December 26, 2021

The Games of 2021

I guess I only really blog at the end of the year!
That’s okay!
That’s called… synergy… check my blog once a year!
Anyway, 2021 was… better than 2020? But not by a lot, really? Like, barely? Here’s the games of 2021 that mattered to me, in no particular order, with just some random comments I wanted to say. Have a great rest of your year, and let’s hope things improve somewhat in the future.

Mario Golf: Super Rush – This was a pretty good Mario Golf! The story mode was very cute, and the speed golf and king of the hill golf are good ideas totally ruined by no actual online thing besides jumping into random people’s rooms. Which really ruined my focus on this, because it was really hard to play matches online regularly. Oh well. Someday, Nintendo will understand online.

Shin Megami Tensei V – Still working on this, but it’s very good. I appreciate the whole thing behind the Nahobino more than I thought. The story is just kind of… not there, but that SMT combat is excellent, so, you know.

Luck Be A Landlord – This game rules. A “slot machine roguelike,” Luck be A Landlord is a game I’ve played constantly because it’s great to play in between combat rounds while playing DnD. It’s cute and about murdering your shitty landlord so that’s always great! Plus it’s made by a single, nice dude who really cares about the game and the community playing it. Highly highly recommended.

Milk Inside A Bag of Milk Inside A Bag of Milk and Milk Outside A Bag of Milk Outside A Bag of Milk – Putting these two together. I play a lot fewer of these little artistic games these days, but these games are just incredible in showing exactly how mental illness feels. As I reviewed them on Steam, these are just real life. It’s powerful stuff. The first game is really cheap, you’ll know if you want to play the second, please try it.

Bloons Tower Defense 6 – Why did I play so much Bloons this year? Why do I continue to do the Daily Challenge most days? Why? I mean, you know, it’s a fine tower defense, but why?

Final Fantasy XIV – This was the year people finally dragged me in. Final Fantasy XIV is incredible. The story is a long very slow burn but I will give it this credit: if you invest, it returns that energy like 10 fold. It’s very pleasant to play on your own, it has fun daily goals to hit on, gosh, it’s so good. I’m excited to play Endwalker next year at some point.

WarioWare: Get It Together! – I cannot believe that the people who made the game cares about the fucking lore of WarioWare as much as I do. It’s incredible.

Yoku’s Island Express – I got really into pinball this year for no good reason, and I remembered I owned this, and HOLY SHIT, this game is so adorable, and so fun, and so creative? I played through it in two huge sessions and savored every moment of it. There’s lots of sidequests and things I didn’t finish, and I’m honestly tempted to go back, but even just mainlining the main quest, you cannot beat this thing. I’m sorry I waited so long to play it. Please play it.

Pokemon Pinball: Ruby/Sapphire – Speaking of Pinball, this is what got me into it. I got my tablet set up with emulators, which was a fun little project, and I found myself playing this a lot, because it was a low level of engagement and time and I could just play a run and be done. It’s honestly really good? If you’ve always wanted to learn pinball, this is a great place to start, because the “collect them all” mechanic meant that even when I played a really, really, really, really really shitty run, I caught a new Pokemon, so it was okay. Honestly, it’s just way better than it has any right to be, and it’s a lot of fun. I doubt I would have loved it back in the day, but now, as an adult, I keep playing a round every few days. It’s good stuff.

Pokemon White – Speaking of Emulators, I went back and played a Pokemon game I’d skipped originally in excitement for Brilliant Diamond (which, ironically, didn’t make this list, it was fine) and Pokemon White is… pretty legit. It was such a weird experience playing through it, and I honestly picked a pretty shit team to do it with with tons of weaknesses that made me have to grind a bit for the endgame. But it was super exciting, honestly. It has a pretty good little story there! I finally figured out who N was! Wow! I’m sure I’ll play White 2 in the same way at some point next year.

Can’t Stop! – I started playing board games on Board Game Arena this year. It’s very good. Probably join up and play with me. But the one I keep playing, over and over, both real time and turned based, constantly, is Can’t Stop!. This is an extremely simple push your luck game, but it’s extremely satisfying. I am very very unhappy that the only version you can buy in America is a 60 dollar giant plastic bullshit edition. This is the perfect 10 dollar game in a little bag with a cloth game board to throw in your purse to take to the bar and the fact that at some point I’m going to need to import the little portable German edition at some point to get that? It’s pretty silly. Anyway, Can’t Stop! fucking rules.

Golf, the physical sport – I’ve been playing Golf with my mother-in-law off and on rarely for a while now, because she wanted a friend to go with and it was an excuse to drink beer. But this year, I really got into the game in general because it’s such a great way to get outside, socialize, and have fun in a fairly Covid-safe outdoor environment. I also like how I did research this year and learned how easy it is to build a pretty solid bag of clubs just from buying used clubs from thrift stores. That was a fun distraction, and I really like my clubs now. Anyway, I agree that all golf courses should be repurposed into a public sex forest, but as long as they exist, I feel like I’m going to be grabbing cheap tee times a few times a month just to get outside for a while.

Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass – A lot of games get labelled as “like Earthbound” and for the most part I get why they do. But this game completely deserves that comparison without feeling derivative in the slightest. The story is fantastic, the combat is deep and interesting, and it has style for fucking years and years. It is a triumph, it really is, and anyone who likes RPGs in general should play it, and especially if you like games that are funny and heartwrenching in equal measure.

Grandia – After I played Jimmy I wanted more RPGs, so I got the Grandia collection. I’d played Grandia 2 on my Dreamcast years ago, but never the original, and holy shit, what an amazing game. It has so much style. It truly feels like an adventure anime, in a way that games pretend they do but never really sell the characters in that correct way. I mean, the main character’s name is JUSTIN. Just incredible. Anyway, this is totally still worth a play even years later. It’s so good.

Get In The Car, Loser! – I mean, I think it should be obvious that this game is awesome because it has awesome writing and style, but I must say it’s made me want to go back and try Valkyrie Profile, as I really fell in love with the battle system.

Beast Breaker – The gameplay is top-notch, a weird “strategic peggle” that feels very fresh. It would be worth it for that alone, but I love how queer it is, quietly. It’s not “we’re a gay game!” it just has queer characters mixed in that feel very natural and not special. And I really appreciate that, honestly. That’s very nice.

Buddy Simulator 1984 – I’ve been “speedrunning” silly things off and on, normally weird things that nobody has put up a time for. But for some reason I played this game and I needed to run it. I planned out a route and executed. It was an amazing feeling. Like, I was doing more than just speeding through as fast as I could, I was speedrunning for real. Damn. As such it really has a place in my heart as my first “real” speed game. Also it’s just a fun playthrough, even if you don’t 100% it and then play it again like 20 times like I did. It’s a nice little game that wears its influences on it’s sleeve and just has fun with it.

Happy Home Paradise – They actually did it. They gave me a sequel to Happy Home Designer. Incredible.

Vital Bracelet Digivice and Digimon Vital Lab – Is this actually a game? I mean, sort of. But wow I fell in love with this little fitness toy. I always liked the idea of virtual pets but they never fit into my lifestyle. I wasn’t going to stop things to feed my Tamagotchi, no matter how cute I thought the whole thing was. But the Ghost Game Vital Bracelet I got lets you just hit two buttons to pause, and you’re raising the monsters by doing things I’m doing anyway: working out and stuff. It’s just such a nice little experience to slowly raise a little monster and check in on it throughout the day. And then you upload it into the app and get to do all the things you were supposed to do with a normal Digimon vpet with your friends at recess that I was never going to do because I am a dang adult. So you get a full experience! Plus, if other players get some motivation to go on more walks and stuff because of this, all the better. I love this little thing.

December 30, 2020

A Top Ten for 2020

2020. It was not great, I think we can all agree. It was bad. But I wanted to make a list of things I thought were good this year. So that’s what I’m doing. This list isn’t in any order and it isn’t in any category of “thing.” I don’t feel like making a games list, for example. But hey, here we go.

1. Riichi Mahjong – Mahjong rules? It’s this fantastic overlap of chance and skill that is just intoxicating. I’ve wanted to be able to learn the game for years, and tried many times, but Mahjong Soul hitting the mainstream, plus the helps in Clubhouse Games, pushed me over a ridge, and suddenly I understood it. I don’t claim to be GREAT at the game, and I certainly play a lot of SanMa (three-player style) which is just ridiculous and swingy as opposed to “legit” mahjong, but gosh, it’s just such a fun game. I don’t want to undersell that it is hard to learn, but once you do it is just a lot of fun.

2. You Watanabe – Earlier this year I had this moment of “Who is a big fan of You and why? I just want to understand.” Even as I asked that I knew, KNEW, I would become obsessed with her. And so I did. You is great. She’s active and cheerful and as butch as Love Live lets their girls get. Beginner’s Sailing is a fantastic solo song with a fantastic message. I really love her. Now, my first Aquors girl is still first in my heart. I will always be a little demon, Yohane! But You is a strong second. She rules. Anyway I wrote that and now I’m going to go put Beginner’s Sailing on.

3. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Despite some of the weirder colonialist elements of the game, they somehow did it and topped New Leaf. I’m very impressed. It had such great customization and they’ve done fantastic with rolling out more and more fun things to do in the game to the point where it’s basically a different game now! As with me and most Animal Crossings, I don’t tend to change things, so once I got my island to a state where I really loved it, I kind of fell off. It sure would be helpful to let me have infinite things to decorate a la Happy Home Designer or something to keep me personally going! But yeah, it’s just an all-around excellent game and I love Sable Able to death the end.

4. Nijigasaki School Idol Club – Look, okay, Rina is my girl, I love her. She’s adorable and her face is the Rina-chan board and if you want to see her face behind the Rina-chan board I WILL FIGHT YOU. I could have just put her here. In fact, I reserve the right to do so later in the list if I run out of things to list. But honestly I just have to give it up to the entire Niji group. Love Live has never, ever had a stronger, more compelling group of girls, honestly. The idea of making them all go “solo” was genius, to the point where they seem to be kind of slowly trying to backport the idea to all of Aquors, which I’m into. The anime really brought the vague concept of a musical story to the forefront in a way that they’ve been playing with but never quite hit outside of the movies, and I love it. I’m really excited about seeing what they do with Superstar after this. I hope they continue to go hard into letting everyone shine individually!

5. Gunpla – I guess I could have put Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise on here instead, but this is more about building tiny robots. It’s very fun and very relaxing. It’s even more exciting when you know the characters (there’s a reason I have built like every single Re:Rise kit) of course, but there are so many cool designs and honestly unless you are very particular there are so many little cheap kits you can build for an afternoon of fun. This is really such a great hobby and I like that I got into it this year. I’m probably never going to build as regular as I have in 2020 again, but I can for sure see me putting together a few kits a year. It’s just nice to make something that is physical, you know?

6. Final Fantasy XIV – I finally gave in after years of people telling me to play this and HOLY HELL Final Fantasy XIV is good. I hadn’t even really played a Final Fantasy in years, never touched XV or whatever, but suddenly I’m a huge Final Fantasy fan again. It’s hard for me to even explain how they game literally has everything. The story is very good, with very compelling characters that are given just tons of room to breathe and grow. You’ll hate people and slowly start to like them and vice versa. It’s storytelling games rarely do! The combat is straightforward but flashy, anime, and fun. The dungeons and raids are designed so there’s a very casual tier so you can just enjoy them without having to stress TOO badly about them, but there are hard versions for the hardcore types. And I mean, the FASHION. This game knows people RP and dress up and it just gives you so much to work with in that way! It is such a blast. I mean, the game has FISHING RAIDS for gods sake. It is a complete package, and getting to play for free through Heavensward is a fucking steal. I am excited to see the story through to it’s current end and I fully suspect I will keep re-upping every time they put out a new expansion to enjoy the new story.

7. If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die – As idoltrash I really just appreciated this show a lot. It both made it obvious that obsessing that much is VERY BAD and UNHEALTHY but also showed a lot about how one finds family in fandom and finds strength in those cheering for them. It didn’t hurt that it was very, very gay. Eripiyo is just very understandable even if she’s clearly making extremely bad decisions, and knowing right off the bat that her feelings are returned makes it very easy to root for her as a protagonist. It’s also just a very funny show! Recommended if you’re into idols at all.

8. Paper Mario: The Origami King – There’s been a lot of discussion about how Nintendo has been hobbling the writers of these Paper Mario games to keep them from recreating TTYD’s charm. It sucks. But man, they took what they could and wrote their asses off, and Origami King is just a hilarious game. It oozes charm from every pore. The fact that I care and love Olivia, who looks like just the generic “character who speaks for Mario” is just obscenely impressive. The game itself has flaws. The combat is fun but only about once for each puzzle. Thankfully the game knows this and makes it basically trivial to skip combats with no downside after you’ve seen what an area is going to throw at you. It is an all around excellent release that I for sure recommend.

9. Glepnir – I kept calling this show “Murder Fursuit” and while that’s not inaccurate, perse, I feel like it really does the show a disservice. This show is a little bit shonen action, a little bit body horror, and a little bit sexual horror, in a way that all gels together into a brilliant mess. Basically nobody in this show is likable and basically everyone is “right” in some way, but they’re all constantly fucking it up regardless, and have superpowers to make things even worse. All of the show’s obvious, in-your-face allegory about sex is not subtle, but also does not shy away from any of it, which I really appreciated. It’s very good, and I very much recommend it.

10. Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling – I cannot recommend this game enough. It is literally Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, full of the same charm and writing, but because it’s free from the confines of “Mario,” it’s able to weave a friendly but deep story in a really interesting world of sentient bugs and strange, twisted magic. All three of the main characters in your party are all charming as hell, the combat has a lot of interesting depth to it, especially if you try to take on the extra super-bosses (I did and it was a blast), and while nothing in the story is unexpected it’s all executed very well, like a well-done cartoon. I cannot, cannot recommend this enough. I already said that, but seriously. I cannot. Please play this game.

11. Iwa Kakeru! Sport Climbing Girls – I guess this list has 11 things on it. But this one is like… I don’t know if this show is really GOOD, perse. But it is exactly my bullshit. Ridiculous climbing powers that make me laugh out loud every time someone uses one, a strong sports competition story to move things along, and lots and lots of lesbians. I’d compare it to Keijo!! but honestly Keijo!! was going all-in on ridiculous, and while this has that base, it’s honestly telling a pretty good emotional story so far. I’m not done with it, but again, it’s my bullshit, so it gets to be a number 11.

Anyway, there’s some stuff I liked. Let’s hope for the best moving forward. Love you all.

December 30, 2019

I wrote a Top Ten Games of 2019 List

I feel like these lists are the only time I ever blog anymore… but you know what? That’s fine. It’s my website! I can use it for whatever the heck I want.

Anyway, let’s look at a top ten games of the year I suppose.

Notable Missing Games
Disco Elysium: I’ve played about 30 minutes of it so far and I know I’m going to love it, but I didn’t really get to it! Oh well.
Astral Chain: A big chunk of the way through it, it’s very fun! But I’m not done with it and it’s kind of forgettable in a lot of ways? So I just decided not to throw it on here.
Granblue and Bandori: I love them with the passion of a thousand suns but it would be boring if I put them on here every year.

And now, a top ten.

10. Battle Breakers: Sometime during this year, I told myself “I will never play a gacha that requires a serious time investment again.” It was a good move, I think. I put too much time into gachas. But then this thing came along and said “Hey, here’s a gacha that just plays itself in the background while you grade papers” and then I went “fuck.” The game itself is not very good. The designs are flat-out stolen in a lot of places, and the little bit of writing and humor that is in the game is awful and terrible, but I just keep playing it. So I guess it does something right.

9. Call of Duty Mobile: I also don’t know why I keep playing this game, but again, I do, so it must be doing something right. This one, though, I have a good idea on what that is. This really does feel like Call of Duty on a phone. It plays very well, using this “as long as you’re aiming at a guy we’ll pull the trigger for you” control scheme, and it’s just been so long since I seriously played a shooter, I just keep being entranced by it. This added to the fact that most matches and things are scaled for mobile play, so they’re very short, and I’ve just been having a lot of fun turning my brain off and shooting dudes. I also keep winning a lot, but I think it’s because all the 10 year olds playing with me have ancient phones and are dealing with lag my nice new phone doesn’t have. Anyway, it takes me back to my CoD4 days.

8. Steamworld Quest: The Hand of Gilgamech: When I learned someone made a Slay the Spire style RPG, but like, RPG with story and stuff, I was excited to try it. And this game was very good! With five characters to choose from with unique deck types, and a lot of ways to combine them into a party of three, it was just a lot of fun. The world felt somewhat generic, but the writing was solid enough to make me like all the characters. If you like deck building stuff, please do play this. (This also made me go back and play Steamworld Heist, which is also fantastic, though not from this year. If you missed that, play that too.)

7. Wargroove: As an old school Advance Wars fan, I had to play this, and it did not disappoint. It did a lot to balance the CO powers of Advance Wars into something that made more sense, and the characters and story was a lot of fun. I did play it on a slightly easier mode, but I don’t regret that. I am not one for challenge in most things these days. But it seems like it would hit even on higher challenge levels. If you have any love for Advance Wars, and you slept on this, please don’t. Thanks.

6. Dauntless: What if Fortnite were MonHun? This is the question that Dauntless asks, and the answer is… it’d be a pretty fun game. It’s not nearly as deep as Monster Hunter, and has a ton of F2P hooks in it, but it’s very casual and breezy and designed to be played with three other randos, which MonHun is for sure not. (You can do it, of course, but sometimes you’re just going to have a group that is functionally useless. Dauntless doesn’t really have this issue). I had a lot of fun playing this right after its console launch, and it’s only gotten better with patches and updates. I still check in from time to time. It’s very good, and very free, and you should give it a try.

5. Luigi’s Mansion 3: This game has that “easy but working so hard to charm you” thing about it that makes me a lifelong Kirby fan. The gameplay is not hard (though occasionally I got frustrated trying to figure out what exactly it wanted me to do) but every moment is like “what new thing can we show you to make you smile?” It’s chill and fun and the idea of putting it in a themed hotel so that you can have a lot of different areas was a great idea. And I’m very into the lore that Luigi just has a ghost dog pet and Mario and Peach just kind of… don’t think that’s weird at all. Anyway, it’s not like… mind blowing. But it is charming all the way through.

4. Pokemon Sword: I don’t really care about collecting them all so I didn’t care about the National Dex thing. I just found this as a really fun entry in the Pokemon series. Sun/Moon blew me away with making me care about the characters for the first time in a Pokemon game. This one didn’t do a good job of that, but it was full of charm. Dynamaxing was shockingly fun, the raids were fun, the gym battles in the big stadiums with everyone cheering was fun… the Dreepy Line is the best fucking Pokemon they’ve made since Kommo-o! It was just a really good time. It certainly could have been better. Things like the wild area seemed solid but was kind of technically broken somewhat. But I really enjoyed it.

3. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne: Iceborne was a fantastic expansion that helped my MonHun obsession continue. I didn’t put in as much time as with World, because it was just More World, which was good, but I had other things to try. But so many of the new monsters were so great. I loved things like Coral Pukei, Namielle is very good, it was just a lot of fun all around. The updated move sets for the weapons with the slinger are all excellent additions that really helped a lot of issues with some weapons. There are some real bastards to fight in this version. Velkhana is just… really difficult, for example. But it’s great and worth it. I got really into Bow and Insect Glaive during this expansion, and they are both good weapons, by the way. Please play MonHun. It’s very good.

2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses: I love my war kids. Combining Fire Emblem’s titty-based trajectory with Persona was a genius move. I only played through the Golden Deer route. I would have loved to do more, but time and all that. But I really fell in love with so many of the characters. I really love Hilda, and Raphael, and Catherine… AND MANUELA! Gosh I love Manuela so much. There are so many good characters here. The story was fun, the combat was interesting, it was just everything I wanted from Fire Emblem as a late series “anime titty fan” fan of it. A good game.

1. Ring Fit Adventures: I had to put this on top because it is a game expressly made for me. An RPG where you attack by doing exercises with a big buff dragon obsessed with working out as the villain?
(Drageux is so fucking wonderful) It’s so good! On top of that, it’s just a pretty dang solid Pilates program. I have the “difficultly” maxed out, and I still tend to go a lot harder at the actual gym, (especially because the game starts pestering me about stopping for the day after like 20 minutes of workout, which is annoying) but it’s fantastic for getting in a little extra workout, or when I just feel like I’m full of energy and want to go for it for half an hour. I’m still working through the story, obviously, as it’s designed to take a while, but I am having a blast. I used it in the “Quick Workout” mode during my holiday travel as well, and it was really solid in that mode too! Ring Fit is a little expensive, but it is so worth it. I highly recommend it.

December 28, 2018

I Wrote a Top Ten Games of 2018 List

Hi! Long time no post!
I made a Top Ten Games of 2018 List, and it turns out, I have a blog! Neat! Let me throw that up here!

Permanent Faves I’ll Leave Off, But Trust Me, They’re Good and I Love Them

Granblue Fantasy: I love Vyrn and Lyria to death, and the game is so cute. I burned out on taking it seriously this year, but I still came back for every single event because I wanted to know every bit of story. I love the world, the characters, and this game so much.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Kept checking back in off and on all year. I’m now officially an Elder Scrolls fan I guess? I have a lot of opinions about things in that world. The game is real good solo. Please get it and enjoy it.

And now, a top ten

10. Mass Effect Andromeda: Okay, so, this game is bad in so many ways. The plot is bad, the pacing is bad, the engine and stuff is real bad. It’s not good! But the characters, I fell in love with. The cast is very good in this one. No real stinkers! Even the boring ones I still liked. But I really fell in love with Drack and Vetra. Drack is such a good cool grandpa. He’s equal parts relatable and clearly out of touch, and he’s just so rad to hang out with. He loves killing bad dudes and his granddaughter. He’s neat. And Vetra us just probably the best love interest the series has ever made. She’s very flawed but full of caring, very butch but in that way that makes it clear she’d like you to give her an excuse to be a little more femme? I love her and I’m sad that because everything else about the game was bad, I’ll likely never see any more of her.

9. Kirby: Star Allies: I love Kirby. I will always love Kirby. This game is good. But compared to Robobot? This one felt a little less exciting. It’s well put together, and all the dlc adding other characters from past games ruled. I really enjoyed playing it! But it didn’t stick with me like other games in the series. It felt like “another one of those.” And again, I’ll take phoned in Kirby any dang day! But it ends up lower on my list as a result. Sorry Kirby. I still love you.

8. Dragalia Lost: Nintendo and Cygames made a Gacha, and shock, I like it. It’s kind of Granblue light in story? I like everyone but don’t love them. But I’ve found the combat and raids very satisfying, surprisingly. They also keep updating it to make it more and more casual to play, which shocks me, but I’m into a game that is fine with me wanting to spend less time each game session, and supports it. I was expecting to drop this, but I keep coming back, so I suppose that’s a big mark in it’s favor.

7. Dragon Quest XI: This game is a monster, and I’m almost done! But it’s been a blast. Unlike other JRPGs, it doesn’t feel like it’s overstayed it’s welcome, which is amazing to me, because it is not short. But the characters are so strong, and fit the breezy fairy tale story so well. It’s also designed to be played in little spurts which is so good as a too busy adult. It’s great to feel welcome when I pick it up after being busy for a week or two. I guess enthusiasts think this is a weaker one, but I’ve so completely enjoyed it, I can’t wait to go back and try some of the more modern DQ games I’ve missed.

6. Chess: Hey, have you tried this board game called Chess? It’s kind of rad? I randomly decided to try to teach myself chess this year, and while I won’t say I’m good or anything, I’ve learned a lot and had a lot of fun. I never got why people enjoy the game, and even now that I play on a regular basis, I still don’t know if I can explain why I find it so satisfying. But to try anyway, Chess is a game that rewards you for anything you put into it. Learn the tiniest thing, and you will see your play change, and see new possibilities, and go “Oh!!” as you realize how to do something cool. I may not win often, but I’ve seen myself grow as a player over months, and I love that. Chess is good. Please challenge me to correspondence games, thank you.

5. Mario Tennis Aces: So, the single player in this is bad. Don’t buy it for that. But this is the best Mario Tennis has ever been. The racket breaking stuff seems like such a gimmick until you get into it, and then you realize how much the mechanic pushes you to execute and makes new styles of tennis play viable. The game is rock solid online, and it feels like playing a good fighting game. Only it’s Mario Tennis! And I know that! So I can complete! I need to go back to this, and I hope they have added or will as doubles tournament mode for online. But dang, it’s great to see Nintendo make such a polished online experience.

4. Bayonetta 2: I finally got to play this, and gasp, it’s super good. I replayed 1 before this, and it’s obvious how much 2 improves. I found the weapons weirder and way more fun, Witch Time much less finicky to use, and the enemy variety, with demons thrown into the mix, to be extra fun. Also, hell, I love her outfit a lot more in this one! This game is just a classic. It really is.

3. ARMS: Remember all that stuff about playing Mario Tennis online? ARMS is all that but more so. There is so much to think about with loadouts and how to bait and punish your opponents in a match. But you also just throw punches and jump around. It’s a deceptively deep fighting game that’s easy to get into, and it’s online lobbies make it feel so casual with how it mixes up modes and opponents. It’s just so good. I also really enjoyed the Party Crash events, which really made you learn other fighters and matchups. Also, this game has the best use of motion controls I’ve ever experienced? Playing with motion controls is so satisfying and does not feel like you’re hobbling yourself at all. I punched at the screen daily for so long! It’s a shame this game doesn’t get more love. But I’m giving it love! I love it!

2. Slay the Spire: Occasionally, a roguelike grabs me and does not let go. It had been a while, but Slay the Spire scratched that itch. The three characters are so different in such a satisfying way, and I love all their character designs too. Mechanically, the game does a great job at making multiple deck styles viable for each character, but forces you to make good decisions and stick with a plan. On top of that, the daily runs go from silly to fiendish, and they were a blast to dive into day after day. I love this game so much. Please play it.

1. BanG Dream!: Girls Band Party!: I played a lot of Love Live, and I like all those characters and that game. I figured I’d just fiddle with this and be done. But while I like everyone in Love Live, I absolutely love everyone in Bandori. I want to hug every character in Hello, Happy World!, and every band has characters and dynamics I find endearing. What’s more, even more than Love Live, I really enjoy the music in this game. I’ve bought a lot of it! I listen to it outside the game! This is also the first phone game like this I’ve put money into, because it has this very nice casual subscription model called the “Premium Happy Box” that is cheap and feels like a bargain. I’m happy to pay it because they put so much love into this game, with constant new stories and new songs. Bandori is doing the phone gacha game right, and I will cry about MisaKanon until the day I die because they are such a good couple, oh gosh. Anyway, it’s good. A wonderful surprise.

February 25, 2015

Those Who Came Before: Transistor and Community

In a lot of ways, games are power fantasies. Okay, okay, not all games, but many of them hinge on that sort of power trip. It’s you, the player, who are the center, who the world revolves around. It’s you, by your own power, who solves the problem and saves the day. There’s a real joy in that, too. But it’s often losing sight of how these things really work. Behind every hero of any type, there is an almost indescribable amount of support and help. For every leader, there’s a script writer, or a team of advisors, for example. Games don’t often represent that very well. There’s often a network of other characters represented, whether in your party or in the world, and perhaps they give you quests, but in the end, it’s the character’s strength that gets them through. You get the feeling that even without them being around, this hero would succeed, and even if that wasn’t the case, if the boss wouldn’t be beaten without the other party members, it’s still the hero giving the orders and calling the shots. It’s their victory.

In Transistor, it’s the social connection to those who came before and those we know that forms the backbone of true power. Transistor represents this in its mechanics, art, and music the entire way through, and in doing so it creates a hero in Red that feels real. Or at least as real as a lady with a magic cybersword with her boyfriend in it can feel. And that means something, at least to me.

Transistor’s mechanics and combat are based upon functions. These functions are all tied to someone, some character from the past or present. Some of these characters Red knows, like her lover, but many of them she does not. It doesn’t matter. She gathers power from all of them, and it is because of these people, and what they represent, that she succeeds.

Alone, Red only has Crash(). Crash() is fine. A useful tool. But with just Crash(), battles would be much harder to downright impossible. So she gets help. Bounce() from her lover. Spark() from Lillian Platt. And so on and so forth. And as she learns the other ways their influence can help her, equipped in different slots, she learns more about them. What they did and why they are important open up to her, and she understands.

We’re all built up like this. I am the product of many influences. There is a strength that is uniquely my own, but many of my good qualities come from those around me and those who came before me. It’s easy to know how those people who are close to me, my family and friends, have affected me. It’s clear how they help me everyday and inspire me. But I am helped as well by those in the past, who fought for things I now take for granted. An author I never read touches an author I did, and my life enriched. Someone fighting against oppression before my time has influence that still makes my life better, whether I know it or not. It’s only as I learn about how much they’ve done for me that I even know they exist. And even those I don’t know have done so much for me, I can’t even say. If I have any power, it’s from them. And it’s this kind of structure that gives Red her power in the game.

The entire world of Transistor is built around this. Cloudbank is a city that is powered by the thoughts and actions of its citizens. Everything, from the structure of the city to the weather, is done, in theory, together. It’s an impressive power, this lineage. You see no other people in the game besides the villains, but Red is never alone. Red walks with this strength of those behind her. She doesn’t wield the Transistor. It drags behind her, doing the best impression of walking hand in hand with her that a sword can manage. It’s teamwork, through and through.

The Camerata, of course, figures they can control that power and that lineage, and use it for what they want. Royce doesn’t walk hand in hand with what the Transistor represents. He holds it like a sword. He uses it as a weapon. But the Camerata fail, even before Red is in the picture, and they fail because they trusted in their own power, and theirs alone. They were alone, and thus, they were powerless. Red, even with her voice gone, makes change happen because she is not alone. It’s really wonderful.

In the end, Red could take full control of Cloudbank. It would be easy. But she doesn’t, because it’s not her power. It belongs to everyone. And in the end, she joins everyone, and adds her power to the multitude of voices in the Transistor and in Cloudbank. She leaves the flaws and the problems just as they are, and it’s from those flaws that people will continue to grow.

Red is a hero who is not a chosen one. She doesn’t have some special thing about her that makes her the only person who can save Cloudbank. But what she does have is a trust in those who fought before her, and still fight, through the echos of their actions. That is a power way better than her own personal strength. “We All Become One,” the song goes. Our actions, our struggles, combine to create something greater than us. Transistor is about that, and that celebration of community is a welcome sight.

August 14, 2013

Amusement Park Polish

As someone who has a sticker of the EPCOT Center symbol on her car, and is slowly filling up her walls with more and more EPCOT stuff, I think we can agree that I am not unbiased in what I am about to write, so we’ll just get that out of the way. But I feel I am that way for a reason, and I want to talk about said reason.

Yesterday, I went to Six Flags St. Louis. I hadn’t been there in years, and it was an interesting and fun time. I rode roller coasters and water slides. What more can you ask for, you know? But man, the whole time I was there, I just felt this feeling of desperation from the park. Like, it didn’t know what it was doing and was just throwing everything at the wall to try to make an extra buck. Ads were literally everywhere, and not for like… things happening in the park, but for candy, movies, hair products, electronic cigarettes… literally anything, posted all over the place. Every ride was plastered with advertisements for The Flash Pass, which was something else you could buy that was AS MUCH AS OR MORE THAN YOUR TICKET that could let you skip lines. It was just kind of gross. I mean, I rode a roller coaster in a coaster car covered in ads for hair gel. It was on the coaster “American Thunder.” I guess the ads are pretty American.

On top of that, the park was split into thematic areas. Well, it was in theory. Very few of the attractions had to do with the thematic areas at all. What does the previously-named “Tony Hawk’s Big Spin” and now “Pandemonium” have to do with Britannia, a Robin-Hood Themed Area? At least the big coaster in that area, The Boss, has some attempt to make it blend in to those surroundings, with a big archway that kinda fits the era it’s trying to put you in, but The Boss still doesn’t fit the theme as a title, and the coaster goes over a go-kart track. You know, like the go-karts Robin Hood and his merry men rode around on. The Studio Backlot area was all Tim Burton Batman themed (but nowhere near the DC Superhero area, starring Scooby Doo, your favorite DC Superhero, of course) except for The Ninja, and Panda Express, and things that have little to do with being a WB Studio Backlot. The music all over the park was this really crazy collection of hits a little out of date, really old songs, and strange selections from the 90’s.

The only area that really had a theme was Hurricane Harbor, which actually did a fairly good job. There were plaques telling the history of the harbor, and everything had fairly thematic names. But, of course, you could see Batman: The Ride from anywhere in Hurricane Harbor, looming over the whole thing, or the parking lot it was next to, so you could never really get too immersed.

Disney spoils me, I guess. Even when they go and build a “thrill ride” because something needs a thrill ride, they think hard about where it’s going to go and how it’s going to fit in there. They build an impressive mountain landscape and surrounding features for Expedition: Everest. They come up with the idea of teaching about aerodynamics and other vehicle-related science by letting you make your own car in Test Track. They build a gigantic mountain mine surrounded by all kinds of neat things in New Fantasyland. The most “just thrown in there” ride I experienced at Disney World during my last trip was the Primeval Whirl, but that was 100% by design, since it is placed inside of the thrown-together amusement park area of Dino-Rama. It was evoking that kind of feel.

Similarly, all the “ads” in Disney World are classy. They’re simply sponsorships. Sure, you exit Spaceship Earth into basically an advertisement for Siemens nowadays, but it’s done in a smart way, with games explaining how communication technology will continue to advance society in the future. It ties in to Spaceship Earth. It doesn’t feel out of place or gross.

It really just seems like Six Flags should stop half-assing it, I guess. If you aren’t going to go all the way to immerse me, it really just ends up being more terrible than if you hadn’t tried at all. Not trying to would be preferable. I went to Cedar Point a long time ago, and that is a place full of coasters. It has no themeing and no pretense. It’s just coasters. And it doesn’t invoke the same “this place is a mess” feelings because of it, you know? Six Flags should just tear down the rest of their themeing and just have a coaster park. Sure, still have the Looney Tunes and DC heroes and all that, but just get rid of the premise, you know? It would probably serve them well.

November 4, 2012

Let’s Do A Good Ol’ Fashioned Link Dump

Dang, yo, even though I don’t blog all that often any more, I still collect tabs with cool links. I have so many tabs open in Chrome right now I cannot see the little icons on the tabs! Let’s do a good ol’ fashioned link dump and clear them out, shall we?

This is me in my Halloween costume. Yep.

Life is hard for such people. It really is.

As much as I don’t like dressing up dogs, people often do awesome shit with it.

Poor Will Smith.

Sweet tricks on a four-wheeled device, Slender.

Cat Pokemon: Best thing.

Three Word Phrase is normally amazing, but this is one of the best comics he’s ever done, to be sure.


They’re pretty sad.

They’re really going at it. (Who makes this shit?)

A thorough plan of action.


Let’s rock out!

The hottest new magazine for game developers!

Corgis rule.

This man knows how to enjoy a beverage.

Yes, this is another pony comic. Huzzah!

Yes, applause is appropriate.

Finally, the most excited puppy dog.

Whew! That was a lot of links! Thanks for helping me unload them!

October 27, 2012

The Illusion of Greener Grass I Can’t Prove Doesn’t Exist Lingers Endlessly In My Head, Making Me Feel Like A Shitty Girlfriend And Write Long Blog Titles

So here’s a blog about some really potentially awkward stuff relating to, you know, sex. Not that I’m going to get all graphic or whatever. But if that’s not something you want to know about me, this isn’t the blog for you. But this is a thing I’m trying to think out, so I write about it, so… uh, anyway…

You alright with everything? Sure? Alright, cool.

For awhile now, basically all my sexual fantasies have been about women.

Now, I mean, sure, that’s not weird. I mean, you know, I like ladies. Ladies are a thing I like. And there’s nothing wrong with having a sexy daydream now and again. But it’s just kind of getting to the point where it’s bothering me. I find myself wandering off in these thought processes when I have a lovely jackal like 3 feet away who would throw me onto the bed and do so many nice things with me if I even vaguely mentioned it. If I’m horny, I have a fantastic solution. But my head never seems to click into that. It clicks into ladies. And this frustrates me because, again, nice boyfriend jackal I would like to be intimate with more often, but my head isn’t cooperating.

I wouldn’t normally be writing about all that, but recently I came up with a theory as to why, so I thought I’d run it by you.

I want to do the sexy times with ladies instead of my man because some subconscious part of me thinks it is safer.

When I do things with my boyfriend, there are a lot of things I cannot do that I desperately want to do. I am physically incapable as I am now. Hopefully someday that will not be the case, but for now, it’s just a fact. He’s lovely, and he’s sweet, and he makes me melt and get into this quite subby mode most of the time. And I sit there, squirming and making happy noises and stuff. And my brain… starts thinking about what I want to do. Which are things I cannot do. But I want them. I want them so bad. But I can’t do them. And this works me into a sort of panic. When the time comes to do the things I can do, often this will set me off and I’ll start crying and generally be fucking lame. Overall, this stuff is worth it. I am so lucky I have a partner who will take it slow and understands my issues here. I am so fucking lucky, for serious. But it’s disappointing every time I break down like that, and it keeps happening. I don’t want that disappointment. Preferably this would happen with me getting over my stupid self and just, you know, enjoying myself. But I’m so wrapped up in mental bullshit, that’s hard to do.

I feel like my body is trying to keep me away from that. Generally, with women, I am much more dom. I am in control. When I am in control, anything I don’t want to happen or I’m worried about clearly won’t happen. And so, my subconscious goes, if you were having sex with a lady, you wouldn’t be having these issues.

I don’t really believe I wouldn’t be having similar problems. I know I would, in fact. Hell, I do take a more dommy role at times with my jackal too, and while I do tend to keep myself under control more, I still freak out. If that’s all it is that’s supposed to protect me, I can do that now, if I wanted to, and do, from time to time. Still, problems are there. Since I’m not in a “sex with a lady is possible” situation right now, I can’t PROVE that I would have similar problems to the little voices in my head, you know? So they say I wouldn’t. And I fantasize about that. And here we are.

Basically, my mind and my body are the lamest goddamn things. Maybe now that I’ve rationalized why I’m thinking the way I am, I can move past it and get back to enjoying myself. I hope so.

October 23, 2012

Pills Are Scary.

Yesterday, I felt horrible. I was so constantly nervous I was sick to my stomach. I didn’t feel like I could interact with anyone. I felt useless and awful and wanted to no longer exist.

This morning I feel perfectly fine. Not happy, perse. I mean, I’m up early to work and I have to get going to work soon. Hard to be super pumped about that. But I’m functional. I don’t feel like garbage. I’m fine.

Hormones are scary shit.

The theory on why yesterday was such a horrible situation for me revolved around me forgetting to take a pill the day before. See, most of my pills I take in the morning. I never forget those. I take them when I get up with a little breakfast. But one particular pill I have to take twice a day. I’m supposed to take them with food, so I always try to wait until dinner, but often I’m out of the house, or doing this or that, and I totally forget. Most of the time I end up taking them late, but I still take them, and it’s not a huge deal. (Mostly, because that pill is a diuretic, I have to get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break if I take them late, but that’s the only bad side effect.) The day before yesterday, though, I was so tired and burnt out, I just went straight to bed and didn’t take them at all.

Then yesterday happened. I didn’t put two and two together. The pill in question is a testosterone suppressant. Testosterone is supposed to make you angry, not depressed, right? Plus, most of the rare times when I miss those pills, I do feel a little down, but nothing near this bad. Then again, that night before was kind of a shitty night, and that morning I broke my cell phone, so those things probably compounded to set off a depression attack.

Basically, it honestly just kind of scares me that such things can fuck me up so much. Like, I know, on an intellectual level, that these hormones and things run this stuff in my body. I do get that. But it’s still really disturbing to look back at myself, a mess, and realize that it was a stupid little pill so small that I could fit like 3 of them on a penny that was the culprit. I mean, I know my body SHOULD be taking care of this stuff without help, but it doesn’t, so here I am. And I’m silly. And I forget. And then horrible hide in bed suicidal day occurs. So shitty.

I’m going to do my best not to let that happen again.

October 8, 2012

Some Venting About How Shitty I’ve Been Feeling

Okay, blog, I’m going to vent a bit for now. Sorry.

I wish I knew what was up with me.

For like, forever, when I was younger, I was miserable. I basically spent all my free time thinking about how to kill myself, and had to force myself to do things like have fun with my friends, go to class, or whatever. It really fucking sucked. So I got me some therapy and transitioned and then I felt no less than tons better? Seriously, it was like “Oh, this is what being happy is.” It was pretty great!

But seriously, the last few weeks, I’ve been falling back to where I was. I’ve started thinking about killing myself again on a fairly regular basis. (I never will. I’m not an idiot and I’m not about to hurt my loved ones with something so selfish, but goddamn, do I have some specific fantasies about it.) I’ve started mumbling to myself again constantly about what a waste of space I am and how much of a disappointment I’ve become. I constantly wake up in the middle of the night in panic states. It’s been pretty shitty!

I’m really not sure what has changed. Granted, I do have a lot of classes on my plate, and I am doing quite a bit of work. But it’s not like I haven’t taken breaks when I needed them, and it’s not like I’m not keeping up with everything I need to do. (I could be BETTER, certainly. I could be grading all my papers the night I get them or something insane. Overall, though, I haven’t done anything that I would even remotely consider a problem or something to worry about yet.) I’ve still got an awesome boyfriend and a super cool puppy dog who loves me. I get to do cool shit. While I worry a bit about money, I know that, overall, I’m not anywhere near screwed.

Yet it’s just oppressing. I know I used to get things done while feeling like this, but I’ve been WITHOUT these feelings for so long, I feel like I’ve kind of forgotten how to function when I feel like this, too.

Last night, we all went out to eat for my mom’s birthday, and my Grandma, as I was hugging her before she left, said “You’re a good man.” As soon as I was out of the family zone, I lost it. I cried. I’ve felt like a lot of shit ever since. Like sick to my stomach worked up. It just… bleh. My psychologist and I had a talk recently about how big things take a long time to percolate. Basically, she was saying it wasn’t dumb that I was still freaking out about this stuff, even though I felt frustrated to be having these sorts of feelings again. This is probably the biggest goddamn thing in my life. It’s not just going to disappear. That dysphoria is going to come back. It’s natural for it to.

It just really fucking sucks.

Anyway, there, some venting. I’m done.