I’ve been playing the original Final Fantasy VII for the first time and it reminded me of this post about Final Fantasy VIII’s sound design that I wrote but never published back in 2018. (Why, I don’t know. I suppose because it lacked a profound conclusion I felt it “not worthy”? Silly of me in hindsight.)
All of the Playstation era (and earlier) Final Fantasies have a silent/pre-talkie era film quality to them. There are surprisingly few sound effects outside of battle, and no voice acting whatsoever throughout. One of the most unusual features of the series’ sound design is the total absence of sound during on-screen dialogue. It was and still is a common device in videogames without voice acting to have a sound effect during dialogue… why? I don’t know, to be honest. Sometimes noises indicate who is talking, with an indistinct voice gurgle to represent each character. In games of yesteryear where the sound effect don’t change between different speakers, the purpose was less clear.
In any case, the effect of doing away with any text scroll/dialogue sound effects is a lot like watching a silent film, where title cards showed text and dialogue against music. It means these games relied a lot on Uematsu’s score, and thank goodness then these soundtracks are so strong and so varied. Continue reading
I detailed my gripes with the Dualshock controllers waaay back when in part one, so if you want to know more about my quest for a Dualshock-killer, go read that. Now then, here’s my long overdue review round-up of three Dualshock alternatives. All of these were purchased with the intention of replacing the Dualshock and its tragic excuse for a directional pad. So, to put these controllers to the test I played a pair of classic PS1 shoot ’em ups, Gradius Gaiden and Harmful Park, that require pixel perfect moves with a d-pad. Continue reading
Filthy. Casuals. Two words that are put together far too often when discussing videogames on the internet. Well, fact is, everyone has to start somewhere! And while the influx of so-called “casual” and “lapsed” gamers during the Wii generation is oft-discussed (not least on this very blog), the original PlayStation’s appeal to a new, older audience doesn’t get nearly the same level of attention. But if we turn our eyes to the late nineties, the figures don’t lie. The 32-bit generation of consoles – PlayStation, N64 and Saturn combined expanded the videogame market enormously, with approx. 144 million consoles sold in total versus approx. 80 million between Super Nintendo and the Megadrive/Genesis in the previous generation. That’s a whole lot of new gamers.
Now I have to admit I have this slightly weird, anthropological fascination with the topic because over the years I’ve met several adults who were first drawn to gaming during the PlayStation era. Maybe they’d played games before, but not to this extent and certainly never buying a console. I’d like to share anecdotes of a few people I know personally before giving some context for the gaming industry’s attempts to attract an older crowd to gaming. Continue reading
Dear Mr Hawks,
Damn Tony you make really good games. I love the half-pipes, flip-tricks and mad-grinds especially. But I don’t like your friends that much, they’re dumb. Why did you have to let that Jackass Bam Margera guy in the game anyway? Did he bully you like he bullies his dad? You’re rich though! You could have hired bouncers or something. Also what happened to you? Your games used to be all popular but then you had that dumb Ride thing and then did you fall off a cliff or what? When you come back from Skateistan can you make a good game please.
Warm regards from your biggest fan,
Very Very Gaming
OK, OK, I didn’t actually send that, and anyway it’s just a first draft. Someday though I might send him my hand drawn map of his head done from the “folicle’s eye view”, or overhead view (pun INTENDED). Continue reading
Exhumed/Powerslave is an interesting game, developed by Lobotomy Software, the company that produced Saturn ports of Duke Nukem 3D and Quake. I’m playing the Playstation version of Exhumed, and as I’m only a few levels in, bear in mind that these impressions may not hold up and I might have more to say about it a later stage. For all I know the game could dive off a metaphorical cliff at this point, into a metaphorical sea of poo. Continue reading