Posted by: masterwarlord | February 14, 2012

Dry Bones Roundtable

Smady: Alright, now, everyone state who they are, and calmly allow people before you to finish posting. I’m trusty red, Smady.
Dave: I’m Dave, the last sane man alive. As the last sane man alive, I decree my image to be much better than yours.
Warlord: I am in fact Warlord and am the only one with an at all fitting color in these reviews.
FA: Alright, let’s do this.
Smady: Now that is out of the way, lets begin. I’d like to start off by referencing the Iron Thorn set from, Make Your Move 3? This sets heavily pays tribute to that set, in both its organisation and in much of how the set works, which really cannot be understated. They’re pretty identical.
Warlord: This was intended to be the first set of the contest as something for newcomers to the thread could “Beat” with one of their own movesets, nice and simplistic. If there’s any doubts, it outright name drops Iron Thorn with the Final Smash.
Dave: The final smash is DIRECTLY lifted from the MYM3 set, go back and check it. But, anyway, am I the only one who doesn’t find the big nostalgic callback to be so bad? It adds a certain level of charm to the moveset.
Warlord: It’s not a bad thing, it’s just self aware of how unambitious it is. Iron Thorn was never noted for anything outside of her gender.
Smady: To be honest, I feel the homage paid is the best thing about the set. It’s rare to see this kind of thing, let alone at this insane level. Though I would argue that it takes centre-stage, would inevitably ruin the enjoyment for any modern MYMers. It’s hardly changed, and even back then, it wasn’t lauded. I think Junahu probably knew this when he posted it.
FA: I can forgive a lack of ambition to be sure. Simplistic sets can still be enjoyable, and at the very least Junahu didn’t stay too close to the original.
Dave: And how is staying true to the original a bad thing? (CRS)
Warlord: Who says a random MYM 3 set is the final say on Dry Bones? Is my terrible MYM 5 Illidan something that must be stayed true to?
FA: If it stuck to the original, it wouldn’t exactly have been good by any of our current standards in the slightest. I don’t think any MYM 3 sets would even be considered average anymore, except maybe some KoJ sets.
Dave: No one cares about Illidian’s character. Represent him any way you want.
Smady: I think what’s interesting to think about here, is whether this moveset even wants to be compared to contemporary movesets. It strongly feels like it wants to be isolated and left on its own, to appeal directly to newcomers to the thread. It’s a campaign first, moveset second, and for that I feel it’s actually somewhat admirable.
Warlord: Well, going beyond vague talking of philosophy, I’d like to start the part where we actually sink our teeth into the moveset. I find that Dry Bones’ survivability is very awkwardly implemented into this set – manually breaking apart into bones feels like something I’d think Junahu would be intelligent enough not to do. I’m unsure if a negative mechanic would be the way to go, but letting Dry Bones get all of this healing from a death animation of all things seems very awkward. In the actual games, more inventive methods of defeating Dry Bones are required than just endlessly beating upon them.
FA: What bugs me about Dry Bones is that the vast majority of his flow seems to come from the modifications to his structure, which occur at random and Junahu apparently does not want us to take advantage of. I’m on a horse.
Dave: Okay, the modifications to Dry Bone’s bone structure being completely random is kind of hippo. It leads to the player just mindlessly spamming one move in place, or simply just attacking the foe with that one move if they want that particular modification. Though, I suppose mindlessly spamming moves could serve as a way to entice foes to approach, considering he plays somewhat campy with the bone toss.
FA: Yeah, the characterization is a little out of whack, honestly.
Warlord: Jun has addressed the complaint about spamming moves to get the luck based alterations. The alterations are supposed to be negative things, not buffs, and when his playstyle is so centered around Down Special which just so happens to get rid of these effects it feels like unnecessary padding.
FA: I think the most interesting thing about the set, honestly, is Dry Bones’ need to adapt to the changes in his body structure, and them not being pure detriments helps that more than hurts.
Smady: It’s not balance or characterisation for me that is the problem, it’s the redundancy. So many of his moves serve similar purposes, or at least look quite the same. It feels similar to other movesets that focus too much on body type – there’s only so much you can do with throwing parts of a skeleton around, when you’re also tied down by a MYM3 set.
Dave: I did feel that the filer-y, redundant inputs did seem to work well. Jun was clearly trying to mimic a much more simplistic time/the actual game of Brawl here. It serves that purpose well.
Warlord: I think what the intention is that the negative luck based alterations, or “defects” as Junahu calls them, are supposed to be there for  characterization. . .I never viewed Dry Bones as particularly clumsy, when they’re so resistant to punishment. If anything, they’d be mindless, not comically clumsy.
FA: It’s Junahu. He tends to characterize people in very obscure, strange sort of ways.
Smady: The redundancy does seem to also reference MYM3… the entire set is an homage. From a Roolian point-of-view, it’s fascinating how dedicated this set is to reminiscing on this Dry Bones artifact. It is apparently one of the reasons why Junahu stayed in Make Your Move to begin with. Though the clumsy charactrisation seems the most out-of-place thing in the whole set, even with that in mind.
FA: We’re not Rool, are we?
Smady: I’m just trying to provide a breadth of opinions here, [David fucking deleted everything of Smady’s line that comes after this]
Warlord: So if this set stays so very true to the MYM 3 interpretation, shouldn’t this qualify for Junahu’s touch up mini rather than as a moveset? I was unaware that trying to mimic a moveset intentionally was something that was smiled upon in MYM. Then again, Rainbow Dash happened.
Dave: A breadth of opinions does seem somewhat fitting in this roundtable, considering pretty much every other roundtable is from a much more Roonahunian point of view with the occasional glimpse of Warlord’s opinion. Burter cloned Rainbow Dash, MT is Doc Brown. (CRS)
Smady: No, I don’t like the set just because of this, but for what Junahu intended to do, it is undeniably successful. It does feel like a mini-made-set.
Warlord: I don’t feel this is a good set by Junahu’s standards because of the awkward characterization – mimicking a MYM 3 set shouldn’t qualify as Junahu’s standards. The characterization is too busy with these clumsy defects and Skeleton/Potato Head head to properly focus on his durability, which even then doesn’t seem to be handled that well.
Dave: So, Warlord. Curious question – how much better/worse do you think that Dry Bones crumbling is character-wise to Goomba’s reaping off of his squished state?
FA: Hasn’t it been established that Junahu is the furthest thing from consistent? He doesn’t really have a specific set of standards, he just has something he sets out to accomplish in a moveset. And as far as being what Junahu says this is supposed to be, I have to admit it does its job.
Smady: I don’t think this set can be applied to any standards. It’s like, impossible to compare. I feel what is odd is why – just for the sake of reminiscing on a MYM3 set? This doesn’t seem appropriate at all. And I take offence to Junahu’s assumption that newcomers appreciate dumbed down set approaches like this, as if MYM3 was more newcomer-friendly, when it really was not. But I digress. It makes sense, from the perspective of Junahu’s nostalgia.
Warlord: When everyone is praising the characterization regardless, there are some standards to go to, yes. As far as Goomba, n88 at least captured the underpowered feel of Goomba quite well. Durability is something that needs some actual flow to be glorified, and the way Junahu gave Dry Bones his durability doesn’t feel at all like the immortality of Dry Bones from the games.
Dave: But Smady, MYM3 was more newcomer-friendly. 300 sets compared to how many from the last contest? There was a much varied amount submitting in MYM3, while later contests had less people churning out more sets.
Warlord: Very few to none of those people stayed. They were people who decided to dump a set into the contest and leave. It was a fun one time project, like a forum game.
FA: In reality, I don’t think a below average set starting off the contest makes things any more newcomer friendly. Newcomers aren’t THAT stupid, they’ll scroll down the page and see other sets, such as Necromancer, even if Junahu hadn’t failed to post Dry Bones at the very start.
Dave: Case-in-Point – Bladeknight. He learned the system and got great fairly quick. (CHEW)
Smady: You have to admit, this set is pretty interesting to discuss if nothing else. The content of the set, you could predict from the outset, but it goes far in making a statement. Does that make it a good moveset? No, but it at least accomplishes something interesting for those like us who hate the execution.
FA: I actually don’t hate the set itself believe it or not. Probably because I find body modification fun, having taken a stab at it twice.
Warlord: It’s fine that it’s doing that if it’s intending to ignore some of the things that Junahu looks for in a moveset, but I doubt that. And people cannot stop gushing about how this set is so very well “characterized”. Also, David, elaborate on your newcomer/BladeKnight thing.
Smady: Perhaps we should move on, as riveting as this conversation was.
Dave: Bladeknight did in fact look up movesets that were good, mostly due to the character behind them. This is most seen how he copied the organization from Twilight Sparkle in much of his later work. If one wants to appeal to newcomers, they have to pick an extremely, universally-liked character to get attention.
FA: I’m still convinced BladeKnight is an alt, to be honest. I don’t know of who, but it seems unlikely he’s a legitamate newcomer. Then again, who am I to talk.
Smady: Lets keep it relevant, people. This is getting terribly off-topic.
FA: Yeah sure. So anyway, as a set, what do you guys all find fault with? Since we all seem to agree it’s a terrible moveset (okay, I don’t hate it admittedly, but it’s not exactly my cup of tea).
Warlord: I touched upon it earlier in the review. The point of the set is that you’re supposed to have to adapt to all of the defects that you get at random, make use of them before the foe realizes them and all that to stay unpredictable. However; these defects will more likely than not be cured off instantly, as nothing in the set is more appealing than Down Special, which just so happens to remove them.
Dave: 15% per second!? (shock)
Rool: Number Crunching :[
Warlord: If it’s number crunching and the healing is toned down, then Dry Bones loses even more of his durability and gets even further away from the point of the generic enemy.
Smady: Mechanically, the set is rather insular with its logic, which does play into the noob-ish feel of the character [and as a moveset]. If it doesn’t play particularly intuitive, it’s a believable newcomer set.
FA: Really, I’d like the set much more if it was focused around adaptation than just trying to survive for a long period of time. That aspect of the set is honestly very interesting, and it’s a shame Junahu decided to dismiss it.
Warlord: I agree with you, FA. The adaption would make for a good gameplay set. Hell, even a Potato Head/Skeleton rip-off with all of the other body parts would be interesting. But do you see me telling Junahu to do that? No, I’m telling him to do what would most go with his movesetting interests and actually focus on the core of the character with the durability, which seems to be downplayed in favor of other random gameplay related interests.
Smady: In all fairness, the playstyle is fairly in-character itself, but the components that go into it seem random, as well as the random mechanics, which is just Junahu’s way of adding some very, very basic versatility to moves to keep them from being forgettable. It’s different from most Junahu sets in not caring about how to get to that end goal, though, generally he’s very focused on making sets that are in-character from all avenues.
FA: So, do you guys think Junahu failed at what he was trying to do here? I think for what it’s worth, it does work as a sort of introduction to MYM-ish set, at least. It’s not good, maybe confused in it’s purpose, but I can’t say it entirely failed either.
Warlord: He intended to mimic an MYM 3 set. It doesn’t succeed at his usual MYMing goals. But yes, he mimicked an MYM 3 set.
Smady: It’s not a lofty goal, but it is achieved. That’s something that not all sets can claim. And for Dry Bones, I can’t even imagine what a typical frontrunner of this day-and-age would look like… not to say this set pulls off Dry Bones well because of its simplicity. But I don’t think that was the point of this excercise for Junahu.
Dave: Wait, wait…Dry Bones is an MYM3 mimic. Dry Bones is a zombie. Zombies are known for being resurrected from the dead. The first word in Dry Bone’s is “zombie”, in the header image. It’s like the Junahu code. (vampire)
Smady: Junahu definitely pulls off the organisation and nostalgia well. It’s a clever idea, one that may have fitted a mini just as well, but he stretches it out without adding anything substantial of his own to Iron Thorn’s original concepts.
FA: I’d pretty much just have to agree to that, honestly.
Warlord: It’s supposed to be a mimic, though. It’s revived from the dead. It’s not revived from the dead new and improved! How much can you expect from a zombie revival? (Yay, the appeal of the set is now more Rool nostalgia)
Smady: This set is certainly no crowd-pleaser, but I’m sure Junahu is happy with it. Perhaps now’s the time for some conclusive points, guys? Big ole paragraphs.
FA: So, I don’t really like the set, mostly because it doesn’t play off the promising concept that it has in the random changes, but I view it as a perfectly valid experiment. It’s certainly not as preachy as some of Junahu’s experiments anyway. Plus, the Up Throw is at least hilarious.
Dave: I can actually say that I’m in the fairly small boat, I think, of people who enjoy Dry Bones. As stated, it’s not a crowd pleaser and it definitely won’t appeal to everyone. However, I can see it taking a more Linebeck/Fulci sort of stance, with it being an “underground” moveset.
Warlord: One of the very few people who like Dry Bones indeed. This set is gaining more and more popularity. Even Kupa likes the bloody thing. They like it for the “characterization”. This set has clumsy comical defects as if it were a cartoon character, stock skeleton disjointed parts, and feels anything but like the actual specific Mario enemy. It’s a set for a skeleton who so happens to be a turtle.
FA: Well, I certainly would not ever vote for it.
Dave: And how would YOU handle the character, Warlord? Since we’re going into the boat of Warlord opinions vs Roonahu opinions already. (chew)
Warlord: I’m not making the moveset. Obviously I won’t come up with something good if put on the spot – it’s a matter of 5 minute move versus a set prepared for the very start of the contest. But I’ve made it quite clear where I believe the playstyle should’ve gone.
Smady: My personal feelings on the set are mixed. I really do genuinely love the nostalgia it brings and how subtly it plays off of the original Iron Thorn set. It’s Junahu presenting the set that got him into Make Your Move, to newcomers, and that’s quite an interesting thing to do with a single moveset. However, the set lacks any ambition, and clumsily falls over itself with the redundancy and how it flows in a very jumbled fashion. Depending on your outlook, that could be seen as a plus, but I feel it’d be a disservice to most other sets if I gave the set so much credit for simply a writing and organisational quirk.
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Responses

  1. “One of the very few people who like Dry Bones indeed. This set is gaining more and more popularity. Even Kupa likes the bloody thing. They like it for the “characterization”.”

    The tone of this bit makes it sound like Warlord’s hosting a secret underground meeting about some awful security threat that needs averting.

    Nice review, although I’m inclined to think that there’s more to the set that you guys didn’t crack into – in a way, you each stuck to your guns the whole review through.

    Dry Bones seems to me to cycle through his gameplay, much as he does when you encounter him in any Mario game; you beat on him a bit, then he collapses and rises again. The most obvious and intuitive way to implement the phoenix-like stuff about him (y’know, the only thing he actually does) is to just let him heal while collapsed. I don’t think 15% is too much; it’s not very easy to pull off dissembling. And anyway, yes, number crunching.

    And through all of his “adaptations”, he doesn’t come as clumsy so much as indifferent to them altogether. It’s all about his persistence, not how silly he is (although there’s an element of that too), as his specials are and just about everything else about him.

    I don’t know why you guys keep calling him so very similar to Iron Thorn’s. His Specials are entirely different; gameplay-wise (not talking about animations or characterization, which I take it Junahu thought Iron Thorn got right), I can’t make out similarities at all. Even the stats are tweaked considerably.

    • At several points, we brought up the characterisation of the playstyle, and largely agreed that it was in-character. We simply didn’t go into excruciating detail over it.

      The animations, characterisation, some of the unique writing quirks and the organisation all carrying over is pretty substantial. Personally, I considered this far more interesting as a topic of discussion than analysing what was different, as that is Junahu’s prerogative as the biggest fan of the old set.

    • Well yeah, Junahu likes Iron Thorn’s Dry Bones, but that doesn’t mean that he wants you to say that his set ” can’t be applied to any standards” or that it’s just the same thing “without adding anything substantial of his own to Iron Thorn’s original concepts”. That’s pretty dismissive stuff and I don’t see its basis. What original concepts are you referring to? Concepts of organization and characterization? The moveset appropriates those qualities of Iron Thorn’s that are “timeless” – animations, for the most part – and everything else (Final Smash, revamped organization, etc) is more like a side dish than a main course.

      This playstyle is not archaic and it’s not the sort of thing we saw in MYM 3, however much you may condescend to it. I’m not entirely sold on the moveset myself, but let’s at least give the thing fair shakes.

    • Wow, I’m shocked that you took it as condescension, quite frankly. Giving the set “fair shakes” was the reason I tried to see things how Junahu might have, and gave credit where it was due for trying to make a simpler set that appealed to a different audience. There’s a certain art to just leaving what was in the original set alone, I’m surprised that you can’t see that. It’s only one angle of the set, sure, but the idea that Junahu was pulling stuff from the set that got him into the community, to try and appeal to people in the same position, and lightly parodying MYM3 as well, was genuinely interesting to me.

      I’m also more than a little insulted. I think your misinterpretation is largely down to preconceptions of what I’d say about the set, because I was being entirely honest. Can no one infer that a skeleton set being sort of archaic is fitting, if their name isn’t King K. Rool?

    • Wait, insulting? Not my intent at all, man. You absolutely have every right to infer that and to speculate on it and to find it the most interesting part of the set. Nor am I saying that you were somehow being dishonest. All I mean is that lines like the aforementioned “without adding anything substantial of his own to Iron Thorn’s original concepts” seem to confuse just how much he took from the original and label the set as ONLY an exercise in nostalgia, when it seems pretty clear that there’s something going on here playstyle-wise that wasn’t in the original. Even if you don’t find it very interesting yourself.

      I’m not trying to critique your critique, just to provide a different perspective on a conclusion that you guys settled on.

    • I suppose that’s fair enough, but you can forgive me when you were alluding to condescending opinions on the set, and defined solely yourself as giving the set its dues. It all seemed quite passive-aggressive.

      I did consider those things myself to mention and try to spark some debate on the playstyle, but it simply didn’t seem that important to me, and apparently anyone else. We did talk about aspects of the playstyle, just not of the gameplay itself – we talked plenty about what Junahu defined it as, and how we thought it compared to our expectations. So yeah, fair call on that, you should get back in the roundtabling business.

  2. I agree with Rool on this. I liked the set, and for reasons beyond just characterization. Dry Bones has his random effects and changes on his standard moves and such, and it’s quite unusual and uncomfortable to normal MYM’ing standards. I think it’s pretty clear if you look a little deeper why Junahu did it that way though; it was clearly something the player was meant to cope with, for better or worse, not control. It’s perfectly valid to argue whether that was a good move on his part, but it’s not okay, especially in this format, to dismiss it without looking deeper into why it works that way.

    Lines like “This was intended to be the first set of the contest as something for newcomers to the thread could “Beat” with one of their own movesets, nice and simplistic.” are pretty dismissive and imply that Junahu didn’t mean for anyone to take this set seriously.

    I can fully understand why this set isn’t for everyone, and Junahu wasn’t going for universal acceptance; I think he rarely if ever does. But discussions on sets like this should be opportunities to discuss the merits of what it does differently, not simply how it fails to conform. The repeated comparisons to Make Your Move 3 feel more like trying to convince an audience that the set isn’t worthwhile rather than any meaningful contribution to the conversation.

    • The quote was indeed said by me in the Xat, though the subtext is kind of lost out of context.

  3. “Lines like “This was intended to be the first set of the contest as something for newcomers to the thread could “Beat” with one of their own movesets, nice and simplistic.” are pretty dismissive and imply that Junahu didn’t mean for anyone to take this set seriously.”

    I never would’ve make this accusation if Junahu hadn’t said this in xat himself. Perhaps I should’ve labeled it as a Junahu quote in the roundtable, but roundtables are definitively imperfect. Hindsight is 20/20.

    For the record, I did not look at the Iron Thorn Dry Bones, Rool, and assumed that the people who were saying it was so similar actually knew what they were talking about.

    • I actually suspected that that might have been a direct quote from Junahu, so I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, but given the context I felt it was worth pointing out.

  4. cough JOE WAS NEXT cough

  5. It’s always nice to hear chatter about my movesets, though I can’t lie; I didn’t really learn too much from it

    Unrelated: I thought some of my more subtle uses of Mario lore were pretty nifty.


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