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About
This is the part where I say something about myself. You can read it if you want to.

I still remember the first time I went to Destructoid. When one of the very first articles that greeted me was something about an erotic Minecraft tribute to a certain someone, I knew right away that this was the kind of gaming community that I would proudly associate myself with.

After about a year of lurking, I finally joined the community a few weeks before E3 2013 because I thought it would be cool to make cheeky jokes about the Xbox One. Now, I'm still here, making dumb comments and posting fan art whenever I feel like it.

I enjoy weird-ass Japanese games like Ace Attorney, Bayonetta and Yakuza. My favourite genre in the videoed games are the games where you're playing a role in the game you're playing and numbers come out when you hit the guy on the screen. I also like those games where you have a guy with a sword and you run around and it's super hard and you feel bad about yourself because you die all the time.

I dislike military first-person shooters and shooters in general mostly because I suck at them. I hardly play online multiplayer games because I'm shy. My favourite Pokémon is Minccino because look at this animated sprite:

My other interests include traditional art, graphic design, 2D animation, wrestling, Harry Potter and giant robots. I like pizza, noodles, ice cream and you.
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Some stuff I wrote:

10 Things about me
My favourite game
The things you see on the internet...
Player Profile
PSN ID:LCAS
Steam ID:steamcommunity.com/id/LunaSy
Mii code:5300-9777-2450
Follow me:
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Part two of what I expect to be a very short-lived series. 
Read part one here: Google Play-giarism: Knockoff King of Fighters 


I've been very on and off when it comes to drawing as a hobby. During the earlier half of this year, I tried to make an effort in practicing how to draw on the computer using this cheap graphics tablet that I've had lying around the house for quite a while now. I haven't really done much past June. The last thing I did was this drawing of Valerie from Pokémon X/Y.



As you can see, I've got a long way to go before this is done. The outlines are rough and not yet finalised, it's still lacking in detail and I still don't know how to colour properly and efficiently. I gotta get around to finishing it someday and overall get better at this. She's supposed to be holding a Poké Ball. For some strange reason, I keep gravitating towards Pokémon gym leaders whenever I'm looking for a character to draw.

While practising and searching for better drawing techniques, I suddenly took an interest on reading about art plagiarism. As someone who's just starting out of course I often looked at or even tried to copy already existing works. I realized that that might not be the best way to go about things if you really want to get good. Using an image as reference is one thing, but tracing over or completely copying an image or even just a part of it is another.

Poses are another thing I greatly pondered on because you really can't claim ownership of certain poses, especially common poses that almost everyone does and aren't that distinct. I haven't really found a definitive answer to it, but I figured that it's alright to recreate a pose from a piece of work so long as it's, of course, not a direct copy or trace and that it's not a pose that people immediately attribute to said work, like a character's trademark pose for example. Stuff from JoJo or Power Rangers come to mind.

Wait. What was this blog post about again? Right, Google Play Store knockoffs. Well in relation to that, here are some examples of how not to use an image as reference.



Horde of Heroes

Clearly inspired from Castle Crashers, looking at the body proportions in addition to the helmet shape and design (which itself was based on the classic Knights Templar design).

While I could say that the pose came from this knight's pose in the lobby screen, it could've been from any raised shield, charging medieval knight man picture out there, to be honest. The game itself doesn't look too shabby though.





Battle Nations


Doesn't really require much explanation. It really does look like they drew (or traced) the 2D art themselves, though it still doesn't make it any less of a ripoff. I wonder if the non-TF2 characters are also borrowed from somewhere else? Like with the previous game, the game itself doesn't look half bad. It's some sort of turn based strategy game.



Battle Of The Saints II


Just one look and I can already tell it's from Warcraft. That's basically the Dranei logo with the bottom portion cut out. Crossed axes and "shield" from the Orcs logo. Frost marks and horizontal rod from the Scourge logo.




Looking at the screenshots, the requisite sexy female RPG character also looks familiar. Her outfit is incredibly similar to the one worn by the requisite sexy female RPG character from Shaiya, some free-to-play MMO. I only know about that game because every other internet cafe here had that poster. Gameplay-wise, it looks like your typical Diablo clone.



How to Train a Draco: The Game

It's not just fellow games that get copied, of course. The title of this one sounds like an M-rated Harry Potter fanfiction. Welp, there it is. Why am I not surprised?


Not exactly the same pose but clearly inspired from it. Note the visible tail, symmetrical wing position and the asymmetrical arm position. Toothless is in a more descending angle in the original.




Oh, what's that in the background? It's twin-headed dragon, skinny dragon and chubby dragon.



Angry Cats


Aside from swapping and editing their colour scheme, they also decided to steal another image for Jerry, which is kind of weird since he's already doing a similar pose in the one where they took the Tom image from. Also notice how Tom's left arm, right index fingertip and the end of his right foot are hidden from view because the original image didn't draw those parts as well.



Super mary Go


Raccoon mario from the box art of Super Mario Bros. 3, but the shape of the legs suggests that it was traced from the New Super Mario Bros. 2 version instead. This thing's a Flappy Bird, by the way. I can probably make a whole article on Mario clones, but there's really not much to be said about them really. But you gotta give credit to the one guy who had the balls to just straight up name their game "Super Mario". Now that I think about it, you could actually do that because the original was called "Super Mario Bros". Sleazy but smart.



Super Sonic Runner



I'm really starting to run out of things to say about these. I will give them extra points for ripping art from a not so famous Sonic game, Sonic Rivals. It took me a bit longer to find the exact images that they used. Unlike...



Vampires: Todd and Jessica


This is literally the first thing that comes up when you type "Twilight" on Google image search.



Manga Rush

You know, considering that one of the key selling points of the game is to play as your favourite anime characters, there really was no point in mixing and matching them like this. I gotta say though, something about the combination of short pink haired anime girl and Attack on Titan uniform is really doing it for me.



The game itself uses what is either fan-made or stolen anime game sprites. The Naruto one on the sample screenshot is clearly a rip from Naruto Shippuden on the GBA.



Contra Costa

Nuff sayd.


Tune in next time where we'll talk about game titles, sound-alikes and word salad!
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Just a random thing I'd like to point out:



There's quite a bunch of these RPGs that put a frame around their icon just so that the girl's boobs will pop out of it, giving it a sort of 3D effect. Xich Bich. Heh.









I love free.

There's been quite a lot of giveaways this year, some are quite good, some of them you claim just to run them in the background to get free Steam trading cards. Wasteland 1 - The Original Classic looks to be part of the former.

This particular one takes a bit more effort though as the website that's offering the game for free to new members is in 한국어.

As the resident foreign language expert person who's super bored enough to figure this out, I was going to guide you in how to get a 26 year old game for free, until I found out that the promo just expired right when I was about to publish this blog! Not even sure if it was an actual promo that I got into right before it ended or a bug in their system that was immediately fixed when the word got out.
#HauntedHalloweenHappenings

Now I'm sad. I even took screenshots and everything! Just look at it:
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First, go to this website: https://www.directg.net/main/main.html



See that thing on the upper-rightmost corner of the screen that says 회원가입? Click on it.



You're now in the sign up page. Those things with the check boxes? Those are the terms of service. You don't even attempt to read them and just check on the boxes like you normally would.



Click on those two white buttons after filling up the forms. You're not allowed to use special characters (like !) for your password. A popup box will apear for each of them. Just click "OK". Click on the orange button when you're done with everything else.


This should appear afterwards. If not, try changing your username or password.

Go to this page: https://www.directg.net/mypage/order_list2.html



Click on that box and recieve your free Steam key!
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I don't want to leave you guys empty-handed, so instead, here are some sites you can regularly check on to (potentially) get you some (potentially) awesome and completely free games in the near future!


Indie Game Bundles

Recently renamed to BundleHQ, it's a very reliable place to go for news about free PC games and game bundles from multiple other sites. That's all there is to say about it, really. Gives clear instructions on how to get said free games.


Amazon Free App of the Day

For mobile, obviously. Very hit-and-miss, but what did you expect from a service that gives away one paid app every single day. I got some cool (but really old) stuff out of it like Sonic CD and Another World. Not exactly the best platform to play those on but I digress. I'd say it's worth a look every now and then. It gives away more than just games.


Steam Gifts

Raffles you can enter for free! Well, kind of. This is open for anyone who has at least $100 worth of games on their Steam account, which means most of us, really. Whenever anyone creates a giveaway, every user is awarded with one point which they can use to enter giveaways (which vary in price of admission). So basically, you can win free games by doing absolutely nothing but wait for points and click on giveaways to enter. Sounds too good to be true but I can attest to it's legitimacy. I won a copy of Psychonauts from it. But because of my terrible luck, that's the only thing I've won so far. It's still on the user on how they go about in awarding you the prize so it pays to be extra careful. I personally made a dummy email account just to be safe.

This site is also apretty good indicator of what bundles are currently available as most people just give away leftovers from Humble Bundles. Also, when there's a sudden flood of one particular game, you can bet that it's being given away for free somewhere else and people are just capitalizing on it to increase their CV (Contributor Value. Total undiscounted value of all the games you've given away. Giveaways can have a CV requirement so fewer people can get in which means higher odds of winning.)

Guilt-free gambling. What else could you want?


So yeah. That's that. Now to write an actual blog post...









Do you guys like my Halloween banner? For the entire month of October (and November maybe, I dunno, as long people still put up Halloween decorations in shops), this blog will be dedicated to articles about scaaary videogame-related things. So look forward to all 2 or 3 of 'em.

For today's topic:

Mobile gaming is no stranger to knockoffs. For every Angry Birds, Flappy Bird or 2048 released in the market, there are several dozens or even hundreds of games piggybacking off someone else's success story by being almost exactly like them. One doesn't even need to be a popular figure on the same market to spawn imitators. Brand recognition goes a long way in making people notice your thing and no name devs trying to make a quick buck would latch on to anything that has that.

Here's a fun little game you can play on Google Play or any app store: Type names of popular franchises and see what comes out. Let's start with...

Oddly enough, you get lots of King of Fighters knockoffs instead.

Now this one seems to be quite popular. Our man in the icon seems to be a mix of Ryu, Kim Kaphwan and his son Kim Jae Hoon.


Same pose from Street Fighter II's intro, similar uniform, similar hair.


                                                   
Kim & Joe. Definitely not a direct sprite rip or edit, but the resemblance is there. Notice Taekwondo man's right arm and feet, and Muay Thai guy's hair and shorts.

Minus the fact that you have to play a 2D fighting game with an on-screen joystick, this one doesn't look half-bad. Though unoriginal and even traced at some points, the game assets do look like they were made and not stolen.

This one looks pretty good, actually. Looks like a beat 'em up with some RPG elements to it. The art style looks rather nice as well, especially since it doesn't look like a rip off of something (as far as I know).



Can't say the same about the title screen though.

Not all knockoffs can be as crafty or half-decent as the first two examples. Get used to games like Mortal Street Fighter Club. Title tries to remind you of better franchises. Icon contains stolen characters/images, including but not limited to Bane from The Dark Knight Rises and "Guy from Ong Bak" from Ong Bak.

As for the game itself, well...

Behold as our brave champion prepares to enter the womb of her horribly mishapen and unevenly skin toned adversary. "Perform impossible maneuvers" indeed.

"Cheating properly" was one of the more important things I learned in high school. That is, if you're going to copy information from the internet for an assignment, you better copy from multiple sources. That way, with a little bit of editing, the teacher won't even notice that it's plagiarised.

Looks like the makers of Kung Fu Street Fighter have yet to master this skill.

The head, hair, upper torso, lower torso and projectile of each character come from different things. It seems rather fitting to combine Ryu's upper torso with DBZ pants. No idea who armor guy is supposed to be, and why there's three of him on the screen.


                                   
Can't find a gif of the exact Ryu sprite they used. I'm guessing it's from SVC Chaos. Also, I think the less said about character portraits, the better.

Also appearing on the search results are these Ninja Fighter games. I've seen three of them, one also has screenshots from Ninja Gaiden while the other took screenshots from the Naruto: Utimate Ninja series. Since the preview images are obviously stolen from other games, it does make me wonder what this game actually looks like...

"Game Features:
- Realistic visual effects and the world’s best battle music.
- Slide the screen can be rotated gamers perspective.
- Very easy and responsive game controls.
- +Puzzle +Block game+ Memory game etc.
- Competitive multiplayer to show the world your greatness.
- Adrenaline rush guaranteed."

Oh...

Last on our list is King Of Fighters Death. Once again, screenshots not representative of the actual game. App description, enlighten me please!

"This is a high-definition picture with fighting hero themed wallpaper program, if you have a childhood dream of doing tough guy hero, then download the program, and the inside of the picture as your phone wallpaper,, let myself not to forget childhood dream!eighteighteen eighttwenteen"

It's a wallpaper collection...


Animated sprites from The Fighters Generation.









I don't remember how old I was during that time, but I was at some kid's house when it happened. I think it was a classmate's birthday party, so I was at least old enough to go to school. I don't recall much about the party itself, except for that moment when the mom came up, talked to his son and mentioned something about a "play station".

"Where?" I thought. Well I know what a station is. And I definitely know what the word play means. Are they planning to take us somewhere? Somewhere fun?

Next thing I knew, my and the other kids were sitting in front of a TV, watching some guy beat up an old man who could barely even stand. Oh it was a fun place alright. For the first time in my life, I set my eyes on this wonderful world called videogames.

But that was just a mere preview as I only got to play for a few rounds. If my gaming life was a theme park, I only got a short glimpse of it in the car window while on the way to somewhere else. Things didn't really start until I went there myself, stepped through the front gates and got properly acquainted with it. And I think mine had a pretty great entrance.

It was almost the dawn of the new millennium. Such an exciting time it was to be a gamer, but it was also a time of great uncertainty. With Sega and the Dreamcast kicking off the new console generation, some would come to wonder if the company can still maintain its relevance in this rapidly expanding console market. Apart from their long-time rival Nintendo and the newcomer Sony, who has proven to be quite a contender, they are set to find themselves yet another competitor, with Microsoft expressing their desire to make a console of their own.

But none of those mattered to me, my sister and two of my cousins. We didn’t even know about all those stuff going on as we sat on their living room floor and clumsily scuffled around with the first five levels of Crash Bandicoot 3.

This right here remains to be one of the most iconic and memorable imagery in all of gaming to me. This is where it all began. Five numbered buttons on the floor. Stand on one of them to open a portal. Run (or jump) into said portal and get whisked away to another world. Sometimes, I would jump over the buttons or carefully walk in between them to reach the center without opening a portal. It made me feel like I’ve outsmarted the game or something.

That entire setup was very much symbolic of what videogames essentially are: a portal to other worlds, with its own distinct sights, sounds, characters and experiences to offer to its visitors. This game alone has several of them.

  
 
It sure knows how to make a first impression.

To this day, one thing that still amazes me about Crash 3 is the amount of variety it has. Just looking at the first five levels, our giant orange bandicoot (and his little sister) have gone to medieval times, underwater, ancient China, prehistoric times and somewhere in the middle of the ocean I dunno but there are pirates in it. The variety extends to the gameplay as well, with none of the first five playing exactly the same. 3D platforming, side-scrolling, on-rails vehicle (baby tiger) segments, chase sequences and jet skiing. Even more worlds and genres are introduced later on, including boss battles, aerial combat (where I was first introduced to the standard health bar) and racing (which required near perfect execution just to win a race).

I probably just learned how to read at the time, so I would often mispronounce "Toad Village", the name of the first level, as "Toadillage" or "Tutelage". Looking up what that word means, I'm surprised at how fitting it was given the situation, tutelage. In a way, I really as under the teaching or guidance of that game. It's almost as if it was trying to tell me exactly what videogames are and what they could be. Here are some of the worlds you can explore, some of the types of games possible in this medium. Needless to say, it captivated me right away. I wanted to see more of this. It was unlike anything I've ever seen in this world (which, to a five year old, isn't really saying much).

To the five (or was it six?) year old mind, it really did feel like an otherworldly experience. Eyes glued on the screen, it’s almost as if I was there. Look at this place! Look at the colors! I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It felt so alive. Butterflies flying around. Boxes you can smash. Apples you can collect. A chicken you can chase around. Walk to the flock of birds and they fly away. Oh look, a goat! I wonder if I can touch it…

…I died. And died some more. On the first level alone, I was rammed by a goat, sliced in half, kissed by a frog(?) and fell on holes that weren't even blocking the way.

As a first time player, poor depth perception was one of the harder obstacles I had to overcome. Many lives were lost on this slanted ledge right here.

It was quite fun witnessing the various, comical ways that Crash would meet his untimely demise. The death animations helped a lot in establishing a funny and lighthearted tone for the game. But you know what wasn't funny? The first time I saw that game over screen.

Absolute terror. The menacing background. His loud and abrupt entrance. His voice, his face! His angry, intimidating and disembodied face. Oh, it was too much for my pure and innocent mind to handle... (Wow. I didn't know it was available in multiple languages!)

Soon enough, I learned how to play better, perhaps motivated by the fear of seeing that game over screen again. My friends? They got better too, way better than me even. It became a real team effort among us, taking turns trying to beat each level. Some would have their own specialties, one would be really good at certain types of levels and whenver that kind pops up, we hand the controller to him/her. As much as I sucked, I was particularly good at one of the boss stages where you fight a giant robot.

"We really should have one of these”, were some the words uttered by my younger self (or a loose translation of it, at least) the deeper we got into the game, the more I played; almost demanding in tone, as if we’re dealing with some sort of necessity, an integral part of living.

Eventually, we did get one. The PS2 was brand new at the time. And we went in the store and bought a PSone. With a console of my own, I was now ready to venture off into other games at my own pace, whilst breaking the console several times because I would store it in a lunchbox when I brought it to my grandparents place to play. I would soon discover a brand new kind of genre and have yet another long set of adventures with the same group of friends, and even get another one of my cousins into gaming. But Crash 3 is still the one I remember the most.

"Forever ingrained in my mind." - YouTube comment

I remember all the levels by name. I know of all of the game's secrets and how to get them. I would recognize the similarities between most of the game's music and how it takes several cues from the main theme. I remember how you can "start a new game" by going to the load game screen and exiting without loading a save, bypassing the opening cutscenes (which you could skip anyway). I remember how the game's framerate would drop in the load game screen when you press triangle to look at your stats. I remember that the level buttons pop out once you get halfway through the bridge leading to each warp zone/"time travel area". And I remember that the wizard enemy leaves behind his underwear when you kill him and you could crouch down to make it look like you're picking it up.

Actually, it was his beard... I take back what I said about a pure and innocent mind.

For the sake of this blog, I tried going back to it again, mostly to take some screenshots. Then I suddenly realized that I've never actually finished this on my own! Breezed through it in a couple of hours. It's hard to imagine now that it used to take me several hours across several days just to finish one set of levels, and some I could never even finish myself. It was quite an experience, playing through it again after all these years. It was like catching up with an old friend. It's nice to see how well it has aged, and as I sit down and the hours go by, all of those fond memories start flowing back, not only the ones between me and the game, but with the people I've played it with.

A lot has changed since I first picked up that controller 15 years ago. My cousins & sister who I played games with for most of my childhood have long moved past the hobby in pursuit of other things. My cousin's house where it all started? It's ours now. Without going too much into the details, we swapped houses several years ago. The spot where the TV and PS1 used to be? It's now a couch that I often fall asleep on. Too often...

I keep a list of all the games I’ve finished through the years and looking at it now, it’s slowly closing in on 200 games. While not exactly the most impressive number to some of you, within those games, I got to experience some of the very best the medium has to offer. So many memorable moments, accomplishments, characters and stories; gaming not only served as my link to other worlds and experiences. It also became my link to other people. Some of my closest friends I initially got to know by playing games with them. I wouldn’t even be here, in communities like this, making dumb comments and sharing a part of myself through blogs like these, if it weren’t for games…

…if it weren't for this game









"People like different things" is a mantra I always live by when browsing the internet and looking at works created for the sake of entertainment. I firmly believe that we should not be quick to judge people as sick or horrible or disgusting for enjoying a certain thing that we find unappealing, especially if it is all just fantasy and no real life harm is being done to anyone during the process of enjoying these works.

As you may know, I sometimes have a penchant for seeking out some of these "horrible" things, mainly for the purpose of finding out, or at least trying to figure out for myself, what exactly draws people into such things. But sometimes I just do it for a cheeky laugh and to cringe from secondhand embarrassment :) 

With the internet being the internet, a lot of these things are often pornographic in nature. And here are some of the strangest ones I've encountered so far. This is what happens when you subscribe to Tumblr blogs like "badsonicfanart", "sociallyunacceptableart" and "deviantart-appreciation-station", among other things...

To enhance your reading experience, may I suggest listening to this lovely rendition of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", paired with the vocals of "Escape from the City" from Sonic Adventure 2. (courtesy of that deviantart-appreciation-station blog I just mentioned)

[Potentially disturbing mental image inducing text and images ahead!]

Mindbreak



As with other fictional worlds like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Marvel Universe, pornography can also run on its own set of rules. The people in this world can turn into powerful sorcerers at times, able to completely destroy the mind of their victim partner with their mystical staff. They can take reduce even the strongest of adversaries into a shadow of their former selves, just a shallow husk of a man, no longer capable of functioning like a proper human being and only fixated on serving their new master.

Like with Sauron and the ring, it seems like many are very much attracted to this power, considering how often this occurs in certain types of works. Everyone wants to stick their finger up that ring. So they can stick their finger up that ring...

Soiling oneself



Let it be known that somewhere out there, in this world, there exists at least one person who sat down on his desk one day and said to himself: "I'm going to draw a picture of Tarzan shitting himself while wearing a diaper. Also, his right arm has been chopped off."

As the previous paragraph suggests, oftentimes, this crosses over with people's fetish for diapers, either seeing someone in it or wearing it themselves. I think that in this context, it makes this fantasy a little bit easier to understand.


Yakuza 2

Basically, being a baby, which also implies being cared for, pampered and generally seen as cute by another person, is part and parcel of the whole "wearing a diaper" shtick. The self-defecation part adds a whole new layer to it. Someone's gotta change that diaper. Someone has to look at that "baby's"... uhm... parts. They have to touch it, rub it, and more importantly, clean it. So it involves intimate contact in some way. Nevermind the fact that lots of feces in also involved during most of it.

Male Pregnancy



Living room setting. Optimus Prime. Sat on a sofa. Next to a fire place. Knitting a sweater. There's a very large, visible and uncharacteristically round bulge around his stomach area
, sticking out from his otherwise squareish and polygonal body. Looks like Megatron forgot to turn the safety on.

Back in high school, one of my friends told me that he would often feel very uncomfortable when seeing a pregnant teacher whose spouse also works in the same school. Because he can imagine them having sex. He was one of my best friends.

Perhaps this can be one explanation to the appeal of this fantasy? Maybe it's not so much about the pregnancy but rather, the implied sex that occured between the two men which lead to it? I can understand if that's the case. Sometimes, your mind can come up with much better imagery than others who are capable of expressing theirs through actual photos or videos. I guess when certain people look at these, it makes them imagine other more erotic events?

Not me though. When I see these, all I can think of is HOW WILL THE BABY COME OUT?



Furniture People


I really have to start hanging out with less perverted friends...

I know that there are some people who are attracted to objects. I've read a good number of those "Man has sex with bench" stories on the internet. But something strikes me as very odd about seeing pictures or drawings depicting this fantasy. Because if one does have a fixation towards a certain object... well... I have a table right here. I'm already sitting on a chair. Oh look, a piano. You can easily have access to the object of your desire in real life and put it to good use.

Is there a much deeper meaning and purpose for the creation of such images? Are the people responsible for them trying to make some sort of damning statement about pornography? That in many ways, it is also a form of having sex with objects? These images, these videos, these games, may depict a person and produce human sounds but when it comes right down to it, you're still just sitting in front of a computer. Are these pictures of furniture people (and the people who made them) trying to tell us that deep down, this is what we really want: just an object for our pleasure and use? Something that would never refuse, resist and whose only purpose is to satisfy your needs?

Or maybe they just want to make bad sex puns.

(Oh yeah. By the way, This can, and has at least once, crossed over with the diaper fetish as well. Think about that for a second and imagine how that works...)

Cooking People Alive!

I vividly remember this one gallery I saw in DeviantART that has long been deleted. The gallery was filled with pictures of women, often nude, photoshopped into photos of kitchen equipment. And it's not just transparent stock pictures of pots and frying pans. The whole scene was in a proper kitchen setting. The woman was layed out on the frying pan, or standing inside a pot, on an open stove or fire. And she had grill marks! Which didn't make sense because the surface of the frying pan was flat.

A little too hard to imagine? Here, take a look at this sample I made. I left out some details to keep things tasteful (heh), but I think it captures the essence of this fantasy pretty well.



And that gallery was one of the tamer ones. If you haven't guessed already, works under this fantasy would often depict scenes of explicit violence and gore. I mean, it's cooking! Lots of chopping, slicing, boiling, frying...

Now that you know about this, try to Google Image Search the following phrases:
- Steamed Fish
- Roasted Pig
- Baby Soup

And there's your new weight loss program.

P.S. Proofreading this was fucking gross. This is the last time I'll be doing one of these. I'll post something for this month's community assignment next time.









Five hours. I wasted almost five hours of my life on this. I should know that it didn't take any longer than that because the tablet where I played it on has only five hours of battery life and I played through the whole thing without having to recharge.

Licensed games, especially movie tie-in games, are notorious for their tendency to be either incredibly mediocre or outright horrible. But I guess that's to be expected when you are tasked to develop a game under a very strict budget and deadline because it has to be out when the movie's out, and things only get worse when the movie you're adapting doesn't really translate that well into a game.

As a fan of Harry Potter, it pains me to see all the terrible games associated to the franchise. The damn thing had eight movies. The fact that EA had eight tries but ultimately failed to get it right or at least find and stick with a gameplay style that works for the licence is nothing short of magical.

I could go on and talk about how I wish licensed games would just stop trying to follow the story of their source material, but that's not the subject matter of this series of blogs. Today, we're here to play shit Harry Potter games. And I might have just found the worst one.



Looks like we're off to a good start. What's weird is the EA and WB logo appear after you start a new game or load your save instead of when you turn on the game.

~ Little Whinging ~


The game starts with this still image of Harry reading a newspaper on a swing. There's a pulsating green button with an "A" on it on the lower right corner of the screen so I guess I have to press A to continue. I'm so smart. 


So this is the first screen of the game. Ah, pre-rendered backgrounds. Brings me back to my PS1 days. It appears like that black blob in the distance is supposed to be Harry. You wanna come a little closer so we can take a good look at you? C'mon now, Harry. Don't be shy.


AHHHH

If I were to make a quick guess, what we're looking at right here is a horribly down scaled character model from the console version. And yeah. Sometimes, you would default to this awkward mid-running pose you see in the picture whenever you enter a different area.


Going back to the park, I talk to Harry's cousin, Dudley. Again, the character portraits are stills from the "better" versions. Dudley's making fun of the things Harry says in his sleep which he seems to recall quite vividly. Harry calls him "Big D" for some reason. Come up with your own interpretations of this scene.


I leave Dudley alone and go inside a tunnel. Inside, we once again see Dudley who somehow arrived there before I did even though I left him at the park.

I talk to him again, he gets attacked by dementors, Harry uses magic to save him, all while the game shows us bad screenshots. How exciting.

~ Grimmauld Place ~



I talk to Sirius Black for a bit and he tells me about the Order of the Phoenix. I also have to go back to Hogwarts now because that's a thing you do on every book/movie. But before that, I have to upstairs and see my friends who just so happen to be on the same building.

These character models are really throwing me off.

On the second floor, I meet Hermione who tells me I have to repair these vases. I press the B button and a wand cursor appears on the screen. Click on the object of interest and I finally get some gameplay!

Reparo



What?

After pressing A to start the minigame, the wand cursor (in the second image) started moving to the left and the green L button was pulsating ever so slowly. The A button that shows up when the game shows those still images did the same thing, so by instinct, I pressed the button once, just like before. Nothing happened, the wand reached the end of the screen and I lost the game. Apparently, you had to MASH the L or R button to move the cursor in the opposite direction and keep it inside the swirly thing until the meter fills up.

I now regret playing this on a tablet.


Moving on to the next floor, I meet Ron who asks me to collect animated gifs. All two of them. Yes, this game has collectibles. No, I will not collect them in this playthrough.


Ginny's on the top floor. And like with every other Hogwarts student you've encountered so far, your interaction with her involves her asking you do do something for her, in this case, light a lamp.

This will be a recurring theme in the game.

Incendio

Press the up or down button to move the cursor. Catch the sparkles.


After helping your friends and talking to Sirius once more, we are immediately teleported to Hogwarts, meaning they skipped the entire part where Harry and friends meet Luna Lovegood on the carriage on the way to the school.

I want to turn this game off already.

I go talk to Hermione. 


Ten minutes into the game and it has already given up on trying to give the player any sense of immersion. Here we see Hermione telling us the name of the next segment of the game and asks if you want to continue on with your suffering.

Because I love you all, I clicked "Yes".

~ Hogwarts pre-DA ~

It's time for the start-of-term feast! Go down this long ass staircase and head to the Great Hall.

 
I now have Ron and Hermione following me around. While going down the staircase, the two would sometimes give up on trying to follow you. Even they don't want any part of this shitty game.


On my way down, I encounter this entrance to some hallway. Let's see what's inside.


You can't tell me a thing is locked when it doesn't even have a door. Especially when I'm already inside.

This will be a recurring theme in the game.


I finally made it downstairs and the feast begins. Yes, the feast didn't start until I got there because fuck, I'm Harry Potter. 

Wanna see what the feast looks like in game?


Of course you don't.


I'm teleported back to the Gryffindor common room and Hermione tells me and Ron to finish unpacking our things. Also, did you see that arrow? The game gives you directions on where to go next whenever it feels like it.

As I enter the boy's dormitory to unpack my things, I am forced into a conversation with Neville Longbottom.






I hate you, Neville.

CONTINUED IN PART 2