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The Forbidden Codex of The Pink Beyond - A Sqrl's Journal

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July 30th, 2015

11:31 pm - Recordkeeping: Shatter COMPLETE
Breakout/Arkanoid, but WHAT IF...

...physics made the blocks do weird things?
...there were boss fights?
...your paddle could charge up a limit break?
...you could multiball any time you wanted?
...you could suck AND blow? The ball, I mean. Suck it to your paddle and blow it away.

Also the music was great. A++ claps all around.

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July 29th, 2015

09:05 am - Recordkeeping: rain COMPLETE
I'm a Playstation Plus subscriber, which means I get a few free games every month. ("Free". With subscription. As long as I subscribe. It's like Netflix.) Along with the "big name" titles there's usually a few indies and smaller-budget games like this one. This is seen as a major negative ("EW, INDIES") by the vocal net majority, but I like it. It exposes me to stuff I wouldn't usually buy because I have huge stacks of games.

'rain' is one of those games and since I was in a rainy mood myself I gave it a shot. I meant to play a little bit of it while Windows 10 proper installed, and then I accidentally finished it so uhm oops. It was pretty good but I had some problems with it anyway because I'm like that.

The premise: Two sick children escape their bodies and take on forms that can only be perceived when rain is falling directly on them. They are chased by strange shadowy beasts and a mysterious "Unknown" through a dark rainy world. The metaphor is very subtle.

I think the biggest problem with rain is that it has no... faith in itself? Like I think they focus-grouped this too hard or something. You have the kids see a ladder, and point at it, and nod at each other. And then big floaty pop-up text appears: "THE CHILDREN STOPPED AS THEY SAW A LADDER. IT WENT UPWARDS. THE BOY GESTURED TO THE GIRL AND SHE NODDED." and I'm like "It's okay! I got that! You can tell stories through the magic of VISUAL INTERPRETATION! Don't worry, little indie game, I BELIEVE in you!" but no it just kept doing that over and over, spelling out exactly what was going on. The opening and ending are particularly bad about this, lasting like four times longer than needed to convey their points.

It also has the ability to push the select button to get a "hint" which spells out exactly what to do. I actually don't mind that because it's optional and doesn't wreck the flow of things. Some people might need that hint feature, but I have the weird feeling they are the people who already are not reading the text floaties or trying to follow what's going on.

Also I kept tipping my head at the screen and staring for a while, thinking: "Okay, so I have to carefully sneak through this area full of rain and shadows or else a strange gangly figure will appear and one-shot-kill my little eight year old avatar there... I wonder if the developers REALIZED they were making a survival horror game?" Because the music was always very light and piano-heavy (I think Debussy showed up in the credits) and it really didn't fit with "sneaking around murder monsters". I felt like I was playing Heart of Darkness but without the really vicious and brutal kill animations, thank goodness.

When you beat the game you unlock the ability to play a second time and collect collectable glowballs.

I didn't.

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12:17 am - Recordkeeping: Final Fantasy X COMPLETE
Man this was a thing. Someone posted on a tumblr I read (I should get one of those just to follow people. Is that allowed? I do not know tumblr etiquette.) that the Square-Enix drinking game is simple: Look at how much money you've given Square/Square-Enix over the years, then drink.

I have given Squeenix a LOT of money, you guys. For example, I bought both Final Fantasy X and X-2 on PS2, then bought them again on PS3. I didn't even LIKE Final Fantasy X the first time. I had a lot of dumb dismissive jerk feelings about the game, because I played it when I was 18 or 19 and that was a time of my life when I was a dumb dismissive jerk about an awful lot of things. I think I still have a PS2 memory card somewhere with a save parked in front of the last boss and a woefully underprepared party.

Well, in spite of doing a small pile of endgame sidequest stuff I was STILL woefully underprepared, but using the grand power of cheeseball bullshit I won the day. (Rikku, darling, you and your Mix overdrive are made of magic and can do anything.) Had a lot more fun than I was expecting. AMAZING music in this thing. Also I'm irritated that Kimahri gets the character development of a cheeto, because GIANT BLUE LION GUY c'mon that's all up in my interests.

(Quistis, Quina, Kimahri, what the fuck does Square have against Blue Mages and CHARACTER FOCUS? You could build a decent WHOLE GAME around the skillset of a Blue Mage, why do they get so IGNORED?)

Anyway I had a good time here. Sooner or later I will swing around to X-2, which is one of my favorite Final Fantasy games anyway, but the backlog never ends and I want to knock away at some shorter stuff first.

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July 20th, 2015

08:30 pm - Movie watched: Ant-Man.
It's nice of Marvel to keep timing their cinematic releases to my intense depressive fugues. At least this got me out of the apartment, after some negotiation with the woof.

Sqrl: "Hello woof."
Woof: "Hello sqrl."
Sqrl: "Doing okay?"
Woof; "Doing okay."
Sqrl: "Blood alone moves the wheels of history."
Woof: "... yes."
Sqrl: "Ant-Man today, couple hours?"
Woof: "I will fit it into my schedule of world domination and sodomy."

...maybe he didn't actually say that last thing? I forget. It was this morning, which is a long time ago.

So that went well. Ant-Man was not the greatest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but Ant-Man is not the greatest ANYTHING so there you go. It was... predictable. Solid film. Chekhov's implements appeared, were waggled about and then deployed. It was what you would expect from a movie called Ant-Man and I was in no way disappointed.

Extremely minor spoilers.Collapse )

Then we braved a 93-degree no-air-conditioning Gamestop to buy a couple Skylanders and came home.

Good day out.

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02:09 pm - Recordkeeping: Qbeh-1: The Atlas Cube - COMPLETE
One thing we as a society will never run short of is block puzzles. Jump on blocks, attach blocks to things, push blocks. Make blocks have magic powers. Build things out of blocks. Solve puzzles with blocks. Long after our planet is a dead heap of smouldering carbon aliens will arrive to the ruins of the Earth and they will start pushing blocks around.

Qbeh, which sounds like something a Klingon would yell at you, is five worlds of block puzzles in a "Portal" style wrapper, which I say because calling something "Portal style" is a lot easier than "first person puzzle solving with physicality and so on".

I didn't hate it. I was tired of it by the end. There's a sixth world if you collect all the hidden dingles in the first five worlds. I'm not doing that. But I had a good enough time.

Except for that time the game crashed and it gave me an achievement for rage-quitting. That's a weird kind of passive-aggressive bullshit right there.

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July 17th, 2015

11:18 am - Recordkeeping: Katamari Forever COMPLETE
For a while there I was trying to play Morroblivion, the remake of Morrowind in the Oblivion engine. The idea was I could knock two games off my backlog with one swipe. The problem is ... I've seen so much of both games from my previous attempts at playing them that the idea of playing them MORE gave me a deadening sense of ennui.

Or maybe that's depression.

Anyway I wanted something unlike that to play, and found it in the form of KATAMARI. Which... can be just as tedious and irritating, moreso if you're trying a stage for the eighteenth time that night... but when everything's going well and the good remixes kick in, the game's just a bunch of bright colors and big blocky shapes for you to roll up into a clump of love.

I felt the cosmos. 10/10 would feel again.

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July 12th, 2015

05:31 am - Recordkeeping: Cat Goes Fishing NOT COMPLETE.
Cat Goes Fishing is an adorable little thing that pisses me off much harder than Dark Souls ever did.

You are a cat. You have gone fishing. You can cast, catch a fish, and recast to use it as larger bait to attract larger fish, or sell the fish you catch for upgrade money. Except large fish will eat your bait OR smaller fish you're trying to reel in (which gives you no credit on the many "catch x fish" quests), you'll constantly catch small irritating fish you can't get rid of, more expensive fish live in the lower depths which are hard to get to through the layers of patrolling fish...

This game beat me. THIS game. Not Final Fantasy whatever or Dark Souls or the Mystery Dungeons. Cat Goes Fishing kicked my ass and beat me so hard I never want to SEE it again.

THIS is the secret true most hardcore game. I wasn't even playing on "Realism" mode, where you have to carefully manage line tension or it snaps and you lose your fish!

I don't ever wanna hear anyone talking down "Casual" games ever again. I will slap that person and make them try to finish Cat Goes Fishing. You know what? This game has CHANGED MY ORIENTATION. I was a cat person, now I'm a dog person. This game has, in metaphorical terms, made me gay for dogs.

I gotta play something else.

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July 11th, 2015

01:33 am - Recordkeeping: Ghostbusters The Video Game COMPLETE
I feel like this game kind of exemplifies what happens when you're comfortable in a niche and you don't want to explore new territory or break out of your fandom. Like... mmh. I'm not sure how to phrase this, so some examples:
Some spoilers.Collapse )
That said, this was pretty good if you accept that the writers did their best to tie a game plot together using only plot hooks, recycled jokes, and loose ends from the movies that came before it. And at the end, it suggests a genuinely original sequel taking place in either LA, Cincinatti, or Chicago, so that ought to cover a lot of new material and...

...oh wait the devs of this one went out of business. Nevermind, I'll just go be bitter as hell.

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July 7th, 2015

11:20 pm - Recordkeeping: Earthbound COMPLETE.
Comfort food, this one. I love Earthbound and I love playing Earthbound. Spent a few hours grinding for a Sword of Kings, finished the game in the low 90s levelwise. I tend to forget most of the second half of the game EXISTS because it's ... mostly globetrotting and it's not as strongly written as the first half.

Still, had a good time with this.

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July 3rd, 2015

05:35 pm - Another era over.
Well, that's the Final Fantasy XI account canceled. With the kind of depression, stress, and impending parental death and all I've been sitting under I just can't really concentrate on pushing through an MMO right now. I just... don't want other people involved in my life.

Goodbye, Xenosa. I'm sorry, we had big plans together. I'm not saying "never again", but... it looks like maybe never again.

Here's some of what I was hoping to see, backed with a beautiful song from the Chains of Promathia soundtrack.

I may know the answers
though one question I still hear -
What twist of fate has brought us
to roads that run so near?

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