Leon's Microblog – July 2021

Undertale (2015)
Me: "Hmm… It's nice how much this game reminds me of Kentucky Route Zero." *this screen appears* Me: "Alright, game, that's enough, let's just simmer down a second."
https://humblegrove.itch.io/nolongerhome - Trying out a game on my Kickstarter list that just redeemed. I really like the modern theatre-esque visual design and composition.
The Followers Decide: What Touhou extra stage should I try to beat next???
Undefined Fantastic Object's plot is about treasure-hunting, and this 1CC has taught me that its match-three bonus item system is very, very good at punishing greed.
While I'm on a roll, I also 1-credit-cleared the Normal mode of Undefined Fantastic Object!!! "You mean you beat the game with intended resources, on the intended difficulty?" Yes. Now that you phrase it like that, I'm not sure why I felt the need to post about it.
This Ran spell card has a truly ridiculous difficulty-to-anxiety ratio. I understand that you just ignore every single bullet except the very bottom corner of each diamond, but it still feels like it shouldn't work the way it does.
Thrilled to announce that I've cleared the extra stage of Mountain Of Faith!!! "Leon……………" ? "……………………That's good."
Games that do have Spell Practice ameliorate this issue somewhat, but I'm resolute that route-based cards like these really belong in a checkpoint mode rather than a strict arcade mode. (And Legacy Of Lunatic Kingdom does NOT let you use its checkpoint mode in its extra stage.)
At this point, your most efficient recourse in trying to beat this stage is to watch someone else's replay (sacrificing the reward of solving these cards) or use a mod that patches in a spell practice-like mode (as I did) rather than grind this extremely long stage over and over.
This card's a prime example. It uses bullets in an unusual manner, and has a "solution" with only menial dodging. But, as the extra stage doesn't let you use continues, and this specific game doesn't have Spell Practice, you're starved of opportunities to scrutinise and solve it.
Something I'm coming to understand even more about these games is how many spell cards boil down to plotting a route to trivialise them, rather than just attention and reaction – and how the extra stage's structure heavily resists being able to do that.
Thrilled to announce that I've cleared the extra stage of Perfect Cherry Blossom!!! "Leon, isn't that game the only one where the extra stage has two selectable difficulties?" Yes. "Which difficulty was it?" ………………………………………………………………………………………………
Thrilled to announce that a few weeks ago I cleared my second Touhou extra stage!!! "Leon, be honest. Is the reason you didn't post this because you faced Okina, the boss famous for drifting around the screen, with Reimu, the only character with homing shots?" ………………………
Touhou extra stages are like… how do I put this… you know how you unlock a 1-life boss rush when you beat Kirby games? Imagine if those modes had all-new bosses AND were plot-relevant. *suddenly remembers Shinya Kumazaki does exactly this in all of his Kirby games* Goddamnit
I actually feel like even Super Meat Boy is less exhausting than Celeste, because it focuses on just jumping, and wall "climbing" is mostly automatic.
Celeste, for instance, heavily involves directional air dashes (arrows + X) as well as jumps (arrows + C), and most of its difficulty is in coordinating and combining the two. Touhou, for the vast majority, is just arrow keys and the occasional toggle between two speeds.
I'm thinking about how precision shmups (i.e. Touhou) feel counterintuitively less exhausting than similarly difficult precision platformers because of how much simpler their inputs are, and how they generally don't require coordinating multiple simultaneous buttons.
My issue with this mind-consuming card is that it's basically impossible unless you come to understand that Koishi does not home in on you, and in fact travels a completely fixed route. Still, excellent concept and excellent opening.
Sinner about to be cast into Hell: "I don't get it… why is shoving in the baking dish before the oven is fully preheated a mortal sin?" High-ranking angel, thumbing through photo roll for no reason: "Look, everyone told you not to do it, right? Maybe you should've asked them."
I want everyone to understand that, according to Subterranean Animism, teaming up with the paparazzi youkai Aya Shameimaru canonically makes you good at lying. #LudonarrativeHarmony
I want you all to know that this spell card exists. It's very rare among shmups – it's a spell card that can only be beaten by lying. Now, how could that possibly work, you might ask. How can you lie in a shmup? Well, just look at the card's title.
I had no idea what was going on in this card at first, but it's become a cult hit for me. Though, it's rare for this series to have patterns with this much raw speed to them… feels like it fell out of a Cave game.
The more bullets blatantly pass through Reimu's sprite unimpeded, the more ghostly and immaterial she becomes. It's not a coincidence that the Human/Youkai meter in Imperishable Night specifically gives the youkai character scoring bonuses for grazing.
I've been playing Touhou games on Normal a lot more, and the escalating level of deranged aerial maneuvers I'm doing in them is making me think the playful warnings are coming true, and that playing these games really does make you shed your humanity and become more youkai-like.
"Only one who bears a spare pillow… should dare devour the giant marshmallow!" – pre-battle quote of Morpheus Melatonin, Queen of Dreams
Adding a 90 degree turn to a drag racing track to add challenge and increase the skill ceiling
The interesting thing is, unlike in those games, these pacing problems are somewhat ameliorated by the very high volume of unique animations and gestures – the variety of pixel animation on display is enough to maintain interest and attention even through the glacial pacing.
I never noticed or understood at the time, but so many of the cutscenes have the "character slowly walks to a spot, stops, turns around, then resumes talking" cinematography problem that plague a load of much worse RPGs, especially the 3D Pokémon games.
I just rewatched some footage of Mother 3, and my latest opinion about it that I never had until now is that all the cutscenes are way too slow.
I've decided that the nun comics' nuns and dark glasses abbot are the equal opposite of the entire cast of Helltaker.
*decides to use the Needle ability in Kirby games voluntarily even though it's dull and pathetic, just to show how free and individual I am*
Turning Pandora's Box inside-out so that all the ills and blights are finally back inside it where they belong, then dusting off my hands, loading up Perfect Cherry Blossom, then immediately running into the first bullet because a P item was vaguely near it.
I will concede that the Wily Beast And Weakest Creature characters might catch a break in the unlikely event than Touhou 17.5 is ever released, but they'll be in waiting until then.
There are a bunch of other characters falsely regarded as least popular, such as Hata no Kokoro, Momiji, or the other Reisen, but these characters' cachet as "underrated" means they're paradoxically more popular than even these ones.
Okay, I believe I've now worked out what the absolute least popular Touhou characters are, the bottom of the barrel, the ones barely remembered to exist. They are: Iku, Soga no Tojiko, both Akis, half the cast of Wily Beast And Weakest Creature, and Nemuno.
https://miraongchua.itch.io/anchor – When people on Twitter tell you to "go touch grass", this is what they mean.
Well, I guess any discount is good advertising…
This card is so nightmarish. The concept and design is extremely cute, and yet actually trying to clear it is mind-boggling. Remilia wishes she had this card.
Autumn in Proteus operates on such a different level to spring and summer that revisiting it really took me aback. In a game about small surprising interactions, this feels like one grand surprising interaction.
I've deciding that I'm discovering things to my horror too much, and that I should discover things to one of my many other emotions instead. Don't let yourself get into ruts.
The most accurate and true-to-life part of NetHack is that when you have sex, something completely random happens. ––– 512 comments: MouselookNoEvil [1 LeonKred] wuts nethack KeterClassSICP [2 LeonKred] I thought this said netrunner and was like "yeah i guess"
God, autumn is such an amazingly designed season in Proteus… This is really where the game goes from beautiful to transcendental.
This cannot possibly be the way you're supposed to do this card.
Actual Play Podcast of The Anti-Memory Game, which is just the casters rambling endlessly about the most inane folderol until one of them announces that they just Lost The Game, whereupon it abruptly wraps up.
Clearing this one "itemless" (it's not really itemless) was kinda fun, though it's hardly what one would call good danmaku design.
Bed Of Chaos (from Dark Souls 1) is just a Legend Of Zelda boss. That's all it is. You just walk over and hit a weak point 3 times. I'm so glad that it's inexplicably in this game.
This comic uses this single-eye-tiny-pupil composition for the main character's inquisitiveness/innocence a lot. It's a good motif.
Videogame reference identified
https://miraongchua.myshopify.com/products/goodbye-battle-princess-peony-book – Reading a brand new retro magical girl yuri comic… the energy is exactly as it should be.
I really enjoy playing this in the 20's and using all 1440 pixels of monitor height to display the entire vertical extent of a planet at once, while also including all the necessary monitoring graphs and energy budget UI (which the game bothersomely hides by default) underneath.
Steven Universe is like Undertale in that the main cause of everyone's problems is long dead before the story begins, thus frustratingly escaping all accountability.
*gently flashes gold to indicate that you haven't found all of my secret exits yet* ––– 7 comments: Monty_Pythons_Itano_Circus [4 LeonKred] What does this even MEA
"The ideal human habitat can be summed up thus: rectangular rooms, soft cubes, and fire pits. Put all three together, and they'll love you for life. Get a good variety of cube size: they'll use the big ones for beds, the middle ones for chairs, and the small ones for footrests."
Quite good original (?) track https://ptweb.me/play/LRxb
Just realised people putting their big imperative statements onto photos and screenshots of people making presentations has led to the extinction of that tweet genre's former hallmark, the ASCII art cat leaning out from behind a wall.
This remix is good https://ptweb.me/play/0I2v
Here's the song in question in case you're unfamiliar with it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ4s7hn1mlk
The ants use their mandibles to divide the shares into tiny grains, as easily as they divided their former owner's corpse, and transport them to the colony's portfolio.
Unexpected error Your tweet "Is Spinel the Extra Boss of Steven Universe, and that's why she's like that" could not be posted, due to the following server error: Yes of course. Obviously. Please post an actual question. Sweet Jesus. For more information, please visit the Helpdesk
Reading up on HTML comment syntax history. The bottom explanation is amazing: the comment delimeter is actually just "--" (consistent with various other languages), and the enclosing "<!" and ">" is just to replicate the original habitat this syntax was exclusively designed for.
This is just another day in the life of an Internet user. Parting thought: good luck trying to get the 30 Days tracks of someone less popular, like Tero… you'll need it!! Ahahahaha…
Well, anyway, by sheer fortune I was able to retrieve just 4mat's tracks by finding a dubious 3.5GB zip file of unsorted, untagged 4mat tracks on Internet Archive (https://ia801707.us.archive.org/view_archive.php?archive=/24/items/4mat_archive/4mat.zip) and cross-referencing the filenames. All 30 tracks were in here.
With regards to official rereleass: 7 of the 30 tracks are available on 4mat's Bandcamp in https://4mat.bandcamp.com/album/extras, but, amusingly, "One Cannot Love and Do Nothing" is NOT included among them.
This challenge was pretty big, too. Look at this: http://30songs30days.com/mp3s/ 40 other people submitted to it? Including Zabutom and Disasterpeace? That's like 1,230 MP3s potentially dropped off the planet! No mirrors, no compilations, no nuthin'!
Here's the problem, though: the original website died in 2012, and the Wayback Machine has the index (https://web.archive.org/web/20110109043337/http://30songs30days.com/mp3s/4mat/) but captured none of the MP3s. They're all missing in action.
So here's a little ardour I just had. I wanted to look up the original album for 4mat's "One Cannot Love and Do Nothing", which is famously used in a certain indie VN. It turns out it was created for "30 Songs in 30 Days", a tracker challenge from November 2009.
I will admit there's something bittersweet about finishing the built-in Earth pre-set, seeing all sentient life depart, then being dropped back into the Geologic Timescale, whereupon the old home is slowly torn up by the game's slightly dubious plate tectonics simulation.
The inevitable, unquestioned end state of civilisations in SimEarth is this secular Rapture-like "exodus to the stars" (seen also in SimCity 2000's famous "Launch Arcology") which very conveniently frees Maxis from having to project and depict any further epochs of civilisation.
Playing SimEarth (1990). Very pleased that the icons for "Info Age" inter-city travel are Concordes. Truly a frozen droplet of time.
To Cerberus, Triple Triad is Uno
If the game Overboard is a "youdunnit", then Umineko is an "idunnit". In this lecture *I fumble and drop the three-metre-wide cue card I was holding in front of my upper body, revealing it to be completely blank except for that sentence in the upper-left corner*
Damn… someone remixed THAT beloved Touhou track… in Cave Story Organya?!?
"The amount of effort it takes for a human to believe – not just regard as true, but believe – that even other humans have emotions, let alone other beings, is immense. To say that humans have empathy is to call a tiny fissure in a black cave "light". In reality, they have none."
"Ynce Iche" is a really good name for this webcomic's main supernatural element. Most important is that, unlike Lovecraft and his increasingly unimaginative 00's imitators, it doesn't sound like Fake Arabic. It sounds like Fake Welsh.
Pictures At An Exhibition DLC announced: Mussorgsky estate confirms that the Promenade melody becomes "truly effed up beyond words"
Hated variance-increasing mechanics are strewn all over game history. Magic: The Gathering's land cards, Breath Of The Wild's durability, Team Fortress 2's critical hits, loads of Pokémon moves… tiny cruel pinpricks popping the illusion of control.
It's got the same feel as the Pokémon stamina system in Brawl, a game maligned for painfully obvious forced variance mechanics.
Masahiro Sakurai absolutely designed Kirby to lose abilities upon taking a single hit in Kirby's Adventure as a variance-increasing mechanic to make people try out different abilities, even though it sucks. I have no proof of this, but it's so obvious.
https://naruto2413.bandcamp.com/track/artificial-intelligence-bomb – Just discovered Artificial Intelligence Bomb is on Bandcamp?! Now all we need is the official Cheetahmen Bandcamp
I've been reading the Wikipedia page for Peter And The Wolf, and I find it hilarious how much it emphasises how typical it is of Soviet propaganda of the era, when there were like fifty Western editions with various celebrity narrators pretty much immediately.
Constantly describing music tracks as "stygian" until people realise that's not actually a Western musical mode
OK, here's a tier list for the most important part of a Touhou game: the stage 1 theme. I am not accepting comments or write-ins. 0.5: Shoot The Bullet 1: Subterranean Animism 2: Hidden Star In Four Seasons 3: Legacy Of Lunatic Kingdom 4: "the rest"
Well, guess it's time to start making a Euroshmup. *immediately defines variables named "wing_armour", "cockpit_armour", "engine_armour" and "fuel"*
"Better call a vet, 'cos I'm about to go Beast Mode and Sicko Mode at the same time!" – Unused pre-battle message
https://partydog.bandcamp.com/album/crow-cillers-season-one-ost – Wait, this webcomic has its own dark ambient electronic soundtrack? With 56 tracks??? What am I saying. Of course it does. Not sure why I even asked.
I love the button jokes in this so much
Precocious media-savvy zine-making girl protagonist in thick-lined flat-coloured eldritch horror series with "killer" in the title
This comic is so dense in so many ways: metafictional layering, art style shifts, constant introduction of new characters and factions, brisk pacing, deliciously mysterious/morally ambiguous horror… it's like crunching straight into a brick of crackers for me. I love it.
https://modarchive.org/index.php?request=view_player&query=37206 – When you line up all the lasers in a Portal 2 puzzle and/or late-00s indie game.
One thing I admire about ZUN is his unhesitance to compose all-new themes for characters in subsequent games. Yukari in Immaterial And Missing Power: totally new theme. Aya in Mountain Of Faith: totally new theme. No need to be burdened by leitmotif and the chains of nostalgia.
This is one of those cards which looks ridiculous until you actually attempt to dodge it instead of trying to cheat it out. Even then, it still looks ridiculous to anyone unfamiliar with the amulets' hitbox (it's the glyph in the centre).
Accidentally made the "noob" mistake of writing a Dark Souls message using redstone instead of soapstone, and long story short there's now a hole in Lost Izalith where my TNT used to be.
I want to say that this webcomic specifying that the cult has its own crappy pop band that sings its cult songs is a VERY accurate detail.
I started listening to this album and it has so many drops that I'm starting to imagine that a real alien is making all these sounds and it keeps having to gasp for breath every ten seconds.
Hololive? Oh, I love the enemies from Dark Souls 🐓   🐍   🐞   🦟 ---- Wait… those aren't real below-tweet icons… they're just a bunch of animals trying to sneak in! Hey! Come back here! No!! The real icons just entered and they're getting away in the confusion!
"String.MAX_STRING is deprecated. Please use String.MAX_SAFE_STRING instead."
-----✂------ 💮NON-DIEGETIC RESPAWN COUPON💮 The bearer of this coupon is entitled to make 1 (ONE) videogame without needing to provide in-universe explanations for deaths and respawns, even if a popular videogame did. EXPIRES: 1/1/2024 VOID IF DUCK REMOVED [🦆] -----✂------
Game Design Gem: Dark Souls places the save points ridiculously far from the bosses so that streamers get to ramble at the chat for longer, building audience engagement. Sometimes the most #MindBlowingGameDesignInnovations are hidden in plain sight…
This webcomic's premise is… how do I put this… it's like, Night In The Woods's final chapter feels like a super watered-down version of it. Not that they aren't pulling from the same well of small-town eldritch horror tropes, but this is a bit more flavourful and understated.
Just realised that Undefined Fantastic Object is a game where all three named male characters in Touhou canon (Unzan, Rinnosuke, and Myouren) all have some very minor role in the plot.
It took me like 3 reads to notice that "extraterrestrial" wasn't actually spelled correctly.
GOD. So, so many of this character's cards boil down to "dodge smarter, not better".
This is JUST the first 3 years of the comic.
Impressed with the occasions where this comic uses watermarks of entire previous panels/pages to remind the reader of past concepts or hint that certain events are interrelated. This effect is only possible because the comic's face-value "messy" art style naturally affords it.
https://lamezone.itch.io/ – Getting started on a well-known horror webcomic.
Favourite Touhou final boss? Definitely Legacy Of Lunatic Kingdom. Incredible costume design. *I am abruptly handed a slip of paper from offstage* What do you mean that game had a sixth stage
The 1995 schoolyard Magic: The Gathering meta is rocked by the ruling by Billy that if you tap a land with your fingers, it's technically in your hand, thus a discard spell cast at that exact moment can force you to discard the land. "Tapping pencils" become an elite-level strat.
"Immature of humans to equate the rain with their own insipid crying. The rain is consistent, trackable, foreseeable. If anything, their tear ducts resemble the moody volcanoes, volatile, vast, yet buried until the moment of outburst."
I'm sorry to report, but that last choice you made has now locked you out of "the secret Leon route". Don't worry, you'll get another chance next loop. "What loop?" Oh, you'll find out soon.
"Bad news." "What?" "I once again remembered that our atoms are mostly empty inside." "And you're going to get mad about it?" "Oh you BET I'm gonna get mad about it!!"
When they finally emerged, the twilight birdsong sounded to them only like the squeaking of dozens of wheels, dozens of hinges, dozens of metal edges against one another.
"I believe in perpetuating the cycles of life. When I beat you, I'm dumping you in my recycling." "No way! My unbeatable body is full of toxic waste!" "That's OK. I already put boxes in there without removing the styrofoam."
"You've taken this too far! Now I'll use my secret weapon!" "…We've never met. How can it be a secret…"
"Hi! I'm Pi! I'm the ratio of a circle's perimeter to its width! Don't underestimate me!" 3.14 "Ha, ha, haaaa… you've fallen into my twisted little trap."
Reading tip: When the writer says a character "answered" a question, that means the character's a top. When they use "replied", the character's a bottom. ––– 812 comments: LifeExploits [Sponsored comment] Wanna save $$? Buy unscented tissues, and pour in the perfume yourself!
https://www.pixiv.net/artworks/78820422 – This is really good, but also, the lineart and palette make it look like a PC98 screenshot.
"What I think we should do is, we all cover the alien wreck with branches and leaves, and keep it a secret, and if our parents ask where we got all these cool ray guns from, we just say we invented them."
*walks into the office carrying an extremely starched tie across both shoulders like a greatsword*
"In an instant, the rocks turned to gravel, the gravel turned to sand, the sand turned to dust, the dust turned to smoke, and the smoke turned to clouds. And for a long, yawning moment afterward, the clouds looked like the rocks that were just there."
There are two kinds of ZUN music tracks: the ones that are actually good evocative compositions, aaaaaaaand the earworms.
Touhou fanfic: Aunn the komainu accidentally bites Reimu's needle-throwing calluses off her fingers, thus forcing her to learn how to throw them all over again.
"Listen! It's me, the Writing Angel! I come bringing a message! The reason you're procrastinating on this page is because your deep subconscious knows this scene sucks!! All this meditating and waiting for inspiration is a complete waste of time! Plot something better! Ta ta!"
"If you think about it, making OCs and then actually writing and posting their story is a violation of their privacy. That's why I've only posted sketches and busts of them for the past twelve years."
Damn… someone remixed THAT beloved Touhou track… in MIDI?!?
*thinks about how the Caps Lock key is a keyboard-wide state that gets its own little activation light, but the treacherous Insert key isn't* Wow
https://vvval.bandcamp.com/album/ten-million-motivations – One of the pxtone tracks I've been listening to had a link to the artist's bandcamp, and I've just skimmed the two recentmost albums (which don't use pxtone) and given them a tentative "hmm, not bad, not bad at all."
Rule 495 of chiptune formats: Yes, Flandre's well-known theme is in it.
There's a decent number of Homestuck remixes in pxtone (e.g. https://www.ptweb.me/play/BtB3) …which I guess isn't exactly unprecedented given that two of the comic's most beloved music tracks were composed in it.
Just downloaded this track randomly… it definitely sounds like it's 3MB.
Anyway, time to celebrate by going to some pxtone archive sites and checking out the labours of "the scene"
Currently feeling pleased because the pxtone plugin for foobar2000 updated to support Kero Blaster's soundtrack, so I don't have to use MP3 rips. No punchline. Wait, hang on… *pulls out paper scrap reading "theyre called square waves cuz when you hear one, you wave goodbye"*
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