a flawed episode, but there are the tattered remains of an enjoyable show in there if you look hard enough.

    My main gripe with the show is the choice of music they used for when the Simulant is hunting Starbug. It’s far too 90s Amiga for my liking.

    #106367

    > and I stand by my opinion that Beyond A Joke is hands down the worst episode of Red Dwarf EVER.

    No. Though VII is shit.

    #106371
    Rad
    Participant

    Cut out Beyond a Joke and Duct Soup and it would make a very good series of Old Dwarf. Would love to have seen Craig Charles do the Caroline Carmen part in front of a studio audience.

    #106372
    hummingbird
    Participant

    > Series VII, bad Dwarf but good comedy tv?

    No.

    #106381
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    It’s very good telly at times, but it’s far from great comedy. Tikka To Ride is a great episode in spite of not being that funny, though. And I’d take the worst of VII over any of VIII.

    #106382
    Carlito
    Participant

    I think it was too ambitious for the loyal Dwarfers to accept. We were happy with it the way it was; a studio sitcom with a limited budget that made the best of it. Whilst I’m sure I’m about to be informed that the budget wasn’t that much higher – if at all – than earlier seasons, it certainly looked it. And it suddenly felt a little bit less like our little secret show and more like a big mainstream production that everybody was watching.

    That said, would that have really mattered if it was as great as I-VI? It was certainly more dramatic in places, and sometimes felt a bit flat. Tikka to Ride was a great opening episode which gave me really high hopes for the series. The opening of Stoke Me A Clipper was brilliant, but went kinda downhill… to me, it didn’t feel like the right way to write Rimmer out. It didn’t have the poignancy of Holoship, when it first appeared Rimmer was leaving the crew. Also the blue screen shots during the Ace training looked terrible.

    My problem with the series really started when Kochanski was introduced. There’s always the acceptance period when a role is recast anyway, but when the character is so different from the original – and so whinging and unlikable – how could that do anything but upset the balance of the show? Now Lister isn’t Lister, he’s a lovesick puppy trying to be mature and sensible. Kryten isn’t Kryten, he’s a jealous insecure Machiavellian grump. Cat isn’t.. anything, really. He’s just there.

    Duct Soup could have been a classic from the mould of Marooned, but instead was just really boring. Blue was strange, it didn’t really have much of a plot, more a series of sketches culminating in the overrated Munchkin sequence. I don’t think that Rimmer’s VII appearances post-Stoke were of much impact. It surely would have been better to include an extra full episode of Rimmer with the crew in the second episode slot, and pushed Stoke back to third. His flashback sequences didn’t help to transition the show and still felt like Rimmer-less episodes to me due to his seperation from the plot, meaning that I view VII as having six episodes without my favourite character in the crew.

    Beyond A Joke at least followed the structure and MO of earlier series episodes, even if the execution was less effective. If the Beyond plot had been brought up during series IV-VI, it would have been a much better episode altogether.

    By the time the final two parter rolled around, I had lost a bit of faith in the show to be honest. I still enjoyed it, still watched it and taped it every week, but I wasn’t expecting much and I didn’t get it. Epideme and Nanarchy both had their moments, and I particularly ‘marked out’ when Holly returned and got goosebumps when Red Dwarf loomed into view, but again they were quite flat.

    On the whole, I certainly agree that whilst the lack of a studio audience certainly allowed them to increase the production values and improve the look of the show (from an aesthetic standpoint, even if I personally preferred the old style) it hurt the energy and comic timing of the show. Would series VII hold a much higher standing in the eyes of the fans were it filmed in front of an audience, using the same scripts? I say probably yes. But then there was more location shooting than ever before, meaning less of the show would have taken place in front of an audience anyway, so that could just be a moot point.

    Is it good comedy TV and bad Dwarf? No. It’s okay Dwarf but it doesn’t have the gag count or accessibility to be considered good comedy TV. If I ever turn on Dwarf VII, it’s as a Dwarf fan, not because I need a laugh. If I need a laugh, I’ll watch any other series (including VIII) but not VII.

    For some reason, probably due to the flat energy without the audience, VII doesn’t have the same rewatchability for me. In fact, I noticed recently that as much as I enjoyed it at the time, even Back To Earth suffers from this same flaw. I can watch any other series of RD over and over, but I hesitate to throw VII or BTE in the ole DVD player.

    I think sitcom definitely has a higher rewatch value than drama or comedy drama in general, and Dwarf proves it to me. I-VI and VIII I could watch every day. VII and BTE once in a blue moon. And its probably that rewatch value that created the cult phenomenon of dedicated hardcore RD fans in the first place… if series I had looked like BTE, this site probably wouldn’t exist because the show may not have garnered the same affection and eight series (and counting) would not have been made.

    The show may well have suffered the same fate as Hyperdrivel.

    #106395
    Phil
    Participant

    >?Beyond a Joke?, I don?t think it is the worst episode of Dwarf, I don?t even think it is the worst in Series VIII

    How could it be?

    #106396
    JamesTC
    Participant

    I prefer it to ‘Ouroboros’, ‘Epideme’ and ‘Nanarchy’, not that I don’t like those episodes.

    #106398
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    I think Phil was questioning how Beyond a Joke could ever be the worst in Series VIII, what with it being an episode from Series VII.

    #106399
    Tonguetied
    Participant

    Thanks for all the comments, they seem to be varied which is good. I watched Beyond a Joke last night and I have to say I really enjoyed it, even the scenes with Able. I loved the whole Jane Austin sequence, the way Kryten picks off the sisters is classic. The CGI holds up ok strangely, sure the blur effect can be very noticeable but it isn’t terrible. The odd model shots inserted are a breath of fresh air, I love seeing a model of Starbug with it’s support struts turned up.

    Ouroboros is my favourite of series VII, just because it answers the big question of Lister’s past something which was touched upon in The Last Day. Plus the scene with Rimmer and Lister three million years earlier really reminds me of series 1 and 2 banter between the duo. It really feels like a continuation of the old style Rimmer and Lister’s hawaiian shirt mixed with his leather waist coat seemed like a blending of the earlier series with the later.

    #106403
    Somebody
    Participant

    I prefer Beyond a Joke to Oroborous, because the latter is utter shit on every concievable level that doesn’t involve epileptic fits. It’s a comedy which isn’t funny, a character show with wonky characterisation (introducing a new character in a teeth-grinding way) and makes the idea of Lister chasing after – let alone ever “getting” – Kochanski completely repulsive. (The episode already made you the ultimate inbred hillbilly man, you don’t have to prove it by making it RECURSIVE!)

    Out of 55, it easily ranks as No. 55.

    #106410
    Carlito
    Participant

    But I do like the “it’s an obscene phone call” section.

    Yeah I meant to mention that in my post, and I forgot… Ouroboros. Was not a fan of Lister being his own father. Makes no sense, the reasons behind it were nonsense, it indeed renders Kochanski as his own mother and therefore worst romantic interest in a comedy ever, and its yet another example of the Dwarf crew having the ability to travel through time and space (he ends up back in Liverpool in whatever year it was) which renders their entire journey inexplicable.

    Why do they chose to stay aboard Red Dwarf when they have had so many opportunities to go back to Earth? Was this not the objective of these characters? At some point did they decide ‘meh, screw going back to Earth, lets float around aimlessly forever’? They were on Earth with a time drive in Tikka. They could have simply stayed there and returned to the point Lister left, or even the present day. Who cares about causality when he’s probably the last human alive?

    #106411
    JamesTC
    Participant

    >Why do they chose to stay aboard Red Dwarf when they have had so many opportunities to go back to Earth?

    Because it is fictional.

    #106412
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    The same thing has happened in the show’s past, though. In “Stasis Leak” what’s to stop Lister from staying in the past and trying to get transport back to Earth then? In “Timeslides” why not find a picture of the entire solar system and simply fly Starbug into it and back to Earth?

    #106413
    Andrew
    Participant

    Why doesn’t Lister get back into stasis and travel home in episode two? Hell, why does Holly keep travelling for three million years rather than stop and send out a warning signal? The ‘we can avoid becoming our awful future selves by avoiding time travel’ stuff is arguably better than some of the previous reasons, but they all come down to the same thing – you gotta keep the show going, and that genre convention (like all genre conventions) buys you a certain latitude.

    #106414
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >Why doesn?t Lister get back into stasis and travel home in episode two?

    Because he wants to find out how he ends up with some babies. And by the time he does find out where he gets them from, he wants to end up marrying Kochanski (the answer to “In ?Stasis Leak? what?s to stop Lister from staying in the past and trying to get transport back to Earth then?”)

    >Hell, why does Holly keep travelling for three million years rather than stop and send out a warning signal?

    Because he’s senile and (as per the novels) Red Dwarf isn’t designed to stop. And he does send out a distress signal. It’s at the start of 5 of the 6 episodes of Series 1.

    #106415
    Carlito
    Participant

    Or you could avoid taking your characters down a path which completely undermines their collective objective in the first place.

    When you set their modus operandi as “we’re on a mission to get back to Earth” in episode 1, stop providing them with blatant opportunities to do this unless there is a sensical explanation, whether explicit or implicit, for them not to take advantage of it.

    Yeah, Lister could have made off with a Blue Midget in Stasis Leak, but is he as cold as to abandon the ship and leave the crew die? You could also, at a push, say maybe young Lister didn’t have the common sense capacity to consider the thought, nor the idea to warn the crew of their impending doom. Why does Holly continue travelling rather than send a warning, or even just lead the vessel back to Earth? Perhaps due to his senility; after all, we know he’s senile but we’re only told by an unreliable source (Holly himself) that this is due to the passage of time. For all we know, for a computer with artificial intelligence, the impact of the deaths of the entire crew may have had a psychological impact on him; be it guilt or the sheer horror. Maybe the radiation leak had a physical effect on the mainframe?

    Of course it’s a fictional show, but for a fictional show to maintain the respect of its audience it needs to make sense within the realms of the fictional universe; it needs to have that psychology. You can explain virtually anything away by saying ‘get over it, its fictional’ but that’s hardly the point. If we shouldn’t think too hard about it ‘because its only fictional’ why should we make an emotional investment in it in a show in the first place?

    #106416
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    > Why does Holly continue travelling rather than send a warning, or even just lead the vessel back to Earth?

    Holly is sending a warning – he’s broadcasting an SOS distress call. One could assume he has been doing so for the entirety of the 3,000,000 years Lister was in stasis.

    The novels expand upon Holly’s decision to plot a course out of the solar system a little, as I recall.

    #106417
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Because he wants to find out how he ends up with some babies.

    He doesn’t find that picture until long after he could have returned to stasis. But also, it’s fan theory – it’s not the stated reason in the show. (Or the reason in the books, which apparently we’re counting as the same thing here.) I’m not sure ‘I’m guessing at Lister’s unstated motives between episodes’ is now now the same as ‘Fact: this is why’. There’s more stated on screen for the time drive not being used further than what you’ve described.

    It’s also worth throwing in that Future Echoes wasn’t planned as ep 2. Lister would have had two other stories before FE. Plus it’s not like going into stasis would have prevented the twins future arrival – he’d have been the same age when he stepped out.

    > Because he?s senile and (as per the novels) Red Dwarf isn?t designed to stop.

    He’s not senile when the accident happens. And the SOS is sent three million years after the accident, not when it happens. Which ain’t exactly what you’d call timely.

    #106418
    ChrisM
    Participant

    >And the SOS is sent three million years after the accident

    Sure, but as Ben said:

    > One could assume he has been doing so for the entirety of the 3,000,000 years Lister was in stasis.

    Sure that’s pure fan speculation, but it makes sense that the show broadcasts wouldn’t be Holly’s first from an in-world perspective. If he remembers when he is senile, he’d likely remember to do it when he had all his marbles.

    Also, if we go with the books, apparently Holly apparently launched Red Dwarf’s black box. I think it was mentioned in Being Human, but anyway.

    Of course that doesn’t really explain why he kept on in one direction over 3 million years rather than relying on just the message/black box. My theory is that Holly, even in his intelligent days, isn’t all that big on decisions. Either, why bother with a flight crew at all? He will do what needs to be done to keep everyone safe but the long term decision stuff requires a human presence.

    #106420
    Andrew
    Participant

    The SOS is irrelevant, though – and can’t be used to prove a point of exposition it clearly doesn’t serve beyond, as had been said, fan theory. It doesn’t explain why Holly didn’t park the ship. The SOS isn’t there to reinforce the logic of the premise, it’s there to intro the show. Holly doesn’t park the shop because we wouldn’t have a show without it.

    There’s nothing wrong with admitting to genre conventions. It allows sitcoms to return to status quo each week despite events that should change everything. It’s what makes horror movies work, good as well as bad. It allows for a joke to be spoken when it’s no time for joking. It’s not automatically a failing if you occasionally allow a ‘by’ on the basis of genre.

    #106421
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    I know it’s a moot point, but it’s something that bugged me when i saw it for the first time. In Stasis leak, why not just prevent Rimmer from repairing the Drive Plate, are we assuming it would happen anyway? or that it would create a paradox, or what?

    #106425
    Tarka Dal
    Participant

    Listen to this dude Kris Carter, he knows what he’s talking about.

    #106432
    Dave
    Participant

    > One could assume he has been doing so for the entirety of the 3,000,000 years Lister was in stasis.

    ?This is an SOS distress call from the mining ship Red Dwarf. The crew are dead, killed by a radiation leak. The only survivors were Dave Lister, who is a non-event mass with a quantum probability of zero, and his pregnant cat, who is no longer in my supervision field. Come to think of it I wonder what happened to her? I am Holly, the ship’s computer, with an IQ of 6000 and falling.?

    #106437
    ChrisM
    Participant

    I just noticed: Being Human
    (Obviously I meant Last Human.)

    #106439
    littlesmegger
    Participant

    I personally like all eight original series of Dwarf, and think that the latter two gain far more stick than they deserve.

    Television evolves, and Dwarf managed to change with the times. I guess it’s just that some fans didn’t like the idea of the product trying to change and also expand its audience in the process. Seeing VIII was a semi reset button, there was no point going down the same route the first seven had gone down.

    In some ways I think VIII for Dwarf, is what the Wii is to gaming… it’s more casual, expands the market, and possibly upsets the hardcore.

    Result: You can’t please everyone.

    #106441
    Danny Stephenson
    Keymaster

    I want a Wii, and only to play that disgustingly addictive Boom Blox. And I’ve got John and Tanya to thank for that…

    #106442
    JamesTC
    Participant

    Do you want Series VIII of Red Dwarf?

    #106445
    littlesmegger
    Participant

    >I want a Wii, and only to play that disgustingly addictive Boom Blox.

    That’s one of the few main Wii titles I’m yet to play. Mostly cause it was a title that got average reviews, and yet actual gamers online have said otherwise. So I’m sure I’ll get around to it eventually.

    #106448

    LEGO BATMAN

    That is all.

    #106450
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Yo Super Mario Bros 3, I’m real happy for you, and I’mma let you finish, but Super Mario Galaxy is the greatest Mario game of all time! Of all time!!

    Seriously. I love it. The soundtrack is beautiful, too.

    #106452
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    Super Mario World is better than Mario Bros 3, anyway.

    (can’t comment on Galaxy as I haven’t played it. But SMW is easily the best one that I have played)

    #106453
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Yeah, Super Mario World is better than Super Mario Brothers 3. New Super Mario Bros Wii is only OK in comparison.

    Super Mario Galaxy is superb though and, quite possibly, better. I’d consider myself to be a fairly casual gamer but I’ve played that through twice and will probably do so again in advance of the sequel. It’s obviously better than Sunshine, and slightly better than 64.

    #106461
    Phil
    Participant

    >Super Mario World is better than Mario Bros 3, anyway.

    Word. Probably my favorite 2D platformer ever. I replayed it recently and though it was much easier than I remember it being, it hasn’t lost one ounce of charm.

    SNES games on the whole have aged extremely well, actually. Many NES titles suffer from superhuman difficulty and N64 games tend to bear the scars of yesterday’s-cutting-edge polygon ugliness, but it’s hard to fault the SNES library overall. Great visuals, brilliant soundtracks, egaging gameplay, perfect controls…

    What was this thread about again?

    #106464

    This thread was about something?

    #106465

    Editing this since it posted twice due to my damn slow computer.

    #106466
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    Well, you could have edited it to something!

    #106476
    Somebody
    Participant

    While Galaxy is absolutely, INDISPUTABLY better than the crap that was Sunshine* by leagues, I think 64 still just edges it for me, however dated it might look by now.

    *I think that early-GC period was probably Nintendo’s nadir. I finally played LoZ; Wind Waker a year or so ago, between (GC) TP and the OoT “bonus disc”, and it doesn’t really hold up to either of those games (however cute it may look – and it would have benefited hugely from black outlines if they wanted to cel-shade), being too short and too easy.

    #106477
    Andrew
    Participant

    I played Galaxy for the first time this weekend. It was goooood.

    #106487
    Carlito
    Participant

    >>Super Mario World is better than Mario Bros 3, anyway.
    >Word. Probably my favorite 2D platformer ever.

    I present to you Donkey Kong Country.

    Still amazing, 15 years later.

    #106491

    I’m just going to throw Mario Party out there and see what happens.

    I forgot what number is the Wii one, but I hated it at first though it’s grown on me now.

    #106495
    Phil
    Participant

    >I present to you Donkey Kong Country.

    I’ll be honest…I didn’t enjoy it much at the time. I understand that the graphics were praised for being cutting edge, and maybe they were technically-speaking, but they always looked too muddy and busy for me.

    The gameplay didn’t much make up for it either…collecting bananas and riding on rhinos just felt like the off-brand version of collecting coins and riding on Yoshi.

    I DO admit that blasting from barrel to barrel was a lot of fun, though.

    I’m sure the game had its charms…but it didn’t really do much for me personally. I’d love to give it another spin, though…to see if I’d appreciate it more now…for some reason.

    I will give it another shot at some point, but the odds of it–or anything–unseating Super Mario World are pretty slim.

    #106497
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    The only game that threatens to (and some would say actually does) unseat SMW as best 2D platformer is Sonic 2, clearly.

    #106498
    JamesTC
    Participant

    Sonic 3 and Knuckles.

    #106499
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    Any thread where it is claimed that a 2D Sonic only “threatens” to be better than any Mario game is fundamentally broken.

    #106505
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Haha. My poor fool.

    #106507
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    No, not “Haha”!

    #106508
    John Hoare
    Participant

    I must say, the past two years have been something of an eye-opener with me and Nintendo. I’d easily put Mario’s 2D platformers above Sonic now. They just feel far more relentlessly imaginative.

    But we are pitting great games against other great games here…

    #106517
    Stabbim the Skutter
    Participant

    Super Mario Sunshine gets a lot of flak, and I don’t think it’s fair. It’s the only Mario game that dared to do something different and creative with the series since…well…ever, and I prefer it to the extremely dull, unoriginal and impossible to control monstrosity that is Galaxy any day.

    >>>Super Mario World is better than Mario Bros 3, anyway.
    >>Word. Probably my favorite 2D platformer ever.

    >I present to you Donkey Kong Country.

    I’m not sure if Donkey Kong Country is better than Super Mario World. Donkey Kong Country 2, on the other hand, is an absolute masterpiece. I don’t think any 2D platformer can top it.

    #106523
    Ridley
    Participant

    Donkey Kong Country 2, on the other hand, is an absolute masterpiece. I don?t think any 2D platformer can top it.

    My favourite game of all time.

    and [Wind Waker] would have benefited hugely from black outlines if they wanted to cel-shade

    No it wouldn’t.

    I will give it another shot at some point, but the odds of it?or anything?unseating Super Mario World are pretty slim.

    How close did Yoshi’s Island get?

    I must say, the past two years have been something of an eye-opener with me and Nintendo.

    Why the past two?

    #106527
    John Hoare
    Participant

    Why the past two?

    Because that’s when I got a Wii, and actually played their games. And realised what I’d been missing all this time. (Come to think of it, it’s three years now…) If only I’d had one of their consoles before!

    #106529
    Carlito
    Participant

    > I?m not sure if Donkey Kong Country is better than Super Mario World. Donkey Kong Country 2, on the other hand, is an absolute masterpiece. I don?t think any 2D platformer can top it.

    Agreed, I should have specified that I didn’t mean that game specifically but the series. Saying that, the first DKC game is far more atmospheric and has better music… but the gameplay of the second one is fantastic, the whole experience… the third one is the weakest of the lot, seemed designed to cater to kids only.

    #106540
    Kris Carter
    Participant

    Thread derailed epically! Free rum for all!

    #106546
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    > I prefer it to the extremely dull, unoriginal and impossible to control monstrosity that is Galaxy any day.

    You’re a mad man. Galaxy is perfection.

    #106548
    ori-STUDFARM
    Participant

    I liked the Mario cartoon

    #106556
    John Hoare
    Participant

    > I prefer it to the extremely dull, unoriginal and impossible to control monstrosity that is Galaxy any day.

    You?re a mad man. Galaxy is perfection.

    Concurred. And I thought the controls were perfect.

    Also, if anything, rather than being unoriginal, I thought Galaxy kept throwing too much new stuff at you – there were plenty of game mechanics (Boo suit, for instance) that I would have liked to have seen far more of.

    #106559
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    On the other hand, Spring Mario can fuck right off.

    #106560
    Somebody
    Participant

    And the camera could have used some tweaking (or at least a freer manual override).

    #106562
    John Hoare
    Participant

    Never really had a problem with the camera (Luigi’s Purple Coins aside, perhaps). Mario 64 on the other hand…

    I do seem to be the only person on the entire internet who liked Spring Mario!

    #106574
    Tonguetied
    Participant

    I quite liked the idea of Spring Mario too, plus the Mario Bros cartoon that Ori-studfarm mentioned was one of my favourite cartoons when I was younger. I liked how the latter cartoon was based on Super Mario World(my favourite Mario title).

    #106575
    Stabbim the Skutter
    Participant

    > And the camera could have used some tweaking (or at least a freer manual override).

    This is where my problem with the controls lies. In Mario 64 you can move the camera around a little bit, but it’s still a bit stiff. In Sunshine you can move it around as much as you like. In Galaxy you have literally no control over the camera, which darts around all over the place as it pleases. This + camera-relative control + being able to walk on the walls and ceiling = clusterfuck.

    I’ll admit that Sunshine isn’t perfect (the second half of the game is a bit dull and the final “level” and “boss” “fight” is a disgrace) but every time I play it it sucks me in just like the 2D games do. But whenever I get Galaxy out I simply do not want to play it. I have to force myself into it, and I occasionally enjoy bits here and there, but on the whole it just doesn’t interest me.

    #106582
    Andrew
    Participant

    > In Galaxy you have literally no control over the camera, which darts around all over the place as it pleases.

    I’m a constant camera fiddler. Controlling the viewing angle has become a horrible constant in my 360 gaming. I can’t drive around in BTA without perpetually holding the stick to raise the camera high enough to improve my viewing angle of the road ahead.

    And I gotta say, I shook that instinct off very quickly when playing Galaxy.

    Now, I’m not a big Nintendo gamer, so it’s no like I really had any idea what to expect, but – in a world where NOBODY seems to have nailed a way to make a third person camera work perfectly in a 3D environment – I was amazed how quickly I just…let go.

    While it’s not close to 100% perfect, I’m not sure I’ve got many examples of the camera placement being BETTER. Certainly it never felt that the camera was going wherever it pleased. And I have to say, it’s probably the most chilled gaming I’ve done in a long time, while still being exciting and fun.

    #106589
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    > In Galaxy you have literally no control over the camera, which darts around all over the place as it pleases. This + camera-relative control + being able to walk on the walls and ceiling = clusterfuck.

    #106597
    Somebody
    Participant

    > I?ll admit that Sunshine isn?t perfect (the second half of the game is a bit dull and the final ?level? and ?boss? ?fight? is a disgrace) but every time I play it it sucks me in just like the 2D games do. But whenever I get Galaxy out I simply do not want to play it. I have to force myself into it, and I occasionally enjoy bits here and there, but on the whole it just doesn?t interest me.

    See, Sunshine is the only one of the three 3D Marios that I haven’t played to the end – I got 70 stars (EDIT: Sorry, “shines”…), did the ludicrously easy Bowser fight, and put my GC away for a few years. My reaction to it is almost an exact copy of yours to Galaxy, for reasons including but not limited to the fact that it was too easy; that the FLUDD mechanism wasn’t a good idea to start with, then was horribly overused on top of that (and resulted in many of the basic moves of 64 being removed, most of which were reinstated in some form for Galaxy); that the game patronised you (remember the “BRUSH YOUR TEETH” prompt from FLUDD?!) and that there was so very little variety to the levels

    [And I would love to personally thank whoever made the decision to cut the voiced content right, right back for Galaxy. Those cutscenes were truly awful, and I think I timed the opening, non-skippable cutscene at something ridiculous like ten minutes before you could properly get going.]

    > http://stuff.benpaddon.com/images/wiimote-smgcamera.png

    Very often, though (and, unlike Stabbim, note that I said a “freer manual override” before I go any further), using the + just brings up a “nope” pictogram, even for a first-person look around [though, irritatingly, sometimes if you move just a teeny bit that’ll work, but far from all the time]. Even Mario 64 gave you more control than that (by trying one of the alternate camera modes, if nothing else).

    #106598
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    There are areas in SM64 that are camera-locked as well, y’know. I didn’t feel that the camera in SMG was any more or less difficult to use than the one in SM64. Most of the confusion I felt was when you found yourself on the bottom of a planet, but that was only for the first level or two and once I’d wrapped my head around the game physics I didn’t have any problems with it.

    #106604

    The DS version of SM64 is ace, my sister tells me.

    #106609
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Yeah, the controls aren’t as good as the N64 controller but they’re good enough. It has probably the best implementation of “bottom screen is analog controller” I’ve seen in a 3D platformer on the DS. It does handle better, though, if you have the thumb strap that came with the original fatty DS.

    #106629
    redhead85
    Participant

    > I?m a constant camera fiddler.

    I thought the police had asked you to remove those dirty vids of yours from You Tube, Mr Ellard…?

    #106633
    John Hoare
    Participant

    I *hate* having to control the camera in games. I want to concentrate on moving the character, not fucking around with the viewing angle.

    #106635
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    In the GameCube version of Twilight Princess, I took to using the camera to steer Link, and the other night while I was playing Rayman 2: Revolution I realised I was doing the same thing there, too.

    #106636
    Somebody
    Participant

    I did the same thing. It’s a logical extension of “trying to keep the camera behind you” (which, nine times out of ten, is where you want it in an open environment).

    #106638
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    And this is why I play first-person games and not third-person games.

    #106642
    John Hoare
    Participant

    And this is why I play first-person games and not third-person games.

    You’re missing out on so many great games if you’re too strict with that, though!

    #106644
    JamesTC
    Participant

    2 out of my three favourite games are third person, it is only specific games I have a problem with the camera.
    Can’t beat a bit of Crackdown and Metal Gear Solid.

    #106646
    Phil
    Participant

    >> And this is why I play first-person games and not third-person games.

    >You?re missing out on so many great games if you?re too strict with that, though!

    Such as…nearly all of them.

    #106648
    ChrisM
    Participant

    Yeah. I generally prefer third person to first person games. I have a tendency to get more disoriented with first person games. Besides it’s cool seeing your character do stuff!

    That being said 1st person games have their place, and there are some good ones out there.

    #106673
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    I’m not saying I don’t play third-person games at all, obviously. I just find having to control an entirely external camera along with your player’s movement intensely irritating. Not least when your character GETS IN THE WAY OF YOU BEING ABLE TO SEE WHAT’S ONSCREEN.

    It’s a PC vs console thing, basically. Historically, consoles have tended to do third-person games because they can’t really “do” FPS as well. And I’m a PC gamer, not a console gamer, so first-person is what I’m used to. Plus, it’s far more immersive.

    Not sure I appreciate the patronising suggestion that “first person games have their place”, though, and I’d say a hearty BOLLOCKS to the suggestion that “nearly all” of the best action/shooter games are third-person. Half Life 1&2, DOOM 1&2, Duke Nukem 3D, Goldeneye, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Unreal Tournament, Quake, Quake II, Team Fortress 2 and a shitload of others would disagree with you.

    #106675
    Andrew
    Participant

    > consoles have tended to do third-person games because they can?t really ?do? FPS as well

    ?!?!?!?!

    You don’t mean NOW, right? You mean, like, two generations ago or something. Right? RIGHT?!

    #106677
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    Well, I still mean now to an *extent*. Twin joysticks will never, EVER compete with WASD+mouse as a control system, and no current console is as powerful as a decent-spec gaming rig, and the fact that third-person games are still so prevalent suggests that they’re a preferred option for people programming for consoles.

    However, you’ll note that I did use the word “Historically”, which you conveniently and rather selectively excluded when quoting me! And my basic point was – the PlayStation couldn’t do the 3D FPSes of the time, so they got Tomb Raider instead, and that’s what basically kicked off the whole third-person-action game genre.

    #106678
    Andrew
    Participant

    > I did use the word ?Historically?, which you conveniently and rather selectively excluded when quoting me!

    No selectiveness at all – indeed, my question was meant to get to the nub of HOW historical you meant by ‘historical’!

    Blimey, Seb…

    #106679
    Andrew
    Participant

    > Twin joysticks will never, EVER compete with WASD+mouse as a control system

    This, though, is a matter of opinion, surely? I bloody hate using a keyboard for gaming, despite growing up in a pre-console home of ZX Spectrums and then Amigas. I wouldn’t say the comfy, sit-back choice of a wireless controller can’t compete with sitting at a desk.

    Though I’d be more likely to game at the desk if I had a thumbstick-y controller…

    > the fact that third-person games are still so prevalent suggests that they?re a preferred option for people programming for consoles

    Really? I have zero stats on this, but it never seems to me that it’s being avoided – I’ve certainly never felt that FPS ‘doesn’t work’ on a console, or that the discovery of Halo as the old Xbox’s ‘killer app’ was remotely surprising for the format.

    Are there more licensed games for console than PC? (I have no idea.) Seeing the main character is a big deal in that instance – Batman or Buffy or whatever – as well as for the more character-centric fare like GTA or Prince of Persia. (I liked Mirror’s Edge a lot, but of the two free running-ish games the 3rd-person one left you with a sense of the hero, the 1st person one really didn’t.)

    I’m not sure I buy the argument that the games are forced to get more invested in making lead characters in order to justify the choice of camera viewpoint, rather than the camera choice coming from creative needs of both character and gameplay. I don’t see console FPS being avoided because it doesn’t really work so well.

    #106680
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    No selectiveness at all – indeed, my question was meant to get to the nub of HOW historical you meant by ?historical?!

    Blimey, Seb?

    But your question was “You don’t mean NOW, right?” To which I would answer… “No, I meant… historically!” ;-)

    But I do think that that historical trend has had an effect on the present, yes. Consoles can “do” FPS games now (although you’d have to apply extreme torture to get me to admit that Halo is any good), but third-person games are what the market is more accustomed to, and in my opinion that’s a direct result of the likes of Tomb Raider and the like a couple of generations ago.

    I liked Mirror?s Edge a lot, but of the two free running-ish games the 3rd-person one left you with a sense of the hero, the 1st person one really didn?t.

    True, but if Mirror’s Edge had been third-person, it would of course have lost its USP…

    #106685
    Andrew
    Participant

    > But your question was ?You don?t mean NOW, right?? To which I would answer? ?No, I meant? historically!? ;-)

    Right, but the past tense was still in the quoted line – ‘have tended’ – and since history goes right up to a mere moment ago, the question would have been the same. “Historically, G&T has contained a lot of swearing” can be seen as including an opinion on the way it stands now, surely? (Especially when followed by “And I prefer G&T. And it’s more immersive”.) The historical line could mean “It is as it ever was. Cunt.”

    I honestly wasn’t trying to misrepresent your point at all and I’m amazed it came across that way.

    I don’t disagree at all with the knock-on effect of a tech issue two generations ago – I quit gaming around that time so didn’t see much of what happened – and from what you’re saying it seems like that re-created an appetite for third person content, now in 3D. (Birthing a renewed desire for lead characters to watch/’star’, I guess – just as we had with Dizzy. Lara Croft would never have been so iconic in first person.)

    > True, but if Mirror?s Edge had been third-person, it would of course have lost its USP?

    Oh, absolutely. As a piece of playable entertainment, it’s better that way – my point was that a) Prince could done that if it wanted to, but it wanted to be ‘Prince of Persia’ rather than ‘Empire’s Journey’ (or some other, equally generic, name for a game that focusses on environment more than main character), because b) broadly speaking, third person games give you a stronger sense of your playable character.

    And it’s reasons like that, rather than concerns about consoles’ inability to ‘do’ FPS, that seem to me to drive the choice right now. Third person is no longer chosen because it’s preferable to FPS on a hardware/controller basis – it’s chosen because it suits the material and gameplay better.

    #106687
    ChrisM
    Participant

    It?s a PC vs console thing, basically. Historically, consoles have tended to do third-person games because they can?t really ?do? FPS as well.

    I do think that consoles deal with the whole camera angle thing better than PCs. I.e. usually you have the left joypad for movement, the right for camera angles, and I find it quite intuitive. I can imagine providing similar with keys and mouse would feel a bit more clunky.

    Not sure I appreciate the patronising suggestion that ?first person games have their place?, though,

    Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that, although I can see how it might be read that way. I should have phrased it better. I just generally prefer third person games for the reasons given.

    and I?d say a hearty BOLLOCKS to the suggestion that ?nearly all? of the best action/shooter games are third-person.

    Ok, I think that’s probably directed at someone else as I didn’t say that, but I think you’ve got a case there for straight shooters. (That’s essentially what I meant by ‘have their place.’ Literally, that they work well within certain styles of play, rather than a dismissive put down.) For other games that involve a bloke/gal running around grabbing stuff and completing puzzles, be it RPGs or just stuff between the shooting I think the third person comes into it’s own*. Mind you, I’m not all that into straight shooters (although they’re fun now and again) anyway so I might be biassed for that reason.

    *Again, that’s not to say there aren’t some first person games that do that too. I’ve played a couple of games that employ both, allowing you to change perspective. Those are great.

    #106690
    Phil
    Participant

    >I?d say a hearty BOLLOCKS to the suggestion that ?nearly all? of the best action/shooter games are third-person.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that nearly all action/shooter games are better in third person…just that you’d be missing out on the vast majority of great games of ALL genres if you stuck only to the first-person requirement. I didn’t mention action or shooter at all in my post…nor did you in what I quoted!

    You could say that about anything, of course. Limiting yourself to first-person would be just as foolish as limiting yourself to third. Or to puzzle games. Or to Cooking Mama.

    #106691
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    I’m definitely a keyboard+mouse guy, but there are some console shooters I absolutely adore. TimeSpliters 2 may be a perfect example of the FPS genre on a console, and the Metroid: Prime series didn’t do a bad job of mapping FPS controls to the GCN’s controller.

    #106696
    Ridley
    Participant

    Personally I only find the keyboard/mouse combo useful for RTS and point-and-clicks.

    Unless it’s Call of Juarez in which case using the keyboard and mouse probably helped disguise how laughably bad that game is.

    b) broadly speaking, third person games give you a stronger sense of your playable character.

    Such as being able to see their feet.

    …if you’re into that sort of thing.

    #106699
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    You can see the feet in Left 4 Dead.

    #106700
    Ridley
    Participant

    In most you cannae.

    #106701
    Ben Paddon
    Participant

    Well yes, I know that.

    #106702
    Jonathan Capps
    Keymaster

    In FPS games, being able to see your legs looks SHIT.

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