Leon's Microblog – January 2023

It's called Perl because when you see it, you lerp yourself backwards
Panel De Pon… funny videogame. I feel like… a lot of love was put into it. All the modes, the characters and their islands, the hidden music… very much a game that loves being played.
While I understand that Romancing SaGa 2's Seven Heroes's lopsided gender distribution is because they're supposed to be the Seven Lucky Gods (Rocbouquet, the only woman, being Kisshouten, and the feminine Wagnas being Daikokuten) but… I still kinda wish it was a bit different…
I just opened Super Hard mode to see what it was like
Hard 1CC… obtained! Never woulda thought I had it in me until this month. I could actually get used to this. (Super Hard is still super out of the question for now.)
I sincerely regret that there will never be an official Panel De Pon comic that takes the puzzle game mechanics as literally as ZUN-written Touhou comics take the danmaku literally.
Doing hard 1CC attempts
All the stuff in it – the first phase's music, the bit where that one name comes up – fits the glitch horror aesthetic, but the glitch/fourth-wall-break premise is simply not there. And yet, the creators hit upon these trappings without it.
People like the final boss of EarthBound so much because it was glitch horror before anyone, including the creators, knew what glitch horror was.
Thinking about versus puzzle game tutorials with this exact screen layout
Trying out Sokoban-like game Cu-On-Pa (lit. "Cube on Panel") and what's really getting my attention (apart from the obvious English Country Tune similarities) is how much the devs seem to like kinetic typography.
Felt bored, tried to create a fighting game roster by simply adding icons to my vertical taskbar
Actually, forget everything in the previous post and just make a versus puzzle game with whatever the hell this game's garbage system is doing (see 0:19:25) https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1721597053?t=0h19m25s
*I look for Umineko spinoff fighting game tier lists and find that Beatrice, the main character of Umineko, is top tier* How can this be… everyone knows bit-part characters from the second-last episode are the only ones allowed to be top-tiers in spinoff fighting games…
The other thing to consider is that it explains why the story mode is noticeably terse and brief (moreso than for typical arcade-like console games) – it isn't really meant to carry the full weight of the game's expressiveness, to be the sole in-road into the game's world.
"He's playing like a man possessed… by the Ghost of Christmas Suck!" – the esports commentator I'm imagining watching my Panel De Pon gameplay
I love that this bulleted list describes a real mechanic in the official Umineko fighting game
The Tower of Pizzaga. Is this anything
In this world, you have to look for moments of beauty whenever you can.
OK, here's how you make versus puzzle games more like fighting games. First, make it so that moving the cursor to one edge of the screen blocks all incoming chain garbage, and moving to the opposite edge blocks all incoming combo garbage. Next, add a stagger meter, which
I need to check out more of the Petal Crash co-op mode dialogue. This line is one of the Zack Morrisonest lines in the game.
After making this tweet, I opened Petal Crash, fiddled around with the board for 30 seconds, then did a chain that turned out to be a 6x by accident.
Revisiting Panel De Pon is kind of funny… I always thought of it as the big chaining game, where long chains rule the day… but it's a game where a 4x is impressive, contrasting to Petal Crash where I can do a 6x by accident.
*"PS3 has no games" voice* Competitive Panel De Pon has no win conditions
Watching competitive Panel De Pon. BTW the match timer counts upward.
This stage, placed at this point in the mode, is batting way above a typical versus puzzle game's narrative design level.
There is, plausibly, a kind of player who only wants to play puzzle mode, which this game caters towards. The main story mode still has the most assets dedicated to it, but the others have things just for them, too.
Something often overlooked about Panel De Pon is the fact of it having FOUR credits sequences, one per game mode, each with completely different music, emphasises that this is really an "ensemble" game of sorts, designed for many kinds of players.
THE PUZZLE MODE HAS LOOP 2?? …Is what I would probably say if I didn't notice that the amount of displayed puzzles was suspiciously low.
Website update! I've added a MODArchive recommended playlist to my playlists page: https://fairysvoice.net/playlists/#mods There's a lot to check out, so don't worry about just browsing the ones with wacky names (even though the short names are pretty good too).
What's easily overlooked here is every subsequent Panel De Pon game has excised the fairies – the GBA version, and Puzzle League DS. If this game had not released when and how it did, it is almost certain that it would have never been seen again. This was its last chance.
*"A monad is a monoid in the class of endofunctors" voice*
*starts typing "are the lyrics to O Fortuna lorem ipsum" into a nearby typewriter with a smartphone shoved between the rollers*
This is Panel De Pon 64, by the way:
I've been reading about the travails that struck Panel De Pon 64 and all I can say is that I'm extremely relieved that this game did in fact actually manage to get released, albeit in the most inconvenient way possible for the era (hidden in a bundle with 2 other games).
*thinks about how Super Meat Boy originally had letter grades for each level, and then they just removed all the grades except A+ because no one actually cares about the distinction between B, C and D* Classic game design moment
The videogame Pizza Tower looks good (actually the Native American themed enemies wearing spice leaves for feathers are pretty cringey but w/e) but I started imagining what a femme version would look like, and my mind instantly inserted the keithjohnstack lesbians as characters.
VNDB is upping the spoiler protection stakes
Psh… how bitterly ironic… that Citra… is the main character of StarSweep… but you can't use Citra… to emulate StarSweep…
This one immediately after was great, too… the need to figure out how to safely break the symmetry is delicious…
I have empirically and objectively decided that this video is bad, because the creator likes videogames which I, conversely, do not like.
Suddenly I understand everything about this video
If this five-hour-long video doesn't bring up the Paracas textiles, I'm going to be disappointed, but forgiving.
*watches all the way to 1min 37sec* Well, that's all I wanted to hear. *slams Control-W with peace-sign fingers*
Fine… the peer pressure has got to me. I'll watch the five-hour-long Yume Nikki review. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCKQObB0Zm4)
OK. It's time to tackle the real premier game mode.
There's other things, like… combos having some worth over chains because they add to the opponent's stack but give less material when popped, but you have to go for 5s because garbage from 4s can be stacked two in a row… and you need chains beforehand to protect them…
*imagines a Mario game fan translation where "pipe" is constantly translated as "earthen pipe" because the word for "pipe specifically used for plumbing" has the kanji for "earth" in it because plumbing in premodern Japan was traditionally made of clay pottery*
THIS Game Boy Color game has a Super Game Boy border???
Replaying Panel De Pon is making me appreciate the garbage system a bit more… because of gravity, and rows spawning from the bottom, it's easier to match down there, but because garbage falls from the top and is broken with a touching match, you need to be ready up top as well.
I'm sorry, but the trivia in the "useless videogame trivia" thread is simply not useless enough. I don't need stuff like "the player in Outer Wilds is always at coordinate (0,0,0) for performance reasons" I need "Umineko has one music track that's 4:20 long" levels of useless.
🌚Competitive Panel De Pon players using 6 colours instead of 5 sounds really difficult 🌞Competitive Panel De Pon players using 6 colours instead of 5 sounds easy because there's less chance of losing material to accidental 3-matches
The characters in the endings of Panel De Pon talk about the importance of getting a 1CC like they're being sponsored by it.
Same energy
Panel de Pon (1995) is a beautiful videogame you can subject yourself to at any time, in which you try to form a 2-chain and lose your material to 3-matches while trying to drag it over.
I never actually sat and listened to these music tracks before…
I feel a little bit sad that the one versus puzzle game I was good at as a kid, Kirby's Star Stacker, is universally regarded as Trash because the incoming rows just chain into each other for free at the slightest touch. *thinks about what this means for my skill as a kid* N… n
For all my life I thought Panel De Pon multi-layer garbage blocks taking forever to pop was a convenience to make it easy to combo off them. Today, I realised the truth: that it's actually a penalty because you freaking can't fricking do anything for like 5-8 seconds flat.
Undergoing Spamtonfication because playing all these versus puzzle games with bizarrely close release dates is slowly making me obsessed with 1997
StarSweep having a countdown for the delay before you lose by top-out is SOOOO much better than what every single Panel De Pon version does (basically nothing beyond a subtle visual change). (Honestly, the sound design in this game is great in general.)
Can you believe this arcade game has a story mode, but DOESN'T have the ending, at all, except in the PlayStation version? Such a shocking scenario is starting to seem spookily plausible, right?
Today's Fashionably Obscure Puzzle Game Character Of The Day is Doctor J from StarSweep (1997, A- *suddenly realises this character is literally just The Empress from FREAKING Magical Drop* Gdhhghhbhgkl
Nintendo DS Action Replay-to-Codebreaker Code Converter 2.12
Puzzle League DS having a robot version of the familiar Panel De Pon fanfare when you complete a chain is extremely funny to me.
Land Maker tournament commentators saying "They're making land" is the "Nice back air" of Land Maker.
"What about Parodius, Keio Flying Squadron and Harmful Park" Those come from a third, completely different timeline where horizontal shmup narratives are actually good for entirely different reasons.
Puchi Carat and Land Maker come from a timeline where puzzle game and Breakout game narratives are actually good. Conversely, Darius and RayForce come from a timeline where horizontal shmup narratives are actually good.
*starts calling falling-block versus puzzle games "ochige" (ochiru (lit. "falling") games) like they're an esoteric VN genre and not just freaking overgrown Mario Party minigames*
Finally, being able to play it with the mouse makes it easy to go relatively fast with little muscle strain. The only other mouse/stylus-controlled puzzle games I know of are Meteos and Panel De Pon (via Puzzle League for the DS, depicted below).
This also means that "board health" is easier to see at a glance (coming down to the number of garbage and isolated singles) and the ways of managing it are very intuitive (try and move blocks toward their own colour and away from incoming off-colour spawns).
As a result, getting competent at the game comes down less to being able to foresee increasing layers of transforms, and more to how well and quickly you can form contiguous colour blocks, and whether they're aligned along the correct edges.
Here, for instance, it's immediately obvious that if you pop the two reds in the corner, it'll chain the greens and blues for a x3, and moving that yellow in row 3 to the right makes it x5. For a gravity puzzler, you'd have to do a lot more mental transforms to even foresee a x3.
Out of all the versus puzzlers, Petal Crash is still the only one I've been able to become "good at" (in the sense that I can beat the CPU at least once at the highest numeric difficulty), and I attribute this entirely to the chain system being extremely easy to visually parse.
Man… they ought to make a sequel to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. That isn't a mobile game that got shut down in 2018. And whose art style wasn't based on Fortnite. And with a story mode. And since I'm just fantasising at this point, it should also have Rainbow Mika in it.
Nothing could have predicted this humiliation. Especially not every other character's story mode route.
Me when streamers make fun of Bee's vaguely Pokémon-like vocal squeaks after I've experienced his story mode route
Imagine going back to 2009 and telling everyone that out of Pixar's major releases from that decade, Ratatouille would be the most respected and referenced in the 20's.
I've always been fascinated by the movement pattern of this one. I'm like 90% convinced it's supposed to be tracing a yin-yang shape, but it doesn't really correspond to the name (of either this or Chen's variant of this). Anyway, I enjoy turning it over in my mind.
I feel tired and my nose is blocked. I want some cheap likes. R.O.B. stands for Robertic Operating Buddy
It seems today is Ken Versus Pyra Sunday (Ken is not a particularly popular Smash Ultimate character despite probably being high tier)
This is another reason why Petal Crash, whose multiplayer is all symmetric, is underrated.
Asymmetric character multiplayer is a devil's gift. Every designer uses it because they think having a "character meta" will make the game deeper, and then it routinely backfires in their face and makes most of their work irrelevant or alienating.
I can't bear this. I need to detox. *tunes into a stream to watch Ken getting demolished by Pyra from Xenoblade while the Animal Crossing villagers gaze boredly* Ahh… back to the way things should be…
Why would they make a game where attack garbage falls vertically onto uneven surfaces and same colours match with each other, then give Ken THAT attack pattern and Ryu THAT attack pattern… I mean, I actually do know why, but really, just why…
I had to stop watching Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo footage because it was making me hate Ken, the Street Fighter character, too much.
OK so… they were only released 4 months apart, so it's possible but highly unlikely. By the way, here's how to find when in the year of 1995 Magical Drop 1 for arcade was released: ❌Wikipedia ❌MobyGames ✔️MAME title bar
*stiffens, twitches nose, and starts hurriedly opening Wikipedia tabs* Was Cordelia in Panel De Pon a riff on The World from Magical Drop?????
SemVer, or "semantic versioning", is a versioning scheme where the choice of version numbers has a human-readable meaning.
*innocently loads up footage of something called "Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo – Z Mode", watches for 0.5 seconds, then feels every muscle in my face decide to go on a rollicking adventure*
For those wondering, yes, I am including Melty Blood and Arm Joe in this evaluation.
I don't know anything about Guilty Gear except that it's definitely the one versus game where people have been made to legitimately care about the in-universe story, which I think is an unbelievable achievement.
I won't like, I don't really think too highly of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, but I will say that this bit here is probably the funniest thing any versus puzzle game has ever done.
I won't lie, having to slap "j" onto the end of almost all of my MAME command line codes to get the Good version of the game feels a lot like having to slap "!== null" into Javascript after checking a thing has typeof "object".
*thinks about Puchi Carat* Wow
The Game Boy version sounds like the jazzy Chuck Mangione remix of the original. Incredible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oluHvo4ljn8
This music track is so good (as are a few of the game's other tracks) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeBLIAuZuk0
1954: FORTRAN is released with the pioneering "IF" syntax 2010: Rust is released with the pioneering "IF IF" syntax
Underwater unkillable Klomp in Glimmer's Galleon in Donkey Kong Country 2, what is your wisdom 🐊"Even though the C••kie's Bustle download was removed from the Internet Archive, the torrent for that download is still active and seeded."
Hello. I am the weak and frail La Mulana 2 Preferrer. I need 16:9 aspect ratio to walk and midair ladder grab to digest food. When the La Mulana 1 Preferrers walk by, I instinctively stiffen to blend into the surrounding grass. I love constantly toggling the dogu suit on and off.
Puchi Carat is a competitive videogame
Among the versus puzzle games I've been watching footage of, one surprisingly entertaining frontrunner has been Pac-Attack, the Pac-Man-themed Tetris clone. This is simply because A) the game has meter and supers, and B) the music changes to the Can-Can when someone's winning.
*educates some swine* Ha ha ha… Your move.
And not only would it have to list the game itself, but also which supplemental materials have additional narrative matter (such as Puchi Carat's OST liner notes having character biographies with unique details).
90s action games need a website called "Where's All The Story" that tells you which version of a game has the unabridged story mode in it. For most arcade games, it's the original JP version, but for some like Magical Drop or Money Idol Exchanger, it's specific console ports.
Desert Golfing 1505 1/6
I've decided that the new "hip thing" for fictional characters to do in 2023 is pull out a big colourful mallet, then magically enlarge it to 10 times normal size before doing a big slow-motion overhead pound. We've seen it before, but this will be its big year. Get in on it now.
People think "Biblically accurate angels" are just an excuse to go hog wild with the most anatomically bizarre god-adjacent beings their imagination can cook up. And you know what? They're right.
I should see what's going on in "Puchi Carat Twitter" *all the posts are variants of "sexy bunnygirl hot"* I have now seen what's going on in "Puchi Carat Twitter"
Everyone not faving me this is amused by my greenhorn unfamiliarity with Rod Land (Jaleco, 1990), and reflecting wistfully on their first time experiencing Rod Land (Jaleco, 1990).
Having a real good time thinking "Whaaaaat iiiiis thiiiiis!!!!!" every time a MAME game from 1990 does something mildly surprising narratively.
← Person who just heard some stuff got leaked about Team Fortress 2, and decided to immediately find out more by searching "valve leak"
Today in Wikipedia diagrams
I'm going to make a statement about the zeitgeist and say that we as a culture have tired of crossover versus games. We see another game with characters that don't legally belong, and scarcely an eyelid flutters. Smash keeps itself novel by sheer quantity alone, but that's all.
Le Combo de Couperin. This should've been the name of a Mother 3 track.
The real purpose of getting good at versus puzzle games is getting to hear a sound effect played repeatedly at increasingly higher pitches.
I want to see a Tetris versus mode with a shared Hold box. You hold a line piece, and your opponent can just take it.
Why is the Smogon subreddit called "/r/Stunfisk"
I'm tired. Someone make a meme grid for me where the right column is "RPG stories", "VN stories", "Actual Books", and "Versus puzzle arcade game stories", and the left column is, I dunno, maybe some photos of okapis, in case people haven't seen an okapi in awhile.
Arcade Story Route Tier List
Wait, I remember this one… it had a super long high-production FMV intro… and it's still as not subtitled as ever…
…there's a THIRD Keio Flying Squadron game??
My fortune was just read as "excellent luck" by the Game Over screen of Xexex.
Some of these goddamn arcade games have stereo sound that ISN'T enabled by default in service mode?!?
Rust Analyzer sounds like a joke character class you can unlock in Deltarune by interacting with rust too many times
VGMDB dot net is such an underrated resource for otherwise impossible-to-locate information about games.
Same energy
Same energy
NEVERMIND!!! Nitwit that I am, the Story Mode has been located… in the PS1 port that anyone of reasonable competence would have already known existed.
"Leon," Yes? "Are you about to call this screenshot "Higurashi at home"?" No. Absolutely not. Higurashi is this game at home.
The Safecracker: "Plan's simple. First, we convince everyone Uno for PS1 is a kamige [7 min of footage excised where they explain what the HELL that word means], then we blow the C4, rappel through the roof, and walk away $50 mil richer. You in?" Me: "Well, as long as it's legal,
The menu has a good aesthetic, for starters.
While I'm on "a thing" at the moment, decided now would be the time to launch Uno for PS1 and see if it lives up to the famous opening video (single frame shown below).
(868-HACK is this game, by the way https://store.steampowered.com/app/274700/868HACK/)
Me: "Versus puzzle games are cool now… I wanna think of an idea for one…" The tiny ghost that lives in everyone's showerheads and whispers them the best ideas: "Split screen versus version of 868-HACK where siphoning a thing spawns enemies for both you and the opponent." Me: ‼️
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
As it stands, the only way to get access to the copious(?) backstory of Money Idol Exchanger (1997) is to play this 1-hour-long untranslated untranscribed drama CD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3m29jvMNmg
My face when I open the original Japanese version of an interesting MAME game only to find that the story mode STILL doesn't have any dialogue in it
Higurashi When They Cry (2002-2006)
The Neo-Geo BIOS has a clock on its service menu? And MAME gives it the system time???
Puchi Carat (1997 Breakout clone) is 13 Sentinels *everyone starts grabbing handfuls of gray gems* There's 13 characters *I start being pelted* and you experience their stories nonlinearly *people run up and shower them on my head* to discover the mysteries of their shared pas
Finished all the routes… it really went beyond all expectations. Also, gratitude to this mid-00's-style fansite (https://randomhoohaas.flyingomelette.com/PuchiCarat/main.htm) for having all these scans of lavish promotional art.
• Has a secret 13th troll • The purple guys are the nobility • Each character has a typing quirk (repetitive -desu variant) https://twitter.com/webbedspace/status/1610976328215592960
I do still like this part that subtly reveals that the player's shots can block bullets (by having another enemy shoot the same bullets in opposition)
Watching competitive Puchi Carat
Has anyone done a Touhou fangame where they say 少女祈祷中 in the "Presented by… Cave" voice
How do I trick VNDB into including Puchi Carat's story mode. They've unwittingly got RPG Maker games with combat and random encounters on there, so this can probably slide under the radar.
I'm going through a comparison of the English MAME version, and it's just a long list of stuff they removed from the original Japanese. I don't mean censoring or rebalancing, I mean like, for starters, they removed all the dialogue.
How do I say this​ nicely… this arcade game has "PC98" energy. "Oh, you mean it's got fullscreen pixel art of hot 90s cartoon characters?" No, I mean the story is A Little Fricked Up (←compliment)
🌚The Puchi Carat characters are named after gemstones, so they're Steven Universe gems 🌞The Puchi Carat characters are named after birthstones, so they're Homestuck trolls
"In 2023, all of Leon's favourite videogame stories will be soap operas." – ancient prophecy
This whole game is hardcoded so that every story mode chapter uses exactly four dialog boxes (A-B-A-B), and the writing does admirably well in disguising this limitation.
Puchi Carat players when they want to push down more blocks
This game (Puchi Carat) is batting on all cylinders in the story department. (← It's not clear what this mixed metaphor could possibly mean.)
This game is reminding me of one thing the vs. arcade story mode format is great at doing: hinting at strange character connections from one person's route to whet your appetite for seeing the perspective from the other person's route.
The remainder of the "mostly" is just good and thoughtful asset production values for a 90s arcade game – highly animated character art, voice barks, acceptable-to-great music tracks, etc.
What Puchi Carat does great is mostly "what if your versus arcade game's story mode made your character fight the entire rest of the roster (12 characters minus you), then made the rounds extremely short (<1 min) so you can get to the next lot of character dialogue sooner"
Be right back, need to produce a lavishly detailed and completely unjustified YouTube video "proving" that the seven human souls in Undertale are based on the Seven Lucky Gods, with the protagonist, as the gender-neutral one who "hunts" monsters, representing Daikokuten.
Puchi Carat… unbelievably good videogame. *everyone who reads this immediately launches MAME to try it, only to discover that it's literally Breakout, and not even a fun wacky kind like Highly Responsive To Prayers, it's just a paddle and a ball that you have to intentionally a
The important corollary to the high volume of videogame wish-granting in the 90s was that the auxiliary members of a game roster would always get to the end of their quest and then make the most blisteringly inane wish humanly imaginable.
This tweet came to me in the middle of a dream and I spent the entire remainder of the dream trying to memorise it. Happy New Year. *I am brusquely informed that it's actually the 4th* Uh, Happy New Year in four days https://twitter.com/webbedspace/status/1610521202715660288
"C may be old hat, but here's why null-terminated strings are just better. 1. Two years ago I was a freshman in college. B. Then the meteor hit, killing the dinosaurs and sinking Noah's Ark. And that's why women can't read maps and men scrub the toilet with their own toothbrush."
Opening the service mode to all of my MAME games and manually setting the credits to "Free Play" to save on keypresses whenever I want to play them
Replaying an old Ludum Dare game of mine (https://fairysvoice.net/games/Heart_Of_Gold/)… Dang, it's actually still kinda entertaining. (Of course, knowing where all the powerups are does help a little.)
Every cartoon and game character in the 90s was out on a quest to get one wish granted. Dragonball, Twinkle Star Sprites, Puchi Carat, Kirby Super Star, that one Touhou game… Wishes were being flung off the shelves thick and fast.
Well, I updated my MAME set to 0.251… from 0.234… and let me tell you… even in 2023, the ROMset patching and rebuilding tools are still getting wiped by the sheer robustness of "just redownload all 60GB of ROMs and paste them into the folder".
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