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11 hours ago - 5:30 PM on 08.03.2015

Another Blog About Mighty NO ZETTA WHY IS IT SO LONG

It's that time of the week again, folks! The Zetta Complains About Things While Being Moderately Peeved Power Hour is upon us! So get ready, because on the first and last episode of this exciting extravaganza of excitement, we're talking Mighty No. 9, Keiji Inafune, and Comcept again! This time, though, it's probably going to be the last time, at least I'd like it to be, so strap in kids, 'cause this might get bumpy.

And no, this won't be as much RED ASH, because honestly, I've said all I'm probably going to multiple times over at this point, but it'll probably pop up here and there.

Now let's get started!

Company A is making a game. They're making another game, and maybe a TV show and movie is on the table, but most importantly, they're making a game and they intend to deliver it to the people who are willing to buy it. No one is being made to buy or watch any of this, mind you.

Company B won't let anyone outside of their country play a great many of their games despite the fact that there seems to be very little financial reason for it, because there is a demand. People want to buy their games, and would happy do so if made, but they are being denied the option.

Company C has destroyed the futures of numerous beloved franchises, studios, and actual human beings alike.

Guess which one has more articles on the front page of most video game websites right now?


Disclaimer: I could totally do hundreds of blogs about why the other Call should have been chosen over this one though.
 

With that little teaser up there getting people riled up out of the way...

Mighty No. 9! Let's (briefly) (yeah right) go over it all. And then let's, knowing me, repeat ourselves a few times.

It's a Kickstarted game that, thus far, hasn't come out yet, but has had word of an animated series and then more recently a live action movie in production despite the game not being out yet. From the same company, there is also another game on the way with its own animated short-that-may-turn-into-a-movie that may or may not have some relation to Mighty No. 9, but there are no definite signs of that yet.

Apparently these things are such grave sins that the company involved should be damned to hell, or at least reduced to no more than its present, and all other people involved with the production of these products can be ignored because there's a scapegoat that makes things like "facts" and "faith" and "benefit of the doubt" as easy to ignore and forget as a suit actor's bulge in a really good action scene.

... What?


Look at it.

I know that probably sounds bitter, but can you blame me? Agree or disagree, at this point I'd just be repeating myself if I started getting into these details. How much would I be repeating myself? Not one, but two blogs on the matter as well as a (now slightly outdated) informative image that contains a lot of information about the topic that doesn't get brought up much. And I'm going to likely be repeating a good chunk of it all here as well.

With all the effort I'm going to here, I'm willing to bet most of you might think I'm some massive Inafune fanboy, blinded by love of growing up with years of the man's work and all of that good stuff.

Well... The thing is... I, uh... I don't think I'd really... heard of it him until a few years ago? As in very recently?

 
Say what?

Okay, to clarify, I knew of the guy... probably... but as I've talked about in a few blogs before, my video game "growing up" was weird, and mostly on handhelds, so my classic Mega Man, which is what Inafune is most known for, didn't come about until later on. In fact, I didn't play a Classic game until the late '90s, most coming about much later, and I never owned an X game until I got the collection on the PS2 some time in the PS3's early life cycle, which was still after I'd played the Zero and Battle Network games, and while I don't remember exactly, possibly even after the ZX games as well.

And sure, I basically beat my first game in a GameStop that I had gotten left in many years prior, but I'm not sure if that counts... I did play through and love the heck out of the PSP remakes of the first Classic and X games, which I played well after playing through those collections, but again, do those count?

Then there's the fact that my favorite Mega Man game, as I mentioned a few days ago, is actually one he didn't have a lot of involvement with beyond being Battle Network's general producer. If anything, the designer of that series is the person that I should be a fanboy of! And that guy is, uh... Who are they again? Hold on...

 
....... FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU--

Point is, my Inafune history is pretty lacking, and my reason to have some huge bias towards his work isn't really all there. Soul Sacrifice aside, which, while fantastic, was a joint project between Comcept, Sony's Japan Studio, and Marvelous (then still Marvelous AQL, who later went on to add a bunch of Soul Sacrifice-esque monsters to Senran Kagura 2 but with more breasts), so while Comcept/Inafune may have added a lot to what is undeniably one of the Vita's best games and one of my favorite games, many of the reasons it's such a good game are also undeniably not completely, if at all, Comcept/Inafune's work. From what I understand, after all, Comcept are just the idea people for the most part, they get developers and publishers for the bigger stuff.

So what gives? Why the hell have I wasted quite a few hours doing this, talking about this subject over and over, and why am I wasting time doing one more blog about it now? If I'm not a fanboy, and at this point, if it's not some burning hype to play Mighty No. 9, then what is it?


A broken heart?

Well... I've talked about it before, but I want to make things too. In some cases, not just things, but, yeah, big things too. I don't just love games, I love live action shows ("OH MY GOD, REALLY!?" said absolutely no one) and anime and more, and while I've never thought about anything that grand yet, I'd still love to be able to use these mediums with all the ideas I have, should the chance ever come my way. I've certainly thought about it on a smaller scale, at least, and if I ever get the chance....

I won't, and I probably never will, but a boy (and man, maybe?) has the right to dream... r-right?

 
"Your name doesn't rhyme with Keiji Tookmymoney, does it?"

This is the part of the blog where emotion is going to start seeping in more, so you have been warned! This is under the Personal tag for a reason. Got it? You sure? Okay, good.

Because while there's plenty of factual reason I've taken issue with all the (very much) unneeded negativity and hate these projects have circling around them, I think the reason I can't let it go, rather than just saying my piece and moving on, is perhaps a more personal one.

I have my life, and I have to do something with it. I don't work well with finality, and the idea that I'll end up not doing anything with my life just... It's beyond a "want." I have to. If I don't, I will probably look back on my life and just consider the whole thing a wash. It took me too long to realize it, too long, just enough so that I'm set in my ways and probably unable to learn all the things I need to be able to do any of the things I feel like I need to do, forget to do it and be successful, but that's just the way it is. Or maybe I'm making excuses for myself, but it's not getting any easier, I'll tell you that.

Despite that, I want to create and I can't and damn it all does it bother me when people take issue with the people who do create and actually are creating and are trying to provide their content to people, all while taking the scraps of those who do the opposite. I sit here feeling helpless in my own skin and like a goddamn fool who's wasted nearly three decades of life sometimes over this kind of thing, and I see people who are doing all the things I wish I could getting hate for it, and it just baffles me.

It doesn't make sense to me. It just doesn't. Yes, people have the right to criticize even if they didn't back, but what is actually being criticized here? Maybes? Possibilities? Things that we've known for months going on years? Things that other companies can get away with and have gotten away with fine without all of this fuss? Things that shouldn't even require the phrase "gotten away with" in the first place?

What the hell? What's going on in your heads? Did that one tweet of Kamiya's link to a brainwashing gif if you clicked the last letter in it and I missed it? Was it how Inafune left Capcom, despite the fact that Capcom was doing somewhat poorly at the time he left? Not to mention what we know (especially now) of the Japanese gaming industry?

I know this probably just pissed off someone, but I really just do not get it, and like I've said before, I really haven't seen any issue to take with the whole franchising thing.

 

I get it. I've heard the argument that a franchise needs to prove itself before other things come out. Many times. I could point out that you also have your Yokai-Watch and similar franchises that have conversely proven that some franchises do not take off without exposure like that, and then others will point out Yooka-Laylee doesn't have that, and then we'll just keep going in circles.

The thing that bugs me about this argument, and I've said it before, is that by the time we see any of this other stuff, if we see it at all, the game probably will have either proven itself or not. If any cart is coming before any horse, it's that one. It's all of this reacting and assuming. One could argue that production shouldn't move at all before they see whether or not the thing takes off in the first place, but at the same time, who's to say they can't just stop if it doesn't? Who's to say they're far enough into the live action movie that it's even that much of an issue right now anyway?

We don't know, yet so many people are just jumping right into reacting.

And in regards to RED ASH, the idea that it's a spinoff to Mighty No. 9 in any kind of "you need to appreciate the other thing before you can appreciate spinoffs" is, as far as I can tell, something only detractors have come up with on their own. The Kickstarter itself treats RED ASH purely as its own thing, with connections to Mighty No. 9 limited to the names of the protagonists to create a sense of community, a feeling of "these are for fans, funded by fans" sort of thing from the sounds of it.

Sure, they could definitely retroactively make it a spinoff to Mighty No. 9, but looking at the actual Kickstarter, I don't get that feeling.

 

It sounds to me like they just... want to make this thing. And people are going to get that thing. Spare me the "broken promises" spiel for a second here, because the likelihood of Mighty No. 9 not coming out at all is slim to none. It might be getting delayed. Sure, the projected release date was Spring 2015, but that was the projected release date pre-Stretch Goals. Post-Stretch Goals, and the game went from being a game releasing on just PC to virtually every single possible console it could, short of mobile. That is a huge leap to make.

Remember Shovel Knight? Everyone's GOTY 2014? Its expected release date was September 2013. Delays happen. Especially with Kickstarter games. In fact, I'm pretty sure it happens with most of them? A lot of them, at least. So if you're going to ostracize one company for it, ostrasize all of them. Follow the precedent, don't make up a new one every time.

And sure, there's a business side to these projects, of course there is, but are people really sitting here thinking that that isn't true of other companies?

Are you really going to tell me that Nintendo might not purposely have left out gameplay modes most shooters have come to take for granted from Splatoon so they could add them in later to reinforce the "Nintendo does DLC right" mantra people have come to love to chant, all the while Super Smash Bros. keeps adding in a ton of DLC you can't even use online? The games may have different teams, but surely they know what people think of them enough to consider this kind of strategy. Sure, maybe it's all innocent, but do you see how easy it is to consider something that might be as something that isn't?

For crying out loud, people are hacking Nintendo's consoles just to play games they own because Nintendo won't let them do that. That is 100% a business on Nintendo's part. Let's not forget Square-Enix, Level-5, or Sega and their localization policies either. Only one of them is even attempting to seriously turn themselves around in that area. These are companies that actively do not provide their creations to people who want them.

Yet the company getting all the articles written about them is the one trying to deliver their creation to people. Worse still, people won't even consider the possibility that all of this business stuff might be so that they can just keep delivering products, possibly without having to keep resorting to Kickstarters and other publishers. Comcept isn't big enough yet to do any of this on their own, guys, despite all of the experience its employees have.

Looking at that and wanting to create myself, that's just depressing. It's bad enough that it looks like so many are being beyond unfair in judging as it is, which is one reason I've put so much time into being the "defense force" and all that, but to think that, if I did somehow, miraculously, actually end up in a position where I could reach the stars... This is how I could be viewed? A businessman?

Is ambition just not allowed anymore? Because this industry wouldn't even be here if not for that.

 

Let's talk the Mighty No. 9 talk.

We are getting a game. Maybe a TV show too! Maybe even a movie!

So what? Is it your money going into the two latter things? No? I didn't think so. The game will be out before them more than likely, and at that point, your course of action will be pretty easy to decide on:

A: I liked the game! I'm going to check out these other things and see if I like them too.
B: I didn't like the game, so I need no more of it in my life./I liked the game, but not enough to seek out any more of it.
C: ... Maybe it'll be like Sonic Boom?

And that's it. The phrase "vote with your wallet" rings true. If the no one watches the show, buys merch, or goes to see the movie, they'll know it! But is talking about all of it for months, even years really accomplishing anything?

Like, here's one. Mighty No. 9's concept art was nicer looking than the game's art. Okay, cool. I get it. Believe me, I really freaking get it. And I know, in the history of video games, there has never once been a case of a game, especially a game made on a budget, especially a multiplatform one, where the art style on the box didn't match the in-game assets. That's never happened.

Despite that, I have a crazy idea.

Can we maybe, you know, move on already? Accept that it's not changing like adults, instead of whining about it like a bunch of children? Seeing as we've known pretty darn well what the game was going to look like for well over a year now, the fact that people are still so frustrated over labeled and explained concept art is nuts. This topic should have been settled when they released the prototype footage (that current footage shows they have improved significantly on), which was done during the Kickstarter campaign.

Admittedly, it was towards the end, but we still had a dozen seconds of what to expect and more than enough to give people who would have been turned off by what it is now (much improved over that) time to back out of the whole thing.

 
Yet here we are, nine months (in game development years) or so later...

I'm not saying don't criticize. I'm not trying to "deny the right of the consumers" or whatever people want to call it. Criticize, by all means, people, criticize. Even I've been criticizing how RED ASH has gone down, which is one reason why it's not as prominent here compared to Mighty No. 9. All I ask is that if you want to raise criticisms, make them valid ones.

Don't make things up, don't twist the truth, and don't act like things we've known for months, or worse, things we've known about from the beginning, are a big deal anymore. Don't give Comcept or "Big Bad Inafune" crap for things that we accept and even encourage from other developers, and don't gloss over the position Comcept is in. Don't ignore the different teams working here, and don't assume I have a single goddamn clue what I'm talking about or more all knowing than anyone else and suddenly decide I'm the next Kamiya either. 

At the very least, and also most, I'd say I know about as much as they've offered on the subjects, which is more than a lot of people throwing down can say for themselves.

You can also take the simpler route: People, just don't buy the damn things and move on with your lives if it's really such an issue. Why be the guy that goes to a Super Sentai party just to talk about how much better Power Rangers is and how Super Sentai fans are self-hating racists?

 
Giiiiiiirl you did not just go there.

You want to talk about people who are businessmen and not creators?

Look at Konami. Take a good, long, hard look at Konami. Mind, this doesn't mean so much now, but this blog has been in the works in my head and as jotted down passages since last week. Still, perhaps that says something — it took something like that for Konami to hit the front page, to get people to look at them negatively again. A game possibly being delayed has already gotten at least two.

Nintendo releases limited 3DS models that you have to have faster than Compile Heart knocks up another company to make new Neptunia games, yet they have an outdated account system that makes it so you can't even own a 3DS and New 3DS at the same time, let alone two of their limited edition consoles. They've arbitrarily decided to keep SNES and GBA games off the 3DS, despite the fact that we know GBA games work on it, just "not to the standards" Nintendo wants or... whatever.

Sony has locked Vita from using many PS1 and PSP games, content they paid for and on a system that can use these games. Sony then went and gave PS Now subscriptions to the PS3 before the Vita, which still doesn't have it. This is despite the fact that the Vita was one of the first things listed to be getting it, whereas the PS3 was never initially listed for it. Forget the whole memory card "issue" — Sony has been screwing Vita owners, even/especially the people who shelled out for those memory cards, for years.

This is the kind of crap that is the problem! These are the kinds of things that we should be seeing on the front page multiple times! People aren't any less screwed over just because it's not recent! It's not even like a lot of this Comcept stuff isn't even recent anymore either — not when we can look at Mighty No. 9's campaign page and dismiss a lot of the complaints people still have to this day!

I could go on, though. I did earlier, so I won't, but seriously, for all the people who love to throw this line around, there are probably employees at companies like Konami that are wishing they could be doing "business" like Comcept is right now.

Yet they're the company people can't shut up about? The one that, at the very least, is the one that's trying to make content of some quality and let people enjoy it?

Holy mackerel.

Why in the world do I want to do this again? Am I just a huge masochist or what?

 
Whatever would give anyone that idea?

I want to think "Is it because it's a Kickstarter?" and let that be the end of it, but it's beyond that at this point. Far too many uninvolved people have stepped up here, and other Kickstarters have done similar or worse things and not only been allowed a pass, but had their end products praised despite the broken promises.

Shovel Knight is a 10/10 game, as I've mentioned before, and I love it to pieces, don't get me wrong, but it was delayed too, and repeatedly at that. What's more, as amazing, fun, and content-filled as it is, none of the promised Stretch Goal content has yet to be released. Sure, it will be releasing free, and it's not like people weren't told about it, but I don't see any indication that it would be delayed to any huge extent on the Kickstarter page. Is that common sense? Sure.

On the other hand, isn't a game jumping from being released on one console to about seven to nine, depending on how you count the Mac and Linux versions, also something that common sense would let you know might be delayed? I admit, I hadn't considered this until recently, so perhaps I should have been saying this months ago, but it's a good point.

How about Chroma Squad? It was only releasing on one* console, yet it jumped from December 2013 all the way to April 2015. Tons of dialogue was promised and not really delivered, and seemingly not checked over by an editor either.

It also released without the promised multiplayer content that is still right there on the Kickstarter page, not to mention the fact that *they also say on the Kickstarter game that the game will release on tablets and mobile in "mid-2014." That didn't happen, it it has a TBA 2015 release set currently for some other consoles now, but will it make those dates?

Is it okay that stuff didn't happen? Well, I would say yes, given the circumstances of being a Kickstarter game... but at the same time, a lot of stuff that people actually might have based their backing the game on genuinely isn't in the game. On the other hand, we are likely going to get Mighty No. 9 with all the promised content, with its greatest crimes being that it doesn't look like art that they never said it would look like and that there is Mighty No. 9 content outside of the game in production before the game's release.

It also might not be as good as people want it to be, definitely, but that's a criticism of a more subjective nature that could be true of any game one purchases.

So by the logic many have used against Mighty No. 9... No, it isn't okay to handle things the way Chroma Squad did. Clearly, the fine gentlemen at Behold Studios are promise breakers and dream crushers, and nothing more. Better cut Shovel Knight's scores too while we're at it.

 
Ssshh, it's okay baby, I'm just saying it for the blog.

I've been told I'm being consumeristic before, and maybe I am. I'm stupid. I can be an absolute moron about things sometimes. I'm one of the biggest dunderheads I know, and if nothing else, at least I'm not afraid to own up to messing up because of it, so maybe this is just another one of those times. I know what the word means, I've looked over the definition, and I couldn't tell you if that's me. I don't think it is. I'm going to be repeating myself again, but this blog was written in multiple parts on multiple machines over many days, so it probably already looks pretty disjointed anyway, so I hope we can move past that.

Part of it is that I just want this shitstorm to end, more than anything. At this point, the idea of actually playing Mighty No. 9 isn't even crossing my mind so much, and I'll be one of the people getting a code for it at some point in the future. Even so, I feel Comcept and Inafune is just being treated unfairly beyond reason, and maybe I'm simply not cynical enough for it, but I can't agree with it.

The other part, though, is that it kind of tears me up inside that the things I love and want to do myself are apparently what people consider to be bad. The things I want to do — not to make money (except perhaps out of necessity to keep creating, should I ever somehow get to that magical point, not to get rich or for any purpose than just... to keep doing it), but because I want to do them — are apparently the kinds of things that most think of as sleazy and foul and so on. Is it really so sleazy and foul to want to do these things? To want to make something bigger than one thing from right out of the gate?

What about books, then? Or TV shows? Is it just different for mediums that can have their first entry be part of something bigger, or is it just that video games are still so young that we're not at a point where it's okay for something to release knowing there's more out there?

Mega Man had a little of this and that, yet I've seen some say that branching out as what marked the beginning of its downfall, yet those are what I consider some of its best years. Battle Network having an anime and a manga, all with their own unique stories that were able to take advantage of the different mediums they were in was cool back then, but now, I just think it's brilliant. The fact that all three products are at the very least good, and even great at times (mostly the games, but the manga had moments), isn't something to dismiss either.

I love the idea of spinoffs. I even love the idea of using different mediums. Maybe I'm just not cut out for making things in today's society, or any society for that matter, but if I could, and if I had the idea that called for it, yeah, I would like to think I would. I've seen what live action can do and the strengths it has over animation — and vice versa. I know what video games bring to the table and how immersive they can be, and I even know how moving visual novels can be when done well. I would love to be able to do something that just... has it all, somehow. And if I could, I'd put it all into action as soon as I could, one to the other to the other. I'd probably enjoy keeping busy like that.

If I had the motivation, the idea, and the means, I wouldn't let the fact that the first thing hadn't launched yet stop me. I wouldn't waste that time. Time is precious, far more precious, than any of that. I would keep moving and keep going.

If you haven't guessed it by now, yes, most of all, these blogs were in many ways and perhaps even primarily for me.

 
And yes, I feel like I've gotten nowhere with myself since I posted them.

Maybe I truly am just a naive little fool. A dreamer, not even the big and bigger biggest one. Nothing more than that. Maybe I'm impressing myself onto this situation far, far too much, and Inafune is just a scumbag who happens to have a lot of people on his staff who have a lot of faith in him because he's bribing them with his businessman businessmoney and I just see the things I want to do in the things he's doing and am being blinded by my own aspirations and failings to see "da troof."

I don't know. A little of Column A, a little of Column B, maybe?

Maybe most of you can't understand it, maybe only some of you other bloggers and writers out there know what I mean, at least a little bit, but that's where I stand.

And maybe it's because I need to do something, because I have to. I need to create — and to see someone ridiculed, not even because their something is bad, but simply because how they're going about making it isn't to the approval of the masses? Or because these people just didn't pay attention at the beginning?

We can't keep acting like the whole concept art argument has or ever had any validity to it, people. It doesn't and it never did, yet people are clinging to it like it's the noose around Inafune's yet — and if enough do, it might as well be.

Just... Wow. This whole thing really does make me wonder why one should dream at all, why I should, almost. Load of good it's doing guys like Keiji Inafune and Hideo Kojima right now. Even Masahiro Sakurai's become, sadly and understandably, trapped by his passions.

 

Anyhoo, unless something insane happens going forward that's worth writing about again, I'd like to think that this is where I drop out of writing and/or arguing about this topic. Much of the coverage I've seen on the topic here and elsewhere isn't to my tastes, and I'm really just tired of repeating myself over and over again, nor to do I want to keep doing it aimlessly forever.

Like I mentioned waaaay up there in the beginning, I threw a macro together the other day that covers a lot of the inaccuracies people are touting as fact if anyone out there cares and wants an easy way to respond to some of this junk, but I'm not doing this to be known as "the defense force" or "damage control" — I just wanted the facts out there so the game could get a fair shot.

Sadly, I think this is the point where I accept that people don't care about any of that. So why should I, right? Someone else has probably been raring to go and become Destructoid's Resident tl;dr Jackass, right? As far as this subject goes, anyway.

 
Thanks, J.

Here's a fun question I want to end with.

People are going "fuck Konami" this, and "fuck Konami" that, but how many of you have even considered passing up Metal Gear Solid V completely to put your money where your mouth is? Seriously considered just not buying it and never buying it. If the rumors are true and Kojima gets a salary regardless of how well his games sell, no one needs to buy a single copy for him to be paid for his work. He'll already have been, it looks like, though that's only assuming this is true.

So, assuming it is, how about it? Who's willing to pass up what may be the last Metal Gear Solid to show a real villain that they're crossing the line?

Yeah, I kinda thought so.

 

Well, you guys have fun in the comments! For what it's worth, I do very much mean all of what I said in my last blog, should anyone specifically feel like I'm trying to start something. I'm not, don't get me wrong, but I've still got my own feelings and opinions too, and this is the place where I'm supposed to get them out. 

So with all of them put out there, let's cut to the chase and end this trainwreck!

I disagree with all of you sexy people in advance, Gardevoir, obligatory out of place Kamen Rider reference, thinly veiled penis joke, and... Yeah, that about covers it!

I'll see you all at my place tonight!

  read


1:00 PM on 08.01.2015

Stop!

So some shit's going down here at Destructoid.

I don't want anyone thinking I'm jumping on a bandwagon here. I'm not leaving, though at the same time, I'm not quite sure Destructoid is my Internet "Best Place" yet either, so it might not matter to anyone if I did have reason to leave, but that's all besides the point. I want to say something to anyone thinking about leaving, anyone who's left but still might be checking the blogs, or whatever. In fact, anyone who already has left but is in a situation where the doors are still open, as I'd like to think they would be for most, if not everyone, this is for you too:

I don't know if what's happening will get better. I'm ignorant to much of what's happening at the forums, and for the most part, I've only seen what's happened through the eyes of those commenting on it through the blogs. Being in such an uninformed position, it's probably not my place to start passing judgement. I want to comment on the blogs and such, but I can't help but feel it's not my place. So instead I've come to offer this.

And with that said, I should say I'm not here to start talking about how I feel about the website at any great length.

Yes, I've noticed changes even on the parts of the site I frequent over the past few months, and I can't say I've liked all of them either. Change does that, especially change we don't like. What's more, if I got down to it, I think there are points on both sides of this whatever-is-happening, but again, this isn't what I want to talk about. It's the leaving that I want to talk about, so if you want me to start throwing down how I feel about Chris "why can't I stop accidentally writing Christ when I go to type his name" Carter or Jonathan "the guy who does those videos" Holmes or any of the forum folks, you're in the wrong blog.

To those of you invested in that particular topic, I apologize in advance if I'm treading on any already hurt feelings here or being inconsiderate, but I'm speaking from experience on this one, so just trust me for a little bit, and maybe keep reading.

 

Since I started blogging here, I've already seen it happen at least once before, and I hate that this kind of thing is happening to a community that I can see is so close knit. We don't all disagree — I myself disagree with quite a few people here, but at the same time, in the short time I've taken to blogging here, I've still found myself with fondness and respect for these people as well. We are more than our disagreements, after all.

This even extends to the staff. In some article or another I disagreed with, I've forgotten now, I once said one of the writers here should be fired. It was asinine and childish of me, and while I may not agree with whatever it was any more now than before, I've still come to really regret being an ass about it. It was a typical thoughtless internet comment, and whatever point I had could have surely been worded so much better. I got called out for it ("it" being "being a little shit"), but I can only think of the experience as a positive one. I learned from it.

No, that's not the experience I was referring to before, by the way, but it's an example of something else that I think is important to mention before I get to that.

People are constantly evolving. You could be 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, whatever-- The world is growing around you, and you with it. I don't think I'll ever stop growing up, or at least I hope I don't. Who wants to be as mature today as they were five years ago? Keeping hold of your inner child is one thing, but only if you're leaving out the bad parts, right?

Getting called out or thrust out of your comfort zone is not a good feeling. When you feel like you've been wronged or when you're witnessing an injustice, it can be all the harder to deal with. Those situations rarely don't suck. When the "wrong" gets to a certain boiling point, actions make be taken that you or someone else may later come to regret. It's worst, or maybe best, of all when you have to be the one to call yourself out.

Whatever happens, I've found that instances like this also rarely aren't learning experiences in some way or another.

I'm not going to say anyone on either side is right or wrong about what's going on. I'm not informed enough to pass that kind of judgement. Right now, I could be incredibly out of line. I could have crossed a line so far that it will take a comment from someone else to point out to be how terrible something I've said may be, and at that point, I may face another "evolution," so to speak.

Regardless, that won't happen until I post this and get it all out, so get it all out I will.

Before anyone leaves a community they love in response to it all, please just stop and think about it. I'm not saying don't do it at all, but think about it first. Make sure, once you've cooled off, once you've got all your feelings in order, that that's the course of action you want to take, and only take it then.

 

I was part of a community that I loved dearly a few years back. We played games together, streamed movies together, even got together and hung out when we could. We'd be a good ten years close now had things happened differently. In quite a few ways, I am who I am today thanks to the years I spent with these people, and I thank them all for sharing it with me, even if I haven't spoken to them in years now.

I was in a bad place at the time of the, well, "incident," with a lot of bad going on in my life at the time, but I wasn't talking about it. I'm not going to be here either, mind, but it was a long time ago so there's not really a need to at this point. As for then? I was sort of... Okay, I was less an idiot back then, and I ended up keeping things I should have said to myself and either stretching the truth or even lying about things I should have addressed very differently. I was scared, confused, and ignorant about a lot, not to mention just flat out overwhelmed by life, and after some harsh words exchanged, suddenly I lost people that had become like family to me.

And that was it.

I deleted my accounts and never tried again. I don't think I could get in contact with any of them again if I tried to now, with how much time has passed and how much the internet has changed since. I think I was scared to do so back then, more than anything. Things had gone badly and though I've since been told I was "targeted," I disagree. I had some share of the blame, and I don't think any of us were communicating to the best of our abilities, and it all happened so fast and with such permanence that nothing right could have come from it. Young and upset, a lot was said, and because of the nature of our relationships, we couldn't see each other in person or go over to each others' apartments or homes to try to sort it out.

Years of shared laughter, tears, hugs, hopes, dreams, and more were all gone over the course of a few crazy days. I gave up playing the games we played together, gave up the people who I might have come to know had I stayed around, and so much more.

So to follow up one of my initial statements, I don't think I'll probably ever call Destructoid my Internet "Best Place," even if I find myself sticking around for years, because I had and then lost mine already. Who knows, though? I am starting to get pretty comfy!

Either way, now here's where the moral of this story comes in. For those of you who love this website, or any of its related websites, don't be like me. If you feel like you're getting called out or thrust out of your comfort zone or anything else akin to that, if you haven't already, if you still see any reason to stay, even if it's just the remaining community, think on it.

I will probably carry this with me for the rest of my life, and with it, all the good and bad that came with it. There was some good, yes, but it took quite some time for it to come around, and I can't say "not having those friends" was really part of it.

You don't have to do that. I may have moved on, and in fact I may have learned a lot from it, but that doesn't mean I'd suggest to anyone in that situation now to make the same or a similar choice. I don't want to give up where and what I am now to change the past, but I do still very much regret how I acted back then.

To anyone, now and tomorrow, who is considering leaving something — it doesn't even have to be Destructoid — I just want you to stop for a few minutes, maybe even a day, to think. If staying would only plant the seeds of regret or more hurt, then get out of here, but just make sure that you're sure. Make sure you don't regret your decision, and if you do come to down the road, learn from it. Grow. Keep growing, and don't ever stop.

You aren't going to stop growing anyway, so at least you can make sure the person you do grow into is a person you can be proud of; a person with as few regrets as possible.

To those of you who are leaving, while I didn't know you guys that well, I wish you the best, and hope you can at least get something out of this someday.

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6:04 PM on 07.31.2015

Better With Age: Megabomber

Talk about cutting it close, Zetta! Think you could have waited to midnight to start writing this?

Even as I sit down to write this response to the Blogger's Wanted prompt, I'm not fully sure what I want to write about. It's not that I don't have any ideas... I'm just not sure which thing I want to write about for sure from the ideas I have. You know, this part is going to look rather strange considering whatever I do decide on will be in the title, meaning we'll potentially some weird time paradox thing going on, but who cares about that, right?


Well, Sonic might. Sadly for him, this is not about Sonic today!

The reason this is such a difficult decision is that there's just so many options. We got a really good prompt this month, but could it be... that it was too good?! Maybe my only option is to go through each one and see which it is that I like best? I suppose that works...

 
MEGAMAN BATTLE NETWORK

The Megaman Battle Network series for GBA is, to this day, a series I hold near and dear to my heart. It's also one that I've also never played the first entry of. I guess at some point I started holding out for that DS port to get localized, but Capcom wasn't cool enough to do that, were they?

I actually started this series from the third entry, Megaman Battle Network 3, before backtracking to 2 and then moving forward to 4, 5, 6, and other related titles. Nostalgia might be at work here, but whatever the case is, to this day, Battle Network 3 is one of top five favorite games of all time ever in the history of video games period.

For reals.

While I like the other Mega Man games, none of them have really charmed me the same that this series has. At times, the spiritual sequel to Battle Network, Star Force, uncharmed me to its offerings, if anything. With that in mind, perhaps it's the fact that that has brought me to want to talk about Megaman Battle Network here. Nothing like it has come since, it has a special place in my heart and gaming history, and its only successor has been, well... not as good.

And in all seriousness, like many of my favorite Game Boy titles, this series has actually aged pretty well, especially 3. By this point, gameplay had been refined to be as good as it seemed like it could be, and we had reached the conclusion of what could have been a fantastic trilogy of games. As an aside, most tend to not be as big on the later entries of the series, and it's true, my favorites are the second and third entries, but 5 and 6 are great in their own right, I think.

... but back to 3, since that's specifically the game I want to talk about.

In Battle Network 3, you could customize your character and how you fought to amazing lengths, and I think that's one of the many games of my childhood that really influenced the things I've later come to desire out of games. The freedom I found in picking the different Battle Chips I could bring into battle, the freedom I still have in that compared to many modern games, and then the way I could "program" MegaMan.EXE, well, it was a blast.

And you can bet your sweet ass I used Bug Style.


Look at that sweet asymmetry.

With gameplay that still hasn't met its match today and writing that quite honestly still holds up compared to RPGs targeted at the same demographic now (comparatively, Pokémon seems to have taken a sharp nosedive after Black and White), the Megaman Battle Network series is a series that I'd like to think will always hold up on some level, though perhaps I really am started to be a little biased now.

That said, the writing probably deserves special mention here, so let me take a moment to mention just that. As a kid, I "understood" Battle Network, but older, there's a lot I now can understand and empathize with so much more clearly. It's obviously targeted at a younger demographic, but it still manages to make itself a quality product for older audiences as well.

I mean, while Ash is running around in Pokémon living his happy life with his Pikachu that probably only ever worried about whether or not the sexy Pikachu girls he was going to go on dates with would ask if he had rubbers, the main character of Battle Network is carrying around the soul of his twin brother who died at birth in the form of MegaMan.EXE.

The game doesn't treat it as "dark" so much, but it's very... real for a game targeted at kids, you know? I could appreciate the feelings and stuff as a kid, sure, but looking back, I'm really impressed how they managed to do so much in such a bright and colorful package.

Hell, I still get misty at the end of Battle Network 3. I'm getting misty thinking about the ending of Battle Network 3. I can't listen to this track that plays during part of the ending of Battle Network 3 without getting a little... okay, you get the point.

And that point is that Megaman Battle Network is a fantastic series and I will hunt down every last one of you that doesn't back the inevitable RED ASH Number 9 Fight Web.

... What? Don't look at me like that.

Okay, fine, maybe this wasn't the best topic after all... What was the other one I wanted to do again...?

BOMBERMAN

Some people hate Konami for what he's doing to Kojima and how they killed Silent Hills. Me? I've come to hate Konami because they killed off one of my favorite developers, forcing the only known survivors of the tragedy to a lifeboat of shame in the Nintendo ocean otherwise known as the recent Mario Party games.

You might not remember all of Hudson-Soft's games. Sure, Pokémon Trading Card Game on the GBC was pretty cool, and those games in the Advance Wars series they made for Intelligent Systems were probably pretty rad. Oh, they made the good Mario Party games too? How about that? Oh yeah, and the short-lived but never forgotten Bloody Roar series, Digimon Motherfucking Rumble Arena, and... Oh, who am I kidding? You've gotta remember Bomberman!


R-Right?

It's kind of funny, because if the series was still around, I have this depressing feeling that it would be one of the ones people would go straight to when they list of series that "need" innovation. Bomberman is pretty simple when you get down to it, after all. You take your "Bomberman," you have him put down his "bombs" next to blocks, you blow up the blocks, take the power ups inside, make better bombs, and repeat this process alongside as you blow up blocks keeping you from your enemies.

How the hell did something like this ever go beyond one game?! They never even really added more to that core concept, did they? The Bomberman game on PS3 and Xbox 360 is basically just that, but with unlockable costumes!

Tut tut, my friend. What made Bomberman so great is that not only was the basic game that was repeated on every other console and its version of World 1-1 or Green Hill Zone a game that stands up to this day, but it was that the series branched out something fierce in its time. I never appreciated it when I was younger, in part because they were never in short supply like they are now thanks to Konami, but Bomberman as a franchise did so darn much with that basic concept that it really is depressing that such a series just... died like it did.

Don't believe me?


You monster.

Sure, Bomberman has had plenty of games that were of the simple birds eye view, party variety, but you know what else it had?

  • A first person version of the game
  • Online on a console in 1996
  • 3D adventure games
  • Top-down dungeon exploring romps akin to The Legend of Zelda, but with bombs and only bombs
  • Minigame collections
  • Sidescrolling games based on jumping
  • Games with multiple versions and protagonists
  • A kart racer
  • Cameos with Disney's Stitch and Nintendo's Wario (why isn't Bomberman in Super Smash Bros. AND Disney Infinity again?)
  • More games on Nintendo consoles than most Smash Bros. reps have period (again, why isn't he in Smash Bros.?)
  • And much much more!

The point is, this series not only kept its core concepts within most of its entries, but it did so while innovating all the while, which isn't something you see too often these days, and it's something I can appreciate all the more after seeing how so many other series have fallen trying to do what I took for being something so natural from Bomberman in my youth.

It's also something a certain blue hedgehog and his series could really learn from...

... but I digress. In all seriousness, the Bomberman series is one that has offered a plethora of different ways to blow enemies up, and I honestly can't think of a specific one to name as a representative for what makes me love it so much. There are so many that do it so well and so differently that I just can't. If nothing else, this means I'll never run out of things in terms of Bomberman to do should all of the games ever become available on the eShop and PSN!


Come on, Konami. You pulled through for Suikoden, why not Bomberman?
There's always Smash Mobile, made by Konami, right?

Man... You know what? I had so much fun writing this blog and going over some of my favorite games of times past... I think I've finally decided what I want to write about!

This blog got better with age! Didn't it?

Okay, okay, let me start:

Talk about cutting it close, Zetta! Think you could have waited to midnight to start writing this?

Even as I sit down to write this response to the Blogger's Wanted prompt, I'm not fully sure what I want to write about. It's not that I don't have any ideas... I'm just not sure which thing I want to write about for sure from the ideas I have. You know, this part is going to look rather strange considering...

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7:46 PM on 07.30.2015

Zetta Reviews: Fairy Fencer F (PS3)

Idea Factory International announced today that Fairy Fencer F will be coming to Steam on August 4th, and given that I just so happen to be in a Fairying, Fencing sort of mood, I thought I might offer a review of the original version of the game before the PC version drops next week. Seeing as Fairy Fencer F is both a somewhat different game compared to what most have come to expect from Compile Heart and Idea Factory, as well as one of my favorite JRPGs of the past generation, I figured throwing my own two cents out there couldn't hurt.

So, with that said and the obligatory link to my thoughts on the game's developer out of the way, lest I waste more time than necessary explaining that here, let's get started!

 

Fairy Fencer F sees Compile Heart taking a break from its better known antics playing around with the video game industry in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series and more infamous Monster Monpiece-esque escapades to give players something a little more grounded for their JRPG fix. For the most part, story is, like many Compile Heart titles, delivered through visual novel-style cutscenes, though there are exceptions to this. 

Visually, it's a step up from past Compile Heart PS3 titles, and the music is definitely a cut above the rest. I've enjoyed past Compile Heart soundtracks, sure, but Fairy Fencer F's is definitely in a league above. Despite these positives, sadly, some might still cry "It's just a Neptunia clone!" even so. To some, what really sets Fairy Fencer F apart from the other games Compile Heart has made is what kind of story it offers in comparison. This makes sense, given this was partially the intention of the game's development, but is that true for everyone?

Well... Probably not.

The story takes place in a world where the land's Goddess and Vile God did battle long ago and forced each other into a stalemate, sealing each other to the game's present day. The battle left behind a bunch of swords-stuck-in-stones, otherwise known as Furies, which all have beings of all shapes and sizes — collectively known as Fairies — sealed within them. The person who can pull out such a Fury becomes a Fencer, partnered with the Fairy, gains all kinds of unique abilities, and of course, a partner for life that can turn into a neato weapon at will.

All of that stuff is mostly for those in the know, though. Your average Joe or Jill either doesn't know any of this stuff, or just has a general idea of what a Fencer is. And that's where our protagonist comes in!

Meet Fang, Fairy Fencer F's protagonist.

Fang likes to eat. He likes other things too, but initially, his primary motivation just seems like it's finding where his next meal will be coming from. His outlook on life is that he decides his own fate, but he himself seems to reinforce the idea that this only extends to the fate of the pillows he sleeps on and the food that finds its way to his belly. He's lazy, his hobbies seem to only consist of sleeping and eating, and all in all, he's perhaps the worst possible person to pull out one of the Fairy-containing Furies.

Well, luckily for the Fairy freed from the Fury Fang now wirlds, despite these seemingly explicitly negative qualities of his, upon finding out that the girl has amnesia, he begrudgingly agrees to help her out, and even more begrudgingly agrees to keep helping upon later finding himself on a quest to release the sealed Goddess, collect all the Furies and release the Fairies sealed within them, and occasionally getting drugged along the way.

 
But it's totally worth it to have a cute Fairy girl penetrate him whenever he wants, right? ... Wait, that doesn't sound right...

One important thing to note with Fairy Fencer F is its outside staff. Compile Heart's aim with this game was to make a more mainstream title compared to their usual niche affairs, and so their brought in quite a few big names for this one. Yoshitaka Amano, Nobuo Uematsu (and his band), and Toshiki Inoue, among others, were brought on board to make this game something special, as well as something that more fans than just the usual sort of fans Compile Heart brings in could enjoy.

Considering that between these three people alone, you have different aspects of multiple Final Fantasy titles as well as multiple Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series, it isn't hard to think that the team would definitely be able to pull something pretty swell off.

 

In terms of story, Fairy Fencer F doesn't stray far from its roots, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. With a goal of a mainstream game in mind and a Kamen Rider veteran on board, crafting a game that would feel more familiar to Japanese audiences, as opposed to the reference-heavy, "cute girls doing cute things"-filled Neptunia series, Compile Heart created something fairly enjoyable with Fairy Fencer F.

As mentioned above, the story is seemingly simple enough at a glance. Throughout the game, players will find themselves up against a villainous corporation and all sorts of nefarious plots, all while the colorful cast continues to grow — and the cast is very colorful. You might think Compile Heart games can only offer casts that consist of cute girls, but Fairy Fencer F will have you running around with and talking to a group that consists of something else entirely:


Cute boys!

From a busty Fairy researcher to a strange creature that looks like he should be a Fairy himself, from a robot to a little mammal to even unlockable secret characters (not DLC!), the Fencers and Fairies of Fairy Fencer F offer a variety that you don't always see in Compile Heart games. You don't even always see that kind of variety in regular RPGs anymore, really, and while they don't always get their fair shot at screen time, they're all extremely enjoyable in their own right.

Sadly, though, despite the game's colorful cast, it is ultimately Fang's game, for better and for worse. On the positive end of the spectrum, this leads to players watching Fang develop as a character over the course of the game, and while I found myself drawn to him almost immediately, for those who aren't sold on such a seemingly self-centered person, he may grow on you as he himself grows. The cast still gets plenty of time, but if you don't ever grow on Fang, that may make or break the game for you.

That leads us to the negative end: This means that the secondary cast members don't get nearly the same level of focus as Fang does, and believe it or not, while the primary heroines do get a lot more of the spotlight than some of the other characters, even they don't get the same level of it as Fang does. It even gets to the point where it makes one wonder if plot threads were dropped and ideas were left behind during the game's development (SPOILER? ALERT: the girl-on-girl fight in the game's opening cinematic never actually happens! what's more, the girl using a scythe there is an archer in the game!), which ironically isn't something entirely uncommon for Toshiki Inoue's works.

There is actually a plot-related reason for why so much of the focus is on Fang that becomes clear roughly a third of the way in, but suffice to say, if you're coming for the waifus, or even the fanservice, you're probably just better off playing Neptunia. Fairy Fencer F does have some fanservice, yes, but for the most part, it takes a backseat or is usually used with one character in particular, not completely unlike the more mainstream JRPGs of the past ten to twenty years.


If you want a little bromance with your romance, though...

Interestingly enough, both of these things are actually not that strange for me to see having been through some of Toshiki Inoue's Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series. Fang, both in terms of the kind of character he is as well as how he develops, feels like he was taken straight out of a Kamen Rider series in particular, and many of the story's plot points all have striking similarities to ones of different Kamen Rider series. The game even features a few Kamen Rider veterans as voice actors!

In the end, while I could have gone into an entire post here on its own just pointing out the similarities between this game and other series its writer has worked on, there is one thing above all else that a review can gain from the similarities that this game shares to Toei's hit shows that Inoue-san has been so involved in previously:

This game that aimed to be mainstream has a lot of striking similarities to the shows that air on Sunday mornings that were and still are primarily meant for children.

In Japan, those are shows that the game's current teenage and above audience grew up with, but the effect may be lost on overseas players, instead simply feeling more "generic" than anything else. A bit ironic, given the game's goal, but perhaps undeniable if one is the kind of person that defines quality of a game they're starting for the first time by how new or unique something is, or whether or not something's been done before.

To make a long story short, the game's narrative doesn't break new ground, even by Compile Heart's standards and/or whatever one thinks Compile Heart's standards are, but it does break the ground it does in an enjoyable manner, with a cast that is easily one of the company's most memorable and enjoyable... even if quite a few of them could be replaced by classic Toei characters without too much of a change being particularly necessary to do it...


Then again, I'm probably just thinking too much... Right?

So how about the gameplay, eh?

Gameplay is where your previous experience with Compile Heart's mastery of their budget, if you've had any before, will finally come in. If your only experience with Compile Heart is of games made prior to Fairy Fencer F, you might even come away a little (contextually) impressed in some areas, too.

Mechanically, Fairy Fencer F is essentially a Hyperdimension Neptunia game with more effort put into it, with a somewhat unique take on what's become Neptunia's go-to battle system. You'll enter battles inside of a circular battle arena, then either fight enemies in a turn based series of actions using regular attacks strung together by combos, or you'll use a physical or magical skill of some kind. Characters will also have unique skills that are just for them, which they can use to analyze the enemy, create a personal barrier, or whatever else. It depends on who the character is.

As battles go on, characters will have their tension go up and down depending on the flow of battle, and when it hits a certain point, they can transform and combine with their Fairy partner, essentially donning their Super Sentai uniform or their Kamen Rider armor. If their tension goes down enough, they lose their transformation as well as access to their best skill.

It's a much more enjoyable transformation mechanic than anything Neptunia has ever offered, and since the battle music changes when you transform, it can be very easy to get pumped up when you find yourself in a tough or lengthy battle. Unfortunately, this resulted in me avoiding transforming after a point, because darn it, you just can't bring out your transformation song over regular enemies! That's... special.


Unless you're Kiva, anyway... Wait, but Kamen Rider Kiva was another of Toshiki Inoue's shows... Is this a conspiracy!?

Like many Compile Heart games, you might find yourself facing a seemingly unnecessary amount of brief tutorials cutting into the early part of the game. Luckily, these tutorials are only a couple of screens long and can be checked at any point within the game, but they do contain a lot of information, so it might seem overwhelming, especially if you've never played a Compile Heart game before, since you get used to it after the first couple. Fairly quickly, you'll be introduced to how different weapon types offer strengths and weaknesses over other things, an elemental system, and perhaps one of the most important mechanics of the game, World Shaping.

World Shaping doesn't actually take place in battle, but it can make or break how your battles will go if you use it. Once you start collecting Furies beyond your primary one, you'll be able to imbue them with different World Shaping effects, like "+10% Physical Attack, -6% EXP" for example. At that point, if you choose to not equip that Fury, you can stab it into the world map, and any dungeon within that Fury's area of effect will get that effect.

In other words, if there's, say, something that offers more EXP and money, you could stab it into the ground and make your grinding a lot easier. If the enemies are too hard, if you have the right effects handy, you could forgo whatever bonuses you gain from equipping those things to change the foundation of how those dungeons function.

 

On paper, it's a pretty cool idea, but the big drawback is that it can destroy any semblance of difficulty the game has once you get the hang of it. When you can stick two dozen different Furies onto the same dungeon and come out with an effect of "+200% EXP, +300% Gold, +50% Physical Attack, -50% Magical Attack, -50% Magical Defense, 2x Damage" or something like that, you don't really need to think too hard. Just make sure you don't use magic and that you'll attack first and that's pretty much it.

Because of this, for the most part there is a good chance that you won't actually be making use of Fairy Fencer F's unique battle mechanics, which is a shame because it has the groundwork to be a much more in depth and interesting system than what Neptunia offers. With only three characters out at a time, something this version of Neptunia's system only ever offered in Re;Birth 1, combined with how you use weapons and skills and how much player input there is, it could have been the definitive version of the battle system and even a really fun and challenging game.

Unfortunately, as the game is now, it's just not particularly easy to figure out what is weak to what besides for using trial and error and then remembering, and abusing the game's World Shaping mechanic to alter dungeons and then just using whatever you want will accomplish whatever you could want to do by trying to figure out all the different weaknesses of things. Early on, World Shaping isn't nearly so easy to abuse, and most of the time you'll simply have to use Furies that offer effects like "+10% Physical Attack, -10% Magical Defense," so it's not totally broken early on, but it's much too easy to break the game once you start understanding how it works.

At that point, whether you spam special attacks or even just your regular attacks, it becomes possible to not even really play.

 

Luckily, this is something you can avoid completely by simply not abusing the World Shaping mechanic, or just using it when you know you need it. Because the game's worst spots as far as "required" grinding go are ones you can double back to or do in a New Game Plus with next to zero grinding, if any, I would say to do this as little as possible to any players who want to enjoy the game on a first play, then abuse the hell out of it on subsequent plays.

If you enjoy the grind and the control over the world and don't mind the loss of a challenge, or you just want to play through the story that much faster, then abuse World Shaping to your heart's desire, by all means, but I can't completely knock off points over what is essentially a choice the player can make themselves and doesn't have to. That said, the system itself could have been a lot better.

 

It's strange that the battle system's greatest flaws come from a mechanic not actually part of the battle, but perhaps this is something Compile Heart will address in the upcoming PS4 version of the game, which looks like it's overhauling quite a lot. That all said, the battle system, as I mentioned before, is pretty fun when you aren't breaking it. It might look overwhelming at first, and it might almost never take advantage of all of it actually offers (which actually means it's not that overwhelming at all!), but there's still something really fun there if you're willing to scroll through some tutorials and not overlevel.

On the bright side, I did find out later on that the game does make you think more if you don't abuse World Shaping, and at times will become necessary even on regular enemies, and because of how combos can be set up, you can cycle through multiple weapon types in one string, making it unnecessary to keep track of anything in the first place. You can see what an enemy is weak to as you fight, then adjust accordingly on the fly provided you set up your combos accordingly.

This fluidity to the combo system is something that Neptunia mostly uses for things like Weak and Strong attacks or the occasional elemental stuff, but using it here in combination with how Fairy Fencer F uses weapons makes for something pretty fun if you let it be, and it's a shame that it's so easy to miss. I only found out playing again after clearing the game thoroughly the first time.

Adding to that bright side I mentioned, you still might run into the odd boss or event fight where you find yourself with an "Oh!" moment and start using that kind of strategy even if you abuse World Shaping, but if you really abuse World Shaping, even that will probably be something you only ever use on rare occasions and in the challenges outside of the story mode.

As big a part as how battles work in a game is, it's not the only part of Fairy Fencer F's gameplay worthy of mention.

The game encourages you to change your party around, sometimes forcing you at times, and while some of the characters offer a little more versatility than others, if you're willing to use all of them, you'll find they all tend to bring something to the table that makes making them part of your party worth it, even if it's just the lineup of weapons one character has over another. There are also challenges (seen above), which let your more used characters gain little bonuses as you use them more, but as fun as these things are, they run the risk of forcing you to grind mindlessly if you fall in love with a character that appears later in the game so you can use them to what you may consider the fullest.

While players new to Compile Heart might not think much of the game's dungeon layouts compared to the likes of AAA developers, returning players from Neptunia Victory or even the Re;Birth games on Vita will find themselves in for a treat.

Save for a couple of DLC areas, every area has its own layout, and while asset reuse as still plentiful in some of the areas, if you find yourself really stopping to smell the roses for the first or second time in a Compile Heart title, you'll find yourself in good company here. There are even a handful of sections throughout the game that require a little bit of platforming, including one shortcut I found in the last dungeon that shaved a good two or three minutes of running around (without including encounters) off of my time running around.

The game's quest system is simple enough, and it's a good way to make money or get some of the expensive healing items, but there are a couple of quests that might look insane the first time you get them. If you save them for later dungeons, they're significantly easier, but nothing in the game suggests for you to do that, and it's very easy to break the game just grinding to find the required items for quests you can complete without much effort at all later on. The quests can be easy to abuse, but the consequences of doing so aren't as potentially costly as they are for World Shaping.

 

All in all, despite coming bundled with a few easily avoidable but still fairly noticeable negatives in the gameplay department, I can only think positively of Fairy Fencer F. It's a flawed game, no doubt about that, and a relatively short experience if you don't delve into any optional content or secondary plays through, but it's a flawed game that I thoroughly enjoyed nonetheless. It's a game that, while maybe not one to use to attempt to create new fans of JRPGs, should be one that PS3 and PC JRPG fans alike should be able to enjoy if given the chance.

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9:44 PM on 07.22.2015

Why do we replay?

"I want to do that again!"

If there's something any creator should aspire to do, then it's... well, actually create something, probably! Once that something is created, though, then I think one thing you really want to leave your audience with is that feeling.

Among the many feelings that someone in your audience will be left with, whether you're making a TV show, a movie, a game, a book, you name it, that "I wanna go again!" feeling should be one you always try to keep in mind.

I'm sure a lot of us replay games. Many of us have even blogged about doing it in the past. I think there's something to be said about the way people are made to want to, however, and when you get down to it, everything that really needs to be said about it is in this very sentence.


Did Zetta just get to a point in a timely fashion? This must be serious... Or maybe... An impersonator?! Quick, someone call the police!

"The way people are made to want" to do these things... Doesn't that weird? We're made to want to do something? Shouldn't we just, you know, want?

If we're talking about stuff like video games and TV shows... I don't know, should we? Do we? Should we just want and take, regardless of quality or reason? Is something not made to make us want more if it is designed in such a way that we feel some sort of desire to experience it again? Aren't we "made" to want things again?

In less confusing words, I was actually being a little rhetorical there. We are made to want to do things, and we're made to want to do them again. What I want to talk about is actually the first part of that quote. The "the way" part, to be specific.


Whew, false alarm, it was just flavor text and stalling like usual. It's okay everybody!

I've jumped back and forth from a few different games recently. Not quite as many as Pixie seems to be doing, but a few, which is pretty good for someone who was only playing a mobile game every so often a few months back. And hey, I can cheat a little and just name everything I've touched over the course of a longer time period, how about that?

While Fire Emblem Awakening has been my main squeeze for some time now, I've also had brief travels to the lands of Monster Hunter, Shovel Knight, not to mention the infrequent pit stops at the Neptunia Inn and the Senran Kagura Spa as I keep upcoming releases for both franchises in mind.

In hindsight, I'm sure that, to some of you, both of those things probably sound like brothels that would exist in the skeevier parts of the Super Smash Bros. universe. To those of you in that part of the audience, I can only make a joke relating in some way to Palutena before I hastily get things back on track.


But not too hastily...

The way all of these games offer players a "want" to play again differs, but it took beating Fire Emblem Awakening for me to really catch on to it. Interestingly, Neptunia, Monster Hunter, and Fire Emblem all shared the fact that they had grinding in them in common, and all of them made grinding "fun" in their own way, though Monster Hunter has one caveat to it that really kills the experience as well as the game's longevity for me, reducing it to something I play in bursts and then leave alone for long periods of time. At least right now anyway.

Neptunia offers multiple endings, a grind, a new game plus, some challenges, and that sort of thing. Shovel Knight actually offers roughly the same, sans the grind and with the addition of a much better new game plus. Monster Hunter is, well, Monster Hunter, and Fire Emblem has a finite game with no new game plus or post-game, but it does have other difficulty settings and multiple save slots.

With some of these games, I'd just replay again to see another ending or to grab a trophy here and there when I might have already put them down otherwise. If I'm only ten minutes from getting something, why not, right? In other cases, the grinding is enjoyable, but I'm still basically continuing and building my already super strong characters or money pot or whatever. I'm not breaking out a brand new file to experience everything fresh. Why waste the time when I already have a perfectly functional file right here? Sure, I do it for Soul Sacrifice, but that's special.

None of these games, not even Shovel Knight, basically force you to start over if you want to keep playing. It's a design choice I would have once called primitive and out of date, and part of me does still feel Fire Emblem Awakening is lacking a few modern touches many other games take for granted now that would make it damn near perfect, but that's neither here nor there.

This might come as a surprise to hear from someone that talks as much as I do, but I don't like wasting time. While I may go into it more at a later date, that caveat of Monster Hunter is the timer, and the feeling came up after fights that should have left me feeling accomplished as all else since I took down two beasts I'd never seen or encountered before and didn't get knocked out once.

But it took me down to the end of the timer, and I just hated that.

Towards the end, I stopped enjoying the fight, enjoying the fact that I was doing fairly well at a game that I openly admit that I suck at, because I felt like the clock had become my enemy far more than any monster could be. All my time would have been wasted if that countdown hit zero, and the fact I hadn't lost or died and that I was doing well at Monster Hunter was all meaningless because I wasn't doing well fast enough. Seriously, who decided to make the default option also the time trial here?

So as great as both of those wins were, I didn't really even get the same kind of feeling that I did from clearing Shovel Knight's boss rush on new game plus, let alone something of the same level.

Then again, Shovel Knight is an amazing game, Monster Hunter only wishes it could be that good, and I've gotten off topic again.


"Seriously?"

Starting Fire Emblem Awakening all over again would, in a way, mean that I would be "wasting" my time. I would be forgoing time that I could be spending on something new and unknown on something that, while certainly more challening and most definitely enjoyable, really wouldn't be, at least not to the same extent.

And yet... I want to.

Fire Emblem Awakening doesn't have a post-game, save for DLC I always planned to get for the harder save(s) before I blew so much time on this first one, and it doesn't have a new game plus. At best, I can carry my old player character around in the log book and even recruit him again, but I don't want to do that. Anything I do further is essentially "wasted" time. I'm not getting trophies, not being "made" to play again to see the other endings, and really, there's nothing gained out of doing this all again but harder.

And yet I want to.

Using these "archaic" means of game design, or rather, thanks to "the way" Fire Emblem Awakening has gone about things, Nintendo has offered something to me where I just want to keep going and going. The game being really good also helps, obviously. If they hadn't added the save file restriction into the mix, it's very likely I would be well into my second game by now instead of just starting it, and in fact, I might already be plotting out how I would go into a third, fourth, and fifth if such options were available to me!

Because I want to.

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4:00 PM on 07.19.2015

Fire Emblem Awakening: Babies!

The deed is done. The dastards have been defeated. The dragon has been demolished.

The determined underdogs have emerged, and they are dazzling.

And that unavoidable destiny that would doom all to despair?

Well... That destiny has been destroyed.


And the damsel is defiling the dame in the dirtiest of doujins.

For the first time since I started it, save the occasional reset, I turned off Fire Emblem Awakening. I have to say, I had quite the time with it too. The story was enjoyable for what it was, the game drew me in and wouldn't let go, and all in all, the game has settled down as one of my favorites from this past generation quite easily.

In fact, I'd still be playing it if it offered post-game content of some kind, and while I realize it technically does through its DLC, I think I want to save that for a later file, preferably on a harder difficulty. Though I do really wish it had some I didn't have to pay for that wasn't just starting the game over on a harder difficulty.


Speaking of things that are hard, let me tell you about these "companions" here...

Anyway, like I mentioned the last time I talked me some Fire Emblems, I swore on my ever twitching sword hand that the first blog I would allow to come forth from it would be one that lets loose my fiery passion for the game's support system and the ability to have characters have children. Or something to the effect. Okay, fine, Owain does it, like his cousins, much better. You happy?

Where to begin, though? I've already joked a little about it, but really, I think a lot can be said about this whole Support mechanic of Fire Emblem's. I'm sure much of it has been said before, so forgive me if I'm treading old ground here, but given that the only game that ever had it prior to this one never left Japan from what I can see, it's not like you can blame me too much for that. This is also the first game in the series to feature marriage and children to the extent that it does, so there's that as well.

With all that said... I've yet to actually say what I think about it despite already putting out a few hundred words, so I'd better start already, huh?


Then again, if I put on a costume and change my name, maybe no one will know it's me, and I won't have to do any of this... Yes, this is a brilliant plan!

To make a long story short: I think it's great!

To go into the details of that longer story: I think it's really great! I think it's in multiple layers I think it's so great! It's great from both a writing perspective as well as a gameplay perspective, since it adds to both. I didn't realize just how much it would, but sure enough, much of my first playthrough of the game ended up becoming dictated by what I began to learn about how these things worked, particularly about how the children were brought into the world.

Before I get into too many of these details, though, I'd like to make the "obligatory" pit stop. I've seen plenty of detractors towards the feature, both towards the supports and towards the children, and all sorts of things are said about them. Fire Emblem is just riding on Persona's coattails now, Fire Emblem is becoming too "anime" now, Fire Emblem is just a waifu simulator now... You know, that sort of thing. And, well...

Am I the only one that remembers Lyn could be Roy's mom?


"Sorry handsome, but he's my boy."

Admittedly, going into Awakening, I only knew that Lucina was Chrom's daughter and that "Robin" was going to have a kid at some point. I might have known more at one point or another, but happily, I had forgotten it. I didn't know the rest of the cast could have kids until later on. I knew they could get married, sure, but I didn't realize children would be involved. After all, what do marriage and children have to do with each other? It's time travel you need to watch out for!

Going into Awakening, I also knew something else. I knew that Normal-Casual was going to be an easy ride, especially for someone like me that had put up with some of Disgaea's madness before I learned how to abuse all the ways it let me level up, and I was only picking that mode to start off with so that I could reacquaint myself with the game's flow and then move on to the real challenge of Hard-Casual or even Hard-Classic, depending on how Normal-Casual went for me.

I won't lie. I got into the Support stuff. I still don't know in exactly what way it actually adds in terms of stats beyond the fact that it adds them, which is probably the thing I should have paid attention to as I gear up for Hard-Casual, which in turn will be the preparation for either Lunatic-Classic or Hard-Classic (provided I don't jump right into that next), but man... I gotta say, I had fun with it.

I've seen my share of comments suggesting that this ripped off Persona's Social Links, but for the most part, this kicked Persona's ass.


... on the other hand, though, I can kind of see a resemblance here...

My biggest problem with Persona's Social Links are that they're exclusive to the main character. This is made worse by the fact that the main story of Persona tends to ignore everything that happens in the Social Links, and while this usually isn't too much of an issue, you do sometimes run into moments where characters are being emotional over an issue that seems out of place based on a development that happened in a Social Link months ago, or maybe moments where one of your girlfriends is talking about how cute one of your other girlfriends would be as a couple with your secret boyfriend. While you're right there, mind you.

Contradictions, basically.

With Fire Emblem, when you combine the fact that very few of the characters that are involved with these Support conversations actually have enough time on screen to be involved with something like that, then add it to how almost everyone has them with other characters, and you have a recipe for something much better than Persona's Social Links... at least, for what it does.

Now, you won't necessarily get in depth one on one time with any two characters, but between the different ways the characters can talk to each other, and the fact that so many can also talk to other characters, and I'd say the game makes up for the fact that it isn't as any one set isn't as lengthy as one Social Link is. A few issues still cropped up here and there, like a married flirt going through the motions on a character they only started having conversations with after their marriage, that sort of thing, but all in all it's fairly forgivable.

I do wish that there were more combinations, particularly with some of the characters you get later in the game, and especially with some of the ones who explicitly refer to ones in their own conversations they can't actually have Supports with, but hopefully they can hammer that kind of thing out in future entries of the series.

In short, Fire Emblem nicely avoids the biggest issue I have with Social Links, while also adding in a nice bonus of letting all of these characters who would otherwise just be meat shields get development and interaction with other characters throughout the story, even if they're never on screen again after their first appearance in the first few chapters. This isn't actually completely new with Awakening, or even Fire Emblem for that matter, but given how Persona seems to have really popularized the idea in RPGs to some, it's what I'm comparing it to.


... or is it...?

So what came next, you ask?

That's right:

PICKING A WAIFU
OR HUSBANDO

...FOR OTHER PEOPLE

Funnily enough, while I started off with the whole "oh, I like them, let's marry them" and "she's cute, let's see what her Support is like" thing that every new player to this sort of game has initially, once I started seeing other characters having Supports with each other, I... kinda stopped caring as much about who "I" ended up with. Not knowing this would cut me out of a second kid, I ended up letting my character get hitched with the lovely Anna very early on, since she was only listed as having them as a possible partner, and moved on to play matchmaker.

And if I'm being completely honest, I had a lot of fun with that. Not knowing much about the whole future kid situation yet, I wanted to make sure Lucina had a good mom, but I also didn't want to cut any of Chrom's possible wives out of better options for them that they might be happier with. What kind of insensitive monster do you take me for?


#THUGLIFE

When all was said and done, because it was a fair amount of stuff to keep track of, I had to bust out pen and paper and chart some of this stuff out. Luckily a few characters had gotten hitched right away, so I didn't worry about any of them, but for others, well... They were trying to build harems on me! Or revere harems in some cases, namely Cordelia and Panne if I'm remembering right, but whatever the case and whoever those cases were with, it had to be observed!

There was a regular high school drama playing out in the barracks!

So observe I did!

I am not kidding about any of this.

Shut up. I know where you live.


Don't look away yet, this trainwreck has only just gotten started.

It was like this that I continued, sort of like the god in The Sims I suppose. Eventually, I progressed far enough into the game to pick up Lucina and Owain, and they were happily "companioned." Considering Owain's parents were a pair that I (now regretably, especially in Lissa's case) had basically ignored up until that point, I didn't really have much to go off of in terms of what parents passed down to their kids.

It was at this point, after realizing all of those Paralogues that were sitting around had to be for other children, it dawned on me that I should probably figure out just what the kids got from their parents. Seeing as I still had Olivia left to give a husband to, who I only discovered earlier today could have passed down Galeforce to Inigo, oh the shame-- where was I? Oh yes, Olivia. So with Olivia's bright son obtained, I was finally able to see a better picture of what it was that was passed down from parent to child.

If only there was some kind of resource online I could have used to find all of this out myself, huh?


... Naaaaah.

Comparing Lucina, Owain, and Inigo, I was able to sort of piece some things together. I did briefly look one thing up, at least, which was the fact that parents passed down the skill that was equipped last to their child. I was now out of matchmaking territory, and I had entered baby making territory.

It is at this point that I must warn those of faint hearts to turn away. I must encourage those who proceed forward to do so with the utmost caution, for even I could not have predicted what happened to me on my quest next.

You see, it was at this point that...

It happened.

A switch was flicked inside of me.

It was an old, familiar switch.

It was a switch that I'd let get dusty, a switch that activated a machine that saw regular usage once upon a time.

Suddenly, before I knew it, time was flying by.

I was a man possessed.

Before I knew it, I had added twenty hours to my save file, and I hadn't progressed an inch in the story.

And it dawned on me.

Waifu simulator? Waifu simulator?

Pah!

Poppycock!

This is no waifu simulator.

This is something much more primal, and far more raw and aggressive than that. This is the sport of kings, of champions!

This...

This is Pokémon breeding on crack.


Remember me?

The shameful part of me that I had hidden away after so many years (months) had resurfaced once again! The terrible monster that would grab at eggs, fresh from their mothers' nests, only to keep them locked away and go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth again on that same damned route had come back to bear its terrible claws once more! The fiend that would take those hatchlings and lock them away in a box forever, never to see the light of day again, had returned!

The beast had taken hold of me, and I was helpless before the cruel pleasures that it bestowed upon me. The perfect children would be mine, and they would dance in the palm of my hands. No longer was I invested in their parents or their relationships, oh no! Maribelle, Gaius, Panne, Frederick, favorites that I used for hours lay at the bottom of the character select screen, long forgotten and becoming weaker and weaker in the face of the machines of death that I had turned their offspring into.

I took the children through each of their classes, perfecting them as best I could. Thoughts of this save file being just a practice run had been long since forgotten. The beast would not allow me to remember such trivial details. I couldn't, not with the children needing to be leveled, needing to be reclassed, and then needing to be reclassed again! The cycle never ended, never ceased, the only thing that hitting a level cap meant was that it was time to start anew!

The start button and its ability to skip through events had become my mistress, and the option to skip through everything in the options menu my lover. All to get me closer to my goal of stronger units faster.

Eventually, the children that I wanted to be perfect were perfect... Relatively. Moderately.

As perfect as I could get them to become, anyway. As perfect as I was willing without moving much further in the story.

The demon would have none of it.

"More, more! I want more!" The beast inside cried out. "Give me more characters! Give me more children! Let me feast upon their experience points!"

As I silenced the beast and continued onward, at long last, I realized something.

There was no monster taking control out of my hands here.

I was that monster.

I had done this.

At the very least, now I would finish what I started and complete this game.

What I'm saying is I got a little carried away and had a little more fun than I intended to with the babies I made with the parents I had fun putting together and may have made the end of the game really anticlimactic with the whole killing the final boss in two hits thing. Oops?

Speaking of getting carried away... Wow, what happened to this blog? It really took on a life of its own here, huh?

I think it might be better for all of us if I just wrap this up now.


"Do you know how confusing it is looking for fanart when all of the kids have the wrong hair color?!"
"That's your fault for choosing bad parents for them!"
"What did you say about my dad?!"
"He's my dad right now, stupid!"

Now that all is said and done, I can safely say without question (though maybe with a lot of flair and unnecessary flourish) that I had a lot of fun with the children in Fire Emblem Awakening. I can say it with confidence, even!

What's more, this fun was had looking at them both as a mechanic as well as an element added to the story. Their Supports were fun to play out, and while I think the execution in some places could have been better, particularly in how the children were doled out and how a few too many parents just don't give children... Keeping in mind that this was meant to be a final sendoff to the series, all in all, I think they did a really nice job with it, and I'm all the more excited for Fates when it comes out next year.

In the meantime, I'd say I have just enough time from now until then to get through the first few chapters of the game again!

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3:57 PM on 07.17.2015

A Certain Blogger's (Brief!) Apology

Remember this? Oh, and this? Those sure were cool, weren't they? No? They weren't? They were just a prologue to the public revelation that I have a problem with size? How... naughty of you. Well, regardless, you're in luck! As of right now, that third Soul Sacrifice blog isn't coming, at least not in the near future. I'd like it to, I sat down to do it today, even though I don't have any of my old screencaps, but when I hooked up my Vita to the computer I'm borrowing to move the new ones over...

(this)
(it's nothing)
(get it?)
(because that's what I got too)

Somehow, my Vita got itself an incredibly specific... thing. That is to say that everything on it before a certain date, or maybe involving certain games, well, I can't take any of that stuff off of it. I don't know how this happened or why, but all of my screencaps, the couple of songs I have on here, and even the games I have on here are, well... stuck. What you also don't see is a Please Wait message that seems like it will never end, or the following one that eventually pops up, which either says I was disconnected or that the stuff can't transfer.

Now, seeing as what I wrote is a bit specific to what the screencaps I had, I could do one of three things:

1.) Rewrite the entry to work with stock images and what I do have.
2.) Just not do it.
3.) Hope for a miracle cure for my Vita, keep the blog as is, and do other things on here in the meantime.

Rather than decide on my own, for the few of you that actually cared about and were even anticipating the How-To-Fight blog I was hoping to finish today, if anyone in that latter category even existed, I'd like to pose that question to you. You lovely people reading these were who they were for, after all!

And while my availability, if it isn't obvious comparing my output this month to my output last month, is significantly less thanks to other circumstances, I could definitely try to throw something satisfactory together using my sensual, exotic writing 5|C1|_|_Z that would be worth a read as opposed to just linking some combat videos. I don't want to keep putting it off, but I don't want to just appear to have abandoned it or have flaked out on doing it.

So that's where the situation stands! Oh and uh no pressure or anything, if no one replies that's fine too, and likewise, if no one replies now but I someday am able to get my stuff off, which I really need to be able to do anyway, I'll do it then anyway.

That said, if any Vita owners who have experienced this same problem read this, if you ever figured out how to get past it, I would really appreciate some kind of solution, for a lot more reasons than just these screenshots. But if that should happen, then that would solve the whole problem then and there!

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3:15 PM on 07.14.2015

This sure is a blog, huh?

This blog is going to be a weird one, and I can already tell it won't be my best work by any means, but since I'm pretty sure we don't strictly have to write about video games in these, or even anything in particular, forgive me now for the lack of direction here as I let my brain juices drip out all over my keyboard.

Oh, uh, please feel free to pretend I didn't just use that analogy if it helps you stop from closing out before we even get anywhere.


As you try to comprehend the magnificence of this image, you will forget everything that took place today up until this point.

Y'see, I'm sitting here this afternoon with a few blog ideas rolling around in my head, plenty I could elaborate on, but as it just so happens, I'm drawing a blank. A big, long, hard... blank.


I would have had to censor this if I had used colors.

Now a few of them I could probably hammer out if I really wanted to push it. I wanted to try doing another one of these, but the song that would be inspiring that one is one I tend to for when I need a pick me up, and while I did listen to it earlier today, for that reason in fact... Well, I just can't get myself to have it on to get in the mood for writing as though I'm possessed by its spirit.

Is that weird? Oh what do I care, this is the internet! Everything is "weird" here.


See?

I also just plain felt like I couldn't do it justice, it being a song from a toy-oriented show aimed at Japanese children, but that's life. Maybe that's weird too.

Besides for that, thanks to unforseen circumstances that I feel wouldn't be right to complain about at length, I'm still unable to get my Soul Sacrifice screencaps to finish that up, but I could stop being stubborn and use stock images or link videos and get it over with if I wanted. Seeing what you're reading right now isn't a Soul Sacrifice blog, you can see that I'm sticking with being stubborn.

Hey! There are other things to write about, right? Because I also want to write many things about Fire Emblem Awakening now that I'm almost done with it... buuuuut I want to be done with it before I go there. I also wanted to do a followup to my last blog, but that didn't really pan out either.

Hmmm, let's see... So far, I've basically just written about how I haven't written about anything or I'm avoiding/unable to write about the things I want to write about. Gosh, I should take my own advice, huh?


Well that explains it.

I suppose part of it is that there's a part of me that craves for more than this. That's not to say I think there's anything wrong with blogging, and certainly I don't think that it's not enjoyable about it, but you see... There's something much deeper inside of me that just can't shut up about this. A voice, a need, a primal force that commands me, beckons me, demands that I do more than just blog.

I want to make something myself someday. More than that, I think I need to. I have to. I can say without a doubt that in five years, if I have not at least tried something and failed, whether it's trying to make a game or writing a book or anything in-between or something else completely, then I will have failed myself exponentially more than that.

And writing these blogs, commenting around, it all takes away from time I could be spending on... whatever this something is. No, before the four and a half people on the site that would care if I vanished one day start to sound the alarms (apologies if that's overly pessimistic sounding), this isn't leading into any kind of dramatic exit, or even just a regular exit, so don't worry about that.

Besides, I'm not going anywhere until I write an extensive blog about how Basilo the Great tried to give romantic advice to someone who had not only been married for years, but frequently flirts with their wife in the middle of battle (perhaps as a result of fairy dust-related highs?) at that.

This would then be a lead in to the problems with Social Links and similar systems as they are now, but... wait, actually, that basically sums up the big one.

Okay, that's that blog gone, never mind.


Darn it! This is not the kind of roll I wanted to be on!

Point is, I want to do more than just blog, but the problem with that is that it's, well... Kinda not that easy. I mean, I could slap a big fat freaking DUUUUUUUH! after that, but you have to understand, despite all of the diplomas and awards that I showed off in that dirty picture at the top of this blog, I find myself helpless in that area.

Games would be the thing I'd love to try, but even the simplest things seem beyond me. From being unable to get a character to move back and forth from one screen to another in RPG Maker to being stumped by no less than two visual novel creation tools that have nothing but praise for how easy they are to pick up and use, from an inability to draw or create music, even to downright incompeten-


Touché, mysterious and extremely attractive stranger that I most certainly have never met before, touché.

Alright, maybe I'm being a little too hard on myself, and maybe if I had more practice time with some of these programs, and perhaps more time in general to pursue this sort of thing, the story would be a little different. Then again, that's just another excuse, isn't it?

I suppose the only thing I can really do is to shut up, abruptly end this blog right now, and put my money where my mouth is and try again.

Farewell!

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10:08 PM on 07.12.2015

Is the magic still there if you grow up? Is it gone if you forget or move on?

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, Satoru Iwata passed away earlier today. Many are joining together in comments sections internet-wide to share their feelings with each other on the subject and mourn the loss of one of the industry's greatest, and I'm with them on that.

Now I'm sure at least someone will be picking up this topic later in a blog of their own on, but this is actually just something of a lead in to a topic I've had on my mind for quite some time now. It pertains to Nintendo on a few levels, and seeing people joining together and just getting so emotional over Iwata's death has finally gotten me going enough to get this mess of a blog out.

Before I get into it though, rest in peace, Mr. Iwata. You've touched many, and you will be missed.


May he live on in every Mii Fighter amiibo.

Even with the sentiment, I admit, I'm fairly critical of Nintendo.

I'm pretty critical of Sony too, and I probably would be of Microsoft if I'd ever owned one of their consoles, but for some reason, Nintendo typically draws my ire more than most. I'm the kind of person that sees Splatoon's "free" updates as something greedier than any season pass, and that's not even touching on amiibo or how the company refuses to stock anything or ever lower their prices...

But even so, I do think Nintendo deserves a lot of credit, even as they seem to lose some of their relevance with each generation, the Wii's casual appeal nonwithstanding. Not just for their influence or their games or their quality or any of that, but something much simpler, something that I feel no other company even tries to deliver anymore.

If there's something Nintendo creates, and if there's something that I've come to really envy about its fanbase, it's community. If there's anything you can give Nintendo credit for, it's keeping (most of) our memories alive. Maybe not always in the best ways, but at least they don't abandon their IPs every new generation like Sony did with almost all the ones of their early years, something they continue to do even now.

If I ever get into a discussion about a certain monster collecting franchise of Nintendo's, the subject of nostalgia and how recent entries have taken to "pandering" to older fans will most likely come up. Even so, I have to give Nintendo and the various developers and teams under them credit for that kind of mentality.

It builds community. The memories we have are irreplacable, and they're an important part of who we are. They keep us coming back, and they're what bring us together when we share them. Many, many relationships and conversations have been started simply because of these shared memories, these feelings people have all shared together through this magical medium we've all come to know and love.

People often say "I was a Nintendo kid" and "I was a Sega kid" and the like, but as for me... I find myself at a loss as far as what to say. I was a "didn't have that many games or consoles" kid. I was a "I played the original Sonic games on a computer more than any console" kid.

As a child, the original Playstation was my first real console, but I never even came to "own" most of the major games on it. If it wasn't Crash, Spyro, the odd Digimon game, or one of the half-dozen or so other games I had like the second and third Gex games and Toy Story 2, then I probably only got them recently as a PS1 Classic. If I did at all!


And thanks to some multiple expletives removed who multiple expletives removed with a cow and a horse multiple expletives removed a cheese sandwich multiple expletives removed jerk at Sony, I can't even play a lot of them on my console of choice anyway.

The same is true of the consoles that followed. I didn't have many Gamecube games and next to none of the "big" ones, I had four Nintendo 64 games (and the only one that had Mario in it was Super Smash Bros.), and I think I played more Sonic games than first party Nintendo ones on my Wii before it was stolen along with the aforementioned Gamecube and the Wii U I barely got to do anything with.

And I only played three of the Sonic Wii games.

I suppose this is where I should point out that I had already been toying with the idea of doing yet another not-about-games take on the Better With Age prompt before any of this stuff happened today, except I'd thought about planning on taking some liberties with it. Namely, changing it to Stronger With Age, and making the subject regrets.

Given how depressing such a blog would likely be, I decided against it, and instead opted to talk about video game communities and... I suppose the closest word is "alone" or... something? But that sounds too dramatic. Still, you get the idea.


What could possibly go wrong?

Seeing people join together over a death of a man that touched all of them, well... I'm ashamed to admit it, and I'm not just saying that, but there's a deep, dark part of me that's a little envious.

I don't share the memories and I never experienced the magic, at least not to the same level as many others, that have brought so many others to have such an emotional response to this news. Iwata was a charming man who made Nintendo Direct great, Iwata Ask interesting to read, and had a hand in great games, but I just don't have the same investment in it as many others do, mainly because of my "gaming upbringing," I imagine, but whatever the reason, point is that it's just... not the same for me, and I can't help but feel like I lack something for it. That my life was without something for it.

It would be one thing if I was just "a Sony kid" looking in on the world of Nintendo that I never had, but I could say the same about Sony and even Sega as well. I suppose many people can relate to this if they couldn't have many games or consoles in this respect (or were like me and did get consoles, often right before the next was about to launch, only to not be able to get games for them), but being able to form a community based on the fact that we don't fit in in the other communities seems like a rather sad reason to form a community to me.

The things Nintendo fans often join together over are things that I've either never played or only finally gotten the chance to try recently, and it's often the same with Sony and Microsoft. In many cases, I end up abandoning them due to one reason or another, or maybe I'm just not able to play them.

The magic that now brings so many people together is a magic I may never know. I see people clamoring over being able to buy Ocarina of Time on the Wii U, buying the game itself maybe a fourth or fifth time overall, and play it again. Meanwhile, I wonder why it is I couldn't be bothered to finish Ocarina of Time 3D even once, yet have likewise put an offensive amount of time into pointless grinding in Fire Emblem Awakening on a save file I fully intended to ignore and use purely as a refresher.

It makes me wonder if I should turn in my gamer card, so to speak, because as often as I hear that the internet is an echo chamber, I have yet to find my "Nintendo." I don't know if I ever had it to begin with, really.




Sure, the various iterations of the Game Boy were my main consoles for most of my growing up, so you could technically say I actually was a Nintendo kid, but the problem is that most of the things I grew up with on those consoles aren't around anymore, and very few of them were first party, save for good old Pocket Monsters.

And that's not even touching on the countless games I just don't remember the names of.

Bomberman is gone. There is no community to go to for those games, and most people have just moved on. The Bomberman games on the early Game Boy iterations, all the way through Advance, were some of my favorite games growing up, and I'll probably never even be able to play them again unless I go to scalpers thanks to Konami.

Mega Man Battle Network will likely never see any kind of reimagining the way Mega Man Classic is and does from imitators, nor is it likely Capcom will revive it or offer any sort of spiritual sequel like Star Force. The Dragon Quest Monsters games of my childhood both got remade on 3DS, but Square-Enix can't be bothered with anywhere outside of Japan to release them here.

And Sonic is, well... You all know already.


Sonic is practically a Neptunia character now.

There are still some things left, obviously.

Pokémon is a big one, but the funny thing there is that it's really hard to feel nostalgia for something when you never really stop having some level of interest in it. Dragonball Z comes much easier, and I suppose my interest in Kamen Rider and Super Sentai is a natural progression of my childhood love of Power Rangers, but if it's all the same to fans, I won't go near that show anymore and haven't since, well... childhood.

These thoughts seem so small and insignificant, I know. Even in the face of the much bigger issues in my own life, not to mention those in the rest of the world, these are all really nothing things to be bothered by. If these were the worst of my worries, well, I probably wouldn't have them since they build off other things, but still.

Even so, these are the sorts of thoughts I often find myself having whenever I see Nintendo bringing people together under a beloved game or IP. Is it because we're social animals? Or am I just a really selfish one, maybe? I don't know. I don't feel like the latter, but who knows?

"Look at this wonderful community that this company has created," I might say.

And then I'll turn away once I'm done with my admiration and realize that I find myself part of... nothing.

It seems like it's the kind of thing that you had to be there for. Those games. Those feelings. Those memories.

Sometimes, on days like today, I'll go beyond video games and wonder what I've done. All the time I've wasted on nothing, all the things I can't remember. I suppose the bigger issue might just be that memories and I don't have the best relationship. I remember a lot of the things I wish I didn't, and many of the things I would love to remember, desperately even, I just don't.

So much missing. So much that was once a big part of my life just gone, either from my world or just my memory.

I'm still not sure if I should think of that as the same or an even worse fate.




And now Satoru Iwata, a much larger figure than any one video game, a figure that many video games owe their entire existences to, is gone too.

At least he won't be forgotten by anyone any time soon. Not even by me. In that respect, he's not completely gone.

It's strange. I'm sad, like everyone else is and will be, but at the same time? I think I'm also somewhat sad because I'm not as sad as everyone else is, online and offline, that I've spoken to about this, and I can't be. I also have to add, it also feels wrong to be focusing so much on "I" and even other internet commenters when a real man has lost his life and his family and friends are in mourning, but that's a whole other topic, and one I don't think I even have the right to even try to address.

You know, despite all the talking I've done, I suppose I haven't actually done much talking about what I wanted to talk about here. I can't even think of a good title. I hope those two really vague, strange questions suffice!

Maybe today wasn't the best day to try to broach this topic after all. Maybe another day then. But today, or tonight rather, I think it's most appropriate to reiterate what I started with, even if the blog mostly glossed over what spurred it on.

A great man, mind, friend, and more was lost today, and all this said and aside, my thoughts go out to his family and friends. Though I may not feel like I'm a part of it myself, he's brought many together through his work and efforts, helping in creating a home and a community for many Nintendo fans worldwide, and that alone deserves a lot of praise in my book.

Rest in peace, Satoru Iwata.

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7:32 PM on 07.04.2015

Has Inafune unleashed two more years of drama on the internet?

Comcept is at it again! RED ASH has been officially announced today, seemingly meant to take after the Mega Man Legends games, and the internet is already abuzz with talk about it... Or maybe I should say aflame?

If you've been anywhere near discussion of Mighty No. 9 over the past couple of years, you likely know where things are headed. As much as I'd like to joke that everyone is being calm, fair, and civil about things, that is not at all the case.

So why is that? What are people saying about this new Kickstarter project, in a time where, even just recently, huge and small projects alike have been going to Kickstarter and being met with generally positive feedback?

It's time, once again, to go through some of the things people are saying about this project and see if these claims and criticisms hold any weight to them. As a quick reminder, I already addressed some more popular issues that people have with Mighty No. 9 in a previous blog, so if the thing you, Angry Commenter #38284, is most angry about isn't present in this blog, check that one and see if I just decided not to go over something I already have before you make that Angry Comment.

MIGHTY NO. 9 ISN'T EVEN OUT YET!
You don't say! While my instinctive response to this is just to ask "And?" and then move on, since so many people are latching onto this, I suppose it's something we'll have to go over all the same.

While it does seem like this might be connected to Mighty No. 9 in some way, given the reuse of the names Beck and Call if nothing else, it clearly isn't intended to be sequel to it. If you look past Inafune's name, you'll notice that there's actually a very different team of individuals working on this compared to Mighty No. 9, to the point that only a few of the people listed to be working on it actually have Mighty No. 9 mentioned as something they've been credited for.

Just look at the list. You don't have to take my word for it. Alongside many apparent Mega Man Legends returnees, we have people returning from games such as Mega Man Battle Network as well. The ones that worked on Mighty No. 9 are listed as such, but it seems like a diverse enough group.

Is that still not enough?

Fine, how about this: So what? Do you really think you live in a magical world where developers don't start working on a new game until the previous one is done, released, and being sold? Do you really think you live in a world where companies aren't already planning their next iteration of hardware from the moment they release a new one?

I've got news for you if you think that. While there probably are quite a few developers who practice this, there are just as many who don't. What's more, I'd even be willing to bet the ones who don't seem like they do it probably do, they just aren't as public about it.

Yeah. That's it.

 
Before anyone gets mad, it's actually not it, it's just that the next point has a lot of overlap with this one.

 COMCEPT HASN'T PROVED THEMSELVES WITH MIGHTY NO. 9! WHY SHOULD I BACK THIS?
Wait... Isn't this kind of the same thing..? Well, alright. This issue seems just as "And?" worthy to me as the last one, but just like the last one, I'll answer it anyway.

I've got a question for some of you asking or saying this. For those of you who backed Mighty No. 9, did you back Shantae Half-Genie Hero? Even though a developer involved with both titles, Inti-Creates, had yet to prove themselves with Mighty No. 9? Did you back either of these, then go on to back Bloodstained, which lists Inti-Creates as the lead developers? It doesn't seem  like Inti-Creates has proven themselves once yet, but projects they're attached to are getting backed left and right, it seems.

More importantly, though, why do they need to prove themselves with just Mighty No. 9? Are people forgetting that almost all of the people involved have had careers in this business for longer than some of you have been alive?

As I mentioned above, developers don't always wait to release one game before moving on to the next, and in this situation, clearly the team involved is fairly different from Mighty No. 9's. Speaking of which, that game is basically done, at least as far as the staff moving on to this is concerned. Are people actually suggesting these people should just not work for a few months so a game many of the people involved with this have nothing to do with can come out and then be reacted to? That the people who did work on Mighty No. 9 but now aren't should just take the next few months off and not work because some people on the internet can't handle the real world?

If you can't tell, I'm not exactly thinking highly of this argument. Look, I'm sorry, but it just seems self-centered to me. Don't back if that's how you feel, by all means, but there's no real basis that I can see for mouthing off about it here.

Oh, and if anyone is going to bring up the whole "I can't trust them!" not-argument, as if Mighty No. 9 has already released and failed miserably or as if these people have never made or worked on another game before, go look at all the other games they've worked on and decide if you'll trust them based on that. Or look around, because despite the overwhelmingly popular opinion, quite a few people have commented on how the game has improved over development.

Considering Chroma Squad released missing a ton of promised features, turned the release into a glorified Early Access, misled backers and couldn't even deliver the backer content properly, but still is managing fairly positive reviews, Mighty No. 9 looks like a diamond to me.

Next!

 

WHY CAN'T THEY JUST USE ALL THE MIGHTY NO. 9 MONEY THEY'LL GET?
Are we on the same internet right now?

I don't know how successful it's going to be, but does anyone really think this game is going to be an amazing success? Does anyone think it will be able to even compare to something like Shovel Knight? People hate it for how it looks, people hate it for a likely-irrelevant-to-development forum moderator, people hate it for so many reasons. Even if it ends up being a great game, for some, just for being not what people wanted out of it, largely due to their own misconceptions rather than any fault of the game's, it will be hated. It's probably going to even be hated for RED ASH, a seemingly mostly unrelated game, being announced.

I'm not sure if it can even turn into the underdog story it would otherwise be because of people's warped perception of Inafune. People have been hating the guy for how he called out the Japanese video game industry, despite the fact that for all intents and purposes, he was, well, not exactly wrong. That's a whole other conversation, however.

Ultimately my point is that they might not end up getting a lot of money from it, and even if they were to, considering how many copies they're giving out for free, combined with the fact that whatever money they do get is going to have to get divided up now, would that be enough even so? And even then, even if it were, that still doesn't address the fact that they shouldn't have to wait for Mighty No. 9 to come out to start on a new project.

Keep in mind that it's not like Comcept is rolling in money or anything. People can say these are rich, successful people all they want, but Comcept is not a primary developer or anything. They create ideas, concepts, and team up with other developers to bring them to life. Nothing they've made, nor likely ever will make, will probably be developed solely by them. They've... basically got my dream job, actually! Too bad you need to make a name for yourself first before you can just be "the idea guy."

They're also out all the time and money they were putting into Kaio, which was cancelled for reasons unknown, though my money is more on Marvelous rather than Comcept as far as who pulled the plug, and I got into why when I talked Mighty No. 9 back in April, which I linked a little ways up if anyone is curious.

Point is, if I were even somewhat aware of the reputation Mighty No. 9 has and I were in Comcept's position, I wouldn't want to bank on it making profit at all right now, let alone enough to make a new game. I'm really hoping I get proven wrong on that, but when I see ten negative comments for every iffy one when it comes to this game, well...

BUT WE JUST BACKED SHENMUE, BLOODSTAINED, AND/OR YOOKA-LAYLEE!
This is less of an "And?" question for me, but I still think that answer would be just as valid here all the same.

Yes, there have been quite a few recent Kickstarters lately for very big projects, and there's surely a fair amount of crossover between them.

None of them were made by Comcept, though. Comcept's last Kickstarter was in 2013. Not to keep throwing them under the bus, but Inti-Creates has been involved with two other Kickstarters since them, and I still don't see any complaints them being in so many Kickstarters, so why is it Comcept can't release another one two years after their first, and only when that one is basically finished at that? To bring up another example, inXile Entertainment has gone through three Kickstarters in as many years, with one game delayed, one not out yet, and the other ongoing, and while I admit that I've never even heard of them prior until today, do you see them getting the same amount of hostility as this has gotten in about a day? Not to my knowledge.

This gets back to what I was saying a few moments ago. Why should they have to postpone their work due to outside or unrelated circumstances? That just seems unreasonable to me.

That said, there is a more reasonable argument to be had out of this, though. People have a finite amount of money, and many of the people who might have been willing to back this in a vacuum are likely less inclined to do so after however much they may have given to those other campaigns.

In fact, even I, the person sitting here defending Comcept and this Kickstarter, probably won't be backing it, or at least not going higher than the $5 tier. Between Bloodstained costing a pretty penny, Chroma Squad coming out and burning me to the whole idea very badly and in ways that Mighty No. 9 hasn't even approached doing, and the fact that I just don't have as much investment in Mega Man Legends as I do Mega Man proper, not to mention the fact that this is money for a game that won't be releasing for two years at the earliest, well... Not exactly a whole lot of reason to.

So with all of that in mind, do I think that Comcept should have delayed the announcement of this based on the timing of those other Kickstarters?

Absolutely not.

Money can be replenished. There will probably be some form of post-campaign backing, as basically every Kickstarter has now these days. They could add to the game later through updates if they don't meet all their goals now as well.

Time is another story. If the Kickstarter fails because people were tapped out, it fails and Comcept and the rest of their team will have to go back to the drawing board, but I can't agree with saying they should put it off for who knows how long so people can recharge their wallets. What if other companies do Kickstarters in the meantime? They have no more control of the other companies and hopeful developers than the opposite is true.

BUT LOOK AT HOW MUCH MONEY THEY WANT!
If you mean in terms of the budget, I think it looks pretty fair right now for the game. Games cost money to make. It's not like they're asking for millions to spend on a marketing budget here or anything, right? It looks pretty fair all around to me.

... Sort of. Things aren't all sunshine and daisies this time around, I'll admit that, so let's check them out. It still has a couple of absurdly expensive rewards people can pick, like Mighty No. 9 did, but the basic stuff seems to have gone up in how much it requires. The game costs more than Mighty No. 9, and really, a quick glance shows that all of the rewards seem to cost more than their equivalents in the other game. So what gives?

I think two things are at work here. Firstly, the game is aiming to be more than Mighty No. 9, if I'm understanding it correctly, so it obviously will cost more to buy and create. That much seems fair enough to me. For that kind of thing, I don't see as much of a problem, especially when they're still letting players put their name in the credits at the basic $5 reward. On the other hand, the price of a sketch signed by Inafune went up from $500 to $2,000.

That's certainly quite a jump, isn't it? I mean, it's not like the average person is going to be buying into that tier, but it's still very easy to notice the differecem.

To be honest, I don't blame Inafune or Comcept for it things. If anything, I think we need to look at some of the other recent Kickstarters, the ones that admit to have or clearly have taken inspiration from Mighty No. 9 and its success, to see why some things have changed between Mighty No. 9 and this.

Yooka-Laylee is mostly innocent, with issues only arising due to different currencies, though if we keep those in mind, they are asking for a bit more there for a few things. The one I really take issue with is Bloodstained's Kickstarter rewards, however.

For $5, you got into Mighty No. 9's forums, you got to participate in a few polls, and you got your name in the credits. To get in the credits and to get to vote on things, you had to go up to $60 for Shantae Half-Genie Hero, though you got other things too. For Bloodstained? You had to spend $100 to get in the credits, and while that netted you other stuff, that basic thing that many other Kickstarters, including RED ASH, offer at a lower price point is being held up on a pedestal.

Nearly 10,000 people went into that tier. And that's not even including the thousands this campaign raised on the tiers that were exclusively in the $1,000+ range. And Shenmue? That has multiple $10,000 tiers, and people are buying in.

Mighty No. 9 may have had some outlandish backer tiers, but compared to these other ones? And the precedent they're setting? I think they speak for themselves, personally.

Does that make it okay to do it now? I'm going to say yes and no on this one. Yes in that if people have the money and want to spend it, that's their call, but no because it's limited stuff that won't effect most of us anyway. At least we know where the money's going with this. Since most of these things don't effect me, and won't effect basically anyone complaining about it, I can't say I'm too invested in talking more about it.

 

 YOU'RE LEAVING SOMETHING OUT!
What? I'm pretty sure I've addressed everything...

I said how I felt about the silly trust issues, I already talked about time's importance over money, and it's not like they're asking for any money for marketing or anything...

Oh, you meant this thing.

I honestly don't know what to make of this. A full animated series would make sense to me, since many family friendly and child-targeted IPs are seemingly unable to get greenlit or take off without there being plans for merchandise or an animated series to get people interested in it. People don't like it or don't recognize that it exists, but it's a thing and one that has proven itself a few times over now when it works.

Regardless, this... isn't that. If I were to speculate a little, it sounds like Comcept reached out to the animation studio to collaborate for a stretch goal for the game's Kickstarter, maybe only planning on a 10-15 minute short if the goal was met, but during talks they decided to make it a separate thing. I... can't say I completely think this was a good idea.

I think it's partially good because people won't be able to say they're using the money of one for the other, which was a big issue people with problems paying attention had with Mighty No. 9, but I can't see it going over well here considering people still have this "Inafune keeps asking for money" misconception in their heads (which was addressed in greater detail in the previous blog) and believe that the things they enjoy grow on trees. Now they've split their own potential base between two campaigns, rather than keeping it in one where it should have been, and done something that isn't going to help Inafune's reputation at all.

If it turns out well, then it does, but I just can't say I'm optimistic.

They did get Yuki Kaji on board to voice Beck, though, so that's pretty cool.

All in all, to me it seems like some aren't even bothering with giving this a chance like we did with Mighty No. 9, which isn't even out yet, as so many are quick to point out. Perhaps it's too soon to tell whether or not this will be a good game, but the amount of negativity this has already garnered, alongside Mighty No. 9, just seems unwarranted. Inafune is becoming an easy target for a lot of people, and far too few of them are thinking about it.

When the money is being asked of them instead of publishers for their favorite games, people seem to lose themselves, and in this case, they seem too quick to blame their favorite scapegoat for faults in something that hasn't even existed a whole week in the public's eyes yet. In regards to the question I posed in the title of this blog, I feel like Mighty No. 9 might be the only thing stopping us all from never hearing the end of this. They definitely need to add some other consoles to the stretch goals sooner rather than later, that's for sure.

But hey!

Maybe I'm completely wrong about all of this. These aren't all things I necessarily want to be right about.

Even if I am, I can still say one thing for sure.


I really hope Beck and Call ZX is next.

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1:49 PM on 07.01.2015

Death of the Creator?

Another day, another article asking for an iconic male character to get turned into a woman, or be given the option to, to appease the masses(?) asking for it. It's something that people have been asking for for a long time, or so it seems, but I really just wonder if it's really something that is truly so vital — and more importantly, if it's something that should be done, or if it's something that should absolutely not be done.

Don't get me wrong, I am in no way against the idea of there being a female. In fact, I think a game about a female Link would be a fantastic idea. I would love for there to be a fourth timeline — the next one would be the fourth one now, right? — where the genetic coin toss gives fate the finger, and the hero ends up reincarnated as a girl.

I think it would be a great way to spice up the series, especially if this is worked into the story. Maybe the people think the real hero's older or younger brother is the hero for whatever reason, for instance. They could do a lot just with that simple branching idea.

If you can't tell from this example, I suppose you could say what I'm really against is giving players a choice in the matter.


I am a blue-furred centaur with space that eats out of my hooves. Where's that option, huh?

Perhaps this is strange sounding given how I've been gushing about the freedom Soul Sacrifice grants players in other blogs (the last of which coming as soon as I can restore all my screencaps, insert dramatic crying gif here), but part of the reason for that is because not all games allow this. If all games did, then, in reality, no games would.

So no, I don't think players should have the choice to be a boy or a girl. If they make a female Link, they should go all in. Likewise, if they want to have a male Link, I really don't see why people need to make such a big deal about it. This is sort of similar to what I was saying about how Fire Emblem is handling same sex marriage the other day, though not completely, but regardless, the basic of it is that I feel like the way people are addressing these issues is all wrong.

Rather than "Why can't Link be a girl in this spinoff Legend of Zelda game using the same models of Link with different colors?", why aren't people asking "Why can't they make a Zelda game with a singular female protagonist?" or "Why can't Nintendo make a game with a female protagonist?" — you know, questions that make sense.

Oh wait, when this is being asked, are people forgetting that Nintendo did just release a game with same sex marriage in it? Or that the female Inkling of Splatoon, by far, seems to have ended up far more iconic and popular than the male? Or that, I don't know, Samus Aran just flat out exists?

Okay, I can forgive people for forgetting Samus Aran exists since Nintendo seems to have forgotten that too, but not so much the other things.


Pikachu still remembers her.

The point is, does every single thing that has a male need to also allow a female equivalent? Or a choice between the two? That doesn't seem like it's about equality to me, because I'm not seeing anyone jumping on the new Tomb Raider games asking for Larry Croft or gender options, and I don't at all remember anyone ever saying Metroid needed to be about a guy.

I know, I know, we have Nathan (the) Dick and Master Chief for that, but we all know those aren't the same things.

My issue with choice being there is that it takes away the identity of the character, and worse, that it feels like a blow to the creator. I realize Link is supposed to be the player's "Link" to the world, but at the same time, Link has become a video game icon, and one of the very few Nintendo has left that still gets regular (and quality) support.

If they want to make a game about a male Link, is it really such a crime that they do? If it didn't occur to them to make a female Link, is it really necessary to make it a thing and pressure them into doing it? Because the thing is, while that Metroid petition is probably going nowhere, people forcing their wants on developers over and over for years and giving them hell and bad press for it... probably might have some kind of effect.

And I don't think that that's even remotely a positive thing, especially now when female protagonists and strong female characters, even ones that aren't always "portrayed postiviely," are becoming increasingly more common. It's not like we're living in a world where male protagonists are the only ones around, and even when we were, Nintendo is the last company I'd go to to argue the point given Metroid and how quickly Pokémon got on board with things.

So it's not like Nintendo isn't putting out more progressive games. Does every instance of there being a male or white character need to be erased and covered up with "choice" to make it okay to pick those options? If equality is really the issue, isn't that just tilting the scale in the other direction rather than evening it out?

And so this then raises the question. I know there are plenty of reasons for why he could change, and while I personally would be all for the singular female protagonist, as I said, does Link really have to change at all?


Instead of making the original Kamen Rider a woman, we're slowly seeing more and more female Kamen Riders take the stage. Big progress for a franchise that is essentially a commercial for transformation toys for little Japanese boys.

People always have such a fit when other people get bothered that existing characters are changed, and accusations of sexism or racism are quick to fly soon after. I'm sure you've seen the superhero movie squabbles about it. If that was the case, though, and the people raising the issues were really sexist and racist, you'd think that this wouldn't go both ways, but I feel like these people are really underestimating nerdy types.

People are just as upset that Samus is gone in the new Metroid game, remember.

Maybe not to all, but to many, the gender or race or sexual preferences of characters aren't what's relevant, it's that what they know is being changed. The identity of something is being comprimised, being told it's "wrong," that it's not okay the way it was.  

Imagine if someone walked up to you or a friend of yours and said "sorry, your gender/race/skin color/sexuality/what-you-are is offensive, we're changing it," and then just did that. Wouldn't that be a tremendously crappy thing to witness? To experience?

Hell, I bet a lot of people have experienced something similar on some levels. This is in part why these things are happening in the first place, because there isn't enough representation in the media of everyone. No arguments there.

The obvious problem that arises with this is that a lot of the older things come from a time when, yeah, white males were sort of the go to thing. In other words, people are quick to call racism/sexism/whateverism, but it often happens at the cost of context. In the rising age of "clickbait," context is getting lost constantly.

Backtracking a bit though, if you ask me, this is part of a bigger problem, particularly in Western media, of how we're so hell bent on our nostalgia that new IPs are getting harder and harder to create because everything is getting so money driven that risks are becoming less and less acceptable. So instead of creating a new female protagonist or a new black one, we just take something old, slap breasts on it or change the skin color, and call it a day.

Is that really progress? If so, is it the kind of progress we actually want?


Power Rangers fans, and '90s kids in general, get over your love of the first show! Zyuranger was great, but I want more Super Sentai officially subbed, and your nostalgia only applying to a couple of seasons of a show that's been on the air for decades is really killing the chances of it happening!

When something as inoccuous as a series that has always had a male main character having another male main character, from a company that is releasing titles with same sex marriage and has had female protagonists in their games for years, can be perceived as a problem, that is a problem.

People have been quick to point out that it's Japan, so women in the office aren't going to speak up against things they dislike, and while this may be a true phenomenon, is it really that hard to imagine that maybe, just maybe, women might like Link as a male? From what I can see, there seems to be a tremendous amount of speaking out on behalf of women and not nearly as much listening to what women themselves have to say on the matter. If the best Nintendo can do is get feedback from the female employees who have played the game, or if they just hadn't considered the idea and blurted out whatever, I don't think it's fair to tear their heads off over it.

Considering that Japanese people tend to love cute things (something that Western culture often interprets completely off base) and that, you know, many women tend to be attracted to men, does it not stand to reason that maybe a woman would enjoy having a cute male character to play as in the same fashion so many men (including Egoraptor of the Game Grumps!) enjoy playing as cute female characters?

Or should we just assume that no, women definitely don't like playing as men in any circumstances, and definitely couldn't possibly have their own preferences or tastes in any way, and that those need to be hidden away along with their shameful, shameful bodies?

Admittedly my experience in this area is limited, but most of the female gamers I've known over the years either tended to be drawn to the male characters, or... well, in some cases, despite what popular(?) opinion would have you believe, were ogling the girls right there with the "creepers."

Maybe that sounds like me just wanting to stick up for good old fashioned sexism or whatever, but I just kind of feel bothered on my old friends' behalf more than anything. I don't know if they're in the minority of women or not, I... truly cannoy say, but apparently their tastes don't matter? Whatever. Like I said, my experience is limited, so moving on.


Well, actually, the ratio of female to male friends I've had in my life is probably like... 8:1, but... uh, wait, I mean... DORITOS! MOUTAIN DEW! CALL OF DUTY! MICHAEL BAY!

The other thing that people probably aren't even considering about the whole "well it's Japan" line of reasoning is that... well... In terms of games Japan is producing, female characters aren't exactly rare anymore. Possibly the opposite at this point, even. I'm sure plenty of people will eagerly jump on me for saying so, and I'm sure these same people will happily suggest that the female representation is poor and so on and so forth, but to those people, I have to ask...

Really?

Remember, this is only even being brought up because of a game where the character's gender wouldn't even matter all that much. It's not like this is about a main Zelda game or anything. Unless we're going to be shown some very different info later on, this is about a set of characters that talks in emoticons, as we've seen in gameplay videos already. A game where the multiple characters are already just palette swaps of the same one character.

In all honesty, I'm not sure how them forcing a female option in a game where gender truly does not seem to matter is a good representation of anything here, especially in a market where a lack of choice in protagonist gender, a lack of iconic characters of any kind, and even male protagonists is starting to shrink more and more.

Would it be better representation of women than games like Lollipop Chainsaw or Random Bouncing Breast JRPG Simulator? To some, maybe. To others, maybe not. That's entirely subjective. I keep stressing this when it comes to this topic, but people are different, and we all like different things, and gender isn't some mystical boundary that turns us into two completely different species with two completely different sets of morals.

Culture, maybe, but that's a whole different can of worms.

Considering female gamers in Japan have voted on the matter of what kind of games they like themselves, and the winning entries that year were an Atelier game, Persona 4 Golden, and Project DIVA f, games many people in the West say are for "boys" — of the creepy otaku and/or "weeb" nature, but still boys? That says a lot, I think. And okay, Persona is perhaps a little less so, particularly Persona 4, but the other two? Not so much, I think. They do feature female characters, so that is a point there (not as much in Persona's case), but then you have the runner ups...

And look at the mentioned runner ups! One Piece and Gundam games?


A thousand Japanese women just swooned.

And if you want to get into sexism in the industry, shouldn't it be more important to get women making games? As in, well, in the industry? I'm not saying "go make it yourselves" or anything, but realistically, if there truly is such a difference in what men and women like, doesn't it make sense that to appeal to women gamers, you need women who know what they'll want to buy? Though who's to say women even want to make games that would appeal to the stereotypical "woman" in the first place? I'm sure there are plenty like that in the industry already. Do they not count because of the kinds of games they make? Or worse, are they self-hating women?

I mean, without getting too much into it, some of the most "sexist" (by Western standards) series actually do have a lot of women on board. To throw one example out there, Neptunia's equivalent of Senran Kagura's hyper exploding boobs, "boobs are life and ass is hometown" guy and one of the creative forces behind the series is... a woman! So is the character designer (so something like the Keiji Inafune of the series if you want) and so are, obviously, all the voice actresses.

Okay, obviously Neptunia isn't necessarily being made with female customers in mind (though I recently learned about 40% of the Western Neptunia audience is made up of women, apparently? go figure!), but I just find it odd how people focus so much on the characters rather than the creators. Maybe it's because I myself want to be a creator someday, but... Don't they get a say in things?

I know we don't live in such an ideal world that someone can just make something willy nilly and it'll just happen and sell, obviously not, hell that's becoming the story of my life now, but even so, the things we enjoy are only enjoyable because someone made them and put passion into them. Maybe they might have specific demographics in mind, maybe they might have their own vision in mind, who knows?


Maybe they just have dollar signs in their mind, floating around and having a fantastic romp making more dollar signs.

If we take away that passion, what are we left with? If we take the "creator" out of "creating" and "creation," will the results really be that enjoyable? I know that passion is often completely absent from video games these days, but it isn't always, even when it might seem like it to some.

And I realize video games, as a medium, are all about immersion and personal experiences and so on and so forth, but the point I've really been driving at all along is that, to me, this isn't about male and female or even necessarily equality, really.

It's about quality, without the e.

Does every game need to let us play pretend and dress up? In such a world, characters like Mario or Link or Samus wouldn't even exist. Mickey Mouse? Iron Man? If those mediums had this, we wouldn't have any of them either. The idea of a "character," at least a "main character," couldn't exist, because everyone would just make their own characters. To some, perhaps this is ideal, because then everyone would get to be their own special snowflake and all of that good stuff, but... I just can't see that world as being an enjoyable one to be in.

It's why I can't really be excited for VR either. I know great stories can be told from first person, but for me, I don't want everything to be about "me." I can be immersed in a game fine without having it to be about "me." I can relate to characters, even female characters, just fine without having to "be" them.


Neither of these are my Robin. Nor will they resemble my second Robin, nor likely my third either. My Robins aren't even/won't even be named Robin to begin with. What does that say? Does having a default design fix the issue? Or does it just make it harder to relate to the default when it is used?

I'm not saying making these kinds of games is bad or anything, not at all, but I feel like this push for everything to have it is all wrong. If people are pushing for the identity of everything to be "whatever we want," then... well... Nothing is going to have much of an identity at all.

Books, movies, theater, and television have been getting by without that level of immersion, if it can be called that, for longer than this medium even existed, and they didn't need it to be good. They still don't.

As I said, I'm all for there being games that let you immerse yourselve however you want. For all my issues with Freedom Wars, I can't praise its character customization enough, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with games like Fallout 3 and the like.

I just don't want games that want to have personality, even as small as the personality Link has built up over the years, and want to have identity to be lost or treated like something is wrong with them in the process of these things gaining popularity.

In the end, I think my real point is the same as that of a few of my other blogs.

Can't we all just live and let live over things like this?

Can't we all just get along?

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7:50 PM on 06.29.2015

Muv-Luv is possibly getting localized! Kickstart it blind! Don't read this blog!

So out of fucking nowhere, the Muv-Luv trilogy of visual novels is up for a possible Kickstarter campaign this summer to localize the main three games of the series. Now normally this is where I would link to info and encourage people to support the project, but because of the nature of Muv-Luv, instead I'm just going to implore people to stop reading right here, don't go any further, don't look at anything related to Muv-Luv before the official release, and then buy it on the basis that it is great.

If you can Kickstart it without looking at any of the information regarding the game, that would be great too!

So with that said, you are free to close out of this blog. Don't comment on it, don't like it, don't report this news anywhere, just remember that you need to buy and/or throw lots of money at the Kickstarter of Muv-Luv.


For those of you who are bad at following directions, let this serve as your first warning.

If you're the crazy type that can't take Zetta at his word, while I implore you to not read or look at either of these things, here is an article on Gematsu summarizing the release and here is the hopeful team's own site, though it's a bit barren at the moment, and I expect that will change soon enough. Also, if you haven't tabbed over to those links yet, that bolded text wasn't a joke! This isn't all some elaborate ploy to trick you! I'm genuinely pleading from the bottom of my heart for the masses to avoid even the smallest spoilers on this one!

Yeah, I know, this isn't going to go well for me at all, but I can gosh darn try.

If you did listen to directions and not click those links, then I'll start giving some information, but I'll still be holding back to the best of my abilities! For those of you who have seen or heard of the tangentially related spinoff series, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse, understand that it is a spinoff to the third game and so your knowledge of it in any way is best completely thrown in the trash right now.

Muv-Luv, or at least the Muv-Luv games possibly being localized, is a trilogy of three visual novels, all centering around the exploits and antics of harem protagonist Takeru Shirogane, and his lovable band of love interests. The first game, Muv-Luv Extra, introduces us to these characters in the best way a visual novel can:

HIGH SCHOOL HAREM HIJINX!

On the surface, Muv-Luv Extra is your standard harem scenario. You've got multiple girls to woo, though you can only pick from the two main heroines initially, and throughout the course of the game, you'll learn about the characters, get to know them, get to be really attached to them, and... well... basically, the ideal situation for a harem sort of game.

What sets Muv-Luv Extra apart, besides for the fact that it's only the first game, is that even on its own, it actually does the high school really well. The characters are all fleshed out really well, even the video game loving protagonist, and they're all really interesting and likable. Some you might like more than others, as tends to happen in games like these, but even then, chances are you're going to like the rest of the cast to varying degrees at the very least.

There's a level of absurdity to the story, mostly drawn out by how filthy rich one of the characters is (and the crazy anime logic perks that come with being so wealthy), but that's one of the things that makes Muv-Luv Extra so enjoyable, and even unique, especially for its time.

All in all, Muv-Luv Extra brings the fun back to the harem "genre" in ways that many modern anime and visual novels just can't pull off anymore. Considering it was first released over ten years ago, this isn't completely shocking. For a 2003 game to be getting attention even now, you know it's got to be good... and while I'm avoiding the topic, this and the later two entries together create a visual novel that I'd easily put in my top three favorites, alongside Umineko no Naku Koro ni and the Fate/Stay Night series.

But obviously, Muv-Luv Extra isn't all that the series has. If you listened and didn't click the link, very good! Props to you! I'd still highly encourage leaving this blog now and waiting like a giddy child on Christmas Eve for the arrival of Muv-Luv to the English speaking world, but if you're really still interested...


This is your final warning! Turn back now, while you still can...!

By the time you finish Muv-Luv Extra, assuming high school romance settings don't completely turn you off on sight, chances are you'll have come out of the experience with a greater fondness for the characters. You'll turn on Muv-Luv Unlimited, possibly knowing that there was "more" to the story from the beginning, or simply just walking unaware into the next entry of your happy, fun little harem story.

Assuming you haven't clicked those links or seen the spinoff anime I mentioned earlier, rather than a fun and happy world of high school harem hijinx, Takeru is going to find himself dropped into the middle of a war between man and monster.

Needless to say, things are going to be escalating from the harem stuff from here.

In Muv-Luv Unlimited, now that we've all gotten to know and love the cast through their high school shenanigans, we get to watch Takeru thrust into another world with no way to return. He'll learn to be a soldier, he'll learn how to put guns together, and go through rigorous training in order to become a soldier capable of fighting off the aliens invading the Earth, who have been doing so for decades in this world. He'll meet versions of his friends who have grown up knowing nothing but this world on the brink of disaster, and he'll soon come to realize that his fate and theirs isn't as different as he might start off thinking. And from what Takeru is told, people don't exactly last long when fighting these monsters. In fact, humanity is almost gone by the time he arrives, though they're not quite dealing with a post-apocalyptic situation.

... Yet.

Prepare for science, politics, drama, and heartbreak by the boatload once you reach Unlimited, and it's going to just go up from there once you get to Alternative. Once the cast has established themselves through Extra, a must read despite how it might seem out of place with Unlimited and Alternative, the emotional roller coaster you're going to find yourself on is one you're not going to be forgetting soon.

I guess what I'm saying is that these three games right here are good, solid games. Novels. Whatever you want to call them. You might think I'm doing a bad job of trying to sell this, but the problem is I know how it feels going into this relatively blind, and it is an amazing experience, and one I wouldn't want to steal from anyone. I don't want to hype them up too much, since obviously everyone has different tastes, but I really just can't stress enough how good I found them to be, and I'm not at all alone in that either.

I won't say any more than this, so I hope, if this at all sounds even a little interesting, you'll do your part (for yourself!) to get the game and maybe even back it! It'll be worth it!


also sumika is best girl

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