I Play Porn Games For The Story // 25.03.2012

Yeah it’s this thing again. How delightful right? It’s your one stop place for things that I do every week! That usually entails videogames and visual novels, and every so often I venture into the realm of ‘other things’, but you know whatever. So as I sit here with absolutely no money and all these videogames coming out that I can’t buy, I guess this is a highlight of my week.

Which is an incredibly depressing thing to think about.

Oh god.

Mario Party 9

I’m just going to say it, I like Mario Party. I’m that guy that likes Mario Party. I’m that guy that will play Mario Party and will keep track of everything in my head so I’d know exactly who would get the bonus stars and actually employ some strategy to win as many games as I could. So this year marks the 9th instalment in the Mario Party series, and also the 9th instalment of Call Of Duty, yeah, just saying.

Hey so, if you watched the TNT you’ll notice that the game is completely different to the other 8 games, and I don’t have to explain how weirdly different it is. If you didn’t watch it, however, things different yo. Instead of having a set number of turns and collecting stars and having mini games at the end of every turn, you know, the elements that make Mario Party, well, Mario Party, you’re now collecting mini stars and each level in a set length, and mini games happen at random times. I was super sceptical the first time I played it but I actually really enjoyed playing it. Then again, I enjoyed Mario Party, so maybe I’m crazy.

The mini games are vastly improved from Mario Party 8 too, as there aren’t many mini games that rely on motion controls, something that can be a little hectic with 4 people all at various angles to a television. The mini games also appear a lot less which is good as there is less fatigue to them. Each level also has two boss battles which can be a lot of fun and employ a great mix of cooperative and competitive play, trying to work together to beat the boss but making sure you beat the boss more. The silliest change is the Bowser spaces that, among other things, can play reverse mini games, in which the person in last place gets the stars. These are a lot more fun than they should be, such as a normal mini game where you’re trying to avoid getting hit by thwomps turns into who can jump into the thwomps the fastest.

Me, that’s who, I’m the best at losing at mini games on purpose.

As someone who would much rather play this year’s ninth instalment of Mario Party to this year’s ninth instalment of Call of Shooting Dudes in the Face, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed what I got. But it’s definitely a four player game, I can’t imagine the tediousness that would occur playing this in any other situation. Luckily I’ve found myself a good group of friends who I can sometimes trick into playing Mario Party with me. The trick is to never remind them that I win every single time, and if they do remember, try to convince them it’s all to do with luck.

And then destroy them.

Nintendo 3DS

Even though it isn’t a game in its own right, I guess I’ve been playing the Nintendo 3DS game recently. The 3DS is still super interesting to me, even if for the last month or so the only game that’s been in there is Pokemon Black. Sure the whole “I’m a student and therefore I never have any money ever” thing might be part of the reason, but the whole “nothing decent is coming out” might also be a tiny factor.

It’s annoying, really, because on one hand it’s region specific, I dumped a bunch of money into the eShop wallet because I knew they’d be a lot of cool games coming out on that service. And yeah a lot of great games did come out for the system, in America, that is. A lot of the games I’m really looking forward to have yet to release over here, some of them 3 months now after they’ve been released in America. It’s good to know when they do eventually come out here I already have my money ready, but damn, I just want to buy VVVVVV for a 4th time and my region won’t let me.

Not to say the eShop hasn’t served me well, I’ve been playing a bunch of the demos they’ve been released. Even demos for games I know I don’t want to buy like Cooking Mama 4 just because I can. I can’t complain at all though, because it’s how I found out about Rhythm Thief. So in like 2 weeks this game comes out and I’m totally doing to somehow get it as soon as I can and play it a bunch. I went from not knowing this game even existed to having 100+ fan art images of the main character saved on my computer within 24 hours. First impressions seems to be a silly story based rhythm game akin to Space Channel 5, but each minigame seems to be completely different. So expect more on that when it comes out!

I’ve also done most of the whole streetpass aspect of the 3DS. For those that don’t know there are two games you can play which is supported by meeting other people who also have 3DSs and streetpassing them. The two games is a basic image tile swap game and a rather in-depth RPG game. I can’t remember when I talked about it but hey I went more in-depth on these things a few weeks back. Long story short I’ve got pretty much every single hat in Streetpass Quest and almost every single puzzle piece in Puzzleswap. I also found out that the amount of coins you can accumulate at once is 300 the hard way, so I spent them all on Street Fighter IV statues that I never use. Videogames!

Enzai: Falsely Accused

Gay porn. It’s a rather weird thing don’t you think? It’s the one thing that can be so diverse yet for some reason they all are just encompassed in one giant umbrella. Now with ‘normal’ porn there are so many weird and weird categories, but when it comes to gay stuff there is never that level of, personal preference, I guess. There’s also a weird thing where quite a bit of gay porn in Japan is usually just incredibly feminine people that just happen to have penises. Where am I going with this? I really have no idea, but this week I played Enzai: Falsely Accused, another one of those boy love visual novels, so those are still totally a thing!

The main character is called Guys, who is a rather typical rapscallion hanging out with his friends. One day he and his friends take refuge in a shop during a thunderstorm, and decide to steal as the storm lets up. As he’s getting chased away he runs into the authorities and ends up getting falsely accused for murder. After being forced into a confession, he gets thrown into jail where he has to try him damndest to survive.

You can probably assume where the porn aspect of this story comes in from, it’s a jail story full of a lot of guys, and rather interestingly the main character is very often the ‘bottom’, and... Well, very often against his will. It’s an interesting thing to have the main character of the story being the one that’s completely helpless in those kinds of situations. But overlooking that aspect of it, they actually story is honestly rather interesting. The characters are a good range of extremely shitty and sort of likeable, Guys tries his best to form friendships that will help him survive his sentence, and the result is something that works a lot better than I expected.

Nope, nothing gay here!

On top of that, the story weaves in and out of Guys meeting up with his lawyer trying to prove his innocence. While that aspect of the story does get a little interesting by the end, it seems to take a long time for it to actually happen. By the time the end of the game rolls around, Guys has been in jail for three years. While I appreciate the game not taking too long to get to the good parts of the story, it’s weird to just have months pass in a few sentences and the characters not really reflecting that all that well.

But that’s a rather small issue, and if I had to gripe on anything else, all the gay shit gets in the way of the story a lot of the time. In the story there is a guard that always ‘has his way’ whenever he decides to show up, and while that does a great job in making him hateable, it just gets monotonous at a point. It’s a moot point to being up, as I’m sure I could gripe about this about most visual novels I’ve talked about in this blog, but it was especially apparent here. So if you can get past that aspect of it, I’d recommend it for the story. While is really what this blog is about, so mission accomplished I guess.

I’m gonna stop there so you don’t get any more of the gay cooties. You know the worst kind of cooties. I’m pretty sure it’s contagious so you should probably go do something incredibly manly to counteract it. And while you do that I guess I’m going to go to sleep and wait until the next time I get to write another one of these. So until then, catch you guys later!

13 Comments

I Play Porn Games For The Story // 18.03.2012

Oh god oh jeez.

Like just ugh, be quiet, I can’t.

This is my weekly blog, it’s super early in the morning and this probably wasn’t the best idea in the world.

Gah this screen is so bright.

Videogames, visual novels, other things maybe, random song that has only a vague connection to what’s being said, right I’ve covered the basics lets go.

Pokemon Emerald

So remember when I said last week that I wasn’t going to play previous generations of Pokemon?

Well hear me out.

My friends and I are currently in the middle of a third generation Nuzlocke race. I’m playing Emerald and my two friends are playing Ruby and Sapphire, racing to see who can beat the game first.

If you aren’t familiar with what a Nuzlocke run is, I’ll give you a super quick rundown. Nuzlocke runs mean if your pokemon faints during a battle, that pokemon is effectively dead, and you have to release it, or dedicate a box in storage as a ‘graveyard’ of sorts. On top of that there are a few other rules, some runs mean you can only use a pokemon center once per town, or you have to catch the first pokemon you see in each route and nothing else. Our rules are just the basic one and you can only catch one pokemon per route, but it doesn’t have to be the first one you see. But of course the added challenge is that we’re racing.

What that adds is, well, normally if I was doing this kind of run, I’d be grinding in one area for a long period of time to make sure I was super overpowered and don’t lose any pokemon in a gym battle, however, since it’s a race I don’t have that luxury, unless my friends also do exactly that.

Which they don’t, and therefore, I’m currently in last place.

I forgot how cool third generation can be, but it’s still far from my favourite, we did notice the games came out around the time Nintendo were obsessed with water. The entire plot of this game revolves around team Aqua wanting to make the world water or something (we’re using Japanese roms for added difficulty so I’ve forgotten the basics), despite the fact that the region is the most water filled of all the games so far. But this game also came out around the time of Sunshine and Wind Waker, which is pretty weird.

I’d say the real reason I’m in last place is that I totally wiped at the first gym leader and had to start from the beginning, but with some luck I’ve managed to catch up to second place and will hopefully take it on the next run. Two of us are at the seventh gym while the third is at victory road. However, he’s super underpowered, so he’ll be there a while, so it’s still anyone’s game.

Wizorb

Wizorb was finally released on Steam so of course I bought it as soon as I could!

Wizorb at its most basic level is a breakout game with great pixel graphics. You control a paddle and a ball and.. It’s fucking breakout.

When you break objects you get powerups and sometimes money, you can use money to help fund repairs at a destroyed village, which will usually net you keys to unlock bonus levels where you can get more money to help fund repairs at a destroyed village which will net you more keys to unlock bonus levels where you can get more money to help fund repairs at a destroyed village.

The worlds themselves seem way to long for my liking. The first world has something like 13 levels in it and since each level is quite long, I had my fill at around 6 levels. It feels weird complaining that there is too much content, but the fact that the only way you can maintain all of the money you collect (which you can use to help fund repairs at a destroyed village) is to beat every level, and when you’ve got your fill of hitting things with balls around half way through, that can be a little bit annoying. But that might just be my impatience.

It’s a fun game and it looks and sounds phenomenal, I guess I just need to dedicate a lot more time to it as opposed to my usual ‘booting up a game for 10 minutes before quitting and doing something else’ system allows.

Crescendo

How many times have I mentioned how badly visual novels age? I think I must say it at least once a month. It’s pretty much the reason why I really don’t want to play Clannad, despite how much I know I’ll love it, it’s just gonna be a bad experience nowadays. On that note, here’s a visual novel that came out coming up on 11 years now, Crescendo.

In this game you play as Ryo as he reminisces on his time at high school. With graduation approaching within the week, he looks back on the turmoil his life went through and the girls that helped him through it. Obviously not wanting to squander the opportunity, with the reality of maybe never seeing these girls ever again, he has to something something visual novels.

The system of introducing each character in flashbacks is a little bit weird. When each of the girls is introduced the game goes into flashback mode to when they first met. It’s good for showing where obviously their friendship started, but then you have choices to make in the flashbacks. Obviously this is to help set flags and decide which girl to get with, but then implying that no matter what choices you made Ryo still ended up at the same point at the end of his high school life? I didn’t realise this was Mass Effect 3.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-

Barring that the actual game is nothing that exciting all things told, and hey that’s all I have to say about this game I guess. It’s an old game and therefore the art, voices and just about everything is really showing their age (even the characters, this game seemed to have missed the whole making characters older than they appear trend). The stories themselves are rather short, since the game takes place entirely in the last week of high school. 5 days, a perfect amount of time for a girl to instantly fall in love with the main character right? Anyway, this is definitely a visual novel; each character has their forced drama moments an some work better than others. Yeah.

And now I’m going to go lie down oh god.

4 Comments

I Play Porn Games For The Story // 11.03.2012

Hey there! Another week another hastily written blog. This id the place where I open a notepad file and just turn off my brain for a few hours, and what I’m left with is usually something about videogames and visual novels. I have to do this like twice a week to be safe, because sometimes I just end up writing 2000 words about how sexy Adam Lambert is.

Don’t judge me.

Pokemon Black

So somehow I got back on the Pokeman fix, I don’t hate it, but usually when I’m into Pokemon it takes over my everyday life. I end up saying ‘catch you later’ instead of ‘see you later’ when I’m playing Pokemon, because you know, Pokemon.

Anyway I’ve been playing Black again thanks to the announcement of sequels.

When I last left this game I was trying to get a full pokedex, and I guess that’s still my goal. I finally managed to steal a copy of White from a friend of mine so I could take his legendaries and have another cartridge to trade pokemans too for specific evolutions.

So right now I’m sitting on 560 pokemon caught. Not only that but that’s 560 pokemon in my game, not just ‘evolve this one pokemon and hey all three’, I have one of each pokemon I’ve caught, so that’s a thing. It also means I’m less than 100 away from the full pokedex, but I’m gonig to hit the wall that I hit last time, and the main reason why I didn’t try to get the pokedex finished earlier.

I really don’t like generation 4.

I fell off pokemans around generation 3 and gen 4 went in the complete wrong direction to bring me back, so barring the remakes of Gold and Silver, I never bothered with gen 4. Which means I have no way to get the like 300 fucking legendaries in those games. Seriously, it’s so annoying. Obviously I can just try to convince another friend of mine to give me their ones, but... Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t really want to play older versions of the game after playing Black, hell even playing HeartGold was a chore because Black streamlines so many aspects of the game that it’s painful going back at a point.

So yeah that’s my Pokeman update. Pokemans you guys, they’re pretty cool.

Sengoku Rance

Ok like fuck you.

I know Sengoku Rance is a visual novel, hell, I even covered it ages ago, but I’m putting it in the videogame section because shut up.

So at some point this week I had a friend over and he was playing Katawa Shoujo and asked me about other visual novels. I took the opportunity to give him 5 or 6 of my favourites, and decided on top of that I’d show him a little of Sengoku Rance’s gameplay. He left after about 30 minutes of me showing the game, pretty intrigued, and then I ended up playing the game for a further 12 hours.

So for those who aren’t familiar with the game, it’s a strategy game, which I’ll try to explain, with visual novel trapping surrounding it, which I’m going to brush over because this is the videogame section. So yeah, in this game you play as Rance, trying to take over Japan for... one reason or another. The game is played on a turn by turn basis with other houses, and on your turn you can talk to your commanders (the visual novel aspect), declare war on or attack other territories, and a multitude of misc things.

Then when your fight you have a 3 by 2 grid of commanders, each with their own army. The individual armies represent both health and attack damage. So if one army hasn’t got a lot of dudes, they won’t do that much damage. Each commander also has a base attack, defence, speed and stuff like that. So each unit takes turns to attack and whichever army has the advantage at the end of a set number of attacks, or if they kill everyone in the opposing team, wins that conflict.

There are a bunch of different kinds of units, warriors are good at straight up attacking, foot soldiers can shield and protect other units, ninjas and archers can attack the back row of units and stuff like that.

So after you beat the story once there is an optional mode called ‘free for all’ in which you can start playing as any of the houses in the campaign, and then every house is at war with everyone else. It’s a mode without the story and visual novel aspects if that’s your thing, and it’s also incredibly unfair. There are a few incredibly overpowered houses and a few incredibly underpowered houses, which makes sense in terms of the story but still. I tried to play as one of the weaker houses, and managed to survive a good 60 rounds before being completely destroyed by the demon army.

This is probably the visual novel I play the most, in fact, I think over the years I’ve clocked several hundred hours in this game, probably only being outdone in terms of hours put in by Persona 4 and the various versions of Street Fighter IV. It’s really a great game that I can just lose days to. As my friends pointed out, he can tell I love this game, because my lights just lighted up trying my hardest to explain everything about it.

Man I should just really write the wiki article for this game and be done with it.

Blazblue: Continuum Shift II

Speaking of visual novels, I finally got myself a copy of one of the multitude of versions of Blazblue. I do really like this game but I’ve never actually owned a version of it, instead only playing it when I’m over at friend’s places. Which means I’ve never really gotten good at the game, but somehow I still have a lot of fun with it. Well that’s going to change now that I have it for 3DS, because I’m both going to get better at the game, and probably hate it because I think I know what I’m doing.

I’d say this is a great version of the game, admittedly I haven’t been able to count frames or anything like that when casually playing the console version, but from what I remember this version works just as well as the console counterparts. I’d even go as far as to say I prefer this game to the version of Street Fighter IV they bought out on the 3DS, and that justification boils down to how the bottom screen is handled.

In Street Fighter IV 3DS you can assign specials and ultras to the bottom screen, which completely overpowers all charge characters. In fact it pretty much breaks the game in a lot of ways if you want to play it seriously. Blazblue, however, doesn’t do that; instead they put the movelist on the bottom screen.

That’s fucking genius.

Now when I’m starting to play a new character, I don’t have to fumble around menus and try to remember every single attack just to try and learn combos, instead it’s a quick glance down to the bottom screen and I have all the information I need. It seems like such a simple addition but it adds so much, and it’s a big reason as to why I think this is a really great port of the game.

I haven’t had the time to mess around with the story mode yet but yeah this feels like Blazblue, so that’s a good thing. The idea of just having a fighting game in my pocket that is actually fun to play is still the best thing to happen to handheld gaming, so I’m sure this is going to be played for a long time to come.

Ever17

You know that thing in which you find it hard to talk about something you really like? That’s pretty much the only reason why I’ve delayed talking about Ever17 for so long. I know it isn’t enough to just say ‘guys this game is great you need to experience this’, but, guys, this game is great. So let’s see if I can articulate just why it’s so great.

The story starts off from two different perspectives during an accident at an underwater marine theme park called LeMU. The park gets trapped underwater with only a few people still inside. You can either play as a kid without a name or Takeshi, with some slight changes to who gets trapped in the park depending on who you choose. To be honest delving into the story anymore than that would spoil it, so let’s just say, it goes places.

The multiple perspectives on the story make the game really interesting in a way that doesn’t get taken advantage of that well in other games. The first small section of the game switches between the two protagonists rather seamlessly, interweaving their stories together, before the player gets to choose which perspective to go ahead with. Like I said, the different perspectives hit the same story beats, but there are differences in who get stranded, and some of the story beats don’t end in the same way. Each perspective has two possible endings, and once all four have been seem, there is a hidden fifth route, that makes sense of everything in the grandest way possible that, if you’re like me, will leave you floored at how well it wraps up what really happened in the park.

So if I’m trying to intentionally not talk about the story there’s not really much else to talk about. I guess this is one of those weeks where I just feel the need to tell you this exists and you should do yourself a favour and experience it. It’s one of my favourite visual novels ever for a very good reason, but like I keep saying, delving into it would spoil why it’s so good.

Just go read it.

Oh look I’m at the end already. Well I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition, and I’m going to go pretend to do something as I refresh Giant Bomb to see if anyone has commented. In fact I haven’t caught the new My Little Pony episode so I’ll go do that.

...Yeah I knew I wasn’t getting through an entire entry without mentioning those colourful horses. But I was close!

3 Comments

I Play Porn Games For The Story // 04.03.2012

Hey guys! Blog time once again! Here I talk about things, you probably know the drill by now. Then again, if I don’t constantly repeat myself every week, what the hell can go here as the intro? Me talking about myself talking about things? Maybe next week I’ll be able to reflect on this intro and talk about how I talked about talking about things. Surely that’s how I’ll win over readers, right?

Anyway videogames, visual novels, random song, let’s go.

Soul Calibur 5

The Soul Calibur games have interested me. I actually never got into the series until the fourth instalment, which I did enjoy for all its weird faults. Now that Soul Calibur V is out, however, the game has taken an incredibly sharp turn in terms of what I enjoy about it. By the time the fifth game came out what I really loved, and what I’m sure the developers realised, is the custom characters.

When playing soul Calibur with my homies, the main characters could not be further from our minds. Instead, what we do is just make a bunch of really silly original character do not steals and fight with them. Or we’ll make characters from other franchises (as I’m sure everyone does) like Phoenix Wright, Legend of Zelda, and human versions of colourful horses.

But the real fun comes from the random character selection. There’s an option to just create a completely random male or female fighter right from the character select. The results are usually hilarious and sometimes we feel compelled to recreate said random characters after the fight. Last we played there were three of us in total, playing on a traditional ‘winner stays on’ system. My friend managed to beat both of us 9 times in a row with Chris-chan, making it incredibly embarrassing for us.

Also I guess it’s a fighting game. But who cares about that part of it.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

After Soul Calibur we decided to play a real fighting game, and threw in Brawl. I have found memories of Brawl, so I was looking forward to playing it again after a few years of ignoring it.

And to be honest I sort of wished I continued to ignore it.

I don’t know what it is, but I really don’t like Brawl anymore. I’ve playing the original and Melee recently as well and I honestly do prefer Melee. I remember closer to the release of Brawl there were a lot of people who thought that, and I thought they were crazy, but now I totally get what they’re saying.

Not to say Brawl isn’t a fun game. I had a few one on one matches with a friend of mind, and won most of them. It’s still fun seeing the brawl token, or whatever it’s called, spawn and both of us scramble over to get it. But there’s just something about Melee that feels better.

Looking back on it, I think I enjoyed the anticipation of Brawl a lot more than the game itself. The daily reveals were always fun to check, and I honestly hope they do something similar for the new games.

Subspace was awesome too, but it’s a thing that I don’t think I can go back and play again... Man, I’m really trying to justify my original love of this game, but I don’t know anymore.

Modnation Racers

Speaking of games I had fond memories of before realising on recent plays that they’re not as fun as I remember, I also played Modnation Racers for about 2 hours. Meaning there were like 4 races and 100 minutes of loading.

Seriously they didn’t manage to fix that? Anyway.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been playing a lot of Crash Team Racing recently, which is undeniably the best kart racer ever made, but yeah this game just feels off as well. What I do like about this game, however, i the boost system. Being able to sacrifice boost for a shield is a really cool mechanic that adds a surprising amount of strategy when you’re in first, which is always welcome as usually being in first in a kart racer is the most boring thing.

But apart from that there’s not a lot here that’s worth much. The main bulk of the game comes from the creation tools which are still second to none, but man there’s a lot of terrible stuff out there. And we decided to find them. Our adventures brought us to a Bob Ross track.

A Bob Ross track.

So let me see if I can properly describe how amazing this thing is. It’s a relatively simple track, but all around the track at versions of Bob Ross’ paintings. Then in the middle of the track you do a huge jump.

And you jump over Bob Ross.

Like seriously.

LOOK AT THIS.

So obviously it’s the best track ever made. And I’m just going to drop the mic… or whatever the blog equivalent is.

Oh right yeah the visual novel.

Violated Hero ~I Wanted To Chivalrously Save The World~

Well this is fun. Violated Hero got recently translated, so I decided to give it a shot. I will admit it made me curious in the same way Monster Girl makes me curious. (I’m not going to talk about Monster Girl Quest here, but hey, that’s a visual novel... yeah). Both games have RPG trapping and which the objective of the game is to obviously win, the ‘real’ objective is to lose.

What I mean by this is you win battle to raise stats, and hopefully continue the story, but you lose battles to see sex scenes. Taking the obvious stupidity aside for just a second, I think it’s hilarious that a game can incentivise players to actually lose battles, and therefore lose progress, via porn scenes. It’s crazy, but then again, the game is so difficult that it’s pretty much impossible not to lose several times while playing the game.

One of the many girls conveniently in the same dungeon as the hero.

The story, which is obviously why we’re all here, is pretty basic. Dude called Seed wants to go into a dungeon to kill a dragon. And that’s it! As you play the game you’ll meet a lot of different girls all in the same dungeon, but mostly for different reasons. Some will join you and then ultimately backstab you, resulting in a fight, and some will just straight up fight you when you meet. Each character has their own little story but... you know. These are the battles that result in scenes when you lose, but there are also regular random encounters in between these fights.

Seed starts off incredibly weak, barely surviving the first few fights. Every random encounter will give you a boost in either HP, MP, speed, attack power, and the such, usually around a 5% increase. The specific female fights grant Seed a much higher stat increase when they’re defeated. And while death is ‘encouraged’, it’s also necessary to beat the game. On death you return to the start of the dungeon floor with all the stat increases intact. So then the obvious tactic is to just farm the special battles once Seed is powerful enough to beat them. You also get 5 potions to fully heal but you never find any more of them.

The battle system is incredibly basic, and the animations are more of a hindrance than an improvement.

So is the game fun? Eh, it’s a pretty average RPG, but even I know that’s not the draw for this one. The art is better than Monster Girl Quest, but I prefer the actual game mechanics of Monster Girl Quest an-

Wait, no, no Monster Girl Quest talk.

The premise, as I said, really intrigued me, but the game is too short and too basic for there to be any real worth here. Having said that, I did enjoy what I played, it’s a weird feeling to just give up a fight you could probably win with enough strategy, just to get a stupid scene and start from the beginning again. I’d love to see this idea applied to other games... just, maybe not porn as the incentive.

So that ends another week of stupidity I guess. Next week should be interesting for reasons I can’t go into. No seriously, I couldn’t even if I wanted to, I had to sign an NDA and everything. Though I think I like saying that I’ve signed an NDA about a project more than actually working on said project. Oh well.

10 Comments

I Play Porn Games For The Story // 26.02.2012

Oh look it’s this thing again. Welcome to my blog of videogames, visual novels and mashups. Now usually I come up with a decent implementation of a song in the intro of these blogs but this time I’m just going to be completely transparent, mostly because I can’t think of any way to directly link into this, sorry about that. Well, sorry, I mean, for Party Rocking.

I’ve still got it.

So in this video LMFAO are all house partying, and then the emergency services all come over to party. The ambulance is treating a patient who has blood coming out of his leg.

Or more speficially his knee.

The blood is caused by an arrow.

Or, to put it bluntly, he has an arrow in his knee.

Videogames right guys?

Critical Mass

So if you’re anything like me, you buy a lot of indie games and end up never playing them. I think the rise of different indie bundles has made this an even bigger problem for me. The moment in which I noticed it was a problem was probably a few years ago during a steam sale. They had a pack of 10 awesome indie games that I went to buy, only to find out I already owned all 10 of them. The problem has only gotten worse from there. But anyway, this week I decided to load up one of these games, and the game I picked was Critical Mass.

Critical Mass is a fairly basic game all things considered, there is a group of coloured blocks in the centre of the screen, and you launch coloured blocks at it in the hopes you make a cluster of the same colour, which causes them to explode. Think of it as 3D Bust-a-Move.

...Actually yeah, that’s all this is, 3D Bust-a-Move... damn.

That isn’t a bad thing; of course, Bust-a-Move is pretty dope. But that’s really all there is to it. There are a few different modes but they’re mostly what you’d expect out of a match 3 game. There are powerups to slow time or get more points when you match 3 and stuff like that.

I could write several more paragraphs talking about how this is totally a match 3 game but in 3D but guys this is a match 3 game in 3D. That really should be enough.

Catherine

Catherine was recently released in the UK, the only problem is I’m completely unable to play it, as in my flat I don’t have a PS3 or a 360. However, one of my friends bought it and asked if I wanted to come over and play some of the multiplayer. Now I didn’t even know the game had multiplayer, and was completely unsure as to what that would even entail.

“The block puzzle stuff” my friend said “there’s a 2 player mode of that.”

I didn’t really know what to expect after hearing that. Obviously from what I’ve heard via the Giant Bomb review the block puzzle portion of this game is the worst part of it, so having a 2 player version of that seemed to be the worst thing ever. So obviously, I agreed.

And I had a great time.

So the 2 player mode is called Babel, it’s a supposedly randomly generated level you can play after getting a certain amount of gold statues in the main game. Babel has four different stages, with the later ones requiring more gold statues, and are just scored on how fast you can make it to the top. It can be played single player, which makes the most sense, but the two player mode exists, and oh boy it is frantic.

The second player controls Katherine, which sure I haven’t actually played the game yet but that doesn’t make any sense, and has the exact same set of abilities, which is to say she can push and pull blocks. Just like the main game the objective is to make it to the top of the tower, which I’m told is a lot taller in these Babel challenges than in the main game. The weird part of this 2 player, however, is that the two players never really interact with each other. The two players can’t stand on the same block, which is fine I guess, but then if you pull a block and bump into the other player, that player will be hit back, and in some cases fall off and die. Oh, and if one character dies, it triggers game over for both. The other weird thing is if one character is on a block, and the other character moves said block, the character on the block doesn’t move with it, and will instead fall and again in some cases die because of it. My friend and I got about half way up the second stage of Babel, until I climbed onto a block he decided to push. My character ended up climbing onto thin air before falling to her death, giving us both a game over.

So maybe the two player mode isn’t fully thought out, but I had a lot of fun with it regardless. While it took me a little bit to fully understand the controls, but when I did my friend and I had a lot strategy trying to get both of us up the tower. We managed to beat the first stage after only a few failings and it felt really good getting to the end. I did play a little bit of the beginning stuff to see how they were single player and I also enjoyed that. I’m sure if/when I ever get to play it again and get to the end game I’ll see what everyone is complaining about, but from what little I played I was left wanting more.

Soul Link

You know what’s weird? I’ve never been that big a fan of sci-fi. There’s something about future or near future tech that always seemed to silly to me. Sure, by the same token I love Red Dwarf and stuff like that but the majority of stuff is just boring to me. Japan really likes their sci-fi, however, and by the same token I usually don’t watch anime or read mange with sci-fi settings. Hell I think Japan loves sci-fi almost as much as they love high schools, so obviously I was going to find myself reading a sci-fi visual novel at some point. So with that in mind, here is Soul Link.

The game takes place in the far flung future of 2045. A second year space cadet called Aizawa Shuuhei is sent to an orbital space station called ‘Aries’ on a training mission. While there, he meets a few familiar faces, including his childhood friend Nao, and his younger brother Ryouta. However, the space station is then suddenly attacked by space terrorists called ‘Jararacas’, the station is successfully evacuated for the most part, which means rather conveniently, the only people left on the ship are Aizawa, his friends and a few others. The stragglers must work together to fight back against the space terrorists, and return home.

The story goes through quite a lot of twists and turns but the whole idea of fighting back against these god damn space terrorists remain a pretty great constant. There are a lot of battle related story choices you have to make, which results in rather quick deaths if you choose the wrong ones. However, by the end of the game, or hell even two thirds into the game, the story is so bizarre that isn’t hard to really keep up with what’s going on. I think even at some point the terrorists kidnap someone’s friend and ‘torture’ her, which could have been an interesting plot point at the end but so much crazy gets piled on top of it that it just gets forgotten by the time everything wraps up.

I forgot to take screenshots so here's an image from the GB database.

The way the game handles different routes is actually pretty interesting. The game is split up into four different chapters, with chapter three being the only place the routes differ. The reason behind this is you end up playing as two different characters. Shuuhei, the character you control at the start, actually goes missing at a certain rather pivotal part of the story. The game then switches perspectives to his younger brother Ryouta, and you play the rest of the story as him. It’s a surprisingly effective technique that lets the user see two different sides of the same character, and puts into perpective the character growth Ryouta going from being unreliable to having to make quick decisions when faced with peril.

The biggest drawback for this game is its own medium. And by that, I mean the fact that it’s a porn game. Now I usually make sure not to even mention this stuff, as I prefer to focus on the story, but every so often these scenes are just too much that they detract from the experience. Another part in which the medium detracts from the experience is the rather strict story structure. There is a point in the game in which the character you’re controlling has to patrol the ship, you’re given like 6 or 7 different places to move to, and 20 or so turns to see everything. And if you don’t trigger every single thing, you’re greeted with a bad end. Trial and error is the only way I can see that section working without a walkthrough, which doesn’t make it a pleasant experience at all.

In that case, maybe the story works better in the anime adaptation which I have never seen and probably will never see so I can’t say for sure. Which I can say, though, is that it’s a pretty decent story that might go a little bit too crazy, and would have been a lot better if some of the supposedly essential visual novel trappings weren’t there. Ever17 managed to pull off ‘trapped in a place with a ragtag group of dudes’ pretty well without these trappings... just saying!

Smile 3x

Something that’s become commonplace, a song shows up in my favourite anime Mahou no Yuujou!! –My Friendship is a Colourful Horse- and I end up mashing it together with other songs. Last week featured the ‘Smile’ song, a song that was actually leaked last November. In true impatient fashion, I had actually scoped this mashup out when the song was originally leaked, but now that the song has actually appeared in the show, I could release it! Hooray!

But who cares about that?

Alphabetronome

This week also marked the release of my biggest mashup project to date! This mashup is called Alphabetronome, it’s 26 minutes long and features 260 different songs.

As you can probably tell from the title, this mashup album follows the theme of the alphabet. Every minute represents a new letter of the alphabet, and has 10 songs for that letter. The first minute features 10 songs that start with the letter A, the second minute is all B, and so on for the entire mix.

It’s been a long time coming (pretty much what I’ve been doing with my time since the start of the month) and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Obviously due to the length and the fact that so little of it is to do with ponies (3 out of 260 being pony related) I doubt it’ll actually hit with the audience I’ve found on Youtube. And I guess I’m sort of annoyed at that, but it’s not like I can do anything about it. I’ve never really know where I can promote my mashups and usually just hope people stumble on to them.

But that’s neither here nor there, I hope you enjoy it.

So with that it’s about damn time I stop typing. Which means I can just go back to sleep for another 6 or so days before realising “oh right that blog thing” and typing up another few hundred words about videogames. Gee I sure make my life sound exciting don’t I?

13 Comments

I Play Porn Games For The Story // 19.02.2012

Hey guys, blog time again. And I mean the REAL blog, not the ‘off brand’ stuff you may have been reading. I play videogames and read visual novels, then try to write up my thoughts in this weekly post. Though you probably know that by now, I’ve been doing this for a while now. Seriously, how long do I have to do this before I can retire to a beach or something? These porn games really take a lot out of me... you know, because the stories are so good. Anyway, blog.

Ghost Trick

Now this week, instead of playing any of the new games that I’ve bought over the last few weeks on various indie sales, or hell, even the games I bought on Steam years ago that still haven’t been as much as installed, I played Ghost Trick. Ghost Trick was on my list of my favourite games from last year, and because of that I decided to dig out my copy and play it again. However, a chapter or so into the game, it was released on the iOS. So obviously, I stopped playing Ghost Trick to go purchase Ghost Trick.

Guys I really like Ghost Trick.

If you didn’t already know, you should go out and get Ghost Trick.

Just saying.

What I will say is that I really don’t like the iOS port of the game. Now granted I’m on an iPhone so it could be a better experience on iPad, but I guess I just prefer the DS touch screen to the iPhone touch screen. Also, since the iPhone screen is slightly more widescreen than the DS screen, there’s a weird margin when playing the game. Then again, none of these issues are game breaking, and it’s still a great game regardless of the small gripes I have against the port.

The best part about it is the story. Now, without spoiling anything, I finished the game when it first came out in one sitting. Literally, went to the store the second it opened, bought the game, ignored my classes and didn’t leave my bed until the game was finished. I remember being a little annoyed that I wouldn’t be able to replay the game because of the story.

The story makes the game, and the twist at the very end is pretty funny and amazing, and puts a lot of the game into perspective. However, I also thought it would render the game worthless. There was no point playing through a story again if you already know what’s going to happen. But then the best thing happened. I forgot. Now I didn’t forget the big twist, but I forgot about a lot of the smaller stuff. I replayed the first chapter with the knowledge of the main twist, and was somehow even more confused about what was going on. It made replaying the game a lot better than I thought it would be. And I can’t wait for another year down the line where I forget about it again.

Simpsons Arcade

So for the first time in what seems like decades, my weekly videogame night between my friend and I actually resulted in us playing a videogame. One of the unofficial official founding members bought Simpsons Arcade for PSN, and since there are four of us, we reluctantly decided to play through it.

This game’s rather weird. I understand that they have to make a lot of concessions to make the setting work for an arcade brawler, but man, not even the Simpsons Movie makes this many changes. My friends and I were a lot more interested in figuring out why Moe’s Tavern is now deep underground accessible only by falling into a fake grave in the graveyard. Some part of me says that’s a bad place for a tavern. Also that in the search for Maggie, all four of them fall down a waterfall, which causes them all to dream the same dream? Also the dream vaguely follows the intro animation for the show? Yeah I really don’t know.

Apart from that there isn’t anything to talk about here, it’s an arcade brawler in which you can jump and attack. Not saying it’s a bad game but... well, actually, I guess I am. It’s a bad game. And since we all completed it in like 50 minutes or so, and even though I had fun there’s no reason to ever load it up ever again. I’m just glad I wasn’t the one that bought it.

Silver ~Giniro~

When I first starts doing Silver ~Giniro~, I was excited rather. After all, the English translation was included in the release of the origin of the game really. Because considerably there is a curious matter of the eyesight new scene. But on the other hand, I thought oh God, the translation it was included in original edition, was a certain thing which how is terrible and is that it goes actualized? That experience can deteriorate very with language translation, but when looked at Silver ~Giniro~, just a little it is dejected.

The story divides into five stories. As for the principal story Mr. Kuze travelling in forest before following by daughter Isuna. He turns around the person who is being moved to the night when it meets to the girl it is young with the forest. She says that we would like to go to the city, it requires. Naturally, they go do so. While travelling, the story can being discontinued by the other four stories. First it converts the excessive story, but when, possessing all principal stories and link mutually to chapter all end, it seems some optional way. As for the thread which connects each one of these stories it is the thread silver which exactly can give the request to that holder.

Story itself considerably dejected, but I who am intention presume. Rather like story of Monkey’s Paw, the request which one by one asks ending in those which try the fact that it copes with the request which is asked in order to work, as intended those, it solves exactly and being happy, the margin which is rubbed. The result story legitimately depressing, but perhaps as should have, for me, like Narcissu, really you obtained those none feelings in me. Connection somewhat is understandable, considering, both stories had same lead to them, but even start chapter almost is the same.

As for the largest dissatisfaction where I have it should being very known, as for that it is translation. As I said beginning this section, translation was really included in the original Japanese release of the game. But it is translation from the terrible machine translation where you do not see what which that occurs mainly thing because of what. While I have not expected much, it could not pierce many of the person and the story and it could point. I when good translation really is good due to sufficiently, that really it can use story itself expect. With the translation here, still it is possible to obtain the essential principle of each story, but clearly, it is lost rather with many translations. The game being released in 2001 and therefore not being able to accept the translation of this type thinks of that the people are conscious to that. Oh it is good, I am not at all better than most reading solution possible reading solutions possibility, but it presumes that it is not. That even now is shame. I for translating when is not, this visual novel story meeting and may look at to be very effective. But as for me being enjoyed exactly about perhaps, it is worthy of, it was not possible in this kind of reason to enjoy that greatly.

As for this time, as for this kind of translation being based around joke projects on Flyable Heart. Therefore because it is the best thing where this should remove from this experience the fact that the method translation being long it went.

And with... that? That’s the end of this week’s edition! Every week for the past month or so I’ve been wondering just why haven’t I been playing that many videogames, then I realised I’m replacing all my gaming and programming time with my next giant mashup! It’s currently got 215 songs and will hopefully be finished in a few weeks. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a lot more ambitious than it is... well, enjoyable to listen to. But it’ll be fun either way!

16 Comments

I Play Porn Games For The Story // 12.02.2012

Welcome to my blog of stuff in which I write things hastily 20 minutes before my self-imposed deadline. Here I talk about games that I’ve never played and visual novels I read about in reviews from other websites and then pretended to play by changing the opinions ever so slightly. I mean seriously who plays videogames anymore? I’m all about the Superbowl now. You catch that match? It was pretty amazing, that hand egg was thrown around and quarterbacks were all “what do you want me to do with this oh drop it on the ground ok cool I can do that.”

I guess when you think about it, we all 18-1 in our lives at some point.

Minecraft

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t play Minecraft, I just end up being in the same room as someone who does play it... All the time. That’s pretty much like playing it right?

Now let me start off this section by saying I really don’t like Minecraft. I’ve never really liked Minecraft and I also don’t understand its appeal. I did buy it near the start because I wanted to know what the hell everyone was raving about and thought the whole sandbox gameplay wasn’t for me. Then when they actually added things to do, I didn’t really want that either. I guess this game, like the Bethesda games, are just going into a pile of stuff I don’t get.

The reason I wanted to talk about Minecraft, however, was not just to tell you my opinion on it. Why would anyone care about a blog in which someone just told you their opinions on videogames? No, instead, I’m here to tell you about the ending of Minecraft.

Like god damn it.

Like holy shit what the fuck god damn it.

I was minding my own business, lying on someone else’s bed playing my 3DS while someone was playing Minecraft as is a usual occurrence in my life. He was playing Minecraft in creative mode or whatever and got to the ending. I decided to pay attention and man I really wish I hadn’t because it’s the biggest load of stupid my brain has ever read. Like I didn’t like Minecraft before and this sealed the deal right here.

And if those 8 minutes of text wasn’t pretentious enough, the credits end with a Mark Twain joke.

LIKE WHAT?

I’m sorry I’m just... man, it’s so stupid. My friend and I then decided to do a dramatic reading of it to make it sound even stupider and hey guess what it worked. AND THUS THE PLAYER WAS LOVE.

Maybe it’s too deep for me I dunno.

Crush3d

Again in my never ending search for games to play on my 3DS lead me to Crush3d, a remake of the PSP game Crush. Now I bought Crush when it first came out and remember really enjoying it, so I was looking forward to this new release. However, the game got pushed back a bit and I got impatient. So impatient that instead of buying the new game, I just found my old PSP copy of Crush, and played that instead.

The core concept of Crush, and Crush3d, is rather simple. You have to navigate a 3D world collecting glowing orbs to open up the level end gate. The puzzle element comes in from you being able to ‘crush’ the world down to a 2D world. You can move the camera around in 90 degree chunks and crush the world to reach far away platforms, and then uncrush to appear over to another part of the world. That makes sense right? On top of that there are secrets in each level, if you crush the world at a certain angle you can see a glowing trophy, which means there is a collectable trophy near that point, but only when the world is crushed at that angle.

Like most good puzzle games, it’s a fairly base premise that can become devilishly hard later on. You learn rather early on that you can crush yourself into a wall, and the game will automatically kick you back to 3D if you try, there are also barrels you can push to create new platforms that, at later levels will require timed crushes to move to the right position. Getting all of the collectables in a level gets rather difficult pretty fast, which is also great, giving you reason to go back to the levels once you’ve completed them. Or if you’re crazy like me, refuse to walk into the end gate before you backtrack through the entire level to find all the collectables.

I also decided to play the 3DS demo after it finally came out and I’m pretty glad I didn’t get that version. The redone visuals, while it makes sense for a ‘3D’ified version to make it more colourful and easier to see, I still don’t think it works for the game as well as the original graphics. The original game for the PSP is one of my favourites for that system, which I don’t know if that tells you more about the game quality or the system itself, and I’m glad I found a reason to go back to it. If you can find it on PSP then by all means you should try it out, the 3DS version seems to be the same game bar the visuals so it’s still a high quality puzzle game, and therefore still worth playing.

Sekien no Inganock

Recently, while talking to a few friends about game design, I came to the conclusion that one of my favourite things about games is the universe they inhabit. Games like Phoenix Wright work so well for me because of the world that the stories take place in, and of course the fact that they’re great games helps too. On that note, this week’s visual novel is Sekien no Inganock, one of the best universes I’ve seen in a long while.

The story takes place in a closed city that was effectively destroyed 10 years ago in an event called ‘the Revival’, an event that no-one remembers. Due to this, the majority of the residents have mutated in animal hybrids. The main character is Gii, a travelling doctor whose mutation has given him incredible healing powers, and therefore goes around the city healing people, and only asking money from people who can afford it. He lives with a cat mutant called Ati who works as a runner, whose mutation allows her super fast speed. During an outing, Gii finds and rescues a small girl called Kia who seems completely oblivious to what’s happened to the city.

The game is broken up into 12 different chapters. In each chapter there is one section where you listen to the character’s thoughts, and this is the only real play input the game has. In these sections, the sides of the screen will have stain glass versions of the characters, and the more inner thoughts you read, the clearer the character portraits become. However, when you listen to one character’s thoughts, it will stop you from listening to other character’s thoughts. So basically the thoughts have to be read in order to proceed. It’s essentially a puzzle game when you boil it down, but it can be pretty frustrating at times. You can continue the story whenever you want, but unless both portraits in this scene are clear, the game will not let you proceed with the proper story and dump you with a game over.

The universe the game creates is very intriguing. In the inner thoughts section there are two icons, the mask and the arm, that you can click to read more about the universe and the events that transpired 10 years ago. By the end of the game you get a pretty clear indication about what happened, and all the conspiracies and deals that have happened in this city to land it in the situation it is in. There is a lot of information and most of it is left a mystery until the latter half of the game, but by the end you as the player ends up knowing a lot more about the universe than even the main player does.

The look of the game and the writing really supports the universe too. The art style looks like a lot of sketchy drawings for all the characters, even side characters have portraits that aren’t coloured in properly, which works really well with the vague steampunk aesthetic. The writing is rather poetic, which might not appeal to some people admittedly, and leaves a lot of things vague, but I feel that it definitely adds to the atmosphere.

Each chapter seems to stand on its own, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. While not all chapters are necessarily standalone, with characters from previous chapters showing up in the entire narrative, each chapter does follow the same structure. The only decisions the player gets given besides the inner thoughts are during the fight scenes. Eac chapter has one, each time they are the same options, and every time the fight plays out exactly the same. While it gets points for consistency, it can also be a bit tiring seeing the main character just do exactly the same thing in every confrontation and still come out on top.

I feel this is a story that is definitely worth checking out. While the ending doesn’t tie up all the loose ends the story throws at you, but at the same time the story provides such an amazing place that feels alive.

I'M GONNA TEACH YOU ALL ABOUT DEFEAT!

Difficulty

I’ve probably talked about this before but I don’t care.

Difficulty is unsurprisingly one of the more difficult things to program in a game, trying to find the right balance between something that offers challenge but doesn’t feel unfair is probably one of the biggest challenges programmers encounter. You may make a great game that looks great and plays amazing, but unless you can find that perfect balance, or unless you’re incredibly lucky, the game will fail to appeal to its maximum potential audience.

I encountered this relatively recently with my game Bullet Bill 3, most specifically the Phanto implementation. I feel and I will stand by that the Phanto is my game has the perfect difficulty, but as it turns out a lot of people didn’t agree with that. I’m not saying I’m upset with the reaction, I expected people to think it was difficult, and I’ve had a few changes to tweak the difficulty and I decided against it, but at the same time there are a lot of people that had their experience lessened because of that difficulty. As a programmer I should be happy that I met the difficulty that I wanted to achieve with that enemy, but as a designer, should I be upset that I couldn’t find that perfect balance?

In my latest, still untitled and barely started My Little Pony game, I’m met with this conundrum yet again. I want the game to have three different difficulty levels, but I still have no idea how to go about having them. Should the enemies be more difficult or faster? That might work but then I’d have to make sure all three versions of the game were still fun to play. Should I just reduce the number of lives the player has when they start the game? That might work as well, but how many lives are fair? If the game is one hit kill (which is more than likely will be) should the level restart at the end of each life? Or should I instead just set how many hits the player can take? Should this number reset for each game? The entire concept of the game is like multiple games in one, so the player would have to play through multiple genres in one playthough, if they’re competent at one genre and terrible at another, should I have options to lower difficulty per genre? How would that effect scoring? Should it effect scoring? Does any of this really matter or am I making it a bigger deal than it deserves to be?

I think I end this section every time with a “Yeah there’s no real conclusion to this”, so here’s a video of Cloudberry, a game I can’t tell if I’m interested in playing or extremely scared of.

And here we go, it’s the end once again. Don’t worry, I’ll be here again next week! Maybe then I’ll have actually played a videogame or two? Who knows? Crazier things have happened after all.

And just remember, the player was love.

5 Comments

I Play Porn Games For The Story // 05.02.2012

Oh man is it this time already? Hey everyone and welcome to yet another monotonous edition of my weekly blog. Here I talk about visual novels, videogames, and absolutely nothing else in the slightest. Also ever since I had to submit work for university my sleeping pattern is completely different, so at the time I post this I should be asleep for a good few hours. But some reason instead of changing when I post the blog I just stay up and get super goddamn tired. So let’s get into it so I can get some sleep!

Oh right, a song link, err, have I used this one yet? Probably, but whatever, anyway, NOW we can get going with the blog!

Fortune Summoners

So the videogame I’ve been playing a bunch of this week is Fortune Summoners, the latest joint from Carpe Fulgur. As what’s become tradition whenever Carpe Fulgur drops a game, I buy install and play it the second it’s available. In fact I bought and installed this game before it was even in the new releases tab on Steam, so that was a thing. This is the first of their games not made by EasyGameStation, but at this stage I trust Carpe Fulgur to be choosing only the highest quality stuff to bring over.

The best way I can describe Fortune Summoners is Zelda 2 mixed with Demon Souls which might turn away a large percentage of you, but hear me out! The combat is a lot like Zelda 2 as it’s side scrolling and stuff like that, but the Demon Souls aspect comes about in the movement. While the movement feels like the entire world is made of ice, the attacking is really deliberate, and if you don’t stop and think about each encounter you’re gonna get messed up. When I first started playing I just mashed the attack button whenever I got close to an enemy, but even the starting slimes feel like they’ve been coded in such a way that if you do that, they’ll just jump over every attack you throw. Needless to say when I started playing I wasn’t having that much fun because of this, but eventually I got used to the combat and the game is much better for it.

The story is of a young girl called Arche as her family moves to a new town to open an item shop. Here she attends a new school that teaches magic. She, however, doesn’t have an elemental stone, and therefore can’t participate in the practice. One of her classmates claims there’s an elemental stone hidden in a nearby cave, so naturally she goes exploring. After a few trips she eventually finds a stone, but the power has been sealed away. Then, you know, videogames, I guess. Arche goes to find a way to break the seal and does other stuff in the process and videogames.

I'm being adorable and no-one can stop me!

I’m definitely enjoying the game; it just took a while to get to that point. The combat as I said either will probably make or break the game for a lot of people. Also either I’m an idiot or the game doesn’t really explain itself that well. I usually just go exploring and accidently stumble on to what I’m meant to be doing. There are a few limitations, like the bridge will be broken until you’re meant to use it and stuff like that, but a few times after not knowing what to do, I’d just go fight or talk to townspeople and eventually find the right path again. I can’t tell if that’s a fault of mine or not, so I’m going to assume it is.

Oh, something I forgot to mention, there’s another really cool tihgn about the combat, and that’s the levelling system. The levelling works almost like any other RPG in that you get experience for every enemy you kill, but on top of that there is a level cap to prevent excessive grinding. When you start the game you’re limited to level 3 for the first few days. Then when you complete the first dungeon you find a giant item that increases your level cap. Then after that these are hidden in other dungeons. It’s a really cool system that encourages you to go exploring in all the dungeons to raise your level cap. Without grinding I’ve found the rate in which I find these items and how Arche levels up to be pretty comparable, always being one or two levels away from my cap at any given time.

I’m only a few hours into the game so there’s still quite a bit to go, but yeah, I highly recommend at least trying out the demo, which covers up until the end of the first dungeon.

The weirdest thing about the English visual novel scene is the battle between officially translated releases and fan translated releases. While I understand that it’s rather impractical for some of the bigger releases get official translations, as I imagine the developers ask hell of money for them, it’s still annoying that the official stuff is always the worst and might have soured some people’s opinion on visual novels as a whole, and these people think visual novels shouldn’t be allowed on a videogame database dedicated to videogames despite being videogames just because of a few extreme ones and somehow it’s perfectly acceptable to kill and main thousands of dudes but if there’s a sex scene then oh no that’s terrible Psycosis you need to stop writing these blogs we don’t want any promotion given to these vile creations.

...Hypothetcially speaking of course.

Silver Chaos

Besides the extreme examples, another group of games that get translated a lot, both officially and unofficially, are boy love visual novels, which is to say, oh god I’m so gay look how gay I am everything about this is homosexual in nature: the videogame. So yeah, this week I decided to take a look at Silver Chaos. Because someone has to, right?

The story is set in generic medieval adventure land and starts with the main character, Might, on the verge of death after falling off a cliff. His friend, Adonis, finds him in a hospital bed, and learns he doesn’t have long to live. However, a mysterious person gives him a book containing a magic spell that will be able to save Might’s life, at the cost of his own. Adonis performs the spell, and is captured by an evil spirit just as Might regains consciousness. Might then sets off to find where Adonis has been taken, and is rather homosexual in his adventures.

I DUNNO BRO HE SEEMS PRETTY TRUSTWORTHY TO ME.

The intro really brought up a lot of discussion, or rather; when I saw my bros I asked them if they would sacrifice themselves for another. The stipulations were you loved the person you were going to revive, but also that they loved you back, which made for an interesting dynamic. I was of the opinion that it is an incredibly selfish thing to do, whereas one of my friend’s thought the opposite, leading to the discussion. I think it’s selfish because all you’re doing is relieving yourself of the heartbreak. If a person you loved died, you would have to carry the burden of that death and lost love for the rest of your life. By switching roles, you yourself can feel good knowing that the person you love is still alive, but the burden has been passed on to them instead. My friend’s point of view was, I think, the more straight forward approach, of it being the ultimate sacrifice, allowing the person you love to continue living and hopefully love another. Both points of view are valid, and while we both said given the circumstances we would in fact go through with it, I don’t think it’s as noble as some might. I also asked this to another group of friends, but their response was “I would just revive them using the Dragon Balls.” Good to see I keep such great company.

One thing I have noticed in this visual novel, and to be honest in a lot of other boy love visual novels I’ve played, is that every single character is gay. Like, damn, there isn’t a straight one out the entire cast. I guess the game is meant to appeal to people that’d like that kind of thing but hot damn, it’s still strange. Even the king, who has a son that is of course incredibly effeminate, is gay. I just can’t process this much gay at once.

Pop quiz: Which one is the gay one? Answer: Both!

Oh right, the actual visual novel. The story works for what it is. You meet a bunch of people as you get ready to go out and save Adonis from whatever took him. It’s here that you get to choose which guy the main character should get with, but that doesn’t amount to much more than alternative endings. While each character has their own story, they’re mostly brushed off pretty quickly.

Something that has become commonplace recently is that I do a bunch of stupid pony related mashups. Last week’s episode gave me a new song to mess around with, so I decided the best way to go about that was to put it to Lady Gaga, naturally.

Space Jam Sundays

Something you may or not know is that I recently got myself a Tumblr page, I figured it’d be convenient to have some place for all my mashups to go since I’ve grown accustom to never updating my actual website ever. A project I decided to start there is ‘Space Jam Sundays’, where, rather predictably, I post a mashup featuring Quad City DJ’s award winning masterpiece ‘Space Jam’. So far the songs have included My Little Pony, Haruhi Suzumiya, Flo Rida and Ocarina of Time. What could tomorrow’s track be? Who knows! You’ll just have to go there to find out!

And again that’s it from me! Though speaking of mashups I’m hard at work on my next half hour long project, and it’s pretty... actually, it’s incredibly stupid. There’s a 5 second section that has samples from Beastie Boys, The Killers, Daft Punk, The Eagles and Rick Ross and somehow it doesn’t sound like the worst thing ever. Hopefully I’ll be able to get that out soon so I can spend my time on real projects like videogames!

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I Play Porn Games For The Story // 29.01.2012

Hey guys, I thought it’d be novel to write a blog about what I’ve done this week. Weird right? I mean I never do that, so why start now? Oh well, while I’m not coming up with crazy ideas like this, I sometimes play videogames, read visual novels, and well, just don’t ask about my music or how that’s coming bout. Much like most weeks, as it turns out I did almost nothing. You’d think I’d need to actually do stuff to justify a weekly blog, OH WELL.

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition

I bought Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition a while back; and then completely forgot I bought it. Luckily I found it while registering a few games to get that free Kid Icarus NES download and have been playing it ever since. Guess what guys, it’s Street Fighter IV.

Before I actually talk about the game, I have to admit to something. This is the 8th time I’ve bought this game, at least, that I remember. I own the PC, 360 and PS3 version of the original Street Fighter 4. I started with the PS3 version due to the superior D-Pad, and moved to the 360 version because of moving out for university and only having an old 360. When Super came out I got both versions on the day of release. I ended up getting both iPhone versions too. Getting the 3DS version just made sense, because the controls on the iPhone versions aren’t good, and I don’t have a PS3 or 360 in my currently flat, and my PC can’t actually run Street Fighter 4 at a decent framerate. Hey, at least it was cheap, probably.

So this version is totally Street Fighter IV you guys, with a few weird changes. For one the timing on the fast recover is weird. By weird I mean I can hardly ever get it right, despite never ever missing it in any other version of the game ever. It’s practically second nature for me to just press the shoulder buttons before my character hits the ground, so I have no idea what they did to the timing of that, but I hate it. Second, they added a dynamic camera that moves the camera behind your character, to better show off the 3D. It’s not an ideal way to play but it’s still usable to an extent. It’s good for showing the 3D stuff, but I can’t ever see me actually using it for playing the game.

The biggest change, however, is the touch screen addition. The touch screen adds four buttons, and you can set these buttons to punches, kicks, specials, supers or ultras. Now that’s pretty much the most messed up thing, as that control scheme makes charge characters incredibly broken, because they now don’t have to charge their specials. But honestly, I like it. Right now I have it set to two buttons for all three punch and kicks, like the L2 and R2 would be on a control for me, and the other two buttons for super and ultra. Now since I never use charge characters I don’t have that advantage to setting those buttons, but rather I know I can bust out supers and ultras in as little as 10 frames, the buttons for me just save me from having to remember which way I have to quarter circle when I play random characters.

Since I’ve gotten to the point with fighting games and this game especially, that no-one wants to fight me because I’ve got too much swag; I usually just go to the trails in Super Street Fighter IV. I want to take this opportunity to say I’ve completed all the trails in every version of this game (that has them), and I’m well on my way to go in on this version too. I can never recreate them in an actual fight, but it’s still a lot of fun. Maybe I’m just crazy, I dunno, but I was playing it next to a friend when a combo that he said he was stuck on for weeks showed up. Naturally I attempted it and almost did it first time. I looked at him and said “wait what did I do wrong?” He looked at me super pissed off and said “you did the wrong punch at the start.”

“Oh, right.” I replied, nonchalantly, and did it properly directly afterward.

Heart de Roommate

The problem with visual novels is that you can’t really pick and choose what gets translated. Most of the time the more interesting and quite frankly good visual novels are all translated by fans, and any official translations are usually of a lower quality. I’m selling some of the official translations short admittedly, but that’s always been my experience. Take for example, G-Collections, their translations include Let’s Meow Meow, Do You Like Horny Bunnies? and others. Obviously they only licence the best quality stuff, and on that note, I decided to check out Heart de Roommate.

The story follows Yusuke Sawada as he transfers to a new school. Unfortunately, his parents forgot to enrol him into any kind of student accommodation, and per hilarious chance, the place he then planned to live decided to burn out as he arrived. As it happens, he then bumps into his childhood friend Asumi Hirota, who as a hilarious misfortune on the behalf of Yusuke, mistakes him as a pervert. Then something about blackmailing happens and Asumi lets Yusuke stay with her in her dorm. However, hilariously, the dorm is girls only, so she has to disguise him and yadda yadda visual novel.

If you couldn’t tell from my description of the story this is an incredibly unfunny visual novel. A lot of the jokes fall flat which I can’t tell if that’s a fault on the original visual novel or the translation. The characters themselves are also pretty annoying, with no real redeemable characteristics. They play a lot of the ‘drama’ so by the books that anyone with any knowledge of Japanese archetypes (like me) could see what’s going to happen miles away. Did I also mention it isn’t funny at all?

The game is divided up into 26 different episodes, almost as if this was originally meant to be an anime, which have some slight variations depending on what character you pick. There is Asumi obviously, then her other roommates Tomoe, the shy one, and Marumu, the no emotion one. The episodes themselves don’t change very much between the different routes, making multiple plays rather redundant, which on one hand is good as it means in theory the story they set out to make would be more focused and interesting, but it’s not, it’s bad bland boring and very forgettable. So forgettable that I’m not actually going into specifics because I can’t remember what the fuck actually happened. Something about Marumu sitting on a roof or something.

I honestly have nothing else to say. At least with other bad visual novels I have something to actually complain about, but man, I can’t really think of anything else to say but I didn’t like it.

My Colourful Horse

I usually don’t talk about this to any great detail because I never have anything meaningful to say, and quite frankly this isn’t a good website to talk about it on. Between onii-chan is doing his damndest to promote My Colourful Horse on Anami Vice and my recent 5 hour trek to two different stores just to buy new figurines, I figured I’d talk about it for a little bit again.

So ever since becoming a fan of the show, I do have a subset of friends that watch it because of me. One of my friends started watching after I asked if he wanted to watch the first episode with me. He replied simply with “well I guess I’ll have to watch it eventually, so I guess.” After the first episode, he was admittedly unimpressed, but still willing to watch the second episode to conclude the story, and thanks to that he was interested, we watched the third and he went back to his flat to watch more. About a week later I hear an anecdote from a different friend of mine that his friend put a sign saying “Brony Faggot’s Room” on his flatmate’s door, to which we all laughed. Little did I know, my friend’s friend’s flatmate was in fact the guy I introduced ponies too, and thanks to a series of coincidences all four of us are the best of friends, and all four of us watch ponies.

The best part is this isn't my entire collection of ponies.

The weirdest part about what has happened is just how much the show has taken over our lives. I can’t really describe it better than calling it an obsession. We regularly talk about the new episodes, different characters, and just elements of the show whenever we meet. We obviously talk about a lot of other things. It might just because it seems out of place in the alcohol, drug and videogame discussions, but pony conversations seem to be in the majority.

But my homosexual horse hankering friends aren’t all I wanted to bring up, as Sum 41 puts it rather poetically; I’m probably in too deep. Most of my music related projects have been pony related in some way recently, and even my next flash game is My Little Pony related. I have 12 figurines to the left of me as I type and I regularly check pony centric Tumblr accounts and websites. I’m writing this blog while listening to fan made original music about background characters from the show while watching someone livestream themselves drawing fanart of background characters of the show.

It’s probably the deepest I’ve gotten into any one fandom. I’ve been fans of other things, sure, but they have never gotten to this level of crazy. The closest thing that’s ever gotten this close is my undying love of The Beatles. The Beatles take over my life every few weeks, and I’ve never managed to pin point why exactly that is. I think of myself as someone who enjoys music, listening to almost every genre in one fashion or another. But there’s something about The Beatles that no matter what happens, I can’t at this point in time see myself getting over them. The way I think they’re like ponies to me is that, well, if I were to name my top 5 albums, it’s populated by Akira the Don, Kanye West, Gorillaz, Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson. And while I say my favourite song is While My Guitar Gently Weeps, I doubt there is another Beatles song in an expansive list of my favourite tracks. Yet for some reason, they’re the band I always go back to. I could spend an entire day just listening to the Love album on loop and I’d be complacent. I guess what I’m trying to say here is, ponies isn’t the best show, it isn’t the best produced, the most interesting or the funniest, but for some bizarre reason it’s got its hold on me like no other show has.

Instead of playing videogames, my friend draws Calvin Harris riding on Vinyl Scratch because PONIES.

The only difference is that I’m sort of worried about it. I’ve never considered myself ‘going too far’ with my love of The Beatles, but I’ve actually had to stop and take time to think to myself why the hell I’ve dedicated this chunk of my life to this show. I can never come up with a reason, other that “maybe it’s just that good” and maybe that should just be enough. Again maybe it’s just because of this website in general that I feel that way, because the reaction to anything pony is met with the people who can’t fucking stand it and feel it’s their duty to the world to state their opinion as if they are on some kind of fucking crusade and the people who absolutely love the fucking show and feel it’s their duty in the world to inflict every single people they have even the slightest contact with with the show. It’s a back and forth that, while is the basis of the internet and will always happen, just makes everyone look like the worst thing.

I guess I do have a lot to say, but I’ll cut it off here. I’ve never felt an ounce of shame in liking what I like, but that’s stemmed from my youth of really enjoying Mary Kate & Ashley: Crush Course and Mary Kate & Ashley: Winner’s Circle for the Playstation.

I guess that’s all I have to say for now. Join me next week where I will probably also not do anything of any real interest and have to come up with something to write at the very last minute. It’s worked well for me up until now; I don’t see why I should stop!

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I Play Porn Games For The Story // 22.01.2012

Why hello there! Welcome to my weekly blog of stuff that I do in the seven days that separate the regularly scheduled blogs that I post on the internets. The things I end up doing are usually playing videogames, reading visual novels, watching anime, coding videogames and watching all three Naked Gun films back to back to back. Well, let’s get this stupid thing started!

Streetpass Quest

In what might be the best thing the 3DS has going for it, I’ve been having way too much fun playing Streetpass Quest. So, firstly, if you don’t know what the Streetpass functionality is, it’s basically when your 3DS gets close to another 3DS, your mii appears in the other 3DS’ mii plaza, and similarly your 3DS has a new guest too. This, combined with the fact the 3DS has a pedometer in it, and you get play coins for walking, has convinced me to just bring my 3DS with me wherever I go.

While actually Streetpass functionality is rather boring, the best part about it is Streetpass Quest, a built in ‘game’ in the plaza. When you start the game, your mii, who happens to be the king, gets captured. Then, every mii that guests in your plaza, is a wandering adventurer who can go into a dungeon and attempt to rescue you. Each mii you find has two attacks; they can attack with their sword, or cast a magic spell. If they attack wit their sword, they attack three times, and if they cast magic, they cast a spell that corresponds to whatever shirt their wearing, which in turn is that specific mii’s favourite colour.

This may seem like an incredibly basic thing, but man is it silly fun, and more often than not the very first things my friends and I do whenever we meet up. If you keep meeting the same mii, that mii will level up, and do more damage. You’ll meet ghosts holding shields, that can only be destroyed by mii’s that have the same favourite colour, resulting in a lot of “ok change your colour to light blue for when we next meet” type demands.

When you beat the quest one time, you can activate the second quest, which makes everything a lot harder and a lot more challenging. Two colour shields, enemies that can scare the adventurers away before they even attack, and a lot more stuff like that. In a normal RPG these kinds of things would be just fine, but this entire game is reliant on Streetpassing, therefore, I can only play the game once or twice a day, so having a group of ghosts scare away all of my adventurers can be kind of annoying, since I can’t do anything about it for another 6 hours. But I can see this kind of thing being amazing in other RPGs. Imagine the next Pokemon game, and when you Streetpass someone else with that game, you can then later fight whatever pokemans they were holding at that time. A Dragon Quest game in which Streetpassing people results in a bandit like ambush where the bandits are the people you met walking around. I’m hoping more games implement Streetpass in interesting ways, as it might be the most interesting part of the 3DS to me at this point.

Happy Feet Two

Guys I bought Happy Feet Two. You need proof? Well here you go.

I have more money than sense. Well when I loaded up the game, that Wayforward logo popped up. Looks like I found how they got their hands on a 3DS dev kit.

If you don’t know what Happy Feet is then fuck if I know, something to do with penguins and dancing is really all I can figure out. Honestly, this game is a lot funnier if you imagine it’s March of the Penguins 2, doing the best Morgan Freeman impressions you can while playing. I will justify this purchase god damn it.

The game itself is rather basic fare. It’s a platformer in which you collect musical notes and your attack is dancing. Every so often you meet penguins who are all angry and shit and you COMPELL THEM WITH THE POWER OF DANCE, turning them happy and unable to stop dancing or something. The more notes you collect the different kinds of dances you unlock, but most of them seem rather pointless. You also unlock the ability to summon smaller penguins that can wall jump or ground pound, to get access to hidden notes.

Also because it’s the 3DS there are some 3D elements too, like a minigame in which the main penguin flies, because he’s a penguin, collecting musical notes. There is also a boss that’s reminiscent of the snow boss in Donkey Kong Country 3 in the sense that there is snow and snowballs, not in the sense that it’s fun to play, easy to control or satisfying in the slightest.

Why did I buy this?

Tetris

In another move that will surely go down in history as a videogame that I bought, I decided to pick up a copy of Tetris for 3DS, known as Tetris Axis in that North Murka country, but plain ass Tetris over here.

While my main reason for picking it up is my love for Tetris, and just having Tetris in my pocket is always a great thing, I’ve ended up playing all of the extra modes a lot more than I ever thought I would. Probably my favourite of these modes is the Fever mode, which shrinks the grid down to five columns, which makes the game a lot harder than you’d think.

Another cool thing is the computer battle mode, which has a bunch of powerups. Every so often a tetromino will have a multicoloured glowing block inside of it, have that block get cleared and you get yourself a powerup. These can range from getting rid of some of the lines on your board or really dicking over your opponent. My favourite has to be the grid swap ability, which just switches around your board and your opponent’s board, which might be the worst thing you could do to anyone ever. Thankfully the computer is pretty dumb when it comes to using this ability, as on multiple occasions I’ve had the computer switch boards around right as I’m about to lose the match, and then they proceed to lose straight away. Against other people, however, it’s the worst. I have a friend who won’t play against me anymore because as soon as I get that ability I just stack all my pieces in the centre of the grid and switch them around. He was so mad.

The only complaint I have is that it dresses my mii like shit.

Serious the hell is that?

My Girlfriend is the President

Guys.

Guys I can’t.

What is.

But wait I.

The fuck is going on?

So I decided to get My Girlfriend is the President, and damn, this is the Saints Row: The Third of visual novels. That should be enough and I can just drop the proverbial mic right here and walk away.

So the story is as such, after an intense space battle, a space ship crashes into Japan and blows it the eff up. To cover her tracks, Qoo, a loli alien, decides to brainwash the entire world to convince them that a random girl is the president of the country ‘The United States of Nippon’, and moves the White House to cover the crater. The girl who is now president, as the title doesn’t suggest at all, is the protagonist’s childhood friend Ohama Yukino. The protagonist, Hondou Jun, is the vice president, and his best friend Morita is the director of intelligence. Jun happens to be unaffected by the brainwash by sheer chance, and thus Qoo has to convince him to play along. After a freak jetpack accident, he ends up saving a girl from a group of terrorists, and that girl happens to be the president of ‘Rusia’, Irina Putina. Along with the presidents, there is Miyoshi Ran, another childhood friend of Jun, and Ell, the spaceship that crashed into Japan, who Qoo turns into a teenage girl because why not?

The act of brainwashing the entire world gets the attention of a race of alien known as the guardians, who are trying to turn Earth back to normal. To do this, an alien in the form of a panda tries to kidnap Ohama while she’s at a hot spring and... I, I just can’t.

The set up for this visual novel might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen, and it’s amazing for it. The actual character routes, however, can get a little generic if you peel back the several layers of crazy, which is disappointing. But I guess the fact that even though Ohama is the president she STILL ATTNEDS HIGH SCHOOL and then the first day back to high school the Rusian president TRANSFERS TO THAT HIGH SCHOOL and thus this high school HAS TWO WORLD LEADERS AS STUDENTS is a pretty silly little addition.

Did I mention one of the girls is actually a spaceship turned into a girl? Yeah? Well did I mention Qoo transforms another spaceship into another girl who then tries to kill Ohama and the original spaceship?

Did I mention the first spaceship IS AFRIAD OF HEIGHTS?

You should play My Girlfriend is the President.

Anime, you guys, it’s pretty weird. Some might even say it’s specifically made for jerks. I think I broke my friend last week talking about the new winter line up of anime, but only specifically mentioning the anime that took place in high schools. Luckily for me, that was still, like, all of the anime. The last one I mentioned was Mouretsu Pirates, not mentioning anything about high school, and then at the end saying “Oh by the way, she goes to space high school.”

Manabi Straight

But before I can go on to the amazing new high school based anime, I have to clear my back catalogue of old high school based anime, so on that note, I decided to watch Manabi Straight, a rather straight forward slice of life high school anime.

The anime takes place in the year 2035, fro I might add no real good reason, and stars Manami Amamiya, who transfers to Seioh High School. She shows up to school a day before she officially starts to take place in a swimming race, despite not knowing how to swim. On the actual day of her transfer, she crashes into a school assembly and becomes the school council president. Then the entire thing decides to slice of life around her and her friends Mika, Mutsuki, Mei and Momoha as they adhere to being clumsy, tomboyish, tsundere and shy respectively.

Rather peculiarly, an actual plot gets introduced around half way into the series. Due to declining birth rates, the amount of students at Seioh has dropped over the years, forcing a merger between Seioh high school and Aikoh high school. While this seems like a small thing, the merger has caused the cancellation of the Seioh school fair, an event that the student council has been looking forward to and acts as if it’s the only thing that’s ever going to happen in their lives ever. So obviously, they get upset, and the back half of the series is spent trying to get the school fair back on.

But really, is there anything I can say about this anime? It’s high school slice of life, anything other than ‘cute girls doing cute things’ is completely redundant. The songs are nice, the animation for what it is works well, but yeah nothing else I can really say. Apart from the slight amount of plot thrown in at the end you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to slice of life anime.

Though the intro song has been completely ruined for me.

The Internet Is For Music

While I didn’t make anything knew this week, I felt with the whole internet blackout thing that happened, I should upload my internet mashup onto YouTube. For those who missed it when I first released it in like September or something, it’s a half hour long mashup featuring 195 samples, all of which are internet memes in some way. The samples used have a little bias toward early YTMND stuff but that’s really just because it’s all based on my last ten plus years browsing the awful brilliance that is the internet.

And I guess that’s it. My sleeping pattern is still completely out of whack since university submission deadlines. Meaning I’m usually going to sleep at 6pm and waking up at 3am now. To be honest I’m kind of digging it, and I’d probably keep this schedule if my friends weren’t annoying and actually wanted to hang out with me like some kind of socializing weirdos. I also started proper work on my latest project, a yet to be named My Little Pony game. I told myself after submission I’d take a lot break from coding, a break that lasted approximately 12 hours before starting on this new project. It’s the most ambitious project I’ve ever come up with, so look forward to it sometime next year!

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