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  #61  
Old 03-23-2015, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ghosttaster View Post
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?
LJN immediately jumps to mind. It was originally a toy company, but was purchased by Acclaim and used to circumvent Nintendo's third party publishing guidelines. Acclaim also created the publishing arms "Flying Edge" and "Arena" to make Sega Genesis and Game Gear games, likely for similar reasons.
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  #62  
Old 03-23-2015, 07:05 AM
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I've always liked Konami. Like a few others, for a long time I considered Nintendo, Capcom, and Konami to be the best video game developers.

From the first game's demo to today, Silent Hill has reigned as my favourite horror-themed video game (and series). Even though the series has sort of gone off the rails, I very routinely go back and play the first game over and over again. It's the only survival horror game I've ever bothered to truly master.

Castlevania used to be really big for me, through the GBA and DS eras, but now I mostly just go back and play the first game every once in a while and then quit when I inevitably get stuck at the mummies.

I was obsessed with Zen: Intergalactic Ninja for a short period of my youth, because of the game coverage in Nintendo Power. I had no idea it was a comic until like two minutes ago.

Metal Gear, I think I'd rather read about them than play them. Well, Metal Gear Solid, anyhow. I just played the MSX Metal Gears for the first time last summer and loved them.

Turtles in Time gets played in my house fairly often.

I always longed to play the N64 Goemon games after seeing them in Nintendo Power, but never did. I waited and waited for them to end up on Virtual Console. I guess I'll wait forever.

Blades of Steel remains my favourite hockey game of all time.

I probably have more thoughts on Konami games, but that's enough for now. I just always feel super nostalgic when I see that old logo wipe onto the screen.
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  #63  
Old 03-23-2015, 11:26 AM
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The first Konami experience I remember was buying NES Contra. My parents thought it was to violent for me at 7 and my dad threatened to either return it to the store or hide it until I was 8. But he didn't, and it eventually became one of our favorite games to play co-op.

Some of the best fun I had in the arcades was with Konami's brawlers: Ninja Turtles, X-Men, The Simpsons. I enjoyed brawlers more than 1-on-1 fighting games. The GI Joe arcade game was a great forward-scrolling shooter.

I wasn't a sports fan but I enjoyed playing a friend's copy of Track & Field 2 when we got together. It had the widest variety of gameplay modes of any NES game I've played and looked great for the time.

I didn't play Laser Invasion until many, many years after it came out, but it showed that Konami had mastered three different variations of the first person shooter way back in 1990 on the NES.

Castlevania 3 had the best music I've heard on the NES even without the Japanese version's extra sound chip.

I would have loved to play all the Goemon and Parodius games on the SNES if they had been localized!

Zone of the Enders 2 was a blast and a great reminder of how detailed and fluid graphics can be when the artists and hardware aren't burdened with modeling and rendering people realistically. Plus, the gameplay was just zippy.

When we talk about Konami shedding talent, do the Treasure guys count or did they leave despite Konami still being a great place to work?

The big gaps in my Konami experience are the Silent Hill and Pro Evolution Soccer series. Other people will have to speak about those. I still need to get around to properly playing Bayou Billy even if it is a mess.

My hope for the future is that some new platform or trend in gaming will come along (VR?) that will encourage Konami and other fallen giants to hire and cultivate serious talent again. It won't be the same as the old days, just like modern Activision is nothing like Atari 2600-era Activision, but they would be in much better shape than they are today.

Last edited by Vega; 03-23-2015 at 11:39 AM.
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  #64  
Old 03-23-2015, 11:38 AM
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A couple people have mentioned Treasure so far (naturally), and while I don't mean to discount their work, I don't think any of them did anything particularly notable at Konami. Plenty of great games still came out after they left.
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  #65  
Old 03-23-2015, 11:43 AM
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Did anybody successfully do the triple jump in Track & Field 2? I tried everything but the guy would only do one jump.
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  #66  
Old 03-23-2015, 11:44 AM
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When I was too young to care that there were multiple developers and that some companies output vastly outweighed others, I still knew that when I turned on my SNES and heard that "BooowheeeOoo" that something wonderful was about to happen.

The very moment they moved away from the BooowheeeOoo, I knew that something tragic had begun, though it's full weight wouldn't have been known for years.

Yes, I am blaming their severely declining output solely on the sound that their logo made.
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  #67  
Old 03-23-2015, 11:58 AM
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Why, it was the winter of 1998. Or maybe it was 1999. I don’t remember or even care.

I got a PlayStation for my birthday in October. Finally, I was transitioning to a system that was cooler than the SNES, which I got instead of an N64, like I wanted. Fuck you, grandma. Anyways, this system was cool: CDs, games with 3D graphics, etc.

Up until that point, I only played fighting, racing, adventure platform games and other childish bullshit. I played some RPGs too but those were boring and nerdy.

My dad said he was heading out to Blockbuster and wanted to know if I wanted any games from there. Rent whatever, old man.

He comes back with a game. That game was Metal Gear Solid. Tactical. Espionage. Action.

I didn’t know what it was. I thought maybe this was a MechWarrior type game. Why were the graphics so dark? What the fuck is a Solid Snake? This is almost like a movie. Why do I keep dying every time I get caught? Where’s my machine gun?

I had no idea I’d be playing the greatest game of all time. The absolute greatest game of all. That whole winter was spent inside trying to pull off a one-man infiltration mission with weapons and equipment OSP. The world was counting on me to stop FOXHOUND from fucking shit up.

And I succeeded. I saved the world, you guys. I was a mere 11 years old at the time. What did you do at that age? Thought so.

EDIT — I have told this story more than a dozen times. I will never stop telling it.
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  #68  
Old 03-23-2015, 12:05 PM
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Winning Eleven was probably the best sports franchise of the PS2 generation - if only because NFL2K didn't actually survive that period due to EA being shit-stains. I loved playing Winning Eleven, and I loath soccer, that's how good the game was. But they didn't do a great job of transitioning to last gen at all while FIFA was actually the sole EA sports game to make yearly improvements and make an argument for itself in the last decade. Also, they curiously decided to rebrand the amazing name "Winning Eleven" into something that's bland and forgetful like "Pro Evolution". Game probably sells good in Japan and OK in Europe, but Pro Evo is a distant second to FIFA, which makes me really sad considering how gross both FIFA and EA is (last half decade, FIFA has been on autopilot), and how hard Konami dropped the metaphorical ball on a franchise that could have made them billions and kept the company more than afloat. Winning Eleven used to be some of my favorite games, and now all they are is a cautionary tale - 100% symptomatic of a company with inept leadership and an inability to adapt to new market paradigms.
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  #69  
Old 03-23-2015, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ArugulaZ View Post
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.
Total Fitness? Huh, I never realized they were the same Bally...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vega View Post
The first Konami experience I remember was buying NES Contra. My parents thought it was to violent for me at 7 and my dad threatened to either return it to the store
That wouldn't work today, would it?

Funny, though, that the game with the Predator, Alien, and Rambo expies on the cover didn't trigger any concerns of violent content.

Incidentally, I think Contra was my first Konami experience as well. Sadly, my dad ended up selling that one eventually... and it's the only one of the original trilogy they never brought to Virtual Console. ANY of them!

Of course, there is also the Genesis Castlevania and Contra, but that's another matter.

Hard to think of much I can say that others haven't already touched on. They were one of the Big 5 for me, being Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, SEGA, and Bandai Namco. Funny how the middle three are all pretty much shadows of what they once were in one way or another...

Wait, not funny. What's the word? Ah, right: Sad.

Besides their original properties, Konami really nailed it with licensed fare like few others ever could. I think Capcom was the only one able to really come close on a consistent basis back in the day.

Really, who else could not only turn The Simpsons into an arcade brawler, but also make it the most loved game to sport the license?

I did love most of their TMNT output, save for the second GameCube generation game. (I never got to try the third, but I heard it was better, and I liked what I played of the first). That includes the NES game, which I remember saving up for and buying the day it came out at my local video store.

As noted, their original stuff was great, too. I always appreciated how so much of their output almost seemed to harness a really manly machismo-- the shirtless machine gun toting guys from Contra, the barbarian-esque Simon Belmont, the guys from Rush 'N Attack who take on an enemy army with a knife, and of course, Solid Snake.

I once even said in a review that if you spell Konami backwards, it fittingly spelled "I man, ok?" Less Engrish and more Tim Allen "manly," but that was the sort of cheesiness that did well to temper so many of these testosterone-filled excursions. Case in point:



Delightful. Absolutely delightful. It looks like a Maddox wet dream come to life, yet it's hard to watch it all the way through with a straight face, and that's where I think much of the charm is.

Of course, not everything Konami did brought a smile to my face. Who remembers the Super NES games where they'd give you your choice of difficulty, only to flip you the bird upon completion and tell you to try again on a harder difficulty if you want the real ending? Only for that to be something of a lie, because they didn't mean "a harder difficulty," they meant the hardest, which was usually some pretty cheap, brutal stuff.

As noted, the name Konami generally denoted quality. I can remember looking at a game I might have passed on a second time upon hearing Konami made it.

I wish they might keep the oldschool games alive more with digital distribution, like the ReBirth games on the Wii, if nothing else. Or at least present some more complete collections, or something.

Worse still is that they basically had to kill Hudson on the way out. What was even the point of that? =\
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  #70  
Old 03-23-2015, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by LBD_Nytetrayn View Post
Total Fitness? Huh, I never realized they were the same Bally...
Fraid so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bally_Total_Fitness

It doesn't look like there's much left of Bally Total Fitness, though. They sold nearly all their gyms to a competitor and only three are left.
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  #71  
Old 03-23-2015, 02:24 PM
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I wish I loved that game half as much as I love that opening.

I've always been a little more of a Capcom guy, but Konami was right up there. I spent a lot of time with the first two Ninja Turtles games, Bayou Billy and Life Force on my NES. I honestly never saw Contra until years later and Castlevania was too hard for me. I rented Castlevania 1 and 2 multiple times, but never really figured them out. But Life Force and Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade game, those were pretty sweet.
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  #72  
Old 03-23-2015, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Vega View Post
I still need to get around to properly playing Bayou Billy even if it is a mess.

If you must play it then play Mad City, the Japanese version of the game. Like many Konami games the JP version is much more forgiving than the US one.
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  #73  
Old 03-23-2015, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Rascally Badger View Post
I wish I loved that game half as much as I love that opening.
The Suikoden 3 manga is by far the best way to experience the story. Which is a shame, because it's probably the best story of all the Suikoden games, hamstrung with some of the worst game mechanics.
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  #74  
Old 03-23-2015, 03:09 PM
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I've got about three volumes of that and always intended to get the rest. Maybe I should. I would probably save me a lot of time that would be spent replaying Suiko3.
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  #75  
Old 03-23-2015, 03:18 PM
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Big nope on the Suiko3 manga. Come on guys. Yeah, artist they got was superb. Yeah, Suiko3 has some jank mechanics (which aren't remotely fun-killing in the way Suiko4's is; just makes the game easy to break). But the manga doesn't do the story or the 108 stars of destiny the justice it deserves. Especially in a game where perspective and choice plays such a big role into things, and that's taken away from you in the manga. And the pacing is horrid. It starts out well enough, but by the 7th or 8th volume, the story gets rushed/abbreviated, while the author attempts to cram everything into the last few volumes even though they need approximately 2.5x as long to do the story real justice. It's like watching the last couple episodes of the original Gundam and wondering, "Wow, things are moving a little fast, eh?"
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  #76  
Old 03-23-2015, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ghosttaster View Post

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.
Konami's golden age was marked by games that were self aware of one another. You'd find references from one game in another one, or series that got handed back and forth between differen teams (Rocket Knight). Because everyone was a big team, and they all cared about the company as a whole. Artists were trusted. Kojima was allowed to fail (sales numbers wise) repeatedly until MGS, which went a year over schedule and no doubt far over budget.

Modern Konami finds one "winner" and gives them carte blanche to the detriment of everyone else. Teams are isolated. Hires are made ignoring knowledge/passion for the company, and the employees who do have that passion are seen as detriments, "nerds" or otaku or whatever you'd call it. Seen as too eager, or blind to reality.

When the right person does rise up, they're strung out to die. Marched out publically at events, but denied actual decision making power in key decisions on their projects.

But trust me, regardless of which side of the Pacific ocean they're on, Konami employees are staying at work very late. It's not a lack of dedicated, talented people. It's a corporate cancer.
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  #77  
Old 03-23-2015, 08:42 PM
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Hires are made ignoring knowledge/passion for the company, and the employees who do have that passion are seen as detriments, "nerds" or otaku or whatever you'd call it. Seen as too eager, or blind to reality.
I can't even begin to imagine how or why that happens.
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  #78  
Old 03-23-2015, 08:51 PM
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Wow! Just...wow! I can't believe I got to read that.

Thank you.
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  #79  
Old 03-23-2015, 11:34 PM
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Yeah, that's a really interesting insider's take on it. Tracks with the impression I get about a few major publishers over the years, really.
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  #80  
Old 03-23-2015, 11:39 PM
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I can't even begin to imagine how or why that happens.
It seems like it's just another symptom of upper management that's just that risk adverse. Perhaps in their minds, people with that kind of passion would probably be more likely to take risks on something new and uncertain, or at least something not 100% a sure thing, and we can't go encouraging too much of THAT now can we? Not with all that money on the line! I don't know, I'm just spitballin' here.

It really is sad to watch all this from the sidelines, so I can only imagine what it's like to live it.

And yeah, I appreciate the insider viewpoint as well, Tomm.
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  #81  
Old 03-23-2015, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Guycot View Post
When the right person does rise up, they're strung out to die. Marched out publically at events, but denied actual decision making power in key decisions on their projects.
Maybe Konami realizes these problems and that's changing! Since Kojima will no longer be publicly marched out and strung out to die anymore. /s
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  #82  
Old 03-24-2015, 12:10 AM
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Tomm's stuff makes me desperately sad. Whereas Nintendo seem to be incredibly aware of their past. Look at the books they give to potential hires. It doesn't have to be like that at Konami.
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  #83  
Old 03-24-2015, 12:39 AM
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There are two expressions that Konami employees know well. The first is that "no good deed goes unpunished". The second is that "Konami employees can't get together and not bitch about working at Konami".

I worked at Konami for a year, shortly after Tomm started working at WayForward. He basically got me the job because his wife, Brandis, was my boss. I worked in Customer Service, and I was Lady's replacement. I moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco and spent my first two nights in a Hotel. After that, I moved into a skeevy Hostel-style apartment filled with Cockroaches in the heart of Hollywood. I later moved out of there with some of the friends I'd made while there, but one of them turned out to be a murderer, but that story is for another time and place.

I had hoped that I could transfer to Kojima Productions, and made numerous attempts to do as much but to no avail. My second week of working at Konami, there were numerous layoffs and we got shuffled around from one department to another. This was really just a sign of things to come, as I had witnessed four waves of layoffs within the one year that I had worked there. During my last week, they fired the Director of Marketing, the Director of IT, and a number of other high-level employees.

The environment was extremely political—a playground for sociopaths. Anyone who demonstrated any sort of initiative would be deemed a threat. Don't challenge the status quo. Don't rattle the cage. These mantra's were fundamentally ingrained within the corporate culture vis-a-vis micromanagement from overseas and a series of controls set forth to corral their employees into submission and until they stopped caring. Newcomers who dared to care only served to salt the wound. It didn't feel like we were on the same team because we weren't. Every effort I made to demonstrate my worth, to improve processes, or take on additional responsibilities only served to put a target on my head. I unwittingly got locked into power struggles and feigned alliances. I was far too naive and idealistic to thrive in such an environment.

"It is what it is."

Bitter? No. Disillusioned? Absolutely. I hold nothing but forgiveness and empathy in my heart.

My experiences at Konami effectively made me dead-on-arrival at the next gaming company that I worked for, for a number of reasons. I've taken to independent game development in the interim. It's much more satisfying to actually make games rather than occupy myself with the politicking, corporate cancer, and perpetuated apathy of accountability that this industry needs to escape from. I legitimately feel like I could write a book, but I'm going to just leave things at that.

Last edited by Belmont; 03-24-2015 at 01:00 AM.
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  #84  
Old 03-24-2015, 12:49 AM
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For an added bonus, I'm going to include the "Icebreaker Speech" that I gave to my colleagues as part of their Masters of Speech program.

-----

For as long as I can recall, videogames have been a permanent fixture of my life. If videogames did not exist, I would not be here, nor would I be the person standing before you today. And KONAMI has played a pivotal role in laying the foundations for the path that I am on today.

I grew up playing Contra and Gradius. Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A.

Rocket Knight Adventures is a celebration of classic level design and one of my all-time favorite games. Suikoden II explores the gray area of morality as one of the most focused, and fully-realized role-playing games ever created. Silent Hill 2 taught me that games can be something more than distraction ware; that they can be transcendent and emotionally evocative experiences. Metal Gear Solid 2 served as post-modern commentary on not only the industry as a whole, but the Metal Gear franchise itself. Symphony of the Night reinvented an already grant franchise and introduced to world to the Metroidvania. Coincidentally: I happen to have been born on the very day that Castlevania made its debut on September 26, 1986.

I have a tremendous amount of admiration for the legacy here, which is why I am proud to say that I work for KONAMI. My first brush with game development came at age thirteen when I purchased a PlayStation game called RPG Maker. Little did I know how instrumental that one game would become in shaping the life that lay ahead of me.

I spent the entire summer scribbling thoughts into a notebook, designing enemy encounters one-by-one, and transcribing overwrought dialogue letter-by-letter with a DualShock controller. It was the defining moment in my life where I knew—without question—what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I never looked back.

While I love many different kinds of games, I love Role Playing Games the most. I have an especially strong affinity for Japanese Role Playing Games.

JRPGs are maps of perfect worlds where everything behaves how you expect them to. They reward you for your efforts with unflinching fairness. Work hard and level up. Take the path that's opened to you. Persevere with it and you can save the world. While the encounters are random, your success is pre-determined.

You can fix the things that break.

They give you that power, sure. But more than that, they give you consistency. This world, and the people in it, do not. Life rarely follows such a trajectory in reality. Things don't get fixed so easily.

After finishing College, I accepted a QA position for a Social Gaming company based in San Francisco. I left behind everyone I ever knew and loved in the pursuit of something more than a career.

The company folded only six months later.

It was during this time that I played through Rayman Origins, and discovered an article written by a Design Intern on Gamastura entitled “Rational Design: The Core of Rayman Origins”. I found myself applying for an Internship at Ubisoft the next day, and through what can only be attributed to dumb luck, I was offered the job.

While it was only a three-month contact, I operated under the assumption that if I worked hard enough to demonstrate my worth that I would be offered a full-time position. I learned as much as I could about the Rational Design methodology. And at the end of these three months, not only did I find myself without a job, but without a place to call home as well.

The place I’d been living at since moving to California had been sold by its owner, and I had one month to vacate. Having the legs of support kicked out from under me with no safety net to speak of, I found myself unemployed, homeless, and too stubborn to admit failure. I was too proud to admit failure, and I refused to go back to Minnesota with my tail between my legs.

I chose to weather the storm. Come hell or high water.

I spent the next several months couch-surfing, sleeping in my car, and drifting through life until I was able to find the next opportunity. It was KONAMI gave me the second chance I needed to get back on my feet.

Everyone encounters speed bumps and setbacks—but so long as you keep going and you don’t hit the Game Over Screen—that’s all they are. They are life’s random encounters. Plunge forward and follow your intuition. It is imperative to take life's journey in stride. Do not rob yourself of the feelings you experience throughout. Embrace them, and explore where they are taking you.

Sometimes, the best thing that can happen to a person is for life to throw a brick at their head. It can help you level up so that you can become the person that you need to become. It is only when you have arrived at your destination that you will be able to look back and make sense of it all. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll have an airship of my own and travel the world in search of magical artifacts.

It’s easy to become disillusioned with the reality of your environment. So let us appreciate the moment and celebrate our successes. Let us not forget where we are, where we have been, where we are going, and most importantly, who we are.
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  #85  
Old 03-24-2015, 02:55 AM
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Back to the happies.

MGS1 - E3 1997
The Trailer: I didn't actually see this one until it was included on VR Missions as a bonus unlock. It does a great job of showing off gameplay that was just unheard of back in the day, from ease of control and variety standpoints. The touched-up models at the start are interesting, as this is the only time in series history Kojima did that in a trailer.

The Game: I shouldn't have to say much about this, as I've made contless posts and a Gamespite article about it. But! It's so good. It's hard to overstate how different this was from everything at the time. A little clunky in parts, in retrospect. You can see a lot of the seams and shortcuts, but it was clearly a case of the development team succeeding in spite of limitations; rather being driven by them to excel and deliver on a vision.

MGS2 - E3 2000
The Trailer: I didn't catch it in the press conference, but I did wander past the booth at the public debut, which made me feel like the luckiest boy. I'll always remembering hearing the guy behind me grumbling "It's obviously all CG." Which made no sense. Not only did MGS use entirely in-game assets for cutscenes, but why would anybody render out a CG movie of clearly gameplay situations? This trailer started the trend that would hold up at least for the next two games - the initial trailer showing all the sweet new gameplay stuff you could do, with just enough plot teasing to keep fans engrossed, and then the next year's trailer (closer to release) having mostly cutscene footage. At any rate, this is probably the perfect video game trailer.

The Game: Love or hate the twist (and artsy message), MGS2 took all the freedom and unheard-of-depth of the first game and doubled down. Racks of breakable bottles? Melting ice? Enemy room clearing routines? Hiding in lockers? You didn't always have occasion to use all these amazing gameplay features in the campaign (making the VR missions of Subsistence the real treat) but they were there!

MGS3 - E3 2003
The Trailer - Once again, a masterful display of a stupid amount of gameplay innovation going on. This trailer is especially light on plot, just flashing text that might as well say "You play as Big Boss" which even back then I remember rolling my eyes at. Was this supposed to be mysterious? I rolled my eyes again and again in the months that followed, as news sites and magazines speculated - how was Solid Snake in the 1960's? Was this game about time travel? Would you visit other eras as well? As well as the general mistrust of Kojima following MGS2. Whatever. I just wanted to dive into camo and survival in a sprawling jungle. After the final showing on one of the E3 days, The Keith and I were surprised to see Hideo Kojima standing there in the Konami booth, watching us watch the trailer. Never one for hero worship, I nodded to my gameplay mentor and began to walk away. Keith's voice slowly broke through as he insisted "Dude he's waving us over. Dude, come on." Indeed he was, and we got Kojima's signature and a hand shake each.

The Game - So far still the best game in the franchise. Not only do you really get to do THAT MUCH STUFF, but you have plenty of opportunities to do it! Plus, the bosses are unmatched. At the time I didn't mind the omission of a "VR Missions" mode because we got MGOnline, which I played to death. But now that those servers are shut down, I am a bit sad we don't have "just do these 500 things in the gameplay system you love" to fall back on like the earlier games.

MGS4 - TGS 2005
The Trailer - I was fortunate enough that Atlus sent me to Japan for that year's TGS; the same TGS where MGS4 debuted. Obviously my first stop was Konami and MGS4. I was suffering from some major jetlag sickness and intense heat exhaustion, so I ended up spending most of TGS seated in front of the Konami stage, listening to various KojiPro staffers explain aspects of the game in a language I only barely understood. But for a fan like me it was incredible. The trailer itself breaks tradition (something that boded ill for the game itself I guess), quadrupling down on the too-clever wordplay of later MGS3 trailers, and focusing a lot more on cutscenes (or at least trying to tell a story with the trailer). While it does show a lot of new gameplay, it's incredibly cinematic in focus. I guess we should have seen it coming right from the start... but damn if we weren't dazzled.

The Game - For the first time, MGS didn't feel like a game made in the Konami system. The first three games, as huge and epic and auteur-driven as they were, still butted up against limitations. You could tell Kojima's team did the bet they could, breaking down barriers but still needing to be clever to do it. For MGS4, development dragged on as promised shipdates were missed, over and over again. It seems like this time the limitations were the team's abilities - had they bitten off more than they could chew? Had they mis-planned everything? Whatever it was, something feels different. It's too clean, too slick, and too polished. It's too much. It feels too removed from the earlier games.
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  #86  
Old 03-24-2015, 03:39 AM
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Kishi Kishi is offline
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My all-time favorite game trailer is for Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. It's all plot-related dialogue spliced over exclusively non-plot-related gameplay, which is a puzzling juxtaposition—but it's edited in such a way that they overlap in meaningful ways. I also saw this before I played MGS2, so maybe I liked the tease of hearing these momentous lines without being able to see their literal context.




Second place just in terms of Metal Gear goes to the MGS3 trailer from TGS 2003. It teases the possibilities of the naturalistic setting while hitting you with that cryptic Kojima trailer text (SURVIVE WEAPONS / SURVIVE ANIMALS / SURVIVE SURVIVAL), dramatically emphasized by the way it advances in time with the music. Then the back half quiets down just before introducing the world to the song "Snake Eater"—an honor unto itself.

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  #87  
Old 03-24-2015, 07:24 AM
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ghosttaster ghosttaster is offline
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Hey Tomm, when and to what or whom would you attribute these unfortunate changes at Konami? What in their corporate culture allowed such team and artist oriented design in the past, and why did it change? You seem to be pretty enthusiastic about their stuff up through MGS3, but personally I'd say their overall "decline" started quite a while before that. I don't know how much you can, feel that you can, or want to say about all this but I'm very curious. Sorry if this bothers you.
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  #88  
Old 03-24-2015, 08:15 AM
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alexb alexb is offline
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I'm here to pay my respects. We had a beautiful thing once in Konami.
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  #89  
Old 03-24-2015, 09:40 AM
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Dubin Dubin is offline
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So wait, if we know what works and what doesn't, and we know how to make great games and great art, and we know what good talent looks like,

Why don't we make a new Konami and make all the games?

We know clearly what we love from Konami and what we want to preserve in videogames:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomm Guycot View Post
Konami's golden age was marked by games that were self aware of one another. You'd find references from one game in another one, or series that got handed back and forth between differen teams (Rocket Knight). Because everyone was a big team, and they all cared about the company as a whole. Artists were trusted. Kojima was allowed to fail (sales numbers wise) repeatedly until MGS, which went a year over schedule and no doubt far over budget.
Quote:
Originally Posted by everyone
MORE GOEMON
Quote:
Originally Posted by childhood
Up up down down left right left right A B
Quote:
Originally Posted by LancerECNM View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArugulaZ View Post
Konami really knew its video game music, too. Their composers knew how to make hardware sing, whether it was the NES, Super NES, or an arcade sound chip. So frantic and full of energy! Here's an example of their work. Note that this was on the friggin' original brick Game Boy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeZee View Post
There are countless things I'll miss about them, but I'll especially miss how fearless their level design could be. They did bizarre, creative things that I've never seen anyone attempt before or since.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
When I was too young to care that there were multiple developers and that some companies output vastly outweighed others, I still knew that when I turned on my SNES and heard that "BooowheeeOoo" that something wonderful was about to happen.

The very moment they moved away from the BooowheeeOoo, I knew that something tragic had begun, though it's full weight wouldn't have been known for years.

Yes, I am blaming their severely declining output solely on the sound that their logo made.
ME TOO OCTOPUS PRIME
ME TOO

Why don't we take everything we've learned from everything, and start the game company we want to see, and create the haven for creativity and play and off-the-wall poetic freedom that we want to see in videogames?

Capcom, Nintendo, Sega, Konami--they all gave us their magicite, why not take it and beat Kefka? We have the power to beat Kefka. (Kefka in this instance represents the bad parts of free to play, the kind of corporate short-sightedness that led to Konami's videogame fate here in the first place, fear of risk and boldness, etc.) It doesn't matter if we have no idea how *right now*--we can level up, we can figure it out in the process of living and making games and making mistakes. We can give ourselves the freedom to make mistakes.

We can make ALL THE GOEMON, all the Castlevanias with much more informed and intentional design decisions to cut out tedium and imbalance. We can hire Kojima to make "more Snatcher/Policenauts universe stuff, more of your own free projects, whatever the hell you want--except you only have this much money and this many people. Think of it as your version of a 'five-minute art challenge' or '24-hour game jam'." We can make easy modes that don't piss in your face but make the experience more magical and accessible to more people, and inspire them to do great things in their lives.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/701900/schi...bable-start-up

We can give ourselves the freedom to be small, and be fed by small victories. For "Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothing a Kid can't do."

http://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/

We can fund it in healthy ways, and give a big hearty middle finger to market fads and corporate fears that drive great companies to extinction

So what if there's no way to reproduce Konami? The point isn't to be zombie-Konami or even Million Dollar Konami. The point is to be Konami's children, and Capcom's, and everyone else who sowed the spirit of play and joy into videogames, and make their spirits proud up in Jedi heaven or wherever they are.

So what if we don't take the videogame market by storm in the first year, or even in the first ten years? The point isn't to become the next Facebook, Chipotle, or whatever. The point is we love this art form as an art, and we want to cultivate and steward the gift and the music that made it so wonderful and that made us so wonderful. If it inspires one young child in the upcoming generations to do something great, that is enough.

Dude, guys, brothers and sisters. There is no final death of anything in videogames. We have their art and soul within us, we have their Music In Us, we have the freedom to create a new space in the world to say, "No, the waves of greed and folly are not inexorable, here is one rock of creativity, one harbor of honest work and wild freedom for all the good but unvalued workers of the industry, all the new and crazy dreamers to come to." Fuck the despair. Notch created a gaming phenomenon for a new generation, and a denial to evil game design, out of fucking nothing--his garage? 8-bit freaking graphics in the 21st century?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor Farnsworth
Nothing is impossible! Not if you can imagine it! That's what being a scientist is all about!
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING
COME ON LET'S DO IT

~
Oh my god, Konami. Along with Super Mario and Tetris, it's so woven into the very fabric and definition of what games is that it's hard for me to parse them in terms of "favorite" and "least favorite". "Yeah, it's what videogames means, what's the sense of picking favorites?"

So let me see what my most potent memories are:

Arcade-All the beat-em-ups
OBVIOUSLY
Goddamn was there anything more exciting than playing with three friends and being THE REAL NINJA TURTLES?! Between the explosions and shit in the X-Men cabinet and the balls to the wall incomprehensible awesomeness of the AvP arcade game, Konami and Capcom and Sega made the arcades the best place to be.

MSX - Metal Gear 1 & 2
I only got to these on emulator, but man! What a pair of the funnest, gamey-est games! The thing I love most about Kojima's output is when he's making the most videogame-y videogames in all history.

NES - Super C
This was my introduction to the Contra series, and for years and years the only Contra I knew of. Going to a friend who had the original and learning that there was a code for thirty lives! blew my childhood mind. I still love Super C to bitzes--much more polish and shine than the first game, with still a huge variety of action and creativity and successful design to make for an invigorating jaunt.

SNES - Contra 3
My god, what an explosion of creativity. Stage 3 had some of the most iconic everything in my childhood--the bug enemies and the freaking boss that you fight on a wire, transitioning to a treacherous climb with a wall-climbing robot spitting spikes and fire everywhere, culminating in a fight with the FREAKING TERMINATOR
(yes it was actually a Snatcher but none of us knew back in the dark ages of little access and knowledge of imports)

Adventures of Batman & Robin
What a magnificent game. I think if I were to be stupidly anal about it, I could outline a hundred different ways that the Genesis version is superior as a game with actual gameplay. But I don't freaking care. This is, like, the absolute perfect crystallization of the spirit of the show into a videogame. Top to bottom, perfect.

The Catwoman theme, love at first hear. The freaking funhouse in the first level, with the evocative theme and the giant toy soldier at the end! This is, like, a perfect distillation of BATMAN to soak yourself in to know what he's all about, at a visceral level.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors
The best. It honestly didn't matter that the game had design flaws at a higher level--it was all about traipsing about on a Saturday afternoon with your best friend, jamming to the crazy-fun music, laughing about the clown balloon, and soaking in the delicious horror movie atmosphere. Trading headcanon theory about what the fuck is up with that giant baby level.

Sunset Riders
Another one of those concepts so freaking awesome your childhood mind exploded. Cowboys! Contra gameplay! And it's actually good!
I never got to play Sunset Riders to any appreciable degree until well into the emulation age and the PS2, but I spent many an afternoon watching my brother and his friend blast through criminals and scoundrels again and again, honing their skills, muscling through Chief Scalpem's impossible danmaku. That first time ever when any of us had ever seen the final level, and they ran out of continues, and on the last two lives our friend finally beat Sir Richard Rose.
ONLY TO FIND OUT THE FUCKER WAS USING A BULLETPROOF PLATE ALL THIS TIME
What a wonderful, charismatic game. What a hilariously offensive collection of oversimplified racial stereotypes. But then pulp fiction is never any kind of educated or tasteful.

Sega Genesis - Rocket Knight Adventures
Rocket Knight Freaking Adventures
Bright, bold, vibrant Rocket Knight Adventures. Kicks your ass even when you play on Children difficulty and the game mocks you at the end of your trek with that WHAT REALLY EZ MODO bullshit. The rocket pack was one of those HOLY FREAKING SHIT ideas, like the Mega Man stage select, that just completely blew my childhood mind about what was possible in the world and magic, and drove me to seek the game out. And then once I mastered the art of the ricochet and made it mundane, I discovered a living, rewarding world behind the game's invitation.
Stage 5
There's just something magical about how all the elements of stage 5 come together. That magnificent music at the start, that half inspires you with heroic courage, half tells you that you're out of the *kid gloves* part of the game and going into the deep heart of the empire. Those industrial smokestacks flying by in the background. The realization that, "Holy shit, I'm in flying mode. I'm actually going to have to deal with all this without invincible frames."
And then the giant fuck-off missiles start flying in and you lose your shit.
And the boss fight, the fucking boss fight. There were few moments in the Genesis library that quite compared to taking a swipe at Axel's smug face, only to see him leap into a giant pig mech...
That starts rising up out of the floor...
and scrolls right off the screen, to where you can only see its legs.
Little things like these make me miss the ingenuity and creativity necessary to make games work back in the day of hardware limitations. Like, the Genesis hardware was probably too limited to animate a full pig mech romping and stomping through a level. And the limited range of movement that the pig mechs displayed once you get to yours and start the hand-to-hand brawl probably prove that. But none of that shit matters, because pummeling you with an entire level of the most brutal level design you've seen so far in RKA, and capping it all off with a towering robot that kills you in one hit, is one of the most atmospheric and evocative moments in all fiction.

And then you discover a mech on your own, and put on your war face, and punch Axel right in his smug mecha face with your own piggy spike fists...That feeling of empowerment in the midst of the very most disheartening conditions, teaching you that you can triumph against all odds, that's one of the most important things games can do for a child.

Last edited by Dubin; 03-24-2015 at 10:16 AM.
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  #90  
Old 03-24-2015, 09:57 AM
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ghosttaster ghosttaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubin View Post
So what if we don't take the videogame market by storm in the first year, or even in the first ten years? The point isn't to become the next Facebook, Chipotle, or whatever.
So it turns out money is like, pretty important, generally.

Although I am into the idea of some off-brand Konami. You could call it Konami 2! Or Konamo. Konamu? Wonami? The possibilities are endless!
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