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
6 Comments
Posted by Psycosis

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.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

I had no idea Mine craft had a ending. From what you described it reminds me of the Eternal Sonata ending.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

I had no idea Mine craft had a ending.

It does? I need to get on this Minecraft shit.

Edited by Bocam
Posted by Hailinel

How the hell does Minecraft have an ending? O_o

Posted by Psycosis

@Hailinel: Exactly! You go into some portal and beat a dragon and that triggers the 'end credits' but it then just kicks you back into your world.

@Bocam: I have yes, it was what I did directly after posting the blog in fact. I would have read them sooner and commented on them but I ended up doing other things and running out of time. Still, great stuff, I'll probably jump into the other games in that series at some point.