xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-07-22 06:06 am

Pokemon Omega Ruby Episode 4: A Sudden Encounter! Miraculous Contest Scouting!

In the very early AM, when the sky is dark, a friend tosses me an egg. I tuck the egg carefully in position behind the plant-lizard, masked seed bulb, mushroom, fluffpuppy and green lumpy thing and run around in tight circles for a while to give it a start at hatching. Then I go to bed.

When I wake up, the power is out. It takes me another day to get this update finished.

Good morning, everyone. I'm playing Pokemon Omega Ruby, and it's time to Dewford Town. ... do Dew... Dodew... go forward to D... township of Dewforwarding...

We're going into Dewford Town okay. This pun was poorly thought out.
Just get in here. )
It is beautiful and heaven help me, I want to move in. Next time, we'll explore if that's an option. (I am guessing no.)
xyzzysqrl: (Challenger)
2017-07-20 08:09 pm

Pokemon Omega Ruby Bonus Episode - It's A Secret To Everybody (and Nobody)

So! Remember when I said this:

"It is while doing this gym that Mint starts trying to evolve. I have JUST ENOUGH Pokemon knowledge to whap the B button a couple times and stop him. If I don't evolve him, he'll learn a cool move. I'll explain why in a different post, it's not just that I want him small and cute forever, I promise." today's post? Well, we're at that different post now.
This is a sidebar, and you can skip it but I think it's interesting. )
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-07-20 08:08 pm

Pokemon Omega Ruby Episode 3 - We Do A Rock Gym And Foil the Laziest Evil Plot Ever

When we left Lime, she was parked outside Rustboro City. In we go!
The adventure continues. )
With that it's back to zip across the sea to Dewford Town, which is where we'll pick up next time. Please look forward to it!
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-07-19 09:45 pm

Pokemon Omega Ruby Episode 2 - The Usual Cascade of Jokes And Capturing.

Last time, we got things off and rolling and I was a bit surprised by the narrative structure of this particular game. By which I mean - so far there isn't much of one. By now in Pokemon Y we had been introduced to some distinct characters and given a heartwarming speech or two about free will from Professor Hug-Me.

Maybe we'll get a speech and/or a hug later. I've never played original Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald. I dunno any specifics about what's coming.

Onward. )
See you next time, as Lime and Mint challenge their first gym. Are they prepared? Ahahaha I have no idea.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-07-19 06:56 am

Pokemon Omega Ruby Episode 1 - I Promise To Keep It Short And Instantly Break This Promise

Greetings, loved ones. As you may be aware I recently climbed into a bright yellow bucket and rode it down a deep dark pit into Pokemon Hell, which is where certain kinds of adults go when they are bad and another very different kind of adults go when they are on vacation.

I am the latter.

I figure... I'm back in the fandom hard. I installed the Collectable Card Game client on my PC and I've been muddling with that some against the AI. I've been glancing thoughtfully at the anime. I've even considered looking up some scans of Pokemon Special, AKA "That manga where everything is batshit insane".

Y'all have no idea how long I have spent looking up fanart of SPECIFIC SCENES in PMD: Explorers of Sky on like Pixiv or whatever and just letting my excess empathy splash down my face in the form of SOBBING AND WHIMPERING.

It's time for me to just go ahead, relax, and do another Pokemon playblog. Sorry guys. Pokemon Hell demands my sacrifice.

I always say I'm gonna keep these blogs short and then blurting out like the entire life history of random NPCs, but I really am gonna TRY to do a fairly low-effort cruise through my game of choice: Pokemon Omega Ruby. (SPOILER FROM THE FUTURE: I failed in the first entry, but maybe I'll shut up more as time goes on.)

Good friend of sqrls Alicia gifted me Pokemon Moon recently and I DO need to play through that (hopefully before Ultra Sun/Moon come out) but I haven't done Omega Ruby yet and it's been on the shelf long enough. (I hadn't even broken the plastic before now.)

If you're not familiar with it, Omega Ruby is the remake of "Pokemon Ruby", which was the start of Generation 3 of Pokemon. I have no strong feelings about generations. I love all the pokemon, even gloriously ridiculous ones like Honchkrow have a place in my heart.

That said, this one was made after the focus of my previous gameblog, Pokemon Y and so contains data for every little monster that was in THAT game. I could drop some Pokemon into Y via the Bank application, breed myself up a small army, drop the eggs to whoever I end up playing in OR and go through the game with a ridiculous team.

(Incidentally, remember I was surprised about 92 hours in PMD: Explorers? Try 130-ish hours in Pokemon Y. This series, guys, geez.)

Will I? I do not know. I'm really open to anything here, I'm just looking to have a good time. That's what Pokemon is for, isn't it? Still, a journey of a thousand scampering little creatures begins with a single step. Now that I've yammered for like a page and a half...
Let's get started. )
NOW IS THE BEGINNING OF A FANTASTIC JOURNEY -- I'm really looking forward to it. We'll see if I can keep my notes any shorter next time. Sorry, everybody!
xyzzysqrl: (Play with me.)
2017-07-17 07:09 am

Recordkeeping: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky COMPLETE

Oh where do I even start...

Explorers of Sky is another in the Mystery Dungeon series, so you can expect a nigh-fetishistic focus on exploring randomly generated dungeons populated with dangerous pokemon. Your character is a member of a guild of explorers, adventurers who sally into the unknown to discover new lands or chase down outlaws normal pokemon are too distressed or weak to deal with. As hybrid defenders of justice and mappers of the realm, you'll be shuttled around from dungeon to dungeon, recruiting new pokemon and collecting items to help you survive.

I chose to name my partner-to-be "Wattson", as he was a Shinx, an electric-type pokemon. Ahaha it is a joke. And then, running with it, I chose "Sqrllock" as my Eevee stand-in's name and we became Team Deduction.

By the end of the game I was treating these two like a married couple and the game was doing NOTHING to put me off the idea. Actual Sherlock shippers would be side-eyeing me like "Whoa there dial it back a couple ticks?" but NO I WILL NOT. Horrible plot things would happen and these two little fluffs would assure each other that they cared for one another and would never give up or surrender, never let a moment of doubt come between them. I mean, geez, normally I would be off drooling over other pokemon because I'm a goddamn furry but in this particular case no. Aside from one special guest star who stole my heart and a trio of charming explorers I was faithful to my chosen partner the whole way through the game.

Also, the Mystery Dungeon series is where you go to get punched in the heart by masters of the Emotional Heart-Punch Combat School of Creative Writing. If I wasn't breaking down in heaving great emotional sobs at some tragic twist of fate I was getting all teary-eyed over the Power of Friendship. There are lines in here I'll never forget, the context around them is too meaningful, too powerful.

"It's just not possible for either of you to be unwanted in this world."

I'm sorry, I broke like glass.

Now, all that said...

I spent -ninety two hours- on this game.

I don't DO THAT.

Like, unless it's an MMO or something, I am usually OUT by hour 30 or 40. So I was SUCKED IN. You know why I stopped playing it, after 92 hours? Because I have ordered the sequel, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, and I want to play THAT without suffering burnout. I am so hungry for this game I bought a second game to keep gorging myself on.

Maybe it's a sign that I am a jumbo-sized baby person, I don't know. What I do know is I desperately needed this game. I needed it to exist and I needed to play it.

(Also, now that I've read her post, Celine wrote something very similar to what I did when SHE finished it. Makes sense since we talked the HELL out of this game on IM. Like, hours and hours of picky scene-by-scene analysis. If I have become trashy fandom sludge it is her fault.)

This game reignited my Pokemon spirit. Expect to see a lot more Pokemon for a while -- I am seriously considering an Omega Ruby gameblog.
xyzzysqrl: (RUN AWAY)
2017-07-09 10:59 am

Mildred Wirt Benson

One of the things I wanted to do in the upcoming days was another Nancy Drew playblog, however the heat and light and general fatigue has been wiping me out lately. I don't want to run the risk of leaving another one unfinished, so I'm going to postpone that a while.

Still, the reason I wanted to post a playblog at all was to celebrate the birthday of Mildred Wirt Benson, which is on the 11th of July. The original Drew ghostwriter under the name Carolyn Keene, she is responsible for defining much of what the character was and would become: Not afraid to stand up to adults, a bold truthseeker and a curious girl who was allowed to like "girl things", but without the passive nature of some of the female heroes at the time. (Remember, this was around when the original Wizard of Oz film had just been released.)

This article on her death goes into far more detail, and amusingly enough makes me think that perhaps NOT posting a playblog is the right choice after all. As far as it goes, Ms. Benson was rather sick of Nancy by the end of her life.

I don't think I'll ever be, though.
xyzzysqrl: (Sqrl Barbarian)
2017-07-08 04:34 pm

Recordkeeping: Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap COMPLETE

Or as I played it, "Wonder Girl". Changes the title screen and everything. A nice touch.

So here's what I DIDN'T like about Dragon's Trap:

A: The challenge rooms were really very challenging.
B: The momentum from running and jumping was still a bit slippery.
C: Maybe the level design is a little biased towards flat planes.

That's it. The rest was gold.

So you're already starting off with a great game: 1989's "Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon's Trap" for the Sega Master System. Linear stages but lots of reasons to revisit them and grab collectables, with an exploration-focused hub structure and several different cursed forms to play as: Dragon, Mouse, Piranha, Lion, Hawk. Each with its own talents, lots of collectible weapons, hidden secrets, okay that's all in the original game.

Then you paint over it with absolutely gorgeous drawn backgrounds and character sprites and play wonderful beautiful mixes of the level music over all that. There's a button that toggles between updated and original graphics, and I kept switching back to the original to go "But... how did this become THAT?" and then I'd sway back to the updated visuals and just... let it WASH over me.

I want to speak objectively about this, but I can't. This game was part of my childhood. I got a Master System and a crate of games (bought from the local rental store when they went out of business) well after I had a Super Nintendo. I didn't have a lot of inherent bias at the time -- a game's a game, right? -- but I quickly learned that a lot of that crate was kinda crap.

Wonder Boy 3 wasn't. It was special and fun and weird and silly. The remake is all of those things, maybe moreso. It fills in the blanks the way my imagination USED to, by showing a big world surrounding the events of the game. Instead of a simple blue horizon there's deserts and forests, mountains and beaches. It reminded me a little of why I started loving video games in the first place and why I still love the medium today.

Those challenge rooms will probably make my blood pressure skyrocket though, I'm not kidding. They're hard.
xyzzysqrl: (Message for you!)
2017-07-07 02:52 pm

Recordkeeping: Game of Thrones (Telltale) ep 1-6 COMPLETE

I am not particularly a fan of Game of Thrones. I think I started reading the novels and got to ... around book three before I realized suddenly I didn't know who anyone I was reading about was or what they were doing or why I should care. That's in part my awful memory and in part "too many characters and sideplots" but nope, sorry, I'm out.

(I WAS a Wheel of Time fan and then Perrin fucked off into the woods for like four solid books never to touch the plot again and I didn't care anymore, but that was where my loyalties ended up in the Great Epic Fantasy War that never actually happened.)

I am a fan of Telltale's games, although it's a little embarrassing to admit that. By now everyone knows that they have just the one trick, right? They do basically interactive television, you walk through an episode and it plays the story at you and you pretend your choices mattered and you never ever replay it because you will see they did not.

When I'm away from Telltale's stuff for a while I convince myself I can see the Matrix and I know where all the strings are and so on. They won't get me again. Then you hand me one and I actually start to think what I do matters again.

Maybe it does matter. I always advocate for dialogue options and narrative choices, even if it's ultimately a branching funnel that goes to the same destination. The illusion of mattering is more important to me than actually mattering. I said that back when I played Star Billions and I say it here too.

Anyway my total lack of investment in the pre-existing universe let me play this game like I had two fists full of dynamite and wanted a hug. I chose whatever selections looked narratively interesting, not what selections I thought would bring about the best outcome. I roleplayed Asher Forester as having an erection for murder bigger than would fit in his pants and I played Mira Forester as a butt-kissing magnet looking for the biggest power-booty she could smooch.

Everyone largely died, because hey! Game of Thrones! It's the meme! Still I would be down for a theoretical season 2 for two reasons:

A: It would be interesting to see what minute ripples were caused.
B: They didn't fucking finish the FIRST one, it ends on a couple of cliffhangers. Thanks, Telltale.

In short: This game was free on PS+ and I absolutely got more entertainment out of it than I have other free games on there, but I still don't want to go binge-watch the books or read the TV show. I was just here to kick over a couch or two, suplex the serving staff and pour wine into Tyrion. Call me up when there's a second season but I'm off to greener, less bloody pastures.
xyzzysqrl: (Lex Luthor)
2017-07-06 07:16 am

Recordkeeping: inFamous 2 COMPLETE

Technically finished this last night, but I was tired enough to just crash nose-first into bed and explode. Now I am reassembled and awake, so:

inFamous 2 is one of those games that seems to have been written to fix most of the problems I had with the first game. Cole is no longer an angry potato, he's a generically chipper and snarky Bald Smirking Video Game Protagonist which I find at least more tolerable. We mix in some weird genetic monsters and ice-power-having bad guys into the blend of "hoodie dudes with rifles" that were the main bad guy in the previous game.

The open-world jumping around improves, the story is a bit less flat and dull, and the introduction of The Beast is kind of excellent. First thing he does is destroy Empire City, so y'know, goodbye all the shit you did in game one. The second thing he does is beat Cole senseless. You escape down south to Mardigrasland Amusement Park (I'm sorry, I can't remember the actual name of the city, it's New Orleans okay?) and the game informs you solemnly that THE BEAST IS 1800 MILES AWAY.

From then on, every time you pause the game, it shows you the map where the Beast is charring a gouge in the landscape, a smoky charcoal trench that sweeps down the east coast and out to where you are. It's beautiful.

...except then THE BEAST HAS REACHED GAMEPLAY CITYLAND and -- uh you just kinda... sidequest it away for a few hours so the plot can finish dealing with the local villains and ugh no.

Pacing, damnit. The open-world stuff did them no favors there. It felt like it was supposed to be a REALLY BIG DEAL but if it was actually really big deal you couldn't freeroam anymore and players might COMPLAIN, sooooo...

Mh. What else. I really liked Agent Lucy Kuo, NSA. She gets super-powers in a somewhat traumatic experience and the moment she realizes she has ice powers she nips off a while and comes back with her black hair dyed a frosty dark-blue, icy makeup on and a black top with sparkles and a snowflake on it. Yeah it's kind of pandering but if I ever got elemental-themed superpowers I would thrift-shop my ass to a matching outfit as priority one.

There are some things in life you just DO, okay, and if you're gonna have powers here today you NEED A THEMATIC OUTFIT or I'm sorry, I just don't want to interact with you? Like Cole is still in a workout t-shirt and some pants that vaguely SUGGEST lightning with a pattern and that is like the exact minimum of what I'll accept. Cole would it kill you to find like a fist-with-lightning-bolt top or something? Maybe something with a gradiant? Some cool fingerless gloves instead of electrical tape wrapped around your fingers? People are lookin' up to you, man, make a fucking EFFORT.

So yeah Kuo's outfit-swap was excellent and when she showed up I had my first moment of genuinely RELATING to anyone on screen in a game and a half. Good job, inFamous 2.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-07-03 06:11 pm

Recordkeeping: inFamous COMPLETE

It's interesting to me that inFamous made as much of an impression as it did, because it feels pretty standard nowadays. Then again, it was a different and earlier time and open-world games have come a long way even now. Infamous (I'm not doing that case thing every time) had great traversal for its time with a gliding and railsliding system, it had a decent mission variety, a big city with plenty of collectables... but it's sort of been outdone by other games now.

Still, this is a superhero story, and I have an interest in those. It's not the kind of superhero story I PREFER, mind. Cole is a straight-up killer, most of his enemies are dudes in ponchos with assault rifles, and even in the most optimistic/full-hero-points ending Cole still ends up brooding on a rooftop about all he's lost and how he's the only person he can trust.

That said, it does do a couple of fun superhero things like fighting giant golems powered by telekinesis or leaping from rooftops so you can destroy blimps floating through the city spraying mind-control gas. I mean, that stuff is great. What isn't great is being hounded through the streets by mooks with 100%-accurate rifles that fire from slightly beyond the draw distance and are smart enough to hide when you turn around and aim at them, so you need to run over and chase them down. (During which time the OTHER mooks with aimbot accuracy are headshotting you from the Everglades. Buy a goddamn helmet for your bald-ass targetlike head, Cole.)

There are also moral options. The game tries to frame them as "be selfish and get more or be selfless and brave and heroic" but really it comes down quite often to "be stupidly selfish for no reason or actually participate in the goddamn plot". In some cases you get the "Hero" karma for just standing there and NOT fucking it up for everyone. Truly this is wish fulfillment. "Congratulations, you stood there and didn't break anything. A++ have a trophy."

Spoiler Country )
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-07-01 08:50 am

Recordkeeping: Vertiginous Golf COMPLETE

Well, this had a story mode so I beat the story mode. The story mode is basically "hit from audio node to audio node", so I did. In theory you're supposed to get under par, but I didn't care, so I finished most of the story courses at like +109 strokes or whatever.

Basically a long audiodrama about The Steampunk Revolution, which tangentially involves VR mind-transference golf. The writing was serviceable, the voice-acting was... existent.

Also there was golf. There's still a lot of golf even with the story mode done.

... Well. In conclusion that sure was a video game.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-06-29 10:01 pm

Recordkeeping: RoboTrek INCOMPLETE

I distinctly remember saving my game all the way up the clock tower, past the second boss fight, with a final save on the Tropical Island ruled by a volcano god. Unfortunately my emulator disagrees and plunks me back about 6-8 hours, and I really really do not feel like going through any part of this game twice.

In a way it's a massive shame. Robotrek has a number of very interesting ideas, all of which are unfortunately gated behind THIS GAME. You're a begoggled kid fighting a dangerous army of Hackers with your home-built robots. Your adventure takes you all over the world, into weird and varied situations and even through time and space. It's intensely creative ... but all the humor and weirdness is kind of blocked by a godawful translation job.

I do still love the one dude who earnestly informs you that "Evil is good. Evil is the job."

The combat system is unfortunately pretty weak too. Your robots can do a variety of special moves (which don't really work against bosses) and level up their weapons (which is either expensive as fuck or time-consuming as fuck as you either pay for extra copies of said weapon or grind in battle until you get weapon-leveling capsules)... and you can only have one robot in combat at a time, which is frustratingly anti-diversification. Why not just have one basic "robot" with three layers of hit points?

I want to say this is like a stunning betrayal of my nostalgia or whatever but really I don't remember having a lot of patience for Robotrek the FIRST time around either, when I was young and playing it on the SNES. It would be a great beginner RPG if not for how clunky and god-awful SLOW everything else. It would be a great comedy RPG (the Japanese title is Slapstick, after all) but the jokes are too mistranslated to actually be funny. As it is, it isn't a great ANYthing and that's a great shame.

It does let you play as a mouse for a while though. That's pretty fun.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-06-28 12:34 pm

Recordkeeping: Escape the Lost Kingdom: The Forgotten Pharaoh COMPLETE

I was in a depressed mood this morning and decided to do something mindless and doofy to cheer up, so I put on a Hidden Object Game. Unlike the last time I tried doing that, I didn't feel insulted or pissed off at all by the end of it.

That's not to say it was great, but it killed some time.

A family of four are touring a museum when their pet cat (which the daughter brought along because otherwise this story wouldn't have started) escapes into a real Egyptian tomb. Centuries ago, the EVIL PHARAOH sealed his GOOD PHARAOH brother in the tomb as a mummy, and cursed him to stay there forever unless I guess four dorkshites pass through and free him somehow.

Each family member has a thing they can do: The brother can use goggles that detect the mystical metals pharaohs make puzzles out of, the daughter has a time amulet that lets her see what a room looked like when the puzzle in it was solved correctly, the dad has a shovel, crowbar, and sledgehammer making him the most useful son of a bitch ever to enter a hidden object game, and the mom has a diary which has the hint system in it.

I am a little worried about the brother though. He takes one look at the old "Weigh your heart against a feather" routine and...

Sister: "They weigh your heart and if the sins you've accumulated are greater than this feather, you can never pass on."
Brother: "...well I'll never be able to pass that test."

Dude you're fucking TEN what have you DONE?

So you... go and solve a bunch of stuff and the daughter can see ghosts and assures you that the good pharaoh has passed along to wherever good pharaohs go at the end, and that's that. Like I have the feeling the framework story was sort of grafted on at the last minute because "A bunch of dorks get stuck, then unstuck from a temple" wasn't really enough of a plot even for a hidden object game.

Whatever. I do feel more cheerful now, so goal accomplished.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-06-27 06:58 am

Recordkeeping: The Hero of Kendrickstone COMPLETE

At the end of your time in The Hero of Kendrickstone, the game generates you a bardic ballad to tell of your exploits. Which is honestly legit pretty cool, I wish more games did that! So let's pick through that, and I'll spell out the tale behind the tune...
Big Spoiler Country beyond this point. )
I gotta experiment a lot more, I think, to see just how flexible the game structure is but it FEELS LIKE it's hard to get away from the role you assign yourself at the start. That said, I've now got a save waiting on my drive I suppose, and if there's another 'book' in this particular series Choice of Games will email me so I can import in.

It was a fun couple hours!
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Moogle)
2017-06-26 06:31 pm

Recordkeeping: Bastion COMPLETE

Everybody I know tells the same story about Bastion. It's a great game, but they never beat it. They got stuck on a Proving Ground challenge room and gave up.

Hell, the last time I tried to play Bastion (in 2012 according to the Steam achievements) I got stuck on a Proving Ground challenge and gave up. This time around I decided, fuck the challenge rooms I'm gonna just play through the story. This... didn't actually take too long, although I feel the game goes on about three missions longer than it actually needs to.

(Not sequentially. I would remove those three missions from somewhere in the middle. But it FEELS like there was a clump of raw dough right in the middle of the loaf. Maybe that's pacing. I dunno.)

Uhm... well, this was the Indie Darling of 2011, Proof that Indie Games Can Be Good. Y'know, it's STILL pretty darn good. Maybe the movement speed felt kinda slow coming off of Ys, maybe the art doesn't hold up quite as well as it used to (until I realized that Ruck's definition of "Kid" involves, like, ages 20-30 I thought I was playing as Old Kid from Invader Zim or something) but it's still a legit good game, moreso if you don't screw around trying to break 40 pots with three bow and arrow shots or whatever.

Spoilers. )

Just beat the game.
It's good.
xyzzysqrl: (Bubbles)
2017-06-26 05:24 am

Recordkeeping: Fly'n INCOMPLETE

I... nnnhg. Mhf. Uh.

I can't even say this game was BAD. This game wasn't bad at all.

It was however extremely French.

You're some variety of plant eyeball with a gliding option. One day a giant nose person comes to your pastoral tree planet and starts dropping killer red gears around. Technology is bad, so you set out on a quest to collect between 200-400 floating dandelion seeds per level as you platform around to stop the nose person's plans.

Along the way you meet the plant eyeball who can puff up and stick to things and the plant eyeball who can roll up into a sphere and bounce. This is where I stopped because I just...

It's not like it's bad! It's well made, non-crashy, the physics are okay... I just don't CARE. Maybe I tried to play this at the wrong time. With Ori and the Blind Forest fresh in my memory a lot of platformers are going to come up REALLY SUPER SHORT and feel lacking.

Although if I have to compare it to something, it's more Rayman, and Rayman wins that comparison too because Rayman doesn't feel like it's physically beating you with a sense of aggressive forced whimsy. Like geez at least make your cutscenes skippable guys. I got that the nose dude is evil. I don't need to see him nose-trumpeting at his minions every few minutes.

Sooo yeah I dunno I just legit felt nothin' on this one.
xyzzysqrl: (Play with me.)
2017-06-24 03:47 am

RECORDKEEPING: 2064 - Read Only Memories COMPLETE

Man it's gonna be tough to talk about this one.

2064: Read Only Memories is a very Japanese-style adventure game, in the tradition of games like Policenauts and Snatcher as well as many older games that just never got translated here in any way. The thing about this style of adventure is that you usually get a very limited set of verbs and a plot that's strongly on a rail.

This is the case with 2064, which gives you Look/Use/Talk and your inventory and limits the puzzles and interactions a fair bit. You CAN however address various characters with different tones, and the game tracks these for varying purposes. By the ending you can phone up quite a storm if you're the talkative type.

At least 2064 doesn't make you Think About / Look At / Think About every single damn thing on screen like SOME Japanese adventure games do.

Actually the plot and characters are really what you're here for. Like, resign yourself to the fact that you're gonna Touch/Talk/Look At/Use Every Item On Every Item all the way through the game for the funny remarks and just settle in to enjoy the story.

As it opens you are a reporter of whatever gender you like...

(pronouns are selectable/customizable and people call you what you want to be called and that is a THING y'know? That's just a nice goddamn thing they did right there)

...and you are working on some gadget reviews. As you try to sleep, a robot crawls in your window. The robot's name is Turing, they are the first sentient AI, and they need your help.

From there it gets quite cyberpunk indeed: Illegal backroom modifications, shifty public corporations with a dirty underside, everyone playing not quite by the book. Written with a genuine degree of heart and soul but ... even that's not why I loved this game I realize suddenly.

I loved this game because it felt like being in a world where humanity would continue to grow. The relationships are gay or bi or who knows, whatever, I don't know what one character's gender IS and it never actually felt like it mattered because they were a person.

(I have seen people call this game excessively queer with a social justice agenda to which I can only say A: Good, B: Fuck you, and C: It takes place IN NEO-SAN FRANCISCO AND ONE OF THE FIRST PLACES YOU GO IS THE DAMN CASTRO DISTRICT PLEASE SEE POINT B AGAIN.)

People call you what you want to be called. Genetic hybrids wander the city and fight for acceptance, but they're making slow progress. Corporations continue to be corporations but people do their best to find the upsides. Everyone is really into a particular soda and wants you to know about it.

I dunno, this game felt WARM. This SETTING feels warm. Between this and its sister game Va-11 Hall-A I want to LIVE in this damn universe.

After the game ended and dropped me into Eternal Christmas, my reporter-avatar lady went out to an arcade and played some kart racing games, then wound up at a bar that makes you crawl over a conveyor belt so everyone enters as equals. She had a good time talking to a wolf in a halloween costume of a wolf ("It seemed like a fun idea at the time") but had no real interest in alcohol. After a lot of chatting with the bar owner and a couple of cosplayers, she flirted with a growly lion fellow who shyly revealed he liked being tied up.

That's how Ms. Xyzzy's story ends. In the days leading up to the holiday, she helped usher in a new age, she stared death and anime in the face, she drank all the flavors of Hassy and both prevented AND provoked a riot... and Christmas Day she spent wrapping up a lion guy. I mean, it would TAKE Christmas to get me to top, but escapist fantasy I guess.

Just another day in Neo-San Francisco.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
2017-06-23 05:47 am

So It's Come To This: A Post Asking For More Games.

Hi folks. It's the Steam Summer Sale, and that means Sqrlmog Land is all abuzz with visions of New Games.

It's also time for me to say I put a lot of time and energy and enthusiasm and such into writing this stuff. Maybe not so much the little capsule summaries, I'll admit. Those actually could really improve and I feel sort of bad they've gotten so lame. Those need to improve, and I admit it, and I am sorry for that.

The big involved multipart playblogs however I do put some time and energy into and I've occasionally wondered if, like... I should go Patreon or TipJar or Koffee or whatever the hell kind of money-making game they have nowadays, but I really don't feel like what I do is quite good enough for THAT either. I have a realistic expectation of what I deserve and it isn't so much that.

Still, I am always working to improve and pushing to get better at gaming, at playblogging, and I've even started to take timid steps back towards streaming again. If you enjoy what I write here, and you'd like to support me -- support which I MUST SAY IS OPTIONAL AND NOT SOMETHING Y'ALL SHOULD FEEL GUILTED TOWARDS -- I present my Steam wishlist. Please note that those not in the US may not be able to gift anything my way due to Dumb Reasons involving currency rates or something.

My wishlist can be found here.

Normal service will resume soon -- and I have another playblog planned (hopefully, if nothing goes wrong!) for next month, by the way. Mildred Benson's birthday is coming up. Prepare for another Drewblog!

Thank you.
xyzzysqrl: (Play with me.)
2017-06-22 06:31 pm

Recordkeeping: Ys - Oath in Felghana COMPLETE

I keep describing them as "Zelda on fast-forward" but there's really nothing much LIKE the Ys games around anymore, they're this weird fusion of action-adventure dungeon exploration with light-speed swordsmanship and boss fights that become insane bullet-hell festivals of dodging and counterattacking. I deeply love the series though and I'm always glad to play through another.

I previous played Ys 1+2 except I didn't say much about it at the time due to depression. Oath reminded me why I play and love Falcom's games so much though -- Every townsperson has a warm personality that comes through strongly in a memorable way, every dungeon has an interesting gimmick or two that doesn't wear out its welcome too much, and every bit of magic or item you find is an interesting game-changer.

I can't overgeneralize this across ALL their games, but I've really yet to find one that DOESN'T somehow resonate with me, at least in their modern era. (I mean I have a weak spot for Legacy of the Wizard too, but you don't see me going back to complete that, do you? Ahaha. Do you? Oh god with a FAQ I probably could...)

A couple of boss fights got me really stuck, but somehow I think I made it through this one without ever getting the "CONSULT AN FAQ ALREADY" achievement for boning up a boss fight 11 times in a row. I did however constantly finish fights with around 5% health left... I suppose I'm JUST at the threshhold of the Normal difficulty I played on. Not quite Easy, miles and miles from hard. I can live with that. I have A Little Bit of skill at video games after so many years.

That's good enough!

[EDIT] OH HEY right I forgot to mention, the series turned 30 while I was playing this! Kind of surprised me, I didn't do that on purpose. Cool coincidence though!