Leon's Microblog – March 2021

Deltarune fanfic: Ralsei proudly announces that the Cherry scoring system from Perfect Cherry Blossom has been added to the game's grazing mechanic, necessitating not one, not two, but three more manuals for Kris to carry. Attempting to read one causes instant death.
Impossible Spell Card (the Touhou shmup where you can cheat) continues to be very funny
thpatch dot net has an uncommonly transparent translation process: the patches are made by scrubbing text entries from publicly viewable MediaWiki pages. So, concrete timestamps for each translation (and their disrepair) are readily available – e.g. https://www.thpatch.net/w/index.php?title=Th165/Dialog/en&action=history
Trying to work but I'm feeling too mad that thpatch dot net, apparently the only place offering translations for Touhou games 15-17, continues to offer English patches of 16.5 and 17 that are rather mistake-filled and obviously rushed out 4 days after release and then abandoned.
"If Mamizou isn't in it, is it REALLY a Touhou game?"
Me replaying Phantasmagoria Of Flower View: "Damn, there's so many old characters in this. Who picked this roster. Where's Clownpiece and Okina."
"I heard that if your attention span ever hits zero, you die. Is that true?" "Yeah… that's why it's called the health bar for the self."
I love it when a 90s game's UI seamlessly adapts to being run in 1600x1200.
Thinking about how one of the most emotionally impactful and narratively significant music tracks in Moon RPG has airhorn as one of its instruments
Everyone: "So what's your favourite Touhou music track?" Me: "Oh, y'know… Ancient Temple… Desire Drive… Egoistic Flowers…" Me, in my true heart:
Simultaneously trolling the Touhou and Magic: The Gathering fans by saying my favourite ZUN music track is "Necropotence"
Many of you know of the "our frothing demand for this game increases" meme (right) but not necessarily aware its original context was a sarcastic half-sentence from a 2002 news article that isn't even a review (left, https://www.ign.com/articles/2002/04/12/ikaruga-2) which makes it even more pathetic.
Thinking about this one music track from Dweller's Empty Path (2020 RPG Maker game)… There's such counterintuitive compositional stuff going on in it. Nothing else like it on the soundtrack… truly a dodecahedron among circles. https://dwellersemptypath.bandcamp.com/track/breath-of-the-dragon
When people say "mods are asleep", they are referring to this mod in particular.
*I read a tweet by a 19-year-old regretting that they never got to play Undertale as a kid* Yeah me too
Anyway, I consider solving this grand puzzle to be one of the more unique emergent gaming experiences of my mortal life, and I feel like analysis puzzles of this kind probably have a lot of potential as deliberate designs.
Also, the much-lauded "impossible-to-beat move" seems to be to choose to start first, then present 1-4-5. This can be forced into either 1-1-1, 1-2-3 or 0-4-4. One of the AI's defeat messages (below) even goes ahead and confirms part of it.
For the curious, the patterns that emerge are as follows: • Presenting your opponent with 0-X-X is a win, as you can always force them to take the last coin. • Presenting 1-1-1 forces the opponent to make 0-1-1. • Presenting 1-2-3 lets you force either 1-1-1 or 0-2-2.
In particular, the fact that this game lets you choose who gets the first turn allows you to perform the "beat two chessmasters at once" trick on it. Let the computer start, examine its move, forfeit, then play that same move and examine its reaction, and so on.
My personal story with this game is that I, in my teens, initially found this game very off-putting. However, I eventually twigged on to a far greater puzzle hidden in this application: discerning The Secret from studying the AI's moves.
What's interesting, though, is how its "shareware fee" is marketed. The game, simple as is, has an optimal solution that the AI uses, such that the player usually CANNOT win against it – and this is gussied up as "The Secret" (complete with testimonial) which Tedd sells for $5.
Just revisited this 1999 shareware game, Quarters by Tedd Sperling. The game itself is an extremely simple strategy puzzle: starting with three piles of 3-4-5 coins, each player takes turns removing X (>0) from a chosen pile. Whoever removes (or is left with) the last coin loses.
Reimu's extremely specific nightmare is now over
I'm bothered to report that after several weeks of listening to all the good Touhou tracks, my sense of general musical taste has become disoriented to the point where I'm now choosing to listen to the bad Touhou tracks. I just listened to Seiga's theme voluntarily for god's sake
Internet Archive shareware disks are at it again
Thinking about how one of the throwaway jokes in Hidamari Sketch is Miyako offhandedly saying something that implies she can remember being born
"Fiction usually conjures new universes by diffing: a shallow copy of our own universe is created, then the characters and events of the story are inserted, and – as equivalent exchange – the work itself and its authors are sacrificed."
I'll do a MODArchive playlist as soon as I'm ready to throw away an afternoon mapping filenames to MODArchive URL IDs. (DeepSID, thankfully, uses HVSC file paths in its URLs.)
https://fairysvoice.net/playlists/ – New section in my fully-home-made website: a playlists page with selections of my favourites from various Old Internet archives. Currently it just has a SID playlist and - yes, you got it - a Flashpoint playlist.
"Late 00s was the era of goofy videogame songs (Portal, You Have To Burn The Rope)… Late 10s was the era of sincere videogame songs (Kentucky Route Zero, Meatpunks, the credits of Beginner's Guide and Deltarune)." – Professor V. Ideogames, master ludologian
NOT available in Flashpoint yet: the old Babalike game T In Y World. This is like the fourth Flash game I know that has a goofy song by the programmer in it. Was this a 00s zeitgeist thing? Anyone about to call it "the Still Alive effect"?
Illegal hacked version of Umineko that reveals all the murders were really caused by people pressing the Twilight Zone button that gives you one million dollars when you press it, and that's what all the "twilight" imagery was actually all about.
Time for an audience opinion survey tweet… before I start this series, which version of Kino's Journey do you consider definitive
If a series ends and some characters never canonically die, then those characters survive to the heat death of the universe, by default.
*thinks about the entire plot of Steven Universe from start to end in totality* Wish I knew what 80s anime that was a reference to
Been using Flashpoint to replay an old 1997 classic, Cross Section (http://www.javaonthebrain.com/java/cross/about.html), a simple platformer where you climb up the inside of a cylindrical tower, with the screen displaying a live cross section that can even bisect game objects.
*thinks about how multiple Michael Molinari games have shadow goo monster vore in them* Aha, for you see, that's because it's good.
That date is not what "over 1 year ago" is meant to describe!!! Hrmgghghfhgh!!
Wait a minute… the Namekuji from World Of Sand is……… and that's why the third column is………… oh my god
I decided to check out the built-in "Hall of Fame" playlist and it is with skin-crumbling weariness that despite having zero Crimson Room games and zero Terry Cavanagh games, it nonetheless included Abobo's Big Adventure and freaking Happy Wheels.
Having completed updating my copy of Flashpoint, it's time to sit back and enjoy manually deleting all the terrible built-in playlists.
"Biggest issue I have with space mecha is that it seems like it'd be obviously cheaper to just add a passenger compartment to one or two instead of forcing everyone to buy and drive their own."
Footage of me dusting off my hands as I finish 3 hours of reorganising my computer's fonts just as a massive gamma ray pulse abruptly strikes the Earth, incinerating all lifeforms instantly
Font sample text is beautiful
When you own a computer, you sometimes just learn stuff while trying to live your life. Today I learned that Kindred Spirits On The Roof's English release (bottom, 2016) contains the font "augie" (left, 1997) as well as the font's very 90-style laid-back Read Me (right).
Both this and Secret Little Haven (below) have diegetic controls to remove scanlines (and, for the latter, dramatic screen-flicker effects) which I always found hilarious in its suggestion that these fictional OSes just have "make graphics better" buttons baked in.
This part of Digital's UI isn't meant to be a joke but I still find this juxtaposition of diegetic options rather funny.
Typing "/* You who are reading this. Please uncover the truth. That is my only wish. */" after a 1200-line uncommented function and then clicking Commit.
The "earlygame" of this game is wondering why it inexplicably exists. The "midgame" is wondering why it inexplicably has multiple puzzles.
https://coderelay.io/fontemon.html – Against the orders of every cell in my skull, I am now playing Fontemon, the no-Javascript web game made entirely out of OpenType ligatures.
The way to understand Cirno's seemingly inexplicable popularity is to recognise that she is essentially the Charizard of Touhou.
"The people in the old cities think they survived the collapse, that they're still living in the old world. They're not. Their world was destroyed, too. Their cities are ruins, just like ours. Theirs are just comfier and brighter."
Far below, you can see human ruins peeking out from above the sea, from a time before it rose… and far above, you can see another species's ruins peeking out above the atmosphere, from a time before oxygen.
"It's easy for men. When people see a man my age, they act like he grew that old for a very important reason. When they see me, they act like I'm a different species altogether."
"They all say the hardest Earth emotion to translate is sadness. People aren't sure if it's anger at the universe, or simply an elaborate pain response. Not me, though. To me, the hardest emotion is a healthy appetite! No clue why Earthlings love being hungry so much! Heh heh!"
"Genetic code golfing" experiments by unsanctioned biomages produce a human body in which every organ is a repurposed stomach. Remarkably, the organs work about as well as the "inefficient" originals, though the rumbling and gurgling noises are as constant as ocean waves.
My favourite Game Boy game is Donkey Kong One Thousand Nine Hundred And Ninety Four
I was dismayed to notice the Windows version of Fish Face by Teknopants is no longer downloadable anywhere, which is pretty dire considering I ported it to OS X several years ago based on how much it impressed me. Don't know what I'd do if I hadn't found a copy on an external HD.
The Maribel Hearn soundtracks (by ZUN) do have pretty good album cover art, all considers thinged.
Just sitting back and taking in how much scope creep is implied by the fact that Mac OS's file manager is called "Finder".
Accidentally pointing the Averaging Beam at the refrigerator, transforming all of its contents into a large cube of "the average food". You are terrified of it.
Enjoying found art in the form of preprocessed obfuscated(?) JPEGs in some manga reader site's network tab
Slapped with paper amulets as punishment for referring to the first 3 and last 3 levels of Touhou games as "question arcs" and "answer arcs"
"Huh, humans? I thought they were extinct." "They were declared extinct, but that was a myth." "Declared extinct? By whom?" "Humans. Truly, the galaxy's great overreactors."
"The dominant strategy over the past 30 years of Pi Digit Recitation is to recite all the 1s first. Once those are done, the remaining digits are easy pickings."
Final episode, final scene
This eyecatch of "American Yuno" depicts her exactly the same except they drew her nose
I am willing to admit that SOME of this peaceful-seeming woman's spell card names are perhaps a little on the dubious side. However, I also know that Cirno has a spell card named "Freeze Sign 「Minus Kelvin」", which to me is a much bigger affront to decency.
Like, everything in the above description is accurate, except the imprisoned demon is this strange woman.
Thinking about how Undefined Fantastic Object was a classic subversion of the standard JRPG plot "shadowy magical villains trick the protagonists into gathering ancient treasures to break the seal on an almighty imprisoned demon, only for the protagonists to defeat the demon".
"That star's 900 light-years from Earth, so if you stand and say your wish, it'll take about 9 squintillion years to be granted. But, with a running start…" *swiftly dashes up the hill while bellowing "HONEY IS TOO EXPENSIVE! FIX IT!" at the sky* "…that delay is nearly halved."
"Unless we speak of it, nothing really exists. If I were, say, to kiss you just after this sentence, that kiss didn't truly happen until we speak of it. Understand? If we never speak of it, then not even God knows if it happened."
"All the flowers on this tiny metal world were chosen by horrible, cruel people from among millions. Who knows what they left behind. They decided that only these mattered, and now, we have no choice but to see them as they did. …And it's not just flowers, you know?"
Make the kanji 田 using only four matchsticks
Footage of my brain trying to work out if the transgender-coded stuff in Umineko is overall good or bad
You present the world's first 1-1 scale model of itself, a closed loop of abstraction and indirection. It looks like a sneaker with realistic teeth added to the foot hole. Your friends ask you to "quit it with the teeth thing" and to look up what the foot hole is actually called.
Expelled from the palace in disgrace due to assuming that court jesters are the king and queen's children
You burst through – you phrase carefully – the open doorway after opening the door, wary of any idiom-detecting alarms in the facility's hallways.
"A flower that only blooms once it's been misidentified… it is nourished by its own deception. Its nectar is the food of ant mimics, bee-flies, and certain kinds of stick insects."
Yes, we all know Legacy Of Lunatic Kingdom's difficulty curve is rather strange, but on the other hand, it ultimately means that you end up listening to clown music for the vast majority of your playthrough, and is that not emblematic of good emergent storytelling?
New reaction image
"Accidentally quadratic? Yeah, I've got an example of that right here: Legacy Of Lunatic Kingdom's difficulty curve!!!" – mirthful joke uniting the common and relatable subjects of Touhou and computational complexity theory
I also like the very minor subplot of Natsume trying to be a traditional haughty ojousama rival despite the fact that she's trapped inside a pastel slice-of-life cartoon adapted from a goddamn 4koma series, and thus has no choice but to fall into a rival-to-unrequited-lover arc.
I like Miyako. She has "non-binergy". *pauses in deep, thoughtful introspection* I wish to report that I am now retiring "non-binergy" from my vocabulary permanently.
https://www.pixiv.net/artworks/43425882 – Now this is videogame fanart
*thinks about how, due to the very brief inclusion of that "Tsuru Pettan" song, Umineko technically has Theme Of Eastern Story (by ZUN) in its soundtrack* Wow
Oh my god
The Deltarune influence is rather obvious (monochrome castle with blobby, rounded denizens, and whose boss is just "King") and I can report that it's great if you're a fan of Deltarune's style of inter-party conversational mirth. (Though, the ending is a little too simplistic.)
I also like how the elemental spells use literal rock-paper-scissors symbols, which isn't especially original, but does fit the very essential monochrome palette much better than traditional elements like lightning or w/e.
https://insertdisc5.itch.io/start-again-prologue/ – Had some fun with this game that everyone's talking about. I like how the five-character party is represented on the status screen. ("The Kid" isn't available in combat but is used to explain how the party has access to a shared inventory.)
People who play Umineko before Higurashi have no idea how much Umineko is actively, mercilessly trolling them, and I think that's beautiful.
A grimoire bound in wrapping paper, or potentially just wrapped
"As long as the observed world at the end is the same as it was before we time-traveled back here, we can do whatever we want. It's like a "toys coming alive when no one's looking" principle." "Whatever we want, as long as we stay in this wardrobe? I'm already drunk with power."
The final "s", "n" and "e" in "demesne" tragically fighting to the death to determine which one gets to be pronounced
When are we getting a time loop story where the protagonists break the loop, only to discover that the loop was someone's extradimensional Apache server and they've brazenly knocked out a perfectly good website for obscure anime song lyrics translations
Career change: instead of good jokes, I'm going to become the person who posts stuff like "Traverse the white light?" on screenshots like this. Hmmgh!! *several particle effects emit from my head, but nothing else happens* What? Nothing changed? Then… that must mean……! N-no!!
That feel when you meet a new friend and they call you by a cute nickname for the first time
You're starting a new job tomorrow, so it's time once again to partition your sense of self. You grab the translucent knife out of the bottom cutlery drawer, next to that right-angled spatula and the thing you assume is a tea strainer.
Finally just giving up and committing the seventy-two Ars Goetia demon names to memory so that fiction can't keep sneaking them in under your damn nose
""Spirit world"? Hah. Imagine looking at the world and deciding we need more of them. That's humanity for ya!"
There's no seasons in orbit, so to you, the old year truly ends with your squad's moult, and the chitin-cracking and popping noises from across the moulting chamber are your fireworks.
"And now, the stunning formation of a human crystal!" *the performers stand still in a lattice formation, disappointing all but the delighted faces in the cordoned-off Mathematicians' Stalls*
Me: "I should wind down after enjoying so many twisty, complicated long-form stories lately. I'll try a gentle slice-of-life show." *I proceed to put on Hidamari Sketch, only to discover that this show's Storytelling is Nonlinear* M-me: "W-well, I sure do know how to pick 'em…"
gs on* Hell site *goes outside* Hell world *retreats inward* Hell brain *logs on* Hell site *goes outside* Hell world *retreats inward* Hell brain *lo –– World's Only Sanae Main @​_Master_SPARC 5h i love seeing this tweet, as well as remembering it while shopping or lying in bed
Well, I've found a spot on the tendons in my lower arm that, if rubbed, causes that arm's ring finger to involuntarily contract, so yeah, I'd say today has been productive.
This comic is also notable for expressing Shinmyoumaru's personal philosophy of danmaku as an equalising form of combat, which may be the only interesting characterisation she has ever received in any ZUN-written work.
The Grimoire Of Usami is such a funny Touhou comic… It starts off as a "fireworks contest" where the main characters judge spell cards from the games, but halfway in, the judging panel is taken over by the antagonists of Double Dealing Character (plus Yukari for some reason).
"Anyone else think it's a little too convenient that babies can't retain memories of their first year of life, and thus cannot testify regarding any murders they may have committed?"
"Why do rich people with multiple cars never sterilise their cars, and then when the cars give birth, they release the cars' young into the wild, knowing they'll just end up driving directly into ditches" – tweet I came up with while completely asleep, a "forty winks freebie"
Unauthorised translation of Higurashi where Rena's catchphrase is now "yabba-dabba-doo"
I love that, after being introduced as a shockingly difficult boss in Legacy Of Lunatic Kingdom, Clownpiece (the clown fairy from Hell) immediately, canonically, starts living in the crawlspace under Reimu's floorboards.
I want to see the recent technological push toward vtuber 2D facerigs be reapplied toward mocapped VN portrait animations.
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