Many thanks to Frostilyte for tagging me for the Liebster Award. Writers on this platform have come up with a lot of these, haven’t they? In the creator’s words:
It’s an award in which bloggers nominate other bloggers for showing respect to their works and their dedication. It’s an appreciation and recognition for all the fellow bloggers out there in the blogosphere!
Which is something I can’t argue with.
So first, I highly recommend Frostilyte Writes — if you like the sort of stuff I post here, you should be following that site as well for deep game analyses, reviews, and art. Frostilyte has insightful takes that are very worth reading, and the blog comes with my seal of approval.
Now to the questions:
1) We’re four months into the year (at the time of writing) – what’s your favourite game played thus far?
The only 2020 release I’ve played so far is Persona 5 Royal, so I guess that’s my answer. Technically it’s a 2019 release, and the West had to wait another eight months for the localization as usual. But who am I to complain about a long wait? P5R is excellent so far, even if there are real questions to be asked about how necessary Royal is for people who have played the original and aren’t dumbass fans like me who will buy anything with Persona or any Megami Tensei branding on it.
2) What’s your favourite Pokémon? (don’t read into this too much)
I know this is a massive sacrilege, but I’m not really into Pokémon, which you might have guessed from the fact that I’ve never written about it here. Not that I think it’s bad or anything; I just missed the boat on it. Which is weird, but I think I was just about a year too old when it really got big where I lived — the card-trading game was seen as a kids-only thing in my class, so we weren’t doing it, and the series never caught on with us as a result. I also missed out on Harry Potter for probably the same reason.
Remember when both those series were condemned by some weird people as being Satanic? Those were better days, back when there was so much less to worry about that assholes had to invent controversies to get mad about.
Actually, they still do that, so never mind.
I still want to answer this question, though, and I am a little familiar with Pokémon, so I’ll just say Farfetch’d because I like his name and design. I don’t know if he’s any good in combat, but he’s a weird duck carrying a leek, how can you not like that.
3) Have you watched any shows lately that you’d highly recommend?
I just started watching Babylon Berlin, a Netflix original German production. It’s a crime/espionage drama set in 1929 in the Weimar Republic, the first democratic period of Germany’s history that ended when Hitler and his Nazis overthrew it. This is one of the most interesting times and places in history to me, considering all the political and economic chaos that occurred there. Not such a great time and place to live in, though, as you can see if you watch the show. I’m only into part of the first season, but it’s good so far — a lot of intrigue and backstabbing going on, just what I like.
4) What was your favourite movie from 2019?
I know it’s a boring answer, but hell if Parasite wasn’t just that good. I guess I won’t spoil anything here, but if you haven’t seen it, you should watch it. That’s all.
5) How do you feel about games with no single player content?
I don’t give a damn about them. Nothing against multiplayer-only games; they’re just not my thing. Part of the reason I got into gaming was because it was something I could do without having to talk to other people. If that sounds weird and unhealthy, it probably is. But God knows I need a fucking break sometimes, and I don’t need to spend it trying to awkwardly interact with strangers. This answer says a lot more about me than it does about multiplayer games.
6) What is your least favourite genre of game?
First-person shooters. Maybe partly because so much of the content in those games is multiplayer, but also because I just find them boring. The only one I ever liked very much was Goldeneye, and I don’t know how well it would hold up.
The second-to-last place prize goes to the MMO, partly for the reasons I put up in answer #5. Two free weeks of EVE Online was enough time for me to decide I’d never play another one again. I can appreciate the escapism they deliver, but I prefer to get mine through singleplayer games.
7) What is your favourite genre of game?
Turn-based RPGs. This genre has gotten a lot of shit in the past several years. I get that certain gameplay mechanics can get stale, but there’s still a lot of room for innovation using turn-based or hybrid setups. The mostly turn-based Megami Tensei series, for example, has kept its gameplay fresh for three decades by constantly tweaking its combat systems.
My answer extends to tactical RPGs. For people who feel regular turn-based RPG combat is too much of a weird abstraction, with enemies waiting their turn to attack and all that, this might be a better alternative. It’s still turn-based, but it feels more like playing a giant game of chess with way more types of pieces and freedom of movement, and your pieces have HP and SP and can use magic attacks.
Okay, it’s not much like chess, but at least the board game feel of it is different from the standard RPG combat setup. I once knew someone who couldn’t stand mainline Final Fantasy but really liked Final Fantasy Tactics for just this reason.
8) What game from your backlog have you recently finished?
I haven’t quite finished it, but I just got through two of five routes in the visual novel Katawa Shoujo. If I told you a bunch of 4chan regulars made a dating sim featuring girls with physical disabilities, you might imagine that it’s got to be incredibly offensive, but so far it’s just the opposite. I kept meaning to play this VN for several years now, and I’m happy that I’ve finally gotten around to it.
The third (and maybe last, maybe not) route I’m on is Rin’s. I get the feeling that Rin is supposed to be how the typical 4chan user saw himself back when the game was being made around ten years ago. She’s a spaced-out artist who despises authority and talks to her peers in a direct and sometimes harsh way. There’s another character in the game who represents that typical 4chan user a lot better in reality, probably, but I’ll get around to that if I write something on Katawa Shoujo. Anyway, I have no idea what the typical user of that site or its various boards is like today — this game may as well have been released 700 years ago for how fast society and culture move now.
9) Physical or digital?
Physical. I do own a lot of digital copies of games, partly because of Steam sales and partly because so many low-budget indie projects can only offer digital copies. If I have the choice, though, I’ll always go with a physical copy. I still vaguely remember the pre-internet era that ended when I was still very young, and I have some nostalgia for it. I also miss not having adult concerns. No one told me being an adult would be such dogshit, or if they did then I wasn’t listening.
No thanks, I already ate.
Thanks again to Frostilyte for the questions. I’m reluctant to keep this chain going myself because I’ve taken part in a lot of them in the last year, and I’m afraid of asking essentially the same questions and annoying the same fellow writers I’ve kept tagging (or I’m just too lazy to bother; it’s up to you to decide which is true.)
So once again, I nominate everyone who’s bothered to read all of my rambling answers for a Liebster Award because if you have, you honestly deserve it whether or not you even have a blog. And I have a question for you that you can answer in the comments, or on your blog, or not answer at all, or just do with it whatever you feel like. Here it is:
Virtual reality-based games right now are clunky messes that cause motion sickness and headaches, but that probably won’t be the case forever. How do you feel about the prospect of games becoming increasingly immersive, to the point that they might even feel as “real” as reality itself? Do you think this would have more of a positive or negative impact on society as a whole, or would it make a significant difference?
I’m thinking of writing something about this soon, and you might guess at my own feelings about the subject, but I’m interested in knowing what other people think, and specifically in what the sort of person who reads my site thinks. It’s all still speculative, but it’s not so bad to speculate sometimes.
Meanwhile, it’s back to the drudgery of work for me. Once I’m past that crap, next up will probably be more visual novel reviews/analyses. Between the lunar new year and Golden Week sales, I’m loaded up with them, and I’ve also got more routes of Katawa Shoujo I can play through. So I hope you’ve liked it so far, because 2020 is the year of the visual novel for me apparently. Until next time. 𒀭
The game didn’t have to be released this year, but I’m not totally surprised by the answer. A few of my friends who are Persona fans have really enjoyed playing through 5R as well. Seems like it was more of a good thing for those who are already highly invested in the SMT games.
I kind of assumed that not everyone would be a fan of Pokémon when asking the question. Due to the ubiquitous nature of Pokémon almost everyone knows about it and is at least vaguely familiar with some of the creature designs. And a lot of the designs are eye catching enough that there is likely one that will stick in your mind. Farfetch’d is an excellent choice. I’ve always been a fan of how it walks around with a leek for a weapon.
Looks like I’ll have to check out Parasite and Babylon Berlin at some point. Mir and I have been looking for a new Netflix series to watch after finishing BoJack Horseman, so maybe this will be the next one we tackle.
I can definitely get behind the sentiment of that on friend of yours. I’m not terrible huge on turn based RPGs either, but when there is a tactics layer added in I’m usually a lot more content with the actual combat. I just find I get bored when I can turn my brain off and resolve the overwhelming majority of combat encounters, so the added depth from positioning usually helps to keep me engaged.
Looking forward to your post on Katawa Shoujo. Sounds…interesting to say the least.
As for the question on VR: I don’t know that I’d personally enjoy that. I get really into playing games, but I wouldn’t ever say I’m physically immersed in them and don’t know that I’d have a desire to be. Even just looking at the types of games I tend to respond well too I don’t know if this type of tech would really add to the experience in a meaningful way.
As for the broader implications on society as a whole – it might be kind of dangerous. We already have people who isolate themselves to the point where they are willing to pay for social interaction from internet strangers. If you could feel as though you’ve been transported to an alternate reality and it is one that is designed for your enjoyment (as video games usually are) then these people might become entirely disconnected from society, which I’m not entirely sure is for the best. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the most social people either and have been enjoying the quarantine, but I still have an understanding of how to function in a socially acceptable manner. I’m worried that this kind of technology would drive people to entirely disconnect from reality to the point where they couldn’t even function in polite society. But that’s like…a bunch of huge leaps based on conjecture, so presently it doesn’t hold any weight. Still – it’s interesting to think about.
You know, reading the question again I can see that now. I’d still say P5R though, yeah. I’d agree so far that it’s probably just for fans and people who didn’t play the original; there’s a lot added but I haven’t seen anything yet that makes it a whole lot better than P5. But I’ll reserve my judgment until I’m done with it.
Parasite unfortunately isn’t on Netflix, at least not when I checked. Definitely worth seeing though. Aside from that, I’m not too happy with the selection on Netflix — it seems worse than it used to be.
I agree that easy turn-your-brain-off turn-based combat is boring. That’s one of the reasons I like SMT and its spinoffs: I think the extreme importance of targeting enemy weaknesses, covering your own, and using buffs/debuffs adds that tactical layer to the traditional turn-based system. Tactics games are certainly great for that as well.
Katawa Shoujo is certainly an interesting game for a few different reasons. I think I’ll find quite a bit to write about with it.
I won’t deny it: I look forward to this realistic VR assuming it’s possible to create before I die or get too decrepit to use it. My view is definitely selfish, because I think I’d really enjoy this kind of thing, having experiences that I’d never get in real life. I certainly wouldn’t go all in on it; I have too much work to do, and if I have a family of my own at that point it wouldn’t be right for me to escape reality so completely anyway.
I get your position, though. I can also see a future in which people become absolute shut-ins in the real world, living entirely in the virtual one. If it were entirely their choice and they were able to somehow support themselves without sponging off of others, I wouldn’t have a real problem with that myself, but those choices would surely have some social consequences.
Farfetch’d ended up getting an evolution in Gen VIII: Sirfecth’d. It’s a duck with a leek sword, and it’s every bit as cool as it sounds.
I’m definitely interested in checking Babylon Berlin out at some point because it does cover an interesting period of time. If you’re looking for something actually from that time, I highly recommend Fritz Lang’s M if you haven’t already seen it.
It’s usually difficult to take today’s critics at their word because of confirmation bias, but I have little doubt Parasite was the real deal.
It really makes the case that are still talented filmmakers out there; they’re just not being cultivated in the United States. I think the fact that the last three “Best Director” winners were people from abroad speaks for itself.
And I don’t dislike first-person shooters, but given their oversaturation in the 2010s, I fully understand why one would have an aversion to them. Activision ended up stretching the goodwill the original Modern Warfare way, way too far, and the series devolved from being a sacred cow to the butt of most hardcore gamer’s jokes.
I need to check out that leek sword; it sounds great. Part of me wishes I’d gotten into the series, but that’s just how it is. No time for another RPG series at this point.
I’ve heard of M; sounds really interesting, and it’s on that list I’ve got. Babylon Berlin has covered a lot of the political situation so far and weaved it nicely into the main story, which I really like.
Foreign films definitely deserve just as much recognition as American ones, so it’s nice that Hollywood is giving them more attention. There’s already been plenty of borrowing back and forth, so why not? I guess there’s plenty to learn from the world outside the US about film-making.
Modern Warfare deserves its praise, but I’ve never seen another series try to coast so far doing the same thing over and over, at least from what I can tell. Activision has earned its place in game publisher hell along with EA, Ubisoft, and Konami, and whoever else should be in there that I’m forgetting, but that’s for more than just crapping up one series.
Katawa Shoujo was way more thoughtful than I would ever have guessed anything coming out of 4chan to be, much less something dealing with vulnerable populations like this. Suppose it just goes even a self-designated gang of garbage human beings are just as complex with just as much potential as humans can be.
Per your VR question, I think the overall societal impacts of a more immersive gaming setup would be rather minor, either way. Culturally, the impact of gaming is dependent on just how many people partake of the craft, and I think that’s rather dependent on a lot more things than just the technology used. That said, I would say there is a lot of potential for good as the technology advances, for education, medicine, and more on top of just entertainment. And hey, maybe having the type of VR we always saw in the cartoons would lead to more people picking up the hobby as it becomes affordable, and thus improving things that way. So there. A net positive.
I don’t know if I’ve ever said so here, but I frequented the anime and game boards on 4chan a long time ago, back when Katawa Shoujo was being developed — I still remember the development threads. being posted pretty often. “Self-designated gang of garbage human beings” is the perfect way to describe the feeling of the place back then. But then yeah, the fact that thoughtful games like this and VA-11 HALL-A came out of that environment might say something. The characters are great so far, really well-defined and interesting. There are a few weird quirks in the writing that I think you got into in your own review, but aside from that it’s definitely good.
There are certainly a lot of non-entertainment uses for VR that aren’t talked about as much. I’d like to think the development of this technology would be a net positive. At the very least, it’s something I’d like to have, but if it can serve humanity in the long run so much the better. As far as the cultural impact of gaming goes, it’s definitely expanded in ways we couldn’t have predicted back in the 90s and even the early 2000s, which will hopefully mean more funding and greater accessibility.