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16  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 15, 2016, 12:14:41 PM
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Other RPGs from that era guilty of getting characters Stoned: Breath of Fire, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, and Illusion of Gaia to keep it to ones where the affliction is plot based.

I accidently read that word slightly differently.

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And yeah, PS4 is from that era where localizations were done by one guy in a week on a good day. Here's the guide I used to figure out spell names among other things back in the day.

Hah, wow, it's been a while since I've visited one of those shrines!

Phantasy Star 4 - Report 3
I think I (nearly) finished the first act. I kicked a pretty boy's ass and I'm about to head into space, yay! The game still feels clunky, but I'm fairly confident I'll be able to get through it (and enjoy it!).

BTW switching to the simple version of the emulator, instead of using the badly programmed hub, solved the sound issue. Probably should have mentioned that last update.

17  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: September 15, 2016, 02:37:20 AM
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Had a horrible day today.

Got out of work thinking it was over.

Was very, very wrong.

I know I say it a lot but HOLY HELL am I tired of life.

:(

I wish I could give you a hug or something, but hey, if you ever need to talk, we're here for you. And if you just want to vent, that's fine too. Or just not think about it at all and just talk about videogames for a while.
18  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 14, 2016, 03:58:25 PM
Phantasy Star IV - Report 2
The emulator gets worse: after struggling with the 'full' version, I switched to the quick launch version, which is a lot more CPU/RAM-friendly and lets you get to your game quicker. However, I had to reconfigure my controller for some reason. It was dumb. Homebrew emulators from the 00s have more functions than this thing.

I'm now on my way to deliver the cure to those people who were turned to stone (a popular ailment in the 90s, it seems*). In game, I set everything to max speed and while the game still feels a bit clunky, it's definitely playable. I like the little 'cutscenes'. However, that's about the only thing that feels special right now. It's not bad, but... I hope I get to see some of the game's more innovative features soon. I've played plenty of other JRPGs from the early 90s and I'm curious where it fits in that context.

As for techs, I'm starting to remember some. Like Foi = fire (it both starts with an f), Wat = ice (frozen water) and Res = heal (restore). I'm having trouble with stuff like Doran, Gelun, Saner and other techs that affects stats. Maybe I should look up the Japanse names. I figure that atleast some of these weird ones are a result of shaky translation + limited characters.

BTW I do have some experience with Phantasy Star: I got about half way through the first one (on GBA) until deciding first person dungeons without proper maps are a terrible way to spend my time. Some names sound vaguely familiar, but... that's it.

*Various Final Fantasies, Tales of Phantasia and Destiny, Lunar, Grandia, Terranigma, Star Ocean - all the cool kids has either an important character or an entire town turned to stone (well, okay, or crystal, in the case of Terranigma). I do understand why it's was popular: it's like death, but you can fix it (well, usually anyway). It's the perfect level of drama for games aimed at young players.
19  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 14, 2016, 04:16:39 AM
The moment you've all been waiting for (it seems):



(Sega, why do you still use weird American boxart that does not reflect the style of the game?)

First of all, that took some time to download and install! The game itself is 50MB or so, but the emulator that comes with it is like 1GB. Good lord... Remember Gone Home? Well, it looks like a room from that, but maybe a little shittier. There are some minor options to adjust the looks and feel of the game, but nothing special. No increased game speed, sadly.

In any case, I've just defeated the first boss. Things I learned thusfar:
- The sound quality is like a cat assaulting a blackboard. Logic dictates that it's music - there's definitely various tones being played in a pattern - but it does not sound like it. I wonder if it's supposed to be like this (and I've been just been spoiled by awesome sound chips in Nintendo systems/cartridges) or if the emulator is really, really bad.

-Yikes, this game feels old. I think it's the menu's fault. Not that menus have to be jewel box levels of fancy, but this is just kind of sad.

-I really need to make a list of spells, because I have no idea what anything actually does. "Is this the healing spell? I really hope this is the healing spell..."

-Haha, that academy that's supposed to be the biggest on the planet? It makes academies in your average fantasy JRPGs look high tech.

20  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 13, 2016, 04:43:17 PM
I'll know soon enough how I feel about Phantasy Star 4, because...

The Cat Lady - Final report
I'm an idiot and kept playing. Closure does make it a little better, but it was... intense. This is not just a horror game. It's about depression, fighting it, not choosing the easy way out. It's especially obvious in chapter 3, in which you're trying to get through your evening without breaking down, but every little thing can go wrong and sometimes it's just too much.

However, the horror element is certainly there. What makes the game extra scary is that the borders between reality and dreams/hallucinations are vague at best, and the games leaves it up to the player to explain it to themselves. These are the scariest parts of the game and not, say, a cannibal with a cleaver. In a way, the atmosphere was much like what I'm used to from Japanese horror. There's no solid how or why, things just are and you can't always overcome it.

I paid: 2,69
I played: 8 hours
Worth the wait?: Shit. I should have waited a little longer! Unless I find some lighthearted distraction, I'm going to have trouble sleeping tonight...
21  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 13, 2016, 03:17:24 PM
Okay, I think I might be looking forward to Phantasy Star 4 now, because... Guess who played what before bed?

The Cat Lady - report 2

It's a little after 9PM, it's dark outside and The Cat Lady just scared the shit out of me. Most of the game is pure psychological horror, but some moments... like the one in chapter 6... It wasn't a jumpscare. It was so obvious something was going to happen and I thought I was prepared, but... Yeah, totally going to sleep with the lights on tonight. The primitive graphics and grainy sound just make it worse, you know? I knew something was going to happen... I should have turned the sound off.

I really wonder if I should just keep going and get it over with. Maybe some closure will make it better.
22  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: September 13, 2016, 01:46:54 PM
My theory is that the craziest of fans were more or less raised by the internet, which is why a similar level of weirdness can be found on a global scale. If these fans had spend more time with people who didn't validate or even encourage their anime-inspired behaviour, they wouldn't glomp and whatever. Common sense would have told them is that it's cute when my little cousins charge at me, because I can just catch them and spin them around. Common sense would have also told them you shouldn't jump on people's backs without warning, especially when they're 20kg lighter than you and wearing heels...

I mean, she meant well, and fortunately I'm a bit stronger than I look and wasn't hurt, but yeah, that could have been bad.

That said, I'm running into them less and less as I mostly hang out with the 25+ crowd. Mostly guests, vendors, staff and so on. Sure, there are still some weirdoes (and I won't claim my reputation is squeeky clean - I'm known as someone who can be rather blunt and well, difficult, at times*), but it's mostly people with enough common sense and life experience.

*In my defence, that's mostly because of a really low tolerance for events that treat their volunteers like crap. For instance, there was this one convention invited my friend Lea to run her Cosplay Repair Point, and then expected her to pay for her own ticket to get into the convention she wouldn't be seeing much of because she'd be working. She went anyway because she's a total sweetheart, but that just made me angrier at them. Like, good job expoiting the kindness of our healer princess, you cliche of a RPG villain.
23  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 12, 2016, 01:49:13 PM
But Chromo Squad isn't even on the list! D: Actually, it's on my wishlist, so if I ever do a sequel to this, it might be on that list.

What I'm playing isn't colourful and funny at all.  It's one of those games I should never ever play before bed (but probably be will because I'm an idiot):



It starts with suicide and an offer - from Death? The Devil? something else entirely? - that could not be refused.

I can't say much about the story thusfar, but yikes, this game is getting the horror part right. The visuals are an eclectic collage of 90's style pixel art, photos, CG backgrounds and who knows what else is in there. There don't seem to be any jumpscares, just an atmosphere that presses down on the player. It does get bloody sometimes, and when it does it's absolutely gruesome due to not just the heavy contrast between the red blood and the bleak environments, but also due to the wounds the blood flows from.
24  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: September 12, 2016, 02:32:49 AM
Something similar happened to me... I woke up smelling smoke, jumped out of bed and discovered the neighbours were having an extremely late barbecue.
25  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 11, 2016, 01:36:46 PM
Yeah, so many retro games with poor controls/unintuitive GUIs/clumsy design flaws on top of the padding...

Which is why I'm sort of dreading Phantasy Star 4. On one hand I'm really curious, because I heard a lot of good things but have next to no experience with the series. On the other... it's old. Now, it's not as if I never play old games (I have a nice VC library on my Nintendo systems), but this one is supposed to be a lot longer than, I don't know, those Game Gear RPG's I played two years ago.

Oh well. We'll see.

(I wonder if this 'Megadrive Collection' thingie the game is part of will let me set the game speed to 1,5x or 2x. That'd be great.)
26  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 11, 2016, 12:29:55 PM
That's what I like about them as well. The better ones tend to be fast-paced, which is great, because for some reason retro RPGs from 'proper' developers are often a bit on the slow side, as if they feel the need to stuff the game with filler (random encounters, long and boring dungeons, endless talking) to justify a 20+ price tag.

Anyway, another one bites the dust!



Yeah, uh, that should be a good indication of the level of sanity you can expect of this sequel to the crude point & click adventure game parody 'Ben There, Dan That!' It takes 90s adventure game logic to its (un)logical conclusion and presents the player with puzzles that involve making a sexy (dead) mouse to get some cheese or swiping a chopped off arm through Hitler's bloody stool to disable a trap in a doom tower, all while making terrible puns and geek culture jokes. The game consistently looks like shit, and in this case, that's a compliment. The controls are also a bit on the shitty side, which is, sadly, not a compliment. It can be hard to figure out which parts are actually clickable and you'd best be prepared for some old-fashioned pixel hunting.

I paid: 0,20 (actually 0,39, but that was with Ben There, Dan That! included, so let's take the average and round it up)
I played: 4 hours
Worth the wait?: I played this at the right time. I participated in an escape room at Abunai (which had a science fiction theme, so lots of aliens and time traveling everywhere), but didn't get to do much because groups of nine turned out to be a bit much. This scratched that adventuring itch.
27  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 10, 2016, 12:45:22 PM
I asked fellow freelancers to pick some numbers as well, and they chose 2 and 16 - The Cat Lady and Phantasy Star 4.

Good timing, because the waiting list has gotten a bit shorter again:



Her Story - First and final report

Ah, the indie darling of 2015! I should have gotten to this one sooner. For anyone who's missed it: Her Story is a story you piece together by searching a database of clips of police interviews. Many were impressed, but the game also got a lot of crap for not being gamelike enough. There's no score or a solid ending, it's just you searching for and watching clips of a woman talking. You draw your own conclusions and you can let the game end when you're satisfied. That said, finding all clips can be a challenge as you have to pick keywords from old clips to find new ones. (Or you could cheat, but where's the fun in that?) I don't want to spoil anything, but go pick this up if you're into mystery's or like stories told in creative ways.

I paid: €3,59
I played: 3 hours
Worth the wait?: I could have gotten a better deal if I had waited longer, but I'm not going to complain. Her Story is a very memorable experience.
28  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: September 10, 2016, 03:29:01 AM
Slaps on weeb glasses I started playing volleyball after I watched Haiykuu!!. It's pretty fun, although more so with a group of 12 which, obviously, isn't very easy to pull off with any frequency.

That's good. My reaction to manga never went beyond "maybe I should bake some bread". (Which might be a good thing, considering how much manga I read.)

Speaking of sports, a rather gloomy subject came up at the guild: lack of new members. In our case it's not too bad (though the youngest members are at the age where they might move away for college/work, and if they do, I'll probably be the youngest archer there), but some of the nearby guilds haven't had any new members in like 40 years.

Yay, rural life!


29  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 09, 2016, 04:18:13 PM
Machina of the Planet Tree ~Planet Ruler~ - Final report

Ancient high tech civilization. Mysterious girl that lost some memories. World tree. Backstabbing. The world is saved! Sequel hook.

I think that sums up the plot of Machina quite nicely. And yeah, I did not play it for the plot. The dungeons were nothing to write how about either, the battle system however... Man, I haven't had so much destructive fun since... Valkyrie Profile, I think? Creating huge combo chains is just so satisfying. I was reaching 100+ during the final boss battles and the game (or was it my laptop?) actually had some trouble keeping up. It's a good thing the battle system is so great, because battles make up most of the game. (Random encounters are quite frequent.)

But... Holy difficulty jump, Batman! The last 3 hours were mostly bost fights and half of them where tougher than anything else in the game. Granted, I didn't get lucky enough with the excavation points to make myself a few ultimate weapons, and if I did grind for them I might have had an easier them, but some strategy adjustments (and a barely touched item hoard) allowed me to finish the game anyway. Still, those boss fights were definitely too much of a good thing...

I paid: €3,24
I played: 10 hours
Worth the wait?: I had fun playing it, that's for sure. It's just... there's not much worth mentioning besides the battles.
30  Media / Game Journals / Re: Help me defeat my (super weird) Steam backlog! on: September 08, 2016, 03:21:00 PM
With my laptop working better than ever (which doesn't mean much, because it's always been an insult to PC gaming), it's time for an introduction:



Machina of the Planet Tree ~Planet Ruler~ - Report 1


(Yet) another RPG Maker RPG, but this one is a bit different from the last two as it's a doujin game from Japan translated by Sekai Project. Publishers don't pick up just any doujin game for localisation, and it shows. Machina has a ton of custom stuff: character portraits, backgrounds, music, battle system, sprites - there's even a bit of voice acting in there.



The character designs are super anime and I have this feeling I've seen variations of them before, but the sprites are pretty neat and compliment the battle system nicely. You see, Machina works with a combos-system, sort of like a much faster version of Xenogears' or Legend of Legaia's. By chaining a variety of attacks you do more damage and that combo bonus builds up quickly. However, if you keep repeating the same attacks, your damage multiplier goes down. This makes for fast, fun battles and by the time I reached the first boss, I was a bit overleveled just because I enjoyed fighting.



As for the story, it appears to be a pretty basic 'advanced civilization was destroyed and the cause becomes a threat once again (free mysterious girl included)' type of story, but we'll see where it goes.
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