Leon's Microblog – July 2022

Sometimes I remember that the A in Aseprite stands for "Allegro" of all things. The graphics library from the mid-00's. Sometimes, life perseveres, finds a way, struggles to survive.
One small thing I want to ding FFGOTDE for: no Glittermitten Grove references!? OK, I get it, that game was kind of a room-temperature mess, but that doesn't mean its individual components didn't have some likeability to them. It doesn't deserve to be shunned this much.
Frog Fractions GOTDE's new content at least tosses in multiple NPCs with passable point-and-click dialog tree banter, most of which was, importantly, parallel to whatever metatextual thing was happening onscreen, rather than constantly having to play off it.
The problem I had with Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe is that I played the new content for 20 minutes and then realised I didn't actually like the Narrator as a character enough to do another 20 (a problem that wasn't a factor in the original for obvious reasons).
I played Frog Fractions Game Of The Decade Edition and, even though it treads the same thematic ground as Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe (in-universe reminiscence of the viral metatextual original) I ended up liking this more despite being arguably less clever.
SMT demon negotiation where they do the "Pete and Repeat sat on a log" thing, and the only way to recruit is to keep the loop going until they get bored first.
Thinking about how difficult it's been for WebP to gain even a scrap of traction, and thinking about how difficult it'll be for any format better than WebP to get any traction, is making me wonder how in the heck .ogg managed to win any ground from .mp3 back in the late 00's.
The second track is actually pretty good, though. Feels like it came out of Mirror Stage or another Increpare game. Almost a shame this one got cut from the MangaGamer version.
Me ten hours ago: "I should do something productive today." Me now: "OK, so it seems the 2006 release of Higurashi contained a sound effect file called IWAKANNNOHATUGA.wav, as well as background music also called IWAKANNNOHATUGA.wav, which are completely different audio files."
Me: "I never noticed it before, but 13 Sentinels has the same character select carousel as Live A Live…" … … *backspaces "Live A Live" and writes "Donkey Kong 64"*
Twitter letting you add a badge to your tweets reading "Spoiler alert" that doesn't even pretend to hide the tweet, and which is almost certainly intended solely for sarcasm, is just the sort of humanity I've come to expect from this platform.
Number one genre that I wished was repped in Live A Live… for me, it would be Magical Girl. Not because I know anything about /that/ genre either, but because the aesthetics would be really distinct from the rest of the game, and the battles would be interesting too.
Arcade game that changes whether your last life is P x 0 or P x 1 based on the difficulty setting
Reading on Wikipedia that Live A Live's 8th storyline was written as a riff on FF4 is pretty funny and enlightening in retrospect. FF4 really is like that.
In this one, you click the correct mouse button at most 3 frames before impact. Fairly straightforward. *actually reads the instructions* Wait, you have to block 100 punches just to get to level 2?? You have to play this for that long? Can that even finish before the music loops?
Just for the record, this is still inside the visual novel engine. Also, the only way to control the paddles is left-clicking.
Thrilled to announce that I have successfully pirated and launched the August 2004 version of Higurashi, so that I can witness the long-lost bonus minigames with my own eyes…
Not sure what's more surprising: that the Unix "file" command can identify ROMs, or that it can seemingly identify ROMs for every Nintendo system EXCEPT the SNES.
Additionally, various little "hacks" like enemies having TBS-style facing, and being limited to moving 1 square per turn (i.e. you move dramatically faster than enemies) helps drop the cost of repositioning, letting you primarily focus on and react to enemy attack safespots.
I looked up Ultima's combat system for comparison, and it turns out its grid is 11x11… this game shaving it down to 7x7, plus making many enemies 2x2 or 3x3, really helps make the combat more streamlined and less TBS-like. https://twitter.com/webbedspace/status/1551549816811167744
All in all, this game is definitely more human than 95% of the Super Nintendo library, a library I'd begun to think I'd finally grown out of almost entirely… as well as easily rivalling other notably empathic 90s console games, like Soleil/Centy on the Mega Drive.
One thought that stuck with me throughout playing this was how many ways it felt like "American market poison" – both tonally (in e.g. the Prehistory storyline), structurally (in e.g. the Robot storyline) and mechanically (many storylines having relatively forgiving combat).
I need someone to photo-edit 2B from NieR Automata holding the Ice Key from Banjo-Kazooie. No, I won't explain why, because then it will become abundantly obvious that it isn't funny enough to deserve the effort.
• The random encounters would be way more annoying if you didn't have a guaranteed Flee command(!!!). That being said, it's hilarious that there's a guaranteed Flee command BUT ALSO a secret event that occurs if you use the guaranteed Flee command 100+ times (which is likely).
Some other things about the finale: • I find it funny that the final dungeon is just a previous area that's been polluted with enemies from the other storylines, turning it into a horrid aesthetic mess like FF5's Cleft of Dimension (but in this case, less spooky and more corny).
I guess I'm being a little hard on the game, but only because the previous parts raised the storytelling bar shockingly high, such that this rather typical 90s JRPG climax felt underwhelming in comparison.
There were a number of directions I thought they could have went for this final antagonist's denouement (mainly involving stuff from the 8th storyline) so what the game actually offered (fight them into repentance) is a little disappointing, too.
Also… it was interesting how much it was emphasised that the final antagonist is Just Another Guy (shades of games like Mother 3, Undertale, Dynamite Headdy, et cetera) but that counterproductively made their role as antagonist seem that much sillier and exaggerated as a result.
There IS some attempt to thematically link the antagonists, but since the stories are so different in both tone and scope, the only theme the game can give them is "hate", which is both rather simplistic and doesn't entirely make sense for e.g the Prehistory or Mecha antagonists.
There aren't even many interesting character interactions from bringing the cast together, either… the main focus of this storyline seems to be just "pick your faves and go dungeon-crawling" – the game finally bowing to the demands of the JRPG genre that it resisted for so long.
I was expecting, at least, there'd be some payoff for the subtle connections between the storylines (the Wrestler appearing on TV in the Mecha storyline, for instance), but the Finale mostly ignores the previous worldbuilding (outside of cameos from the 8th storyline characters).
Before going into the Finale, I was worried that it was going to abruptly recontextualise the previous storyline's endings by revealing some contrived conspiracy behind it all. Fortunately, it doesn't do that. Unfortunately, it doesn't really reveal anything else, at all.
Quirky Higurashi-Inspired Visual Novel
*sadly peels off the "Finally, a 90s JRPG with no grinding!" sticker from the game as I shed a single glistening tear that crystallises into a perfect tiny diamond as it drops into a nearby moonlit pond*
Ib (2012)
Won't go into details but the sequence you get when you select the 8th storyline's character for the "Finale" is definitely the funniest thing the videogame could have done at that point in the ongoing narrative.
I actually think the 8th storyline works really, really well as a standalone story, just as strong as the previous 7, to the point that it seems unfortunate that it's forced into the role of being a "linking story" for the overall game – a frame that downplays its own strengths.
I can't help but feel having one unchanging boss battle theme across all storylines is a bit too strong a "tell". This theme is so tonally different from each storyline's normal battle music that it signals that there's something unusual/noteworthy about each boss that uses it.
Comment about the battle system: I notice that not only is it grid-based, reminiscent of Ultima, but that it also has the "survive at 0 HP" thing, which I believe is also an Ultima-ism (Note: I only know about Ultima third-hand through Exile/Avernum for the Mac).
Honestly the -phobia themed enemies aren't half bad for lategame abstractly nightmarish Final Fantasy bosses… it beats the four elements or the Seven Deadly Sins or the Ars Goetia, at least.
"Why doesn't this game have more good female characters?"
The Mecha storyline has a lot of places where you have to basically kick the game in order to force the plot to advance.
Obviously they wouldn't have the main protagonist's Mega Man gimmick, but they could have their own little quirks that make matchups with each opponent interesting. And they, of course, get to appear in the Live A Live endgame storyline.
My off-the-dome idea: since this is painfully Street Fighter themed, why not let you select any of the other 6 fighters as an alternative protagonist? Multiple character routes is one of the pillars of vs. arcade game story modes, after all.
I see why the Wrestling storyline wouldn't be regarded highly, but to me the big flaw isn't that it's too short, but that it isn't /replayable/. The Ninja and Kung Fu chapters have a good deal of branches to explore, and this seems like a missed opportunity for another one such.
Probably one of the whole game's most interesting character designs: the caveman wearing a figleaf that, on closer inspection, is actually a live lizard that is used for attacks, and which stands up (like a grave flower?) in the defeat sprite.
It's a little funny how prehistoric creatures in this storyline are referred to by modern Linnaean names, because science is the only lens through which prehistory can be understood by modernity…
The cavewoman character doesn't get to uglylaugh >_> This chapter is kind of funny but it's still pretty much a damsel-in-distress story, so my ability to love it is unfortunately hard-capped.
Mother 3 (2007)
This one had pretty good dialogue renditions… not surprised that this storyline's translator was Tomato of all people.
The background music losing instruments whenever a saloon band member leaves the room is a pretty good joke for the 90's.
I'll sincerely admit I'm kind of dreading the Mecha storyline, because I am 35 and I know n-o-t-h-i-n-g about this genre. The precedent set by the Robots storyline, which was 75% reference to one specific movie, has me a little worried.
I saw the narrative explanation for the Robot storyline's boss battle coming from 38,000 kilometres away… and you know what?! Even though it's a little tonally out there, I'm still glad it happened.
I'd originally naïvely assumed that this would be more of a Quintet-esque game, where each storyline had similar structure and beats reinforcing the common humanity across the settings. But no, this really is an honest-to-god anthology, where anything can happen.
This impressive Robot storyline is making it abundantly clear (as if each story's individual credits sequences didn't outright say it) that completely different writers were responsible for each of these, with their own very personal notions of what game narratives can be.
How to play Live A Live
I redid the entire Kung Fu chapter JUST to check if it really did branch the way that I thought it did… Not bad, Squaresoft, not bad at all.
I recognise this reference
Started playing Live A Live… the old Aeon Genesis fanslation, that is. Picking up where I left off years ago. Last time I tried this, I only did the Ninja's storyline. Let's see what other custom English pixel fonts they managed to cram in here…
While the 100-point Sentience Scale was invented to allegedly provide nuance and compassion to uplifted animal relations, most governments, within a few years of its introduction, simply amended their legal definitions of "non-sentient" to be at or below 49 out of 100.
Or maybe a bunch of Flatland-ish wacky RPG villages, whose social arrangements are affected by the game physics in some way. A village where the "man of the house" is the house. A village where everyone lives in epsilon blocks and is hostile to the "Finite Realm". Et cetera.
This is going to sound very arbitrary, but​ I really wish Patrick's Parabox had NPCs. Just a bunch of System's Twilight critters every now and then, muttering about the cosmology of their recursive world.
Tried to calm myself down about the state of the world by opening Metafilter
lmao, I spent so much time sweating about this challenge, but then once I started working it out in Notepad, it turned out to just be a standard MTG infinite.
Today in sarcastic website messages
Wondering how exactly humanity got the idea that in order to get a permalink to a post on literally any site, you have to click the timestamp. What a strange state of affairs.
The Diceydungeons Witch's inventory is a John Egbert Sylladex
It makes me recall Stephen's Sausage Roll's underrated predecessor English Country Tune (depicted below), which is just as abstract and "low-fi" as Parabox, but still hit more uneasy, alienating emotional notes with its audiovisuals that emphasised the mechanics' abstractness.
Been playing Patrick's Parabox… the puzzles are OK (most admirable for their compactness) but the general visual and audio design feels too painfully generic for mechanics as eye-catching and majestic as these.
I started playing Dicey Dungeons, and after a few runs I ended up unexpectedly ascending a Bear – whereupon, having achieved the optimal roguelike experience, I closed the program satisfied.
This is going to sound tremendously mean no matter how I put it, but: Cohost's inline CSS is the Playdate Crank of social network features.
*logs onto Cohost dot org* Finally… a social network where the average age is 31.
Uncharacteristically emotional Wikipedia paragraphs
Y'know, I didn't realise my previous run of this game was, er, /that/ long ago… it's a teensy bit shocking, actually. https://twitter.com/webbedspace/status/273790514728431616
Extremely proud to announce another gaming accomplishment: VESPER.5 Second clear!
Getting the feeling that I'm slowly contracting every fictional mental illness from every visual novel at the same time
I love it when I stop scrolling and realise I feel terrible, but because I've been scrolling so fast, I've already completely forgotten the tweet that caused it – thus leading me to just shrug and resume scrolling at the same rate.
"Yeah, you know me, I'm so cute I bleed glitter. But, lately… all the glitter has been red."
There could be no denying it any longer: a rooster had been smuggled into the generation ship, and it would make its opinions about what counted as sunrise known to everyone and anyone.
"I tried that fancy new teleportation spell, the one where you dissolve into butterflies, and, well…" *points to clump of golden chrysalids on nearby bush* "…those little buggers are my left pinky, most of my breakfast, and both straps of my favourite bra."
I find it quite funny how old puzzle games like Adventures Of Lolo and Mole Mania are essentially just modern Sokoban-likes, but with randomly moving enemies and extra lives that contribute nothing except to make everything more videogamey.
Browsing the Homestar Runner wiki
Having one of those days where the computer is smarter than me
I can't BELIEVE it has the Graph
Nail polish emoji
Hurling off the bedsheets, leaping out of bed, fumbling for the lamp switch, pulling on a nightgown, stumbling over to the desk, and creaking open the laptop to desperately check whether 13 Sentinels ever mentioned Schrödinger's Cat
People on Cohost dot org are like "get a load of this mind-bending hack you can do with pure CSS now", and then you look and the hack is "cursor:not-allowed"
I've never seen this before in a fanwiki: the 07th Expansion wikia spoiler-guards the very names of certain characters. And you know what? They're right.
Thinking about "the one moment in a game when you realised you were going to be thinking about the game for the rest of your life". For me and Undertale, it was when the coloured tile maze was brought back and all the zany rules for each tile were actually implemented this time.
I thought I'd be unaffected by now, but replaying Higurashi has only made the music even more emotionally charged. Now I can't even listen to the first 15 seconds of Cradle Song without my eyeballs getting sweaty.
Silently musing about how Saikoroshi and Umineko episode 8 feel in conversation with each other…
Watching a Smash Bros. tournament
One other baffling issue: 4. I found multiple places in episode 8 where the translation either changes first-person Japanese into third-person English, or vice-versa, for no apparent gain. Episode 8 does often switch between the two, but were they trying to "correct" some of it??
3. Constantly forgets how to localise certain basic nouns, resulting in things like characters' job titles flipping between 2 different English words. These make me think this is either an "assembly-line" translation with poor oversight, or else an acquired fanwiki translation.
About MangaGamer's translation: it's roughly comparable to the Umineko translation, except for these problems: 1. Loaded with typos (even in episodes that were translated 8 years ago). 2. The translators are completely uncredited anywhere.
Played Saikoroshi for the first time… honestly, I'm in admiration that even at the very end, Ryukishi07 was able to come up with something as sneaky as this. It's almost like a tonally inverted Onikakushi.
I really like how episode 6's final act is a very deliberate escalation from the first few episodes' final acts – taking the most sanctified and happy place in the story, and abruptly stripping away its sanctity and safety.
My favourite part of the When They Cry games is when the characters sit down at the end and carefully explain the subtext so the viewers at home can understand. This sounds like a burn, but I assure you, the only thing warm here is my heart.
Batsukoishi is what normal people think Higurashi is like. Saikoroshi is what Ryukishi07 thinks Higurashi is like. Hirukowashi is what Higurashi is actually like.
It's understandable because even though it's arguably not "cheating", it's really not the sort of thing that should be part of an esport metagame. But, it's still a rather funny strategy.
Just remembered that competitive Smash Bros. 2v2 matches had to ban team members swapping their controllers mid-match to effectively change characters and throw off their opponents with new playstyles.
I really love this interview explanation for why the When They Cry games take place in the 80s – specifically because for millennials, it's both "the modern day" and still beyond living memory.
Trying to figure out a way to explain that the "hina" kanji in Hinamizawa is 雛, and that watanagashi heavily references the real-life nagashi-bina ritual 流し雛, without people figuring out that the only way I could possibly know this is because of Hina in Mountain Of Faith.
I forgot to mention it, but the background music track that plays when this is onscreen… how do I put this… that track drinks https://twitter.com/webbedspace/status/1542932215130357761
Even forgettable stuff like the "Tsubame Gaeshi" in episode 7 has some clever little resonance – a miraculous maneuver for swapping mahjong tiles that only works if you carry all of them at once, leaving no one behind.
The club games really are cleverly tied to each episode's theme. Not just dorky stuff like "the characters play Clue whilst in a murder mystery" but even subtle stuff like how Keiichi's frantic rules-lawyering foreshadows the ways he solves problems later.
Gently melted down into a fine caramel for calling Higurashi sprites "programmer art"
I like the very subtle joke in episode 7 where Keiichi gets out of playing a game by claiming to be a practiced expert at it, and when you recall that exact same game in episode 2, it was revealed to be a dice-based board game with no decision-making.
I feel like in hindsight it would've been more elegant if episode 8 had been named "Watanagashi" instead of episode 2, similar to the naming for Umineko's episode 8.
Higurashi really is the most "become completely obsessed with it for the rest of your life, kiss your identity goodbye" videogame I've played in a long time. I'd like to bring to your attention that this sentence does NOT in any way indicate that I, personally, have become compl
From episode 6
2000's videogames LOVE having this in their credits
Some more things about 5: I originally hadn't noticed because of the blistering pace of this episode, but Satoko's final scene, even though it doesn't give any real clues to the mysteries, it's by far the most thematically important, especially considering things she says in 6.
One crucial point it wasn't possible to understand the first time: I'd previously thought 6 was the turning point of the whole plot, but now I see the "seeds of the ending" appear in 5. And because they are in 5… that means they also appeared even as early as 2!!
Paying closer attention to the soundtrack throughout this playthrough is paying off… I feel like I'm discovering some of these tracks for the first time, especially a lot of the piano pieces that used to just blend into each other.
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