Leon's Microblog – February 2020

It's a strange fortune that Mario Maker is able to cram in this much complexity and intricacy into its level design space, by simply appealing to historical accuracy, to the authority of earlier works which had no need to make these mechanics rigourous.
or "you can ride winged Buzzy Beetles, but no other winged enemy" or "P switches don't change coins that are moving" or "shells can collect coins, but not powerups" or "Note Blocks can drop their contents down or up" or "swim physics completely changes when you grab an object"
You ever think about the sheer volume of inconsistent mechanics people whose first Mario game is Mario Maker are forced to rapidly internalise, like "P switches don't change blocks that hold hidden items" or "you can't enter sideways pipes or doors from midair"
Maybe "Muppet" isn't quite the closest descriptor… the game itself feels much more like an especially tropical and moody Adventure Time, complete with whimsically overgrown concrete ruins and a pervasive air of welcoming.
The character designs are evenly distributed along the human-to-Muppet continuum (in a nonetheless unifying way), and even the comic relief characters on the far end have jokey dialogue that still relates to current events, albeit filtered through their petty interests.
The overarching plot and climax is a tad thin (making a sharp turn in the direction of grandeur), and the gardening itself is linear, but the world design and backstory is full and thoughtful enough besides.
The character design and writing is pretty great… each named character is visually distinct without seeming especially caricatured, and you're made to develop some measure of respect for them as they live their awkward little island relationships.
https://akuparagames.itch.io/mutazione – Been playing Mutazione, another in the burgeoning genre of point-and-click games about easing relationships by growing plants (after Eternal Home Floristry).
Look. Obra Dinn consists entirely of hand-positioned motionless scenes. There is zero NPC movement and animation. And yet! And yet!! There is a rope visibly clipping straight through Alarcus's head. This is a statement about 3D in games. Clipping is inescapable. Unstoppable.
Happy anniversary to Ib, my favourite *all the endings I don't like suddenly burst into the room* favourite horror game *I try and shove them out using a broom handle but there's too many of them*
I mean… there absolutely were UI extensions with especially vibrant colour schemes back in the day, and I'm glad for that… but the specific palette of cyan and magenta (as distinct from the hated DOS CGA palette) wasn't ever relevant in the 90's design zeitgeist.
I'll confess it: this game's use of "the vapourwave palette" (pastel cyan and magenta) bothers me as a stylistic anachronism appealing to 10's conceptions of 90's technology…… even though those colours also strongly reinforce the safety and femininity themes of the game.
I'm reminded of Outer Wilds's in-game "rumour map", a concept map relating overt textual clues to visited locations, as acknowledgment that not even conceptual cartography is really anything other than rote transcription that the game can and should automate.
It's well known that lots of old exploring games (Metroid, this, Adventure) were valorised for the roleplaying aspect of forcing you to write a map in real life… but since then we all implicitly understand that cartography is not actually an interesting skill for a game to test.
Playing this (this being Scarab of RA for the Mac) reminded me that it has an in-game map, but using it hastens your hunger turn clock, so the optimal move is to turn it off and just write the map outside the game yourself to get the same benefit. Which is a shame.
"You can't stare directly at the sun without losing something: your job, your relationships, your eyesight, your strength, your memories, or even your own face."
Parts of this game get very scary!! It's really impressive, actually!! Don't take this lightly!!
https://ristar.itch.io/secret-little-haven – I've been playing the desktop sim Secret Little Haven, and this choice of superfluous UI detail reveals the author's personal affection for the depicted era.
"It's an abstract syntax tree that somehow escaped into real life. It's fine. The birds love to eat its tokens." *a sparrow shouts ">=" as it flies past*
The most ancient vampires, with no teeth left, have honed the power to suck blood through solid matter. The one before you demonstrates by sipping vintage dragon blood from a still-corked bottle.
L1 Game Programmer: Int x1, Int y1, Int speed, Int direction L15 Game Programmer: Point pos, Vector velocity L31 Game Programmer: UnitVector pos, UnitVector velocity L?? Game Programmer: Quaternion motion
Outer Wilds fanplanets: • "Gravelly Bend": Moon that slowly crumbles away and becomes a ring • "The Wanderhills": Planet whose tectonic plates constantly spin like gears • "Ol' Stubblechin": Planet that fills with forest during the night that completely dies during the day
Now that @topherflorence's Funky Kong ASMR parody video has been taken down, I just want to ask: how many people do you think observed it was specifically a parody of those videogame "all voice samples" compilation videos and not just ASMR in general https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXyyFv3yQcE
"Every human sense is a write-access port for a hostile reality. To be alive is to be hackable. Consciousness is the greatest vuln of all. To go online is to make your own mind the weakest node on the web."
Me halfway through explaining the plot of Donkey Kong Country to convenient tiny aliens: "This one is called "Dixie Kong" because she wears a Jackie Onassis hat, and Jackie Onassis's husband was assassinated south of the Mason-Dixon line." CTAs: "That's terrible. I'm so sorry."
3) The game just doesn't have enough versatility to support manual deckbuilding. The deckbuilding just shouldn't have been in the game, and in practice seems to only really serve the feature of losing cards in bets.
I'll say one shocking thing about King Of Cards, the final Shovel Knight DLC campaign. The card game is OK. What isn't good are these flaws: 1) betting your own cards is just repulsive, 2) your starter cards only having one arrow is the absolute worst way to introduce the game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1dRzjA_Xlc – Like, this track is the sort of thing I'm thinking about here.
https://virt.bandcamp.com/track/the-buzz-in-the-grotto-troupple-pond - I also played the final Shovel Knight DLC, and I'll reveal only my most important opinion about it: which music tracks I liked. It's just this one. This feels the closest to the 90s Konami, Rondo Of Blood pep among all the SK tracks.
As many have lamented, the chapter doesn't take the opportunity to give a sharp pinch of new information to upend the plot (as implied by the in-story secrecy of it) but does, at least, clarify the essence of the plot to a player that had until now read it very non-linearly.
The unlockable chapter seems on the face of it to be locked solely for narrative reasons, but is actually the only reward the game can offer you for getting the identities correct, given that in-story the player's final report can't be disputed by their bureaucratic superiors.
That being said, the decision to abruptly switch to 2 at the end because the total remaining identities aren't a multiple of 3 was, I suspect, a decision made with a slight gritting of teeth.
In my opinion, identities only being marked correct if you have 3 correct ones at a time is an ideal spot for this game. Yes, there's still a lot of leeway for guesses and shuffling between possibilities, but that's good for the pacing of this game. 4 would've been tedious.
"What? No, I use IEEE 755 floats. Look…" >0.1 + 0.2 0.30000000000000005
Phrases to offer emotional support in your friends' DMs
Listen to me! Outer Wilds and Obra Dinn are both just mid-00's text adventures! It's so obvious! The time loop puzzles? The flashback puzzles? The historical drama? The blank-slate protagonists? The lack of NPCs? The maze?! *you start to leave* Game genres aren't real!! They're a
When you retweet yourself
Now I'm playing *pauses to think of the most ghoulish way of describing Obra Dinn so as to provoke Engagement and Numbers on my account* Wet Sudoku
My biggest Outer Wilds moment of personal embarrassed pride was discovering that the intended solution to enter Black Hole Forge was not my solution, which was to pilot the ship into the planet's interior and literally park on the ceiling.
OK, look. This is a game where a young long-haired trans woman is miraculously saved from certain death when a supernatural figure helps her unleash an impossible power, and then that power is used near-constantly as the primary platforming mechanic for the rest of the levels.
Oh I love Castlevani</p> </div> </div> <div isReactComponent="true" class="fblghfduf asjiadjja tjoevf abracadabra fiddledeedee vavavoom">0 Likes</div>
I can't BELIEVE this game goes out of its way to do the inverted gravity puzzles from Limbo as well
Mobius Games please follow up Outer Wilds with "the Riven of Outer Wilds", which would be just one huge planet full of lonely empty spaces, ominously opaque machinery, and exactly two puzzles total
Oh I love Super Me *the rest of the tweet was lost in the darkness* *the darkness helpfully returned the lost part* at Boy
Almost every Limbo clone has the same chapter select UI as the original Limbo, which honestly says a lot about how solidified a genre it's become.
I heard this game was bloodstained, but this is ridiculous! *someone replies asking if all my tweets about this game will be like this* No comment
Oh I love Fallout
Honestly, though, this game's clinical, mechanistic focus on the frail, vulnerable protagonist's physical mortification feels like an incredibly dry satire of the Limbo clone genre in general, stretching right back to Limbo itself, so, I'll give it that.
Me starting up The Missing starring J.J. Macfield off the back of voluminous praise: "Boy, this camera setting makes me hope I haven't been fiendishly hornswoggled by the hobgoblins on my tee elle into playing a grimdark hyper-gory Limbo clone." Me, one minute later: "God d
"Many are surprised to learn that dresses were originally invented by terrestrial humans. "How could their dresses beautifully flow and sway when above water?" they ask. Sadly, most of the time, they didn't."
"Well, time to hibernate." *sets the alarm calendar to April*
So you've found yourself in that classic retail situation: your very first customer of your new job orders the Omniscience Elixir that costs 1 human soul instead of any human currency. then dashes on the bill, and your manager says you have to pay the soul out of your own assets.
Much as I compare it to Fez, it does shine out to me as a game reminiscent of the Braid-Portal era, slotting in between Fez and Super Mario Galaxy – a late-00's game a decade late, and now unmoored in the zeitgeist as a result.
Each of the planets is very much the typical elaborate machine-like setpiece common to point-and-click chapters or Zelda dungeons, but building them up to the scale of entire miniature planets, with all the physics and narrative implications thereof, really is a very big draw.
I feel kinda bad about not being fully into Outer Wilds, because it really feels like a game that would've set the world aflame 10 or even 8 years ago. Sure, it's just another puzzle-based point-and-click adventure, but the stuff that's pointed at and clicked is very compelling.
On an unrelated note… I'll just say it… The stealth section is very bad, and that you have to do it twice to get the good ending is even worse. Having areas where you can't change direction AND randomly placed obstacles feels like a tremendous design mistake.
This is basically the exact same disconnect that Fez had (flashy platforming with a mind-bending Portal-esque mechanic vs. open-world wandering and solving code-based puzzles) but I'm more forgiving of Fez because its front premise is ultimately more shallow than its alterior.
I just feel there's a sharp disconnect between what Wilds is presented and marketed as (hiking and exploring a strange wilderness), versus what you actually do in it 90% of the time (collect audio diaries and solve puzzles in vast civilised ruins, like in every other videogame).
I mean, let me be clear. The environment puzzles are all extremely good, *all the time-based puzzles where you have to wait for a specific 30-second interval and if you mess up you end up wasting 10 minutes… march in* are usually extremely good,
Y'know, now that I've played Outer Wilds With An I, I have to humbly admit I assumed everyone emphasising that it absolutely under no circumstances be spoiled was for reasons other than "there's a buttload of environment puzzles".
Me, having ended up on stage at GDC due to a zany mixup, and forced to improv a whole speech at once: "Thus, the use of mischief and pranks in Australian works such as Mario Maker troll levels, Goose Game, Getting Over It, and my own games, is due to the famous "larrikin spirit",
The autobio aspect of this game is well acknowledged but the desktop sim parts are very well put together… its internal dysfunction isn't just thinly parodic or cynical, but instead a melancholic dreamscape of malfunctioning UI elements and needy parasitic virtual pets.
*realises that "Amie" Workbench in the game Digital: A Love Story is a pun* Yosemite Sam voice dooooooohhhhhh
My criterion for what "counts" is the following: you, the player, control the mouse pointer with your real mouse. Additionally, emulators of real desktop OSes are right out. Anyway, join me next time after I've litigated to myself whether http://chiptune.com is a game or not.
Hello. I'd like to announce my new mission in life: having as many desktop sim game interfaces simultaneously open on my actual desktop computer at the same time. Here's what I've got so far. Yes, one of them is a Ludum Dare game from 2013 that I conveniently remembered.
I swear to god, this donationware autobiographical point-and-click desktop-sim game unbelievably has more frames of character animation than the first world of Cuphead, and more minutes of voiced dialogue than the entirety of Breath Of The Wild.
https://alienmelon.itch.io/everything-is-going-to-be-ok – Now I'm finally playing Everything Is Going To Be OK.
"It would be easier if, instead of ten thousand gut microbes, we just had one really big microbe in there that knew its stuff really well. And that's just what my company–" *proudly holds up plastic tub with one really big amoeba rolling around in it like a see-through puppy*
"Code reuse is the fundamental tool of construction! Imagine if the humans had to make hundreds and hundreds of different bricks instead of just instancing the same one over and over. They'd have never built anything!" "Y-yeah, makes sense."
Recurring treefolk horror figure known as "the Varnished" who, lacking in leaves and roots, lives by stealing the nutrients from living treefolk in their dreams.
"Using the Resurrection Machine," *gestures to alarm clock so huge, one can surmise that it can wake the dead* "the hero will return in the Hour of Need." *gestures to the red timer hand on the clock pointed at 5:30*
Inventory rapidly filling up with "Raindrop x 1" that don't stack because you don't know their blessed/uncursed/cursed status.
The skeleton of a monster, felled by fellow travelers. >Look under skull for leftover exp YOU FIND: 1 skill point in Dvorak keyboarding >Give to party typist Your party has no typist! >Give to party jack-of-all-trades. You give it to Capt. Rev. The Honourable Zany Mahoney, Ph.D.
We're Back! A Web Design Best Practices Story
Having fun reading up on CSS frameworks
"You ever think about how civilisation will collapse long before humanity got a chance to eliminate sleep?" "Nah. Though I guess I mourn how we never eliminated needing to wake up." "Yeah, that too."
Arch-demon that appears in your mirror to extract your soul and replace it with a skyl, an artificial vessel that requires diabolic sustenance to exist, and only appears whenever you make a ROT26 joke outside of the sanctity of a salt circle.
Crossing a bridge for so long that you slowly realise that there isn't an other side and this is just what the road is now – flat, narrow and guard-railed from now on.
Habitation sector so deep underground that rain is known only as a faint gurgling noise from the habitation sector above. By just that noise, they are connected to the clouds far above.
Now that the account "jokers_trick" has vanished from the Twitter database, it's high time for me to finally say: it was definitely astroturf, right
"Hey, you're all great. Don't forget to buy our tapes in the hall! Just so you know, they're live recordings of next month's show, so if you aren't able to have made it, it's the next best thing to going to be there."
The Underworld has moved several times in human history. The old roads and rivers renowned for separating the Living World from it are now just paths to empty spaces, echoing caverns and silent plains, where even the forgotten have been forgotten.
That's 3, 2, 4, 1 and 2.5… I'll just round that last number… sideways. *changes it to "2.5i", thus moving that number along the imaginary axis instead of the real axis* – People Who Liked This Also Liked: "Banker's rounding? No, I use Baker's rounding." *rounds 12 up to 13*
I tuned into a Final Fantasy VI speedrun and the runner explained that "PM Stalker" is intended to be short for "Night Stalker", and I'm beside myself.
Me explaining how RPG narratives work: "OK, the level-grinding may seem like weird out-of-character bits where everyone's swinging swords wordlessly, but like… you know how ballets have all that, uh, ballet?" *waves to screenshot depicting six identical "DoomKnif" enemy sprites*
Hey everyone, get a load of my elite true hardcore gamer mixtape. *you read the mixtape* • The Cheetahmen theme • Artificial Intelligence Bomb • Enlightenment: Druid II theme • Commando.sid
Goondolences (noun expr.): Expression of sympathy and camaraderie between readers of El Goonish Shive
The swift resurgence of "what if photos were real life" indie game puzzle platformer prototypes caused by the F-Stop documentary results in @kylepulver hurriedly releasing Snapshot 2 in six months and inexplicably outselling Braid.
"Dual-Tech Tea is when you put two used teabags in your cup to amplify the strength to fresh bag levels. Triple-Tech Tea – the most flashy and dramatic of all – involves putting three used teabags in."
Unfortunately, despite its deft premise, the remaining 90+ pages frequently consist of increasingly edgy injuries inflicted to the characters from the wildlife and each other, so I can't really recommend it to anyone who isn't already sick and/or twisted.
Just read the comic Beautiful Darkness (http://kerascoet.fr/beautiful-darkness/456), whose premise is that a young child's OCs (original characters) are forced to crawl out of the head of the child's own rotting corpse. The main character is loosely (!) implied to be the child's own amnesic soul.
"You know how a sponge is actually a sea creature, right? But then ancient humans created fake sponges that are just used as tools, and shaped to be perfect rectangles. Now, these creatures have tools they call "humans", and they, too, look nothing like humans, except the skin."
I recently learned that I have in my possession a 7KB MIDI file with a runtime of almost one week. This is because, due to what I assume is a transcription error, the final note at 1m 20 is erroneously held for 155 hours. (source: http://www.kunstderfuge.com/eccard.htm)
Time for some personal trivia. What's the file on your hard drive with an erroneous "date modified" that's farthest in the future? Mine is this copy of the_lucky_one by Beathawk (https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_by_moduleid&query=61626) that came out of a zip file with a modification date inexplicably in 2031.
Here's my 'Woods headcanon. Here it is. My headcanon is that Bea (depicted below) needs to keep her head perpendicular to the road to actually be able to see it. Also, she doesn't really need the rear-view mirror. Thanks and there it is.
"Yes, my flight and telekinesis powers are mighty, but they come at a price: if I think about my ex for 12 consecutive seconds, I die instantly. Luckily, once I'm at second 11, I quickly switch to thinking about cat keyhole sweaters. What happened to them? Do they still exist?"
*diligently prepares and eats two dishes of Welsh Rarebit after finally figuring out what the heck it even is* "Well, I sure hope I get a full night of ego-roasting hallucinatory humiliation from this!!" *leaps directly into bed and lies angrily awake for three hours*
Here's just the final four of the full 28 panels
"Even when a family departs, the feeling of Safety that the family created can persist for up to a week afterward." *points to small circle of roaches in the centre of an empty bedroom* "This family must have trusted each other a lot." *sits down next to the roaches*
"What's the statue in the centre of the colony? Two lungs?" >[WORLDBUILD] "It's in memory of the last humans to ever breathe oxygen." >[FIB] "It's in memory of the last humans to ever breathe oxygen." >[THROWAWAY DETAIL] "It's in memory of the last humans to ever breathe oxygen"
There's a lot of experimentation out there, but I think it's safe to say that the next innovation in game narrative design will be the addition of a combo meter that goes up whenever you pick the top or bottom options in dialog trees 3 or more times in a row.
OK, it's been a long time and the dust has settled, so I'll finally say it: the funniest, most integral part of that meme was "I put a car in your car so you can drive while you drive", and YET, EVERY time people snowcloned it, they retained everything EXCEPT that part, thus rui
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