This is why people don't cosplay as Jack Frost.

Having just (finally!) wrapped up Digital Devil Saga 2 this evening, I originally intended to use this space to discuss my thoughts on that SMT sub-series. That blog may or may not still be coming depending on how motivated I'm feeling and how doped up on triptophan I get come Thanksgiving. That being said, I wanted to pass on this... most fashionable screenshot I just took while playing through Soul Hackers, a somewhat obscure SMT spinoff game for the Saturn and PS1. I could provide further context as to what's going on below, but that'd probably detract from the mystique. I'm also very tired and generally incapable of forming super-coherent thoughts at the moment. And so I give you....

A lady in a Jack Frost suit. A very, very bulbous Jack Frost suit. I don't recall the guy being that big even when he was still using his old design.
 
She still says "hee ho," by the way, in case you were curious.
21 Comments
21 Comments
Posted by Pepsiman

Having just (finally!) wrapped up Digital Devil Saga 2 this evening, I originally intended to use this space to discuss my thoughts on that SMT sub-series. That blog may or may not still be coming depending on how motivated I'm feeling and how doped up on triptophan I get come Thanksgiving. That being said, I wanted to pass on this... most fashionable screenshot I just took while playing through Soul Hackers, a somewhat obscure SMT spinoff game for the Saturn and PS1. I could provide further context as to what's going on below, but that'd probably detract from the mystique. I'm also very tired and generally incapable of forming super-coherent thoughts at the moment. And so I give you....

A lady in a Jack Frost suit. A very, very bulbous Jack Frost suit. I don't recall the guy being that big even when he was still using his old design.
 
She still says "hee ho," by the way, in case you were curious.
Posted by eroticfishcake

Actually that gives me a perfect reason to cosplay as Jack Frost considering my absolute lack of shame. In fact, the biggest problem I can think of is making the damn suit. 
 
Going to the bathroom is going to be a problem though...

Posted by Gamer_152

She's doing it wrong. I still call for way more Jack Frost cosplay than we're currently seeing.

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Posted by Soren

Damn, this only makes me want a formal translation for the original Devil summoner games even more. Though i'd kind of prefer if this never made sense.

Posted by Eirikr

@Pepsiman: Soul Hackers ain't obscure! It's only the first Megami Tensei game to feel a bit "modern" and try and move the series beyond its roots, though it still is a bit painfully slow by modern standards. I couldn't believe the Strange Journey flashbacks I had when I first played it a few months ago. And going by all the demon designs that Strange Journey cribbed from it, series fans outside Japan probably are more aware of it than ever. Obscure for a series that's already obscure is something like Giten Megami Tensei.
 
Anyway, that Jack Frost lady does truly make you go through HELL. I don't know how I made it out of her trials alive.

Posted by Pepsiman
@Eirikr: Well, I meant obscure according to the average site denizen here who might only know the more recent entries in the series because of the Endurance Run. I agree that there are way more obscure entries than that, though.
 
The game does seem pretty interesting, though. I agree that the pacing is a bit iffy in places, especially since I'm not the fastest reader in Japanese, but I do like the plot and gameplay mechanics thus far. Definitely worth the $2 I paid for a mint copy a while back.
Posted by Eirikr
@Pepsiman:  Oh, well the way it was worded that's how it seemed. Sure, when it comes to Shin Megami Tensei and obscurity, just about everything but Persona fits under that label. And that's no ill will; the main series games will remain super niche for pretty much forever, just due to their subject matter, apparent lack of surface-level characterization, and for the cruel masks they sometimes like to wear. 
 
But to fans like you and me, Soul Hackers was really the turning of the new leaf. Even though I still have a hard time keeping my interest long in anything released pre-Nocturne, it's probably the one game that's the easiest to swallow, thanks to the improved presentation (Devil Summoner 1 is an ugly, ugly game -- even the demons' color palettes are suffering from a total garish 90's meltdown) and subtle gameplay enhancements from fusion anywhere to the (always amusingly named) GUMP's augments.
 
But don't take my word for it -- I still never made it much further in SH than Jack Frost lady. I think my dude is STILL trying to make a 180 degree turn.
Posted by Pepsiman
@Eirikr: Yeah, it was like six in the morning when I wrote that post, so you can blame my general incoherence for that particular instance of bad wording.
 
But yeah, I've been pleasantly surprised with some of the features the game has. Being able to fuse anywhere in particular caught me by surprise since I thought that was a more recent addition to the series, but it's always welcome nonetheless. The aesthetics are vintage 90s SMT and save for those FMVs, it all still holds up pretty well. Out of curiosity, though, what's your take on the "Go" command in battles? I get that it's just a way to let your demons just do their own thing, but for me, the results have been spotty thus far.
 
I'm a lot like you when it comes to older Megami Tensei games, though. Pre-Nocturne games still have interesting storyline concepts, but the gameplay tends to very much be a product of its time. I've tried on multiple occasions to do SMT I and II, but never really get past the first few hours because of that. It's sad, because I'd like to have that much more background information on the series, but ah well. I keep thinking about doing a run of If, but that game looks like it might have similar issues as well.
Posted by Ghostiet

You should be more precise about which Jack Frost you are talking about. Because, apparently, dressing up as one from the B-class horror flick should give you some skin.

 
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Edited by Soren

@Pepsiman: If is basically a sprite swap of SMT 2 (even sharing a lot of the same music) with some additions like guardians etc. but if you couldn't get through the first few hours of the 2nd game then you'll definitely find the same problem here. I'd still recommend a playthrough of both of them if only because it sort of adds a little background story to quite a few of the series' recurring demons.

Posted by natetodamax

Jack Frost cosplay already sounds bad on paper....

Posted by mutha3

Ughhhhh...Don't make feel even more bummed out that Soul Hackers never got localized!
 
And seeing how you finished DDS2, I think you'd agree with me that the last third of that game is fucking weird.@Pepsiman said:

" @Eirikr: Pre-Nocturne games still have interesting storyline concepts, but the gameplay tends to very much be a product of its time. I've tried on multiple occasions to do SMT I and II, but never really get past the first few hours because of that. It's sad, because I'd like to have that much more background information on the series, but ah well. I keep thinking about doing a run of If, but that game looks like it might have similar issues as well. "
Same here. I suffered through the entirety of SMT I just to say that I could.......never bothered with II. Those games are antiqued as hell.
 
And I may be ticking of some SMT fans by saying this......but I don't think  the series started being truly great until Hashino got on board.
Posted by mutha3

Hmmm....looking at some screenshots, I'm getting a Soejima vibe of the art. Did he do the ingame art in this one? it looks like his style.

Posted by Pepsiman
@mutha3:  I believe the character art and whatnot was designed by Kaneko. Soejima could have been on board with Atlus at that point, but I'm still pretty certain that the designs in Soul Hackers are by and large Kaneko's.
 
And I agree with you about Hashino's games being the ones that make the series shine. The people who maintain the belief that SMT/Persona games were only good in the 90s, I suspect, haven't replayed those games recently and are working off of some major nostalgia. It irks me that there's such a pretentious sector within the fanbase that's all like, "IF YOU STARTED WITH PERSONA 3, YOU'RE NOT A TRUE SMT FAN AND NEVER WILL BE!" Ack.
Edited by Soren
@mutha3:  Yes, Kaneko did the character designs and Soejima handled the in-game portraits. Same for both P2 games. 
 
EDIT: Hnghhhh off by a few seconds.
Posted by Pepsiman
@Soren said:
" @mutha3:  Yes, Kaneko did the character designs and Soejima handled the in-game portraits. Same for both P2 games. "
Oh. I stand corrected then. Does Kaneko even still work at Atlus at this point? I've never been quite sure about that since Soejima seems to have more or less taken his place as the primary character designer, save for those demon designs that they're still reusing.
Edited by Soren
@Pepsiman: Of course, he handled the Bel demon designs in Devil Survivor and Art direction/Creative design for Strange Journey. Soejima seems to handle the recent persona games and most of Altus's non SMT related games. It would be a big kick in the nads for me if Kaneko left, his art style is a big part of what keeps me coming back to the series. 
 
EDIT: And the Raidou games of course, though most of these examples aren't exactly recent.
Edited by mutha3
@Pepsiman said:

" @mutha3:
And I agree with you about Hashino's games being the ones that make the series shine. The people who maintain the belief that SMT/Persona games were only good in the 90s, I suspect, haven't replayed those games recently and are working off of some major nostalgia. It irks me that there's such a pretentious sector within the fanbase that's all like, "IF YOU STARTED WITH PERSONA 3, YOU'RE NOT A TRUE SMT FAN AND NEVER WILL BE!" Ack. "

Yeah. I threw that in there when thinking of   THAT extraordinary annoying subsection of the SMT fanbase. Its the same thing with the Soejima haters(who can't even distinguish his art from Kaneko's.) Those are far more prevalent.
 
Thankfully you don't get much SMT fans who hug Cozy's nuts while calling Hashino the worst thing ever, because, Hashino made Nocturne which is pretty much the holy grail for old-ass SMT fans(my first SMT game as well).
 
  @Soren said:

" @mutha3:  Yes, Kaneko did the character designs and Soejima handled the in-game portraits. Same for both P2 games.  EDIT: Hnghhhh off by a few seconds. "


Glad to see my Soejima senses are still sharp! I knew P2's art was by Soejima the instant I played it too.

@Pepsiman

said:

" @Soren said:

" @mutha3:  Yes, Kaneko did the character designs and Soejima handled the in-game portraits. Same for both P2 games. "
Oh. I stand corrected then. Does Kaneko even still work at Atlus at this point? I've never been quite sure about that since Soejima seems to have more or less taken his place as the primary character designer, save for those demon designs that they're still reusing. "
Yup, he's still with the company, but he's doing some freelance work ATM.
 
EDIT:
 
@Soren said:
" @Pepsiman: Of course, he handled the Bel demon designs in Devil Survivor and Art direction/Creative design for Strange Journey. Soejima seems to handle the recent persona games and most of Altus's non SMT related games. It would be a big kick in the nads for me if Kaneko left, his art style is a big part of what keeps me coming back to the series.  EDIT: And the Raidou games of course, though most of these examples aren't exactly recent. "
Oh, really? what Atlus games did Soejima work on besides Trauma Team remakes?
Edited by Soren
@mutha3: Oops, that was a bit exaggerated, the only other Atlus game he worked on that i can think of is the rather apathetically received Stella Deus.
Edited by Eirikr
@Pepsiman: Ack, stupid Thanksgiving getting in the way of SMT talk!
 
Yeah, under no circumstances would I ever use an AI command in an older game in the same series as Persona 3's. :P But the game still has a regular autobattle, right (even though it's probably not much faster than the regular plodding battle pace)? Even without that, it's just a matter of finding the right physical and almighty attacks to cheese, utilizing stuff like the save anywhere application, adding in a bit of patience (and maybe a FAQ) and Soul Hackers is probably totally doable. Probably. I'll let you try that out first. :D
  
And you're also absolutely right that the older games are products of their times, and I'd say they've probably aged worse than contemporary DQ and FF games. The first person dungeons are a big pain and create mass confusion, even with a map. Movement is slow and nauseating, and it's hard as hell to get a read on where you're supposed to go. In some ways I think the SFC games have less excuse than the FC ones, as at least the latter were pretty novel for the system they were on. The SFC games are really just "Super" versions with smoother scrolling and and a better presentation, but are kind of laughable in how archaic they are on a system lauded for the quality and enduring legacy of its JRPGs.
 
I keep waiting and expecting Atlus to announce remakes of SMT I and II using the Etrian/SJ engine. The pace would immediately be faster, you'd have a constant map, and other additions like a compendium and more frequent save points would make both 300% more playable. But who knows, that might be a good, low cost lead-in project for 3DS, too.
 
@mutha3:  Well, given Hashino's credits, you're more or less agreeing with what Pepsiman and I are saying. : )
 
And because I'm totally slow: 
 
 @Pepsiman said:

It irks me that there's such a pretentious sector within the fanbase that's all like, "IF YOU STARTED WITH PERSONA 3, YOU'RE NOT A TRUE SMT FAN AND NEVER WILL BE!" Ack. "

This is why I mostly keep to myself regarding SMT. D:  I've really met only a handful SMT fans I like, and out of them even fewer like the series for the same reasons I do (religion and myth, basically).
 
But it's not just one sided. Some of those same P3 players can be very dismissive of the other games (even P4), for stupid reasons. I think on my Strange Journey review or in the QL someone said they couldn't stand the characters because it looked like they all had eyeshadow. Talk about missing the point.
 
I'd agree that people like that aren't Shin Megami Tensei fans. They're Persona fans. But where my opinion diverges is that I think that's okay. They are different products that will appeal to different people.
Edited by mutha3
@Eirikr said:

This is why I mostly keep to myself regarding SMT. D:  I've really met only a handful SMT fans I like, and out of them even fewer like the series for the same reasons I do (religion and myth, basically).  But it's not just one sided. Some of those same P3 players can be very dismissive of the other games (even P4), for stupid reasons. I think on my Strange Journey review or in the QL someone said they couldn't stand the characters because it looked like they all had eyeshadow. Talk about missing the point.

Well....that's true. 
 
But at the same time, the Persona-only people are merely dismissive, while general SMT fans tend to be obnoxiously aggressive towards those fans. I love mainline SMT, but I can easily see why someone wouldn't.
 
I'm generally fine with Persona fans. Even the crazies.Its SMT fans that get under on my skin.....The crazies, I mean.