Gamelog

I have backloggd account to rate the games that I play (and are listed on the site), write some quick reviews and some other minor stuff. I'm copying all of the reviews in here. This is just in case that something happens to backloggd or if I feel like deleting my account for some reason. I will not copy the ratings, it is fun to rate games but I feel like my words should be enough. Also, I don't think I'm consistent with the ratings anyway. For that reason, I'm only copying those games that have a "review". I'm also adding the date when the texts were written. I already dislike some stuff, but I feel that it is important to keep that in mind to, to see where I came from and where I am now.

Cuccchi

29-08-21

Adapting art, aside from narrative, across different mediums looks impossible due to how difficult it is to translate form. On the other hand, dreams fit well with videogames, both with logic as a supplement in any way imaginable. So how is it to adapt the paintings of a dreamy author? Does it have any value to do that?

The biggest merit of the game is giving a new perspective on an artist and his work. Googling Enzo Cucchi works gives a confusing image. Various paintings randomly ordered appear without much guidance, and it’s a bit hard to dig beyond the surface. But the selective work of Cuccchi gives a deeper interpretation of those works.

Natural and rural life predominate the sceneries and provide vitality through the color they irradiate. Curiously, in contraposition, mechanical appearings seem the antithesis to this. In the most obvious example, the village that is visited some times in the first minutes loses its color at the moment that trains, boats and tanks begin to appear. After that, there is a pattern where everytime we encounter some of this mechanical presence the world will be weirdly monochrome, the colors that before inspired life now suggest death.

With the way the works are presented the fear of a world dying is obvious, and because of that the last level is surprising yet still coherent. After all that we see, we encounter ourselves in a map where plants are uncolored and there is a red swamp with fish dying, following the thematic line. But this last map has the colors surrounding everything like in a fog, less attached from the physical world. The only places where color returns to nature is where humans are present, people wearing straw hats reminiscent of the rural people, just being there. An encapsulated paradise in a way, but a paradise that is dying, a paradise where every person is trapped under a web right above them.

I still think that Julián Palacios should trust more in his own games. The already dreamy power aesthetic of the Windows maze wallpaper is a good canvas to paint Cucchi’s work into. You don’t need eyes to collect or skulls to avoid. But given that this is a minor complaint in a game that can convey such an understanding of a surrealist painter, I can give it a pass.

Dodgeball Academia

22-08-21

A game that is conscious about its shonen references but isn’t ashamed of them, rather uses their strength to irradiate the energy of being young. Rivals, superpowers and especially rebelling against what you are supposed to be and choosing who you want to be.

But that’s where the consciousness stops. Didn’t reflect too much about anime filler it seems. Something as crucial as the combat system is just sitting there. The most inanimate way to represent dodgeball, obviously blander with each filler encounter, but instead of rebuilding it from scratch, removing it, or at least reducing it, just more variations keep being added hoping to do the coverup. A juvenile talk about being yourself at the same time as it follows the rules of old just because of tradition.

TrackMania Nations Forever

15-08-21

One of the reasons why racing games, car games in specific, have interested me lately is because how well those vehicles translate to videogames to begin with. In that book about game feel (sorry) that maybe I don't like so much anymore, there was a good comparison. The author argued that game avatars are a bit like cars. When someone hits your car you say: “they hit me!”, and you go the same when your game avatar gets hit. But I think there is more to look into that parallel.

Cars also contain an interface for you to control a very complex built machine in a very simple way. You don’t have to understand anything about a car internally to know how to move it just using a wheel and two pedals, if we think about automatic transmission. In Trackmania, using four buttons, with automatic transmission already included, we control a car that is built in a very complex physical world. The most interesting aspect of this parallel is the manipulation of said physical world. Trying to stick to reality as much as possible is ok, even when it is not my appeal, but turning into a turbo Hot Wheels world is another option, the Trackmania option.

There is a lot that I could talk about, but honestly most of it is better understood within a minute of playing or so. After all, this is a 13 year old free game with keyboard support, I don’t think that anyone with a computer should have trouble picking it up. Even then, I think that looking into the default tracks is interesting considering that here everyone is a potential track designer too, not just players anymore.

In the default tracks, apart from being very good and silently teaching you some less obvious stuff, the game also has a very clear view on what blueprints to present for the future designers. Sure, you can make a flat “traditional” racing stage, and make it a good track. But the game also teaches you that you can make Hot Wheels look like something realistic and serious in comparison.

In a game where riding on walls, driving on the ceiling, and jumping off ramps at 500 km/h is the norm, any logic is already out of the way, in the best sense. Put three consecutive checkpoints in the air just because they look cool. Look at this level that is just a ramp that throws you into a big wall with a hole in the center of it, try to go through it, that’s the level. End your tracks with the car flying away from the stage just because it looks flashy. Use decorations as part of the track, as obstacles or platforms or whatever you want to do with them. Peeking into the vast world of user created tracks I am confident to say the job was well done when the community keeps being active in spite of this very same game getting a conceptual remake last year. The Forever in the title suits it well, doesn’t it?

Mega Man & Bass

12-08-21

Occasionally while playing this, I wished that a giant hand appeared in the middle of the screen. It would shake the current level, spin it, slap it, perform a first aid CPR, just to see if the game could exhale the slightest of the breaths or to try and hear the quietest heartbeat.

This never happens and rigidness reigns supreme. The holy unwritten book with the golden rules on how to make a Megaman is religiously followed. And you know those rules don’t work when something as the appearing blocks become a trademark of the series. When you ask these games to shake things up they respond: this is how Megaman games were done in the 80s, in the 90s and in the next thousand years. The robot that produces endless sequels for the infinite Megaman flavors struggles with entry data from the outside, only capable of generating new infinite subseries when this phenomenon occurs. Megaman games are only fed with other Megaman games.

And here we have the blue guy, he even brought a friend this time. They don't do too much, but they would like to do less. Running, jumping, sliding, shooting, everything seems boring to them, despite the honesty that could be considered in their simplicity. The enemies appear to be just as uninterested. When they throw an occasional weird behaviour into their being they don't last before remembering their work. Be a by the book obstacle and drop a reward when beaten. Everytime that we kill one of these it seems like they want us to beat the level more than ourselves, asking to please never respawn them again. They even give us better rewards each time that we kill them!

The cruel response to this plea from the developers is pushing you back with some checkpoints and making you do the whole level again if you run out of lives. I don't have a problem with repeating stuff. But if the first time going through a level is already uninteresting it's an easy guess how the 10th time will be. If anything, while cursing whoever made these dead levels, at least I dedicate my prayers to whoever invented savestates.

Promesa

01-08-21

Not only I’m interested in people telling the history of their places, away from the USA and Japan, in videogames, but here you also have at least the influence of an older person that I think it’s very necessary in a medium as juvenile as this. And sure, I can understand where some of the critiques of the game regarding a voyeur or a tourist approach come from, the end credits telling you that you don’t see the same thing in every playthrough and a scene selector with places locked behind a question sign unfortunately give weight to this argument. But ultimately, I think the game really comes from a more honest place. To have a touristic voyeur approach to these kinds of places we already have too many action games that disregard the rest of the world as cool setpieces at best or amusement parks at worst. To me the slow pace of your walking in Promesa seems to be a responsive contrast to such a fast paced careless view (maybe it’s representing someone who cannot move as fast anymore too).

Even thinking that Promesa is honestly interested in the places and histories that it contains, I also think that the game doesn’t trust those enough. Julián Palacios puts a lot of care into recreating something that is, or was, existent and habited. It’s when the game just puts you in a mundane place with mundane sounds in the background where I feel it achieves the most. The street that you walk each day or the home where you have lived for years tell more about the life of someone than anything else.

But in its insecurity of not believing in the inherent expressive strength of these places, numerous abstract sections will appear oftenly. Not only seeing a distorted view of the aforementioned real places while flying strips any of the mundane sense that there could be, but the evocative aspects are also a lot weaker in comparison. When you lose someone that has been living with you for all your life it isn’t hard because you see a floating dress in your dreams. It’s hard because you turn your head while sitting in your own home and you’ll notice that they are not there anymore.

Extreme Meatpunks Forever

20-07-21

"All I'm saying is, you shouldn't feel ashamed for the things you did to stay alive. Just keep moving and keep fighting. All we can do sometimes."

Trackmania (2020)

16-07-21

So, about the racing game. Played a bit of the Trackmania Nations Forever and saw some of the other games, this one definitely has its own identity (even when it is a sort of remake of Nations) in almost every aspect. The physics are fun, the elements to build tracks are mostly fun, some of the tools like the slow time or the no steering sections are a bit uninspired, but it all comes down to the design of the track to whether if the tools do the job or not, and a high percentage of the seasonal tracks are very good, I’m pretty sure that fanmade tracks too are just as competent if not better.

Now talking about what everyone wants to read in an arcade racing game: real world economy. I agree that games should not be valued as products, and I’m not going to, but when the effects of games-as-a-service are explicitly present all over the place ignoring this would also make me a voluntary ignorant. It’s even more interesting to look into it knowing that this is a conceptual remake of another free to play Trackmania from 2008.

Not everything should be bad about this “service” approach, in fact, one of the most immediate changes is seeing that the tracks are now divided in seasons. Not only you get new “official” maps from time to time, but the leaderboards of the old races will freeze once the season is over. There are some downsides to this too, but I give it the benefit of the doubt and choose to see the brighter side. There is something cool about a game like this telling you to move on and leave your old records behind, no matter how good or bad they were. The landmark of the series of replacing the “retry” button with an “improve” button feels stronger than ever.

As a racing game doesn’t make that much sense as a service, they needed to add more modes. Most of them are pretty bad. The last one they added is a Fall Guys but with cars where the vehicles aren’t physically in the same space, there is also a ranked mode where you do races as usual but with the unneeded pressure of having to beat others times in real time and in a team match for some reason… Thankfully, as bad as they can be, you can ignore them and stick to your personal improvement.

However, there are some other aspects that are harder to ignore. For what I know, Trackmania has been known for the ability to create (and share) your own tracks with ease since the very first entry, including the Trackmania Nations United that this game is based on. What are some of the aspects locked not only behind a payment, but behind a subscription, in Trackmania 2020? The ability to apply a custom look to your car and to play custom tracks. But, surprisingly, you can create both of those for free! And, while being stuck with the Spain flag in my car because of my region sucks (c’mon, at least give me the Andalusian flag since you made me tell you that too!), it’s with the tracks specially that I found an amazing accidental master class about 2021 real economy.

In summary, creating content for the Trackmania platform is free but playing not just other people’s levels, but your own works too, is locked behind the subscription that will only give economic benefits to whoever is profiting from Trackmania in general. What a lesson about property, Marx would go bonkers on this game.

Far Future Tourism

14-07-21

Difficulty discourse just dropped again. Ok, I'm not talking that much about accessibility because this (https://gisbrecht.itch.io/accessibility1) did better at addressing that in regards to difficulty and other areas (also, not all accessibily issues are related to physical or visual accessibility). I enjoy tight challenges! Who doesn’t like to improve themselves to make it pass through a hard obstacle? Everyone enjoys that pleasure at least from time to time. So, not all games should be for everyone because not all art should be for everyone, I agree. For instance, I understand (and support) why someone would want people with certain ideologies to be excluded from the people who can comfortably play their game. But who are you excluding from a game where the high difficulty is imposed? Only “those who are capable” should be the ones to play through the rest of the game? Because in that case I profoundly disagree with such philosophy on a fundamental level. Believe it or not, but I’m 100% sure that someone with enough brain to open a menu and turn invincibility on is also smart enough to not complain later about not receiving enough damage.

Of course, not all difficulty is about keeping you from seeing more of the game or giving you the pleasure of beating a challenge. Difficulty can also express how a system does not welcome you or even rejects you, the famous “the world is not built for you”... is it? One fundamental problem of going this way is thinking that anything is accomplishable and that the only variable is the difficulty. Difficult to conquer still means conquerable. No, not everything is possible. Yes, a dungeon may be full of deathly enemies, your i-frames might be very tight but the world is, literally, built for you to beat it. Going back to the first point, that doesn’t have to be bad. Becoming an action hero as you get familiar with a Resident Evil game? It’s cool to dominate a mansion full of monsters if you ask me. Being able to overcome your inner demons by shooting them in the face like in Silent Hill? I don’t know.

So, after all of that, the point is that to show some more complex frustrations, a videogame relying on a hard to overcome basis doesn’t only fail but it’s counterproductive giving how bigger the satisfaction after the challenge will be. That’s why games with very “low difficulty”, or that dismiss the concept of difficulty at all, are the ones that I struggle with most. That’s why a walking simulator where you are treated like a tourist from the title, and where your only constraints are as barebones as being affected by gravity and not being able to go through walls, is the game that overwhelms me the most.

In not having an objective and being left in a futuristic world that is too big for you, how can you feel at ease? Even landmarks are very scarce, some maps don’t have them as far as I know, all you have is wandering through what often seems like a place with no end where everything is too big. The closest thing to “completing a level” usually means falling off the limits or getting stuck in a hole! Obviously, this is a perfect setup for a nihilistic perspective on how small the self condemned to extinction humans are, but the game doesn’t stay there. Surprisingly, in a world where there is no one left, there is a lot of spirituality present. Be it the literal spirits that go from a graveyard to hea… I mean, a space station with other spirits, the constructions that will be our fingerprint for the future (for better or worse)... I don’t know, there is something beautiful about a “Far Future” game having a level full of massive trees with the most vivid music playing when you go through flowers and also be the level where you run the fastest.

The Tearoom

03-07-21

It is very interesting to play this when in recent years millionaire games about shooting people in the face and actively helping cops that get praised for adding "LGBT rep" seem to keep growing. Robert Yang games are already wonderful but they will age like wine anyway.

Gujian 3

02-07-21

How interesting are the inhabited places. It is very easy to be impressed with the celestial aesthetic of the first city you visit, present both in the habitants clothes and also in the impossible colossal architecture, where air-sustained bridges envelop the monumental buildings with their curves. It is even more impressive that when you go to the human world the villages are even more interesting.

Contrary to some trends in RPGs, you get to know the life of a place not by intruding into other peoples houses, but just by contemplating their lives on the outside. What better occasion to know the customs of a new place than with a street market. A market that isn’t there for you, you can’t “interact” with most of the shops because you don’t need to. There you can see people gathering together doing some errands, some workers a bit farther away in the beautiful process of paint manufacturing, an old man telling riddles to little kids… Looking a bit more into it, it’s not just the people, but how the villages are very intelligently built around water. You have this first village that surrounds the side of a lake or the second one with an aqueduct system that provides a stream of water around all the houses.

But this is a fantasy RPG or something, so the inevitable time of adventure will come sooner or later. Where the villages irradiated charm just by showing how life went on in a natural way, the adventure sections are unable to hide their blatant lies even when they are set in a forest. The repetitive punchless combats, the uninteresting streamlined levels, the puzzles to add “variety”... This is, unfortunately, the focus of the game, what I mentioned before is a complement at most.

FRIDAY NIGHT FUNKIN'

21-06-21

Damn, an open source free game with more than competent music and a lot of charm that just happens to be a bit unpolished? I’m into it. (Time passes, week 5 releases with YouTuber cameos, overall bad taste, and a “full game” gets kickstarted). We can’t have nice things.

Initial D: Special Stage

20-06-21

1 hour playing: Ok, it would be better if it was more physical with collisions and didn't have a dumb progression system but the weight of the car is cool and does what an Initial D game should do well enough.

After retrying the same race for 3 hours: Come here Keisuke I'm gonna eurobeat your ass.

Initial D Arcade Stage 5

19-06-21

I like the inherent elements from the Initial D franchise: the narrow roads, the one versus one matches, the overtaking taking place in closed curves. But you cannot have driving, much less drifting, removing friction. A car turns because you turned the wheels, not the other way around.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma

17-06-21

(Played the PC version that isn’t exactly the same as Sigma as far as I know)

The first time you take control you are already in a battle. No button prompts, no combos explained, just smash the controller, play, discover, have fun. If somebody told me they did the Mario 64 thing of not developing a proper game until the main character felt amazing to play in an empty box I would believe it. This is so playful that, despite feeling designed to be able to go through with your first weapon only, they throw like a dozen of them more, why not, more toys.

There is no good action game with a moveset only, and the first 3 chapters of the game make sure to demonstrate how to make a top action game. The first common enemies are ninjas resembling Ryu, and will hunt his ass at every chance, actively and reactively. Not only will the enemies keep retaliating, but the surroundings will raise the tension too. In here constrained spaces have a special meaning, since yes, you are surrounded with deadly ninjas, but you are a ninja yourself, use that wall on your back and jump on it, run on it, redefine 3D action. And it doesn’t stop there, enemies won’t be waiting sitting, turning a corner could be a potential trap with a guy backflipping his sword towards your neck. The game even manages to play with your expectations, there is a section in chapter 3 where after killing some dudes from a distance you have to go where they were totally defenseless, with a single potential hit sending you to the void.

What is in chapter 4 and beyond then? The game losing inspiration. As new enemies are needed to keep the action fresh, ideas struggle. The most conventional enemies that supposed a big threat not long ago begin to be dispatched easily as a routine, expected after fighting the same guys a hundred times and with less challenging environments in every iteration. Worse than that, some demons seem to be incapable of holding up with Ryu’s incredible speed.

But when the game totally runs out of gas is at the middle of chapter 7. In here there is a scene where Ryu accidentally activates a curse. We see the dead rising, really big zombies accompanied by really big weapons. So, what is the defining characteristic of these guys that want to kill our lightspeed moving character so bad? That they move slowly. Like really slow, the slowest enemy that I can think of in any action game ever. It would pose some threat if you had to fight like surrounded by 10 of them I guess, but since this is the only time in the game where you can relax and prepare as many fully charged attacks as you want, Ryu’s deadliest technique, they just walk very slowly towards their death. Fortunately, after many endless fights with those guys, they stop appearing, but it has been made evident that inspiration is totally gone.

For the remaining 12 chapters, apart from bosses that already ranged from bad to very bad, the game introduces: bad first person shooting sections, bad water sections and even a bad 3D Zelda inspired dungeon gets its place too. Meanwhile some of the best new enemies are, new versions of old enemies but weaker? The best thing that can be said about the new things that keep being added desperately is that they don’t last too long, but a continuous sequence of the same lack of inspiration ends up tiring the same way.

I like how the game moves, a lot. I'm even thinking right now of playing again when I know that I will be let down after a few minutes. I just wish that the game constructed around such a character was just as good.

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

15-06-21

Remember the scene of the Simpsons where Milhouse is playing Bonestorm or something like that and the whole room is being blown away by the videogame? Some perceptive viewers will notice that fiction often lies, portraying impossible things like they were real. Obviously, the kid wasn’t playing Bonestorm, he was playing OutRun 2.

This is a game that goes way down when thinking about it coldly. The endings suck, the overall overflown of different cars, modes and variety of junk that no one wants sucks, and it even looks kind of ugly. And this is without comparing with the first OutRun!

So, very skeptical, I played the game again. Since the only version that I played was in the arcade and the ways of playing the game today seem to suck because preservation of videogames is a joke, I expected the game to be much worse than before. And after messing around with a horrible port of OutRun 2006 there it is, uglier and now with more crap because it is now a home release or something.

Then I go to the mode that seems more arcady without thinking too much and… forget about everything. As soon as the engine begins to sound you know that you cannot occupy your mind with the distractions that the game will even actively throw at you constantly, if you think you lose. Now, if in the first OutRun you needed to have a little of care with your speed to avoid ruining your run by crashing into a car or out of the road, the sequel (or whatever it is at this point) goes like “you see those cars in front? Go wreck them if you need to, don’t let anything turn your engine below from 5”.

I could bring up a never ending list of why humans are the most stupid living creatures in the universe. Fortunately, not all reasons are bad. Somehow, when we see that cars lose their direction when they make a hard turn at great speeds, instead of being in absolute terror of the chaotic consequences of these machines we go and find a way to make that cool. Seeing a car at 300 km/h while turned on its side makes us go back to the most idiots of monkeys, enthusiastic for a few minutes to the point that we start sweating while sitting down. A car destroying physics and pushing away its obstacles like they were made of paper. Is it possible for the fakest of the cars to just go drifting and make you shake your body every single time? The reason says no, reality says otherwise.

Umurangi Generation

06-06-21

(Small disclaimer, but I would recommend checking the comment section of the review on backloggd. I won't copy that here since there are more people involved than me, but the conversation got extended into some interesting directions.)

Static places that are already fixed in time and space, is photography worthless there? Well, there comes perspective as a way of reinterpreting those places, emphasizing what the photographer considers most important.

But before the player can put their subjective view there are objectives to complete. While a weird decision, to say the least, I can welcome the developers giving a guiding hand to help lazier people (like me) in appreciating the details of these spaces. But what is it that the developers emphasize with these objectives? I’m sorry but I hope it is understandable that I don’t really have much energy left after making me shoot “a text that reads 'Property of the UN' in a sarcastic tone” or “a picture that contains ‘Gamer’ at least 7 times” (I don’t need to search for neoliberalism when it is all over the place), applying some filters to the photos, doing all of that hopefully in less than 10 minutes and then getting paid some money.

At least after that I can give it a rest and now take on a more free view of the stages. But I’m still unconvinced. The world is ending so I get the carefree youth trying to enjoy what they have left with the 15 years old nihilism written on the walls, I’ll let that slip. The critique of the world capitalizing the worst disaster even when the world is about to end is neat, definitely shows that the game was developed through 2020. The critique to cops and military forces? That’s another story. Countless messages written on walls denouncing how bad cops are and how hollow it ends up being a soldier. But then you turn around and what are these supposedly bad forces doing? Soldiers fighting the aliens with all they have in order to protect humanity? I understand the duality between the youth that has already accepted the end and the forces that refuse to give up, but neither of them are exactly doing anything bad, just dealing with the inevitable as best as they can.

What is left? I’ll go and ignore everything and take a picture of all my friends, nothing can take that away no matter when and where. Everyone on frame... 3, 2, 1…

“3.17$ COLORFUL DETAILED FISH EYE GROUP”

Chibi-Robo!

05-06-21

Despite what it may seem from the outside, Chibi-Robo is a very grounded game when it comes to talking about the family themes at the very beginning. It is nice to see from time to time a game aimed (generally) at children that lets them know that not every house is wonderful and happy, some rough times will probably come to most of them.

So, we have an unemployed father that spends all the day distracted with his otaku escapism, which also leads to purchases that the family can’t handle, like toys or the titular character. The case of Chibi-Robo is even worse because it is also a very selfish “present” to his daughter for her birthday, this guy seems like he can never think of anyone else. This comes with some background, as the family once had a robot a long time ago that was almost like their child in some way, but that now is abandoned in the basement due to how expensive the electricity bills turned out to be.

Of course, this situation leads to a relationship between the parents that ends up even mentioning explicitly a divorce. The daughter, knowing what is going on because children are more clever than we think, also escapes with her frog helmet making frog noises all day. But the character that struggles the most is the mother. She has to deal with the irresponsibilities of her husband and the worrisome behaviour of her child, and she is the only one that shows worries on the family economy. To finish it up, she doesn’t seem to have anyone to even let her thoughts out, she ends up relying on Chibi-Robo to have tea and tell him all her problems.

Even when looking into Chibi-Robo routine, it seems that some themes are carried on. The place is a mess, always dirty no matter how much you clean. The small house of Chibi-Robo comes with a shop, so money is needed to get some upgrades. Even helping the family is a kind of specially bad job. There is a ranking system for gathering love, promising a big surprise when reaching the number 1, and something as natural as getting love from others is turned into a quantifiable currency. This sounds worse when you think that to get love you sometimes do not so good actions like dressing as the Tokusatsu toy from the father in front of him, sinking him more into his denial of reality.

Even with all of this the game is always keeping a childish perspective, in the sense of imagination and fantasy. Toys come to life, the hardest moments are always presented with charm, this is a game for children about things children are not told so often. So, keeping apart so well the fantastic, imaginative perspective with the grounded problems that real families have to deal with it would be a shame if it was all solved because of an alien invasion or something… oh.... Well, if you’ll excuse me, I'm heading to my yard in search of a toy UFO to see if they can grant me infinite electrical energy too.

The House in Fata Morgana

21-05-21

Saints and witches, angels and demons, blessed and cursed… contraries that are true depending on the perspective, but that turn out to be false in the overall image. Behind those labels, made up to simplify complexities, there are just regular people and their circumstances.

Discrimination for one’s gender, racism, greed, honor, class differences… many unfortunate events may push someone into doing harm to get away, taking into account all of the perspectives there is really not one true evil to point the finger at and to condemn. Does this excuse anyone from hurting? It doesn’t. Having to sacrifice others is never an option, it may seem like it sometimes, but at that same moment the damage is done for not even considering a way to protect everyone as the only real choice. Should there be vengeance upon those who hurt? Not either. Trying to pay with the same coin not only creates the well known never ending cycle, as other people get caught in the consequences escalating the conflict into eternity, but the own person who seeks vengeance ends up trapped, unable to find their own peace, arguably suffering more than anyone else. The proper penance is not receiving the damage dealt back, it is compromising and being active towards changing for the best.

Discrimination for one’s gender, racism, greed, honor, class differences… many unfortunate events may push someone into doing harm to get away, taking into account all of the perspectives there is really not one true evil to point the finger at and to condemn. Does this excuse anyone from hurting? It doesn’t. Having to sacrifice others is never an option, it may seem like it sometimes, but at that same moment the damage is done for not even considering a way to protect everyone as the only real choice. Should there be vengeance upon those who hurt? Not either. Trying to pay with the same coin not only creates the well known never ending cycle, as other people get caught in the consequences escalating the conflict into eternity, but the own person who seeks vengeance ends up trapped, unable to find their own peace, arguably suffering more than anyone else. The proper penance is not receiving the damage dealt back, it is compromising and being active towards changing for the best.

A game with so much tragedy and suffering can be deceiving at first. Everything will end up the worst way possible, the characters, even with their reasons, seem to make all the wrong choices, hundreds of years pass on with very few hints of hope that is slowly vanishing. But the game never rejoices in said suffering, it is there to make us understand every perspective properly, but always treated carefully, conscious of what is shown and how. Where the game rejoices, be it on the scarce illustrations and especially in the extended romantic narrations, is in the more tender moments.

A “chapter” stands out as a pillar in the middle of the story where the true heart is revealed. Only two people, trapped, who went through a lot of suffering, being betrayed by those who were closest to them at some point, unable to trust anymore. It is because they share stigmas upon them that they can, ironically, understand each other so well. From there on the relationship just flourishes in mundane and beautiful ways, talking every day, picking some flowers in the garden, playing chess, reading a book together, a declaration of love that slips through the tongue…

Forgiveness, of oneself and therefore towards those who hurt you, is a long process, it cannot be granted so easily. The first step is listening. This is no easy task for any side, the one who has to tell also has trouble opening the doors that were shut in order to forget, but said doors cannot stay closed, the past cannot be forgotten, even if it hurts. Only upon sharing and understanding, the fairy tales will come down and reality can be taken on. The past cannot be changed, the damage is done, but for that same reason we must do our best from there on. To have faith and to be our best as we push forward for a better future.

Oceanwork

19-05-21

A company that sends someone into prison labor until they pay their fee to get free. But then the tools needed to do the work have to be paid from the worker's own pocket. And upon death the company will heal the prisoner... after taking half their money... huh.

Quantum League

13-05-21

The concept is one of those “wouldn’t be cool if…” that turns out to be… pretty cool! Add some good enough levels and weapons, no need to reinvent the wheel, and that’s everything needed.

Now comes the tragedy of an online game that very few play. At least the game was focused in the 1v1 since the beginning, but to be honest I find the coordination between 2 and their chaotic clones funnier. Anyway, I’m no expert in marketing or anything like that, so I’m sure the decisions taken were better than anything I could’ve come up with, like say the aesthetic very “esports” focused that doesn’t particularly appeal to me, but it’s fine as long as more people come and play.

Then there are some… other decisions. One of the changes that surprised me the most since the first beta was that the draw resolution changed. What was a nice twist on the sudden death, making time resume instead of resetting the loop, tightening the tension as less healings are available and you or your opponent may be left in a compromising state, thinking way ahead on what to do in the due time, now is… still here, but only on rankeds? Don’t know how taking that out and making a boring loop restart that could drag forever makes it more friendly or anything for casual matches.

I think the last big addition are the abilities of the characters that all seem to be very weak. The best thing you could say is that at least it doesn’t change the game too much, but if they keep adding stuff at random in search of a magic click my interest will die quicker than the game itself.

TOMATO CLINIC

10-05-21

What better way than a kind consented tour to show people that “vampires” are not exotic, nor scary, nor something you can be turned into… but just normal people with their own habits just as anyone else.

Of course, many people still think that even the most dumb-sounding rumors about “vampires” might be real. Worse than that, a lot of people will use that constructed image without ever knowing a “vampire” in real life just to attack them. The sad truth is, those who are willing to actively go against these “vampires” and harass them seem to outnumber those who are disposed to listen…

But enough, the game doesn’t leave space for those who hurt, they are just mentioned, acknowledged, the world isn’t wonderland after all, but they never get to be shown (as usual in npckc games). Because at the end, even if one person opened themself and took its time to understand the "vampires", the effort is worth it. Just getting one to comprehend dismisses all of those who won’t listen, there is still faith. Not an exception, but the proof that a better future is possible.

Tetris

07-05-21

So, I recently read this article (https://kritiqal.com/articles/tetris-effect-litigious-nightmare) about Tetris Effect that rightfully criticizes the corporate worship mess that they turned the game into. This is not something new of course, for so many years, Tetris has been the finest example of: “a game developed by just one man in the 80s that is now one of the most sold games of the world. You too can make a perfect game that will make you rich”, the delight of the gamedev shark mentality. So, rightly named, the Tetris Effect is what was released in 2018… but what is the real Tetris Cause?

Many people will claim that Tetris got famous thanks to Nintendo (lol). Tetris got famous, like famous to the point that absolutely everyone knows what it is, thanks to handheld systems, but not thanks to the Game Boy. The Brick Games, as they are often called, came in about the same time (or even before? who knows), and stayed popular for much longer. It’s not hard to see why, compare buying a Game Boy and a Tetris cartridge, or any other “official” variants, to buying a bootleg Chinese console that costs as much as any other bootleg toy, I wonder what is most accessible. Obviously, you won’t read about how many bootlegs consoles were played anywhere.

But Brick Games haven't been as popular for a couple of years, right? Even with all the corporate power of the world, Tetris Holding or whoever got the rights could never stop people from making their own Tetris. For every Tetris 99 exclusive to the Switch and the online paywalls there are 20 similar Tetris released before and other 20 Tetris being released at the same time for free. No matter how many years or how many corporations try to own a piece of the cake, the sharing spirit of 1984 always stayed with Tetris and is still more alive than ever.

Into the Breach

01-05-21

Everything in Into the Breach is reduced to its minimum so that every little step counts in each battle. HP and damage are counted in small units, you only have 3 mechs to play with, there aren’t that many enemies or buildings to protect either, the grid is just 8x8...

Due to how straight everything is, the objective will reach to you very early in the game, this is not about defending your mechs, or defeating all incoming enemies, any of those can be skipped during the fight and still win, to win an encounter you must survive for a number of rounds. But I said that your mechs can be killed, so whose survival? The survival of the buildings. Putting your mechs in front of an upcoming attack to protect a building will be a normal strategy, your units are the protectors, not the survivors. Wait, did I say that you protect the people? Oops, no, you defend the building where people just happen to be.

The humans in here are the score at most, some voices that comment your moves in the background most of the time. What you really need to protect is the power grid that is lost when the buildings are damaged. Lose all the power grid and you lose the run. Now, this might seem like a very forced view upon the humanistic side of the game, but it only looks worse upon reflection. The only humans that you really protect and care for are the so-called “CEO” of the islands (what a name), the only ones you really get to see directly. While completing an island there will always be a point where the aliens will attack the CEO base. At that moment, the regions you couldn’t defend yet will be marked as “region lost” and you will be forced to go and defend the Corporate HQ. Most of the bonus objectives are like that too, humans are never mentioned, but think about defending various resources and you will end up listing most of those side quests.

I guess that this “chess 2” as it is referred by some still disregards the pawns and puts the king on a pedestal.

Subnautica

21-04-21

It is curious how one of the first tools you have to craft is the scanner. Contrary to what it may seem, Subnautica doesn't really care about the life of its world, it is all a potential resource or danger, the rest is filler, something the scanner won't even bother to look up. At the end of the day a cave is just a potential resource of resources, no trace of mystery. This is not just with the geography within the sea, on the rare occasion you find an unimaginable alien architectural discovery the game doesn't really care, you just go in, scan and loot stuff. Not like you are a tourist of course, supposedly you are trapped looking for a way out of the planet, but even then that is some mmmm “curious” perspective to see a whole new world.

Even as a survival game, it’s no wonder why there is a mode without hunger or thirst. Both of those will be covered with the fish you find right next to your starting pod, even with a free medkit every 24 hours. I thought maybe the wildlife would cease if I kept hunting on the same spot, making it harder to survive and making me think about the relationship between animals and our view as just consumers, but no, this videogame resource called fish will spawn infinitely. I suppose there is some danger when you die because you lose part of your inventory, but honestly, I did not fear death, I was just tired of thinking about it. Losing your resources means farming over again and I really don't want to navigate such a lifeless ocean looking for game elements called stones that are attached to some inanimate world.

(dropped after quite a few hours, there may be exceptions to what I said but if the game showed a direction for so many time at the beggining I doubt that nothing unseen will radically change my view).

Space Loner Chronicle

06-04-21

Isn't it beautiful when you think you are trapped alone in the universe for eternity and suddenly a kind alien comes to your window to meet you?

Seek Magician

05-04-21

I wasn't going to write anything since it's very hard to put into words why humor works or not, but I noticed that I keep laughing every time time that I remember the ending 24 hours after playing. Easily one of the peaks of videogame comedy.

Lucah: Born of a Dream

05-04-21

It’s a bit weird that a game like this is so conventional in a lot of aspects. Is it intentional? It may be, but even then I am not sure if this was the best approach. Not saying that every game should try to reinvent the wheel, but I would prefer the game to be more straightforward at least.

Even though I totally comprehend what the game is going for, what ends up putting me off is the tone. Again, something that makes sense from the perspective of a(n oppressed) teenager, but that ends up feeling a bit too much self-destructive. Incidentally, while playing I was remembering constantly We Know the Devil, a game that, while sharing a lot in common with Lucah, ends up seemingly pushing for better directions.

Cho Ren Sha 68K

02-04-21

Shoot em ups must be one of the most honest expressions in videogames. You can add all the fanciness that you want, but it all comes down to very simple standards: you move your ship, you shoot and you avoid getting shot. With such a straightforward preset it is surprising how complex this kind of games can usually get, that’s where artistry comes.

There is an intrinsic beauty in every single aspect of Cho Ren Sha. Something that could be taken for granted like a shooting pattern is wonderfully crafted to make every dance of bullets unique and inspired. It’s easy to dismiss this games as “they are all the same” or “I could make that”. And... you COULD make that! What’s wrong with that? This game is a doujin from 1995 made by 2 people, nowadays it should be even easier to make it. The game doesn’t even bother to include different backgrounds, who cares about that when you have one of the best soundtracks ever.

One of the most evident strokes of genius comes in the power-up system. When the three available power-ups appear they are presented in a rotating triangle that comes slowly down the screen (to the point that if you are not fast enough it could get lost). Not only something as standard as getting a power-up gets a new strategic, slightly skill based process, but there is another twist to it. You can get the three power-ups at the same time. However, this is a risky move that could easily lead to your death (in this game death is particularly punishing in that it will take away all your shooting upgrades and bombs). It is when trying to get the three power-ups (not going to spoil how) that the constant tight dance within the bullets grows exponentially, more videogame than ever.

The Portopia Serial Murder Case

31-03-21

Despite some scarce inspired moments, like treating the basement like an rpg dungeon, the game falls into boring occidental adventure game conventions far too often. There is an attempt to give some depth to the characters, and even aiming to have emotional revelations towards the end, but it all stays in the attempt phase. What's worst is that in order to complete the game you have to exercise police brutality up to two times! One of the suspects you have to hit didn't even did anything bad, it's just that when you get stuck and don't know how to talk to someone you just beat them up until they open their mouth (a shame that the game doesn't acknowledge this as a critique to the cops).

ABZÛ

29-03-21

Solve puzzles to open doors, touch fish to get a boost, collect all the hidden liberated animals, stare at the “lore” written on the walls, avoid the dangerous evil mines that will… uhhh stunt you for a second, ally with the shark as an act of gratitude because you… ??? and my favourite one, as explicitly shown in the game, “press the button to meditate”.

Add some mystified imposted epicness to every little detail instead of humbly showing the poor living creatures and it becomes clear that the environmental concern for the ocean is just an aesthetic, a façade.

Rez Infinite

29-03-21

I'm fine with games going full on playing on a sensorial level with all the abstract imagery in the world. I just find this particular case uninspired.

The feeling from beginning to end is one of playing a poor rail shooter with a heavy dependence on its ambience. I just find both the music and the visuals boring. I'm specially let down with with the imagery, that looks kind of generic considering how much interesting stuff was going around the real internet when the game was released.

For some reason the game tries to go for a "deeper" meaning, especially on the last stage when text begins to appear as you go on. The game starts talking about "evolution" and "transcendence" (this was already implied with the avatar power ups) and suggests a future where humans trascend their existence after the overpopulation of the world (to me this is reminiscent to colonizing the space after destroying Earth, but I could be reading too much). In any case, it's been a long while since I resonated with Tool songs.

Mutazione

28-03-21

You take control of Kai, a girl that goes to a small village to see her ill grandfather. From this perspective the introduction to the neighbours of Mutazione goes very smoothly, both to the player and to Kai, new to the place but with some connections tied to the girl's family that lets the conversations go a bit further from casual chitchat.

The problem comes when the game tries to develop the cast of Mutazione. Most of the characters will tell their deepest worries and secrets, declarations never told to anyone before, to Kai in just a few days of barely knowing each other. The problem with the game sticking to Kai's perspective only starts there. Some of the more emotional moments of the game come from conversations between the neighbours that shouldn't concern our main character because of their deeply emotional and personal nature. However, this emotion is totally lost by voyeurism, with Kai always on frame breaking into other's intimacy without any care. The game is afraid that the emotions will not be carried on in the aftermath if we are not present at every moment.

Ratchet & Clank

05-03-21

As someone who doesn't appreciate the original that much nowadays, this made me retroactively reconsider the qualities of the first game.

Comparisons are odious, but not only this is (partially) a remake, the game keeps throwing references to past entries, so ignoring the context would really need a lot of will. The weird thing is that the game seems to take the worst from the first entry and throw out the good stuff. I didn't notice until playing this one, but the original Ratchet and Clank had some genuinely funny dialogues, every scene managed to add a bit of flavor to the overall adventure. In the new game it seems like nobody wanted to develop this, everyone sounds bored, the infobots videos are all forgettable, you'll curse the guy who invented dialogs during gameplay. Hell, I don't think that Ratchet and Clank actually talk between themselves more than 4 or 5 times, do they even know each other by the end of the adventure?

I would try to keep the visual aspect on the "personal" terrain, I still think that the original game made environments that suggested more life beyond the game horizons than this generic sci-fi filtered look, but that may be memories from when I was a kid. What is not a trick from nostalgia is how the new visual style is straightforward eye-painful. Especially in the night levels, the led saturation makes the game really hard to look at for a few minutes, like trying to read a scenary oversaturated with junk wasn't hard enough.

What ends up bothering me the most is how the game shows briefly some good qualities in ways that never dares to take seriously. Using an unreliable narrator could bring up some nice variety and surprises, it is hinted in a joke where Quark says: "and then a dinosaur appeared" but is quickly cut. Why not show a dinosaur? Traveling between planets should already give enough freedom to put whatever funny nonsense comes to mind. I was also surprised with the level where you can freely fly and explore (I think the exploration is what I liked the most). It's a nice reinterpretation of Clank's whateveriscalled rocket power up, but then the game goes and shuts that idea into a single planet and a few more punctual exceptions. When some fun is accidentally added there is always a quick response with an apology.

Boku no Natsuyasumi

26-02-21

Where videogames usually tend to go for escapism and fantasy to reconnect with the sense of wonder, with innocence, with freedom... Boku no Natsuyasumi finds all of that in a more down to earth context. Every day is an adventure, there is no need for magic or silly objectives, exploring in the countryside, catching some bugs, watering flowers until they bloom… No wonder why at the end of each day the game asks you if you want to keep playing, it seems like it’s asking at the same time if you don’t want to go out and enjoy your own surroundings.

Despite being set in the 70’s, Boku no Natsuyasumi avoids falling into prison with nostalgia. Rather than keeping you trapped in an endless summer full of joy, the calendar is always moving forward and the days fly by, just as when we were kids. And there are some rough edges too, even if the game is always looking through the eyes of innocence. Between the fun of summer days there is space to talk about deciding what to do in the future, dealing with moving away from your family, the memories of a not so distant war, the grief of losing a dear one too soon… And of course, a never repeated summer cannot end in any other way but with an emotional goodbye, nothing left but memories, but nothing else needed anyway.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

12-02-21

Cons: you get to play as a cop
Pros: you get to play as a terrorist

Shooters made fun by strategically (or dumbly) playing with the environment.

VIDEOPULP: Super Carty™'s Dread

04-02-21

The most horrible game in which your fate is to end up being destroyed by the always chasing most terrible monster in videogame history: Nintendo

A HERO AND A GARDEN

03-02-21

Redemption is not about saying "I'm sorry, I won't do that again", that should be the conclusion of it, not the whole process. To redeem yourself from something bad you've done you need to pay for it, and not in an "eye for an eye" revenge sense, but in actively working towards helping those you've hurt, there is where you will learn why what you did was wrong.

I believe that generally throwing people into jail as a punishment for doing bad things is not a good solution. Instead, why don't you put those people to work? In this game, having a (paid) job isn't only a way to fix the damage done, but also a channel to communicate with those you've hurt and begin understanding each other.

Talking day by day slowly brings down the walls raised by both sides, walls built in "tradition", prejudices and ignorance. In questioning your beliefs not only you begin to understand and respect people different from you, but you also question yourself, what did you think you were, what you truly are and what do you want to do from now on.

a pet shop after dark

26-01-21

In this kind of games once you know the trick for the first time everything else is just a bit of filler and busywork.

Panzer Dragoon

26-01-21

Who decided to make shooting work like that, well at least people with turbo controllers are going to have a wild ride, the action is pretty boring anyway.

Nights into Dreams...

26-01-21

Fly, run, jump, dance, bounce, slide, swing, throw, pull, fight, explore, discover, fall, rise. Dream.

Super Smash Flash 2

21-01-21

One of the biggest disgraces in game history was not just the recent murder of Flash but the fact that if you asked anyone (including me) about favourite Flash games just a couple of names would come into mind. How can that be possible? Flash games were played by millions, they were the most accessible that games have ever gotten yet, to play you only needed a PC (not even a good one) with internet connection (not even a good one either), I know a lot of friends who played these games in the library. Making the games was just as easy as far as I know, in a couple of days a game could be completed and uploaded for anyone to see. So why is it that they are so forgotten? How can it be that we are still worrying about the good enough documented and preserved libraries of multiple consoles while thousands or millions of flash games are being lost?

The sad answer is simple: most of these games weren't commercialy viable. What keeps being remembered in game history is the somewhat polished games that could be potential sources of money, even free games like Yume Nikki are still receiving new official merch today, how can you forget that game?. Of course Naruto vs Bleach vs One Piece fangames are impossible to be legally profitable. Instead, multiple mediocre Naruto licensed games will be preserved while games made just out of passion by fans have already been erased. The indie game scene proved early what mattered, Doom maps (funny how Doom Eternal couldn't totally erase Eternal Doom anyway) and raw collage flash games, that looked into a future free of conventional restrictions accessible for anyone, were thrown into the trash while conservative commercially successful indie games that looked into the past (Nintendo past) and added polish were praised.

Super Smash Flash (both 1 and 2) are a good representation of what is already lost, even if this is a privileged example that is still luckily popular and well enough preserved. While people will keep asking for years for Sora or some of that characters in Smash these guys just went ok Sora is in your free game that even supports online. The original idea perceived in Smash, playing with your multiple toys as if you were a kid making "crossovers" out of passion instead of commercial interest, is stronger in here than in any official Smash. But again, this is a game that doesn't respect copyright laws so many soulless mediocre Smash clones will be better preserved in game history while Super Smash Flash will slowly be forgotten. At most some big youtuber or streamer will remember it in the future and, instead of doing a multiple hour video essay covering the context and virtues of the this kind of games, the game will be laughed at in a few minutes and be disregarded as junk.

Bloody Roar 2

17-01-21

All characters have charisma and the game knows a few tricks to be effectist (in a good sense) like how when you launch an enemy horizontally they fly to the other corner of the arena, the fast rewind camera... The buttons are very simple: a button to punch, a button to kick and a button to become a furry. The variety in your offense come from very simple inputs modifications and end up making a complex but accessible combat system.

Mixolumia

17-01-21

A lot of these games miss a very important aspect of Tetris: the game is really simple and you always know what is going on. In this case the pieces being affected by gravity all the time make the game a constant mess. This is worse with the "zen" aesthetic explicitly on the game (Tetris on NES is more implicit "zen" than any of this). Doing a big combo is supposed to be this revealing moment when all your plans finally come together but instead there is a huge disconnect when a lot of fireworks appear on screen while you are totally confused on what just happened. This is the better reading of the combos, at worst they are reminiscent of pachinko ludopathy where numbers go up fast with a lot of pleasing junk just by being lucky.

Eliza

13-01-21

Games are apolitical: the videogame. Centrists dreams come true. The most coward game ever conceived. Americans will do hundreds of science fiction backflips to not recognize that public healthcare has been working for decades in a lot of countries. In here they also take the chance and feed the irrational paranoia towards psychologists! Of course they don't want to help you they just want to sell you expensive medicines and shit.

Presenting so much problems with modern day technology and taking no stance against them, shit I prefer fascist Call of Duty politics to this ambiguous apology to multimillionaire CEOs. No wonder why the developers go to Google Talks or some of that shit. Then most of the patients are first world idiots manchildren. You got the artist who instead of discovering that maybe she can do art for the sake of it she says "nah, if I can't get famous I'll be a teacher or something". Then the guy who is going to become a parent but just thinks about himself all the time even when he hasn't any financial problems. The worst of them all is the guy that wants to cheat his wife fucking one of his students. So nice to help these people!

Oh but there is one really good character. There is this old woman that has economic problems and cannot find help in her own children. She doesn't even tell you this because all she wants is someone to talk to. Our protagonist seems moved by this but just moments after, when asked what she wants in life, among 20 options or so there is nothing like "helping people in need". Instead you have "being strong", "feeling good with myself", and such selfish crap.

The game also humanizes the demonic multimillionaire CEOs. It is less pointing out what's wrong with them and more "yeah, let's invite this far-right politician to TV, we need to listen to all the viewpoints!" mentality.

Spoilers for the endings now on but I recommend not playing this anyway.

Before letting you choose some ridiculous shit before the ending, you can choose to disobey Eliza in some of the sessions (wow player agency in videogames is so deep https://oyster.ignimgs.com/mediawiki/apis.ign.com/fable-3/c/c9/Fable3_2761.jpg).

So, despite noting how dangerous this technologies and the CEOs behind it are, the endings are the following:

- Join the Eliza CEO and develop an Eliza that can help everyone (with a commercial plan behind of course, money is king) and then talk about transcending and causing Evangelion's Third Impact or some shit.

- Join the CEO who is building the super sayan of escapism (hello Animal Crossing), if all people can escape, all problems of humanity will be gone! Oh yeah, people dying of hunger, mmmm, I think that would stay, well whatever, the game already forgot about the poor grandma.

- Keep working with Eliza and lying to people because I guess it helps them a bit even if the game already said it doesn't.

- Join your friend who is lucky to live of music and claims to do "activism" even though she doesn't say activism towards what, it could be just a pastime like watching TV or assaulting the Capitol I guess.

- Move forward by going backward and finding your father that abandoned you when you were a child, what a nice way to redirect your life to new directions.

The worst of this endings is that they imply that humble people have this options too. At their thirties, humble people don't have two CEO multimillionaire friends, nor a job where they just say what is in front of them, nor live by making music and much less leave everything behind to reconnect with their past. I am lucky enough to have been able to choose what to study, but I know several relatives didn't have any choice. Humble people at this age thanks God for having a shitty underpaid job that barely keeps them alive. After watching so many families suddenly in need of charity to eat everyday in 2020 these endings are repugnant.

Play humbler games.

The King of Fighters '94

12-01-21

Imagine mocking Street Fighter 2 being this bad. Most of the characters are very boring, it is especially funny to see the team from Brazil that are 3 military guys, I even think that 2 characters from the team are the same dude. Trying to have inputs for the specials different from the standard is a good idea but what the hell are those.

Street Fighter II

12-01-21

A thing that I don't understand in many of the subsequent games of the series concerning the characters is how they kind of hide where they come from. They still have a defined nationality but in most games it is not as clearly present as in this one, where you can see where the character is from in the selection screen. I don't think the characters are racist or anything like that. Sure, lots of stereotypes but I don't feel that they are there in bad faith. One of the Japanese characters is a sumo wrestler, it is not about making fun of other countries. Nobody here in Spain feels like Vega is bad in any way (if anything, the flag thing is kind of funny and it's ok to fix that kind of stuff) and as far as I know people in Brazil were delighted with the inclusion of their country in the game. If anything, it is nice to see a game of this era where not all the main characters are from USA or Japan, and even better, it influenced on the tendency of fighting games including characters from more diverse countries.

Going into the game itself, this didn't age bad at all, quite the opposite. Having no fancy mechanics like supers or anything like that has its pros and cons. Without so many complex and abstract mechanics fights are more focused than ever. There is also a lot of talk about the speed of the game. And yeah, even the first revisions turned the speed up but it feels refreshing to have a slower paced game today when fighting games tend to go for spectacular combos at top speed all the time. In the original Street Fighter 2 every hit lands really hard and every failure can be heavily punished with ease. High reflexes are reduced and you have to think a lot more about what to do, higher risks and higher rewards. When you are in a good match time and speed are relative.

Cave Story

10-01-21

The game that showed the world that just 1 person can make boring conservative long redundant multiple ending games too if you work on it for 5 years. Then Nicalis sort of stole it and showed the world that you could make money out of it. Pick the machine gun, that way you can skip most of the platforming. I'll try to ignore how the endings are handled.

Pink Heaven

09-01-21

The game could be quite good if all was just an small adventure where you rescue your friend and make flowers bloom along the way. But then it lets you pick strength over gentleness (wtf) and adds a hard mode that is very boring, there are even less plants to shoot at.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

09-01-21

Funny to see how the "multiple ways of playing radically different" means "the transition to the obligatory segments are different". It doesn't matter the class or the dialogues you pick, you will be stuck doing the horrible missions that no one wants to do. Even if you say to the characters that you don't want to do them you'll be brainwashed and whatever.

Being forced to do things isn't necessarily bad, but the missions range from very bad to horrible. Most of the time it will be about choosing between doing horrible stealth or doing horrible combat, no matter the character again. And this is from the very beginning of the game, I didn't even get to the part where even the biggest fans suggest to activate god mode.

Oh, but this is a game that you play for the character and the story. And yes, the anarchs are cool, I like a lot to talk to them, but they are also the only characters that interested me. And to talk like half an hour to them I had to play 10 hours of horrible missions so I don't think it's worth it.

Dandelions

07-01-21

Frustrations about not being able to change the big problems of the system, and most importantly, hope in acknowledging that we are connected and that we can change for the better and help our closest ones to change too. "Escapism" from what we are supposed to be and to our inner worries to find out that there is a better place to go.

Ready Player Fuck

06-01-21

Don't dismiss the amounts of "random stuff" (there is nothing wrong with that), there is more thought that what it may seem at first, the different scenes are genuinely good by their own.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

03-01-21

The only Tony Hawk that manages to take most of the good parts of skating. The only thing that keeps it away from the 5 stars are the competitions. Why should skaters compete against each other in such artificial spaces? I guess that's the "Pro" part of the title. The game is at its best when it reinterprets the mundane through the eyes of exaggerated skate. It feels liberating taking spaces such as a school or a shopping mall and making them places of self expression.

Most of the interesting qualities of the game were lost already in THPS2. While in the first game objectives were scarce and your reward were VHS tapes, the second game introduces money, both inside the levels as floating dollar bills and by completing objectives. Worse than that, that money is what makes your skater grow, while in the first game the stats just went up naturally as you played. From now on the spaces were not common mundane locations, now the skaters are touring around the world. The worst level in Tony Hawk 2 is the one on the beach where one of your objectives is doing ollies over a bum multiple times (to get money, I remind you). What happened with the game that asked you to destroy police cars instead?

Tony Hawk 3 fixes the fuck up of the money (you still gain abstract points that are money, but at least they are not literal), but keeps the tourist approach and still messes the objectives. Some of the objectives were about impressing other skaters or impressing some girls on bikini inside of a yatch. What happened to self expression? Now we skate to look cool in front of others?

Milk inside a bag of milk inside a bag of milk

26-12-20

There is a Steam achievement for being mean to the girl. A review on here that notes some interesting formal experiments, using mental issues for that gives me huge Hellblade and Satoshi Kon vibes.

L.O.L.: Lack of Love

23-12-20

Not a fan of making the progression based on objectives, the world works great with the creatures living their lives organically, but since your goals are geared towards helping others and others helping you in exchange I'm fine with that.

However, when we play more of the game and see how this "helping others" works, there is something that doesn't feel right. I think showing some of the not that wholesome aspects of nature is a good thing, animals fight and eat each other in order to survive, not everything is beatiful, so no problem with the survival aspect.

To get the help from some creatures you usually need to do something good for them. Defending them from other creatures, teaching them how to find shelter from the rain, that's cool. There are some other situations not that helpful, mostly related to being playful like winning a race, but I can see why playing with them would make some of the creatures want to help you.

And finally the ones that I dislike. In some cases it seems that you need to disturb others to get their help. Waking someone three times in a row while they sleep, chasing another that runs away from you until he is tired enough or urinating multiple times on a creature that wants to blend with the flowers. I don't see any "helping each other" here, just abusing others until they give you what you want.

Ys: The Vanished Omens

23-12-20

(Based on the Ys Chronicles+ version)

It's kind of easy for me to enjoy this game. It's a simple adventure that tries to go to the action without filler, just a warrior that goes through a few towns and a few dungeons to save the day. Adol doesn't even get to cast magic or anything like that, just a sword, armor and a shield that's all you need.

This philosophy towards the adventure can be seen in the combat system. You bump an enemy and you damage him, he bumps you, he damages you. If you bump him in the center both of you get hit. It's a simple way of translating the action, but an elegant one that with some wit can create interesting situations. In the game we see a few, like when we have to rescue a prisoner or in some of the bosses. But these are exceptions, not the norm.

Despite the developers trying to get away from some RPG trends of the era they didn't trust themselves enough. Most encounters are forgettable, backtracking breaks the rhythm multiple times and there are still stupid experience points even when they expressed their rejection to this tiring conventions. From a great adventure to an irregular one in just a few steps.

Phantasy Star

20-12-20

The first 3 hours are great! Shame about the other 23134 left.

Spider-Man (2000)

14-12-20

Love to see Spider-Man kicking police ass, specially considering how Insomniac made him a cop recently. Early Neversoft hand is perceivable in here.

Even though the game is quite simple, it compensates by throwing one action scene after another always trying new things. Sure, not all of them are as good, the second half is weaker with the sewer parts being the lowest point of the game, but for a game that lasts 3 hours tops you don't ever get tired. That final level makes Metroid escape scenes look like they were made for babies, what a tension.

Digimon World 3

12-12-20

In this game, the Digimon World exists in an MMO videogame. With this premise there are some curious observations at the beginning of the game. In the first scene in the Digimon World, your female friend Ivy changes her name to Kail, a "guy name" according to an unfortunate comment from the main character, a comment to which Kail responds "Hey, it's my choice, OK?". Some elder people in the first town talk to you about their wish on becoming Digimon. The server is full of people from everywhere in the real life world. Unfortunately, all of this are just little footnotes on the bigger picture of the game.

I could talk about many things that make this a bad game, like the conservative system, the world where most of the places are mere filler... but I think the major issue of the game can be summarized pretty easily. This is an extract (slightly edited) from a Gamefaqs guide in an early game section, on how to advance in a path blocked by an NPC (you don't need to read it all to get the point):

After Zanbaon gloats over his victory, you'll find yourself at Bulk Bridge. Go back to Tranquil Swamp for some answers.

Go to the Inn and talk to the Gatomon standing next to the counter. She tells you that everyone is annoyed by Zanbamon, and that Sepikmon in Shaman House should be able to do something about it. Go take a peek inside Shaman House.

He'll tell you how to beat Zanbamon, but first you have to retrieve his precious mask. He mentions having it when he was with Baronmon. It's time to look for clues.

You'll see Kail in Bulk Swamp by the border with Bulk Bridge. Talk to her, and she'll tell you that she saw a Digimon with an amazing face in East Sector, and that she thinks it was Baronmon.

Once here you need to talk to the Agumon standing around outside between Zephyr and Seiryu Towers. He tells you that Baronmon isn't here, but that he likes forests and ruins.

You'll find Baronmon at the top. Talking to him reveals that Sepikmon had his mask when he was with Baronmon, but that last Baronmon heard he was at Asuka City.

You'll see Sepikmon standing there, complete with mask. Talk to him and he says that he found his mask. He also doen't offer you any help in defeating Zanbamon because he was the one who found his mask. That sucks. Go back inside the city.

Go down to the tree on lower level of the city and you'll see an Etemon. He'll tell you that he heard Sepikmon ran towards Divermon Lake. Let's follow the punk. To the lake!

Cross the bridge, turn south, and wrap back west to the large stand of kickable trees. Go through them to the path beyond and talk to the guy standing at the end of it. This is Nick. After a quick rant about manners he tells you that he found this huge gaudy shield, and that Etemon came and claimed it. It's time to go back to Asuka City and have a talk with that Etemon.

Go down by the tree and talk to Etemon. Follow him in and take the path all the way around to the sewers, where you'll find Etemon. Walk up and poke him. he'll hand over the Sepik Mask. Great! Let's go return it to its rightful owner.

Go on into Shaman House and Junior will give Sepikmon back his mask. Sepikmon, happy to have his mask back, gives you the Smelly Herb with which to deal with Zanbamon. Time to go deal with that sword-wielding ruffian.

Digimon World 2

10-12-20

First hour of Digimon World 1: You play as a kid that just fell into another world, your objective is to convince Digimon who ran away from File City to return, making the city grow and helping each other. You even get 3 pieces of meat everyday for free!

First hour of Digimon World 2: You play as a soldier or something like that in an army. Your first mission is to "destroy Wild Digimon" (those exact words appear in the game). After that, you must choose a faction: Blue Falcon, who discriminate the Black Sword faction and virus Digimon, Gold Hawk, who also discriminate Black Sword and virus Digimon, or Black Sword, who discriminate no one but whose leader says that they fight for "power and authority".

Wow

Dragon Ball FighterZ

09-12-20

I think it's a really poor decision to add so many boring characters, like there were 3 Gokus at the base game and now there are like 6 or something like that. This is specially frustrating knowing a little bit about the variety in the world of Dragon Ball, just to see multiple versions of the same characters again and again.

Having said that, I think Arc System Works did a good job at differentiating characters. It may take some time to see that, specially considering how the system seems almost too universal for its own good. But take Trunks, for instance. The way they give Trunks his own character is by making him an agile warrior rather than a strong one. He even has one of his specials dedicated to movility and nothing more, focusing on confusing the enemy with graceful movements across the screen.

Still, would be cool to see more variation, specially when you consider some characters from Guilty Gear and Blazblue and how the imagination really flies there (when they want), but I guess they managed to add a bit of flavor in a way or another.

Garou: Mark of the Wolves

09-12-20

When fighting games pro players say that the psychology is the most vital element to win in this games they aren't lying. The T.O.P. system in Garou evidences this in a clever way. At the start of the match you set a portion of your healthbar where you will gain some small benefits, such as more strength, new moves to use or autoregen. This may resemble modern fighting games comebacks mechanics, but setting yourself the "comeback" moment is the crucial psychological factor here.

Imagine the next scene. You are fighting an opponent who sets their T.O.P. active at full health. Just with this small decision the psychological game already starts. Will they go all out from the beginning, making the T.O.P. decision a cocky move? Maybe they will play on the defense trying to retain the uphand of the match? Your supposition will change drastically your approach to the combat.

Same with how you set your T.O.P., let's imagine an opposite situation of the previous case, you set your T.O.P. when your health is at its lowest. Will this relieve you in a hard moment or make you even more nervous?

Still amazing myself thinking just about the T.O.P. system possibilities, and then add the rest of the psychological game that you would expect of the genre.

Digimon World

07-12-20

(I'll take the bad part out of the way first) It's a shame that the game depends so much on combats, specially when it demonstrates that there are a lot of recruitments way more ingenious than "fight bad guy to make him good guy and send him to the city". The worst thing is that there are a lot of big problems that have their roots on this decision, to the point where the tamagochi aspects are almost ruined by the end of the game.

Other than that I was genuinely amazed by the world itself, disvovering it and living the adventure. It's hard to compress why I like so much but there is just so many cool things happening everywhere and you never know what the game will throw you next, you don't even know when and where (and sometimes even how) it's going to happen.

Also shout outs to Myotismon, super chill dude (specially considering his counterpart in the anime), even the buggy questionable translation helps on the weird cool vibe of this guy.

Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening – Special Edition

07-12-20

(Talking about Dante, barely played with Vergil yet)

Kind of cool to see the most strategist DMC work so well once you know the basics. I feel like these games are more about knowing what you are going to do in each scenario than pure reflex. The thing is that this is the DMC where you have to think the most about what you are going to face next by choosing your weapons and style beforehand. What is cool about it is that there are not really bad decisions, as far as I know you could pick anything and still make your way through any situation. The strategies here are more about finding what works with you personally than finding an optimal solution.

Mushihimesama

07-12-20

I still suck at this game, but that doesn't stop me from having fun with it.

It's kind of hard for me to say anything about shmups so uhhh... yeah stage 3 is really cool (I'm still stuck there at 1cc).

Bugsnax

18-11-20

Oversimplified bugsnax behavior, erasing any kind of observation or experimentation on the creatures as soon as you scan them.

Gaining other's trust just by doing errands again and again. A "friendship" to the point where everyone totally opens themselves to you in the "inverviews" (selecting all dialogue options is hardly an interview).

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

14-11-20

Kind of worse at everything compared to the first one, but there is still so much heart that it didn't really bother me

Demon's Souls (2020)

13-11-20

But you don't have the game!
You don't even have a PS5!

Well, I've got eyes.
And a Soul. This game doesn't.

VVVVVV

31-10-20

The answer is out there, somewhere!
Let's go!

Octodad

31-10-20

The dad of dad games.