The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (January 2022)



  • @Capnbobamous
    How would you compare the expansions of The Sims to The Sims 2 that had a University, Business, and Vacation expansions? I remember I was much more enthralled with the expansions for 2, but that might have been more of an age thing on my end for not diving into The Sims expansion packs. Do the expansion packs for the first game expand on the reasons you love it to this day?



  • @Shoulderguy
    What do the bosses in Super Mario World do well compared to others in the platforming genre in general?



  • @Oscillator
    Question 1: What do you believe Oblivion expanded upon well from Morrowind?

    Question 2: Do you think Oblivion could have been improved upon with anything to learn from in that era of RPG games?



  • @brunojoey

    1. All technical aspects. Full vs. limited voice acting, a much more advanced lighting engine, way greater draw distance, way better textures, smoother character animation. Also less clunky combat, a higher fidelity and more emotional soundtrack, and of course, a bigger and more detailed world.

    I understand why some people prefer Morrowind. The world is more exotic, the story is deeper, the mechanics are deeper in some ways. But this is all hidden behind a proverbial layer of fuzz. Oblivion may be more shallow in a few respects, but what it does have (and it has PLENTY) has been FULLY realized. Aside from some janky AI, a limited pool of voice actors, and a relatively small amount of content cut (arenas in every town) due to running out of disc space, almost nothing in Oblivion feels like it has an artificial limit placed on it. It's the freest and broadest game I've ever played (including Skyrim and Breath of the Wild) that wasn't super procedural, a simulator, or sprite-based.

    1. Skyrim had a lot of quality-of-life fixes. The biggest improvement was to combat. which felt a lot more impactful and tactical. While it's not bad, Oblivion's combat sometimes feels like you're swinging a big stick at a tree or flinging around little wisps of fire instead of powerful magic. Also, walking around feels more grounded/natural, the character animations are more realistic, atmospherics like fog, snowfall, and fire are much better realized, and the hud is cleaner (if more sterile, aside from the magnificent perks menu). As a whole, though, Skyrim is overly streamlined, a much steeper simplification than from Morrowind to Oblivion.


  • @brunojoey
    Response: The boss battles are typical of most games in the 2D platforming genre and of the Super Mario series. The boss battles provide a greater challenge to test your platforming skills and they are satisfying final levels to each world you visit.



  • Response to @brunojoey's question:

    Sure, the expansions are very valuable to the experience I think, however many of them introduced features that would go on to be commonplace in later Sims games, so I can see how they don't seem as impressive now. For instance, Hot Date introduced the concept of community lots, Makin' Magic introduced the supernatural elements of the series, and House Party introduced social gatherings.

    I think something that the first Sims has over later games is that at this point I think it's harder to get the game without the expansions than it is to get it with them. The expansions are so ingrained in the game's DNA that most versions you would buy (or more likely, download, as the game is not available on digital storefronts) come with all of the expansions, so there's never the feeling that you have to buy extra stuff in order to have the full experience.



  • Response to @Brannox's Questions:

    Response 1:

    • So, I believe these games are better than the originals due to the previous mentions, but also a few more.
    • They add a customizable Safari Zone to Johto that allows you to get Larvitar and others much earlier than you could in the original, in Mt. Silver which you need all 18 badges to get into. Whereas the Safari Zone unlocks right after the beating the Elite Four. And for lore purposes, this was the Fuchsia City Safari Zone that was closed in the originals, which is a nifty addition! Now, you do need the right configuration for some Pokemon, but it’s just a fun way to have a personal Safari Zone.
    • An addition for gameplay was Abilities. These weren’t in Generation 2, but were introduced in Generation 3. If you wanted, you could use a Ground type and Earthquake against Morty, the Ghost Gym Leader in Ecruteak City, since Ghost Pokemon didn’t have the Levitate ability in Generation 2. That strategy will get you destroyed now. So this did just add a bit more strategy to the games compared to the originals.
    • An addition that does not change the game dramatically, but that I love is having all Pokemon available to follow you through your journey, which just personalizes your journey a bit more than Gold and Silver, while also being able to see the Pokemon you are growing attached to is following you around.
    • A minor aspect of the story that was added to these were the focus for the Kimono Girls being connected to Lugia or Ho-Oh. You must defeat them all in order to obtain the tool to summon the game’s respective legendary. While they are all sprinkled into the story as you progress in the game as well, so their appearance isn’t sudden or shoe-horned in.
    • Another story addition that was exclusive to Japan through a special event was a special Celebi event. But, if you emulate the game, or use an Action Replay, you are able to get this event. That does add a bit of backstory to the rival and Giovanni who turns out he is your rival’s father and Giovanni basically berates him since he doesn’t want to be part of Team Rocket. You learn why your rival is cold-hearted. This adds an extra fight with Giovanni and he says that you remind him of a trainer he faced three years ago, referencing Red himself. So, lore wise this is a nifty addition! That I wish was more accessible.

    Response 2:

    • You do get to face the Elite Four again with brand new teams after defeating them which offers a different challenge. Same with the Gym Leaders which you did not get to reface in the originals. They are limited to the new Pokemon they get, or if a Pokemon they had, received an evolution, they would now use that Pokemon. Which does make sense in the grand scheme of things. You would want these rematches to be the best teams they can do.
    • I do agree, I do not like the addition of the adding Pokemon past Generation 2 that does not include an evolution because it does not make sense in a geographical sense since we only know Johto and Kanto connect. However, the way you obtain them is completely optional and there are only 33 of the added 142 since Generation 2, so it isn’t a ton compared to the grand majority of the new Pokemon.
    • After doing a few side-by-side comparisons to the trainers, I can say that the trainers are roughly similar to their Crystal counterparts. Except the rematches that are optional. Some of the rematches do build to high levels for some trainers into the 40's and 50's. Trainers in the SS Aqua are also tougher compared to the Crystal versions of themselves. So you can find extra challenge in those regards!


  • Response to @Shoulderguy's Question:

    • I definitely do believe this generation brought in enough new quality Pokemon that aren’t connected to a previous Pokemon. While Heracross has a lot of type disadvantages, it is one of my favorite Generation 2 Pokemon because of how well it’s designed from the inspiration, the Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle, while also being a viable Pokemon. I also enjoy the idea that Ampharos acts as a hopeful light beacon to lost ocean travelers who need guidance. Others I love are: the Starters and their evolutions, Lanturn, Houndoom, Azumarill, Donphan, Celebi, Ho-Oh and Lugia, Xatu, and Tyranitar. I do love Gligar, Togepi, Swinub, Sneasel, Misdreavus, and Murkrow, but all for their eventual evolutions introduced in Generation 4 itself.
    • Pokemon that are evolutions to previous Pokemon that are really great evolutions besides Steelix and Crobat are Porygon2, Kingdra, Slowking, Espeon, and Umbreon. These all are great evolutions because they stay true to their previous evolutions, but expand on them in logical and smart ways. Not too crazy in their designs as well.
    • The Pokemon you listed do have some uniqueness about them that make them at least interesting in that way specifically. Delibird is the only non-legendary that is an Ice/Flying type. Smeargle can learn any move in battle with his own move, Sketch. Shuckle is also unique in its typing sharing it only with two other Pokemon lines, and an upcoming Scyther evolution, while also having incredible Defense and Special Defense, which you can use to heal your other Pokemon if needed. Now, there is real no defense for Qwilfish or Dunsparce. They both are not good Pokemon, nor have been loved by Game Freak all that much. When Drampa was revealed not to be a Dunsparce evolution, a lot of people were confused, because it was basically a perfect Dunsparce evolution. So, Game Freak, do something with Dunsparce please. Tangent, sorry!


  • Response to @JDINCINERATOR's Questions:

    Response 1:
    I do wholeheartedly believe that these are the best ways to play Gold & Silver today. They introduce enough to make it more keen to the overall series, especially the Generation 4/5 era. Like Abilities, Battle Frontier, and the Physical/Special Split which makes it difficult for me to go back to those early Pokemon games and using a diverse team in each playthrough.

    Response 2:
    So, I never got to use the PokeWalker myself. But, from my own understanding this does let you move a Pokemon to it and walk to level up your selected Pokemon! You can also catch Pokemon exclusive to it that are only available in the games themselves. It is a peripheral that is not needed for the games at all, but it does add a bit of interaction with your Pokemon before Pokemon Go was a thing.



  • Response to @ffff0's Question:
    So, to do that, one part of my answer would have to be why Gold & Silver are so well regarded in the series. Gold & Silver is the only game to feature two regions with Johto & Kanto. It was a mix between technological amazement and nostalgia. Like I said in a previous question, most of the new Pokemon added were grand and are still well regarded today! Now, I believe HeartGold & SoulSilver do enough to make the remakes more streamlined and more accessible for newer players (except the egregious price now), while still adding a lot of cool additions!



  • Response to @Oscillator's Question:
    It can definitely have some merit at certain points, like the Kanto Gym Leader theme is quite more busy and less grand in that feeling of fighting Kanto gym leaders again. However, I do believe that the new versions do not degrade the whole music experience. All of the melodies are still there prevalently and not being lost in general. In my own thoughts of course. I think they hold restraint enough at certain songs and points in those certain songs, like the beginning of the Champion theme.



  • Question for @ffff0

    A major point of the game seems to be going back and exploring different story-routes that you missed in order to get new information so that you may progress. Does the game offer any narrative reason for this to make sense? Obviously limit spoilers if you can, but without a story reason doesn't that create a disconnect between the narrative and gameplay?

    Question for @brannox

    You mention Dark Aeons in your presentation a couple of times and how you don't like them, but I'm not entirely sure what they are. Would you mind explaining them to me? How intrusive are they?

    Question(s) for @JDINCINERATOR

    1. In most Rockstar games the narrative is very wishy-washy. I find that often characters just drift from one mission to the next with little through-line connecting them, and as a result I find myself not really caring about the characters or story. Does Bully follow this sort of structure?

    2. Are you able to choose which factions to align yourself with, or does the game force you to befriend them all? For instance, if I only wanted to side with the nerds, is that an option, and if so how does it affect the narrative?

    Question for @Oscillator

    I hold this game close to my heart, but there is a blemish that I think is worth discussing. You've mentioned it already but I feel I have to bring it up: the leveling system is deeply flawed. If you choose an easy skill as one of your main ones, like Acrobatics, you will level up far too fast and the enemies will scale too early, thus making the game insanely difficult. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the game is easier if you choose never to level up at all. Do you agree with my complaints, and if so how negatively does it affect the experience?



  • @capnbobamous

    1. Jimmy is very connected to the characters around him because he is part of the school and looks to solve the huge problems the school faces with bullying. This isn't like GTA where you're a gun for hire, though admittedly you do work for these cliques, but you're doing so to please them in an overall effort to make everybody happy and to stop the fighting amongst them sort of; but there's still a lot of fighting between cliques and general discord. GTA games nor Red Dead have these altruistic themes streaming through them.

    2. The way Bully's story goes in my mind is that Jimmy is a boy who wants to help the cliques whereas the antagonist Gary wants to corrupt them. You have to work for each clique, carrying out missions to curry favor with them and keeping them happy. Yet the way in which things pan out makes the game more exciting, it's not an RPG where you pick a side, it's an open-world where you see from every angle. So no you can't choose to side with the Nerds exclusively but the way the story is structured and how it plays out has nothing to do with picking a side-though the Nerds are mostly your allies anyway.



  • Response to @Capnbobamous about narrative reason for jumping between different timelines.

    The game not just offers a narrative reason for such gameplay – the narrative is the reason why Virtue's Last Reward should be played this way and not any other way. I would even say that taking this story to other medium (a book or a movie) will ruin it, because of how essential the gameplay is as a narrative tool. And it’s not like you need to reach the credits to see it – the main character starts questioning how he can possibly know something that never happened as soon as you start applying knowledge from other timelines. This makes pretty obvious that such structure is not just a gimmick, but yet another narrative puzzle, waiting to be solved.



  • @capnbobamous said in The EZA Forum Hall of Greats (January 2022):

    Question for @Oscillator

    I hold this game close to my heart, but there is a blemish that I think is worth discussing. You've mentioned it already but I feel I have to bring it up: the leveling system is deeply flawed. If you choose an easy skill as one of your main ones, like Acrobatics, you will level up far too fast and the enemies will scale too early, thus making the game insanely difficult. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the game is easier if you choose never to level up at all. Do you agree with my complaints, and if so how negatively does it affect the experience?

    I can't speak to this very in-depth, as I've only ever played Oblivion with a single save file/character, and the build I used felt decently balanced. The class I used was Barbarian, with major skills of Armorer, Athletics, Blade, Block, Blunt, Hand to Hand, and Light Armor.

    As they are central to combat, Armorer and Blade leveled up the quickest, along with Athletics, which is just walking. I utilized the others less, including barely touching Hand to Hand. My main level increased at a comfortable pace until my most used skills maxed out, slowing main levelling to a crawl.

    I had three constantly used major skills, so having just one like in your example wouldn't cause what I would personally consider to be rapid levelling. edit - upon research, it seems Acrobatics is easily manipulated (read: cheesed) to level quickly, so having it as a major skill CAN induce rapid main levelling, IF you want it to - at least in my experience, bending/breaking the game like this has to be done intentionally. Another example is full invisibility, which requires 5 expensive enchantments not available right at the start or dangled right in front of the player.

    If I'd chosen, say, the Crusader class, which also has Armorer/Blade/Athletics major skills along with Heavy Armor, which I used much more than Light Armor, and Restoration, which is very commonly used, I would've levelled much faster for longer.

    However, I suspect I wouldn't have minded, and may have actually preferred that. While enemies scale with your level, so does loot and store stock, meaning you're given the chance to be as equipped as the enemies you're facing. I think I would've personally enjoyed unlocking cooler enemies and equipment faster.

    What critics like least about Oblivion's levelling system is levelling in unison with enemies, meaning without heavy buffs like fortifying spells, potions, and enchantments that are time consuming to gather, you not only never get to an all-powerful state where you can mush even the toughest enemies, but minor enemies also become tougher. This was intentional by the developers to keep the gameplay consistent over time, and I personally thought it was a good mechanic.

    That said, Skyrim's more traditional levelling system, where if you encounter a super tough enemy, you can eventually come back to it later and breeze through it without needing complex buffs, IS more satisfying.



  • @capnbobamous Answering Regarding the Dark Aeons. Also, apologies for the length because I wanted to list every example of how to avoid/get by each Dark Aeon.

    Absolutey. The Dark Aeons are the PRIMARY reason why I nominated the PS2 North American version (as they are in the PS2 International version, which all future ports are based off of), and as such, because they are not present, doesn't require you to go through extra hoops nonexistent in the PS2 version.

    Dark Aeons are, well, the dark version of every Aeon you acquire in the game. They have the same exact design except they are shaded with a black hue and some slight, for lack of a better descriptor, filigree on their bodies. These Aeons are EXPONENTIALLY more powerful, not just than your Aeons, but your entire party in general.

    I'll bring up each as examples that also answers your intrusive question.

    I'll circle back to Dark Valefor, which I've mentioned earlier. Valefor is the first Aeon you get because Yuna automatically starts with it when the party is mostly formed in Besaid. Now, Dark Valefor is the EASIEST of the Dark Aeons, but it's base regular attack does 999,999 damage. And unless you have equipment with the "Break HP Limit" skill, your max HP you can earn is 9,999. Also, unless you have someone with the "First Strike" ability (Like Auron does on his Ultimate Weapon Masamune), EVERY Dark Aeon gets to attack first, potentially wiping you out before you can get a turn. So, this means you have to grind a LOT, not only to get the materials necessary to get the "Break HP Limit" skill for EVERY character (which uses 30 of something called Wings to Discovery EACH, and it's a VERY rare item), but you also need to grind to get stronger so you can actually even HURT them. Or, you can summon Yojimbo (which you need to recruit in the first place in an optional quest to begin with), and pay him a LOT of gil AND he needs to have a full Overdrive so he can use Zanmato, which is the ONLY guarantee to one hit kill EVERY enemy. Yes, that includes EVERY Dark Aeon, and the game's hardest fight available ONLY when every Dark Aeon is defeated: Penance.

    Now, listed below is every Dark Aeon and where they're located. To be clear, technically they are all optional, HOWEVER, if you want to take part in a good deal of the side-quests and regular endgame stuff, you'll need to encounter a couple:

    • Dark Valefor: Besaid Village entrance. Besaid has items to help unlock Overdrives for both Auron and Valefor, Blitzball players to recruit, and a short scene talking to Valefor's Fayth with items in their chamber. Recommended: Yojimbo's Zanmato
    • Dark Ifrit: The pit between Sanubia and Home. Only attacks when you talk to the character that stands out in the desert, and honestly, you can never revisit Home, so there's no reason to go to this exact point UNLESS you're wanting to fight. Recommended: Avoid. You can chase Cactuars and Hunt Monsters without having to interact with the Yevonite.
    • Dark Ixion: Yevon soldier standing next to a tower in the Thunder Plains. Recommended: Avoid by jogging by on the opposite side of the trail. You can dodge lightning, hunt monsters, and find Kimahri's Ultimate Weapon, The Spirit Lance, without having to interact with him.
    • Dark Shiva: Attempting to re-enter Macalania Temple. Recommended: If you want to speak with Shiva's Fayth, obtain the items, and if by chance you didn't find the Temple's secret item in the Cloister of Trials for acquiring Anima, then use Yojimbo's Zanmato. If you already grabbed the item on the first visit and you don't care about the extra scene/items, then Avoid.
    • Dark Bahamut: The area you fight Yunalesca. Recommended: Avoid. The moment you defeat Yunalesca, you can pick up Tidus's Sun Crest. Doing so right then and there nullifies any reason to come back. If you don't pick it up, then good luck trying to fully power Tidus's Ultimate Weapon, Caladblog, because you'll have to fight him for it.
    • Dark Yojimbo: The path in his quest area as you're leaving once you have recruited him. Recommended: Avoid by using the Teleporter. The Cavern of the Stolen Fayth by itself is filled with challenging fights and items, but it's doable, even when you can visit it as early as possible during the main story (though you might not have enough gil at this point to recruit Yojimbo UNLESS you want to grind out battles to raise your funds). Once you recruit Yojimbo (which actually requires you to fight the regular Aeon to begin with), IF you decide to walk back through the cave and NOT use the teleporter right at the end, then Dark Yojimbo is unavoidable, and could wipe you out in one attack, erasing all you've done since your previous save.
    • Dark Anima: Redoing the Trials of Gagazet at the top of Mt. Gagazet. Recommended: Avoid. Unless you want to fight, Dark Anima, Dark Bahamut, and Dark Ifrit are the easiest to avoid/ignore. If you captured all the monsters possible, and found the Saturn Crest hidden between some pillars after fighting Seymour when you first climb Gagazet, then there's no reason to ever revisit the mountain at all.
    • Dark Magus Sisters: Stationed right outside Mushroom Rock Road. Recommend: Avoid by WALKING SLOWLY facing the wall away from them. Firstly, they are represented by not one but three NPCs, and if you jog (which is the game's default speed), they'll IMMEDIATELY accost and chase you. You can try and run the length of MRR, but they're too fast and wipe you out. Since they're RIGHT at the entrance from the Mi'ihen Highroad, hold down the walk button while walking against the cliff to the left to get into MRR so you can find another item for Auron's overdrive, hunt monsters for the Monster Arena, and find any items you may have bypassed during your first visit (Particularly the Al Bhed Primer towards the end to help you translate the Al Bhed language).

    SO: In the PS2 NA version, you can come and go into Besaid and Mushroom Rock Road as you please, traverse the Thunder Plains without being jumped by a Superboss, redo the Gagazet Trials (if you want, but there's no real need to) and revisit Macalania Temple and the combat arena you fought Yunalesca, all without worry, massive amounts of grinding (both in terms of time and amount of battles), and less risk of leaving a sour taste.

    Again, sorry for how long this was.



  • @Capnbobamous

    When I see any video of The Sims, it seems like such a chill time, with all kinds of fun things going on. The only time I've actually played it was a 2003 version titled "The Sims" on the original Xbox. I was really looking forward to it, but the very beginning gave me such a sour experience that I've never felt an urge to try any version again.

    I've loved other lighthearted simulation games such as SimCity 2000 and Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. A key reason is that they're easy to get into and slowly ramp up in difficulty. However, my lone Sims experience was like running into a brick wall at the starting line.

    I was presented with a couple of Sims in a mostly empty house. Either I wasn't given enough of a budget to buy more stuff or more stuff wasn't made available at that point, but the only thing I was able to add to the house was an espresso machine. Maybe the excessive coffee drinking caused this, but only thing my Sims felt interested in doing was going to the bathroom. And they wouldn't do it automatically. I had to keep an extremely close eye on them, because if I waited to click on them for even a moment, they'd pee on the floor and start crying. And if they both had to go at the same time, because there was only one bathroom, only one would get to go and the other would make a puddle. I tried this opening section over and over, never finding a way to improve the results, and thusly had no interest in trying the next stage.

    Was this a fault of playing it with a controller? Or an overall bad port? Or was I missing something obvious that would've greatly improved my experience? Particularly in the original PC version, what SHOULD the early progression look like ideally?



  • Response to @oscillator's question:

    After some brief research the Xbox version of The Sims is certainly not indicative of the original game's quality, and on PC I can't say I've ever encountered a scenario like the one you describe. Definitely seems like a port issue.

    Early-game progression is pretty simple in The Sims. You make your family and put them in one of the game's inexpensive houses/lots, as you don't start with a lot of cash (though you start with enough that you don't have to live off of coffee), and from there it's kinda on you to decide what it is you want to do. If you're interested in making money so that you can upgrade your house and buy better items, you have to get a job, for which there are a multitude of options such as hacker or politician. There are also more unique ways to make money, such as painting and selling art, churning butter, sculpting gnomes and gargoyles, and so-on.

    I would be remiss if I didn't mention the most popular way to make money, that classic word that all Sims fans know: Rosebud. Rosebud is the famous money cheat that you can use by typing it into the game's console, and that's often the way players make money. It's by no means a necessity, and perhaps you would have more fun if you raised funds yourself, but it's a quick and easy way to eliminate money-trouble.

    However, money does not have to be the end-goal, it's really on you to decide what you want to do, how you want to progress. Maybe you're more interested in developing your charisma skill so that you can go on to become a famous celebrity. Perhaps your sim really likes sports and you spend your time pursuing that. Maybe you're a hopeless romantic and want to woo the neighborhood sims. It all rests on you. The game's progression is tied to your desires. It's truly up to you how to proceed.



  • Alright folks, Cross Examination is over and it is now time to DM me your votes! As a reminder, here are the rules you need to follow:

    1. Only those who brought a game can vote.
    2. You must choose your top 3 picks, with your first place game getting three points, second place getting two, and third place getting one.
    3. You may not vote for your own game.

    I encourage you to look back at all of the presentations and questions/responses before you cast your votes. I have updated the aggregation in the original post to help make that easier. I will start to reveal the winners after I have received all of the votes. Also, for the sake of transparency, I have already voted in order to avoid having your picks influence me.

    Thank you all so much for participating, it truly wouldn't have been possible without you. I'll see you when I have your winners. Good luck!



  • Has anybody thought about mentioning the new Hall of Greats nominees and winners in Ben's Community Showcase?