I Play Porn Games For The Story // 24.07.2011

Head’s up, here’s another one! Another week of videogames, visual novels, anime and programming nonsense! So I realised, like, yesterday that I’ve pretty much spent the last week doing absolutely nothing. Usually I’d follow up this thought with a “of course Psy you don’t do anything at all why would this week be any different” and I’d be all “why do you think you can shorten my username like that, get back motherfucker you don’t know me like that” and I’d promptly challenge him to a match at Summerslam. It’ll pretty much be like the Mick Foley vs. Dude Love vs. Mankind vs. Cactus Jack fatal 4-way we’ve all secretly wanted to see.

Wait... where was I? Oh right, the blog.

Persona 3 Portable

So I’ve still been trucking along with Persona 3 Portable, my current play style is story line and social links during the day and Tartarus runs during the night, much like how the game works now that I think about it, usually accompanied with some kind of Whiskey Media related podcast. I’ve rather recently switched my play style for this run to be a Minako/Ken only run because, why not really. This makes Tartarus rather weird admittedly, and actually I think it makes the game a whole lot easier.

The trick with using fewer characters in your party boils down to experience points. In Persona 3 Portable, and many other games, you get a base amount of experience based on who you fight, and that is split between your many members. Since I’m only using two party members, the experience is only split three ways as opposed to five, as Fuuka still takes a share, and thus they all level up almost twice as fast. Now the great part of Persona 3 is that enemies can be scared of you in Tartarus, and that only factors in the main character’s level. This means the enemies will get scared faster, be more susceptible to player advantages, and will often be distressed when the fight starts, rendering them more susceptible to critical hits as well. All of this very quickly adds up, makes fights that one or two members would never be able to beat being extremely easy rush jobs due to the amount of advantages the player gets. This then obviously adds to more experience, and the characters get even more powerful. Since this is a persona game bosses will usually have some kind of exploit, even if that exploit it just hella mind change yo, and Ken learns a bunch of healing spells, it’s almost as if I planned this kind of run out!

The bad thing is anything outside of Tartarus becomes rather difficult. I just finished the early October full moon event which, to avoid any spoilers, renders Ken unavailable to fight for that boss. I knew this was coming, having played FES a lot, but it can still be rather tricky. Outside Tartarus also has a weird limitation in which Fuuka will say it’s “too dangerous” to go fight the shadows without a full party, despite everyone who isn’t Ken and Minako being rather close to their starting levels which, may not surprise you, means they are about as reliable in battle as a WWE referee is to a light breeze.

Ken is also one of the better ones for a two party run (I will justify this as much as I can dammit) due to him being one of the earliest characters to have their Persona evolve. The ultimate personas, unlike in Persona 4, are unlocked via storyline beats as opposed to maxing out social links. Another difference is ultimate personas learn different skills than the starting personas. For example, Ken’s starting persona only learns 7 moves and can’t learn any more, hell Fuuka’s only learns 3. When they evolve, however, they get a bunch more moves they can unlock. It’s a weird limitation, and I don’t know if this is the case, but I really hope this means I don’t skip moves by levelling up these characters before they get their ultimate persona. I may have skipped Ken learning Mazionga, but I just really hope I don’t skip any Fuuka abilities as those are actually useful.

Another thing I’d like to mention briefly is the different mentalities between the male and female protagonists. I guess this is just that usual different sex double standard but it’s weird giving the choice. So in Persona 3 and 4 the main characters are regular P.I.M.Ps, they can get with almost every single female character given a voice actor and get away with it, that is, if the player is good enough at maintaining them all. Persona 3 Portable, with the female protagonist, totally also has this option, but I actually had to think about if I wanted to do it. Though should have I even had that second thought, especially since I did it without even thinking when the protagonist was male. I guess what I’m trying to say is:

Or something.

Speaking of sluts, it’s time for a visual novel!

Yume Miru Kusuri

This is a weird one, if you actively pay attention to the visual novel ‘scene’ or whatever you want to call it, you’ve probably heard of this one. In fact, Yume Miru Kusuri: A Drug That Makes You Dream is probably one of the more well known visual novels, often touted as a beginner’s visual novel. I can sort of see why this story would be given that sort of treatment but if I’m honest I’ve never really understood the appeal of this one, at least not fully. I also like the idea of the visual novel ‘scene’, and I’m pretty sure no-one actually cares for them and everyone silently mocks me for writing so much about them. But I digress.

In this visual novel there are three incredibly different heroines for the main character Kouhei. There is Nekoko; a weird eccentric fairy cat girl... thing that asks Kouhei to help her find the home of the fairies... yeah. Then there is Aeka, who gets relentlessly bullied at school, and Mizuki, the school council president hailing from a rich family. The only thing that ties the heroines together is that their lives suck, suck more than even Kouhei’s, and while some problems are obviously more apparent than others, Kouhei pretty much has to decide who he wants to spend his time with and ultimately try to help. On top of all this Kouhei has to balance his part time job with a perverted gay guy who only plays visual novels all day (how meta) and his stepsister who, despite having a few random scenes here and there and going to the trouble to establish Kouhei as being adopted, doesn’t actually have a route.

So where this visual novel sorta loses me is right here, the characters themselves are rather pathetic in their own special way, and when you actually play every route you soon realise just how severe the consequences are if you don’t go with each girl. What I mean by that is, in all three of these girls would probably die if you weren’t there. Obviously you don’t really care in the first route, but hot damn, if you actually think about it it’s rather messed up. Another problem with the characters is that they are so different, which admittedly is a super weird thing to complain about. The characters are so different that they really have nothing to do with each other, and the main character really hasn’t got any incentive to go with a specific girl. This means that the character differences are there only to give some kind of weight to the player as opposed to the main character. I myself never like inserting myself into a story, even with games like this, so that kind of rubs me the wrong way. Other visual novels will sometimes have the ‘best route’ or ‘true route’, and I prefer that to ‘here are three extremely different routes and none of them are considered correct’.

I’ve also never seen a visual novel in which each heroine is so fiercely contested as this one, it’s completely crazy and I have no idea why it exists, yet at the same time I can completely understand. This game can be described as a one route game, in the sense that because the characters are so different, there will probably only be one heroine that the player will want to choose. After playing this route, any other routes will just seem completely boring and meaningless by comparison. It’s a very weird thing that I ended up doing as well. The first route I played was Aeka, and absolutely loved the route for the most part. On subsequent playthroughs I could not give a single flying fuck about anything that happened in the other routes. Yet as stated earlier people will wildly contest which route is the best stating this exact feeling for one of the other two routes. The first time I played a route after Aeka, the main character nonchalantly says that Aeka killed herself, but then went on to say he didn’t care as he had nothing to do with her. It’s such a weird thing, in her route you’re obviously there to convince her not to commit suicide, without you she has nothing.

Like I said each character is fucked up in their own unique way, and this game uses that to attack the player. People who have had friends die due to bullying will probably be more attached to Aeka, and people who know people in the positions that Nekoko and Mizuki are in will without a doubt be more willing to help them. I said earlier I don’t like seeing myself in stories like this, and this visual novel lives off that exact concept. You’ll get a lot more out of this story if you can picture yourself in these scenarios, but for me, I don’t think that’s a good thing. I’d still say it’s a recommendable visual novel if you want to try some of these kinds of stories out, you just might not be that interested in all the stories it has to offer.

I don’t claim to be an amazing programmer, hell I don’t even claim to be a programmer. I’m currently sitting my degree and have a bunch of flash games under my belt dating back to 2006. I have a certain perspective on games and I’d love to hear any thoughts or duelling opinions on. While I try my hardest to not be another echo in the cavern known as an internet forum, some of these points might just be regurgitated from other people, who knows, it’s not like I’d ever bother checking.

Importance of Scoring

The concept of high scores is weird, you do certain things right and you get 10, 20 or maybe even 100 points. It’s a good feeling, but, does score and high score tables matter? I’d be hypocrite to say that they don’t matter anymore, especially since I do like seeing my progress on leaderboards as much as possible. However, this is from a programming standpoint, which puts score in a completely different light in my opinion, I’ll try to convey my thoughts from both sides and please, call my out on my bullshit if you disagree, my views are weird after all.

So as a ‘gamer’, high scores I feel are still pretty important. There is a certain bragging right that’s associated with high score tables, the same kind that the various achievement systems have successfully capitalised on. The score is a great mechanic to successfully measure your skill with other players, and adds an incentive to play the game again to be the very best, like no-one ever was. There are a lot of games in which they don’t even have that yet score can add a lot to the experience. I can’t imagine playing the original Super Mario Bros. and not seeing the ‘100’ point text fly out of the enemy, yet there’s no way to tell people I just did that, there was no high score table saying how many goombas I’ve successfully stomped and how many more I’ve stomped over my friends. There was no Twitter integration saying “Hey guys, I just stomped a goomba in #SuperMarioBros! Can you beat my score?” Despite none of these features, I do believe the experience would still lessen without it. I guess we sort of live in a different kind of world, and have a different mentality, that having these scores to show off our abilities is completely engrained in us. Without this arbitrary score what is there to drive us to do better in the game? I know that I would not play Super Meat Boy as much as I do if it wasn’t for the high score table. I may be able to get all the platinum relics in Crash Bandicoot 3 but if there was a way of telling me how much better my friends were than me you bet I’d try everything I could to show them up. Also no matter the type of game, a higher score is always more appealing. Take Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2, for instance. In Call of Duty 4 when you kill a guy you get 10 points, in Modern Warfare 2, however, you get 100 points. This is completely meaningless point inflation, but does it work? I’d say so; in Modern Warfare 2 you’re killing that guy 10 times harder than in Call of Duty 4. This works especially when it comes to achievements, in which we’re told that more score is always better, even if the ways to get said score are never equal in difficulty. If in Modern Warfare 3 you get 1000 points for killing a guy, yo you must kill that guy real good.

Which brings me to my next point, and to offer more of a programming spin to it, how can you make score fair? This is something that I’ve been wrestling with on my latest shitty flash game (that I have still yet to announce so no real specifics). In my game you get 100 points for killing enemies, you get like 200 for killing harder enemies, all very basic stuff. Complete a level without dying hey that level’s score is now doubled, very basic scoring mechanics that make sense. However, there are characters that are easier to play with than others, should these characters receive some kind of score penalty? Should the harder characters get more multiplier when achieving certain objectives? So far they don’t, but it might make the game fairer. Another thing to take into account is people wanting to change characters. Up until very recently, I didn’t have any option to change character during the game, and anyone who wanted to switch character had to start from the start of a world with no score. Now is that fair? On one hand the score can’t be cheesed by people choosing characters that are suited for certain levels, and then switching them when they’re ill equipped for others. Yet on the other it can feel like a meaningless and arbitrary limitation. For the longest time I felt that worked fine, but it brings me to the real question here.

Does score matter?

Does score matter in the sense that, I’m locking something away in the favour of keeping the score ‘legit’, but as a programmer and a designer shouldn’t I be more focused on making the game more fun? Would letting players choose different characters for different levels add to the experience of the game? These characters are unlocked at the end of each world if certain criteria have been met. The player might just want to try out the new character for a bit, you know, take it for a test run. Completely viable, but it might mess up the scores. Would I rather keep the scores in a state that they can be legitimately compared or would I rather give the players more options to have fun? If I released the game without this option, would anybody care? Part of me believes no-one would even notice, yet it’s still a weird thing to try and balance.

My eventual solution was to give the player the option, but whenever they do so they receive a score penalty. This seems like the perfect balance between the two, as people who want to have a high score will keep their one character throughout, and people who just want to have fun playing a dumb flash game can do whatever. This addition did mean I completely scrapped my scoring system, however, which was rather silly. Before there were a lot of things that gave you 50 points, and some 250 points, which is fine on its own but with this new penalty I decided to times all the scores by two. Now, every score you get in the game is divisible by 100 as opposed to 50, because after all, more points is always better. Then, the score penalty divides your score by 2, to the nearest 100, and a la Street Fighter 2 adds 1 to your score. A simple 1 in an otherwise divisible by 100 score, simply mocking you for having the nerve to change character. It’s rather cruel now that I think about it, but it works.

So does score matter, to the extent that games should not let you do certain things in favour of keeping the score meaningful? I’d love to hear your opinions on it!

So lately I’ve been a fan of Nakinyko’s mashups, he seems to blend rap with anime intros, of all things, rather well in a way that’s both great to listen to and rather novel. Since listening to these I’ve had a few ideas of my own to mix anime lyrics with rap or current pop songs, but none of those ideas have been all that good. Anyway, here’s my latest attempt at such a pairing, mixing the James Bond feel of Cee-Lo Green’s Bright Lights, Bigger City with the 2nd opening of A Certain Magical Index, Masterpiece. Here is Bright Index, Bigger Railgun.

I’m terrible at naming things.

And with that brings another week of terrible writing to an end! I haven’t been able to work on that Vice of the Heart (The Anime Vice visual novel project) recently and that’s killing me inside. I never realised how hard it is to write consistent character personalities, and most of the stories I’ve thought of the characters don’t fit in with their set archetypes at all. Maybe one of these days I’ll get better at it, but until then, I guess I’ll be writing more terrible blogs!

9 Comments
10 Comments
Posted by Psycosis

Head’s up, here’s another one! Another week of videogames, visual novels, anime and programming nonsense! So I realised, like, yesterday that I’ve pretty much spent the last week doing absolutely nothing. Usually I’d follow up this thought with a “of course Psy you don’t do anything at all why would this week be any different” and I’d be all “why do you think you can shorten my username like that, get back motherfucker you don’t know me like that” and I’d promptly challenge him to a match at Summerslam. It’ll pretty much be like the Mick Foley vs. Dude Love vs. Mankind vs. Cactus Jack fatal 4-way we’ve all secretly wanted to see.

Wait... where was I? Oh right, the blog.

Persona 3 Portable

So I’ve still been trucking along with Persona 3 Portable, my current play style is story line and social links during the day and Tartarus runs during the night, much like how the game works now that I think about it, usually accompanied with some kind of Whiskey Media related podcast. I’ve rather recently switched my play style for this run to be a Minako/Ken only run because, why not really. This makes Tartarus rather weird admittedly, and actually I think it makes the game a whole lot easier.

The trick with using fewer characters in your party boils down to experience points. In Persona 3 Portable, and many other games, you get a base amount of experience based on who you fight, and that is split between your many members. Since I’m only using two party members, the experience is only split three ways as opposed to five, as Fuuka still takes a share, and thus they all level up almost twice as fast. Now the great part of Persona 3 is that enemies can be scared of you in Tartarus, and that only factors in the main character’s level. This means the enemies will get scared faster, be more susceptible to player advantages, and will often be distressed when the fight starts, rendering them more susceptible to critical hits as well. All of this very quickly adds up, makes fights that one or two members would never be able to beat being extremely easy rush jobs due to the amount of advantages the player gets. This then obviously adds to more experience, and the characters get even more powerful. Since this is a persona game bosses will usually have some kind of exploit, even if that exploit it just hella mind change yo, and Ken learns a bunch of healing spells, it’s almost as if I planned this kind of run out!

The bad thing is anything outside of Tartarus becomes rather difficult. I just finished the early October full moon event which, to avoid any spoilers, renders Ken unavailable to fight for that boss. I knew this was coming, having played FES a lot, but it can still be rather tricky. Outside Tartarus also has a weird limitation in which Fuuka will say it’s “too dangerous” to go fight the shadows without a full party, despite everyone who isn’t Ken and Minako being rather close to their starting levels which, may not surprise you, means they are about as reliable in battle as a WWE referee is to a light breeze.

Ken is also one of the better ones for a two party run (I will justify this as much as I can dammit) due to him being one of the earliest characters to have their Persona evolve. The ultimate personas, unlike in Persona 4, are unlocked via storyline beats as opposed to maxing out social links. Another difference is ultimate personas learn different skills than the starting personas. For example, Ken’s starting persona only learns 7 moves and can’t learn any more, hell Fuuka’s only learns 3. When they evolve, however, they get a bunch more moves they can unlock. It’s a weird limitation, and I don’t know if this is the case, but I really hope this means I don’t skip moves by levelling up these characters before they get their ultimate persona. I may have skipped Ken learning Mazionga, but I just really hope I don’t skip any Fuuka abilities as those are actually useful.

Another thing I’d like to mention briefly is the different mentalities between the male and female protagonists. I guess this is just that usual different sex double standard but it’s weird giving the choice. So in Persona 3 and 4 the main characters are regular P.I.M.Ps, they can get with almost every single female character given a voice actor and get away with it, that is, if the player is good enough at maintaining them all. Persona 3 Portable, with the female protagonist, totally also has this option, but I actually had to think about if I wanted to do it. Though should have I even had that second thought, especially since I did it without even thinking when the protagonist was male. I guess what I’m trying to say is:

Or something.

Speaking of sluts, it’s time for a visual novel!

Yume Miru Kusuri

This is a weird one, if you actively pay attention to the visual novel ‘scene’ or whatever you want to call it, you’ve probably heard of this one. In fact, Yume Miru Kusuri: A Drug That Makes You Dream is probably one of the more well known visual novels, often touted as a beginner’s visual novel. I can sort of see why this story would be given that sort of treatment but if I’m honest I’ve never really understood the appeal of this one, at least not fully. I also like the idea of the visual novel ‘scene’, and I’m pretty sure no-one actually cares for them and everyone silently mocks me for writing so much about them. But I digress.

In this visual novel there are three incredibly different heroines for the main character Kouhei. There is Nekoko; a weird eccentric fairy cat girl... thing that asks Kouhei to help her find the home of the fairies... yeah. Then there is Aeka, who gets relentlessly bullied at school, and Mizuki, the school council president hailing from a rich family. The only thing that ties the heroines together is that their lives suck, suck more than even Kouhei’s, and while some problems are obviously more apparent than others, Kouhei pretty much has to decide who he wants to spend his time with and ultimately try to help. On top of all this Kouhei has to balance his part time job with a perverted gay guy who only plays visual novels all day (how meta) and his stepsister who, despite having a few random scenes here and there and going to the trouble to establish Kouhei as being adopted, doesn’t actually have a route.

So where this visual novel sorta loses me is right here, the characters themselves are rather pathetic in their own special way, and when you actually play every route you soon realise just how severe the consequences are if you don’t go with each girl. What I mean by that is, in all three of these girls would probably die if you weren’t there. Obviously you don’t really care in the first route, but hot damn, if you actually think about it it’s rather messed up. Another problem with the characters is that they are so different, which admittedly is a super weird thing to complain about. The characters are so different that they really have nothing to do with each other, and the main character really hasn’t got any incentive to go with a specific girl. This means that the character differences are there only to give some kind of weight to the player as opposed to the main character. I myself never like inserting myself into a story, even with games like this, so that kind of rubs me the wrong way. Other visual novels will sometimes have the ‘best route’ or ‘true route’, and I prefer that to ‘here are three extremely different routes and none of them are considered correct’.

I’ve also never seen a visual novel in which each heroine is so fiercely contested as this one, it’s completely crazy and I have no idea why it exists, yet at the same time I can completely understand. This game can be described as a one route game, in the sense that because the characters are so different, there will probably only be one heroine that the player will want to choose. After playing this route, any other routes will just seem completely boring and meaningless by comparison. It’s a very weird thing that I ended up doing as well. The first route I played was Aeka, and absolutely loved the route for the most part. On subsequent playthroughs I could not give a single flying fuck about anything that happened in the other routes. Yet as stated earlier people will wildly contest which route is the best stating this exact feeling for one of the other two routes. The first time I played a route after Aeka, the main character nonchalantly says that Aeka killed herself, but then went on to say he didn’t care as he had nothing to do with her. It’s such a weird thing, in her route you’re obviously there to convince her not to commit suicide, without you she has nothing.

Like I said each character is fucked up in their own unique way, and this game uses that to attack the player. People who have had friends die due to bullying will probably be more attached to Aeka, and people who know people in the positions that Nekoko and Mizuki are in will without a doubt be more willing to help them. I said earlier I don’t like seeing myself in stories like this, and this visual novel lives off that exact concept. You’ll get a lot more out of this story if you can picture yourself in these scenarios, but for me, I don’t think that’s a good thing. I’d still say it’s a recommendable visual novel if you want to try some of these kinds of stories out, you just might not be that interested in all the stories it has to offer.

I don’t claim to be an amazing programmer, hell I don’t even claim to be a programmer. I’m currently sitting my degree and have a bunch of flash games under my belt dating back to 2006. I have a certain perspective on games and I’d love to hear any thoughts or duelling opinions on. While I try my hardest to not be another echo in the cavern known as an internet forum, some of these points might just be regurgitated from other people, who knows, it’s not like I’d ever bother checking.

Importance of Scoring

The concept of high scores is weird, you do certain things right and you get 10, 20 or maybe even 100 points. It’s a good feeling, but, does score and high score tables matter? I’d be hypocrite to say that they don’t matter anymore, especially since I do like seeing my progress on leaderboards as much as possible. However, this is from a programming standpoint, which puts score in a completely different light in my opinion, I’ll try to convey my thoughts from both sides and please, call my out on my bullshit if you disagree, my views are weird after all.

So as a ‘gamer’, high scores I feel are still pretty important. There is a certain bragging right that’s associated with high score tables, the same kind that the various achievement systems have successfully capitalised on. The score is a great mechanic to successfully measure your skill with other players, and adds an incentive to play the game again to be the very best, like no-one ever was. There are a lot of games in which they don’t even have that yet score can add a lot to the experience. I can’t imagine playing the original Super Mario Bros. and not seeing the ‘100’ point text fly out of the enemy, yet there’s no way to tell people I just did that, there was no high score table saying how many goombas I’ve successfully stomped and how many more I’ve stomped over my friends. There was no Twitter integration saying “Hey guys, I just stomped a goomba in #SuperMarioBros! Can you beat my score?” Despite none of these features, I do believe the experience would still lessen without it. I guess we sort of live in a different kind of world, and have a different mentality, that having these scores to show off our abilities is completely engrained in us. Without this arbitrary score what is there to drive us to do better in the game? I know that I would not play Super Meat Boy as much as I do if it wasn’t for the high score table. I may be able to get all the platinum relics in Crash Bandicoot 3 but if there was a way of telling me how much better my friends were than me you bet I’d try everything I could to show them up. Also no matter the type of game, a higher score is always more appealing. Take Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2, for instance. In Call of Duty 4 when you kill a guy you get 10 points, in Modern Warfare 2, however, you get 100 points. This is completely meaningless point inflation, but does it work? I’d say so; in Modern Warfare 2 you’re killing that guy 10 times harder than in Call of Duty 4. This works especially when it comes to achievements, in which we’re told that more score is always better, even if the ways to get said score are never equal in difficulty. If in Modern Warfare 3 you get 1000 points for killing a guy, yo you must kill that guy real good.

Which brings me to my next point, and to offer more of a programming spin to it, how can you make score fair? This is something that I’ve been wrestling with on my latest shitty flash game (that I have still yet to announce so no real specifics). In my game you get 100 points for killing enemies, you get like 200 for killing harder enemies, all very basic stuff. Complete a level without dying hey that level’s score is now doubled, very basic scoring mechanics that make sense. However, there are characters that are easier to play with than others, should these characters receive some kind of score penalty? Should the harder characters get more multiplier when achieving certain objectives? So far they don’t, but it might make the game fairer. Another thing to take into account is people wanting to change characters. Up until very recently, I didn’t have any option to change character during the game, and anyone who wanted to switch character had to start from the start of a world with no score. Now is that fair? On one hand the score can’t be cheesed by people choosing characters that are suited for certain levels, and then switching them when they’re ill equipped for others. Yet on the other it can feel like a meaningless and arbitrary limitation. For the longest time I felt that worked fine, but it brings me to the real question here.

Does score matter?

Does score matter in the sense that, I’m locking something away in the favour of keeping the score ‘legit’, but as a programmer and a designer shouldn’t I be more focused on making the game more fun? Would letting players choose different characters for different levels add to the experience of the game? These characters are unlocked at the end of each world if certain criteria have been met. The player might just want to try out the new character for a bit, you know, take it for a test run. Completely viable, but it might mess up the scores. Would I rather keep the scores in a state that they can be legitimately compared or would I rather give the players more options to have fun? If I released the game without this option, would anybody care? Part of me believes no-one would even notice, yet it’s still a weird thing to try and balance.

My eventual solution was to give the player the option, but whenever they do so they receive a score penalty. This seems like the perfect balance between the two, as people who want to have a high score will keep their one character throughout, and people who just want to have fun playing a dumb flash game can do whatever. This addition did mean I completely scrapped my scoring system, however, which was rather silly. Before there were a lot of things that gave you 50 points, and some 250 points, which is fine on its own but with this new penalty I decided to times all the scores by two. Now, every score you get in the game is divisible by 100 as opposed to 50, because after all, more points is always better. Then, the score penalty divides your score by 2, to the nearest 100, and a la Street Fighter 2 adds 1 to your score. A simple 1 in an otherwise divisible by 100 score, simply mocking you for having the nerve to change character. It’s rather cruel now that I think about it, but it works.

So does score matter, to the extent that games should not let you do certain things in favour of keeping the score meaningful? I’d love to hear your opinions on it!

So lately I’ve been a fan of Nakinyko’s mashups, he seems to blend rap with anime intros, of all things, rather well in a way that’s both great to listen to and rather novel. Since listening to these I’ve had a few ideas of my own to mix anime lyrics with rap or current pop songs, but none of those ideas have been all that good. Anyway, here’s my latest attempt at such a pairing, mixing the James Bond feel of Cee-Lo Green’s Bright Lights, Bigger City with the 2nd opening of A Certain Magical Index, Masterpiece. Here is Bright Index, Bigger Railgun.

I’m terrible at naming things.

And with that brings another week of terrible writing to an end! I haven’t been able to work on that Vice of the Heart (The Anime Vice visual novel project) recently and that’s killing me inside. I never realised how hard it is to write consistent character personalities, and most of the stories I’ve thought of the characters don’t fit in with their set archetypes at all. Maybe one of these days I’ll get better at it, but until then, I guess I’ll be writing more terrible blogs!

Posted by JJWeatherman

I'm disappointed that you didn't choose this for your first link.

Also, I'd just like to say that P3P is an amazing game. I should play through it again. You're making me want to waste more of my time! D:

Posted by ArclightBorealis

I really need to get Persona 3 sometime.

Posted by XtremePudim

I wanna preface everything I’m about to say with the fact that while I play games, I’ve never made one, therefore the following may be complete bullshit.

High-Scores most definitely matter. They've evolved beyond just a number that you are given at the end of the game, but their essence (the idea of measuring if a person played a game well or not) is still present in all games. Sometimes they are displayed in an obvious manner like in the old arcade games, sometimes they are part of the meta-game like achievements, trophies and leaderboards, and sometimes they are not scores but conditions that shape the game itself. For example Mass Effect 2 has different endings that are all equally valid ways of ending the game, however there is an idea among gamers that there is a "perfect/best ending" to that game, which, in my mind, would be equivalent to getting a high-score.

Now for the second part of the question. As a developer if you implement a high score system I believe you have to make sure that it’s a meaningful thing for the player, otherwise why have it at all. So if I was playing your game, which for the purpose of this discussion I’m imagining is a Final Fight style beat-em-up, if one of the characters is easier to play then the other I personally would like that to be clearly marked, and to receive a bonus for playing the "harder" character, also if that's not the way you intended the game to play then you should probably rebalance the characters so that they both provide unique experiences with the same level of difficulty ( if you just wanna reply " easier said than done asshole" to this part I wont blame you at all). As for the "switching character" conundrum I believe that zeroing a person's score when they change characters mid-game is a totally valid way of handling the problem. Either the player cares about the score or they don’t, if they care, whether you cut their score in half or zeroed it doesn’t really matter, because if they are going for a high score losing half or all their points means the same thing, a restart, and if they don’t care about playing games for score then...well they don’t care so they will switch characters whenever they feel like it and that will be that.

So yea that’s my incredibly long-winded answer to your question, sorry if my sentence structure is kinda funky it’s been a while since I’ve written this much in English.

Posted by Psycosis

@JJWeatherman: You know, I was listening to Ludacris when I wrote the intro, but weirdly enough I was listening to the Beatles when I did a super quick spell check. What could have been!

@Alaska_Gamer: Yeah! I'd recommend it, though then again that is coming from someone who's clocked more hours into Persona 4 than any other game ever. (And I've clocked 600 hours in TF2 so... yeah)

@XtremePudim: First of, thanks a bunch for answering the question! Was hoping someone would!

The considering good/best end as a progression of high scores is a super interesting way to look at it. I would have never thought of it that way but yeah, both high scores and better story endings do ultimately serve the same purpose, letting the player know that they have done well in the game or something along those lines, I like that way of thinking.

The problem with the character balancing, and yeah I'll admit it's easier said that done haha, is that I've done so intentionally to have characters that are both easier and more difficult to use than the original character, but as of right now there is no incentive in the game to play as the more difficult characters. Going of the Final Fight style of game, most of the characters have been balanced in the way that if they have low power they have great speed, low speed maybe higher health, that sort of that. Unfortunately in my game these stats aren't that equal, so to speak. So if a character excels in let's say power, the amount of power he has is so grand that no one man should have all of it, and therefore it completely negates the other lower stats. This could admittedly be fixed with just decreasing the other stats a hell of a lot, but then that character wouldn't be fun to play as. There are characters there to fit almost every permutation of the stats so that people playing have a wide selection to choose from. This, however, creates the problem, with some characters making the game a lot easier than others, yet no real penalty from choosing the easy ones and no reward for choosing the hard ones. But then, if I give a score bonus to the harder characters no doubt they will, rather obviously, be the only characters at the top of the leaderboard, and then I've created a reason for people to only choose these characters. At that stage I lose no matter what I do, and that's why I'm conflicted about which approach to take.

...Maybe I should stop thinking too much about it since it's just a shitty flash game.

Posted by Lykos

Have you tried out Kara no Shoujo? It's an impressive mystery visual novel. It has great art, though some of it is pretty gruesome, but the story is pretty damn engaging. 
 
The game doesn't come with voice acting like it did in Japan, so you'll have to find a voice patch for it though.

Posted by rmanthorp

@JJWeatherman said:

I'm disappointed that you didn't choose this for your first link.

Agreed. Although his giant hands in that video are just ludicrous! AHHHH SEE AHHHH!!

Naw for real good work as always I'm more and more impressed how you keep knocking these out the park which such detail. Good work robots.

Moderator Online
Posted by Psycosis

@Lykos: I haven't yet but I've heard really good things about it, will definitely be checking it out later on.

@Rufi91: Cheers man! This is like the 8th week or something and I'm still having fun writing it so that's a good sign at least!

Posted by TheDudeOfGaming

Porn games...actually porn in general, it's awesome!
Now if you'll excuse me, i have to go and watch some two hot chicks making out.

Posted by XtremePudim

@Psycosis said:

This, however, creates the problem, with some characters making the game a lot easier than others, yet no real penalty from choosing the easy ones and no reward for choosing the hard ones. But then, if I give a score bonus to the harder characters no doubt they will, rather obviously, be the only characters at the top of the leaderboard, and then I've created a reason for people to only choose these characters. At that stage I lose no matter what I do, and that's why I'm conflicted about which approach to take.

I personally don’t think that having the "hard" characters top the leaderboards is a problem. Imagine that instead of character based difficulty you had a difficulty selection screen at the beginning of the game, with the standard easy, normal and hard settings. If a person plays at the hard setting, more enemies will be thrown at them making the maximum amount of points a person can get at the end of a game set to hard bigger than the maximum amount they can get at the normal difficulty. From that we can deduce that in a leaderboard scenario all the top scores will be of people that played the game on the hard difficulty, and they deserve it, because they put in the time and effort to get good at the game. The same applies to your game; if a person put in the time to master the game with a hard character they should receive a bonus for it.

The other issue you brought up is the fact that giving the harder characters a multiplier bonus would make the easier ones useless, and I agree in the " trying to get the high score" sense but I believe that a big part of the audience (myself included) just wants to play a game and have fun, not really going for a high-score and those characters serve a purpose for these people, and also as a training for the people that are going for high-scores.

In a completely unrelated note to the topic above, I also think P3 is a pretty good game, however I feel that the battle systems in both P3 and P4 are the game's biggest weakness and really wish that, if Atlus makes a P5 (fingers crossed), they make something more interesting, mind you, I don’t actually have a suggestion on how to make it better I’m just saying it in hopes it magically happens, and also to see if you guys agree or disagree with me.