ANOTHER short yet beloved PC game? Great.

Digital: A Love Story

( And there goes another Hum....wait, this isn't in the Humble Indie Bundle.) Granted, it is very humble and very indie (you can't really find it on Steam, so you have to go searching for this game), but it's not part of a bundle. So what is it? An old school-ish indie game that somebody didn't think through all the way. Oh, and don't think that I'm speaking ironically or using one minor aspect of the game I didn't like to set up the gimmick for this entire blog, like I did last time. I am genuinely not a fan of this love story.

In fact, that's a good place to start: the love story aspect. You're some 80s guy who owns a computer and knows what a BBS is; she's a computer program; I'm a massive dick for spoiling the huge plot twist in the second sentence. But even before that plot twist, she might as well be a robot, because it's stupidly hard to feel any attachment to her (do computer programs even have a gender?). You know how on the Internet, it's hard to gauge a person's emotions through a barrier of text? That's the crippling flaw in this game. It's hard for me to connect to somebody when they're just impersonal messages in my inbox. Actually, it's hard for me to connect to anybody in general, but that's an issue for another day! But speaking of me, I'm apparently a protagonist in this game, but again, good luck inferring that in any way. It's amazing that this game manages to combine the silent protagonist trope with the forced characterization trope, but Digital: A Love Story (I don't know whether to refer to it as "Digital" or "A Love Story") pulls through. Granted, this isn't the first game to do shit like this, but you know why games like Half Life 2 and Chrono Trigger manage to get away with it? Because those characters are supposed to represent you, not be you. But in...uh...Digital? But in Digital, the protagonist is completely you. This makes things confusing when you click "reply" or "send message", and never once do you get to write a reply or message, since the game has done that for you.

 You can either run away, load your gun, or abort this mess. None of those options will be enough to destroy this beast.
If it isn't clear by now, this game is about browsing around the 80s' version of the Internet and talking with other people. I think you can see why this was a bad idea for a game: there's no sense of purpose or progression or challenge or anything else found in games that are actually good. Most of your time will be spent checking your messages and logging onto different BBSes to see if there are any new messages. I already do that here, so why would I want it in my games? In fact, now that I think about it, Giant Bomb is a better game than Digital. Here, you can post, check messages, edit things, not listen to podcasts, watch the staff post videos, and a bunch of other crap I can say to piss everybody off. Digital, however, is just checking messages. Obviously, this means a complete lack of difficulty, which makes the presence of multiple saves completely confusing. What are they for? If I want to try again at an earlier point in the completely linear story with no negative consequences for anything? Does lack of progression count as a negative consequence? It doesn't matter, because it's not really in here. If messages aren't updating, just message your girlfriend and tell her to stop keeping the plot hostage. The only time I really got stuck was when the game randomly refused to give me a phone number, forcing me to Google the damn thing if I wanted to get through the game. Other than that, it was just clicking through forums and waiting for shit to happen. Again, just like real life.

Wait, no, this isn't like real life. If it was, this would the world's most fucked up and oddly programmed computer. Hell, you don't even need to get that far in the game to notice it. Just load it up, switch it to windowed mode, and watch as it still consumes about 80% of your screen. Want to change the window size to something more manageable, like most PC games allow you to? Not possible. You can get rid of scanlines, though, because...uh...why are there scanlines in the first place? Was that really necessary? You know what would have been necessary, though? A copy and paste feature. Don't give me any bullshit about it not being available for a Commodore 64; this game's set in 1988, and this feature was already figured out long before that. Without this awesome feature, I have to type in phone numbers manually...and see that the game automatically inserts hyphens and area code parentheses. Oh, and it apparently has accented characters and a random (IE you can't choose any of the) music generator...but no copy and paste. You can open a window, if you can't remember all your phone numbers, but you better do that before you try to dial said number. Open it up while the computer's connecting, and it'll just stop for no reason. Who the hell thought this game through? Nobody? It's a sloppy, poorly conceived mess, and I'm having serious trouble seeing how anybody could derive enjoyment from this. In fact, Digital: A Love Story is a lot like phone sex......Hold on a second. *fucks a phone* No, phone sex is better.

Review Synopsis

  • Wouldn't it be cool if somebody made a game based on the Internet? No? Exactly!
  • I think this game invented a new genre: the boredom simulation.
  • Look, I know that 80s computers weren't the best, but I think they were consistent with how they sucked.




I'm going to need something to wash the bad taste of that game out my mouth. This piece of shit oughta do.
  
  

Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu

( Another short PC Engine game.) Is it beloved? How the hell should I know? If it wasn't Bonk or even Neutopia, people probably won't remember anything about it. Also, I should address the fact that I didn't play the PC Engine (why aren't I using TurboGrafx-16?) version, but opted for the NES version. Now that I think about it, about half the TurboGrafx-16 library was available on other consoles. I'm guessing that's why it never really took off: you could find everything somewhere else.

 Hello, Final Fantasy VII.
Wait, what does this have to do with Jackie Chan's Oddly Named Game? That game isn't about late 80s/early 90s video game console sales; it's about...uh...what the hell is this game about? Never once does it become clear what this is about. The best guess I have is "rescuing a princess from a spider", and that sounds like the result of a cliché getting high. The only certainty in this game is that Jackie Chan's a cartoon. Not the type of crappy cartoon that thinks his kung fu is so shit that it requires the aid of a fat guy and his daughter/niece/random girl they introduced for no major reason, mind you, but the good type of cartoon that gives this game a decent charm. The only major flaw I found with it was that the bosses also have this cartoony charm, which doesn't exactly work too well when you're punching a Buddhist statue in the jaw. Why are you looking at me like that? What, irrelevant spiders are completely normal to you, but cartoony Buddhist statue bosses aren't?

Honestly, I have no idea what to say about this game. It's just your standard platformer where you jump on platforms and kick things in the face. The main twist is supposed to be that you have more ways of kicking people than places in which to kick them. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, for people with fingers the size of ketchup bottles), these methods of kicking people in the face don't come in the form of fighting game moves, but power-ups. Why is this a bad thing? You can't switch between these moves, nor do they stack in any way, because Jackie Chan is apparently half goldfish. You think that would make the game far more challenging than need be, but it appears the opposite has occurred: the game became really easy. I'm not sure why, but I blasted through this game rather easily. Fine, I know why I blasted through the game (there are five kinda short levels), but not why it was so easy. I don't remember the enemies being major pushovers, and I don't remember the rocket turtles just letting me jump on them. You read that sentence properly. The only thing that comes to mind as making this game easy is that there's a distinct lack of death pits in this game, even when you're two miles above the ground. However, I know why there aren't a lot of death holes: horizontal levels. Other than that, I don't know what to say. What can I say about this game? It's an average platformer with minimal charm. I honestly can't pull more out of my ass on this subject. I'm being serious about this. Want to check? I know how to make it easy for both of us.

Review Synopsis

  • I'm not even sure what this game is about.
  • I do know that it's pretty damn easy, though.
  • The only other notable thing is that there are special moves that aren't as good as they could be.
31 Comments
32 Comments
Edited by Video_Game_King

Digital: A Love Story

( And there goes another Hum....wait, this isn't in the Humble Indie Bundle.) Granted, it is very humble and very indie (you can't really find it on Steam, so you have to go searching for this game), but it's not part of a bundle. So what is it? An old school-ish indie game that somebody didn't think through all the way. Oh, and don't think that I'm speaking ironically or using one minor aspect of the game I didn't like to set up the gimmick for this entire blog, like I did last time. I am genuinely not a fan of this love story.

In fact, that's a good place to start: the love story aspect. You're some 80s guy who owns a computer and knows what a BBS is; she's a computer program; I'm a massive dick for spoiling the huge plot twist in the second sentence. But even before that plot twist, she might as well be a robot, because it's stupidly hard to feel any attachment to her (do computer programs even have a gender?). You know how on the Internet, it's hard to gauge a person's emotions through a barrier of text? That's the crippling flaw in this game. It's hard for me to connect to somebody when they're just impersonal messages in my inbox. Actually, it's hard for me to connect to anybody in general, but that's an issue for another day! But speaking of me, I'm apparently a protagonist in this game, but again, good luck inferring that in any way. It's amazing that this game manages to combine the silent protagonist trope with the forced characterization trope, but Digital: A Love Story (I don't know whether to refer to it as "Digital" or "A Love Story") pulls through. Granted, this isn't the first game to do shit like this, but you know why games like Half Life 2 and Chrono Trigger manage to get away with it? Because those characters are supposed to represent you, not be you. But in...uh...Digital? But in Digital, the protagonist is completely you. This makes things confusing when you click "reply" or "send message", and never once do you get to write a reply or message, since the game has done that for you.

 You can either run away, load your gun, or abort this mess. None of those options will be enough to destroy this beast.
If it isn't clear by now, this game is about browsing around the 80s' version of the Internet and talking with other people. I think you can see why this was a bad idea for a game: there's no sense of purpose or progression or challenge or anything else found in games that are actually good. Most of your time will be spent checking your messages and logging onto different BBSes to see if there are any new messages. I already do that here, so why would I want it in my games? In fact, now that I think about it, Giant Bomb is a better game than Digital. Here, you can post, check messages, edit things, not listen to podcasts, watch the staff post videos, and a bunch of other crap I can say to piss everybody off. Digital, however, is just checking messages. Obviously, this means a complete lack of difficulty, which makes the presence of multiple saves completely confusing. What are they for? If I want to try again at an earlier point in the completely linear story with no negative consequences for anything? Does lack of progression count as a negative consequence? It doesn't matter, because it's not really in here. If messages aren't updating, just message your girlfriend and tell her to stop keeping the plot hostage. The only time I really got stuck was when the game randomly refused to give me a phone number, forcing me to Google the damn thing if I wanted to get through the game. Other than that, it was just clicking through forums and waiting for shit to happen. Again, just like real life.

Wait, no, this isn't like real life. If it was, this would the world's most fucked up and oddly programmed computer. Hell, you don't even need to get that far in the game to notice it. Just load it up, switch it to windowed mode, and watch as it still consumes about 80% of your screen. Want to change the window size to something more manageable, like most PC games allow you to? Not possible. You can get rid of scanlines, though, because...uh...why are there scanlines in the first place? Was that really necessary? You know what would have been necessary, though? A copy and paste feature. Don't give me any bullshit about it not being available for a Commodore 64; this game's set in 1988, and this feature was already figured out long before that. Without this awesome feature, I have to type in phone numbers manually...and see that the game automatically inserts hyphens and area code parentheses. Oh, and it apparently has accented characters and a random (IE you can't choose any of the) music generator...but no copy and paste. You can open a window, if you can't remember all your phone numbers, but you better do that before you try to dial said number. Open it up while the computer's connecting, and it'll just stop for no reason. Who the hell thought this game through? Nobody? It's a sloppy, poorly conceived mess, and I'm having serious trouble seeing how anybody could derive enjoyment from this. In fact, Digital: A Love Story is a lot like phone sex......Hold on a second. *fucks a phone* No, phone sex is better.

Review Synopsis

  • Wouldn't it be cool if somebody made a game based on the Internet? No? Exactly!
  • I think this game invented a new genre: the boredom simulation.
  • Look, I know that 80s computers weren't the best, but I think they were consistent with how they sucked.




I'm going to need something to wash the bad taste of that game out my mouth. This piece of shit oughta do.
  
  

Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu

( Another short PC Engine game.) Is it beloved? How the hell should I know? If it wasn't Bonk or even Neutopia, people probably won't remember anything about it. Also, I should address the fact that I didn't play the PC Engine (why aren't I using TurboGrafx-16?) version, but opted for the NES version. Now that I think about it, about half the TurboGrafx-16 library was available on other consoles. I'm guessing that's why it never really took off: you could find everything somewhere else.

 Hello, Final Fantasy VII.
Wait, what does this have to do with Jackie Chan's Oddly Named Game? That game isn't about late 80s/early 90s video game console sales; it's about...uh...what the hell is this game about? Never once does it become clear what this is about. The best guess I have is "rescuing a princess from a spider", and that sounds like the result of a cliché getting high. The only certainty in this game is that Jackie Chan's a cartoon. Not the type of crappy cartoon that thinks his kung fu is so shit that it requires the aid of a fat guy and his daughter/niece/random girl they introduced for no major reason, mind you, but the good type of cartoon that gives this game a decent charm. The only major flaw I found with it was that the bosses also have this cartoony charm, which doesn't exactly work too well when you're punching a Buddhist statue in the jaw. Why are you looking at me like that? What, irrelevant spiders are completely normal to you, but cartoony Buddhist statue bosses aren't?

Honestly, I have no idea what to say about this game. It's just your standard platformer where you jump on platforms and kick things in the face. The main twist is supposed to be that you have more ways of kicking people than places in which to kick them. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, for people with fingers the size of ketchup bottles), these methods of kicking people in the face don't come in the form of fighting game moves, but power-ups. Why is this a bad thing? You can't switch between these moves, nor do they stack in any way, because Jackie Chan is apparently half goldfish. You think that would make the game far more challenging than need be, but it appears the opposite has occurred: the game became really easy. I'm not sure why, but I blasted through this game rather easily. Fine, I know why I blasted through the game (there are five kinda short levels), but not why it was so easy. I don't remember the enemies being major pushovers, and I don't remember the rocket turtles just letting me jump on them. You read that sentence properly. The only thing that comes to mind as making this game easy is that there's a distinct lack of death pits in this game, even when you're two miles above the ground. However, I know why there aren't a lot of death holes: horizontal levels. Other than that, I don't know what to say. What can I say about this game? It's an average platformer with minimal charm. I honestly can't pull more out of my ass on this subject. I'm being serious about this. Want to check? I know how to make it easy for both of us.

Review Synopsis

  • I'm not even sure what this game is about.
  • I do know that it's pretty damn easy, though.
  • The only other notable thing is that there are special moves that aren't as good as they could be.
Posted by Seedofpower

Nice review.

Online
Posted by Tireyo

You want to know about a messed up game with a messed up game title? Street Fucker for the Sega Genesis. LOLOLOLOL. Enough said. You don't even have to play it to know what it's about.


I never played the game, and I don't intend to do so. I just came across it by accident and thought my eyes deceived me.... it was the one time they didn't deceive me.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Tireyo643:

A.) What does that have to do with this blog?
B.) I can't find it in the GB database, so I'm guessing it's an amateur ROM hack. That's not my territory. I'm not sure that's anybody's territory. Somebody should really fill that major gap in the GB blogging scene.
Posted by Tireyo
@Video_Game_King

A.) Nothing!!!
B.) You're correct.
Posted by luce

I agree. Digital: A Love Story was worse than watching a Mexican novela blind folded with a calculator strapped to my cock

Posted by Fallen189

Try to use spoiler tags man, come on

Posted by Video_Game_King
@luce:

I'd make a joke in disagreement with you, but I don't speak Spanish. J'ai appris français と日本語 .
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Fallen189:

For games I don't like, I honestly don't give a shit whether or not I've spoiled them. For example, the government is putting microchips in your electronics so they can electrocute you when demons invade Tokyo through the Internet. Also, I feel as though spoiler tags would interrupt the flow big time. Once the new tags come about, though, I can see myself using them.
Posted by laserbolts
As usual twas a good read. Thank you sir.
Posted by Vexxan

That video is scary. Seriously.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@Vegsen:

For some reason, it reminds me of Problem Solverz. For comparison, here's a clip.
Posted by Fallen189
@Video_Game_King said:
@Fallen189: For games I don't like, I honestly don't give a shit whether or not I've spoiled them. For example, the government is putting microchips in your electronics so they can electrocute you when demons invade Tokyo through the Internet. Also, I feel as though spoiler tags would interrupt the flow big time. Once the new tags come about, though, I can see myself using them.
I mean for common courtesy for people who haven't played it, like myself. Now I don't see the reason to
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Fallen189:

I know. It's just that I don't give a shit about spoilers when I'm telling you that the game sucks, even if the game has a lot of press or generally high marks. Besides, that doesn't fix the flow problem.
Posted by drag

you could just write around it, wouldn't be especially difficult and the holy flow would slither undisturbed across the lands

spoiling something because you didn't like it isn't very classy. could have ruined a whole lot of games for a whole lot of people thinking like that 
Posted by Video_Game_King
@drag:

Good points. I'd say "since when have I been known for my class", but I think my own username invalidates that argument. Still, what's done is done, AKA I am a lazy bastard.
Posted by zityz

I remember playing A digital love story. At the end I thought This dude is in love with a computer? great. Also, wtf was Paul Barnett smoking when he was playing this?

Posted by Video_Game_King
@zityz:

I'm more interested in what this guy forgot when making this game. Again, where the hell is copy/paste?
Posted by zityz
@Video_Game_King said:
@zityz: I'm more interested in what this guy forgot when making this game. Again, where the hell is copy/paste?
Are we talking about the digital love story? I believe the game was written by a lady. I don't know if she programed it.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@zityz:

Wait, what were  you talking about when you made the original comment? I'm confused now.
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Digital: A love story was never something that interested me. I always have had a strong aversion to indie stuff that tries to be different for the sake of being different. That might just be me though. Clearly, I must hate art, because I have been told that this game was so by someone on these forums. She's a computer? That's really, really, really dumb. That's so dumb I don't even care about that being a spoiler.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@ArbitraryWater:

I'm just not a fan of games with absolutely no challenge or sense of accomplishment.

I'm guessing it was StarFoxA who told you that this game is art, because he's the only person I can remember when this game comes to mind. I'd tell you not to trust him, but Policenauts and Famicom Tantei Club: Part II are pretty good, so there's that.

Yes, she is a computer. Apparently, people couldn't create background windows in 1988, but they could definitely master SOPHISTICATED AI PROGRAMS.
Posted by Fallen189
@Video_Game_King said:
@Fallen189: I know. It's just that I don't give a shit about spoilers when I'm telling you that the game sucks, even if the game has a lot of press or generally high marks. Besides, that doesn't fix the flow problem.
I guess, but if youre gonna blatantly spoil like that with no warning, be more considerate next time
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Fallen189:

Here's my warning for future blogs: if I feel like spoiling the hell out of a game, I will do it. Keep that in mind when you read later blogs. Not that it will affect you in any significant way; most of the games I blog about are super obscure and super old school, so who gives a shit if I spoil them?
Posted by Claude

I spoiled my pants one time. And as I get older, I expect to spoil a few more.

Posted by FirePrince

I agree, Digital is far from gripping or interesting. It's plain boring.

Posted by SeriouslyNow

Yes, you are a massive dick.  Not only didn't you spoiler tag was is fundamentally the root storyline aspect the game but you did outright attacked an indie game for not having a character which appeals to you.  Not for anything that's technically wrong with it - gameplay or interface wise which I might understand but because it has a story which you don't like.  Dude, that's not cool and you don't get off lightly just because you say you're a dick at the start either.  Spoiler tag that shit.

Posted by Video_Game_King
@SeriouslyNow:

I also attacked the game for trying to create an emotional bond through a mechanism that people already know is flawed for creating emotional bonds. That does not make for a good story, and I find it hard to believe that anybody could form an emotional attachment to Emilia, especially since you don't really have much of a choice in how you communicate with her. How am I supposed to form some sort of emotional attachment when the game gives me a clear role in the story, but doesn't allow me interaction to give me a substantial role in the story?

Also, since everybody's calling me a dick:

  
Posted by Guided_By_Tigers
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Unknown_Pleasures:

Not yet. I already have my next blog planned, so you'll just have to wait a bit longer.
Posted by Guided_By_Tigers
@Video_Game_King: Try playing it without a walkthrough first and see how far you can get.
Posted by animateria

From the sounds of it, Digital seems like a bad looking Visual Novel and not really a game.