xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Uff. I got sick in the middle there and actually burned out on this for a while, but I made an effort to complete it and did.

Last of the spoilers. )
I'm really glad I beat this again. I -will- go through with Birth By Sleep and Dream Drop Distance at some point in the future, but man I kiiiinda need a break from all things Kingdom Hearts for a while.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
To work at an arcade takes hard work and guts. It takes a steady head for business and the willingness to laugh a little at life's ups and downs. It takes a warm heart and some basic common sense.

You also need luck, strong support from friends and the willingness to throw yourself after your hopes and dreams. You can't get anywhere if you don't follow those.

Arcade Spirits is about following hopes and dreams, working with fast friends at an arcade in the distant future year 20XX. You can date your friends, or you can just go to work and have fun with your friends. The game's not gonna judge you if you're not looking for romance.

I've played enough VNs where the game over condition is "You tried to buddy up to too many people, none of them is your True Soulmate, come back when you're ready to commit." Arcade Spirits doesn't do that.

This also means that it doesn't work on a "route" system, where you lock yourself to someone and see all of their scenes by saying only things they like, then replay to see everyone else's scenes by saying only things they like. You're pretty much free to engage with a situation based on the personality quirks you want to have, and if you go off and befriend someone who isn't your True Love... not a big deal. You all work together anyway, who minds?

It's also a VN that isn't a conduit for lewds. There's some suggestive art (look, there's a freakin' beach episode) but nobody strips off completely.

Oh, and this game is extremely respectful of folks across the LGBT spectrum. (If that's a dealbreaker for you, please get the hell out of my review text.)

The art is pretty great, and the music is ... loungey and relaxed. It doesn't intrude on the experience, I'm glad I bought the soundtrack for background listening.

The writing really takes center stage (it's a visual novel, obvs) and it's got that classic Lucasarts-y feel where for the most part you never have to be afraid to pick a solid joke or reaction, because you can be sure it won't tank your game. It's also funny and poignant and can contain as much HOT BLOODED SPIRIT as a giant robot anime if you choose to propel yourself down that route.

(I for one stepped up as a Passionate Defender of Arcadekind and the game let me roll with it. Srsly the text was like 80% Stirring Friendship Speech. I think I accidentally rolled a Yu-Gi-Oh character.)

That said, prepare for emotions. There are some Strong Feelings here. It can hurt.

If you're an older gamer, you'll go berserk over nods to classics like Buckner and Garcia's albums and existing real-world retro games, or you can go full eSports fan with arcade-action MOBAs and revolutionary dancing. While you're not actually playing these games, it's fun to see them and mull over how the arcade scene could've developed if it hadn't crashed.

Basically... I was waiting eagerly for Arcade Spirits and it lived up to what I wanted and expected. There's good replay value here if you're the type to chase achievements but if you're not, this is a pretty strong one-and-done story too. The demo's worth a try if you're still on the fence, but...

...look, 80-some quarters will get you either a stirring tale of love, dreams and friendship OR it'll get you halfway through Gauntlet.

Haven't you played enough Gauntlet for one lifetime?

[EDIT: I have been informed that original Gauntlet does not have an ending and I was thinking of Gauntlet Legends. I hope this grievous misinformation does not damage my credibility. I promise to fire myself when I am no longer needed for upkeep and maintenance.]

(This review was cross-posted to Steam, so it's a little odd-reading. Written for the masses and all. But look: I fricking loved this game. It got me to consider dating human people. That doesn't happen. This game gave me the same warm feelings about its cast that Star Billions did. So... yeah, real good stuff here. 10/10 rec if you're into VNs at all.)
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Small excerpts from the space game in my head last night:

"Your legs have scored a pair of concert tickets on the black market and they went without you. Abandon them if you like, or go to Glaustobon III to catch them in the act."

"Sorry to tell you this but that's not an interface element. Stop clicking it or you're going to have to get married."

"You need a proper Jump-certified pilot if you want to get out of your local hangouts. You can hire a few options, or if you're strapped, buy a microwave from Space Dollar General. Some of the newer models are Jump-capable. Set it and forget it, right?"

"Throwing rocks out the window does not count as "Mass Driver Technology". Roll that back up, you're in space."

"Now that you've come into some money, consider expanding your ship from three-seat Jump Jockey to multi-family Galaxy Tour Bus. You can zone each ship block for Residential, Ship Functions, or Cargo. Remember to run a monorail between them. No one wants to hike through hard vacuum to get to the food court."

Aspiring game developers, I am available to write all your tutorial text.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
WOOF is playing an unholy cocktail of Doom mods, which among other things includes a HIGH POWERED LASER RIFLE.

Rifle: *pewpewpewpewpewpew!*
Demons: *blorf!*

Sqrlmog, watching over shoulder: "That is pretty pewtacular."
Woof, scoffing: "Pewtacular? That's not even a word."
Sqrlmog: "Oh, you want a WORD do you? A word that EXISTS?"
Sqrlmog: "That rifle is pretty pubic."
Woof, twitching: "NO. That... that's a word but it's ENTIRELY THE WRONG KIND OF WORD."
Sqrlmog: "Too bad. Enjoy inflicting puberty on the demons."
Woof: "Noooooooo that is so not how anything WORKS."
Sqrlmog, smug: "It is now."
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
So I'm sitting around today and I notice my email box keeps pinging. Some hacker jerk has found my old WoW/Battle Net account and is trying to hack into it or something. They keep sending password change requests and confirmation token things, probably trying to crack into it to get my decades-old WoW account.

I lost access to that account like six years back, when I couldn't remember the password (or possibly the password got changed out from under me) and although I've since changed passwords on my email and all, this one eludes me still.

So I'm watching my email box and it comes to me: This jerk-ass hacker is spamming password change requests.

They have that password.
I don't have that password. I'm locked out.
But they're sending me the means to change that password.

Type fast.
Type fast again.
Add two-factor authorization.

Wait for it.
Did that...
...the spamming stopped, I think... yes.

I got it back. I stole it from the thieves. It's not much, just a trial WoW account and my old Diablo 2 keys. I have a second account that's better. Buuuut...

xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
With Kingdom Hearts 1 finished and Chain of Memories ... uhm, glanced at briefly... I naturally felt it was wise to hop on down the line to Kingdom Hearts 2.

Ah, Kingdom Hearts 2 is where everything built up so far cascades off the rails into a glorious mess. I love it so much, but I know there's still people pissed that it turned into a series about whacking dudes in black coats instead of Disney villains.

Let's just drop to the cut.

[EDIT 1: Added a bunch of worlds on Feb 4th.]
[EDIT 2: And more on 2/7]
Total Spoiler World )
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Does it count as a complete if I watched all the movies on an official compilation disk? The -game- sure gave me credit for it, unlocked a PS4 theme and all, but...

Anyway, spoilerspace.
Down here. )
... Uff. But... up next is Chain of Memories. Cards, though.

Maybe I'll do Birth By Sleep next, for variety's sake.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
I've been playing Kingdom Hearts Final Mix lately. I've been taking notes on it, too. Eventually I realized I could slap the notes up here as an "ongoing", and when I'm done I can change it to "complete" and have written up the whole game.

So that's what I'm doing. Look, I've played this game before, I've played this game to death, I won't be gentle on spoilers.

[EDIT 1: Atlantica and Halloween Town added]
[EDIT 2: Neverland added]
[EDIT 3: Hollow Bastion!]
Thus, I'm cutting. )
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Load into game. Big street market full of scripted conversations.
Wander around looking for my mecha, because I am only here for the mecha.
Fifteen minutes later, find mecha, crawl in.
Set my game to "Private".
Get bitched out for setting my game to private because ANTHEM IS A MULTIPLAYER EXPERIENCE.
Push "go".
Load bar sticks at 95% forever.
Quit demo, restart.
Demo does not load but does spike to 100% system memory, choking my PC out until I force a reboot.

Y'know, I don't think I'm gonna be playing Anthem, or if I am, it's not gonna be on PC.
xyzzysqrl: (Message for you!)
If you take a drug that lets you see vivid images of anime nature spirits, are you Holo-cinating or Haku-cinating?

(these terrible puns brought to you by NyQuil. NyQuil: For when you wish to enter a coma until the far future era when a cure for your disease is discovered!)

(yeah I know "Hakucinating" is nonsense. My brain was convinced he was called Haru until I looked it up and then it was too late, I had to follow through, because the pun had been in my brain for literal hours while I drifted in and out of consciousness and I just needed to get RID of it, so it would stop HAUNTING ME.)
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
This secret agent/detective game for the Wii had surprisingly clever, almost Sam & Max-ian witty writing, a questionable "dispatch" mode that makes you deploy agents and wait around for X real-time minutes to get their report, and just... big loads of charm all over it.

I really quite enjoyed it, enough to get all the in-game trophies and the true ending. Whatever game I play next needs a lot less "fix the machine" puzzles, though.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Today's dream was centered on the history of the underground indie comic "Road Razors", a weasel-heavy Mad Max-esqe "after the end" thing. In the desert-punk world of the Near Future, mutant couriers roam the planet armed with an endless supply of self-replicating ammo and whatever they can bolt to their car chassis.

Memories include the ranking system being something like "Ferret" (can successfully complete town-to-town runs), "Carpet Shark" (can successfully complete cross-country runs with a high mayhem score) and "Ankle-Eater" (regularly destroys bandit outposts for fun). Of course the line between "Bandit" and "Courier" was basically "Am I being paid today?" so not a real morals-heavy universe.

After a while of being in black-and-white indie comic art, it switched up to bad polygons for the licensed video game adaptation where you competed across a giant randomly-generated map to make delivery runs, blow up outposts for upgrades, and ... curiously enough, your ultimate goal was to take your squad's radio station and spread it from tower to tower across the map until you had more coverage than anyone else. Capture a radio tower to blob a big chunk of coverage on the tactical map.

In the dream sample, the radio station my "team" was blaring was 50% loud metal, 30% eurobeat, 1% embarrassing slightly referential easter egg and 19% raccoon propaganda, so I may not have been playing a weasel team at all by then.

I guess the series drifted some. OBVIOUSLY the raccoons are the BANDIT TEAM. God, I can't believe I missed that.

I'm awake now though. What a weird setting.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
In order to enjoy Yooka-Laylee, you have to love late-90s 3D collectathon platformers.

I know that sounds obvious, but: I didn't say "enjoy" late-90s 3D collectathons. I said LOVE them. Warts and all. I mean you have to be okay with a sometimes-shoddy camera, you have to not mind looking at a screen that says you have 199 out of 200 things with no idea where the last one is.

You need to be okay with motivating yourself to do ridiculous things under the expectation that MAYBE this will pay off and get you a reward. You gotta be okay with every character in the game going "YAPNAP BLAPBLAP" instead of having voice acting.

You gotta love to scour a map top to bottom and do it again once you've unlocked new moves later in the game.

You have to look back at the past with unclouded eyes, really LOOK at the flaws and ask yourself, is that what I'm here for?

I can't blame anyone for saying "No, Sqrlmog! What you speak of is Hell, and I have freedom in my heart and joy in my step as I walk away from it!"

I'm not walking away from it, though. I love the genre and I liked Yooka-Laylee a whole dang lot. It is aggressively not flawless, but I knew what I was here for and it delivers what I wanted it to.

I would talk about the plot except nobody cares. The characters sure don't care. They're aware they're in a video game and they do not give one small solitary shit about the narrative of that game, so really neither should you. You're here to collect things and jump on things, remember.

The five worlds plus one hub in Yooka-Laylee are huge and sprawling, and they become moreso when you pay collectables to upgrade them to even larger versions with more collectables. This feels like a huge problem right up until the gap between worlds 4 and 5, where you obtain the ability to fly. It's not a problem after that so I might suggest speedrunning up to that point and then going back to gather stuff afterward.

Except... flight also kind of renders 80% of the platforming challenges obsolete, so really you have to pick which bed you're going to make and lie in: Easy exploration or oops the platforming is trivial now. I guess you could just not fly around the platforming challenges, but sometimes there's a collectable RIGHT THERE and it's just too tempting.

There's just a LOT of Yooka-Laylee. I was warned going into this, "Don't try to 100% this game, it isn't worth it" and I was like "Yeah whatever I do what I want" and hey it turns out that what I want is NOT to 100% this game. By which I mean, I don't just want to not 100% this, I ACTIVELY DESIRE to leave it unfinished. It deserves to keep its secrets secret.

Right now. Maybe I'll go back to it. But there's just too much, there's heaps and piles of this game and it's GOOD but it's too much, you can't eat that in one sitting, you'll get sick and puke on the nice rug. Pace yourself.

Like I was about 60% through the game when I stumbled on a whole new type of collectable not listed in the pause menu stats. Why would you do that? That's a dick move, guys.

Enemies in this game... mmh. There's like one enemy type, a bee with homing missiles, that provides any problem. Aside from that, enemies may as well not exist. Which is an interesting choice but also means I don't remember them at all.

I don't have much else to add. The music is good, the graphics are pretty, the platforming is strong and precise, the collecting is fun but goes on a long, long time past its welcome. The bosses are kind of annoying but not a huge holdup, except for the last boss, which is the kind of multi-stage final exam boss I always wish I could written-test my way out of.

("When the boss [___] in the second part, firing [___], the correct retaliation is [____]." Seriously, just give me a pop-up menu quiz so I can prove I know what to do, and let's skip this crap.)

What I'm trying to convey here, fumblingly, is that Yooka-Layle is workmanlike. It's a punch-clock collectathon, it's good but not great, there's nothing truly special here. That breaks my heart because I truly believed in its plucky spirit. Also it's weird that I'm kind of upset it's MERELY a good game instead of a legend? But there was hype built up, y'know? I expected this would be really great and instead it's just... fine. Which is, by definition, fine. But it could have been more.

That said, Yooka-Laylee strived to bring back this style of collectathon and by god it really did. I've seen old games in the genre (like Ty the Tasmanian Tiger) make a comeback and of course there's new games like Super Lucky's Tale, a Hat In Time, Unbox, etc carrying the way forward. Yooka-Laylee accomplished everything it set out to do, maybe not with a gold medal but I've got to at least give it a bronze and a special achievement certificate.

Maybe that's enough?

I dunno. I'll be there if there's a sequel. As I said, this is my kind of thing, even when it's only okay.
xyzzysqrl: (Hot blooded with a sense of justice!)
WOOF is watching a cooking show. SQRL peers over his shoulder.

Sqrl: "Is that Guy... Ff... Frar... Ferrari?"
Woof: "Guy Ferrari sounds like a Transformer taking the Ford Prefect approach to naming, y'know?"

Pause while SQRL stomps around the room.

Sqrl: "OH NO because now I want to make that my Transformer OC? Guy Ferrari, and he's blue with a white sunroof and has flames painted on him and a pair of sunglasses molded to his face and he's been to every drive-in in his state and has real strong opinions on them."
xyzzysqrl: (WWSD?)
Mirror's Edge, by which I mean the original, is kind of a flawed gem of a game in that it pioneered a style of first-person parkour nobody's really imitated since. Since one of the main things I love about video games is jumping around like a goddamn ninny, obviously I'm quite fond of Mirror's Edge, by which I mean the original.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst is likewise flawed, and likewise could be a gem but of much lesser value. It does some interesting things. None of these things are in the storyline, which is largely based on extremely stiff quasi-cyberpunk character models calling you on your cybernetware implant to shout exposition at you while you're jumping off stuff. That's okay. They tried.

The game posits that Faith (the main character) went to prison for trying to steal some medicine for a crime lord. She's out fifteen minutes, installs a hacked cyberphone implant, and promptly runs around commiting terrorist actions and stealing shit while ripping the computer chips out of every object she passes and kicking policemen in the head.

Maybe Faith really SHOULD'VE been kept in prison? The game doesn't do any of the worldbuilding required to support this being an anti-corporate or ideological necessity so she just kinda seems slightly psychotic, but that's the society she lives in.

(Actually I think maybe the worldbuilding for this is stuffed in the collectable documents menu, which is a very popular choice of worldbuilding method that has always gone over extremely well in gaming circles and has garnered no criticism.)

It also tries to offer a lot of collectables, including "gridLeaks" which are... hovering yellow spheres placed in exactly the right places to be just barely out of your way and difficult to get to. I approve of this. I don't know why the "Grid" (internet) is "leaking" yellow balls into reality. Maybe this is what wikileaks look like. I collected a bunch.

However, it feels really weird and sad that the reward for just about every minor task (collect some collectables, do races, touch beacons, hack things, etc) is a social-media based unlock. Mirror's Edge: Catalyst kepts giving me icon unlocks and new icon borders and backgrounds for my social media icon and new ways to highlight my runner avatar.

So aside from "for the CHEEVOS" and "for its own sake", doing anything not a side mission or main story mission is two hundred percent double-pointless because A: nobody I know is playing this game and B: I don't care about icon dress-up.

(also to change your icon you have to download a celphone app. I did, because why the hell not.)

As long as I seem to be complaining, I feel they took the wrong lesson in some ways from the unpopularity of the Mirror's Edge combat system. It was awkward and clunky to fight, so you were better off running away.

Here, it's awkward and clunky to fight but it's also pretty easy to just stroll up to a big group of police dudes, jump on them from the high ground and spinkick their eyelashes off.

So seeing a group of police dudes is less "OH NO I MUST FLEE" and more "I'm gonna run real fast to generate my bulletproof aura and divekick them off a rooftop for funsies."

(also yeah I didn't mention this BUT the faster you run the more bulletproof you are and I'm not gonna complain about that because realism in video games is for people walking a much different road than I am.)

Anyway this might sound like I didn't have a lot of fun with Mirror's Edge Catalyst, but I had a good enough time. I ran around the city a lot and did races and fell off buildings and threw policemen off buildings and was a chaos-loving terrorist little piece of crap.

This is where I would shout out to my followers at the NSA, but with the government shutdown they're probably not reading. So, uh.

Shouts to my private civilian followers with suspicious amounts of knowledge regarding encryption, I guess.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
I mean, like it even deserves mention? But I try not to skip or ignore what I play here for the sake of a better narrative, so yeah. I played this NES game from 1988 on my Switch and really enjoyed it.

Part of it was growing up with the game, of course. I retain a lot of stupid, trivial knowledge about this one, like remembering the painting of Mao "The Dong" Zedong in the China stage (although it looks like a man with a nutsack covering his face and eyes). I remember that Randy Sting on team USA invented a special ball technique called "The Stinger" which is why he's usually on my active team, and that John Stone was the defense guy and Bill Flash has a move where he just throws the ball like a mile in the air and it comes down like an orbital kill strike and the other team usually can't block it.

This is the kind of thing that I retain instead of my phone number or ways for me not to die if left unattended.

Anyway this only took like half an hour to play but it did let me listen to an all-time Technos banger of a music track and also all games count, not just big long ones.
xyzzysqrl: (Play with me.)
The problem with calling up the soul of Perfect Dragon is that she does not leave easily. At some point in Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom I found myself staring at the "Map Explored" meter, rationalizing to myself that yes 96% was a very high number, but it could be higher. There could be more percents involved. I could put in a little extra effort and, well, 98% was so close to 100%, I might as well scrape up just two more...

And so I 100%'d Monster Boy. Which was a good choice, because the puzzles were very interesting (even if incredibly hard to solve in places, one of them is an absolute forehead-slapper) and by the end I really... didn't want this game to end.

You see, back in 2017 I played the remade Dragon's Trap and that was Very Good Indeed, but it was still an old game from my youth, a faithfully remade Sega Master System game. I had already finished this on the SMS, but it was fun to revisit in a glowing new guise.

In 2017 I also played Monster World IV, which was originally a Genesis game, and that was also very good but had some old school design sensibilities that I didn't quite get along with. It was still wonderful and full of personality and ended with a screen suggesting you "make a wish" for Monster World V.

I did. I wished and I hoped and I knew in my heart that of course it would never happen. Sega had moved on and it was up to the fandom to put together, uh, SOMETHING. This Monster Boy thing looked okay.

What I hadn't realized was that Monster Boy would -be- Monster World V in all but direct name, complete with so many callbacks and references and nostalgia-buttons that I didn't even quite CATCH them all, musical themes brought back to life with talented remixes, amazing 2D graphics and a map so incredibly packed with secrets it outdid several actual Metroids and Castlevanias I've played.

This was not the cute little fan tribute I imagined it to be. This was a full, robust, proper sequel to the games I loved as a kid. I was completely blindsided, and ... hell, right now, looking out into the year to come, I'm actually not sure if I'm going to find anything BETTER than this. I might've accidentally popped my game of the year right here in the first two weeks of January.


thank you silverstar for the christmas gift
xyzzysqrl: (Bubbles)
A few questions, easily ignorable by all.

A: If I made more effort to promote the times when I'm playing video games on Twitch, might you show up? This question is weighted more towards "Should I post here whenever a stream starts", not "Can I emotionally blackmail you into watching me?"

B: What would make you more likely to show up? (More of a fixed schedule / fewer violent games / more violent games / MMOs / single player games / long RPGs / shorter games / a wide variety of stuff / etc. whatever? Write stuff in.)

C: What would make you LESS likely to show up? (Also a write-in.)
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)

With the 117% completion mark on Spyro 3, Perfect Dragon is sated and sinks once more 'neath the waves to swim unseen to her off-shore island retreat, where she will stuff herself with delicious foods and relax on a bed of pillows.

Domo arigato, Perfect Dragon. Rest well, brave heroine, 'til your time comes again.

The Spyro Reignited trilogy could not be mistaken for a bad game, but I do feel it could be mistaken for a single game. In unifying the art styles, control scheme and such, I feel the remake kind of homogenizes out a lot of the individual differences. The quirks of art style here or the music there. (I turned on the original music partway through Spyro 2 and felt MUCH better about the game.)

Some things I remember being extremely hard were easy, some things I remember being incredibly easy were near-impossible. The Speedway ring-races alone nearly put me through the five stages of grief each. I was eventually speedrunning them, by which I mean the grief stages, not the races. "NOOOO DAMN IT WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN I'M SO AWFUL oh well I accept my fate." in under thirty seconds and then push 'retry race'.

Still, I'm not sorry I picked this up. I love these games and I'm really feeling like someday I need to play the rest of the series.

I do feel like I'm pretty cheerful with streaming and playing games right now, though. I'll have to see what I feel like doing next...
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