The Games we Couldn’t Play
Fellas, was there any doubt in your mind that I am but a man, and a man is subject to the whims of the world he lives in? Is it moral for us to erect idols of who we admire — symbols of who they exist as, rather than who they are? Is it fair to make gods and demigods out of those, who, but for the Hand of Chaos, would have been as mediocre as you? And in this line of questioning, is it reasonable to even admire those who are better than you, rather than feel envy and hatred against them, lest you fail to improve yourself to match? Are we but men?
Basically what I’m saying is that I’ve been beat up by a sleeper agent toothache brought on by a cavity I’ve had for years and only now decided to act up. I have been sufficiently drugged to the point where I have about two hours before it starts bringing back its omnipresent dull, throbbing pain, and this is the only period of time I have before I’m back to whining like an abused dog and binge – watching anime in an attempt to get my mind off it. I absolutely despite the term “binge – watching” and the concept it describes, because it assumes that our prerogative as human beings is to mindlessly consume as much of other people’s corporate content as we can, so you can assume that right now I’m kind of fucked up.
So for the foreseeable future I don’t believe I’m in the proper mindset to properly review games. After all, it’s the Holiday Season, and what better gift to yourself than the gift of freedom from our mortal obligations? Well, money, mostly. A shit – ton of money. Like, a whole lot of money. Buy me things you peasants.
But, I have a few surprises for all of you coming up, with some big articles that will wrap up everything I’ve done with Kratzen in 2017, and provide more science and profit for all involved! There will be a big celebration at year’s end! I cam finally add index pictures for last month’s articles! I’ll catch up on my Itch.io backlog and piss developers off with my ignorant reviews! And I’ll finally have made enough bad opinions to make this desperate attempt at a hobby something worthwhile and not just a distraction from my crippling unemployability! I made ten bucks this year. TEN BUCKS.
So until the Winter Solstice comes and I get my holes plugged with plastic — the tooth hole, that is — I’ll be putting a moratorium on all the games in my backlog and spread the holiday cheer by reviewing a few better – known games that I really happen to like. I would post my games wishlist and see which one of you would be willing to buy me some artificially scarce, infinitely – reproducible, and copyright monopolised for – profit pieces of media in a vain attempt at feigning accomplishments in my otherwise unaccomplished life, but you won’t.
So instead of continually guilt – tripping you (FEEL GUILT. FEEL IT YOU RATS), allow me to show off those Itch.io games in my backlog that I didn’t get a chance to play this year. Nothing against any of you personally, it’s just that there are so many hours in the day I have in order to play all your crap titles — I mean wonderful titles — and I’ve spent all of those watching anime. I’m sure it would have been more germane to read your anime – styled visual novels, but… no.
Please note that I have no opinion whatsoever as to the quality of these titles, it’s just that because I’ve downloaded them, it’s because I thought they looked slightly better than complete wastes of time and energy or blatantly appealed to my obscure and fetishistic interests. This also does not guarantee that I’m going to review them, because they may very well be too short, too simple, be technically broken, or just didn’t make me give a heck. But if you want to follow these affiliate links that allow me to spy on you and make me a whopping zero dollars, be my guest! Just don’t be whinging now.
The Baby Box Games!
All of these are for Windows, which I hesitate to call an “operating system” in lieu of calling it a “mistake”, but all of these games are native to that mistake, and haven’t been immediately shitcanned for failing to work on Wine. Repeat the mantra of the Linux Gamer: No Tux, No Bux! No Tux, No Bux! No Tux, No Bux! Yes, you have to misspell “bucks”. Yes, I was going to pay for this crap.
Blue Omen Operation: I could tell from the outset that this game was going to be batshit insane. I downloaded this title before I played Heartbound, so I didn’t immediately look at this “Fast – Paced, Anime, Action RPG” title with revolt and revulsion, and instead thought based on the cover art it was going to be something ass – kickingly worth my while, much like how LISA is the only RPG worth your while in this hellish cultural landscape.
Also, apparently this game is being co – developed by Tumblr Artistman “inkerton – kun”? I regard that artist with the same place in my mind as Cuteosphere — which for those of you who are above this Tumblr – tier drama, are very talented and undeservedly popular artists with the personalities of Lord Dictator Erdoğan who believe that because they are popular they are too cool for their fucking fans. It’s one thing to be popular. It’s another thing to show so much disrespect to those who made you popular in the first place. That type of arrogance just makes me pissed off in all sorts of ways, and it’s something that I never, ever want to see happen with me.
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK: I could tell from the outset that this virtual magazine was going to be batshit insane. The difference is I also think the author of this novel is batshit insane because of rambling and barely – coherent description on the Itch.io project page, and also, just look at this shit! Look at it! Top marks for creativity there, but you also lose marks for making me very uncomfortable with what I’m seeing. Or maybe I should give you marks for that? Look, the marks don’t matter.
I didn’t pay it any mind despite consistently being one of the most popular projects on Itch.io, because that beefy 854MB filesize and overall denseness of… let’s just call it “art” for now… meant that I would have to recruit a research team with a $500,000 grant in order to get to the bottom of what this title is trying to say. I worry that it will be more of the same pseudo – artistic bullshit that I so often lambast, and that I will have wasted my time in trying to comprehend something that I’m not quite sure the artist themselves comprehend. So, if I do review it, I’ll have to consider it a critical philosophy stress test rather than as fun a time as, say, Gamma Bros.
Gum: I could gum from the outset that this gum was gum to be gum gum gum. This title was actually recommended to me as part of a Kratzen contest I did a while back where I gave away two Itch.io Select Bundles to two lucky winners who gave me different types of games to review! Of course only three people entered the contest and one of them got the bonus entry for following my Itch.io profile, so I feel bad for that one guy who was statistically likely to lose the contest. Sorry about that.
I don’t know what to make of this title. It’s got that eerie one – bit pixel art style that makes it really easy to draw because you don’t have to focus on colouring anything in a medium where colours are probably the single most important part of its construction, but at the same time looks gritty and engaging enough to offset my typical bias towards puzzle games, especially given what little I’ve played of it appears to have some bitchin’ sound design. There is also a Gum+ remake you can play if you have four dollars, but I don’t, so sad nya.
Hit The Motherlode, not to be confused with one of the all – time classic Flash games, Motherload (now with a sequel, Super Motherload!), is a one – bit Windows – only in – development clicker game featuring cute kobolds and was made by a furry and – or scalie developer OH DEAR. Their website features a wide variety of scalie artworks with only the occasional foray into salacious and titillating pornography DOUBLE DEAR. Also, they’re a Democratic Socialist TRIPLE DEAR WE’RE VOTING NDP BOYS.
I actually e – mailed the developer of this game prostituting myself for a Linux port of the game because I was on so much dumb I didn’t realise I could just run Wine on the git and make it work all gucci. As it turns out there were quite… n – n – n… nice. Whoa, holy fuck, a developer being nice to me? In 2017? I mean it was in April but, whew! I’m kidding, of course. It’s those cunt fans you have to worry about. Not you guys, obviously. You’re not cunts. Except for you, Adrian. That’s probably not your name, but I thought I would have gotten enough fans since the time I last stole that joke that it would apply to at least one of you.
Shout – outs to the “grep” command for helping me find that joke out of all 134 articles on Froghand. Yeah, let’s see Mistake users pull that sort of dark magic.
NNC News, with Tom Vandercar: This one was recommended to me from a country that has no freedom of speech, and so sending me messages required smuggling post – it notes in the lining of counterfeit cigarettes one sentence at a time in a version of English where all the Latin letterforms were replaced by Cyrillic. I pray for the soul of the brave soldier who still manages to read my bad opinions about video games in a climate that requires putting your head underwater in a washtub in order to view this site over dial – up and memorise all two thousand words per article in the three seconds it takes before the Ministry of Love takes you away for lacking sufficient Love. Also, if you’re reading this right now, I’m sorry. Not for anything in particular; just in general.
It’s a game where you play as the role of a government censor and have to arbitrarily decide which words will not make it to publication and then intercept them in real – time so the news anchor only ends up saying the correct version of events as you so deem it to be. So no different from my normal job, then! Wait. Pause. Forget I said anything.
The Second Thought, which is also named “Please, Don’t Touch Anything”, because the developers got into a slap fight over what to call it and ended up making a compromise that satisfies nobody and drives databases to drink. It’s a game featuring a button and some other buttons and you’re not supposed to press the button but you do anyway and that’s pretty much all there is to it so I’m just going to scamper along because I have twelve other games to write about and I can already feel the drugs wearing off oh merciful chaos end this misery.
The Real Man’s Games!
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen (also enbyfriends if you’re still out there and haven’t abandoned me for being Racist), it’s time for the Salty Spittoon of operating systems, where we graduate from Weenie Hut Jr. and into the throes of the OS that will kick your ass and not even apologise for doing so. As they say in Gentoo: “cfdisk /dev/hda && mkfs.xfs /dev/hda1 && mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/gentoo/ && chroot /mnt/gentoo/ && env – update && . /etc/profile && emerge sync && cd /usr/portage && scripts/bootsrap.sh && emerge system && emerge vim && vi /etc/fstab && emerge gentoo – dev – sources && cd /usr/src/linux && make menuconfig && make install modules_install && emerge gnome mozilla – firefox openoffice && emerge grub && cp /boot/grub/grub.conf.sample /boot/grub/grub.conf && vi /boot/grub/grub.conf && grub && init 6”.
Also, the guide to installing Gentoo is 23,750 words long, and if that isn’t an indication of everything wrong with Gentoo, I don’t know what is.
Claire Chase: Love [KA – CHER POW!] Struck, the sound effects in the middle being how I choose to interpret the thunder bolt emoji which is canonically a part of its name and I refuse to believe otherwise, was commented on by Queen of the Lesbians NomNomNami as being a lovely game. Despite being in competition with her for King of the Gays, a title which is being scooped up by Brianna Lei because of her b – b – bisexual propaganda, I trust her enough to give this GAY novel a shot. Also, Laura is my type, too. You can’t have her, Claire!
Die Totenmaske: Coming out of that PUSSY shit, we got a game that’s manly as FUCK, as with any game that has its title in German. This one looks like it’s in cahoots with Tales of Game’s Studios Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa for the RPG that is most going to FUCK your shit up. We got guns, we got gas masks, we got badass characters, we got tragic dialogue, and we got an art style that will make you forget you even have eyes. At least, I hope so. It’s entirely possible the game download is Barney’s Hide & Seek.
Floret Bond: Nope! Guess who’s back on that gay shit mutherfuckaaaaaa! Seeing this project page is like punching me in the gut and making me suck down a glass of milk to shove his bones back into place. Fantasy creatures. A storybook art style. Flowers. Polyamorous relationships. A visual novel that’s more than just a novel. This demo looks like it has it all, like it’s the type of cultural milestone that’s released only once in a lifetime and you’ll feel like a better person for having experienced it. I sure hope so at least. I hope they don’t fuck it all uuuuuuuup!
Lieve Oma: Oh, no. Ay, dios mios! I should have never used my Press Pass to get a free copy of this game, because it looks completely opposite from everything I usually enjoy and I’m going to have to review this thing lest I be peer pressured into resigning my ultimately insignificant position of power! Atmospheric adventure games are not even close to being my bag; at best they’re just a worse novel, and at worse they’re even more boring than one. But this game was in the Selects Bundle, so it can’t be that bad, right? Also, environmental sims are different from walking simulators. For the first genre, the point is the environment you’re in. In the second genre, it’s just a bootleg audiobook; compare, for instance, the brilliant The Beginner’s Guide and the snoozefest Gone Home.
Love, Money, Rock ’n’ Roll: I’m just going to say it: THANK YOU, RUSSIAN BASTARDS! You may be weeaboos living in a totalitarian dictatorship that scoops up whatever nearby countries it can get away with without pissing off anybody important, but look: anime! Animations! Animated anime! This novel looks professional as all hell, and seeing it with a blog that’s both active and dedicated to seeing the game through to a full release? That’s a good sign of things to come. It certainly is a sign of German discipline to work so hard without so much complaint. Oh, I was talking about Russia? Well, they’re pretty much the same country, at least in 1939.
Mewnbase: Yeah, uhh… aah… comically deep breath through teeth… I’m just here for the cats. This one’s also in the Selects Bundle, which I also got to ignore because of my Press Account, and is also in active development as an early access survival base management game QUADRUPLE DEAR. I’ll try not to piss off the Itch.io staff by screwing them over a whopping ten dollars that I already paid for twice over in the contest I held, so I won’t bring up how I spent two hundred dollars on their direct competitor GOG on games that were available on Itch.io and would have donated a significant portion of the profits to funding their infrastructure. Wait. Pause. Forget I said anything.
POST/CAPITALISM: Hey, hey! Thanks to a socialist propagandist such as yours truly spreading the good word about our post – scarcity utopia, I’ve been able to find such accurate representations of what such an system would look like in the future and holy shit this comments section is an absolute shitshow. I think the moment you have people posting 3,200 word responses on an Itch.io page, and other people posting 4,000 word responses so massive they have to split them up into two comments (my response was a 16 word advertisement for my blog) you know it’s going to be a good title. My apologies to the nobody known as “AnnoyedDragon”, but if your biggest contribution to literature comes from an Itch.io comment on a video game brigaded by socialists, I’m not sure if you’re somebody who has earned the privilege to be listened to.
Angels with Scaly Wings: Wee woo, wee woo! Meme alert, meme alert! The world of furry visual novels (or in this case, scalies — what’s with all the scaly media in this post?) is vast, wondrous, and mostly made of terrible titles that you buy for people as a joke, and in this case I got it from the Press Account program (which is really doing me wonders!). When I first asked my frog friend if she wanted to read it, she said: “did you really just ask me that question”. And then we laughed at all the screenshots and character design choices, one of whose colour palettes I likened to leaving a jar of jizz on the radiator for too long.
I think my favourite quote about joke gifts comes from Rev from Vinesauce: “Someone gifted me [Major/Minor], and I’m not going to say their name, because either, A: they don’t want to probably be linked to this — which is fair enough, they wanted to get away with it, like robbing a 7/11. I understand. Or, alternatively, they got some sort of sick pleasure out of giving me this game. Let me tell you: there are two types of people in this world. There are the type of people that give you a game like Major/Minor — the visual novel for furries — , and then there are the type of people who give you Rimworld. I got both on the same day from two different people. Rimworld is sort of like Dwarf Fortress with better graphics and less depth. And then there’s this, which is not good at either of those things”.
So basically if you gift somebody a meme game for furries, you’re not only competing against everyone who spent the money to give them something they’ll actually enjoy, you’re actively causing a detriment to their life by forcing them to possess a title like Major/Minor. I’m not saying that Angels with Scaly Wings (great name, by the way) is as bad, or is going to be as bad, as Major/Minor. But come on. What are you expecting with a novel like Angels with Scaly Wings?
Tunnel Vision: “I AM THE LESBIAN QUEEN” — Nami, probably. I shouldn’t have made that joke earlier in the article so I could make this Simpsons reference even funnier rather than just a stale approximation of actual humour with an actually well – timed delivery in an absurd scenario as what existed in the classic Simpsons episode, “Selma’s Choice”, fourth season, episode thirteen, 1993 – 01 – 23. Patty and Selma: the two best characters on the show. Yeah, fight me.
Unfortunately I am unable to make a joke about the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality, because Nami is a yuri artist instead of a yaoi artist, and unfortunately only certain types of gayness are accepted by the heterosexual majority, mostly that which men may jack off to despite completely trivialising the experiences of gay women. Though I guess it doesn’t really matter much, given how all of Nami’s characters are just really good friends pffft hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.
VA – 11 HALL – A, pronounced “VEE EH ELEVEN HALL AH” because this game doesn’t seem to have anything to do whatsoever with the ancient Norse mythos of Valhalla despite being as fictional, is a game you all know so I’m not writing any more. I also got this one for free. Yeah, take that lying down, “Sukeban Games” — or should I say… Succeban.
OH GOD THEY DID WEAR OFF ARGHHH