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.