It has been more then a week since I made my first post about this playthough I am making and I finally completed Metroid Prime. It took a bit longer then I expected due to real life shit and because I did not play it that long on a single day. I also finished playing on Saturday and only started writing this today, I guess E3 shit consumed quite a bit of time here.
So here something about my experience playing Metroid Prime.
Metroid prime is not extremely long, I played it at around 15 hours which is reasonable. The combat of the game is very easy even if the game where to have perma death it would not matter as I did not die a single time in the entire playthrough. This is something I have never had before, I always at least had a few accidental deaths or deaths on bosses I did not know hot to defeat but Metroid Prime was that easy in combat. If I went for veteran mode directly this may have been different though which I will if possible in the future Metroid Prime games.
This is however not the full story as figuring out how to navigate the terrain, how to get stuff, and where to go are also important parts of the gameplay so in that sense it was not just breezing through the game. The figuring out where to go part was easy at first but later on it would be fairly time consuming, luckily the hint system points me in the right direction after a certain time.
Graphically the game is clearly dated, however it does have some things a lot of modern games do not. It has dynamic lighting even if it's not per pixel it does add a bit and it really tries to emerge you in the helmet, adding things like reflections of your eyes when an explosion is near, and having smoke that goes up vent fog your visor are a few examples of that.
Another great graphical thing is that most of the upgrades you can get are visually present, from the change on the gun for every new projectile type to the spider ball changing your morph ball to the port for the grappling hook showing up when you use it, it all shows and it is all great. A shame most games don't take nearly as much effort in emerging you into a first person view as Metroid prime does.
The audio is also great and very memorable, one of the best soundtracks I have seen in modern games. I also like it how upgrades like missile tanks and energy tanks give off a sound so you know one is near which in turn makes you search for it.
The wiimote controls do seem to add something to the old gamecube controls it used to be with, a wiimote just is a lot more accurate then a conventional controller in games like this.
Overall I found it a great game even now and am looking forward to playing 2 and 3 after I play hunters which I fear will not be that great.
Please note that I do not expect anyone to read this really except for the indexers and that I am only really writing this for myself.
A few days ago I have decided to play through all the main Metroid games in chronological order, starting with Metroid: Zero mission and ending with Metroid: Fusion. There are actually two main reasons for doing this. The first being that I own all three Metroid Prime games yet never completed a single one of them and the second being me finally wanting to break the habit of never finishing what I start. At the time of writing this I already started playing Metroid Prime as I only decided to write about it after playing Zero mission.
Metroid: Zero Mission
Platform:My dusty old GBA SP
I already played this game years ago on my GBA although years later then I could have played it as it was a forgotten Birthday present my parents left laying in the Shelve and I only found it by accident years later just after finishing Metroid: Fusion and so I played that game I think around 2006. I did however find the game a bit short back then and also easier then Metroid Fusion so lets see if it changes to me if its the first Metroid on the list.
Platform: My disk drive less Wii (the trilogy version)
This was the first Metroid game I owned yet I never finished it, I started the game multiple times but I never really finished it, I hope this changes now. At the time I found it a great looking game with a difficulty that was about right although I was often stuck on what I had to do this happened a lot more back then than it does now. I originally planned to play Trilogy on my PC using an emulator but after I got some issues I thought screw it and went for my Wii instead.
Metroid Prime: Hunters
Platform: My brother's DS
I played this game when it just came out on the ds and actually completed the Singleplayer twice however it didn't seem that great at the time, I found the bosses very monotonous and the singleplayer just not very interesting but also very short. I mostly played and enjoyed the multiplayer with friends locally and even played it online for a bit even if the ds and online multiplayer like this really don't mix well. I hope the singleplayer is more enjoyable now and I actually was twisting my mind around it whether or not to skip this game but in the end I decided to play it. The reason why I use my Brother's ds is because I broke my old dsi a year or so ago and replaced it with a psp go as I played a lot smaller portion of the psp library then I did the ds library.
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
Platform: My disk drive less Wii (the trilogy version)
I bought this game really cheap on my gamecube but never really got to play it as I found that I first had to complete the first one which I never did so this would actually be the first game on my list that I never really played before.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Platform: My disk drive less Wii (the trilogy version)
For some reason I bought this game directly when it came out despite never finishing the first and second one and I am still wondering why I did that, maybe I was just to weak of mind to do anything else and unlike Metroid Prime 2 I actually almost finished the game before stopping for some reason. I also don't remember much about playing it so I can't tell you much about how I found the game but I will see where it goes.
Metroid II: Return of Samus
Platform: either my psp go or my pc
I have heard very little about this game for the gameboy, it does seem like the game has been forgotten by time. I also read about it being more linear then the original for the NES so I will see about that. I am still deciding weather to emulate it on a handheld or just on my pc but I think I go for the psp version as that would be more fitting.
Platform:either my psp go or my pc
I have started playing this game on an emulator multiple times but that was mostly on the go and it doesn't really seem like a good game to play in 15 minute train runs so I never got far into the game. I do however plan to finish it now. I heard it was the best 2d metroid game so I will put it to the test having only to play its biggest competitor in the end this could be a final showdown for me. I am still between playing it on the better emulator on the pc or the portable emulation on the psp but I think I will go with the pc emulator as the psp did not emulate at 100% accuracy and I stopped playing it before twice on the psp, playing it on the pc may make a break with that.
Metroid: Other M
Platform: Either my pc or my wii
I have played it a little on my wii but never really got far into the game as I was actually in the middle of other stuff so it will be the second last game on my list. This is also said to be the worst metroid game around and since I already played the other contenders for this spot before this game I would be able to give my own personal judgement on if it is worse or better then Metroid Prime: Hunters or Metroid II, personally I think the game is not as bad as people make it out to be but only time will tell for me.
Platform: My dusty old GBA SP
Having started on my GBA ending on it would be very fitting. I really enjoyed this game a lot when I first played it and later replayed it so it would be nice to see how it stacks up to the other games after playing this. I also really wonder how it stacks up to its biggest competitor Super Metroid as both are claimed to be the best Metroid. Either way it is the Metroid game I have the most fond memory of. It was never to difficult, challenging sure but the difficulty was something I found great. I got stuck in the games a few times but finding out how to do stuff made the game rewarding. I will see how this goes when I play it again.
By the time I started writing this post I already completed Metroid: Zero Mission so I will just write about it below, the Metroid games I complete after that will be posted in separate blog posts but I thought well since I already completed the game anyway it would be a waste to write another post for this.
Metroid: Zero Mission
The first thing I noticed is that Zero Mission was indeed a short game, it only took me somewhere between 6 and 8 hours to complete. Normally this would be a bad thing but since I have 8 other Metroid games to play I found it nice that it was short.
I don't know if it differs from the NES original here but the game was not very difficult, sure I had to try bosses a few times and sure I died quite frequently in the late game but I never got the impression that I had to do my best, it was never truly challenging. The most I died on a boss was 5 times for the mother brain and for the first half of the game I have only encountered 1 death so I would either have to say I am good or the game is easy. I didn't bother replaying it on hard but I always assumed that most NES games where hard as nails so if it is the same as the NES game here it is surprising to see it actually being fairly easy.
It is also not like I got a lot of energy tanks either, while it is often a nice challenge to get the problem is that it also makes you life easier, and I think that is a big problem in general. If you have 4 extra health tanks a 5th one does make a big difference and 5 was only what I got in the end. Missile tanks and other consumables are often very easy to get and do not offer much of an extra challenge so in the end it leaves you with a fairly easy game till you may or may not be able to go to hard mode.
Graphically the graphics did their job well on the gba and really for a 2d game like this it is not like you need anything better. Sure modern particle effects and higher ress sprites could look better but its a non issue here. The sound is good but since I don't have the proper extension I could only hear it through the speaker of the gba sp which is still quite decent but mostly limited to the speaker.
Gameplay wise there is a decent number of upgrade to gather along the game but since it was the first metroid game there is nothing truly unique there. Shooting is rather simple and the terrain is easy to navigate so I guess that is all I have to write here.
I would say it was a fun 6-8 hours that works really well in modern standards but don't go expecting anything epic here. Like I said not a full review just a collection of thoughts on the game.
Note: the formatting is not perfect but it was the best I could do in the editor, centering the images without creating blank space around it was just not possible, even now I had to clean up a lot of shit.
It has been a while since my first attempt at blogging here on Destructoid but here I am trying it again, this time on a very different matter and that is the price you pay for your PC games or rather the lack of difference between different places.
Lets start with looking at how much money a publisher gets for a game sold retail versus a game sold on steam. I think most people kind of figured out that steam is cheaper for the publisher but lets see how much cheaper it actually is. Because I live in the Netherlands I am first going to look at the Dutch prising and I am going to put all prices standardized in Euro's for convenience.
Firstly the steam prices in here are pretty much the same as the rated prices of games sold retail which is around €50 per game or €49.99 if you want to be more precise. Now steam generally has a fee for the publisher of around 30% per game sold. When you buy a game on steam you will still pay the vat for it which is 21% same as retail, you will also have fees for payment providers however if you where to buy retail taxes and payment costs would also be there (handling cash is not cheap) so I will just ignore those two as they should be pretty much the same for every purchasing method.
On to the retail, I know that generally the cheapest way of getting physical copies is via webshops the cheapest webshop is generally 25% cheaper including shipping then the rated price so you would generally get the games for €37.50 I am taking the average price of one of the cheapest shops for new games and not the cheapest shop for every individual game as that could have given a twisted image. Now I can assume they have around a 10% margin of the rated price on their games to cover all their costs including shipping which is not very expensive by mail. So this would amount to around 35% margin per copy however that is not all as manufacturing and distributing the game is also not free and is estimated to cost around €3 per copy(I found that amount or rather 4$ quite a few times on different places).
Comparing the two you will get the following figure, a game sold Retail would get the publisher €35 where a game sold retail would give the publisher €29.50 this may look like a reasonable difference but if you where to actually balance the two so the games would cost the same you would be looking at a €4 increase on the retail price and a €4 decrease on the steam price which really is not a lot. It would be even less of a difference when you where to look at the US situation as the market there is a bit difference as there are a few big players which have to deal with very strict price deals with the publishers on bigger games. This means they have a margin of around 25% (source: on live presentation on gdc 2010) which is significantly less then the margin in the Netherlands. This would make the money the publisher gets for his game almost identical to that of steam (€34.50) now it is in dollars so the fixed cost for manufacturing and distributing would be $4 instead which would on a $50 game make the difference a tiny bit bigger but lets ignore that for now.
I think this actually shows that the difference between the two for a publisher are actually not that big and really charging the same for both on that matter is not as fucked up as people including me may have thought. This is however not the whole story, as steam is not the only digital distributor and actually the 30% percent they charge is actually quite a lot.
Looking outside of steam there are quite a number of digital distributors on pc many of which may be charging lower margins then steam however the price you pay for a new game would still be the same. GreenManGaming is the best example here they don't really have lower margins then Steam however what they do is offer a practically permanent 20% off coupon on almost all of the games they sell. This means they are actually having a 10% margin but are hiding it behind coupon codes. Now if they would have just given a straight up margin of 10% publishers would just have made it so the full €50 is paid for a game which would give them around €45 for every game sold.
I think Steam would also still make a profit with such margins considering the insane profits they are making now, and its also not like they are having a lot of costly deals on their games or at least not really more then GMG Following this Reddit they appear equally well on the deal department.
Worse still are the publishers themselves in their own stores like Origin and Uplay, I have no doubt that selling games through those is significantly cheaper then selling them through steam or retail, Origin doesn't have to turn a profit and a lot of games activate on origin already so I doubt that selling a game on origin would cost EA much. Yet they quite often even ask more then the rated price. Like selling it in a place which is cheaper for them to sell in is a premium.
Now naturally I would say the prices are there so the publisher gets maximum profit and that may be true however I don't think it is smarter on the long run because it creates some serious issues. First of all Steam can fairly relaxed charge 30% on their games because they don't have to fear from other distirbutors even if they would charge a 10% margin the publisher would still have to sell it on steam to please their customers or origin for whatever it is worth, selling it to some more obscure store only would not really work. Now what if the obscure store would be a lot cheaper? If the publisher would just ask a fair price for the game sold there the smaller distributor selling at a margin of 10% would grow in following and while I doubt it would overtake steam anytime soon it would still sell a reasonable amount of games.
Now remember this if games are cheaper people will buy more games so when games are cheaper like on a store that only holds a margin of 10% it could very well mean more sales for the publisher which gives them more profits so in that sense it is beneficial. Now imagine the cheaper store coming out with a service that is quite on par with the Steam and Desura now that would mean there is fairly little hold for Steam to hold its 30% margins on the longer run, practically forcing them to get cheaper. In the end it would mean cheaper games for the consumers and more profits for the publishers which is something I think everyone would like.
Now even the 10% could be improved upon, who knows maybe when the prices are charged fairly who knows maybe a service starts working with peer to peer downloading of games which would lower hosting costs significantly and maybe they would give the user back credits for seeding. Such a store could only grow if publishers price compared to what money they get for selling a game rather then looking the price a gamer pays.
Some notes in the end:
1: I want to say again I ignored taxes and transaction costs because they only confuse things and apply to both retail and digital distribution.
2: I used Euro's even for the Gamestop stuff but that is just to simplify things, I could have gone with dollars but that would not have added much and would only had me make the text bigger.
3: This is mainly for pc games and while it can be used for consoles as well the situation is different there as there are not multiple digital distributors, For handheld games the production costs for the physical copies would be significantly higher also.
4: I am talking about publishers here but the same also applies to independent developers however they do not have the freedom to distribute retail without huge costs, the same applies to publishers that don't have the means to do retail themselves.
5: please consider the margins of retail very rough estimates with lots of stuff cut out as making it perfect would overcomplicate things needlessly and would have been almost impossible to figure out.
This I my first attempt at blogging on Destuctiod, I have been planning on doing it for a while now and I finally found the right time to get started. I thought I may just start by getting my piracy out of the way first.
When I was still in primary school I never really pirated anything. I owned a GameCube and a GBA and I also played on my mothers desktop from time to time. This changed when I went to high school (late august 2004). I got a laptop for school and every classmate did as well as part of a pilot with using laptops in education. Soon after the start of the school year I started playing some pirated pc games most notably GTA Vice City, the game started to spread around the class by some of my classmates and most of us played the game on our laptops. I also started downloading emulators for the n64 and gba, and pirated roms for those systems as well.
At the time my English and knowledge of the internet was not good enough to find stuff myself with the exception of roms from rom sites so I couldn't even reliably download pc games myself. This really limited it to the games spread in class and some emulators with roms. This had no real effect on the games I bought. Not that that was much as the allowance me and my brother got was together not really that much. I did get a ds later in 2004 to replace my gba. At the time I didn't even know that downloading roms was wrong, I figured that stuff publicly available on known sites could not really be illegal.
The next year I switch schools but I could still keep my laptop and use it on the new school as well. This was mainly because my handwriting was bad and borderline unreadable. I didn't really start pirating more pc games, I still used emulators and roms but the games spread by classmates where gone. I actually started buying pc games full price like Age of Empires 3. Later in November 2005 I got a pc capable of playing basically all games released before 2006 at decent framerates including the heavier games like F.E.A.R. And Far Cry. During this time I still bought DS and GameCube games as well.
I really started to turn to PC piracy about 2 months after the launch of Oblivion, I got the game on launch and while it didn't run that well on my pc I was not that bothered about it at the time. If you are used to it 12 to 20 fps is perfectly playable. My brother lend Oblivion to some friend but when he returned it the game was full of scratches and the disk didn't even show up in windows any more. This made me start looking around the web for ways to make the game work without the disk which eventually let me to the discovery of torrents. While I may have pirated some small things in the past with Emule and Limewire those where never reliable for me but with torrents the flood gates where opened to pirate about any PC game I ever wanted. This meant that I hardly ever bought a pc game for the years after that except for some multiplayer titles like Battlefield 2 which I bought for cheap.
On the console and handheld side of things I actually started to buy more games as my allowance grew and I didn't have to spread the money towards pc games now that I pirated them. Even if I didn't pirate on pc my pc would not have been able to reasonably run games newer then 2006 so I would have only bought cheaper older titles at most. In December I also got a Wii just after its wait past away so instead of buying gamecube games I now bought wii games.
Somewhere in the second half of 2007 DS flashcards started spreading around my school and I decided to get one as well. This was soon after the release of the first single slot flashcards but they still had to be shipped from Ebay sellers and from Chinese webshops still unknown to me. I really did want a flashcard especially because to me DS games where really overpriced, especially in The Netherlands. DS games would cost about €40 to €50 and I knew my Father could import them a lot cheaper from the US when he had to go there on a business trip. This strengthened me in wanting a flashcard so I finally went to buy one, following the advice of some classmate who had a good experience with the webshop. I paid about as much for the flashcard and a 2gb micro sd as I would pay for one DS game.
From this point forward I stopped buying DS games and only bought Wii games. I think I still spend about the same amount of money on games as I did before however instead of spreading between Wii and DS it was all on the Wii now. Because of this I didn't really consider my piracy to be that bad. After all my pc couldn't run new games and I still spend about as much money on games on Nintendo systems.
Around April 2008 I initiated the finally step towards total piracy. I was a really big fan of Super Smash Bros Melee as it was my first and by far most played GameCube game and I was really looking forward to the release of Brawl, Which got released in March in the US and I knew it was out there however on a region locked wii I had to wait till the end of June before I could ever play it on my wii, I got so frustrated by this that out of Fandom I went the step towards installing a modchip and downloaded Brawl way before its European release.
Now that I had a modchip I stopped buying games on the Wii completely as it was hard for me to defend spending €50 on a game while I only got about €20 a month and I could also get the games for free. This was strengthened by the fact that I already pirated on my other systems. At the time I saw not much of a point in paying for something that could also be obtained for free and didn't see enough added value in online portions or some library comfort to be worth buying but most importantly I found that one sale less doesn't hurt a dev that much.
Because I stopped buying games I could save up the money instead which I did till the end of 2009 when I finally got enough money to buy a gaming pc. In a way the pc was thus paid for by piracy.
Because I was scared of building my own pc at the time I bought an Acer instead which had a huge discount on it making it quite close to a similarly priced self build one. I would however not recommend others to do this as the pc had its problems. First of it had to be send on RMA after one month because the system wouldn't boot and later the GPU started overheating because the case had to little ventilation to actually have its gpu be used for longer gaming runs. The gpu ultimately died from this.
The new pc didn't stop me from pirating, in the contrary I actually started pirating the newest pc games I couldn't play before. I also pirated windows for the first time. I did that because the pc originally came with vista which was quite shitty at the time (with newer updates its not that bad). They offered “a free upgrade to Windows 7” because the pc was from a few months before its release however in truth free Windows 7 meant I had to pay €30 shipping on the disk so I decided to pirate it instead. I never really bought windows separate anyway. I did buy a few online games during this time including Battlefield Bad Company 2.
Late 2010 I got a PS3 for my 18th birthday this was just after soft mods got released for the system
And I intended to use it for piracy only. I even dubbed my ps3 Pirate Station 3 it being the 3th system after my DS and Wii I exclusively used for piracy. This was at the time more and more games seemed to be delayed on pc or even skipping pc altogether and I wanted to also play those games however I found encouraging this behaviour by buying the console version a bad plan so I didn't buy anything on my ps3. This however did not mean the end of my pc piracy but I slowly started to buy pc games at discount prices, steam sales, humble indie bundles, and other sales where now where I got some legal games. I also slowly started to develop a backlog.
Throughout 2011 I slowly bought more and more games on sales and indie bundles on pc but remained fully pirating on my other systems. My Wii and PS3 could not even play new legitimate games at that time. My wii had its disk drive replaced by some optical drive emulator back in 2009 as the disk drive broke which meant I had to use downloaded games even if I owned the legitimate version. On my ps3 the custom firmware was behind the official one which meant new games could still be patched to work on modified systems but my ps3 could not run new games without pirating or ripping the iso myself. In October I broke my dsi and I bought a used psp go in return and I never really bothered to buy games for it, the psp go couldn't play most psp games legit anyway. As such a psp go was only really suitable for pirates.
In january 2012 I actually bought skyrim full price (not actual rated price but the price I paid to order it online at some webshop which was cheaper then the 33% sale on steam running at the same time). From that point forward I almost completely stopped pirating on pc and started buying more and more games on sales and I even preordered Borderlands 2 at some point. This also meant my initially small backlog started growing more and more.
This brings me to my current situation I stopped buying pc games again until by backlog is slimmed down, at the moment its huge even including big titles like darksiders 1+2 and LA noir. I still pirate on psp and ps3 even if I can just buy the ps3 games, wii has no new games so its irrelevant and the wii games I do play I play on an emulator.
So is there anything we can learn from this?
If it wasn't for the drm that required my disk to be in the diskdrive I may have found piracy on pc at a later date though I don't expect it to change that much, maybe I would have bought one more pc game.
First of all my Handheld and Console piracy started because I felt I got screwed over as Dutchman or European. Nintendo Please don't do that and please keep fairer price points in Europe.
Second Piracy does not always mean less money spend on gaming and even when it does it just means money spend elsewhere, if policy makers read this they will see there is no real economic damage of such piracy.
But really the most important thing here is to say yes I am still a pirate even if I am less of a pirate now then I used to be I am still one of them.
Maybe I will express my current views on piracy at a later date as including it here would really make this post a bit to long.