Archive for August, 2014

Design Journals BB:CP, Spin copters, Ridge Racer, etc.

**BlazBlue: Chronophantasma**
Once right after lunch, but just before class I stuck a small Amane combo video up on a projector screen. The results were so ludicrously gravity defying, the dexterity involved seemingly inhuman, that is was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters do trick shots or a particularly good skate trick video. In my own play throughs of BlazBlue my Amane rarely achieved a combo greater than 8 hits. I was assured it was due to the way I was thinking, that a skilled strategizer could take the game apart and design combos in mere seconds. As my Amane nears the 3 week mark and new internet provides easy access at home I am thinking about my moves and discovering that j.c can pop into 6C and then 2c and then into a 2,3,6 C for a power dive. I am out combo’n players in ranked, beating Noel Vermillions with cloth and dance. It is terribly rewarding to be told you can’t do something and then to find that in fact you can. The only problem though is that once you become wired to cancels, you begin to notice how each character punishes and the combo becomes little more than a move. In fact the draw to large combos is so vast you will find yourself blocking opponents so they don’t get an opening and routines become so hardwired that on occasion lag will cause a whiff and you or your opponent will keep kicking even when the input ended a second ago. This is not to say BlazBlue is to formulaic, in fact the options out there are vast, but rather that by dealing with combos as a system, they become codified and therefore predictable even if they’re more impressive than SF IV. The later is something Xrd is working on. But two points here that are minor complaints, I managed to convince myself that BB:CP was a game only conquerable by though, in fact just like LoL or Dota 2 high level play is more like a sport, practice takes presence over critic, its just that quantifying the game into strategable segments help increase practice. The routes cancel write out qualify as the game’s real special moves, but really combos should be more open ended. Regardless, I am a level ELF now.

**Spin Copters** ios
The spiritual sequel to Flappy Bird is possibly better than the original. You see, Mario’s jump is like cocaine, you just want to do more. A similar mechanism governs Spin Copters out of control whirly birds. The game requires microsecond judgement taps as you effectively steer a physics beast so entangled in calculations its output can compound into velocities denser than clouds. Its not a terribly frustrating game, unless you’re really invested in it, but its also not a fun game, its real pleasure comes from mastery of a physics model no one can ignore. Unfortunately enjoying Spin Copters physics takes work, determination, and a pay off of only a high score. Recommended.

**Ridge Racer slipstream iOS**
I saw the ridge racer ps vita game via /r/vita and immediately needed to own it ethical questions be damned. Unfortunately the ultimate edition with all the dlc doesn’t seem to be on US Psn and I’ll be damned if I spend 30 usd for what like 3 tracks and 5 cars? Remember R4? It came with a freaking joystick that was awesome. So I searched the app store to see if I could get something to tide me over, sadly slipstream lasted about 45 seconds on my ipad, it didn’t feel like Ridge Racer, it didn’t have the physics, the feedback, the unbelievable turns. It was just a racing game.

**Deep under the sky**
This is a game from the same developer as Incredipede, but unfortunately its more of an angry birds rip off in its infancy. Haven’t played enough to see how game the differentiates itself, but art style = points given.

**FF IX**
I am on disc 3 and still enthralled. Way to go linear narrative.

August 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

Luxuria Superbia

Luxuria Superbia – ios
The other day I watched a 5 minute clip on youporn of a Japanese porn actress being pleased by a somewhat well cut man. I found myself walking around most of the day with a new perversion: a desire to please someone with my hands. Luxuria Superbia is described as sensual, but in reality it is quite sexual. I found myself clawing with 4 fingers to please a flower’s needs. It brings up so much of what makes simulation in video games unique. I have never myself actually jerked a vagina off in any meaningful way, yet this idea of pleasure which honestly I had never thought of is present in this game or is the simple pairing of the two the cause of my interpretation? Regardless, the game dares to dip into places of sensation most games do not. It doesn’t mind being sexual, sensual, or even a little grotesque. What’s great is that it turns this pseudo-sexual desire into a game. If you get to avaricious you will not score that high, if you hold back or aren’t feeling it the flower will close. Are we ate the beginnings of a cyber-sexuality? I haven’t seen this much action in years. It was also made by a husband wife team. The later part of that duo I think might have been instrumental in this game.

August 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

A far to common story

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August 10, 2014 at 5:52 am Leave a comment

Design Journal: FF IX, BB:CP, Soul Sacrifice, DonDonPachi

**Final Fantasy IX**
As a completionist all these story segments lacking in good grind-able areas annoys me. I need to farm abilities via AP from my items instead I am being shuttled from story point to point, but now on disc 2. Was just amazed I have to use a ps vita system menu to actually swatch discs, ps one classics feel more like linux apps and less like commercial products.

**DoDonPachi aka DDPRHD**
Cave is that beloved shmup dev. Everyone espouses about, but the thing is they stuck with the genre and the understood world building the same way Sakaguchi and Amano did. Cave games are sumptuous and rich with identification wether its some teenage witches with boobs or rather in DoDonPachi hD some pretty awesome robot jet planes. The transformations are intense and the game is beautiful on my ipad air. DDPR is not my favorite Cave shmup, but it does enough of what Cave is known for to make me miss Crimzon Clover and want a new laptop badly. Cave was a master in a genre known for subtly. Every tweak of algorithmic bullet fire could send a shmup straight over the cliffs and into abandon, but DDPR manages to make bullet canceling into an art form and introduces you to empowerment before its third level knocks you away. Its a thing of beauty.

**BlazBlue Chronophantasma**
In terms of the tier list Amane is rather low down and it really shows when a level 2 Ragna that you’ve been hosing around the stage, the type of noob that falls for a C and gets tangled in amane’s threads can still kill you even though they don’t even know a prolonged combo. Moment with this game I loved this week: figuring out the inputs for Tager’s Astral finish further convinced me Team BB knows their game. Wow, chain-able special moves into an astral is what I am looking for. I also practiced my combos and began working on a mid-air combo. The challenges are less interesting than what’s in the training mode. Love 6A (forward A? Sorry new to J-joystick conventions) into B with a little C throw at the end. Also catching someone with 6C’s forward lunge and watching them plummet into a great combo is great as is poking with jumping C which at least leaves you a little less open for reprisals.

**Soul Sacrifice**
The thing about is game is that when i play it I feel like its made for 15 year olds and most of the legacy players still around are. I am falling out of love with it as I thought even after a prolonged solicitation with my local game shops for it. Maybe at higher levels it becomes more enthralling, the fuse and upgrade system was nice at first, but fairly ineffective against bosses I am battling now.

**Kid Icarus 3D**
This old school legend has never really moved me. Of all nintendo’s old school classics Icarus was the one never discussed: possibly because its shockingly generic. It lacks the polish of Mario’s jump the feedback of hitting blocks instead its just vanilla. Perhaps its gets better later on.

**My Life**
Right now i am worried about my job because I am kinda sucking at my saturday classes. The teacher who hates me had me removed from her class even after 3-4 successful classes specifically tailored to appease her. Students in Vietnam are awful and the mail has swallowed my copy of Skyward Sword. Another teacher told me Vietnam is dangerous, it is. I am not so sure I want to be here, but like all of the disabled or retarded I am not wanted where supposively acceptance is at a high. Its a pet theory of mine that anywhere well known for being open minded is just a kind of smoke screen. Once people are convinced they aren’t bigots they proceed to disclude. For a period after my last job I felt like maybe one’s work was important, but while the quality of one’s work does matter its more if the social group at work wants you to be there. In other words life requires of me more pleasantries if that will actually make a difference is another matter.

August 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

Journals BlazBlue, F1 Race Stars ios, & FF IX

**BlazBlue Chronophantasma**
There are two types of learning (I have identified in BB) the conscious and environmental learning. In League of Legends I kept playing for awhile after 30, but I never actually broke the game down and gave it serious consideration. I didn’t know why Annie is good against Shaco, it was simply instinctual. Similarly I didn’t know why Amane is good against Hakumen or why I squirm a little whenever Bullet comes on the screen, but then it began to occur to me that my long range gives me a distinct advantage against Hakumen’s slow, but powerful attacks while Bullet’s heavy barrage of up close combos can devastate me quickly. I searched around for combos to slightly improve my damage vs up closers, but this is the thing BlazBlue is a game that goes out of its way to make sure you understand you need to analyze and think about this game. The result is I am working on combos to repel Bullets, Noels, & other close range characters. Similarly Amane is much much weaker than other characters especially in terms of damage. I can be up 10 hits on a character and still have less life. The results are I know Amane needs combos, obviously I have to power up the drill and then end some 10 hit combo with it in order to really win. In other words I am consistently receiving feedback on my game, its just despite all of this I constantly lose. An early game day zero Hakumen or Hazama can over whelm a day zero Noel easily. The reason is their damage output is just higher. I don’t see Hazama in competitive play, but he’s all over the noob charts in ranked games. But getting back to the environmental learning, we don’t always learn in words, but BB is a game that gives us words in order to manifest the learning we acquire from experience. Its just that in my case this growing awareness of the strategies involved means I am over confident in my ability to grow, hence why I suck at this game so much 🙂 p.s. Sorry Bb community for all the lag, its Vietnam. Edit: had 3 wins in a row in ranked today.

Edit: and environmental learning is a kind of manipulation its perfectly possible to build a character whose weaknesses will make you dread playing her, but whose design inspires. In other words its possible Amane is a joke character like Dan intended to troll a demographic as much as the Archers in Chivalry are woefully underpowered. If the designer knows they are designing a low tier character does that make Amane trans-phobic? However, I think time will tell. (Have seen some awesome Amane players). The bigger question is if playing her will pay dividends in the future. However concerning environmental learning, what does this say about LoL? Does the environment of the game teach players to be more toxic? Would better consciousness of the game’s system make pro games more enjoyable? And when designing an environment how should it manipulate the player? Dark Souls is famously difficult, but rewarding meanwhile many FPS games are empowering, but simple. My point is digital environments offer people a future, a temporality & context that manipulate their daesin, the experience of being digitally can have influence on our daily lives.

**Final Fantasy IX**
I had a lot of free time this week which probably means I forgot something important. This game has been covered in depth or to death if you prefer as I write this a neogaf thread once again praises the merits of this game. I arrived in Lindblum, discovered Cid’s secret, and met Freya. The second I stepped outside Lindblum I just wanted to walk around and get out of the story, well ok actually I didn’t but you get the idea. The immense freedom of the over world (which is illusionary) pales compared to the story, the game lets you know a coliseum battle and a fetch quest for Cid are coming up with out check boxes or some type of to-do list simulator and that might be the thing about FF IX: it lets you explore. I know Cid needs me to find his wife and experimental airship, I know I will end up in the festival of the hunt, but unlike so many modern games that shuttle you from objective to objective FF IX stands up and says explore. You’re not given a way point marker that tells you where to go, instead the narrative is compelling enough that I know where to go already, its just I would rather level my character outside, get my mage masher up to snuff, and then synthesize a few weapons before getting into this festival that will no doubt lead under the city somehow. Objectives are well managed, I do wish it kept track of all the optional side quests you receive like the coffee beans guy etc.

**F1 Race Stars**
Mario Kart 8 just didn’t grab me so far… and F1 Race Stars on steam alienated me too, but this little codemasters cash grab is exactly what I need. The tilt controls actually work… I mean like really work as in I prefer them to a virtual joystick. Secondly, you know how in Mario kart those shells hurt and like for a second you really think your racer is in pain? F1 Race Stars uses bubbles, you gently float skyward for a few seconds. I can’t quite identify what about the game makes it great. It has every evil an ios games could have: ubiquitous pop ups asking for my cash, a fairly blatant pay to win model, yet its short tracks (races are cut down to commute digestible lengths) and surprisingly adept motion controls are really enchanting. The game makes you feel good for playing and the bubbles are much better than the shells, maybe the reduced course length also adds something? I also like that you take damage, your wheels corrode as you drift and get hit by bubbles resulting in pit stops. This mechanic works even though it is part of the micro-transaction fest the game exhumes like oxygen and dollars are somehow comparable. I only gave this a minute so my impressions lack analysis and nuance, but so far I am impressed. Oh btw drifts store boost which is released via a button. Like that too. Its like someone took an axe to mario kart and came away with a cherry. Edit: I was just forced to spend an ingame currency to buy a new driver there by losing my upgrades. Le sigh its like someone forcing you to masturbate. Don’t need a game that makes me practice desiring in-game purchases. Good game, solves many mario kart conundrums, but I think I will stick with MK8.

August 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment


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