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Rune Factory 4 Special


So, this game is my current obsession. I play games often, but not often enough get fully immersed in binge gaming mode. This is the first game to fully engross me, having me staying up late (and sneaking in a few minutes in the morning before work) since Bloodstained. This gets my most enthusiastic approval. Any of you looking for a way to whittle away the hours as we all lock ourselves in our basements until Corona goes away, look no further than this game.

So I'll start by answering the obvious question. Why am I so excited about a game that came out seven years ago? Well, I just can't play this type of game on handheld. I've bought almost every Rune Factory game, but if you can see my top 20 list (that should perhaps be revised soon), the only Rune Factory game you see is Tides of Destiny. I go for multi-hour binges on these types of games, and tiny screens with cramped controls just don't cut it for more than an hour for me. If you're wondering why Frontier isn't on the list, it's because the runey-balancing system was so infuriating.

Stardew Valley is a fantastic game. It's amazing how one guy decided to make a Harvest Moon knock-off, and somehow made the best Harvest Moon game ever. And it's weird that Harvest Moon has become the lamest Harvest Moon knock-off ever. Seriously, Natsume should just throw money at Stardew Valley guy and then we could have a good game named Harvest Moon again. So the moral of the story is: why does Rune Factory 4 Special need to exist? Well, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. I'm just gonna start making lists now.

RF4S vs. Stardew Valley


  • Far Superior Combat
  • Better Character Portraits (animu-style)
  • Far more skills, with far more levels, that don't only level up when sleeping. The constant feedback of leveling up your skills is fun.
  • Speaking of sleeping, you don't have to in order to save.
  • Far more fleshed-out cooking system, with licenses and multiple utensils.
  • Speaking of licenses, the license system rocks.
  • Better story narrative.


  • Polygons not as attractive as pixel art.
  • Fishing not as fun and interactive.
  • Character development is weaker.

RF4S vs. Tides of Destiny


  • Top-down camera is way better.
  • Farming more interactive


  • Character development FAR weaker (ToD had persona-style social links with skits as you went up for each level)
  • Fishing, crafting, and cooking less interactive.
  • Don't drive a giant golem.
  • Don't have a girl living inside you like a Steve Martin movie.

RF4S vs. RF4


  • Bigger screen (especially if you play on your TV)
  • More comfortable controller (especially if you have SNES pad)


  • Can't play it if you time-travel seven years into the past and forgot to bring your Switch.

So there you have it. And by "it" I mean the Coronavirus. Better lock yourself in your basement and play Rune Factory 4 Special for the next couple weeks.

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About Damien Quicksilverone of us since 8:25 PM on 12.22.2018

Near the beginning of the millennium, I wrote an opinion column titled "My Twenty-Five Cents" in a short lived zine titled "Classic Gamer Magazine" iirc. I used the pen name "Damien Quicksilver" at the time. I get thoughts about gaming that I feel the urge to write about from time to time, so this is something of a reprisal I suppose. If there is somehow anyone out there who remembers that zine, that would be amazing. It was made with a group of folks I met in rec.games.video.classic on Usenet. If there is somehow anyone out there who remembers what Usenet is, you're old. If you don't know what Usenet was, it was basically the cretaceous period equivalent of Reddit.