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Topics - JonLeung

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1

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Vorpal86's Castle Of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis) maps.

An evil witch named Mizrabel wants to steal Minnie Mouse's youth! To rescue Minnie, Mickey Mouse enters the Castle of Illusion, where each door leads to another world. By defeating the Masters of Illusion within, and obtaining the Seven Gems of the Rainbow, Mickey will have a chance to defeat Mizrabel and save Minnie.

Castle Of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse is a Sega Genesis game that is considered a classic, featuring a miniature mammalian mascot that predates Sonic The Hedgehog by many months.

Vorpal86 has mapped the main areas of this game both with and without backgrounds. It's always nice to have a choice regarding how we want to view a game! There are also maps of the truncated stages of the "Practice" difficulty, including versions of the first area of The Enchanted Forest, the last area of Toyland (without being flipped upside-down), and the first area of The Storm (with about 2/5 of the end simplified). This cartoon quest to collect colourful crystals isn't so challenging now that Vorpal86 has captured every pixel of every nook and cranny of this creepy castle.

So to recognize the effort of dispelling Mizrabel's illusions, Vorpal86's Castle Of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse (Genesis) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for October 2020.

2
Gaming / Complete game lists per console?
« on: September 18, 2020, 01:41:27 PM »
Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone knows of a resource (web sites, lists, apps) that list how many games there are per console.

Sure, I've seen many listings thanks to Google, but it doesn't help if they aren't in an easy-to-use spreadsheet or list form.  If they're going to be dynamic, they need filters - I don't care about hacks, homebrew/aftermarket, special editions, or variants based on the number of screws on the cartridge, etc.

I've known for a few years that for official North American releases, there are 677 NES cartridges, 718 Super NES cartridges, and 296 N64 cartridges.  But it took me a bit of research to figure that all out and be comfortable with those numbers.  I see that for the first two, now Wikipedia seems more accurate than they were five years ago - though they don't plainly say a number about the North American N64 releases though, other than 388 for all regions.

So I'm looking up official Sega Genesis games - North American, so, not Mega Drive - and Wikipedia says there are 713.  Cool.  But then I export the table to Excel, sort by NA release date, delete the rows that say "unreleased" or are later than 1998, and then I'm left with... 712?  I did this three times and can't figure out why I'm not getting 713.  I found another list elsewhere which lists 719 games (awfully close to the Super NES library, I didn't realize it was that close) and tried to find out what they had extra compared to Wikipedia.  I removed Pier Solar from the list, since that game came later, but couldn't find any other obvious candidates (the post-1998 games) to get it down to 713.

And I don't feel like it should take so much work anyway, it should already be done.  I mean, I just want a correct number and a proper list for the Genesis, and eventually I'd like to have that sort info on hand for any and all other consoles too.  You'd think they shouldn't be that hard to find...

3
Maps Of The Month / 2020/09: Equinox (Super NES) - Cleeem & TerraEsperZ
« on: August 31, 2020, 08:11:56 PM »

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Cleeem's and TerraEsperZ's Equinox (Super NES) maps.

Shadax, the hero of Galadonia, has been captured by the evil witch, Sonia. It is up to Shadax's son, Glendaal, to make his way to Sonia's Ice Palace to save him, as well as all the kingdoms of the world.  That's the entire premise of this perilous adventure of platforms and puzzles!

Equinox on the Super NES is the sequel to Solstice on the NES, and both are puzzle-laden adventures presented in isometric view. Both colourful and challenging, maps of these games are the kind that not only would you like to merely look at - for their tints and hues - but, if you are playing this, you might have to refer to - for any hints and clues.  These are pretty maps, and pretty useful maps, too.

Cleeem took on the maps of the eight underground/interior areas, with all these platforms, blocks and spikes.  The dungeon under Galadonia is barely more than a couple passageways, but it doesn't take long before you will need some assistance when navigating the sprawling labyrinths of Quagmire or Afralona.  TerraEsperZ took on the overworld map, a rotating plane, courtesy of the Super NES's "Mode 7". To conquer it, fancy math had to be employed, and the end result is a crisp and clear map of the kingdoms of the world of Equinox, which is actually sharper than what is seen from actual Super NES hardware.

Just as the term "equinox" refers to when daytime and nighttime equally share a day, Cleeem and TerraEsperZ can claim the "Maps Of The Month" honour together.

So to recognize the effort put into team-mapping this puzzlish isometry, Cleeem's and TerraEsperZ's Equinox (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for September 2020.

4

Another mention on YouTube!  VGMaps.com is featured at 8:05.  Not much to say, but hey, it's what it is!  Thanks, Pixelmusement!

(Also amused that the thumbnail shows One Must Fall 2097, a classic DOS game my brother booted up today, by chance...)

5
There have been a bunch of leaks from Nintendo recently, mostly discarded bits and pieces, glimpses of things that could have been.

I don't know for certain if this is all true, but Link's Awakening on the Game Boy began as a conversion of A Link To The Past (originally on the Super NES, as we all know).

Supposedly this is the map of it...

(I have yet to find a full-sized version of it, but there's enough detail that someone could probably recreate it easily...)

Compare it to the Super NES original...


It's funny because it's a literal inversion of what I did for the first April Fools' joke here on VGMaps.com back in 2005...

6
Maps Of The Month / 2020/08: Blasphemous (PC) - Eishiya
« on: July 31, 2020, 08:44:40 PM »

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Eishiya's Blasphemous (PC) maps.

You are The Penitent One, the sole survivor of the massacre of the "Silent Sorrow".  Wielding a sword and mastering abilities earned by Relics, you seek to free the world from a curse known as "The Miracle".  Will you succeed, or die trying?  Well, you will die.  Again and again...

Blasphemous (stylized in lower-case as "blasphemous") is a Spanish indie game that features impressive art.  There is a variety of locales, each drawn with such detail, including lots of religious iconography.  There are definitely some strange and disturbing sights.  Yet it's beautiful, in that eerie way, where you don't want to look away, even when you should be creeped out.  Eishiya has laid out all of this horrific splendour into maps that can help you - and The Penitent One - to navigate the cursed land of Cvstodia.  Who wouldn't want help in a world like this, as you take on challenging sidequests and titanic bosses while you scour the land for useful Relics?  (Eishiya won't help you avoid getting torn in half by a giant baby, though - that's on you.)

Eishiya is clearly a fan of indie "Metroidvania" games, having also mapped Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight and Catmaze in recent years, and earning "Maps Of The Month" honours for those games, as well.

So to recognize the effort put into mapping this gorgeous nightmare, Eishiya's Blasphemous (PC) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for August 2020.

7
VGMaps Social Board / See something familiar in this picture?
« on: July 02, 2020, 06:45:08 AM »


Hmmm...

Also, not sure how to feel about this yet, to be honest.

Flattered?  Probably.
Angry?  Not really?  Not as much as I thought?

EDIT: I contacted her on Instagram, as I initially thought she was selling the dresses and wanted to know if she would at least mention VGMaps.com.  Turns out I misread that she is talking about the game's Kickstarter going live, not her dress.  Her full response:

Quote
hey there!! This is a wonderful design, thanks for bringing this to my attention! I actually bought this from someone off of Poshmark, a second hand clothing app, and the tags are from Koala Fashion. I'm very sorry if they used your print without your permission, but I'm just a clothing collector that likes to play dress up - I absolutely will not be trying to sell this design, I wouldn't even know how! I hope you have a wonderful week ☺️

Well, Koala Art & Fashion doesn't appear to be selling it anymore.  Probably for the best as I don't need a repeat of the whole Super Kid Icarus / Flip Industries fiasco.  I wouldn't have expected compensation but if it was still selling, and selling well, it would be nice if they mention VGMaps.

I guess in any case I should be flattered.  Made this morning interesting...

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Maps Of The Month / 2020/07: Rolan's Curse (GB) - Shiny
« on: June 30, 2020, 08:33:28 PM »

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to Shiny's Rolan's Curse (GB) maps.

The evil emperor Barius has cursed the land of Rolan.  As a heroic (and generic) knight, it's up to you to stop Barius and lift the curse!

That's not much of a story, but not every fantasy game has to be a sprawling epic.  This top-down action-adventure is often compared to similar-looking Zelda games, but Rolan's Curse is very short and sweet.  There are only four chapters, with the fourth one much shorter than the first three.  Unlike the legendary game series its appearance evokes, this is a more linear experience and can be cleared in one sitting.

Even so, there may be some areas where maps can be handy, and VGMaps.com has got that covered - twice - with marked and unmarked maps of every chapter, so you won't feel alone in your quest to defeat the evil Barius, with Shiny, one of our resident Game Boy cartographers, as your guide!

But maybe you aren't really alone if you have a Game Link Cable!  Rolan's Curse has a feature that not many people have utilized - this journey can be done with two players!  Maybe it hasn't been played this way often enough because the game is not hugely popular to begin with - which is a shame, as it is simple and charming, the very epitome of pick-up-and-play Game Boy fun.

So to recognize the effort put into mapping a game cursed with obscurity, Shiny's Rolan's Curse (GB) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for July 2020.

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For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to zagato blackfist's Lunar: Sanposuru Gakuen (J) (Game Gear) maps.

Ellie and Lena are two girls from a little town called Burg, and the story begins with them enrolled at a new magic school.  When they arrive at the island of Ien, they find that the school is empty and their instructors are missing, so they team up with other students to uncover what happened.  This mystery has monsters and magic and more in this fairly late Game Gear release, which is the first handheld game of the Lunar JRPG series.

Maybe to get around the Island of Ien, Ellie and Lena could consult these maps by our resident Game Gear fan, zagato blackfist, who seems to have a knack for mapping obscure, but interesting, RPGs and strategy games.  The game may not look huge, based on the number of maps, but it is quite possible to get lost in the Coastal Cavern or Demon Castle D, which are positively labyrinthine.

So to recognize the effort put into mapping another handheld epic, zagato blackfist's Lunar: Sanposuru Gakuen (J) (Game Gear) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for June 2020.

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Gaming / What are the best emulators for directly capturing video?
« on: May 29, 2020, 08:44:30 PM »
I haven't played with emulators much lately but I have been doing more with video... (If you didn't know, I have a YouTube channel under the name "JonLeung1".)

I am wondering if there are some good emulators (primarily for the popular consoles) that can output gameplay directly to a video file (such as an .AVI or .MP4) with really good quality and at the same resolution and frame rate as the game.

I'm not doing speedruns, I'm not doing live-streaming.  I'm not doing anything fancy, I just want something as simple as "hit record, play some of a game, hit stop" and then have a file of game footage to work with in any video editor.

I know there is generic video capture software, but I feel that would be a pain to set up for the resolution and frame rate.  And I do have capture hardware if I were to do anything with HDMI, sure, but again, that usually only captures at particular resolutions and I want the perfect resolution and frame rate and it sounds like something emulators could probably do more directly.

Someone here surely has more experience than me, so does anyone have any suggestions?

11
Here are the retro games of the Nintendo Swtich Online service as of May 20, arranged in my layout which I think is ideal.

Each row fills up to the end (some numbers of items, like three NES games, leave a space at the end), and the order is the same between the North American and Japanese versions.

Exclusives are at the bottom - the Famicom has two rows (and also a Special/SP version of NES Open Tournament Golf that North Americans didn't get for some reason), the NES and Super NES have one row each, and at this time the Super Famicom does not - which is weird considering how many exclusive games Japan got (I would know since I'm still partway reviewing books on that subject for my "JonLeung1" YouTube channel)...

What do you think of the order I put them in?  Do you agree with my layout, or how do you do it?

(Click on the images to enlarge.)

Famicom:


NES:


Super Famicom:


Super NES:

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VGMaps Social Board / VGMaps.com is now 18 years old!
« on: May 07, 2020, 01:00:52 PM »
VGMaps.com is now 18 years old!  (Well, it turned 18 yesterday, and I missed it.  How rude of me, as its parent, to miss such a milestone.)

I didn't really prepare anything for this, so, for discussion I guess we could go with:
1. how long have you used VGMaps.com, and
2. what maps do you think are possible in the next 18 years?

For me, obviously I've been here since the beginning, through a whim of "just trying this out for a year", thinking that images would be hard on bandwidth - guess I never imagined we'd get to the point when almost everybody streams HD video on multiple devices, so now, what's a few kB or MB for some .PNGs, right?  I remember getting it set up at the end of April (literally after I finished university) but it wasn't actually visible for a week because I had "index.htm" capitalized or something silly like that.  I was playing the then-new Resident Evil (the 2002 GameCube remake) at the time; funny that now my gaming backlog includes the recent remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3...

For a while I've wondered if there would be a 3D format that would be a ubiquitous enough filetype that it would be no different to put up than, say, a .PNG (or .GIF or .JPG).  Imagine something like The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time maps that we have but instead of 2D .PNGs at a fixed angle, they could be in a 3D format that we could just rotate and move around easily (with whatever is required to view them being standard in all browsers) to have a true 1:1 map (arguably maybe not exactly so with anti-alisasing and whatnot, but you know what I mean).  That said, first-generation 3D game consoles like the N64, PlayStation and Saturn could have many more maps, hopefully long before 2038!  Also, I hope there is still interest in the NES and Super NES that maybe someone will automate some way to map literally everything in every game for those consoles.  Would require some human input, I would imagine, but you never know, with AI these days, right?

What are your answers to those two questions?  And any other thoughts about the future of VGMaps?

13

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to xyzbilliu's Trials Of Mana / Seiken Densetsu 3 (J) (Super NES) maps.

Eight powerful beings - the Benevodons - were sealed into the Mana Stones by the Mana Goddess long ago.  Now, the Mana Stones are sought by those who wish to unleash the Benevodons and take over the world.  Six characters - Angela, Duran, Charlotte, Kevin, Hawkeye and Riesz - three of which are playable in any one playthrough - face one of three different antagonists in their journey that will involve seeking out the Mana Sword and defeating the Benevodons to save the world.

Like its immediate predecessor, Secret Of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3 is a beautiful top-down action-RPG that supports multiple players (though only two instead of Secret Of Mana's three).  With multiple combinations of characters and multiple storylines across a huge world, this adventure is one of the biggest that can be experienced on the Super NES or Super Famicom!

There's an interesting thing about this game's name.  Seiken Densetsu 3 was a Japanese exclusive until the first three games in the series were rereleased together in a bundle called "Collection Of Mana" for the Switch in 2019.  As it would now need a title in English, by following the convention of all the Mana games being titled "_____ Of Mana", this was rechristened as "Trials Of Mana" (with the "tri" in "Trials" being an intentional reference to the number three).  The Switch (as well as PS4 and PC) also received a complete remake in the spring of 2020, built as a modern game.  Though it is an entirely different engine, comparing many maps between the old and new versions show that there are quite a lot of similarities.  We can thank xyzbilliu for traversing this world and mapping it all out.

So to recognize the effort put into mapping this massive Mana game (the other Square original to receive a remake this spring), xyzbilliu's Trials Of Mana / Seiken Densetsu 3 (J) (Super NES) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for May 2020.

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Star Wars, Final Fantasy and Ultima are all very similar... the seventh is the highest-grossing, the eighth is the odd one out, and the sixth is the best.  Do you agree?  (Full-size: https://vgmaps.com/temp/Comparison-StarWars-FinalFantasy-Ultima.png) #GeekyObservation

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Maps Of The Month / 2020/04: Final Fantasy VII (PSX) - FlyingArmor
« on: March 31, 2020, 08:07:30 PM »

For this month's "Maps Of The Month" featurette, I wish to draw your attention to FlyingArmor's Final Fantasy VII (PSX) maps.

The Shinra Electric Power Company is draining the planet of its Lifestream to produce Mako energy, but AVALANCHE, the eco-terrorist group, seeks to disrupt Shinra's operations. Also a danger is Sephiroth, who seeks the Black Materia to cast the spell "Meteor" to damage the planet, which would allow him to absorb the Lifestream to become a god. Can the mercenary Cloud, with AVALANCHE members Tifa and Barrett, and other allies and friends (inluding a robot cat and a vampire), save the world?

Final Fantasy VII is considered one of the greatest video games of all time, and it helped popularize JRPGs worldwide while boosting the sales of the original PlayStation, of which it is considered an iconic title (though it would also appear on the PC a year later). This 1997 game is the first Final Fantasy game featuring polygonal graphics and full-motion cutscenes, making use of the optical media on which it originally appeared. It has seen a number of rereleases in the last decade alone, including PC (again), iOS, Android, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and the mini-console, PlayStation Classic, to be followed by an episodic remake appearing this month for PlayStation 4.

(Its iconic status has put protoganist Cloud Strife into a number of other games, from Chocobo Racing, Ehrgeiz, and the Kingdom Hearts series - though those were all by Square (later Square-Enix), as well, but Cloud also managed to be a surprise guest character in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series starting with Super Smash Bros. For 3DS/Wii U.)

FlyingArmor is definitely a JRPG fan, judging from the many epics he has mapped for VGMaps.com. Having put together over 800 maps for the Super NES atlas alone, mostly for RPGs, he now adds almost a hundred PlayStation maps by mapping out Final Fantasy VII. Though fully labelling RPG maps to show where items and points of interest are should be the norm by now, FlyingArmor went so far as to recreate icons, such as the icon for the save point, which was originally seen (though distorted) on the fourth disc of the International version. Now that's attention to detail!

So to recognize the effort put into finally fully mapping this fan-favourite Final Fantasy, FlyingArmor's Final Fantasy VII (PSX) maps will be known as VGMaps.com's Maps Of The Month for April 2020.

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