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  #31  
Old 03-22-2015, 02:35 PM
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My first experience with Konami and probably my single most nostalgic video game, even more than Mario 3, Mega Man, or Zelda 1:



Yup. TMNT 1, which to this day I still have not completed. I haven't played this game in probably 25 years, but I always loved it as a child. I was surprised to see the overwhelming dislike come pouring out of the internet about it a few years back. Always seemed to me a pretty inventive use of the Turtles universe and a clever mix of genres.
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  #32  
Old 03-22-2015, 02:39 PM
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Speaking of Goemon, I'm still kind of bummed the DS one never made it stateside.

(write up for that one is at the bottom of the page I linked)
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  #33  
Old 03-22-2015, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeZee View Post
I remember looking at the way AAA was going in 2008-2009 and starting to worry about what the skyrocketing development costs would do to gaming. I think the potential for industry-wide damage was apparent to everyone back then, but I didn't think we'd be discussing the death of Konami half a decade later.
The writing first showed up on the wall for Konami in 2004, really. Metal Gear Solid 3 had a long enough tail that it eventually did alright, but it got massacred by Halo 2 and San Andreas in its first couple months. I don't think it did 150,000 units in the States before Christmas.

From there on out, just repeat the pattern every year, only more so. Budgets go up, margins stay the same (if you're lucky), and western developers take more and more of the bread out your mouth. Once Call of Duty starts eating 10 million units of the blockbuster pie every fall, it's time to start planning the tag sale.
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  #34  
Old 03-22-2015, 02:48 PM
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At least Sega tries to make as much of their catalog available as possible.

I really liked all the Lords of Shadow and the recent Silent Hill games, so I was still aboard the Konami train long after most of the people here stopped caring. It just makes it even more abrupt for me. Like they were making some top notch stuff and then just decided to stop. I guess a lot of those games were an experiment using western developers, and it must have been decided that it's not worth it.
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  #35  
Old 03-22-2015, 02:53 PM
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Man, Metal Gear Solid was fan-fucking-tastic. I played it for the first time about four or five years ago and upon finishing it, immediately played it two more times in a row. Very few games have had me do that.
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  #36  
Old 03-22-2015, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boyonion View Post
TMNT 1 [...] I was surprised to see the overwhelming dislike come pouring out of the internet about it a few years back.
I was also surprised to see this one get a lot of hate. It may have been overshadowed by the later (and arguably better) Turtles games, but I always preferred the first one because I liked the mix of platforming and fighting. I remember it was hugely popular at the time it was released; very much talked about on the playground, etc. Zelda II was the same way: everyone hates it now, but in the late '80s it was the bee's knees.

Uh, do kids still talk about video games on the playground?
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  #37  
Old 03-22-2015, 03:04 PM
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TMNT get a lot of guff because it does so much right. But it's a mean bastard the deeper you go.
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  #38  
Old 03-22-2015, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daikaiju View Post
TMNT get a lot of guff because it does so much right. But it's a mean bastard the deeper you go.
I had the surprising ability to beat very hard games when I was in my early 20s. I could beat the NES TMNT and Battletoads, of all things, and they were brutal learning.

I recently went back through and replayed some TMNT. It's amazing how the brain stores muscle memory. I managed to complete the dam/swimming sequence without losing a single turtle, and I wondered if I would still have the patience to learn the layout and the bomb locations all over again.

So much of playing those games was a matter of inching forward, dying at new obstacles, anticipating and overcoming those new obstacles, encountering new obstacles, etc. I wonder if the mental habits developed through that kind of learning commutes to other activities.

EDIT: And just writing about that has summoned TMNT interior stage music in my head alongside images of those dancing fire-legs that the fire-men lobbed. Aaaaaah.
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  #39  
Old 03-22-2015, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetManMas View Post
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja was definitely one of my favorite SNES Konami games. It's a shame nobody's ever localized the sequels, officially or by fan translation.
Seriously, why have all the fan translators out there been ignoring this series? There's three really good SNES platformers just waiting to be put into English! (Especially Goemon 3, since it's so dang text-heavy!)

I'm also pretty sure there's a mostly decent GBC Goemon platformer too that's mostly reminiscent of the latter SNES games. It even has a villain called Spaceman Dynamite! Now how do you top that?

I've always wondered if there's some sort of technical reason the games remain untranslated. Goemons 2-4 always gave me trouble in emulation when it came to saving, for whatever reason the save rams didn't like to stick in most emulators and save states acted weird sometimes.

Or maybe it's just the challenge of trying to translate a mostly comical script without it coming off rigid and awkward.
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  #40  
Old 03-22-2015, 04:11 PM
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My favorites:

MGS GBC
MGS 2 & 3
Castlevania Aria of Sorrow
Boktai
ZOE2
Sunset Riders

Good times.
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  #41  
Old 03-22-2015, 04:27 PM
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(All you turtles types be sure to play Danger of the Ooze alright?)

Zone of the Enders 2 is such an unappreciated masterpiece. Everyone should play it.

Where the hell is Kishi?
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  #42  
Old 03-22-2015, 04:33 PM
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Funny story about ZOE 2 from my days as an editor: after getting burned so badly hyping up the first game, I was painstakingly guarded in anything I wrote about the sequel. So much so that eventually I got a nice email from Scott Dolph (the guy who handled international relations for KCEJ West) where he basically said, "No, really, stop worrying, this one is going to be good. You can trust us this time."
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  #43  
Old 03-22-2015, 04:45 PM
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I believe the holdup in translations for the Goemon games are due to technical issues... weird compression or something.

Thanksfully Goemon 2, the best one, is easy to complete without any translation. The gameplay far outshines the "OMG SO JAPANESE LOL" humor that garnered the series' small fanbase in the West.
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  #44  
Old 03-22-2015, 05:21 PM
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Konami used to make LCD games, similar to Tiger's handheld line from the late 1980s. Amusingly, a little research revealed that the Goemon handheld released in Japan was just the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game released here with a quick graphics swap. Yes, April O'Neal was turned into Ebisumaru.

You know, health spas and casino equipment were how Bally (formerly of Bally/Midway fame) transitioned themselves out of the video game industry too. Hm.
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  #45  
Old 03-22-2015, 05:22 PM
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Is the company really dying? It seems like Konami's problems has less to do with its business strategy and finances and more to do with Japanese and global economy as a whole. Kojima leaving will sour it for sure but the company's profile isn't solely invested in whatever games he makes. Their reps say, at least, their mobile game products have been doing well.
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  #46  
Old 03-22-2015, 05:32 PM
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If a tree falls in the App Store and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

Basically all their formally staple franchises are dead. They'll probably farm out Metal Gear to some western developer, but that's not really the same. They can make all the mobile games they want, but the Konami that was important is dead.
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  #47  
Old 03-22-2015, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
ojima leaving will sour it for sure but the company's profile isn't solely invested in whatever games he makes.
i mean they've slapped kojima's name on castlevania and silent hill projects, which were two of their biggest series.
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  #48  
Old 03-22-2015, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
Is the company really dying? It seems like Konami's problems has less to do with its business strategy and finances and more to do with Japanese and global economy as a whole. Kojima leaving will sour it for sure but the company's profile isn't solely invested in whatever games he makes. Their reps say, at least, their mobile game products have been doing well.
No, the company isn't dying at all. They're just getting out of videogames.

They make far more money running gyms/health clubs than they do with videogames. And with less risk.
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  #49  
Old 03-22-2015, 06:03 PM
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Nothing lasts forever...
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  #50  
Old 03-22-2015, 06:32 PM
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I remember playing Gradius for NES at a friend's house and then having a devil of a time finding my own copy. It was too old for stores to carry it, and every video store we had a membership at sure didn't have it (even though they had other elderly games). We wound up ordering it from Game Dude after seeing their ad in a magazine. I still have that magazine, with a big square cut out of the page where the ad was.
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  #51  
Old 03-22-2015, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomm Guycot View Post
Where the hell is Kishi?
One of the most heartwarming thing I've ever seen in a game comes at the end of Penguin Adventure.






And when they changed their logo from the classic "square wave" design, it at least came with a determined slogan and mission statement:







Bikkuri (surprise) = Be Creative

I agree that Konami seemed like a place that understood and nurtured artists and creators. From off-the-wall stuff like Parodius and Goemon on down to seemingly more standard fare like Gradius, their games were filled with creative flourishes and loved to keep surprising you.
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  #52  
Old 03-22-2015, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantoon View Post
It would be far quicker to list the duffers than the great games. I'd go so far as to say that continued to the beginning of the PS3 era. It was a hell of an unbroken streak, considering they must have had staff turnover in that time, like people lost to Treasure, and the huge changes in technology during that period.
Actually, I think the PS2 era is when the quality started to slip big time. Yeah, you still had stuff like ZotE, the Silent Hill and Metal Gear sequels, and the portable Castlevanias, but you also had anime games of dubious quality, Nanobreaker, Cy Girls, the PS2 Castlevanias, Crime Life, the 2/3s of their PS2 TMNT beat 'em ups, etc. The Konami name was no longer the slam dunk it used to be.

Oh, and I'll say it, Rumble Roses was the best Yukes wrestling game on the PS2. The collision detection was tighter than the WWF games, where your character would be flip-flopping all over the place* and missing attacks he should have hit.



* Insert boob joke here.

Last edited by Andrew; 03-22-2015 at 08:29 PM.
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  #53  
Old 03-22-2015, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
Is the company really dying? It seems like Konami's problems has less to do with its business strategy and finances and more to do with Japanese and global economy as a whole. Kojima leaving will sour it for sure but the company's profile isn't solely invested in whatever games he makes. Their reps say, at least, their mobile game products have been doing well.
Really?
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  #54  
Old 03-22-2015, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi View Post
I agree that Konami seemed like a place that understood and nurtured artists and creators. From off-the-wall stuff like Parodius and Goemon on down to seemingly more standard fare like Gradius, their games were filled with creative flourishes and loved to keep surprising you.
I wonder about this. I mean, I agree with it- but it also seems like Konami's "golden age" also coincided with Japan's great era of prolific, dedicated workaholics and corporate culture.

From Hideo "Axelay" Ueda, regarding the length of development time for Dracula X68k: "Normally we donít give an answer to that question at Konami. What I mean is, it takes as long as it takes. As for the number of people on the development, we donít usually give concrete details about that either, but it was about the same as your typical console game development."

So yeah, an era of dedicated super pros. It might be that Konami can't actually find the level of talent necessary to duplicate their previous successes. Like, their golden age was a confluence of so many factors (development and graphics talent, marketing knowledge and success both domestically and internationally) that nobody aside from Nintendo themselves were able to compare (let's be real here- Capcom is nothing compared to them). Konami was so on-the-ball on a corporate level that they even got to sidestep Nintendo USA's "5 games a year" thing.

EDIT: Forgot to mention; Konami's prime was also during an era where the resources necessary to develop a top tier game weren't nearly as complicated or expensive. While programming probably wasn't as common of a skillset at the time, it took less specialization and staff to make a game. Metal Gear for the MSX was probably developed by a handful of people. I imagine the newest Metal Gear game takes many times the number of staff.

EDIT 2: I had written the part regarding Nintendo's US publishing restrictions under the assumption that Nintendo threw Konami a bone with letting them have Ultra Games. Konami's wikipedia page puts it in such a manner that implies it was just a means of getting around the publishing bottleneck with a shell company. It also says that "several companies found a way around this restriction by founding quasi-independent subsidiary corporations." Can anyone think of other companies like Ultra? Who else did this?

Last edited by ghosttaster; 03-22-2015 at 09:51 PM.
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  #55  
Old 03-22-2015, 08:53 PM
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Well, there's still Treasure, right? That's the last bastion of classic Konami as far as I'm concerned, although they lack the discipline of the company that spawned them.
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  #56  
Old 03-22-2015, 09:06 PM
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I've loved a lot of Konami's games over the years, but there's an itch deep inside me that SOTN and the GBA/DS Castlevanias are perfectly designed to scratch, and I don't know what I'm going to do with myself when I'm inevitably cut off from my supply. (Realistically, that probably already happened years ago, but I've been naively keeping a tiny flame of hope alive.) My only chance at continued survival is if IGA lands in a position where he's able to crank out brand-x Castlevania methadone on the regular. Dracula's a public domain character, right? There's no reason it can't happen!

It... It has to happen.
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  #57  
Old 03-22-2015, 10:51 PM
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IGA makes mobile games now.
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  #58  
Old 03-22-2015, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
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IGA makes mobile games now.
I can't wait for Kojima's troll-tastic mobile games.
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  #59  
Old 03-22-2015, 11:02 PM
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  #60  
Old 03-22-2015, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunk Moreland View Post
They make far more money running gyms/health clubs than they do with videogames. And with less risk.
You all know Sony makes its money from life insurance, music and film, in that order, right?

On topic, Boktai was great. I wish they had done more games with the light sensor, though.
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