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coprime

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coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Saturday, January 30th, 2016 07:29 pm
The BF and I had a couple people over last weekend for a board game day, which is always a ton of fun. And also means we get to play a bunch of new-to-us games!

Six Games Behind the Cut )

We also played a couple games of Codenames, which is still a lot of fun.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 10:57 pm
I once again attended Gen Con with the BF and played lots of new games!

<strike>Seven</strike> Nine Games Behind the Cut )

Once again, lots of new-to-me games played that I really enjoyed.
coprime: an awesome lady stepping out of a boat (Default)
Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 02:58 am
I attended Gen Con this past weekend along with the BF and had a lot of fun! We also played several new-to-me games, of course. (But not too many because I can get scheduling overload easily.)

Six Games Behind the Cut )

So those are my thoughts on the games I played at Gen Con this year: several really fun games plus one big dud.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Friday, June 14th, 2013 10:21 pm
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium is a JRPG with a science fiction setting that is totally awesome. I loved it so much! And I played it all by myself too.

So I loved it partially for the setting, which has androids and space travel and environment control centers and all sorts of creepy monsters that looked like they escaped from an evil scientist's lab. I feel like science fiction backdrops are rare in RPGs, so I really enjoy that aspect whenever it's present.

And I loved it partially for the characters. Alys is my favorite type of RPG character: badass woman who's good at hitting things, takes no shit, and does it all with a twinkle in her eye. I also came out of the game shipping Demi/Wren and shipping them hard. (Demi's sprite is so cute! She is noticeably shorter than everyone else, and her walking animation is consequently much faster.) All I want is for them to build little helper robot babies together, but there is a sad dearth of readable PSIV fanfic on the internet.

The game has a lot of references to the first two games in the series (but not the third because that one doesn't quite fit with its siblings), which is pretty cool. It really gives the game a sense of continuity and history and weight that I enjoyed, even though I know I missed a lot. Everything I did get was because I watched a tool-assisted speedrun of Phantasy Star. (And I subsequently fell in love with Alis--female main character is set on her quest because she wants revenge for her dead brother--and want to play Phantasy Star sooooo bad. Except the TAS is super grindy, so I don't want to imagine how much worse the regular game would be.)

The gameplay has a couple nifty aspects. The biggest one is that you can set up macros for what you want your party to do, and it makes the dungeons so much simpler. I thought that was pretty cool! You can also do combo attacks, but I managed to go through the entire game without managing to do one accidentally and so did not learn about this aspect until I finished and the BF told me. On the other hand, the game was still totally beatable without the combos, so missing out on the combos didn't affect the game at all for me. I found the spell and technique names to be inscrutable. (Tandle? Warla? Brose? What?) But then I made a simple cheat sheet, and that was no longer a problem. I had to grind for about two or three hours at one point, but that was painless to do with the help of picture-in-picture. And I was happy that was all the grinding I had to do. (Other people may have to do more because other people will probably get lost wandering around less than I did.)

My only quibbles with the game are minor. You have to ask an NPC to wax rhapsodic about the measurements of Alys, the Eight-Stroke Warrior, in order to advance the plot. Ugh. Whenever Rika physically attacks enemies, you get a <sarcasm>lovely</sarcasm> ass shot to go with it. The inventory system really needs a way to automatically sort it because as is, everything gets jumbled together and it's difficult to remember/find what you have. The quibbles especially look minor when compared to all the rest that is awesome in this game.

Science fiction. An exciting conclusion to the series. Alys. Demi and Wren and Rune and Raja and everyone else. One creepy dungeon that grossed me out every time I walked through a door. Macros. A spaceship. Ataraxia. The most awesome healer in RPG-dom who is fond of bad jokes and also a dude. Phantasy Star IV really does have a lot of things going for it.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Monday, May 13th, 2013 01:41 pm
I completely and utterly adored Secret of Mana right from the beginning when I saw how brightly colored everything was. The Boy's outfit is bright blue with a hot pink bandana, cape, and belt! It is all so cheery-looking. (The three PCs all have canonical names, but the English version of the game gives you zero way of knowing what they are. So the Boy got named after the BF, the Girl got named after me, and we named the Sprite child Coke because who can resist a lame pun. It is most certainly not me.) The backgrounds, the character sprites, and the enemy sprites are all just lots of fun visually.

There is a lot I loved about this game, but the biggest has to be that it works really well as a 2-player RPG. You can even do 3-player if you have the right equipment. It has a real-time battle system, no random encounters, and all the PCs walk across the map. So rather than having the Boy stand in for the entire party while in towns or traveling between locations and then just getting to control your character during battles, you get to control your character all the time (with just a few exceptions). You want to go talk to that townsperson? Go talk to them! You think it's a good time to visit the inn but your partner wants to visit the weapons shop next door? Now it's a race to see who gets to their door first. Or you can stun a monster then push it over to where your partner's fighting and then both of you can whale on the monsters at the same time.

Secret of Mana is super fun to play as a multiplayer game. Occasionally there's the problem of someone getting stuck because the party is too far apart but it happened much less than I would have thought and mostly to the computer-controlled third party member. Coke would get distracted trying to kill things and we'd have to backtrack half a screen to get him moving forward again.

The characters seem well-balanced to me, so no one's stuck playing the useless character. The Boy is the fighter, the Girl is the white mage and healer but also is decent at hitting things, and the Sprite is the black mage who is good at offensive magic but bad at hitting things. The BF says the game is a little broken in that the Sprite's magic is super-powerful when leveled, but the BF and I managed pretty well without using Coke's black magic ever. The BF ended up pretty leveled in all the weapons, I leveled the whip to maximum as well as getting very good at healing magic, and that strategy worked well and was more fun because we both contributed.

I really liked the magic system too. You learn new spells when you encounter an elemental creature that gives you their magic. So when you find Undine you learn water magic and you get fire magic from Salamando. Each set of spells has its own level (so I ended the game with very high Undine magic from curing everyone all the time but low everything else because I rarely used it), and the maximum level for all the elements depends on how far you are in the game. The weapons system is similar, but each weapon's maximum level depends on whether you have forged the weapon to that level. I liked the whip because I could hit things without having to get too close; the BF rotated weapons depending on the situation. (And because, as the Boy, his weapon skill for the individual weapons increased faster than mine did, he was pretty handy with all the weapons despite rotating.)

I could go on and on about various things I enjoyed while playing Secret of Mana because there are a lots of them, but but mostly it was the sense of fun pervading the game while still having a serious plot. The three PCs are all very expressive, the Sprite especially. The game does some unique things like letting you travel between continents via being shot out of a cannon and opening treasure chests by throwing them on the ground. The music is unique and fun and included a couple tracks that I just wanted to sit and listen to whenever they came on. The plot is fairly simple and not super unique but I found it engaging. (And, honestly, I find a lot of RPG plots pretty similar. Oh no, there are a lot more monsters than there used to be! Here, young boy, use this sword to go on a quest to find out why and save the world! But first, assemble a party of fellow adventurers and friends to help you with this task. And go fetch some special MacGuffins in order to advance the plot. Oh and don't forget to turn your boat into an airship at some point.)

So yeah, I found a lot to love in Secret of Mana. But mostly how awesomely it works with two people.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 04:39 pm
The impetus for my video game playing revolution came from watching the BF play games for my entertainment. I want to give my impressions of the game he played for me, but it's been long enough for these games that I don't remember much. So, quick hits.

Cave Story is a really cute platformer where you play as an amnesiac robot who makes friends with some bunny people and go on a quest. The story is entertaining and fun and there are multiple endings. I adored the graphics; all the sprites are super cute so I really enjoyed watching the BF play. The platforming elements seemed well done to my untrained eye: some tricky bits but nothing impossibly hard assuming you can play platformers, with the exception of the requisite platformer hell bonus level.

An Untitled Story is another cute platformer where you start out as an egg exploring your world. As you explore, you gain new abilities allowing you to explore previously inaccessible areas. Gradually you also discover a story. The graphics all look like they were drawn in MSPaint but have a surprising amount of character for their simplicity. The exploration elements are a lot of fun. There are lots of different areas, each with its own distinct feel, and the areas all have reasons to revisit them multiple times because there's so much in each one to explore and discover. By the time the plot finally kicks in, it adds this amazingly menacing and suspenseful air to everything you do. I could never ever manage to play this game on my own, but I was enthralled with it from the start.

La Mulana is also a platformer, this one done by fans of the Sony MSX computer. You play an archeologist exploring an ancient temple and discovering its secrets. In a lot of ways, La Mulana is similar to An Untitled Story: both are non-linear, exploratory platforms with a slow-developing plot. However La Mulana delights in tricking the player, and hardly anything is what it seems. I found the graphics to be pretty meh. They're well done, but I don't respond to them. My biggest problem with La Mulana is that the player ends up traveling in circles a lot trying to find the new area or unlock a talent or otherwise move things along. (This feeling is not helped by how tricksy the game and its puzzles are.) People who are fans of Metroid and Castlevania (a.k.a. the game's main audience) probably think of this as a feature, but it makes for boring watching. The plot was interesting and I enjoyed watching when stuff was moving along, just there were a lot of times when stuff wasn't moving along.

Super Meat Boy is a platformer where you're constantly trying to rescue your kidnapped girlfriend. Unlike the previous three games, Super Meat Boy does not have an involved plot. But the levels are generally short enough that watching the BF try multiple times was fun - yay, he made it past this tricky bit! oh, he just barely missed this other bit! - rather than sleep inducing. This is very much a platformer designed for platformer nerds. As a reward for completing a level, you get to see a video of all your tries at once, which was my favorite bit. The graphics are a weird combination of gory and cute, and that probably goes a long way to explaining why I was less bored by this than La Mulana.

In conclusion: The BF really likes platformers, and I really like cute graphics.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Monday, January 21st, 2013 04:05 pm
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom is an odd little text adventure game. There's a still image of what's in front of you and you have fourteen commands at your disposal for interaction. The basic plot is fairly standard - someone evil has captured the princess and you have to rescue her - but there are a lot of gameplay hoops you have to jump through in order to save her.

I played it because I thought it'd be cute since all the characters are anthropomorphic fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the graphics are so simplified and pixely that any charm they might have had is lost on me. (The graphics for the original, computer version have a lot more personality than the NES version, but on the other hand the NES version is the longer game.) Also, the game is nearly impossible to lose unless you give up because it won't allow you to proceed until you've done everything you need to do in an area. I say nearly impossible because there is exactly one point in the game where you can die, and I managed to find it. Go me! The downside of that style gameplay is that I often ended up stuck and trying every vaguely relevant command I could over and over in the hope of doing whatever the game wanted me to do.

And it is so rarely obvious what you need to do in order to move on. Either you need to talk to someone three times in a row in order to get more information from someone else, or you have to slight spoilers for Level 6. ) And those are some of the less complicated sequences you have to do. Needless to say, I often got stuck and would then pass the controller to the BF who tooled around checking stuff until one of us had an idea. We managed to get by with only checking the walkthrough twice in the first seven levels. Level 8 required extensive checking of the walkthrough because ughhh.

I can see why Princess Tomato has a small cult following. There are some fun elements: battles are done via rock-paper-scissors followed by a staring contest, and the mazes are constructed so that hugging either the right or left wall doesn't always solve the maze. The "what do I do next" frustration is probably much lessened when you've played to game before, so that everything is quirky fun rather than nonsensical vexation. (I did enjoy playing when I was making progress and figuring stuff out, but I think it's far too easy to get stuck without a clue as to what you're missing.)

There are also some creepy sexist bits that I did not appreciate. The kidnapped Princess Tomato is being forced to marry one of the bad guys, so rescuing her from that is good. Except your reward for rescuing her is that she now has to marry you instead, which I feel defeats the point of rescuing her. There's also another point in the game where you walk into a bathroom that an orange lady is showering in and she rightly calls you a pervert. The BF and I ended up perving on her a lot because we kept getting stuck and hoping she would have some new information for us because she was the only person we could find to talk to.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Sunday, January 6th, 2013 04:59 pm
Stretch yourself a little and try something new. Go play in a new fandom or with a new pairing. Try working in a new medium. Or consume different fanworks. Give that new fandom a go. Listen to a podfic or watch some vids if you haven’t before. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it.

This one was tough to think of something to do! I read pretty widely and capriciously, so stretching my fic-reading boundaries was out. I thought maybe I'd try recording a short podfic before remembering that I really don't like listening to my own voice. In the end, I stuck Pokémon White in my DS and started playing my first Pokémon game.

I bought my DS used, and it came with several Pokémon games (Pearl, HeartGold, and White) that I have been side-eyeing for the past month and a half. I had no clue whether I would like playing Pokémon or not. On the one hand, lots of cute things to collect! I like cute things! (They are possibly my favorite part of video games.) On the other hand, I have a couple friends who are way more into Pokémon than I will ever be who put me off the series. And a third friend scoffed at me when I told her I might play one of the games.

But I'm about two hours into it and thoroughly enjoying myself. I have a fluffly little otter as my main pokémon! So far I have been able to navigate the menus and win battles with relative ease, so I am doing pretty good skill-wise I think. And it is free to stay at the inn! I do like that. I only have four pokémons on my team so far, so I expect things will get slightly more complicated after I capture my seventh pokémon. But yes, I have enjoying what I've played of Pokémon White and am glad I didn't wait for months on end like I probably would have without this challenge spurring me on.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 12:57 am
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords is a Bejeweled-style RPG, which is all you need to know to decide whether you'd like this game or not. In my case, I like fantasy RPGs and can quite happily play Bejeweled (or mahjong or Boxspin or Fishdom...) for hours, so Puzzle Quest was the perfect game for me!

I played as a fire wizard named Aria. (The game suggested Ulmina for a name, so I chose my own, better name.) It was a lot of fun! Wizard is probably the easiest class to beat the game with because they get lots of offensive spells. I'll probably replay the game at some point using another class, after I've had a chance to forget the story a bit more. Aria was kind of mouthy, and I wonder if that was a deliberate character decision or if the game only has one set of dialogue for the PC. To be determined when I play through again, I suppose.

Gameplay was super repetitive, so I don't recommend this game to anyone who doesn't love playing tile-matching games. One thing I appreciated was the lack of a time element for virtually all the battles. (I believe there's a timed option in the preferences, and training a mount requires playing a game with a time limit.) I...honestly don't know if grinding is a necessary element of the game or not. I know I only deliberately repeated a quest in order to gain experience at two points during the game, both early in the story. On the other hand, there are lots of encounters while traveling and I did repeat quests in order to capture creatures. It never felt like grinding to me, but that probably has more to do with me than with whether or not I was grinding.

The plot is nothing special, although I feel like there is a dark version of the plot floating in the background of the game that never gets acknowledged. (You siege cities all over the land in order to collect tithes from them! You capture creatures, keep them in your dungeon, and force them to teach you any spells they know! You steal runes from every outpost you come across in order to make better equipment for yourself! By the end of the game Aria could have easily become the next Dark Lord, and no one would have been able to stop her.)

The computer AI seems like it's a cheaty-face because the AI seems to get way more cascading matches than you the human player do. This might be true because the computer loads several rows of tiles above what you can see for smooth playing and the AI picks the best move. It should only pick the best move based on the tiles on the board, but it sure feels like it picks the best move based on all the tiles. The game is still not very difficult even with the AI being a possible cheaty-face, so I guess whether it is or not doesn't matter. I just spent a fair bit of time insulting the game because of its cheating ways.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Friday, August 24th, 2012 11:51 pm
Mother 3 is the third game in the Mother/Earthbound series and was never released outside of Japan. There is however a very well-done fan translation available on the internet. I enjoyed this game, although I let the BF do most of the battles. (I probably actually played around a quarter to a third of the game and played armchair quarterback for the rest of it.)

The Mother series has a neat battle system where your health scrolls down when you get hit (instead of being immediately gone) so if you're fast enough, you can heal characters before they die. I...was not fast enough, even if I am getting better at menu interaction in games. Mother 3 introduces a hit system where, if you can time your attacks to the beat of the battle music, you can get up to sixteen hits in a row. It's a nice way of making it so that the non-magic characters can also do significant damage.

For the first couple chapters, you do a lot of character switching, which is kind of fun (new characters! new perspectives! new things to do!) and kind of annoying (so-and-so was finally leveled enough to be decent!). You also spend a fair amount of time in the beginning with just one playable character and maybe an NPC, and the battles therefore feel more reactive than my preference.

Plot-wise, the game was interesting. The main themes are the perils of consumerism and dealing with the loss of family members. (Between the themes, the ending, and the genderqueer Magypsies, I am unsurprised that Mother 3 never got an official English release.) The game did a good job of making it so that wandering around the main character's hometown for the umpteenth time didn't feel like the umpteenth retread. Characters said new things, different stuff was happening, and the town changed as the plot progressed. Having watched the BF play through enough games where you just go in circles unlocking one tiny, new spot at a time (La Mulana and I Wanna Be the Guy, I am looking at you), I am always thankful when games make revisiting places seem new.

I have spoilery thoughts about the ending. ) I do recommend it if you're the sort of person who likes RPGs.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Sunday, July 22nd, 2012 08:44 pm
I really enjoyed playing this game! Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals is actually a prequel to Lufia & the Fortress of Doom, and the intro to Lufia & the Fortress of Doom is the end boss battle of Lufia 2. According to both the BF and the internet, Lufia 2 is easily the best game in the series.

The plot is fairly standard with some "chosen heroes" having to fight a rising darkness from taking over the world and destroying everything, but it's enjoyable enough. Generic spoilers for the ending ) However what was really fun for me was the gameplay in the dungeons.

A Let's Play video showing part of the beginning of the game )

In the dungeons, the monsters all move according to a defined pattern (different patterns for different monsters) and only move when you move. No random encounters! Yes! There are random encounters when you walk across the map, but you really don't spend much time walking around the map unless you can't figure out where you're supposed to go. I love that you can avoid most monster fights if you're smart and careful.

And the even more awesome thing about the dungeons is you have to solve puzzles in order complete them! I can do puzzles! And puzzles are much more interesting to me than just fighting monsters and making sure you've walked everywhere.

Originally the BF played and I watched, except he more did the puzzles than solved them as he'd already played through the game a couple times. But that was boring to watch because he "solved" everything too quickly for me to try solving anything myself. So I convinced him to let me play instead, and that was a lot more fun, haha. And later in the game, we collaborated on the tougher puzzles. Good times, lots of fun!

This was the first RPG I've ever successfully played, and I would recommend it especially to people who like puzzles.
coprime: Marny bouncing (video games)
Monday, March 19th, 2012 03:43 pm
I do not play video games very much because most are too complicated for me (I have watched my BF play through a number of games however.), but Katamari Damacy and We ♥ Katamari are perfect for me. I've played a lot more We ♥ Katamari than Katamari Damacy because I like the variety in level objectives. Katamari Damacy will always have a special place in my heart though.

The controls are simple enough that I can handle them, but there's still an art to efficient rolling for more experienced gamers like my BF. And it makes me so happy to finally have a game where I can actually improve my playing skills. For example, I barely passed the three sumo levels the first time I tried them but when I went back after a while I passed them so easily.

The game is so cute and happy and weird, both graphics-wise and music-wise, that it's a delight for me to replay different levels. It is simple and colorful but with lots to discover. Which is good because I've replayed (nearly) all the levels countless times trying to get all the things. (The stupid campfire level is ugh hard.) I think the BF has less patience replaying levels because while he wants good times in his game, he is not used to having to watch someone else play for hours in addition to his own playing for hours.

I didn't have enough confidence in my skills to play Katamari Damacy by myself, but I am ridiculously proud of having my own save for We ♥ Katamari where everything has been beaten/achieved/found through my own hard work and with barely any help from the internet.