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Rest in pepperoni, Mario Mario, 1981 - 2021
He will be missed by all, except for me! WARIO, NUMBER ONE!

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Messages - SlowPokemon

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1
Off-Topic / Re: The Post Your Thoughts of the Moment Thread 2
« on: April 21, 2021, 10:56:14 PM »
My signature quote is pretty much exactly five years old

2
Since this piece is a waltz, which is written in 3 but felt in 1, “presto” feels a little odd as a tempo marking. It’s actually not a particularly fast waltz tempo. It is technically accurate when you’re talking strictly metronome markings, but something like “Moderate waltz” might be a more informative thing—especially since you’re providing the BPM “presto” isn’t quite necessary. It could also draw attention to this music’s connection to the “waltz of the Boos” track, basically noting that the way they’re representing the haunted levels in this game is by putting the music into a triple meter. (This is also their tactic in Super Mario 3D World)

Not at all a necessary change, just throwing my two cents in.

3
This is by far the best April fools event this site has done. Bravo. You outdid yourselves.

Special mention to the sheets for Ace Attorney and Super Mario Bros. Laughed myself out of my chair at those.

4
Off-Topic / Re: Jokes
« on: March 06, 2021, 05:03:03 PM »
When is a bus not a bus?
When it turns into a parking lot.

Why were the pirate’s parents so disappointed with his report card?
Because of the seven Cs.

What do you call it when you eat filets on an airplane?
High steaks.

5
Off-Topic / Re: The Post Your Thoughts of the Moment Thread 2
« on: January 28, 2021, 05:09:09 PM »
There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting paid for your work. Never let anyone tell you that your work, music, writing, or any other kind of art should be free.

The exception, of course, is when your work is USING SOMEONE ELSE’S COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL IN AN UNOFFICIAL CAPACITY. This is not a brief quotation, this is straight using the entire musical material.

6
Nintendo / Re: Slow Reviews Games: A NinSheetMusic Column
« on: January 01, 2021, 04:01:07 PM »
Oh yeah, reading during college semesters is impossible. But it gets easier after that

7
Nintendo / Re: Slow Reviews Games: A NinSheetMusic Column
« on: December 31, 2020, 07:53:08 PM »
That’s great! Yeah, Animal Crossing has just dominated my life this year. It’s been really odd.

Side bar: I read 24 books this year and I was thinking about making a “favorite books I read this year” post even though it’s not really related to gaming. Would anyone be interested in that? I genuinely have no idea how many people here are readers.

8
Nintendo / Re: Slow Reviews Games: A NinSheetMusic Column
« on: December 30, 2020, 10:27:45 PM »
Stuff

Hey, thanks for the comment! I want to go back to Obra Dinn at some point and really give it the time it deserves. I got frustrated a few hours in and ended up looking up the stuff I didn't have yet, so I'm probably not a great opinion there. But I did really enjoy it.

I don't recommend Raging Loop unless you're really itching for a horror VN, as the things that are common flaws about the genre are on full display here (notably, it's just not very tightly paced where it counts). NG is a quicker play and I think the more entertaining of the two. The big difference is that Raging Loop has a fantastic protagonist, very unusual and out there for this genre; while NG has a pretty lame protagonist without much personality.

It's sort of a tradition that I don't award Best Graphics. There might be a reason why, but there might not.

Paradise Killer is a great game, I think you would enjoy it because it's the kind of narrative that succeeds because of the gameplay rather than just because of the writing. To be honest, the opening gives you just the bare minimum of a LOT of lore and I'd recommend just going with it and doing random shit until you start to get the feel for it. It's in a strange dystopian universe and the rules/universe history are made clearer as you play, rather than getting a big info-dump up front, so the first hour or two can be extremely bewildering. But yeah, I really recommend it. Doing everything will get you about 12-15 hours.

Thank you for your thoughts about Hades! I'm excited to try it.

Things

Hey! Yeah, I understand where you're coming from. I mostly skipped City Folk, but played Wild World a lot and sunk about 300some hours into New Leaf, so I'm acutely aware of the absence of some characters and things.

I also prefer the minimalist stylings of the hourly music in New Leaf, but it began to feel more natural to me in this setting after a while. I would argue it serves mostly the same purpose and just gives you more of a "colonized" feel than the natural sounds in New Leaf (with a lot of bare piano, woodblock, marimba, etc.).

A lot of things about the experience with the villagers appear to be stripped back at first, but actually a lot of it is hiding behind a really dumb thing where the first time you talk to a villager every day will be streamlined and short, while talking to them a second time (and further) gets you the more personalized, unique dialogue. I still consider the animal villagers to be my favorite part of the game, honestly. I reached five stars, not on purpose, around October, and have since lost it. I don't really pay much attention to my island decor, I just do what I want and try to keep things mostly natural. But I understand how some players could feel pressured to play a certain way.

I agree that unfortunately a lot of the things you mentioned, such as diving, art expansion, lots of furniture and the amiibo characters, store upgrades past the first one, and animals such as Katrina and Copper/Booker, were removed to create a false "new feature" when they are eventually added in an update. I don't enjoy that fake longevity, and I understand the frustrations. Some of the other things, however: ore not being able to be used for furniture is replaced by customizing crafted items (and TBH, the ore system in New Leaf was so obnoxious and made you wait so long that I never bothered much with it); I actually like the crafting system; and holidays being added in updates is something I actually prefer, because I'm very much of the opinion that Animal Crossing should be enjoyed in real time, without cheating or skipping around, for any reason. No one has ever been able to point anything out that has swayed my opinion about this.

More than this, though: most of the things you mentioned are to me extremely minor parts of the experience. The underline of Animal Crossing is: enjoy your life the way you want to, and learn that you can make things happen with patience and hard work. That's unchanged and in fact is better than ever in this entry, in my opinion. That's why it got my game of the year. On the same token, I completely understand (and even agree/sympathize with) anyone who was disappointed by it. But personally, I went back to New Leaf to check things out recently and I couldn't believe how much better quality of life alone is in the new game.

Ideas

I know! I absolutely loved The Origami King, and I was really sad to realize it didn't come out on top in any category this year. The dialogue writing was so clever and funny, and it actually moved me to tears a couple times! This was my first Paper Mario game (I've always been a Mario & Luigi guy, but now that Alpha-Dream is defunct, I figured I should check out the competition) and I really enjoyed it from start to finish. I hate to be that guy, but I honestly even loved the puzzly combat system. It's rare that Nintendo game puzzles really challenge experienced players nowadays, so I found the difficulty spikes sort of delightful. The music was amazing too, definitely fitting for an RPG experience.

9
Nintendo / Re: Slow Reviews Games: A NinSheetMusic Column
« on: December 30, 2020, 06:09:52 AM »
Favorites of Video Games 2020

Here are some of my favorite gaming experiences of the past year. It’s bad when 2017, 2018, and 2019 were all on the same page, huh? There’s nothing I can say about the year 2020 that would add to what anyone else has said about it, but I’m sure all of you agree that video games (and other entertainment) filled a particularly important role throughout. For my part, I have to admit that I didn’t play very many games that were actually released this year. This means that these awards are probably going to be much less varied and more boring than usual. As is tradition, however, I’m including a section on games I played for the first time that were released prior to this year, so hopefully that will even out the score.

It’s worth pointing out that with the official discontinuation of the PlayStation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS, this is the first year that is exclusively a Nintendo Switch favorites list because I don’t own any other current-gen consoles. (Technically, last year’s list was basically this, aside from an honorable mention of Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey in the Best Remake category, but y’know.)

To get warmed up, here are three pre-2020 games I experienced for the first time.

1
Spirit Hunter: NG (2019) on PlayStation Vita (also on Nintendo Switch, PC, & PlayStation 4)

2018’s Death Mark was a fantastic little adventure game released on Switch and Vita that achieved its scares through a dread-inducing atmosphere and liberal use of Japanese horror tropes. Horror aficionados know that Asian horror favors subtler, more insidious dread than the jump scares and chainsaws of its American counterpart, and this worked to Death Mark’s advantage. Last year’s sequel, the cryptically-titled NG, plays as a spin-off rather than a straight sequel as far as the story is concerned, but as far as I’m concerned actually does everything even better than its predecessor. Returning from the first game is the idea that to defeat the spirits, you don’t necessarily have to destroy them, but can instead pay attention to their backstories and behavior to free them from their torment. This Undertale-esque “destroy or take mercy” approach gives the game an edge of tension and puzzle-solving that really sets it apart. The characters feel more fleshed-out than the first game’s, and the plot feels largely more cohesive than the episodic structure of the first, both of which work in its favor. However, like the first game, it occasionally takes the “female horror victim viewed in a sexual pose” trope to an absurd level, distracting from the mood. Not everyone’s cup of tea, then, but if you like Japanese horror, it’s like the most aromatic, heavenly blend of Earl Grey you’ve ever tasted.
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2
Return of the Obra Dinn (2019)* on Nintendo Switch (also on Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, & Xbox One)

One of the most curious indie games I’ve ever experienced, Return of the Obra Dinn is basically without a genre. The art style is difficult to describe, but reminds me of 3D figures made of television static, and that never stopped being interesting for the entire five-ish hours the game lasted. The plot is also noteworthy in that you have to piece it together yourself. Literally, at several points the game will not progress until you personally deduce the titles and names of characters from watching various tangentially-related cutscenes and making estimates about the way they slot together. It’s all a bit much, to be honest, and the game expects you to pay full attention to every tiny detail and maybe even take notes (believe me, you’ll want a notepad nearby). I find it very difficult to believe that anyone but the most dedicated player could get each and every bit solved without outside help, but that’s also what gives the game its unique charm. It’s like being a detective, and unlike most detective-style games, you don’t have a side character giving you hints and nudging you along the correct path. It’s a fascinating piece of work and I look forward to more games from developer Lucas Pope.

*Note: Return of the Obra Dinn was originally released in 2018 for Mac and PC before releasing on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2019.
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3
Raging Loop (2019) on Nintendo Switch (also on PC & PlayStation 4)

Most of Raging Loop plays out like a typical visual novel: there are bad ends abound, most of which involve your character meeting an absurd and untimely demise; plenty of suspicious characters to talk to (and talk to, and talk to); and scenes of exposition that go on far too long for their own good. It’s a good thing the game has so much originality going for it in other areas, then. The crux of the thing is that Raging Loop is based on the popular party game Werewolf (or Mafia, in some variations). The deathly feast in which our protagonist lands takes place in a closed-circle remote village and involves such roles as secret wolves who kill a human every night, a spider who can choose one to guard, and a snake who can ascertain whether a specific one is a human or a wolf. The setup and the way the story plays out gave me fond memories of playing The Werewolf Game here on NinSheetMusic as long as ten years ago (I know, I’m old). The catch to this is that your protagonist is actually aware that he’s continually dying and resetting, and is able to transfer key memories every time he loops, meaning that the “bad ends” actually end up helping you and unlock wiser choices. This Uchikoshi-like spin on things, as well as quirky touches such as a tongue-in-cheek, voice-acted introductory tutorial warning you that the story is “obscenely lengthy,” really makes Raging Loop an amusing time for fans of the genre. My personal favorite is the bizarre anthropomorphic cartoon sheep that berates you every time you reach an ending and advises you on what you should have done instead (“Chief, if you made a choice that dumb, you deserved to die” stands out as one of his most blunt zingers). Whether you find him helpful or patronizing, you have to admit he’s hilarious.
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And now, my 2020 picks!

BEST SOUND DESIGN
Animal Crossing: New Horizons

To my mind, you’d have to be hard-pressed to find anything more perfectly designed than the “Animalese” that characters in the Animal Crossing franchise speak. It’s quirky, bubbly, odd, and it gives us an excuse to listen to the garbled, heavily distorted tones of Kazumi Totaka every day. Obviously, this award is a collective thing, influenced by the sounds of everything: footsteps (which change based on the terrain and even the type of shoe you’re wearing), maddeningly persistent chirps of cicadas and mole crickets, even the little menu pops and clicks that satisfy the ear just so. But honestly, the clincher for me is the revamped Animalese, somehow even quirkier than before, with a comically deep register for Cranky villagers and variations for Peppy and Jock villagers that somehow make it sound like they’re shouting at you. Anyway, my point is that the sound design of this latest title in the franchise is meticulously creative and appropriate, and also that if you’re annoyed by the Animalese speech, you’re wrong.

HONORABLE MENTION: None
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BEST MUSIC
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Yasuaki Iwata, Yumi Takahashi, Shinobu Nagata, Sayako Doi, & Masato Ohashi)

I can maybe see how someone would be surprised by this choice. After all, most of the music in Animal Crossing is atmospheric: small, minimalist, repetitive, short pieces that feel inconsequential or just like background noise. However, the further into it you go, you start to appreciate the art of it all. For me, it calls to mind the “music-as-wallpaper” aspirations of French composer Erik Satie (whose famous “Gymnopédie No. 1” was referenced in the 1:00 PM music of Animal Crossing: New Leaf). This is music that functions on a synergistic level: everything you do in this game world is complemented in some way by the music. Notice how much empty space there is in the hourly tracks, how little in the way of thick textures and lyrical melodies. This is, in my opinion, the height of video game scoring: music that seems as natural and as obvious as the color of the sky.

HONORABLE MENTION: Paper Mario: The Origami King (Yoshito Sekigawa, Shoh Murakami, Yoshiaki Kimura, Hiroki Morishita, & Fumihiro Isobe), Paradise Killer (Barry Topping)
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BEST GRAPHICS
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BEST STORY
Paradise Killer

If you have any interest in games that ask you to write your own narrative, you should probably go buy Paradise Killer, developed by Kaizen Game Works for PC and Nintendo Switch, immediately. The improbable genre here is “open-world murder mystery,” which on paper sounds like it would be either a mess or too small-scale to really live up to those labels. Neither of those things is true. A grisly murder has happened, and Lady Love Dies (actually one of the less preposterous monikers in the game) has been summoned from her exile to investigate. You’re given free reign to search around for clues, anywhere you want and in any order you want, within a half hour of starting the game. Even more astonishingly, you’re also immediately given the option to begin the trial, effectively ending the game. This is a story told at your own pace that only wraps up when you decide it does.

The island world you’re given to explore here is huge, and seems overwhelming at first, but as you continue to play you start to appreciate the craft at work here. Imagine one of the large-ish provinces from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but replace all of the Korok seeds with evidence items and all of the enemy encounters with tense interrogations of suspects, and you’ll get a pretty good idea of the gameplay rhythms of Paradise Killer. Whether you adopt a methodical approach and gather every last scrap of evidence before beginning the trial, or just sort of spontaneously pick a direction and begin the hunt, you’re going to have an excellent time sorting through all the gory details. I also can’t speak highly enough of the game’s atmosphere and Danganronpa-influenced characters (just for a sample of this motley crew, I’d like to list a physician with robot arms named Doctor Doom Jazz and a big-breasted sex icon with the head of a goat named Crimson Acid, and that’s genuinely not even scratching the surface).

HONORABLE MENTION: Death Come True, Paper Mario: The Origami King (yes, really)
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BEST GAMEPLAY
Super Mario 3D All-Stars

I know. It’s absolutely ridiculous to give this award to a re-release of three games originally out in 1996, 2002, and 2007. But hear me out: they’re still really good. Super Mario Sunshine notwithstanding. I played Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy to 100% completion, and it was the most pure fun I had all year. I would write more but I don’t feel like defending my choice any further. Besides, I need to wrap this up so I can figure out how to play Super Mario Sunshine without wanting to destroy my Switch.

HONORABLE MENTION: Paradise Killer, Pikmin 3 Deluxe
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BEST REMAKE
Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Though it seems the majority of “gaming in 2020” is snubbing Pikmin 3 Deluxe in favor of recognizing the monstrous Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, I have the distinct advantage of not playing the latter, so I can talk about the delights of the former guilt-free. I loved Pikmin 3 Deluxe. I loved its characters. I loved its aesthetic. I loved its music. I loved its charming dialogue, incessant shrieking, quirky enemy designs, and especially its bafflingly bizarre gameplay, which tasks you with solving puzzles and defeating creatures by gathering a large squad of Pikmin and...literally just throwing them at things in a panicky real-time blur. It’s a game that quite literally only Nintendo would release. Never having played a Pikmin game before, this was an excellent introduction. I found the gameplay to be quite challenging, but never so challenging that I wanted to give up completely. I also admired the successful marriage of the simplistic (if you look at a puzzle, you know what you need to do to solve it) with the complex (just what Rube Goldberg strategy are you going to have to employ to get 20 yellow Pikmin up to that cordoned-off electrical wire, anyway?) that represents the best of Nintendo. After experiencing the charms of Pikmin 3, HD remasters of the first two entries have shot to the top of my wish list. I know I’m late to the party here, but highly recommended.

HONORABLE MENTION: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
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BEST eShop GAME
Murder by Numbers

If I’m being completely honest, Paradise Killer is probably my real pick for this category. However, after all of my writing about that game in the Best Story category, I felt like this space might be better used to talk about another surprising gem released earlier in the year.

Do you like crime fiction games like Ace Attorney? Do you like playing Picross? Do you just wish somehow that you could play those two, but like…together? Oh boy, do I have a treat for you. Murder by Numbers, developed by Mediatonic, is a series of murder cases that you solve as disgraced-actress-turned-fledgling-detective Honor Mizrahi, by...you guessed it...solving nonograms (also known as Picross or, as this title references, paint by numbers). It goes together way better than you might expect. Right as the endless dialogue and exposition of the adventure game genre would have me pausing the game for a break, this game throws a puzzle at you to get you more actively involved. Though the storyline doesn’t quite cut the mustard, falling short in a couple key areas, the dialogue is snappy and funny, and the ending is a sequel hook promising more puzzly shenanigans to come. To top it all off with a cherry, the composer on hire is none other than Masakazu Sugimori of Ace Attorney and Ghost Trick fame, meaning you can expect a colorful, quirky soundtrack as you make your way through the adventure. Here’s hoping Mediatonic expands on the premise and delivers a sequel soon.

HONORABLE MENTION: Paradise Killer
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BEST GAME OF 2020
Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I mean, what the fuck did you expect? I have over 620 hours on this game, and I’m still going strong. I know it might seem odd to give game of the year to a title that I didn’t even consider for the best gameplay category, but that genuinely just speaks to what kind of beast Animal Crossing: New Horizons is. This game is the book you’ve read ten times before, but you keep rereading because it’s just that good and just that comforting. It’s the taste of your morning coffee, easing you into your day and making your morning a little bit happier. It’s the moment you get an unexpected call from a friend you haven’t seen in a year. It’s the magic of kissing someone for the first time and it’s also the mundanity of doing the dishes with them. It’s the simple happiness of ordering a package and getting it in the mail a few days later. Animal Crossing, for all its fancy new Bells and whistles (heh), is still about the same brilliantly simple concept: plant some seeds, water them (sometimes literally), and patiently wait for them to grow. I’ve played it nearly every day since it came out, and it’s the game I needed in my life--maybe not just in 2020.

HONORABLE MENTION: Paradise Killer, Super Mario 3D All-Stars
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BONUS CATEGORY: BEST GAME OF 2020 THAT I DIDN’T PLAY BUT WOULD REALLY LIKE TO
Hades

This game has been getting a ton of buzz lately, and I guess I should probably figure out why. Truthfully, it’s already on my Switch. Maybe it’ll end up on next year’s “gaming in review,” assuming I finish it (and assuming these forums don’t die a tragic death of obsolescence by then).

HONORABLE MENTION: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Robotics;Notes Elite, Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
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What do you think? Are you appalled about what I haven’t played? Are you irritated with any of my picks? Do you think I’m too into some of these? Are you sad about that one game that got multiple nominations but no wins? Do you have any recommendations, from 2020 or years past? Will someone please talk to me? I’m lonely. My villager Octavian is my best friend, and I don’t even like him.

10
Off-Topic / Re: The Post Your Thoughts of the Moment Thread 2
« on: December 05, 2020, 06:20:22 PM »
Hey, it’s not every day you turn 1020

11
Off-Topic / Re: The Post Your Thoughts of the Moment Thread 2
« on: November 06, 2020, 09:59:46 PM »
I’m gonna need some serious policy reform before that happens, and with the current admin team packed with musical conservatives, I don’t see it happening :-/

12
That’s fine. Sorry we couldn’t reach an understanding.

13
Honestly, I’m fine if you don’t accept it, this is giving me a lot of anxiety and headache. I made the arrangement, it’s done, maybe I can find a spot for it at some point. I can officially withdraw my submission if that would be easier for everyone.

14
As I said, I do not give permission for my existing arrangement to be transposed. This is ridiculous. The thing is, the reasons you’re giving are the same as outright banning arrangements beginning in seven accidental keys—none will ever be accepted if you guys continue upholding these musically conservative opinions. Maybe you’re okay with that, but as I said with all due respect, I think it’s a disgrace. You guys have really surprised and depressed me here. Sorry to Levi, who said I’ve been posting “attacks” on the moderators, but if you go back and read all my posts I’m literally just respectfully disagreeing.

15
I’m not ignoring the feedback, it’s more like I’ve said everything I possibly have to say about it and people just keep posting variations and complications and obfuscations on the idea “this is easier and better” which is genuinely what it all comes back to.

To be clear, I said Seb’s idea was a step in the right direction, but I’m not going to do that either, because it’s absurd to ask people to submit two arrangements (I think we can all agree there). At this point I’m genuinely going to either have it accepted or not, because this week I’m in Michigan dealing with my grandmother’s funeral and post-death arrangements (thanks 2020) so I don’t really have time to do much in the way of big changes anyway.

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