Saturday, 30 June 2012

actually made me hit the power-off button in disgust

Trying to reach the stamp stand in the sand temple. That is NOT the SLIGHTEST bit fair. That is not a clever puzzle. That is something that would be achievable IF THE CONTROLS WEREN'T HORRENDOUS.

I am not sure whether I'm going to continue with this game at this point. My extreme fed-up-ness with the trains combined with the number of puzzles now that don't feel at all like I'm doing something wrong but more like the controls are designed to make my character randomly kill himself all the time...

edit: okay, fine, I got past it and stamped my book, but the point remains that I don't enjoy puzzles where I feel like I'm wrestling more with the controls and their blatant refusal to do what I clicked than with my reflexes and decisions.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

i ain't afraid of no ghost

So looks like someone is attempting to make a hidden object / RPG combo (for the ipad, so I can't actually play it.)

I had a vague idea for how to mix up the super-fancy-shiny-arty Hidden Object game style popular in casual portals and a proper RPG once. To get the standard cluttered house full of junk, it was to be about GHOSTBUSTING. You frantically search for objects invested with ectoplasm or whatever in order to help you defeat the spooks.

Obviously never going to do it though, so feel free to play with that.

notes dump

Since I think it's highly unlikely I'm ever actually going to work on this, a handful of notes originally written down for the Experimental RPG About Fighting Cthulhu With The Power Of Rock


Your stats:
Volume (affects how powerful your skills are)
Health (duh)
Resistance (absorbing damage)
Dancing (dodging)
Tone (accuracy)

Things the vocalist can do: (tank)

Taunt a monster for attention
Attack a monster
Get in front of an ally to protect them
Heal self
Reflect attack (advanced tactic)
Start a summon by hand-clapping (advanced tactic)

Things the guitar can do: (dps)

Attack = Strum (different rhythms indicating different kinds of attacks?)
Big Attack = Riff (different riffs indicating different kinds of attacks) Must complete measure without interruption or it's lost
Increasing Damage = Sustain (damage it does keeps going up over time but if interrupted you're dead air until the end)
Area Damage = Whammy (Must be already sustaining, but spreads the damage out over a group instead of focusing on one target)
Clear Ailments = Slide

Things the bass can do: (heal/support)

Group Regeneration = Steady Pulse
Boost Volume = Amp Up
Boost Tone = Build Tension
Boost Dancing = Back Beat
Heal Team Member = Release Tension
Weak Attack = Rumble
Group Resist = Subwoofer

dear nintendo

I do not care about bigger screens.

I don't even care about longer battery life.

Make a 3DS without region lock and I'll buy it despite hating 3d.

Continue having region lock and I'll continue playing my old DS. There are still lots of games for it I haven't played yet!

Monday, 25 June 2012


So, I've been poking my way through the fire mountain temple dungeon whatever. The puzzles in this one are pretty straightforward. It's the controls that are driving me batty. I don't *normally* find the stylus controls this awkward, but the imprecision of stylus-based movement has led to things like Link deciding to walk straight forward into lava instead of making the short hop to the safe ledge I am indicating, or Link's speed changing randomly when trying to dodge moving fire barriers / blade thingies.

But that's just general stylus movement. The real pickle and place where I died multiple times is something I think is downright annoying design.

There's a locked room you enter where you end up on a narrow platform with lava on both sides. On the other side of the lava are four skeletons. The skeletons throw things at you.

A skeleton can be 'easily' defeated by first shooting it with the bow, then grabbing and throwing its skull with the whip.

Problem: This requires selecting the bow weapon, clicking on the 'activation' circle in the corner of the map, holding down the stylus at the skeleton to aim, releasing the stylus in the right place to shoot the skeleton and make its skull fall, clicking on the activation circle to switch out of bow mode, clicking on the menu button to bring up weapon-switching, clicking on the whip icon to change weapons, clicking on the activation circle to switch into active whip mode, clicking the whip on the skeleton, then clicking the whip somewhere else to throw the skull. That's a lot of fiddly selections.

While you are doing this, the skeletons are THROWING THINGS at you. If any of these missiles hit you, the game is likely to suddenly change the 'mode' you were in, so that if you were following the above sequence of clicks, the next click you make will suddenly do something completely different than you had intended. Like, say, making you walk into the lava for damage. Or leap across the lava to 'attack' the skeleton with your sword, which does nothing except drop you into the lava for damage.

Did I mention that while you are in active whip or bow mode, you can't move? So you can't DODGE the missiles that are about to completely screw up your action.

Did I mention that after shooting the skeleton, there's only a brief time limit before the skull reforms into a full skeleton and you have to start over?

Did I mention there are multiple locations where you can hit a skeleton with a bow but not with a whip, meaning that after you switch into whip mode you'll flail uselessly for a while before realising that you can't hit anything and have to start over?

Did I mention that large 'activation' circle in the corner of the screen, which conveniently happens to position itself right OVER one of the four skeletons, so that when you try to whip it, if you're unlucky, you just keep switching in and out of whip mode?

There may well be an easier way to do this... everywhere else in the castle I used ONLY the whip against skeletons like that and it did fine. It didn't seem to work here, because there were too many of them and they kept throwing bones at me so I couldn't manage to get enough progress using just the whip. I may simply be dumb. But MAN that was annoying.

and then there were none

Things I don't have time to write: A murder mystery in which most of the cast is trying to kill most of the cast, and the plot branches insanely based on which ones of them you've managed to intercept at which stages (because if you stop Person A from dying, they might kill Person B later, and that might mean Person B doesn't kill Person C...)

It's the combination of the months I've been following the Dangan Ronpa Let's Play, plus reminiscing about the Colonel's Bequest and how the ending really let down the complication they'd been building until that point, and finding Jisei/Kansei much too short and simple for my plotting tastes.

I like snowballing catastrophe.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

there'll be another along in half an hour

While I generally enjoy the Zelda DS games, I am resentful of the sheer amount of time I have to waste riding this train around. Especially when I'm having to do things like ride around flipping switches so I have a loooong wait before I get back to the game... and I can't zone out because there are stupid enemies around and sometimes the train will randomly not go the way I told it to...

I can't relax and enjoy it, and I can't enjoy it as a challenge because it's stupid and limiting and (of course) literally on rails.

And there's this grumpy voice in my head complaining that if I put more MINDLESS PADDING like this in my games some people would cheer that I'd made the playtime longer...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

rose colored rear view mirrors

Vaguely glancing at the Let's Play True Love thread is a bit of a shock.

I remember liking this game.

This shouldn't be a shock, it's a pretty clear influence on a lot of my work, Summer Session being the most obvious. (For some people, it was TokiMemo that was the big influence, but I've never played it, even the girls sides, and don't know all that much about it.)

So it's a surprise to me to look back at this game and go "Wow, that's awful."

The art really hasn't aged well. It's not just the number of colors, which wasn't really their fault, we did have more technical limitations then. It's not just the particular style of huge eyes and harsh technicolor highlights which was in vogue in that particular era of anime but makes people cringe nowadays. Even my untrained eye is finding the anatomy pretty ropy.

And that protagonist... what a creeper!

I liked this game? I must have been seriously bored.

Of course, compared to the other h-games of the era, it doesn't look quite so bad. Some of those ancient relics are truly... special. Someone even mailed me a free legit box copy of DOR once just to prove how painfully bad it was. (AND IT WAS.)

Really, it's hard to imagine how I got into this field when I look back at what I had to try and catch my interest!

Monday, 18 June 2012

fits and spurts

Been a bit unwell for the past week, so I haven't really been doing much except trying to keep up with all the Let's Plays and occasionally clearing a bit of Spirit Tracks.

The last stages of that fire-and-ice boss got rather annoying!

In other portable news, I've heard that Hakuoki still isn't out for the Vita, and the 999 sequel doesn't play very well on it, so I guess there's no reason for me to buy one. We should all be well aware of why I'm not buying a 3DS. Alas.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Rune Raiders

Little fantasy turn-based tile-based action thingamabob. I couldn't quite call it an RPG even though I know it gets filed that way sometimes, but it's cute and you have wizards and dragons, isn't that enough?

Game Link

(Also available as an app for iphone or android but I don't have those phones so it means nothing to me.)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

immersion breaking

I have no interest in playing this little 'My Moviestar' social game, but I am geekily confused by the demo screens.

Appeared in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? That's Kirsten Dunst. I love Kirsten Dunst. And Neon is no Kirsten Dunst. She's not even blond! (Okay, Spiderman fans are used to KD not being blond, but she was blond in this movie....)

Also appeared in Bring It On... as Missy, Torrance's friend? But... Kirsten Dunst was in that movie. She played Torrance. Not Missy. I AM SO CONFUSED NOW! ARE YOU PSEUDO-KD OR AREN'T YOU???

Don't trust EA farther than you can throw them

Have a bit of a bank cockup over a very small purchase? Lose access to all your past games that you paid for.

Really, it seems like the only way to deal safely with some of these systems is to open a new account every time you buy a game, so that you minimise the potential damage...

Or, you know, you could do your homework and buy games from nice indies who don't use DRM instead of jumping on the biggest AAA title? But who am I kidding?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Magical Diary

So, if you haven't heard by now, Magical Diary is out on Steam.

If you bought it from me directly and want a Steam key to add the game to your library, forward your email receipt to my support address. The achievements you've already earned in-game should automatically unlock when you launch the Steam version if you install it to the same computer you were using before.

If you haven't already bought it... what are you waiting for? Limited-time discount GO GO GO.

Monday, 4 June 2012

seen on gamefaqs

Don't buy it, this game is about dating GUYS.

Like wtf, why would anyone want to play a game where you date a guy????

Hear that, straight women, gay men, and other male-inclined entities of the world? YOU DO NOT EXIST!

On the other hand, while I've had people earnestly tell me that I should be selling a game with a male protagonist because "almost all the people who buy games are male", and a couple things like the above, I still manage to avoid the really nasty stuff like this BBC article on harassment in gamer culture.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Rule The World Or Die Trying - Long Live The Queen!

Our newest release - a deceptively cute, pink, sparkly sim game about being repeatedly killed in as many ways as possible.

Basically, you're this fourteen-year-old princess who's just inherited the throne because the last queen (your mother) died under mysterious circumstances. So you're frantically trying to learn how to manage a country, while all around you EVERYTHING IS TRYING TO KILL YOU in order to get power for themselves. Evil relatives, invasions, civil war, uprisings, assassinations, feuds, eldritch abominations...

... no, I'm not kidding about that last one either.

Juggle a huge pile of stats and make decisions that you can't possibly know the consequences of and then watch them loop around and bite you in the back. And die. And start over again with a better plan.

Also, the outfits are adorable. But don't be fooled into buying this for any very young kids, you'll scar them for life.

Available for PC, Mac, and Linux. Click below for the free demos.

Long Live The Queen

What better way to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

the little things that make it all worthwhile

silly dev-related stuff that amuses me:

Figuring out where people come up with some of the names they use for their characters in yearbook posts.

Listening to someone doing a Let's Play of one of my games, having them read a line of dialogue aloud, snark at it, click to continue, and then discover that the game just made the the exact same followup snark.

Friday, 1 June 2012

i accidentally a purchase

I really didn't need more games.

But Spiky dropped his silver DS a while back, shattering the hinge, and after he managed to wire it back together discovered that the wireless receptor seems to be kaput, so in order to keep playing 2-player games we needed a new DS. And in the process of finding one for sale locally, discovered someone selling a stack of pretty decent DS titles for $10 each.

So now I have:

Chrono Trigger (I played a little bit of this once a loooong time ago but never finished it)
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Oddly I'm not sure I've ever actually played a Castlevania game)
Mario & Luigi Bowser's Inside Story (I played the last entry in this series and had fun with it)
KORG DS-10 Plus (... I don't actually know what I'm going to do with this, BUT IT'S AWESOME and I couldn't resist the price.)