Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Revisiting Old Games With New Friends

Whatever it was I caught at that convention, I still haven't shaken it entirely, but at least my body seems to have regained some ability to regulate its own temperature.

Watching my friend try to play Starfox 64 on my console, I finally understand all those complaints I heard about the N64 controller. They hadn't made a lot of sense to me back in the day, since my only console before the N64 was the original NES, and I'd adjusted all right. But having to explain the C button, which is actually 4 different buttons was illuminating.

So was the fact that while you use the right shoulder button for a hard right turn (and double tap for a barrel roll to the right), you don't use the left shoulder button for left turns. You use the Z button on the back, which is a little counter-intuitive. Although, the one upside to that layout is the player can effectively ignore left third of the controller. The only things over there are the D-pad and the left shoulder button, and the game uses neither of them. Which, if you have small hands, means you can position them to more effectively reach all the buttons you'll actually use. I'd like to think they designed it that way, but I can't be sure.

Though watching her play, I was struck by how much of that game is just experience. Knowing where attacks are going to come from, when your wingmen are going to need saving. It doesn't work like that in the all-range mode sections, those are free-for-alls, which can be really fun. But for the rail-shooter portions, absolutely. She got better as she went along, and seemed to have a good knack for dodging enemy fire right off. Not crashing into enemies (or random buildings or mountains) is another matter, but you know, you have to start from somewhere. Now she just has to get used to the idea of firing constantly. All the time, at anything that moves. But don't hit your wingmen! But don't stop firing! Why aren't you firing?

I think we determined I'm not much of a coach, even on games I'm pretty good at. We were playing a lot of Super Smash Bros., and it seemed to take a long time to get Smash Attacks down. Couldn't properly describe the correct combination of control stick and A button to her. That's OK, though, she just kept spamming Captain Falcon's special attacks. So many Falcon Punches and Kicks.

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