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Old 02-20-2005, 03:04 PM   #1
Nath5000
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Best platformer ever?

This game looks honestly like its going to be one of the most well put together and presented platformers of all time, or even THE best platformer of all time.

For years and years the platformer genre has consisted of playing the same giggly italian men who ride dinosaurs and squish mushrooms and little boys in green cloaks who save the world from a guy who is umistakably evil by the look of his big green nose, to the more modern "cool" blue lightspeed fuzzy animals who give a thums up or slap five at every turn while constantly telling the player how "awesome" and "narly" the gamer is playing. Not to mention the undying quest to collect rings, coins and jewels all for the purpose of collecting more rings coins and jewels to buy lives and other such things...

I think that while many people still get giddy over the thought of mario with super-powered graphics and individually shadowed moustache hair, many people can see that the genre that is platformer hasnt changed much since its origins back in 2D.

As technology has evolved, so has the potential for the real creative and more involved entertainment. Has the platformer genre evolved much since its humble beginnings of squishing things and collecting rings as much as the potential of modern technology has brought? Not really. To be honest, the formula hasnt changed. Games still fit the description of "This game is about jumping from point A to point B while tryin not to get hurt and fall off the level while collecting X Floating "thingamabobs" to save the princess/day/world/(enter noun)".

Some platformers entertain the player on his "quest" with the idea that looking at rounded happy jolly characters that speak as if their "lives" were created for the sole purpose of delivering their one single mediocre line. Some have entertained the player by making cool references to movies and other little cheap gimmicks, which for all I know Psychonauts COULD have. But I know i dont have to worry because psychonauts will be more then that, which can be seen from any of the videos on this website. Psychonauts has the guts of something that looks like it could be a massive hit, and the next best thing since mario. Humor is the key to this game, humor is where its all at, but also the depth of the characters, so while the characters may only deliver that one line, it wont seem as if that character revolved around that line.

I have really high hopes for Psychonauts. I mean i obviously dont think its going to deliver me to a state of nirvana and bliss and give me feelings of love and warmth on cold nights (like the people who thought Fable's Peter Molyneaux was the "game Buddah"), but i DO think that it will be the most well presented, humorous, entertaining games of recent times ( until Tim decides to make another one).

I honestly feel like I thoroughly believe what Tim Schafer is trying to do with his games, and I hope that he suceeds and gets rich and fat off of it (as long as he keeps making games).

Eventually when people realise that marios individually rendered butcrack hair rendering engine DOESNT make mario 9000 a better game, games like psychonauts will naturally rise to the top of the game world as a well presented, artistic, humourous ,interactive entertainment device.
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Old 02-20-2005, 03:15 PM   #2
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I agree. Psychonauts is going to finally deliver a much-needed slice of innovation to its genre, something that Tim has habitually done. Mario 64, whilst being one of the first truly 3D platformers, also happens to still stand up as being one of the best. It broke all kinds of barriers, and contained an extremely fresh and enjoyable platforming experience.

Since then though, not a great deal has happened with the genre. Many games have come and gone, taking what Mario 64 did and giving it minor improvements, but none have really changed the genre much. A 3D overworld, with levels that can be revisited at any time, packed with pick-ups that you have to collect for some reason or other. Usually the plot and character development is mediocre at best.

Psychonauts is going to take what looks to be that type of platforming gameplay, but then layer on a whole new element of adventure game style character development, world, and storyline. It'll have genuine humour (of an excellent standard as shown so far). It'll have character that you'll remember forever. It'll have a truly memorable world, that you never want to stop being immersed into.

Honestly, what Tim has done is nothing short of awesome. He's taken one genre that people have traditionally always been fond of on an almost global level, and then worked in another genre that a lot of people do love, but then an equal amount stay away from it because there isn't enough action. By combining the best of two worlds, he appeals to an absolutely massive audience, and creates something totally new and unique. What more can you ask for?

As I have said so many times now it hurts: Roll on April!


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Old 02-20-2005, 03:28 PM   #3
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Originally posted by Thrik
I agree. Psychonauts is going to finally deliver a much-needed slice of innovation to its genre, something that Tim has habitually done. Mario 64, whilst being one of the first truly 3D platformers, also happens to still stand up as being one of the best. It broke all kinds of barriers, and contained an extremely fresh and enjoyable platforming experience.

Since then though, not a great deal has happened with the genre. Many games have come and gone, taking what Mario 64 did and giving it minor improvements, but none have really changed the genre much. A 3D overworld, with levels that can be revisited at any time, packed with pick-ups that you have to collect for some reason or other. Usually the plot and character development is mediocre at best.

Psychonauts is going to take what looks to be that type of platforming gameplay, but then layer on a whole new element of adventure game style character development, world, and storyline. It'll have genuine humour (of an excellent standard as shown so far). It'll have character that you'll remember forever. It'll have a truly memorable world, that you never want to stop being immersed into.

Honestly, what Tim has done is nothing short of awesome. He's taken one genre that people have traditionally always been fond of on an almost global level, and then worked in another genre that a lot of people do love, but then an equal amount stay away from it because there isn't enough action. By combining the best of two worlds, he appeals to an absolutely massive audience, and creates something totally new and unique. What more can you ask for?

As I have said so many times now it hurts: Roll on April!
Exactly but I think while Tim cant escape the term "Adventure" even though he seemingly wants to. I think its because he realises that Adventure games had that element, of humor, of character interactivity and the excitement of exploration and diologue and presentation. Adventure games had those elements which all current genres today (including platformers) could benefit from. Does that make psychonauts an "adventure/platformer"? well it depends on how you look at the word "adventure" iteself. It seems as though Tim has realised that adventure games (the way they were) will never fly high again and that honestly makes sense to me as well because while they WERE fun to us, they did lack the "Other side" of games. the side that platformers have or that other genres have, the action or whatnot. Tim is simply marrying those 2 halves of the puzzle together to complete the picture.

I honestly believe that his philosophy is to make a game of any genre, this time platformer, but include into the recipe all of the elements that that genre NEEDS including character depth, better presentation, humor and whatnot. In a sense, Tim is pioneering this idea. Traditionally, every platformer or genre has had its own set of traditional traits stemming from back when those genres were convieced. This idea that a game has to be "this genre" doesnt mean that it cant do things that that genre has never traditionally focused on before, like depth, diologue and character depth.

Tim is like a master chef, he knows the appropriate balance of elements to make a good entertaining game, and a darn-good sense of humor to boot! not to mention the drive to push his dreams to reality and fight off the big bad evil "creativity chewing machines" that are publishers.

I just hope he gets recognized for it or else the whole industry is worse off.
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Old 02-20-2005, 03:32 PM   #4
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What cracks me up is that I haven't bought a platformer since Flashback in the mid 90s and now I have 2 on my must-get list. Psychonauts of course, and the Star Wars LEGO game which looks like it will be a really fun little number.
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Old 02-21-2005, 01:13 AM   #5
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Long post aside, I agree, this does look to be one of the best platformers ever for those reasons (which I wont repeat for obvious reasons (i.e, didn't read them))

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Old 02-21-2005, 02:27 AM   #6
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Long posts. Part of me hates them, part of me loves them.

Nath's post reminded me of this.

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Old 02-21-2005, 07:13 AM   #7
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Hubbawha?

While yes, Psychonauts will rock, but you act like it is like some sort of huge jump gameplay wise for the whole genre. Between Mario 64 and this game there has been Rayman 2, Banjo Kazoiee, Rachet and Clank etc. that have expanded on Mario 64 in more ways than Pychonauts promises to. Itís the charicter of this game that will set apart, not the gameplay. It won't play badly, actually it probably will be very good, but it's not a revolution.

Oh, and how is Tim avoiding the term ďAdventure?Ē By putting in inventory puzzles? By putting a menu based talking system? How?
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:48 AM   #8
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Psychonauts will probably be one of the greatest games ever made, but as long as we're comparing it to Mario 64...

When that game came out, it was truly revolutionary - it was completely 3D, you could move the camera, that crazy analogue stick... Psychonauts is innovative in a more subtle way. Seeing a video of it doesn't make your jaw drop and make you subconsciously open your wallet and pay £300 for a new console (as the N64 was back in those heady days.)

It was a magical time for anyone who liked games, and I certainly did back then. I know I'm more of an outside observer these days, but I just remember a feeling in the air back then that doesn't seem to be here now... Mario 64 was the pinnacle of gaming in every sense of the word, and that kind of excitement won't be around again for a while.

I dunno.


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Old 02-21-2005, 09:13 AM   #9
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Originally posted by LucasTones
Psychonauts will probably be one of the greatest games ever made, but as long as we're comparing it to Mario 64...

When that game came out, it was truly revolutionary - it was completely 3D, you could move the camera, that crazy analogue stick... Psychonauts is innovative in a more subtle way. Seeing a video of it doesn't make your jaw drop and make you subconsciously open your wallet and pay £300 for a new console (as the N64 was back in those heady days.)

It was a magical time for anyone who liked games, and I certainly did back then. I know I'm more of an outside observer these days, but I just remember a feeling in the air back then that doesn't seem to be here now... Mario 64 was the pinnacle of gaming in every sense of the word, and that kind of excitement won't be around again for a while.

I dunno.

Im not saying the gameplay in psychonauts introduces any new elements that other games havent had part of in the past, and obviously Mario was revolutionary in that it was the first 3D platformer that really knocked peoples socks off, but most of that achievement was from a technical standpoint. The 3D WAS enough to knock everyones socks off back then, and games weren't expected to be entertaining through story or presented humorously or like a cinematic entertainment experience that movies or books usually only provide, and in my opinion games have the upper hand and the potential to deliver an entertainment experience like no other that towers over those delivered in books and films.

The presentation in mario 64 relied on one thing, being 3D. Mario didnt even present a clear story, diologue or anything except clear star obtaining objectives. By todays standards mario 64 even with updated graphics would seem like a bare game. (not saying all games today are good because many publishers would sell a piece of feces if consumers bought it.) The only people who in my opinion defend these classic nintendo characters to their death are the loyal fans of nintendo that remember way back when they were playing with their square NES paddles and the joy that it gave them. Im just saying that while nintendo swears that its doing all these amazing new things, and while nintendo is arguably the king of platformers, their newer games seem to be getting nothing but cosmetic upgrades and some even cheesy features long time loyal fans would rather do without. I've seen two thumb down movies that present their stories better then some platformers and people still love them because of the solid gameplay and challenge. It doesnt mean those games arent good as polished challenging games that require you to jump and kill enemies skillfully, im just saying that those games are missing a lot of what the future of real, engaging games have. Games that present stories well, and immerse the player not only into a graphical world, but immerse them through dialogue and character interaction. Those are the kinds of things platformers are missing and personally while those features would seem subtle to some people, I personally think they would make a BIG difference in the whole experience that the game is attempting to deliver.

Last edited by Nath5000; 02-21-2005 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 02-21-2005, 09:24 AM   #10
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My point was, if you try to choose a "best platformer ever" on the criteria you're using, the best one will always just be the most recent one. Nostalgia counts for a lot, at least for me, and even though Psychonauts is more refined graphically, has a better plot (hell, has a plot full stop) and higher quality music, it doesn't make me smile the way Mario 64 always will.

When Mario 64 came out, games weren't as movie-like in their scope as they are now, but they still had humour and plot. The Monkey Island games are obvious examples, and if you want to see a funny, well made action-adventure from the Mario 64 era, look no further than Little Big Adventure.


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Old 02-21-2005, 09:25 AM   #11
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Originally posted by Bc9b
Hubbawha?

While yes, Psychonauts will rock, but you act like it is like some sort of huge jump gameplay wise for the whole genre. Between Mario 64 and this game there has been Rayman 2, Banjo Kazoiee, Rachet and Clank etc. that have expanded on Mario 64 in more ways than Pychonauts promises to. Itís the charicter of this game that will set apart, not the gameplay. It won't play badly, actually it probably will be very good, but it's not a revolution.

Oh, and how is Tim avoiding the term ďAdventure?Ē By putting in inventory puzzles? By putting a menu based talking system? How?
I never said psychonauts had a new type of gameplay that would send everyone into a state of nirvana I simply said that it looks to have the perfect balance of gameplay elements, diologue, humor, presentation, and so on. In my opinion rachet and clank, banjo kazooee or any of the more modern games (including and especially their sequels) that have come out since mario have not revolutionized anything at all. Those games still lack the presentation and immersion and story and character depth that other genres have even presented better.
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Old 02-21-2005, 09:29 AM   #12
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Originally posted by LucasTones
My point was, if you try to choose a "best platformer ever" on the criteria you're using, the best one will always just be the most recent one. Nostalgia counts for a lot, at least for me, and even though Psychonauts is more refined graphically, has a better plot (hell, has a plot full stop) and higher quality music, it doesn't make me smile the way Mario 64 always will.

When Mario 64 came out, games weren't as movie-like in their scope as they are now, but they still had humour and plot. The Monkey Island games are obvious examples, and if you want to see a funny, well made action-adventure from the Mario 64 era, look no further than Little Big Adventure.
Ok ill give that to you. Mario was revolutionary and extraordinary in its simplicity as were the original monkey island games, especially for their time. They were good games, and im not saying that ALL games need to be jampacked with 3 lord of the rings equivalent of novels of depth and immersion to be good games, they just have to be well presented. As far as platformers go, they could really USE the character depth, diologue, and story and immersion. In my opinion that WOULD make a platformer better.

I think that most fans want games to be "like the good old days" when things will never go back to the way they were. Most games that were good like monkey islands marios and so on suffer from poor sequels that attempt to sell a new gameplay element whilst bringing back those good old days memories and in my opinion horribly fail at doing so. Thats the message were giving to developers, "make the same games that we used to love" and thats what theyre doing, except the sequels are getting less and less memorable then the original game, and more and more diluted from the original games that we loved. Why not instead send the message that original GOOD games, like psychonauts, are what we want the industry to focus on. I mean theres nothing wrong with a sequel, but by god, mario has done everything possible, theyve stretched mario so far. and people still say "mario WAS and IS the greatest". Were not sending the develpers the message that the creativity that got us those original "good old games" is what we want.

The industry NOW seems like a money machine, mass marketplace, where publishers want to sell any games that make lots and lots of money. Tim Schafers game seems as if it has the kind of polish to make itself one that we will eventually refer to as "one of those good old games", because it looks to have the elements that made those old games good, the sad thing is that the publishers are all too busy publishing half ass games that fool gamers into thinking they are "good old games" when in reality most will fade from memory. Good games like psychonauts that try to take the risks that those "good old games" did have to shop around for publishers that are willing to take that risk. The games being pushed by publishers right now seem to lack the qualities that will make them memorable "good old games" as we look back on them in the future. Im just saying psychonauts looks as if its not trying to move the same direction as the industry by capitalizing on the past by making crappy little improvements on what USED to be the best.

Hopefully this game is sucessful and i know that if it is the game that it seems to be from the videos and tim schafter interviews, i will personally do my best to personally promote the game to my friends and family.

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Old 02-21-2005, 11:53 AM   #13
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Don't cave guys! The powers, and uses of them all are something no other game has done. Think powers loosely like Psi-Ops, only fun!!! And a slew of others that are so creative you're gonna be amazed at what they are. I mean, every game follows a standard, but this is going to be the most unique, fun game you've ever played!
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:41 PM   #14
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The last platformer I bought was Heart of Darkness. An excellent game from 1998, with stunning graphics (at the time). I really liked the story around that game, with the animated cut-scenes and all.

Anyway, where was I going with this? Umm... Oh yeah --Psychonauts will be the second platformer I'll buy. Although I'm not sure if you can still call it a platformer, nowadays. But that's another discussion.

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Old 02-21-2005, 05:30 PM   #15
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Don't cave guys! The powers, and uses of them all are something no other game has done. Think powers loosely like Psi-Ops, only fun!!! And a slew of others that are so creative you're gonna be amazed at what they are. I mean, every game follows a standard, but this is going to be the most unique, fun game you've ever played!

Ok so we have a platformer that has some real depth to it for once and as an added bonus we have someone whos actually played the game telling us that even the gameplay is something we all havent seen before. Sounds like an all around winner. The replay value of Schafers older games is amazing. This one actually has an action gameplay element that might further the replay of Shafers game style 100 times over.
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:32 PM   #16
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I guess it makes more sense just to call it an action/adventure game. Hopefully we will be able to just refer to it as a "Classic" game down the line.
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:26 AM   #17
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I agree. From all I've heard (I'm - like Jofa - trying not to get spoiled) I think Psychonauts will be more of an action-adventure. Blackthorne, The Lost Vikings, Flashback, Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project, Heart Of Darkness are what I consider (good) platformers.

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Old 02-22-2005, 08:39 AM   #18
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What really attracts me to Psychonauts (other than Tim) is how it's trying to innovate the genre. Banjo-Kazooie, Rayman and all those other 3D games were indeed great, and arguably superior to Mario 64, but none of them reached the level of innovation that Mario 64 had. It did things totally different to anything before, rather than better.

Psychonauts still won't reach that same level of innovation, since Mario 64 is quite rightly recognised as a complete milestone for that very reason. However, the fact that a whole new genre is being worked into it to provide a much richer, plot and character driven experience is a big jump. And actually making it work.

It's nice to see the 3D platforming genre expanding again, rather than being stuck in its Mario 64 inspired overworld/levels/collect/opennewlevels/repeat light. Hopefully it will prompt other developers to start thinking about how the platform genre can work with the adventure genre in future games, and we'll see the much-welcome return of more adventure-type games.


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