Proudly presents…

The Real 2017 Awards

with ♥ from Froge


You know the last article where I gave out a bunch of awards to indie games and then praised them really highly and also didn’t praise some because they were really bad and insulted me on a physical, visceral level? Yeah, that was a pretty good article.

But you all know I’m not one to be satisfied with just “good”, despite saying several times that even getting a good ranking on this website is a sign that you’re a creator of such monstrous talent that you’re able to satisfy the hellishly arbitrary and ultimately meaningless tastes of someone who unironically chose to name themselves “Froge”. So I’m just going to come out and say it: ladies and gentlemen, I’m bi. Hahaha, I’m just fucking with you. But really, I am. I need to say it all the time because otherwise my identity would be erased. More than usual.

Alright time for the real shit. All those games I gave awards to last time? I’m taking them the FUCK away. All of you are fake games, none of you have developed any Graphics, and you don’t even begin to approach the bare minimum of a fifty hour main storyline with hundreds of unique and varied sidequests all fully voice – acted with an open world sandbox with every metre filled with dozens of collectibles all tying into a twenty – hour post – game sequence that finally reveals that the main character of the game was gay all along. Because, as we all know, sexuality is meant to be hidden.

I’ve come to a realisation about indie games over the past ten months or so: they’re all shiiiiiiiiiiiit. That’s why here at Kratzen we are totally changing the infrastructure of the whole operation, we’re no longer doing any indie games on that garbage fire, and we’re only reviewing the NEWEST and the HOTTEST games to come out from my favourite console manufacturers: Microsoft and Ouya. And you know what, I’ve changed my mind about Super Mario Odyssey: I’m giving it the Kratzen Best Game Of All Time And Also 2017 Fuck Gamma Bros Award Baybeeeeee! Now, I may not have played Super Homer’s Odyssey, but that means I’ll just give it more awards once I do! By the way Nintendo, you said my bribe money would be in my account by this week? Well, it’s this week. Don’t make me write you an angry letter. You won’t like me when I’m angry.

So allow me to present, without further delay, The Real 2017 Awards! Once again none of these games came out in 2017 and I didn’t bother to prepare the obligatory letter bombs for the recipients, but the developers of whatever dead PS2 – era franchise I felt the need to shill on this blog nobody reads can raid their local Gamestop bargain bins and slap a sticker of my face on all the boxes. I mean, if they want to that is.

#10: Minecraft

That’s it, we’re pulling out the BIG GUNS for this list, and we’re putting on my favourite game of all time on this list: Undertale 2 for the XBOXONEX! Sorry, I mixed up my “best games” cue cards with the “read these instructions carefully: you have forty seconds before the explosives will (FLIP OVER)” cue cards. I meant to say, “my favourite game of all time is Minecraft in 4K for the Microsoft Xbox One X, the most flip over… powerful video games console in the world”! I was supposed to give some sort of hand signal after that line, but given those bombs were manufactured using quality Microsoft design philosophies, they’re probably stuck in a forced update.

Minecraft can be divided into three distinct versions. All the other ones are shams, like those Chinese bootleg MOBAs that feature Shrek in place of (looks up random League of Legends hero) Anti – Mage. The first one is Beta 1.7.3., which was Minecraft at its most theoretically “pure”. There was no Creative mode, no faulty aspirations of an ending, and best of all: no dipshit hunger mechanics that make you sit down in one place and farm bread like a Texas farmer taking a break from fucking his daughter. The second one is version 1.2.5, which added in a lot of the good shit you’ve gotten used to since the Beta, but without the decision to make the game engine as stable as a pile of sticks by making your single – player game run as a multiplayer server. And then there’s the most recent version. I don’t… I don’t even know. It’s been too long. Read the damn wiki if you’re interested.

Although Minecraft has been turned into a meme by — hold on let me check the data here — absolutely everybody, it is unlike the ironic fandoms that surround Undertale and Five Night at Fazbear’s in that Minecraft is good. It’s got that sort of numbing stimulation where you put a lot of effort performing repetitive tasks like mining and placing blocks, but unlike so many other games, you can reap the benefits of your efforts by building a floating death fortress with an automatic hyperloop system that all ends up going to pot the instant you uninstall Minecraft because it’s all you ever play and it’s ruining your fucking life. Given you can take shelter in a 4x4 hole in the ground and have it be more effective than any death fortress for gameplay purposes, I’m not sure if Minecraft is even a well – designed game. Perhaps it should be interpreted more as a set of toys. Or a modern art installation.

#9: Kirby’s Dream Course

This game was recommended to me — or rather forced onto me — by a good friend of mine, who happens to be my only friend as of late and so I’m forced to give her these sorts of tithes lest I end up not only being a neckbeard NEET living in his mother’s basement, but a neckbeard NEET living in his mother’s basement but also without an anime girlfriend. I mean a friend who’s a girl, as straight ladies confusingly call each other and making me disappointed that we aren’t all lesbians — except for the fellows, who have to be garden – variety fags. I could never date her, because she violates my two rules of relationships: one, furries only. Two, no straight chicks. Sadly it’s the second part that I have the most trouble with. All the good girls are either taken or gay!

Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Actually, no, don’t stop me, because it’s my bloody website and you’re going to bloody well listen to what I have to say for the next six thousand words. But listen: Kirby Golf. It’s Golf, but with Kirby. Now, you think of these two words individually, and you get two dumbass ideas that only work because of rich white men who have nothing better to do with their time than play these types of games. But combine them, and you get one of the most fucked – up video game golf experiences that has ever been brought to the light of day. Remember that Gummy Bears Minigolf TAS where 80% of the video is loading screens? That was fucked up. But Kirby’s Dream course is a different type of fucked up.

This is not a game you give to your children. This is a game that you give to two college frat bros, make them bet five bucks on the game, and watch them slowly deteriorate as they grow increasingly desperate in the war of attrition that this game ends up creating, where you’re desperately trying to scrape by the last of your points and fuck over your opposition by any means necessary, all while your enemy does it right back at you the very next round, until one of you gives up and just putts it in the damn hole already. This game has the most physics. It has the most graphics. It has the most bullshit isometric viewpoint of any video game. It is therefore the perfect game to settle all your beef with, even better than Smash Brothers, and I eagerly await the formation of a Kirby’s Dream Course eSports league.

#8: Super Mario Galaxy 2

You know that realisation when you’re playing a Nintendo game, say Super Mario Galaxy, and you just think to yourself: “Come on, this is a baby game. Am I really getting suckered in by this piece – of – shit video game built for children who are so damn privileged their parents can afford to buy them the newest toys every month instead of having to grind the same ones because their parents are $30,000 in debt living out of a trailer park”? Maybe not that last half, but every Gamer gets to a point in their long and fruitful career where they think: “Damn, maybe I should cut out the kiddie stuff”.

It is therefore that Big Papa Nintendo overheard the wailing cry of their underachieving fanbase, furrowed his brow at this insult to his intelligence, rolled up his sleeves, and promptly produced a game that’s so infantile and low – effort that they have literal in – game videos demonstrating the techniques we should use to get past the simplistic and unoriginal platforming challenges before us, as if we couldn’t figure out that we should use a long jump to get past the long chasm. Oh, Nintendo… was the point to make it even more embarrassing to be a Nintendo fan? I didn’t think that was possible, but there you were, releasing this $60 level pack, and yet still assuming I didn’t know how to press the big shiny button that makes Mario do the big jump.

I had the misfortune of playing this game after playing the wonderful Super Mario Galaxy, under the naïve assumption that Nintendo has any inclination of making good games for brands that will still sell millions upon millions of copies so long as it features the right easily – marketable milquetoast and personality – void vaguely – Japanese archetypal hero on it — or for Pokémon, a fucking clown seal. I felt insulted with this title. I felt like it was a banal waste of my time. I didn’t even feel all that challenged with this alleged video game. It is therefore that I can only name it the eighth best game of 2017, and I hope it’s proud of itself for not being placed #9.

#7: Kirby’s Adventure

Alright, now this is a real baby game. A quivering pink ball of flesh and holes giving bad guys the succ and going through pastel candy lands while fighting a squad of rejected one – dimension mascot OCs? What’s there to redeem this failed franchise? Why are there so many abilities? Why is the movement so varied and fast – paced? Why are the graphics so advanced for the NES? How did they do those 3D tower effects? When did they make all these animations for all these enemies? Who programmed all these mini – games? How come I keep dying all the time? What’s with the space shooter at the end? Why were there only seven worlds and I was left with the bittersweet realisation that the game had ended and I was both simultaneously satisfied and upset that I had gotten through all of — OH DEAR.

It’s always a horrifying realisation that what you’re playing is actually a good game. But this is less a good game than it is a miracle product. The forces at work should not have come together and produced a video game of this calibre for a console as stilted and hellish to develop for as the NES — and all of this well into the SNES’s lifespan in 1993. The idea that a game with this much variety, this much entertainment, and this much replayability, all of which designed as tightly as a drum and with scruples — and it does have scruples, such as some of the abilities being broken as hell — small enough to forgive, could only come as a result of competence and talent that simply should not exist in an industry as hellish, protectionist, and ratfucking cutthroat as that of gaming.

Inspiration comes from looking at work you like and seeing what aspects of it to appropriate wholesale for your very own work — with the end result hopefully being something that you can get away with for long enough before some snarky games journalist comes along and realises that your game, let’s call it Heartbound, shares a striking resemblance to that one indie game that came out around 2015 two years ago. What was it? Ah, of course, Hotline Miami 2. But there is so much to appreciate with Kirby’s Adventure, so much to dive into with all that it does, that you really can’t take inspiration from it, because everyone will know at an instant that you took ideas from it. A Kirby game is shaped like a Kirby game, and it will always resemble itself. Perhaps it is a sign of the finest form of art that it is impossible to ever truly copy, no matter how much we want to.

#6: Rogue Legacy

I don’t know if I can even consider this game “fun”, but given how I spent twelve hours into this game having finished it six times, only stopping when the enemies became too tough to defeat even after maxing out every upgrade on every stat tree and getting every piece of equipment, I think that I had a good time with it, even if it does fall into the “ruining your fucking life” type of game where it’s easy to pick up but hard to put down, encouraging a bigass save file through unlocking everything the game has to offer, before finding that you need to be a Spellsword with maximum magic damage in order to even kill anything. Seriously, the Spellsword is fucking broken. It’s like playing as an overpowered joke character you get after beating a fighting game, only unlocked ninety minutes in.

I could talk about this game’s mechanics all day long, like I was some sort of games critic or something. But you know, the only thing I need to say is this: Rogue Legacy is the only good roguelike I’ve ever played. There, I’ve said it! It’s a good game, it’s got a super simple combat system that’s a cross between a bullet hell, a dungeon crawler, and a platformer all – in – one, and all of these ideas form to create a game I just sit back and admire for how easy it is to enjoy, and yet how much there is to learn about the way all the enemies interact and move so that you can avoid their attacks and last just a little bit longer before your current hero dies and you have to spend all your gold pimping out your new hero so you can kick some ass just a little bit better on the next go.

All the classes work well, and all are overpowered depending on the stage of the game, like how the waves of the ocean gain in height depending on the time of day. They’re all specialised to the point of being absurdly powerful in their fields, and taking advantage of their fields depends on what stage of the game you’re in — like how you abuse the big – ass damage Hokage in the early game but have to crutch on the Archmage later on to snipe enemies before they snipe you. There may be a bit of a balance issue in this respect, and some equipment and powers are worthless compared to what other options there are (like how the “time stop” spell makes bosses a complete joke). But it’s despite all these flaws that for the time I spent with Rogue Legacy, it was a fun game. In an age where so many games are not fun, I think this is a virtue we should enjoy a lot more.

#5: James Bond 007: Nightfire

Alright now that we’ve gotten past the shitty games, let’s bring out the real games for this Best of 2017 list of games that had like one that came out that year. Right after I shill this absolute classic: James Bond 007: Nightfire! I originally though of disqualifying this title because it has a bad case of colon cancer and giving it the extra attention may cause it to burst from its title and spurt blood all over my website, but I’ve already paid the maid goblin his salary of shiny rocks and bits of old bread crumbs, so I might as well throw this one on here. Also I don’t even know if I’ve played ten games last year, given how most mainstream games are kind of shit.

There are only three James Bond games worth giving two hecks and a smeck about: the first one is the one we all know about: Goldeneye 007 for the Wii, baby! Sadly this masterpiece of a first person shooter, having redefined not only the genres of shooter games, multiplayer games, and licensed movie tie – ins, but also the entire medium of console gaming and everything that has come before it, has been vastly overshadowed by its far worse progenitor, Goldeneye 007 for the N64. Just an awful, cash – grab licensed game that ran at five frames per second at the time of its release, had controls that were bad even considering its controller, and on top of this all featured graphics that look at home on the PlayStation instead of what was allegedly Nintendo’s most powerful console. A disgusting, unplayable mess, and I pity those who consider it a good title.

And you all know what the third one is: Goldeneye: Rogue Agent! You know what, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t even joke about that. I mean Goldeneye Nightfire: 7 James Bonds! It features like six good levels and all the rest are boring pieces of trite like water levels where you move at three kilometres an hour in a straight line, on – rails turret sections where you shoot at enemies so telegraphed that you could shoot them before they come on screen, and driving missions where all you have to do is launch missiles and all the other guys just fucking explode. The multiplayer isn’t even that good; it’s got a lot of variety in how you can set it up, making feel a lot like the original Goldeneye, but the shooting and damage mechanics are so rudimentary that it’s more of a distraction than a competitive game. Why did I put this on here? Oh, right, I ran out of games to write about.

#4: Super Mario Maker

Yeah, it was alright.

#4.1: Super Mario World

I already talked about Mario Maker! Geez, what more do you want from me?

Just write the damn review

Okay so Super Mario World is a kind of good Mario game that features you going from point A to point B in a series of increasingly bizarre and fetishistic mannerisms and I think we can all agree that’s ultimately a good thing. The End.

More seriously, I picked up this game a few months ago to speedrun. I then dropped a few weeks later after I realised how ultimately futile the hobby was, considering how speedrunners are a class of people who will play literally the same game for years on end for the sole purpose of having a time that’s higher than everybody else’s time in the whole wide world for the sole purpose of saying their time is higher. It was a fun speedgame (“speedgame” apparently being a real noun in 2017), and doesn’t take much memorisation at all for the 11 exit glitchless category, although it still suffered from the Curse of Competition in that assigning numbers to how fast you’re going means that it’s less about the fun of mastering the game and more about trying desperately to one – up some white dude who has put in far more time into it than anybody has putting into any video game, and so I just lost interest.

If you haven’t played Super Mario World because I keep shitting on the Mario franchise slash shilling for and writing entire books about the Mario franchise complete with custom level packs, it’s pretty much as good as you would expect from a SNES launch title. The physics aren’t as wonky as they initially seem once you put an hour into learning them (whether that’s acceptable design or self – inflicted Stockholm Syndrome is up to you), and though it’s frustrating as hell to press the jump button one frame early and plummet to your death because the game has no concept of an “input buffer”, it’s mitigable in casual play, so long as you’re one of those dirty peasants who play games for fun, and not because you want to become the 354th best Super Mario World player in the known universe.

Although if you’re reading this obscure indie games website written by some random asshole where the main consumer of his own opinions is himself, you already know that Super Mario World is a somewhat decent title because Nintendo fans suffer the same object impermanence syndrome that three – year – olds suffer from in that if they don’t talk about the games that the Council of Unpaid Shills have decreed to be one of the best of all time despite having nowhere near the depth of experience and artful prose as a real critic like yours truly. I got paid nine bucks for my bad opinions! How much are yours worth?

#3: The Simpsons: Hit & Run

You know that really good cartoon that was one of the most incisive and funniest television shows ever created for like eight years and then it turned to shit for ten more before eventually becoming a collection of nonsensical fanservice – stringing events where not even the one or two good jokes per episode can go unscathed before being run into the ground faster than — well, The Simpsons itself? It turns out it had some video games attached, because gaming and corporate evil get along together like conservatives and shutting down the fucking United States government! What the fuck even is that country?

But wait! There’s always a faint glimmer of hope when it comes to dead brands coming back to life and — okay, no there isn’t. Mario never really died, he just went into a coma for nine years while you all bought whatever was marketed the hardest and pretended it was good out of cognitive dissonance, before springing back to life with Super Nipple Odyssey, which was so ball – shrinkingly amazing you not only forgave that near – decade worth of generic prolefeed, but it’ll give you an excuse to buy the next decade of generic prolefeed as well! Don’t think I’ve ignored the news: Nintendo’s charging $70 for cardboard. For fucking cardboard! And you fucks will buy it, too!

I bring up Mario because it proves that there’s a light at every tunnel, even if it’s the last dying breath of a firefly before falling to the ground and getting stepped on. Even in Zombie Simpsons, there were two great things to come out of Hell: The Simpsons Movie, which had a nonsensical plot, token one – off characters, a complete disregard for their audience built up over decades, characters that remain blatantly misinterpreted caricature of their hollow shells, and like three or four good lines in a ninety – minute movie… Okay, maybe it wasn’t that good. The second one is The Simpsons: Hit & Run! I’m out of space, so just read the Wikipedia article or something.

#2: Cuphead

Okay, now that we got the shitty games out of the way, it’s time to talk about the Big Boys of gaming. I would like to form an opinion about Cuphead, but unfortunately I am unable to due to the sewer rats that come out every night biting at my ankles having injected a virus into my veins that makes me think that Cuphead is one of the greatest video games of all time and worthy of nothing more than undying and never – ending praise lest my brain collapse and turn me into one of those zombies with the unending need to go out and buy magic boxes that make flashing lights and pretty colours. Although the cure for Insufferable Fuckwit Disease is as cheap and easy as going to a library and reading a behavioural economics book, which describes in exacting detail why every portion of our modern world is designed to separate you from your hard – earned money that you think you would use to buy your next fucking meal, the tragic part of IFD is that most of its victims suffer from a degeneration in the language – processing centers of the brain, which explains why everything they type is nonsensical, repetitive, and is created only to reaffirm their pointless, fleeting, existence.

I played Cuphead, unlike the nine other games on this list, and I’ll admit it. Sometimes a popular game can be good. It’s funny how it happened: all I could play is a baby box Windows port bootlegged from a Russian hacker selling video games out of his car trunk on a blank DVD with a label written in Cyrillic from one of those magic markers you get out of those colouring books where you rub a white sheet of paper and the colours pop up and blow your fucking mind. Also, what’s with all the fucking profanity in this article? I thought this was supposed to be a kid – friendly site! That’s why it’s all propaganda — if you brainwash them while they’re young, the little shits won’t complain!

Cuphead is interesting in that some bosses take fifty tries to complete, some you can finish on the first try, and all of them are weak to the Charge Shot by virtue of being the most broken weapon in the game, and if you don’t equip it then you’ve stopped playing Cuphead and started playing Dipshit. By the end of the game, after you’ve finished “expert” mode, it pretty much becomes a baby game, where you have been attuned to the whims of the world, and you can clean house without issue every time. It’s in this respect that although it’s a fun and challenging ride while it starts, you don’t know what to do by the time you’ve reached the end and everything is easy, so you just meander around for a bit before quitting everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve, in an allegory for what happened to the Cuphead developers after their cheques cleared and never have to work another day in their lives.

Gamers: stop treating indie developers like they’re precious little lambs who need to be protected by the Big Bad AAA sector. These are not teenaged artists making visual novels for fun and education. Indie studios are made of capitalist businessmen who exist solely to produce a profitable project and will gladly take whatever compromises they need to in order to create a game that’s going to make them able to pay all their employees at the end of the week. This isn’t malice; this is just a fact of business that profit is the bottom line, damn the art. But they are not who you need to give your money to. The Cuphead developers are millionaires. That’s more money than what’s good for anybody.

If you’re going to pay for a game, don’t give it to these New Money studios who were lucky enough to get rich in an oversaturated market. Give it to the struggling college student with a $20,000 debt working a part time job to pay off their bum degree. Give it to the high school graduate with abusive parents who needs to get the fuck out of their household as soon as possible. Give it to someone who just lost their health insurance and needs their $600 – a – bottle medication before they die of a brain hemorrhage. I’m not saying the Cuphead developers are bad people. I’m saying they’ve already made their money, and they don’t need any more. Capitalism is a system where you are either ruled or are ruling: the top 1% figure out how to exploit the 99%, and the 99% are forced to accept this. So stop giving money to your rulers. If you don’t want to be abused, donate to causes that deserve it.

#1: Quake

Alright, enough fucking around. Ignore all those shitty games I’ve just mentioned, because now we’re getting into the Real Game of 2017: that’s right, it’s muhhfuckin’ Quake, baby! This game needs no introduction. For one, I’ve mentioned it fifteen times on this website alone, so shame on you for not keeping up with the Froge lore. For two, it’s fucking Quake! This isn’t one of those shitty games like Earthbound and Final Fantasy where everybody insists it’s the most amazing thing in the world, no really guys it’s so fucking great you have to play it, even though 80% of the game communicates in cutscenes and throws the whole “game” part out of the window. Really, JRPGs were just visual novels before we knew the proper term for them. Quake kicks so much ass and is responsible for so many games that came after it that it’s basically Genghis Khan.

Quake is too good of a game for our mortal minds, and yet its brilliance is so simple in its construction that it’s amazing that more games don’t just copy it wholesale. When every shitty sub – AAA game out there was ripping off Call of Duty in the late 2000s, those few that chose to rip off Quake instead were like a fresh oasis in a desert. The progression of the game is obvious: go through the levels, get to the end, and shoot everything. The gameplay involves running around attacks and shooting enemies with the most powerful guns you got, nothing more, nothing less. And though the looks of the maps are just a bunch of brown, Medieval castles punctuated by out – of – place military bases, when you combine it with the crushing mechanical music made by Nine Inch Nails of all bands, it leads to an unforgettable series of levels that have that just – right balance of being explorable while avoiding the tedium of exploration. There’s not an element out of place, and although this has already been held up so much as quite possibly the greatest first – person – shooter of all time, when you’re getting that same judgement from yours truly, then the universe has aligned to produce something damn good, indeed.

Jim Sterling recently said that he would make every single up – and – coming game developer finish off Nier: Automata not just once, not just twice, but six bloody times to get through every single ending, so that they can fully appreciate a game that he praises as such: “If history forgets this game… then FUCK. HISTORY”. Personally? I’d give them all a copy of Quake, make them play through on Hard mode to the very end (and not Nightmare mode, which is kind of boring) without any quicksaves or quickloads, and show them what it means to have a game that’s actually bloody fun: no bullshit story. No wasted weapons. No extraneous map details that don’t serve the overall gameplay. And no overdesigned enemies that were made for the designer’s portfolio rather than the player’s enjoyment. This is a minimalist game that is a game in its purest form, and if someone manages to top it? Then may our world devolve into a black hole, and may we be the first to be go.

#0: Tales of Game’s Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa

Ahhh shit, you done fucked up now! You fucked up for thinking you could compete with Tales of Game’s Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa! Forget all those pieces of shit, I’m giving Tales of Game’s Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa the highest possible award I could ever give on Kratzen: The Kratzen Super Star Ultra Omega Best Super Mario Odyssey 2 Game Of All Time Über Alpha Extreme XXX Mega Top Dog It’s Better Than Undertale And Basically You’re A Fucking Idiot If You Think This Shit Didn’t Come Out In 2017 Electric Boogaloo Deluxe Remastered Rewritten Reloaded Also Fuck Gamma Bros Award Baybeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Honourable Mentions

LISA is pretty good.


Now that you’ve read the entirety of this 6,000 word article, I can make some conclusions about me as a Gamer, which I know you all read because you are all very intelligent people who can sit down for ten minutes instead of immediately seeing me make fun of Nintendo in my typical farcical manner and then close out of the browser tab because I made you upset. Look, fellas, I’m sorry I don’t gel with your corporate – owned culture! I would be okay with it if I was ninety years old and the final death blow to their copyright monopoly was finally dealt after The Illuminati declared a New World Order and appropriated all copyright for the good of Fellow Stonecutters. But by that point you’d all be dead, so I win by default.

For one thing, it turns out that Froge is — gasp! — in actuality a Fake Gamer! What are these Games? Minecraft? Super Mario World? Tales of Game’s Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa? Where are the Real Games for Real Gamers at! Where’s the obscure Japan – only PlayStation video games, the classic fighting games where you have to do a waveslide nojohns so you can supershine the gentleman’s spacey infinite Sakurai angle, and the ultra – hardcore 100 – unit – production – run arcade games where you move to the right and shoot some guys and more guys come from the right so you shoot them until you shoot a bigger guy at the most right the screen will allow?

For two, it looks like Froge hasn’t even played that many games whatsoever! Is the Linux Baby Box too little to get ports of any recent titles like (looks up random PC game) Lego City Undercover? Is Froge too busy in his highfalutin job as a Professional NEET to play the latest and greatest games, and so he has to throw on a sham end – of – year roundup three weeks late to justify his awful opinions about awful games? Is he so technologically – illiterate that he doesn’t even bother to pick up the newest games consoles so he can spend even more of his time in devotion to the Dedicated Fun Box, instead choosing not to have as much Fun as all the Real Gamers out there?

All these questions I ask in jest, of course. This might blow your fucking mind, but gaming is hardly even my main hobby these days. Most of my time is still spent in front of the Linux Baby Box, though reading online articles like on Wikipedia, watching anime and analysis videos, scrubbing through Fur Affinity to spot fine work, and enjoying the occasional stupid pleasure as I write these articles inbetween all of that. The nature of the online world, with so much out there and so little time in the day, means that I hardly notice the time pass from dusk to dawn, and though I am assuredly more learned at the end of every day, I still feel more satisfaction out of doing things like writing than I do not doing things like nothing.

When I take my other hobbies into account, like working out, learning to draw, reading regular old books (almost entirely nonfiction nowadays; most authors are just not good enough to read fiction of), hitting the town to window – shop for things that could be useful to me, and even a bit of experimental piano when the mood hits me. Looking at my life from a birds – eye view shows that it is mundane in many respects, the only evidence of what I have done for the world being the work that you see before you now. But I am a Stoic, and I have experimented with mindless pleasures through my entire teenage years. It does not last. I have become satisfied with being satisfied, for although my life is simple, I enjoy it all the same, and I am at peace. And what, after all, is better than peace?

It is therefore that I do not feel the same impulses that so many other people feel, such as feeling the need to play the hippest and most popular video games, before two years pass and there is another set of hip games I must play to be with the times. I do not need to buy a console when I can simply wait a decade for emulation to come instead, and having to outfit my home specifically for a console — such as buying a TV, a stand, a couch, a shelf, a table, and the labour and money necessary to get these things into my house for what is such a small part of my overall life — is not something I’m interested in at all. More stuff complicates living, and the desire for more stuff makes for a far worse life than having no desire at all. Other people can make their lives worse for the sake of instant gratitude. That’s their choice. But it is not mine, and I do not make this choice.

The eternal rat race of demanding more entertainment, more stimulation, and more consumer stuff every single month creates a cycle of hedonism that distracts one from what should be the main goal of living: making yourself a useful human being. Whether that be having insightful opinions, being a role model for someone you love, being the best at whatever job you find yourself doing, or creating beautiful art that inspires awe in your audience, it is the obligation of every human being to be the best person they can be, and use those skills to make life better for fellow man. Consuming petty pleasures does not help with any of these goals, and falling victim to it because everybody else is a victim is a silly and short – sighted thing to do.

I don’t play games because I have an obligation to please a theoretical audience who thinks I would be a better critic if only I played such and such, or that my commentary would be more relevant if I discussed only games from 2017 rather than 1996. The only connection between the games that I feature on this website, whether it be in jestuous articles as this or in serious reviews such as Starlit Flowers, is that at some point in time I was interested in what they had to offer, and at a later point in time I decided to play them. That is all.

There is no notion of keeping up with the times, no incentive to get into the race to the bottom that every other games site out there finds themselves in, and no obligation to make my life substantially less peaceful for the sake of some arbitrary cultural obligation that won’t matter in five weeks away. And if it won’t matter in five weeks, don’t spend more than five minutes of your time devoted to the subject. I never play something because I feel I have to — I play it because I want to have a better understanding of games in general and to develop my philosophy of what I think games should strive to be. And sometimes, Chaos Forbid, I play a game because I think it’ll be fun.

I only played Cuphead because I saw a lot of gameplay footage over the months and though it would be a good game. And it actually was a good game, even if its enjoyment ran out over ten or so hours. I’d like to play Super Mario Odyssey to develop my own opinion of the title and have a more even – headed viewpoint of what is supposedly One Of The Greatest Games Ever Made. Heck, I’d even play Breath of the Wild, even though I usually hate Zelda games.

But are both of these titles worth the $399 Switch price, and the $80 price on new copies on both of those games, and the $90 Pro Controller that I’ll be forced to use because of the Joy – Cons being fucked up, and sacrificing the space to keep this giant lump of plastic in a safe and easily – accessible manner along with the controllers, charging station, and game cases, all without disturbing what limited possessions I have, and live with the knowledge that all of this money is going to an evil and monopolistic company that has based its entire business on systemically fucking over customers and treating their $650 investment (before 15% sales tax) like it’s being rented to them instead of being bought and owned by a customer who paid for it with their hard – earned cash? I don’t fucking think so.

And it’s not even like I can’t afford it. I could plop down a thousand bucks at the Best Buy counter along with some other crap I don’t need, and I’d still have more money saved than any of my family or friends. But the idea that I’m paying to make my life worse, like eating fast food every week and shoving cholesterol in your veins, is so ignorant to me that I revolt a little at the thought, as if I had a crippling fear of both happiness and money. My time is already so limited and there’s so much interesting stuff out there to see and experience that my having to pay hundreds of dollars to take away that time and experience is just plain wrong to me. What do I get out of this? Some snarky comments on some video games that you’ve already made up your mind about anyway? If I wanted to blow a thousand bucks I’d give it to my PC instead! At least then I’d be able to run Unity games.

In sum, all of these games are old, and although I’ve played many more old games, these were the only ones that were somewhat passable in my eyes. One of the downsides of Kratzen is that I don’t get any days where I can rail on beloved titles like Sonic 3 and Spyro the Dragon and remind everyone to go back, really think about the games you’re playing, and see that they aren’t as good as you think they are. While I play a lot more games than you might realise, most of them are thrown away within the first two hours, and with my other hobbies that I have occupying my time, you’ll have to understand if I’m not an infinite well of knowledge on the obscure subject of video games history. I know what I like, and I play what I like, and I pass them on to you so you, too, can know what you like.

Indie games are one of the most fascinating fields for me to write about, because these are maverick games with no formal understanding of the traditions of games, and so end up creating work that simply could not come from the mainstream. Each and every game, save for shit like “Don’t Bite Me Bro!”, is an experiment that is waiting to be discovered, and waiting to be publicly assessed by qualified reviewers such as yours truly. Some experiments fail. Some are good. Some turn out really good. But I never feel obliged to play any particular game, never feel there is a time limit on writing about them, and so enjoy writing about them a hell of a lot more than I enjoy writing about games that everybody already knows about. Anybody can preach to the choir. It takes skill to have enthusiasm erupt from your audience when they’ve never even heard of the game you’re writing about.

And to close off this long conclusion, I will say, simply, that I am going to keep writing about indie games, I’m going to keep sharpening my critical teeth and keep creating honest, no – bones – about – it reviews and articles that get past all the bullshit of other sources, like universal positivity and discussing gameplay mechanics that you haven’t earned the right to make us interested in, and create consistently insightful and entertaining articles that you can read anywhere and not feel ashamed for having read them. That’s the Kratzen promise. And, man to Froge, that’s my promise as well.