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  • what i’ve been playing 11/27/2019

    My mood and general state of mind have gotten a lot better over the past couple of weeks. And it’s entirely due to getting back in contact with some old friends. People who I, and I’ll level with you here, have honestly been worried about off and on for the last few years. Hearing them all laugh and make jokes and have fun was a healing thing.

    Now what does this have to do with games? That’s easy: we were all up until 4 in the morning playing The King of Fighters 2002. I don’t really recommend being up that late, especially when you’re old like I am. But if I’m going to be up that late, I’d rather it was because I was having fun playing video games, than being on Discord trying to convince someone that suicide isn’t the answer, you know?

    Anyways, KOF 2002. It’s great. At least, the Ultimate Match version that we played. We got to play seriously. Then we goofed around. Then we (well, I) reminisced about playing KOF ROMs as a teenager, and really getting into the lore and well-drawn images of the pretty boy characters fucking. Also introducing my friend to DON’T BREAK MY SOUL WHOA WHOA TONIGHT

    probably another post to be made about snk making all this supplemental material

    And Hazel, my friend, she’s no fucking slouch. She’s really fucking good at fighting games, actually. So it was pretty cool that I managed to hold my own and actually get a few wins. Now obviously, I wasn’t a super-stud laying the smack down, but I think I did alright.

    this is a time where i won

    Quick side note here: shout out to SNK for having games loaded with hot-ass pretty boys with well-defined abs. Your cheap AI annoys the fuck out of me when I try to play this shit single player, but I can at least admire the dudes.

    not official art, but can you blame me for posting it?

    Myself, Hazel, and Gabi, we all got together and did some lobbies in Skullgirls, as well.

    I’m not very good at Skullgirls. I like to play as Beowulf, though, so I can annoy everyone with my immense knowledge of Pro Wrestling.

    In any case, it was good to get back in contact with people I care about. I’ve been kinda stewing in my own mental illness on my own for the last few months, and that shit will drive you crazy. So to get pulled out of that is really great, and it’s led to me feeling pretty darn good. Think I might bother them for some more games soon.

    Plus, nobody’s asking me to play any fucking Overwatch, thank fuck -_-

    kof 2002- esaka


  • 9/15/2019: late birthday post

    My birthday was on the 5th. I didn’t make a post then because I wasn’t home, and I’ve also been dealing with being sick, so I haven’t been able to take screenshots and pictures.

    Anyways. I’m 33 now. So I’m going to do another post about the games I got as gifts (and a couple I bought on my own), and then follow up with a serious topic, like the adult I am.

    Yakuza 6

    This one was a gift. I recently finished Yakuza Kiwami 1, and I went right into this one. What I’ve played so far is really cool, and I would like to go back and play Yakuza 2-5 to get the full plot. I’m not too far into it; still doing sub-stories on chapter 1, in fact. Something I’ve liked is the seamless transitions; you go from walking down the street to immediately fighting hoodlums, or opening a door and entering a restaurant or Club Sega without a fade to black first. It’s really cool.

    Kiryu is just such a relatable guy. He’s old and tired, but keeps getting dragged into other people’s bullshit. He wants to help everyone and do the right thing. He wants to chill out with some Virtua Fighter 5 and watch Anri Okita take her clothes off (maybe don’t click on that with your mom in the room). Like, same dude.

    Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3

    This game fucking rules, dude. You can have a team of four Spider-Mans. You can team up the good members of the X-Men (no more Gambit, thank fuck). You can play as the Avengers, but replace garbage characters like Iron Man with the Wasp or the goddamn Falcon. Plus the game was made by the XBox Ninja Gaiden people, so there’s more to this game than mindlessly pressing attack while watching numbers go up and hoping the fanservice keeps your attention, something the first two games were guilty of. On top of all that, I should repeat that it has motherfucking Venom. Venom who is actually a good character to play as this time around, and straight up uses some of his moves from Marvel vs Capcom.

    Metal Wolf Chaos

    Oh boy. I remember really gagging to play this game for about a decade now. I mean, a Japan only From Software game on a system I never owned? I needed to get my hands on it. This, despite Devolver Digital bungling the promotion of the game with their “Make America Great Again” bullshit that led to myself and a lot of other people dealing with a couple days worth of online harassment by The Gamers for rolling our eyes and saying it was fucking stupid. But you know, that’s not FromSoft’s fault. I was sure the game would be good anyway.

    And…it is. It’s fine, mechanically speaking. The problem here is that it’s not 2004 anymore. A fascist America that locks up political prisoners and refugees in cages, blames the rise in crime on illegal immigration, relies on mainstream media to demonize antifa activities, and creates a narrative that the only person who can save the day from corruption is our “brave” President isn’t really satire anymore. That’s real life. Fifteen years ago, this would have been a decent parody of America’s post-9/11 attitude. In 2019? There’s nothing to satirize. The only difference between this game and our current political climate is there’s no giant robot tearing its way across the country. It’s very uncomfortable to play a game that says things like this, knowing that it’s the current GOP party line:

    And it sucks, because again, that’s not From Software’s fault. I want to like this game, but man, it’s so fucking hard when things that were considered over-the-top jokes back in ’04 have since become very real. This might draw some heat, but I have to say that maybe it would have been better if this game were never re-released. Just have people mod an XBox if they wanted to play it so bad.

    Anodyne 2

    Like Yakuza 6, I’m still pretty early on with this one, but what I’ve played so far has been fucking great. I’m digging on the whole concept of “cleaning” people of mental illness and trauma that they struggle with, at your own expense. I’ve been told that the game gets heavy into some queer/trans stuff later on, which I’m looking forward to. And hey, it’s a game with a PSX/N64 aesthetic not made by people who have made thinly-veiled threats towards my found family! At the very least, it gets my nod of approval for that. Snark aside, I’m definitely going to be diving back into this one hard.

    Blasphemous

    The game looks nice. That’s about it, really. It gets frustrating pretty quick, putting enemies right under ladders and on platform edges, ready to attack you the second you attempt to make progress. Bosses have attacks with zero frames of animation, simply warping to you to do damage. Controls are pretty sluggish. Exploration can be a pain, with a lot of backtracking, even for its genre. It feels like one of those games where the dev team played Dark Souls, and the only lesson they took from it was “this game is hard.” Kind of a let down.

    Cave Story

    Not a new game by any stretch; I played this game when it got translated back in 2005. But I felt like replaying it, given the recent revelations of Nicalis being run by racist scumbags, one of the biggest “no shit” stories in gaming since the Riot Games allegations last year. So I loaded up the original freeware game, not bothering with that dirty “Cave Story+” bullshit. And what do you know? It still rules. An absolutely timeless game. As far as I’m concerned, this is what the concept of “Indie” should be. Making great (“great” being subjective, obviously) games that you feel strongly about that resonate with whoever plays them. I’ve spent so much time these last several years wondering why I still bother making games, despite everything that has gone down in that time. I loaded up Cave Story, and I was reminded why. There’s still a place for us; the real artists. Not the sociopathic rapists and egomaniacal transphobes.

    ACTUAL SERIOUS THING NOW

    Two weeks ago also marked my one year point of sobriety. Not a single drop of alcohol has entered my system since then. Admittedly, I’ve had my close calls the whole time. And August was kind of a rough month, as well (read those posts in case you forgot). Dealing with PTSD triggers without something to dull the pain can be difficult, but I did it.

    This is a bottle of vodka I’ve had sitting in a cabinet by my desk. Last year, I took one last drink from it, and put it away. I left it there as a challenge to myself; to see if I had the strength to not give in. And I didn’t. As much as I wanted to at times, I kept myself from opening that door and pouring myself a drink.

    Thanks to everyone who supported me during this time. All the friends and partners who stuck by me, even when they probably shouldn’t have. The faceless strangers a world away who had me in their thoughts. Even those who wanted me to give up and die. I’m still here and I’m sober because of you. And it may not always seem like it, but it has helped out tremendously with my mental health. Things are still hard, what with being an abuse survivor with BPD and PTSD, but I no longer feel the need to rely on alcohol to try and deal with it. That’s one battle in the war won.

    Well, this was kind of a disjointed post. But I hadn’t done one in a while, and I was too busy to do one when I wanted to. So hopefully you liked this one, and I’ll be back soon (I hope) with another post about something.


  • retail memorabilia #3: littlebigplanet

    It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I found this while digging through my closet today, so it’s time for a new post!

    This is small booklet, for lack of a better term, to promote the at the time upcoming LittleBigPlanet.

    front
    back

    You open it up, and you get this sort of box/card holder type thing. It doesn’t open or anything.

    But it does hold a number of postcard sized slips that list out all of the games’ features.

    and here’s the back of the holder

    Now unfortunately, I no longer have a working scanner (those Resistance 2 scans I have were done years ago), so iPhone will have to suffice for all of these cards. There are twelve all together.

    Now, all of these have a design on the back. You put all twelve cards together, and it turns into this:

    Now, I remember looking forward to the game really bad. I ended up buying it at launch. I have a thing for games that include a robust level creator. Games like Megaman Powered Up and Mario Maker are a permanent part of my collection, and LBP has hung around on my shelf for the same reason.

    It’s just a shame that the games themselves are not especially good. At least aesthetically, the series is great. Amazing soundtracks and, if you know what you’re doing, it’s capable of some fantastic visuals, too. But the controls are really floating and hard to deal with, and the physics engine only adds to lack of handling you have. And on top of that, the actual level editor is really fucking complicated. I played this game in my 20s, and was having a hard time figuring out really basic things like putting platforms in the right place. LittleBigPlanet is a game aimed at like, eight year olds. If I, at around 22 (TWENTY-TWO!?) years old was struggling to make something, what chance do literal children have, you know? That being said, I still own all three of them, and load them up from time to time. Even if I can’t make shit in it, I can still sometimes find some good stuff other people have put together.

    So that’s it for this post. I’m still digging around, looking for some bits of old promo materials I still have. Right now, I’m trying to find a collection of lanyards and pens, miscellaneous stuff.

    And because this is a LittleBigPlanet post, figured I’d post one of the songs from its awesome soundtrack.

    The Go! Team- Get It Together

  • sailor moon super s- various emotion

    Something I’ve mentioned a couple of times in the past was how often I would read and re-read issues of Diehard Gamefan Magazine as a kid. I don’t bring it up much as an adult, due to me finding out that the editorial staff were all scumbags (writers seem okay, though). Not really interested in waxing nostalgic for a magazine once run by someone who uses the term “thug” to describe Trayvon Martin, you know?

    But as a kid, I didn’t know. Not too many people did; internet in 1996 wasn’t what it is today. Enough about that, though. I was into it mostly because it was a magazine willing to cover a lot of obscure shit that you never would have heard of otherwise, with a pretty massive import section. Of course, me being a literal child at the time, I couldn’t afford any of it, but I had an active imagination, and would often times imagine me playing these games that looked really cool. Magic Knight Rayearth, being one. That section was also my introduction to the Fire Pro Wrestling series, and I don’t think I need to link my PC Gamer article again, do I?

    One of those games that I obsessed over was Sailor Moon Super S- Various Emotion. My last post talking about Sailor Moon fighting games triggered this memory. But I remember reading its one page preview, because I was such a massive Sailor Moon fan and watched the show every day (station UPN 20, channel 3 on your cable box), I wanted to play this game so bad. Now, I didn’t have money, neither did my parents. I didn’t even own a Sega Saturn until I was 19. Actually ordering imports at that time was ludicrously expensive, and apparently pretty sketchy. And on top of that, I didn’t have any knowledge of the Japanese language. But it didn’t matter, because it was Sailor Moon and by fucking God, I needed it in my life.

    I never did end up owning the game.

    However, emulation exists! And playing Saturn games has been…okay-ish, for the last few years. So I figured, why not finally sit down and play this game?

    Holy shit

    Various Emotion is absolute garbage. Without a doubt, the bottom of the fucking barrel for Sailor Moon. Probably one of the worst games ever made. No joke.

    It’s another fighting game, I think. There are buttons, but they don’t really seem to do much. And that’s not me doing some angry game guy bit, I legitimately have zero fucking clue how the controls in this game work. You press a button, and maybe you’ll throw a punch, or taunt, or stand there doing nothing. There’s such a massive input delay that I’ll never figure out what does what. Plus animations take way too fucking long to play out, and look like this:

    It’s slow, it’s plodding, it runs like shit and looks worse. And, that’s another thing, at risk of sounding like some kind of hipster: I have never thought that prerendered graphics have looked good. Prerendered backgrounds, like in Final Fantasy and Resident Evil? Great. Timeless. Chunky looking bullshit that’s supposed to look like a human being? No. Fuck off. I didn’t even like them in Donkey Kong Country. I know that not liking DKC makes me stupid, and I know that it’s insulting, but it’s also the truth, but I am nothing if not a beacon of Dumb Bitch Energy. I didn’t even like it in Fallout, but I put up with it, because Fallout rules.

    seriously, look at this

    This Sailor Moon game is straight up unplayable. 9-year old me would be crushed to see this in action. Should consider myself thankful that my first Sailor Moon game experience was playing the Mega Drive one as a teenager. Now that’s a fucking video game. A game that really got me through some tough times in my adolescence. Maybe I’ll talk about that some day. But for now, I’ll just say: dude, fuck Various Emotion. Not worth the nearly twenty year wait.


  • 8/13/2019: what i’ve been playing

    My uh, last two blog posts were a bit on the negative/angry side. So I thought I would go back to more positive, happier posts. I’m going to talk about video games! This will mostly be fighting-game centric, so be aware I’ll probably end up using jargon that could possibly fly over your head.

    Sailor Moon Super S- Zenin Sanka!! Shuyaku Soudatsusen

    It’s a Sailor Moon fighting game. Specifically, a ROMhack designed to make the game more competition-friendly. And it plays well enough. The real issue here is, because I didn’t really feel like hitting up Parsec to see if anyone was playing a fan-edit of an already woefully obscure fighting game, I’ve been fighting the AI. Holy shit, the AI is so horribly cheap and unfair. CPU enemies always start with more health than you, they have better defense, they can hit harder (Sailor Uranus has a low roundhouse that can take off nearly 25% of your health, but does significantly less damage when you play as her), their projectiles can sometimes completely bypass your guard, their anti-air’s have a hitbox that goes behind them, so forget about using Sailor Mercury’s triangle jump.

    You might think that’s something added in with all the other changes made to this version, but as someone who has played pretty much every Sailor Moon game (including the garbage DS platformer only ever released in Italy), no, that’s how they all are!

    And that’s the biggest issue with these games. Well, one of the two biggest issues. The first one is: how the fuck are there so many 1-on-1 fighters based on Sailor Moon, a series about teenage girls coming together, cooperating and becoming close friends, despite their differences and personality traits, to make the world a better place? But the other problem is: why are these games so fucking hard? At least this one didn’t have garbage controls, which is more than you can say for the rest of them. Now, I can win fights here, despite all the obstacles put in front of me. But I’m also in my 30s, with about 20 years worth of fighting game experience (and at least two years of being proficient at a couple of them) to my name. Sailor Moon is a series aimed at kids! Some poor seven year old probably got one of these games as a gift, threw it into their Super Famicom, and after asking, “why are the Sailor Senshi all fighting each other?” proceeded to get her ass kicked by the computer over and over again. Like, come on, game devs, try and understand your demographics, here!

    That being said, I still think it’s great. Probably the second best Sailor Moon game, directly underneath Sailor Moon on the Mega Drive. You should play that one.

    Ultra Fight Da! Kyanta 2

    This is a doujin fighter that looks like it was made in MS Paint, there’s almost nothing in the way of damage scaling, the game’s speed is about 100 miles an hour, and the sound effects are all the creator making sounds with his mouth. You watch a match video, and the game looks broken as fuck; like two joke MUGEN characters going at it.

    And yet the game…works? Like, really well? It’s actually incredibly fun once you figure out the game mechanics. The characters, despite looking very simple, all have designs that stand out really well. And, while I can’t read Japanese, and the text is all buggy and glitched out, it appears that the plot involves someone being force feminized by an eldritch abomination named after a steak?

    So basically, Kyanta 2 is loaded with Slimegirl Energy, and I can’t recommend it enough.

    Tekken 7

    I’ve been bitten by the Tekken bug again. And wouldn’t you know it, but I haven’t been half-bad at it? Season 2 Alisa is a force to be reckoned with, and it rules. Making her more of an aggressive character, as opposed to being on the defense, relying on slow zoning attacks, is a great idea. I’m one rank away from entering the orange ranks, meaning that I’m going from having delusions of adequacy at fighting games to…maybe being almost halfway good at it. My big weaknesses at the moment are still trying to escape throws, and get better at blocking lows on wakeup. Doesn’t help that I was matched up against a lot of King players today, and he’s like the Joe Biden of Tekken, and does not give a fuck about your personal boundaries with his grabs and weird lariat that looks like it hits high, but is actually a low.

    Resident Evil 2

    I got the RE2 remake on sale. For those who don’t know, I am a huge, huge, huge, huge, HUGE Resident Evil fan. 2 is tied with 4 as far as being my favorite in the series, so yeah, I was definitely looking forward to seeing how Capcom would modernize the game. I mean, the remake of RE1 is a stone-cold classic.

    And man, the RE2 remake…it’s…it’s not that good.

    Mechanically speaking, it’s a mess. You can no longer push zombies once they’ve grabbed you; meaning you get grabbed, fuck you, you’re taking the hit and you don’t even the benefit of being able to shove the attacking zombie into a group of other zombies to give you some breathing room. The stomp attack is gone, so if you get grabbed by the leg, ha ha, fuck you, better waste a sub-weapon because apparently your feet are made of glass now. Enemies have ludicrous range to their attacks; you can get grabbed, slashed, tackled, and punched from a mile away. It doesn’t help that Leon and Claire move like you’re in a dream where you’re trying to run. And hey, how about those “B” scenarios? How about removing any traces of suspense and tension from the original game by having Mr. X appear around literally every fucking corner, clapping his asscheeks faster than Sonic the Hedgehog, throwing out wild haymakers while you’re stuck in a cramped hallway, hobbling along like an old woman, not reloading your fucking gun even though I am mashing the fuck out of the square button for fucks sake Leon WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR DEAL??????

    Narrative wise, it’s actually worse in the aspect, too. There is no suspense to the remake at all. In the original game, you didn’t see William Birkin until you were on your way out of the police station. And even then, it was only his arm.

    The remake? Eh, fuck it, just have him show up almost immediately and get into a fight. Whatever.

    Mr. X? You know how in the original game, he only appeared a handful of times, but when he did, they were intense encounters that actually meant something? Well who needs that shit when you can have him annoy the fuck out of you every three seconds, and even if you take him down, he’s only out for about ten seconds.

    He’s just…there. All the time. It’s not scary, it’s annoying.

    Despite being on much better hardware, the game significantly less gory now. Ben, the journalist? This time around, he gets his skull crushed by Mr. X. Gruesome, yes, but here’s how Ben died in the original (or at least in Leon A):

    Literally ripped in half by a parasite implanted in him by William Birkin. It’s a lot better and more gross than being on the receiving end of a Kona Crush head squeeze (brah). The entirety of Resident Evil is built around body horror. The zombies. The monsters. They were all human at some point. Resident Evil’s horror comes not from its graphical fidelity (or lack thereof) or from dogs jumping through windows. The horror comes from the realization that all these things you’re shooting and running from were people, just like you. A soulless corporation experimented on them in order to make a little more money, and paid off government officials to look the other way while everyone else suffered (at least before RE5’s racist ass came along with its weird retcon of Wesker wanting to take over the world by making everyone a zombie). Ben getting killed gruesomely by this parasite that turns into a massive creature called the G-Mutant (which the remake reduces to a standard enemy, good job), is another example of this. That’s why his new death falls flat.

    Oh, and the remake completely glosses over Chief Irons being a serial rapist.

    And this leads to my biggest issue with the remake. It’s kind of shocking sometimes, going back and playing these old Playstation games. Resident Evil 2. Final Fantasy VII. Metal Gear Solid. They all had some sort of point to make. Corporate greed. A mistrust of authority. Anti-war sentiments. The environment. Now, I know I’m far from the first person to notice the massive backslide games have been making over the past decade or so into more of a conservative, reactionary state. And I’m not even getting into the behind the scenes bullshit, I’m talking about what’s on screen. Most games these days seem to have the message of “Join the Army. Listen to your parents. Turn down that Rock and/or Roll music.” Games glorifying police brutality and America’s Forever War in the Middle East become huge sellers and get on Game of the Year lists. Making a game today that even implies that maybe America isn’t such a great place will get you death threats! And even the series’ that I’ve mentioned have fallen victim to this backslide. Metal Gear Solid V? Barely even talks about geopolitics, instead focusing on a revenge fantasy between two GI Joe figures named “Big Boss” and “Skull Face,” with a prologue chapter that is probably the most disgusting piece of misogynist garbage in the history of video games. Final Fantasy XV? The main character is the royal heir to an entire country, a far cry from the rebels fighting against evil empires, money-hungry corporations, and military schools putting children into war zones. Now here’s Resident Evil 2 outright calling a cop; THE cop, a corrupt rapist who is not to be trusted. In 2019, that is a bold thing to put out there. And I’m not pulling some “we stan a legend Capcom so woke” bullshit or whatever. It’s just another good example of how far we have fallen. The new Chief Irons is now reduced to a greedy official who lost his mind after the G-Virus outbreak who calls an eight year old child a “bitch.” Not so strong, is it?

    Just…everything about it is such a disappointment. And I’m actually really sad about it. Like I said, RE2 is one of my favorite games, and to see it getting mishandled so badly for a new generation kind of hurts a little bit. On top of that, there’s still the matter of next year. The year the Final Fantasy VII remake is supposed to finally come out. When I buy that game at release (and I will), am I going to re-experience what made that game so special and so magical? Or is it going to be like Resident Evil, and make me shake my head at what could have been?


  • 7/6/2019: what i’ve been playing

    Hello friends. I’ve been busy dealing with severe allergy attacks that have left me in a lot of pain and dealing with blurry eyesight, plus the usual bipolar brain shit (not fun). So in an attempt at keeping my thought process positive, I would do another “games I’ve been playing” post.

    Hell Night

    This game is pretty cool. It’s a 1998 Playstation game that combines two aesthetics that I really love: point-and-click exploring loaded with 90s pre-rendered CGI, and blocky corridors with warped textures. Now, while I liked it, I was also very disappointed with it.

    Let me explain: the plot of Hell Night is a young man getting onboard the nearest subway car after being harassed on the street by some religious zealots. The car derails, killing everyone inside except for him, a teenage girl named Naomi who follows you around during the game, and a serial killer on the run named Kamiya. And while the main character and Naomi are figuring out what the fuck just happened, a monster tears his way in, gunning after the two of them, so they run away. They run to the end of the tunnel, where a bunch of special ops soldiers are waiting for them, ready to gun them down. But they get distracted by the monster, which kills all but one of them. And while all that’s going on, the MC and Naomi take off into the sewers, which then leads to the entrance of a secret underground city called the Tokyo Mesh. The Mesh was built from the remains on an abandoned military base, which has since been taken over by a cult, and is home to its members, along with refugees and sketchy people. And so now the object of the game is to escape from the Mesh, while also being endlessly pursued by the monster. There’s also some bits involving Cosmic Horror, if you’re into that.

    Now, if you’re like me, that concept sounds cool as shit. A game that combines horror with slight Cyberpunk/Kowloon Walled City elements and has the visual gestalt of the games in the back of Gamefan magazine that I would fantasize about playing as a kid. And like I said, it’s good. But the problems come in when you realize that the Mesh is not as fleshed out as it should be for a game like this. NPCs don’t really do much or have a whole lot of character beyond saying a couple of goofy lines, giving/receiving items, or getting killed. The Mesh itself is mostly a series of dark corridors with generic, unmarked doors leading you to the characters, or to completely empty rooms. I felt that there should have been better care taken with the narrative structure of the game.

    The monster is pretty well done. The game does feel like a precursor to Alien Isolation. There’s puzzle solving and exploration, all while having to avoid a single enemy capable of killing you instantly. And unlike most horror games, this monster does not just lumber towards you; this motherfucker will full-on sprint after you from a dark hallway, scaring the shit out of you. And by “you,” I mean “me.”

    But then around the mid-way point, the monster either stops showing up, or due to the stage design, is so easy to avoid that he becomes more of a formality than a threat. And then the end of the game comes, where he becomes the single most annoying thing you can deal with, causing me to spend well over an hour in a single area, unable to bypass him. It’s hard to scare me when you’re bothering me.

    All that being said though, the game is still cool, and you should probably fire it up in your emulator of choice.

    Samurai Shodown V Special

    Gabi and I have been playing some matches on Fightcade together, in addition to me taking on random players here and there. My Ukyo is mostly untouchable.

    Super Mario Maker 2

    It’s probably counter-intuitive to buy a game completely based around level design while I’m actively working on my own game, which is currently taking way too fucking long to finish for my liking. But whatever, I’m having fun with it, and people are liking my stages, which gives me a bit of relief knowing that if people are liking what I’m doing with Mario, then they’ll also probably enjoy Slimegirl.

    Go play my levels:

    And that’s pretty much about it for now. Mostly needed to take this time out to be positive, and not let the bad energy get to me moreso than it has this week. I’m about two months away from one full year of sobriety, so beating the bad brains to avoid falling back into that pit is a good thing. Don’t know what my next post will be; maybe a Developer Diary, or I can try and dig out some more old retail shit besides these two lanyards I have laying around my house. But until then, see you around.

    Oh right, gotta post a song too.

    Kaela Kimura- Know You Love Me

  • 5/29/2019: death of the auteur

    Pretty much everyone in my social circles this morning has been talking about the new trailer for Death Stranding, the upcoming Kojima Productions game. And something I should not be surprised by, yet I was, was that literally every person who talked about it trashed it. To my particular part of the web, Death Stranding is a joke. As well it should be.

    This is kind of a weird thing that needs some explaining here: I actually really like the Metal Gear series. I own all of them, and have gone through them multiple times to 100% completion (except MGS4, the reasons for which will be obvious to anyone who actually played MGS4). All that being said, I cannot fucking stand Hideo Kojima. He’s shown himself, through his work and his personality, to be a misogynist, a homophobe, a transphobe, and all sorts of other horrible shit. For every one good idea he has, he has about ten that are complete garbage. Like, yeah, Metal Gear Solid 2 is more profound these days because it was eerily accurate in its prediction of the internet being used as a tool for propaganda, and to perpetuate the rise of fascism. But then there’s also Policenauts, a game where the main character can sexually assault random women, and who stops in the middle of a gunfight to go on a rant about gay and transgender people being degenerate freaks. Metal Gear Solid 5 was an unfinished mess of narrative that contradicted itself, undid literal decades of plot, and outright forgot its own messages; commentary on the use of “detention facilities” and child soldiers took a backseat to a photosynthetic woman who needed to be mostly naked or else she would die from a lack of sunlight (never mind that Metal Gear already has a photosynthetic character who didn’t have this problem), and a meandering revenge story between two walking action figures named “Big Boss” and “Skull Face.”

    I realize that I play all these games despite all of this because 1) MGS1 was a pretty formative game for myself and a lot of people in my generation, and I kind of need to see how that series ends, 2) there’s still a lot of goodwill being carried over from MGS2, and 3) when you’re surrounded by the best programmers, artists, sound and level designers in the business, your games will at least play well.

    But through all of that, I don’t fucking care about Death Stranding. I’m tired. We’re all tired. Because the thing is: Metal Gear is done. That part of our lives is over. It’s not 1998 anymore, and we’ve all grown up. We have outgrown Hideo Kojima. Hell, we have outgrown the concept of the video game “auteur.” We all know by now that mainstream games are not made by a single person. For us, an auteur is someone who is willing to take all the credit. Some loudmouth asshole who thinks that without them, none of this is possible when in actuality, without all of this, they are not possible.

    Remember when Kojima was fired from Konami? Remember when he showed up at whatever Geoff Keighley’s bullshit event is called? He got this grand pro wrestling entrance, complete with people in tears seeing him. His story of being a well off, successful producer getting fired from one major company, then immediately being snatched up by another major company so he can work on a well-funded, heavily marketed game featuring major Hollywood stars made him the biggest martyr in the history of games! Forget that this was all taking place while Gamergate was still very much in the headlines, and people who did not have a fraction of his notoriety were left twisting the wind. But Kojima really wanted us to feel bad for him.

    What an asshole! I’m glad my friends are shitting all over his new project!

    It’s a new era. So many creative people working on games, trying to make a go of things. It is frankly insulting to see so much time and attention being given to a man who is very clearly disgusted by our existence, and whose current game looks to be some cowardly, centrist, “the truth is in the middle” bullshit. And this isn’t just a Kojima thing, even though he’s the point of this post. You have so many of these men showing their asses on a frequent basis, but being forgiven because the games other people worked on that they take credit for are good. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kojima, or SWERY65 and his anti-union beliefs, or Matt Conn being an abusive sex predator, or Suda51 being ironically stuck in the past, or Cliff Bleszinski being Cliff Bleszinksi. There should not be a place for one man to be idolized and held to this demigod status while so many marginalized creators bust their ass and get fuck all in return. I don’t know if it’s something that will change anywhere besides the small bubbles and scenes that exist, but man, that would be fucking cool. Give a queer person, or anyone who isn’t just another cishet man Kojima’s budget, and watch them blow the world away with what they can do.

    Until then, we should just maintain a healthy amount of skepticism at a group’s work being attributed to a single man. After all, Kojima once told us that given the right situation, the right story, anyone can be shaped into the hero.

    ADDENDUM: the only auteur that should exist is John Romero, because he fucking rules.


  • retail memorabilia #2

    Today’s piece of old merch is…this:

    I’m still not entirely sure what it is. It’s promoting Killzone 2, which for the record, was fucking awful. I bought it because I wanted a second multiplayer game on my PS3 besides Metal Gear Online, and it was one of the few games on the system that had custom soundtrack support. That’s about it, it was trash otherwise.

    Here’s the back.

    It’s not an envelope, as there’s no brad on the back. And even if it had one, I doubt that the post office would let you send out a package with a space nazi on it.

    And it can’t be a folder, because it’s way too thin to hold more than a few pages. So it’s just a thing that exists and sits in a storage box in my closet.


    Well, that was pretty disappointing. So to make up for that, I’m going to tell you about a little something called the Retail Loyalty Quiz. Where I worked (and I imagine it would be the same for places like Gamestop and Wal-Mart, places where vendors would visit), you would be given a web link by the local Sony vendor when you meet them for the first time. The Sony vendor I dealt with was nice, even if she towed the company line to a degree that bordered on cult-like.

    Anyways. The point of this site was that you could take a series of quizzes that tested your ability to sell Sony shit. And if you did well enough, you would get points that you could then use to order things like terrible merchandise and terrible games. I’ll get to that last bit in a while.

    Now, I don’t remember the link to this page. And even if I did, I haven’t worked at that job since 2009, so I wouldn’t be able to log in in the first place. But luckily, I made sure to screenshot some of the questions they would ask you. You’ll see why.

    They start off fairly benign. But then they get some weird fucking answers pretty soon after.

    So, after answering all these questions about girls not playing games and buying a new PS3 with the mega smash hit ATV Offroad Fury and playing it through a cable hooked to my brain, I ordered a game. I can’t remember the whole selection of games, but I remember they were all shit. And they were all late-era PS2 games, as this was still during a time when Sony wanted to get that last push for the system before throwing all their support into the PS3, which really needed it (this was back when Giant Enemy Crab jokes were still the height of comedy). I ended up ordering the least shitty game, Tourist Trophy on the Playstation 2. I could have done a lot worse than a game Google informed me was pretty much Gran Turismo but with motorcycles.

    It’s been 12 years now, Sony, and if you ever want to actually send me a copy of the game, that would be cool! There’s still a blank spot on my shelf for it!

    If there’s one thing you could take away from coming to my web site, it’s this: Sony owes me a copy of Tourist Trophy on PS2.


  • what i’ve been playing 4/28/2019

    First, let me start this post with a quick plug: in addition to playing games, I also made one. Go take a look.

    A few weeks back, I installed a hybrid firmware on my Super Slim PS3. The main reason being a way to play Aquanauts Holiday 3 without needing to spend the $170 it goes for on eBay. And also to play all the Burnout Paradise DLC I never bought.

    A couple of problems:

    – I can’t actually find the damn ROM in the first place (thanks Nintendo!)

    – I’m not actually technically proficient enough to get PKG Linker to work on my system, so the only non-legit game I’ve been able to play is Soul Calibur 2 HD, which I downloaded to make sure the hacking actually worked. The game itself fucking sucks, though.

    So I said “fuck it” and just went back to playing the normal Spring/Summer playlist that I’ve been enjoying for the last several years.

    After about nine years of owning the game, I’ve finally finished 3D Dot Game Heroes. The reason I stop is because in order to get the Sword of Moonlight (the best weapon in the game), you have to complete every single side quest, pretty much all of which are time-sensitive. And then if I put the game down for any number of reasons, I forget where I left off, and don’t feel like retracing all of my steps, so I quit or start a new game that I never finish.

    This time, though, I made it a point to not play anything else until I was done with this game. And I did! I had this laser focus on every tedious, obtuse side quest, and got that damn sword and beat the game.

    And yes, that is my OC Slimegirl as the main character. I’ll need to make some fixes to the animation, and then I could upload it to my 3D Game Heroes page.

    I’ve also been playing a lot of Gran Turismo 6 before and after I finished 3DDGH. After some personal things in my IRL life (may write about that at some point), I “celebrated” by saving up enough fake money to buy a fake Ferrari.

    I was real excited to tear up the raceway with it. Then I found out that the handling sucks. It oversteers at the slightest touch. Even with the tightest tires and suspension, it’s prone to fishtailing and even outright spinning out on really tight turns, regardless of how slow you’re going. It becomes less of a race with other drivers and more of a fight with the car itself. Not really worth the 450 grand. Can’t believe SEGA would lie to me about how fun Ferraris are.

    Did manage to win a couple races with it, but I think this will just be a showcase in the garage from now on. For now, I’m back to Nissans and BMWs, screaming down the track to whatever sweet Summer time jam is playing on my PS3 hard drive.

    Hideki Kaji- Tropical Girl

    That’s about it for now. Probably try and knock out more of my PS3 backlog. May even do a new file in Hakuna Matata. Look forward to a new Retail Memorabilia post coming soon, and BUY THE GAME!!!!!!!


  • retail memorabilia #1: the art of resistance 2

    Ten years ago, I was in a management position for a Target store (not the big boss, but one of the many smaller bosses). My role was to run the right side of the store, dealing with the electronics, the movies, the books, and the video games. As such, I would be given random shit from companies. Little bits of merchandise you couldn’t get anywhere else. So I figured, why not post the stuff that I got? I still have most of it after all this time.

    This first one is a small artbook I got for the Playstation 3 game, Resistance 2. Now Resistance 2 was, okay, I guess. It was fairly unmemorable aside from its co-op campaign that I played a lot of. I don’t have the game anymore; I sold it several years back.