Leon's Microblog – April 2022

When the programming article lets you know it's time to buckle up and get technical with the domain
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlUK5PUm1VA – This isn't even by the same person who did the previous Mother 3/Plok mix upthread. It's kind of hilarious how the tragically low-fidelity GBA Mother 3 soundfont is being treated with so much love by this account. [Mother 3, Plok]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Kf5xTPGC8I – This one is extremely obvious, but it's overall pretty well done and the little fake-out at the start is a nice touch. [Mother 3, Deltarune, Kirby Planet Robobot]
When you've gotta keep on rolling after you've had negative two hours of sleep
Top ten videogame choices
This isn't even remotely interesting to anyone at all but I just realised this SMWCentral track misromanises this Mother 3 track as "Porky's Pokies" because that spelling is a GiIvaSunner in-joke that they apparently took as verbatim https://www.smwcentral.net/?p=section&a=details&id=23491
Breaking in my new controller with a quick few hours of a fresh Dark Souls 1 file, and have realised that the absolute most important thing I missed on my first go-around was Quelaag giving "atta girl" pats to her spider head as the tell for her lava attack.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=e49E0Bchras – This one's a little obvious if you remember the original, but it's executed quite well. [Kid Dracula, Castlevania]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/monochrome-caverns-of-winters – Simple, but still a bit clever. [Yume Nikki, EarthBound]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1KDy6Xbu5o – ?!? OKAY THEN [Deltarune, Shovel Knight]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/determination-rouxls-recommendation – At no point did I expect any of the four best Mother 3 tracks (the jukebox songs) to make an appearance, but I have been overpaid nonetheless. [Deltarune, Mother 3]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm40bc0OD60 – ………………OK, look, how about you read the article for this one, preferably immediately, and then you decide whether this one's good or not. https://siivagunner.fandom.com/wiki/Showdown_with_the_Ultimate_Chimera_-_MOTHER_3 [Mother 3, Final Fantasy VI]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF9WJU0biAc – It's extremely obvious and simple, but I'm glad anyway. [Mother, Yume Nikki]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/mario-confronts-a-mysterious-flying-object – I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT THIS [Super Mario Odyssey, Mother 3]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SACyFVdl_uE – This one does a few clever things with the melody to make it clear which angle it's coming from, which I must nod approvingly at. [Mother 3, Final Fantasy VI]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/misty-apple – Another satisfying fit. [Lotus Land Story, Double Dealing Character]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6SoIojIrXg – YEAH [Donkey Kong Country 3, Super Mario Odyssey]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/eternal-field-of-hopes-and-dreams – THIS IS A MIX OF SPECIFICALLY ONE MIDI FILE FROM ZUN'S WEBSITE (https://www16.big.or.jp/~zun/data/smf/arc/th1_01.lzh) ARE YOU KIDDIMBF MF *mumbling because I'm already shoving this mix into my utter fool mouth* [Highly Responsive To Prayers, Deltarune]
I'm so tired I feel like someone could hit me with the "Nothing personnel, kid" thing by just walking around me.
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/star-light-at-johto-cities-hd – I'm glad this melody got some respect. [Pokémon HeartGold, Sonic The Hedgehog]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5OndKkMqw4 – Another one I never would have thought of in a thousand years. [Mother, Super Mario Galaxy]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/your-best-nightmario – I get the feeling this one was started JUST for the opening 22 seconds, and then the remixer felt obliged to commit to the bit for the remaining three-and-a-half minutes. [Super Mario 64, Undertale]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xONtgMTNNF8 – This is the only good mix for this game, and it isn't even very high-effort, but boy was it made for exactly me. [Higurashi When They Cry, Undertale]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/above-the-sprixie-clouds – Another one where two things just line up nice and snug. [Kirby 64, Super Mario 3D World]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/still-the-road-is-full-of-dancers – I'm very glad they eventually got around to this one. [Super Mario RPG, Tchaikovsky]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/it-keeps-happening-forever – I'm giving this due credit for just the track name and general concept. [Homestuck, Omori]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-B0x_gSVCs – Mother 3 has so many underwhelming yet instrumentally memorable tracks strewn threw it, so the focus this account often puts on them feels especially unexpected and unreal. [Mother 3, Plok]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmHkmO_9oZ0 – I have no idea why this one works, or how it is even musically possible, no matter how many listens I give it. [Mother 3, John Coltrane]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_74i3b5Dxf4 – Don't know how THIS melody got on their radars, but I'm glad a few decent mixes came out of it. [Kirby 64, John Coltrane]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/super-chopin-bros – I remember enjoying this very simple one from half a decade ago, and it's still good. [Super Mario Bros., Frédéric Chopin]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/reverse-miniboss-2 – This one fits way too well. [Link's Awakening, Double Dealing Character]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/cheat-against-the-girl-who-played-in-the-nostalgic-wonderland-of-dead-spirits – I mean… no normal person could begin to come up with something like this… [Mystic Square, Perfect Cherry Blossom, Imperishable Night, Ten Desires, Impossible Spell Card]
https://gilvasunner.bandcamp.com/track/romantic-skyscrapper – There's this one contributor who does a lot of Touhou mixes, and their mind is operating on another level. [Hint: Mystic Square, Undefined Fantastic Object, Ten Desires]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSnZBYg34cI - To me the account is at its best with jokes like these: very specific and meaningful juxtapositions, executed with obvious care.
Giving praise to the heavens that the GiIvaSunner youtube account has a wiki that actually tells you information now, so I can finally sift away the low-effort mashups and racist memes to get to the stuff *I* can relate to.
Mima is the Geno of Touhou. I hope everyone understands this.
Me reading Homestuck and 13 Sentinels: "Man, I can't stand these characters constantly underreacting to all these mind-blistering existential revelations. I need some real emotions here." Me opening a Kazuo Umezu comic: "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh"
I should never have looked up the official 13 Sentinels artbook. Natsuno had a cool scarf??? ROBBERY
If Fahrenheit 451 is about the perils of low-attention-span TV then why's the protagonist called Montage –– "Another tweet successfully read, rookie! Let's return to base–" "Not so fast! The Chosen One comes with me." "Count Followcount!? But… you're dead!" "Merely deactivated."
Reimu in Imperishable Night honestly feels like a stage 5 boss you fight one stage too early. Like, she really belongs alongside Sakuya and Reisen and Seija in terms of shock value.
Biggest evidence that the D&D Alignment chart is bunkum is that Suika (mid-00s Touhou character) is canonically chaotic lawful
I just booted up an old game I fondly like (Keioh Flying Squadron) only to actually check out the options screen for the first time, and discover that this 1993 shmup not only shows you your 8px * 3px hitbox, but also lets you reposition it based on personal taste.
I will note for the record that this route is also possible via that left door, but I don't like it because I feel like using an asymmetric door (at 0:53) distinctly counts as a "warp". (Even though that arguably applies to the front door itself, I'm choosing to excuse only it.)
*hears about Mario Kart 8 having 200cc GPs* I bet I could beat that game in way fewer credits
*suddenly imagines a gaming history where the "mashing is a skill"-types weren't just in shmups, and as a result Super Mario Bros. forced you to mash B to go faster* Oouuggghhh
Danmaku shmup where instead of a bomb, you just have the hyperspace button from Asteroids, which, due to the genre, has a 90% chance of telefragging you *I am politely informed that the hyperspace button in Asteroids already had a 90% chance of telefragging you* Well,
Anyway…………… while I had some fun and merriment (and got a Touhou 2 Extra 1CC for some god-forsaken lack-of-a-reason) it's now time to close the door and seal these up again, like Kasen's arm, forever.
ZUN has very explicitly buried most of the events and details of these games so that fans aren't obligated to ever play them, and my verdict is that… sadly… he is absolutely correct to do so. The jump across OS platforms was an opportunity as much as an inconvenience.
Lotus Land Story in particular feels like a point where ZUN sat down and decided, that's it, NO time machines, NO mad inventors, NO talking animals, just Reimu sealing away monsters in supernatural planes like the first game (and Marisa's there too).
People talk about "the PC98 era" as if it was a contiguous thing, but to me it feels like there's three eras: Windows, Lotus Land Story + Mystic Square, and then the hodgepodge of the first three, each of which feels like a completely different person wrote them.
This one has required Vanish Cap at 1:07, which is a bit of a scuff, but I like the variety of areas it passes through, as well as counterintuitive front lobby access. This is probably the most that can be done with a turn to the left door in the backmost room.
Who the hell had the clever little idea to add this wiki link
MILLENNIALS WHEN THEY SEE STRING LIGHTS THAT LINEARLY BRIGHTEN AND DIM INSTEAD OF BLINKING ON AND OFF: [A screenshot of a guy from some show you don't recognise frowning and saying "That ain't right", which you assume has some juicy context behind it that you'll never get to see]
This route is more like what one would expect, passing through a couple of well-known respawn areas. I still want to try coming up with something that uses the side doors in the backmost room (and with an overall route that fits under 2:20).
Been doing a fun little activity where I try to race through the back door of Peach's Castle in the ROM hack B3313 to the front door, without using anything that can be considered "warps". This route is arguably a bit of a cheat because it passes through a one-way wall at 0:38.
3) The mythology. I still can't believe how such a defining aspect of the series is just not here in PC98. Did you know that the first "youkai" character in Touhou to actually be based on an exclusively Japanese youkai… is Chen? Freaking Chen?!
2) The background scrolling speed! Almost every stage being a sluggishly-scrolling flat plane gives them such a tedious, samey feeling. Mystic Square's stage 2 is the only real exception (and a quite astonishing one at that).
The Windows series is really defined by more muted colour palettes – Perfect Cherry Blossom's whites and pinks, Ten Desires's muddiness – which I assume was originally following the 00's zeitgeist, but has now (amazingly) aged well to fit the maturity and solidity of its world.
1) The colour palettes! 16 colours does kinda limit the visual range of these games. Those bright reds, blues and greens were fine for Story Of Eastern Wonderland, but starting up Lotus Land Story and Mystic Square with super-similar stage 1s is just painful.
Having finished all the PC98 Touhou games, here's a bunch of miscellaneous stuff I didn't realise I'd miss about the Windows games…
Only real problem is that after you get reasonably confident, 90% of your deaths will be to either the lasers (self-explanatory) or the rotating shields, which, apart from having not exactly lenient hitboxes, also start sliding around the spokes at an arbitrary point of time.
Ever since I first played this over a decade ago, I've wanted to no-miss this boss. Finally, I've done it. I still love this design. Like the best danmaku patterns, it's basically a choose-your-own-adventure. There's so many different paths. Definitely this game at its finest.
To reiterate how much Lotus Land Story is struggling to break away from the worldbuilding of Story Of Eastern Wonderland… Reimu's route: Still uses the flying turtle sprite. Marisa's route: NO turtle!!!
The experience of reading Umineko the second time… how do I put this… the experience is like reading this paragraph. Unrelatedly, the experience of reading Umineko the first time is also like reading this paragraph.
"First you're telling me this Windows software is MinTTY, and now you're telling me it's Chocolatey? Just pick a flavour already!" – one of Leon's proven software funnies for curing a case of untickled funnybone
Me after reading “The PDF of Truth”
Just obtained a mysterious and wondrous document called "The PDF of Truth". This is the first page.
Going to convince 13 Sentinels fans to watch Hidamari Sketch because it's initially a slice-of-life series with non-sequential episode orders, and see how long it takes until they realise it's not going to switch genres.
I think the real problem is that EarthBound is simply too inspiring. It's like a Muse. It's got a supernatural aura. People see one of its crappy little jokes, like a battle item called "dirty socks", and their eyes turn to sparkly saucers like a child seeing a fireworks display.
*Story From North America voice* Story Of Eastern Wonderland
It's still a huge improvement over Lotus Land Story's extra stage, which is so bereft of flavour (even in comparison to Story Of Eastern Wonderland's extra stage) that I'm not even fully convinced ZUN meant it to be canon.
It's really kind of a huge shame that this stage has great flavourful music, and then you get to the boss and it's ISO Standard RPG Fight dot ogg.
I love the Mystic Square extra stage so much even though it's literally just Cocoron!!! "It's… it's not even Cocoron. There's only like three Cororon-like sprites in the whole thing. Like 5% Cocoron tops–" It's literally just Cocoron!!!
*suddenly, abruptly thinks about the entire plot of my recent Twine game from start to end in totality* But why tho
God, the PC98 Touhou games have got me so curious about Izumi Takemoto's work, but basically none of it's translated… *the finished fanslation of Yumimi Mix Remix with fully subtitled cutscenes slides into view* God… If only…!! *sensing a lack of gratitude, it slides back out*
Audience Participation Tweet 4 (Abyssal Difficulty) WHAT IN THE NAME OF
It's time to stop idolising the lifestyle of wealth and fame and time to start idolising the lifestyle of those slice-of-life anime episodes where something unusual like an armadillo appears, and the characters stand there murmuring "arma… dillo?" slowly until the episode ends.
This "spell card" background is very simple, but feels really subversive for a game with "8-bit" tile-based maps to suddenly spring on you.
These games, from 1995, using the word "gamers" gets funnier every year
I love it when you read on Touhou Wiki that multiple characters and events in Phantasmagoria Of Dim Dream are references to a 1993 Izumi Takemoto manga, and then you google its name and the first 20 results are different SEO sites plagiarising the exact wiki page you just read.
Everyone, I have a confession to make… feel free to judge me mercilessly… I'm the person who liked it when the Ace Attorney characters employed supernatural means as a detective technique, in flagrant violation of the Ten Rules of Whodunits.
Even though Mima is a fun character in this game, I sense (from various comments here and there by ZUN) that an "evil" character like her didn't really fit in with the series anymore, and that by now her interesting traits were already covered by Marisa anyway.
I don't know why people don't like this character. She's the only interesting new character until stage 6.
I'm really appreciating, for a reboot of the series, how much Embodiment Of Scarlet Devil miraculous got right, how stable a foundation it ultimately provided.
There really isn't much of a gap design-wise between Patchouli and, say, Shinki, but you get such a greater sense of the former character's essence and worldview when you read attack names like "Mercury Poison" and "Philosopher's Stone".
It pains me to see… but the characterisation in these games is so flat… and most of it is because there's no spell cards! Like, there isn't much separating the Mystic Square cast from the Embodiment Of Scarlet Devil cast, but the extra flavour of spell cards adds so much.
For awhile I was fantasising about how miserable it would be if Touhou boss health bars encompassed all of their cards instead of one bar per card, and now that I'm playing these last two PC98 games, the misery is in full splendour.
*suddenly remembers what happens at 3:32* WHY DID I UPLOAD THIS https://twitter.com/webbedspace/status/1513855265896304644
Thrilled to announce………… uh……… that I beat an Extra stage in a game that doesn't have built-in replay recording, thus forcing me to do it myself. Anyway, please enjoy the least popular stage in Touhou history! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3qIB8cfCKc
I find it funny that all the final stage bosses' backgrounds in these games are vividly animated geometric extravaganzas, and that ZUN never quite managed to recreate that kind of visual activity on Windows until Double Dealing Character (2013) and onward.
Reading about how ZUN came up with having the background music track titles onscreen /exclusively/ because of Metal Black (below) is making my mind's cheeks illuminate in gleeful recognition. That really is the only case of a 90s videogame having enough pride to do that, huh.
I notice how when you beat these games' Extra stages you're awarded with all of four lines of dialogue before being sent to the title screen.
*in the voice of someone stating a very boring idea with utmost confidence* Reimu lost the ability to speak to her turtle once her heart came of age, after she looked at a certain other person in a new way for the first time.
On another topic, this game (Lotus Land Story) really seems to be the only one in the series that truly pushes the ReiMari ship (…presumably because they're the only characters ZUN still liked enough to bring back). This is the real bedrock for all their future interactions.
All four of these games (Touhou 1 to 4) feel like completely different people with different aesthetic tastes made them, even the simultanously-released 1 and 2. It's not unexpected, but it is a little disheartening to see how little these games really speak to each other.
It's kind of shocking after the rich cartoonish buffoonery of Phantasmagoria Of Dim Dream and the previous game. I assume ZUN was lost trying to find an ideal tone for this series, and this game is the stripped-down skeleton that he's figuring out anew how to flesh out.
Lotus Land Story………… it's kind of sad how emaciated this game is! There's only 6 new characters if you generous include the Extra stage, and the dialogue and theming is so flat. I thought Double Dealing Character was bad on that front, but this is arguably worse.
What is WITH all these surprisingly intense background transitions???
Oh, also bombs in Story Of Eastern Wonderland wait 2(?) frames after you press X before activating, just to make sure you //really// wanted to use them proactively.
DOES HAVE: • Only 5 stages • When you get a bad ending, Marisa offers to train Reimu, and then immediately drenches her in piss
Here are some things about Story Of Eastern Wonderland compared to even just Lotus Land Story… DOESN'T HAVE: • Graze • Boss HP bars • Focus (you always move full speed) • Full autofire (mashing Z does more damage) • A bigger item collection hitbox than your actual hitbox
I'm realising how much Yukari is really just a revised Yuuka (circa Lotus Land Story). Lives outside of reality, must be roused from sleep for battle, vague connection to dreams, courteous yet unkind personality, allegedly high power level, similar taste in parasols…
Pants Yuuka is the only time ZUN has ever made a hot character. It's far outside of all of his design goals, but somehow it happened here.
I've moved on to Lotus Land Story… and I'm so glad I could finally hear this for the first time. The one song that defines this era, the one that everyone loves. One of the most beautiful pieces ZUN has ever composed.
Every boss in Highly Responsive To Prayers having a full bomb immunity shield, UNLESS you have zero lives, is one of the greatest UX design decisions of all time.
I see why Highly Responsive To Prayers is something ZUN would make. It's got the same vital qualities as danmaku shmups: it looks like absolute utter hell to play, and then you try it and it's magically even worse. Then two days later you reach "acceptance" and it becomes great.
Beloved(?) recurring(?) leitmotif #2
Beloved recurring leitmotif #1
Highly Responsive To Prayers having a series of increasingly abstract bosses with no dialogue, which it then recontextualises as actual characters in the credits, is extremely satisfying in a retro-80s way.
The fewer lives you have left, the slower your computer becomes
The way Phantasmagoria Of Dim dot Dream handles the Story Mode routes for the unlockable end boss characters is amazing. Instead of just giving them different end boss matches, the whole plot abruptly restructures itself around their miraculously being two of them for no reason.
IMPORTANT TWEET: I'm fixated on how this duo from Phantasmagoria Of Dim dot Dream precedes the two on the right, plus another: close-knit outsiders from a futuristic world, with similar palettes, the ruddy one a scientific genius with occult tastes. And, a black cape in battle.
Currently eviscerated by the fact that Story Of Eastern Wonderland has a scientist named Rika, but the next game has a scientist named Rikako with very similar kanji. What even happened here. This is like the Kirby Ado/Adeleine thing times ten. Did he lose the rights
I love everything that this sprite is attempting to do.
Not only that, but this game's Reimu adheres so much to standard magical girl tropes (a bumbling klutz with a heroic heart and great inherited power that she must grow into, and which commands respect from the villains) that this is really a completely different genre altogether.
The general plot structure of this game is anathema to modern Touhou. Having a "returning" character as a final boss is completely unthinkable by itself, even given this is technically not a sequel at all.
I find it hilarious that a single unremarkable miniboss in the previous game is arbitrarily promoted to an all-powerful mastermind in Story Of Eastern Wonderland, complete with various loyal minions.
This cute Twinkle Star Sprites-esque bomb animation really speaks to me as something uniquely 90s. [FLASHING]
What I've been really impressed by is how many unique drawn art assets went into this game, far more than modern games… between this and various other details, it feels like ZUN age 19 put his soul into this game.
Something I was surprised to learn, unlike how most people talk about these games, is that Story Of Eastern Wonderland (Touhou 2) was released simultaneously with its predecessor. So, both games essentially have equal claim to being the start of the series.
I'm finally doing it… I'm going back and playing the off-model true beginning of the series… the Donkey Kong of Touhou… the Steamboat Willy of Touhou… the 1950s Peanuts of Touhou… the Tracy Ullman Simpsons of Touhou… the Homestar Runner picture book of Touhou… the
if Toby Fox made Embodiment Of Scarlet Devil, there would definitely be a secret route only obtained by doing something wacky like using all of your bombs on Rumia, and eventually the final boss would be replaced with all thirteen of Patchouli's spell cards in a row.
https://www.smwcentral.net/?p=section&a=details&id=29115 – This too. Most of these aren't on YouTube or anywhere else.
I mean, latest word is that it's getting undeleted sometime this week, but that's only good fortune that shouldn't have been needed in the first place.
Ohhh, you bet I'm mad that the Internet Archive's Flickr account of public-domain bookplates got deleted. Oh boy. Fumes are swirling. X-shaped veins are pulsating all over me.
If you do any of the following in Embodiment Of Scarlet Devil, you WILL get the bad ending: • Continue • Play on Easy • Set starting lives to 6 • Use safespots • Play on Windows 7 or higher • Use the "visible hitbox" patch • Farm graze • Mispronounce "Cirno"
This track is like the Rex Duodecim Angelus of Mario ROM hack music https://soundcloud.com/sinc-x/yump-2-bowsers-castle
A web browser's tale
Really liking this Famicompo original track https://soundcloud.com/tq-jam/frankenstein2a03n163
*thinks about how good Higurashi is* Uu… Uu-uu-! *I am informed that this is the wrong happy grunting noise for this game* Uryuu……
I'm like 55% certain the reason he did this was because he realised he forgot to include comments on the syntax flowchart diagrams on the page.
Having myself a rib-tickler of a time doing forensic research on the original JSON website.
Visiting some all-time great archived web pages
UPDATE: I have now line-drived PowerToys because it sucks. On the other hand, /just/ the TaskbarTweaker feature that lets you middle-click taskbar items to close them has irrigated my pores and crops in equal measure.
Programming trivia: • When a programmers uses "<= 0" instead of "== 0" even though the left side provably cannot be negative, that's colloquially known as "a Prayer to the Unbounded", an invocation to the tiny gods who drink tea beyond the mathematically possible.
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