Goggle Bob Lightning Round! Here’s some nonsense I’ve created over the years that is randomly kicking around:
Like here’s an obvious improvement on a classic.
Goggle Bob Lightning Round! Here’s some nonsense I’ve created over the years that is randomly kicking around:
Like here’s an obvious improvement on a classic.
Today we’re going to talk about the value of value.
Unlike the Mega Man series, the Mega Man X franchise has a pretty straightforward set of power rankings. Millions have died in the Mega Man 2 v Mega Man 3 wars, but the X list is well established. Off the top of my head…
Mega Man X – Excellent Game
Mega Man X2 – Pretty Okay
Mega Man X3 – Meh
Mega Man X4 – Excellent Game
Mega Man X5 – Pretty Okay
Mega Man X6 – Terrible
Mega Man X7 – A gaping black hole of rot from which no fun may escape
Mega Man X8 – Pretty Okay
However, doing a quick EBay search that is in no way based on anything other than a quick EBay search conducted right now, here are apparently the current monetary values of the Mega Man X franchise:
Mega Man X – $30
Mega Man X2 – $90
Mega Man X3 – $200
Mega Man X4 – $12
Mega Man X5 – $12
Mega Man X6 – $18
Mega Man X7 – $12
Mega Man X8 – $30
(And, for the record, the Mega Man X Collection, which contains Mega Man X one through six, is worth about ten bucks.)
As far as I’m concerned, nothing about this makes sense.
Today’s game is Mega Man X3, so let’s maybe take a quick glance at the most expensive Mega Man X game (not) available. Personally, I’m always going to have a soft spot for X3, because it was the one and only Mega Man game I owned for the SNES when I was but a wee Goggle Bob. Mega Man X and Mega Man X2 were both games I loved dearly, but because I was some kind of Mega Man savant, I could beat both games in a rental period, so… why bother with an actual purchase? Ha ha, you damn videogame publishers were right, West Coast Video was eating into your profits! However, by the time Mega Man X3 was released, the SNES rental wall was paltry, so I had to beg my parents for a birthday helping of Mega Man. They complied, and, because I didn’t want my parents thinking they were losing money on this whole “buy videogames” thing, I played the hell out of X3. I have probably beaten this game roughly three millions times, and that might be a low estimate. I can air dash like some kind of machine designed only for air dashing.
However, that doesn’t mean the game was any good.
Mega Man X3 does a lot of interesting things in an attempt to differentiate itself from its forefathers. For one thing, Zero is a playable character, finally. Unfortunately, Zero is very limited, as he only has one “life”, and the minute you crash that dork into a random pile of spikes, he’s out of the game forever. Even the quasi-save password system remembers that you shamefully killed your best reploid friend, and you may never use that red robot ever again. However, crippling handicap aside, Zero “feels” right, and he fills the exact same niche as in his Mega Man X (1) appearance. Zero is leaps and bounds ahead of X when the game begins, but, give X eight or so stages of powerups, and Zero is quickly outclassed. That’s great! That further defines two characters that could easily become Mario & Luigi given a less deft direction, and, while X4 and later decided to pursue a “separate but equal” kind of thinking for the duo, it’s nice to see one last hurrah for the “X only gets stronger and stronger” narrative before Zero decided to heist the franchise. And X can steal his beam sword, which is always fun.
And there is other cool stuff in X3, too! You can get your own ride armor that is kinda-sorta permanent (as opposed to “once in Chill Penguin’s stage, and then never again”) and can morph into other, sometimes better ride armors. There are random mini bosses that can make every playthrough different (though nothing changes if you religiously always use the exact same path through Robot Masters like some people [I’m currently giving the side eye to a mirror]). And I’m pretty sure this is the only SNES X game where the helmet piece is at all useful. It might hold up a teeny bit of gameplay, but seeing a grid map of the stage with points of interest marked all over the place really helps anyone with OCD and a lack of Nintendo Power (poor souls). Overall, it’s plain to see that Mega Man X3 was an attempt to keep the virtues of Mega Man X while expanding on what fans wanted to see (basically, more giant robots).
Unfortunately… a few Mega Man X3 features seem… a bit rushed. The most glaring example involves the sad fact that most of the Maverick Masters have patterns that are overly easy to predict. With the possible exception of Neon Tiger, I’d say that every Maverick in this mission can be conquered by tricking the AI into a sort of endless loop of running square into X’s buster. There are some cool Maverick designs in this game (Tunnel Rhino is basically “what if… spikes? All of the spikes.” And it works) but, even without the boss weaknesses, most of these guys have less AI than your average Merry Man. This is in stark contrast to Bit, Byte, and some of the more interesting Doppler Stage bosses, who have simple patterns, but with enough variation that they actually become engaging battles. It’s like the designers of Mega Man X3 knew they could do some interesting stuff, but completely shied away from doing that for any of the “real” bosses, which, let’s face it, are a significant part of why anybody plays a Mega Man game at all. This would be akin to making a Mario game where the jump physics are “okay, but a little bit off”. So, ya know, Super Mario Land 2.
And the most telling of all the weird blunders are the lights in the Blizzard Buffalo stage. Like in Mega Man X, if you conquer one stage before entering another, it will impact that stage. In this case, the street and underground lights click on if you’ve already conquered Volt Catfish’s power plant. Unfortunately, unlike Mega Man X, this change doesn’t impact anything at all. It’s like someone correctly identified that the “stages impact each other” trait in Mega Man X was pretty cool, and then implemented it without a damn clue why that kind of thing is actually worthwhile. Flickering lights are not exciting! Unless this is a Mega Man Rave! Which would be cool! Just saying!
When you get right down to it, Mega Man X3 boils down to a resounding, “Meh”. Like a bad episode of a Bryan Fuller show, it’s probably still better than most of the stuff on your television, but it doesn’t stack up to its better ancestors (or descendants). It’s a perfectly passable, yet flawed, X game.
So then why is it the most monetarily valuable X game?
Well, we actually have an answer for this one. First, the game was released in late ’95/early ’96, when practically everyone was moving on from the SNES to greener, more disc-based pastures. This limited the manufacturing run. And the other reason is this sucker…
Like Mega Man X2, Mega Man X3 employed a special chip for rendering polygons (… or… rotating… or… something?). However, unlike X2, X3 only used this special graphical ability for… let’s see here… the weapon get screen, one stupid mini boss that looks like a snowflake, and the final-final form of Sigma, which is on screen for all of thirty seconds. However, even though this chip is, to say the least, underutilized, it still jacked up the original MSRP of Mega Man X3 to $70, scaring off all but the most dedicated of (my) parents. Limited print run plus expensive right out of the gate equals a lot of X3 cartridges going to wherever videogames go when they’re completely ignored (heaven?), so, by the time EBay started selling broken staplers for twelve bucks, Mega Man X3 was worth a king’s ransom (albeit, probably a very poor king).
But that’s all it takes! Mega Man X3 is a resoundingly meh game compared to its X-temporaries, but it’s rare, so it’s valuable. The end. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure purely because of desire, and not actual value. Well… desire and one stupid chip, I suppose.
Come on, pay attention to his name, we all know Zero isn’t worth this much.
FGC #275 Mega Man X3
What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers for the NES! Hooray! It’s the real debut of Volt Catfish! Please look forward to it!
Previously on Xenosaga: Xenosaga is over, folks! There are no more games left, I’ve said everything about the franchise I want to say, and I don’t think we’re going to be seeing Xenosaga HD in time for the Christmas season. It’s done, folks!
But just because a franchise ends, doesn’t mean it’s completely forgotten. Xenosaga has sent its tendrils far past its own release, so we’ll be spending this, the final update for this LP, looking at the games that Xenosaga, in some way, touched.
If you see a game’s title in bold text, fair warning, there are likely to be spoilers.
Now let’s start with the most obvious entry, the immediate sequel to Xenosaga…
Final Fantasy 13 (12/17/09 Japan, 03/09/10 USA) Playstation 3/Xbox 360
Wait… no. That’s… that’s not right…
2016… wow, what a year, am I right? I mean, I got a new hammock, and… uh…. I’m sure some other stuff happened, but I can’t really recall exactly what right now. Oh, no matter, let’s talk about some videogames.
Disappointment of the Year: Street Fighter V
You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone…
When I was first informed (by the owner of the videogame store that was selling me the game) that Street Fighter V launched with a limited story mode that included all of two or three battles per character, I was undeterred. “I don’t play Street Fighter for the arcade mode,” I feistily boasted, “I’m here for the rad characters and cool combos. I could care less about one player content in my fighting games.”
Turns out I’m very good at lying to myself and others.
I didn’t even realize it until Street Fighter 5, but apparently “arcade mode” is the main way I experience fighting games, and, when arcade mode is missing, I very quickly lose interest. I like fighting online against randos! I swear! But that experience is very… uneven? I can’t recall the last time I fought five online opponents at the same continuous difficulty level. It’s amazing when you feel out a fighter and learn the proper footsie game that is going to guarantee your victory… but most of the time you’re either fighting “someone too good”, “someone who uses the same three moves all the time”, or “clearly a ten year old”. And the ten year old is the worst! Even when I win that fight, I feel like that one jackass from the arcade that kept hogging the Mortal Kombat machine and stealing the quarters of the good children of the mall.
… I have issues.
So, with a lack of arcade mode, Street Fighter V went from one of my most anticipated games of the year to something that just randomly gets fired up when a new character is released. I want to play this game more, but every time I do, I wind up quitting within a half hour. It’s silly, but after the 27 Street Fighter iterations of the last few decades, this game somehow winds up being the best and worst all in one box. Well, it’s actually mostly DLC at this point, so maybe it isn’t really in the box…
Uh, anyway, I just don’t want to play survival mode. Too stressful.
Reason to not let me out of the house for the Year: Disney Infinity Figures
Look, they were on sale at Toys R Us, and I always liked the character designs for Inside Out. And then I figured I’d pick up a couple of cool characters, and I always thought Brave was underrated, and wouldn’t it be cool to have a shelf of all Disney heroines, and then there was another sale… and, long story short, I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house.
And, yes, the Amiibo collection grew, too. And there wasn’t even a sale on those…
Game with the absolute worst release date of the Year: World of Final Fantasy
World of Final Fantasy is a great concept for a videogame: What if Final Fantasy and Pokémon had a baby, and it was adorable? There, done, game of the year. Add in a Kingdom Hearts-esque plot about crossover characters that kinda sorta make sense in a delightful little world, and we’re all set.
But I have barely played World of Final Fantasy. Why? Because about a month after World of Final Fantasy, we had a real Pokémon game, and a real Final Fantasy game. That’s the first new, not-a-MMORPG, not-a-sequel, not-formerly-a-PSP-game Final Fantasy in, what, seven years? Seven years between Final Fantasy games, three years between Pokémon iterations… and Final Fantasy World is released a month before both. Good job, Squeenix. Way to look at a calendar.
World of Final Fantasy looks like a lot of fun, and I’ll get back to it after I devote years of my life to these other two games. Could have been a lovely Summer release, but nooooooo.
Compilation of the Year: Megaman Legacy Collection (3DS)
As long as they keep releasing this game on different systems, I’m going to keep calling it the best thing on those systems. Switch next year, guys!
Remake of the Year: Dragon Quest 7 Fragments of the Forgotten Past
I still haven’t finished any version of DQ7, but thank Yggdrasil 3DS Dragon Quest 7 exists. I’ve always told myself that I’d return to the PSX DQ7, a game I fished out of a used bin sometime after the release of DQ8, but coming back to that game after 8 was… difficult. And then we got 9, my absolute favorite adventure featuring questing dragons (weren’t they actually angels?), and it seemed very unlikely that I would ever touch 7 again. It’s so slow, guys! Like, if a turtle was trapped in a molasses spill while being menaced by a particularly curious cat slow. Bah, why do I feel like that’s probably the premise of an entire island in this game?
But DQ7:3DS (working title) is much more in line with the pacing of its DS/3DS brethren. Yes, it’s still long as hell, and it takes a slime’s age to get anywhere, but it does actually feel like you’re getting somewhere. And the translation is no longer drier than a sandslash’s armpit, so it’s even interesting to play, too. This is one of those rare, awesome remakes that improves upon the original in every conceivable way.
And, yes, you might be able to debate that statement, but that would require playing PSX DQ7, and I see now that that task is completely impossible.
Title of the Year: Nitro + Blasterz Heroines Infinite Duel
Hey, look everybody, it’s another anime fighting game with a ridiculous title. Will wonders never cease?
Nitro + is actually a pretty fun game. It’s got an all-female cast of mostly characters I don’t recognize (and I feel kind of bad that I immediately recognize Sonico and her supporting “other” character), and it could be just another lazy “let’s toss all these disparate characters together and feed off the nerds” affair. But it’s good! Well… it’s no Blazblue or Street Fighter (I said it was disappointing, not bad), but it’s still a fighting game that has some decent (and new!) ideas. Sonico, seemingly the headliner for this game (she sings the theme song!) attacks… with cats. Like… a lot of cats. That’s a little different from your typical Ryu. Oh, and the game actually looks like a PS4 game, and not something that could have easily worked on the SNES, like a lot of random anime battlers. Anybody play that J-Stars kinda-fighting game? For a game where Goku could punch Naruto, it was pretty damn lackluster.
System of the Year:
Nope. Moving on.
Game of the Year: Pokémon Go
I’m completely serious about this: my videogame of the year is barely a videogame. And it’s on a cell phone! I don’t even know who I am anymore!
Okay, yes, Pokémon Go is kind of lousy as a game-game. Its desire to drain your pockets is obvious (boy, if you buy a bunch of incubators and walk around a lot, you’re practically saving money!), the “ball tossing” elements are about as complicated as learning to snap your fingers (… okay that took me like twelve years), and the whole “gotta catch ‘em all” setup is there to leave you crazy and wandering the streets at 3 AM hoping against hope that a porygon might show up and not immediately run away. This is not a good game, and Final Fantasy 15 or Overwatch should have this spot. Hell, even the surprisingly innovative Pokémon Sun/Moon should hold the “best Pokémon game” spot.
I’ve dex’ed 141 pokémon, captured 5,572 random beasts, evolved 419 mons, visted 5,706 Pokéstops, and walked… a whole lot. Apparently Go doesn’t have an in game clock… and that’s probably for the best.
So why is Pokémon Go my game of the year? It’s not just because I played it more than any other videogame this year (which is true and obvious), and it’s not just because my OCD compels me to play any Pokémon game (or “game”) until I have become the very best, like no one ever was. No, the reason Pokémon Go wins my vote is simply that it recontextualized reality. I’ve always been a fan of “walks”, but I got out of the habit a few years ago (usually because it becomes a might cold around these parts for a solid four months or so, and by the time that changes, I’ve rediscovered inside activities). With Pokémon Go, though, I suddenly had a reason to get out there and walk again, and maybe investigate the nooks and crannies of my local neighborhoods while I’m at it. There’s an apartment complex at the edge of town that I never noticed in three decades, but when there’s a Koffing nest on the radar, well, it’s time for some exploring. And I’m an insomniac, so a game that rewards me for playing at 4 AM on an August morning is amazing (the reward is less people around, the greatest reward of all).
Pokémon Go wasn’t the best videogame of the year, but it’s a videogame that seemed uniquely suited to my unique neuroses, so it’s my game of the year.
Now can someone tell me how to get rid of this fat guy hanging in front of my house repeating, “Isn’t technology wonderful?” over and over again?
Games I’m sure are great, but I haven’t played: Overwatch, Doom, Final Fantasy 15
I basically got all these games within the last month, thanks to sales or release schedules. I’ll get to them!
Games I’m sure are great, but I still haven’t played: Xenoblade Chronicles X, Undertale
I was working on other stuff!
Gogglebob.com Introspection 2016
I’m really regretting starting the site last Summer, because, had I started at the beginning of the year, I would be able to say this has been Year 2 of Gogglebob.com. Now, what, I have to say it’s been Year 1.5? Lame.
Other than terrible timing, I’m still enjoying the site, and I’m continually amazed by that. I really thought I would peter out on this thing around FGC #30 (which was actually… Rampage Through Time? Sounds about right), but here we are, looking forward to #223. What’s that robot going to choose next? Who knows! (Actually, I usually “roll” ROB for about fifteen to twenty articles in advance. I like to know what’s coming.)
I suppose a new thing this year has been the “theme weeks”, like Final Fantasy 7-palooza or even the recent Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past week (which basically happened because I couldn’t stop talking about one game I’ve played constantly… go fig), and those will likely continue to happen, because, in a weird way, a week of stability seems to work well for my mental health. It’s hard to switch gears from B.O.B. to Pinball Quest to Super Scope 6! I can only do it so much! Theme weeks let me work with some basic truth and expand it to a couple of days/articles. I think my brain likes that.
Oh, and this is the year that was practically defined by the Xenosaga LP, which is in its closing chapters as the year draws to an end. I’ll retrospect on that one a little more in its own section, but I’m amazed at how enjoyable that project has been, and that, ya know, I’m actually finishing it. That seemed impossible last year.
And here are five random articles from 2016 that I enjoyed writing/reading (and that I haven’t already mentioned):
You can mention your favorites in the comments. Or don’t, as seems to be the tradition. See if I care.
And, honestly, even though I don’t say it enough, thank you to everyone that has ever enjoyed an article, commented, and/or linked the site or commented about it on social media. It’s all very appreciated, and this blog is brought to you by viewers like you. I promise I’ll get better at Twitter, soon.
Alright, that’s it for 2016! Let’s hope next year is at least a marginal improvement!
What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Lollipop Chainsaw! Okay, not what I would have picked to start out the year, but it’s still a fun game. Next year, get me a chainsaw. Please look forward to it!