Friday, 29 January 2016

Yokai Watch Is Bullshit

I don't know about the west but in Japan you almost can't go a single day without seeing some stupid reference to this stupid fucking TV show.  I hate this fucking show and the worst thing about working as a teacher for elementary and kindergarten kids is that they won't shut the fuck up about it.  They bring in toys and branded pencil cases and just blab on about the show and good lord it's enough to make someone want to die.

Yokai are these things in Japanese folklore, kind of like ghosts but not quite.  They usually cause some kind of trouble which can range from mild inconvenience to outright killing folks.  Go look up the Wikipedia article if you want a quick low down on Yokai, it's a long standing Japanese folk thing that would be way to hard to explain in a single paragraph.

So then Yokai Watch fucking comes along and just repackages years of Japanese folk tales into trite little shit shows for fucking stupid bastard children to enjoy.  Apart from the fact that I'm assaulted constantly at work about the show and it's workings, they have the fucking gall to release a number of shitty Pokemon type rip offs for the fucking DS.  I remember when Yokai Watch 2 came out and every single game store had big fucking posters for it everywhere and I couldn't move without seeing this cheap knockoff Pokemon shit everywhere.  This of course attracted lots of kids to the store and kids in game stores are the fucking worst, always begging loudly at their parents and getting all twinkle eyed over the most obvious pile of shit shovelware on the shelf.

What's funny is that hating Yokai Watch makes me feel old.  I have a buddy in his 30s who HATES Pokemon with a passion.  I don't really give too many shits about Pokemon, I stopped dealing with it a long time ago and while the games are pretty bad they are unfortunately the best place to go if you want online monster breeding action.  I never understood his deep seated hatred for Pokemon but now I do because that's exactly what Yokai Watch is, Pokemon for a new generation of thick pricks.

What's even more depressing is that I quite like reading about Yokai and shit.  Game developers, especially for JRPGs would often use these Yokai folk tales as a sort of inspiration for their enemies and bosses.  I would then go off and read these folk tales and it would be extremely interesting to see which part of the culture these things came from.  But now Yokai Watch has completely ruined all that, now I feel like a complete twat for looking any of this up because you know there's some fucktard on the internet or some shit weeaboo somewhere who will hear you mention it and use that as an excuse to regail you with their Yokai Watch knowledge.  What makes it even worse is that half the fucking Yokai in the show aren't Yokai, their either completely made up or taken from non-Yokai stuff like Shinto lore, stupid shitty writers.

Shin Megami Tensei is a great example of a monster breeding game that draws from folklore instances without being geared at twats.  Unfortunately the genre of monster breeding games is completely shit up because of mass market bullshit like Pokemon and Yokai Watch making cutsey shallow bullshit the norm for the genre.  Fuck Yokai Watch, fuck Pokemon and fuck all of this other shallow crap, burn it all.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 is a game that I love so damn much that I'm about to start speed running it.  It's part of the much loved Silent Hill series which was at one point a wonderful collection of genuinely terrifying and wonderfully well written survival horror games.  However, like Resident Evil and the survival horror genre in general, Silent Hill has become complete shit being developed by people who have no clue about what it is about and seem to be allergic to good game design. 

Just like how Resident Evil 4 turned the series from tense survival horror into big loud not scary action, Silent Hill 2 is the reason that the series went from well thought out demonic cult story to series of twats facing inner demons.  Unlike Resident Evil though, Silent Hill 2 was an interesting take on the story from the original team which was then completely ruined by outside influences while Resident Evil just got turned to shit because Capcom thought the fan base was full of thickos.

The story of Silent Hill 2 involves James Sunderland who travels to Silent Hill after getting a letter from his dead wife.  There he has to travel through the town in an attempt to find her all while being confronted by horrible manifestations of his inner self, a power that the town itself gained after Silent Hill 1 happened.  Not only that but he has to deal with a small handful of other twats with their own inner demons that are getting in the way with their shit when all James wants is to just find his dead wife and be happy again.

Silent Hill 1,3 and 4 on the other hand tell the stories of characters dealing with a demonic cult run by some really evil twats that want to birth their horrible "God" into the world.  The town of Silent Hill is still running rampant with manifestations but they aren't the manifestations of the main character but usually someone else and that to me is just what makes these games a little bit scarier.  You aren't dealing with your fucked up brain, your dealing with another persons fucked up brain and they've all been tied up in demonic cult shit so they're way more fucked up than you could ever be.

But then the series ended with Silent Hill 4 and a bunch of westerners decided to give it a go in order to keep it alive.  The most popular game in the franchise was quite clearly Silent Hill 2 so because these people couldn't be fucked to actually learn the ins and outs of the incredibly well crafted plot, they just played that one entry and used it as a template for EVERY OTHER GAME TO FOLLOW.

So that leaves us where we are now, in a horrible situation where there are now more terrible Silent Hill games than good ones.  Games that miss the point of the original series or just flat out get things wrong for the sake of making twats who misunderstood the first 4 games feel good about themselves.  All of these games have that theme of "person facing their inner demons in Silent Hill" and quite frankly I'm sick of it.  This series was never about that, it was about demonic cults and everything came to a nice dramatic close in Silent Hill 3, there didn't need to be more fucking games.

What people are making now aren't psychological survival horror games but action games about psychology and that's just fucking sad.  Genuine terror has been replaced with laugh out loud retardation, jump scares and people ripping off Saw.  The writing has gone from pure excellence with some of the best continuity in any work of fiction I've ever seen to non nonsensical bullshit where the games themes are slammed across your face like a wrecking ball made of adamantium spikes.

Sadly, it's all Silent Hill 2s fucking fault.  If that game wasn't so fucking good then twats wouldn't have tried to copy it in order to make a quick buck.  It's tragic too because Silent Hill 2 is genuinely a really good game that everyone interested in games, especially the ones looking for good examples of "games as art" should play.  Luckily, no matter how hard twats who aren't Team Silent try, they can never ruin the quality of the original games so just do what I do, stick your fingers in your ears, bury your head in a rusty room and pretend like the new ones don't exist.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Fuck An Ice Level

Holy shit Nagoya is fucking cold and I'm going to do what any other self respecting British person does and complain about the weather.  Except if I just did a post about how much I hate the cold weather it wouldn't really fit the whole "Gaming" part of  Identity Gaming so instead I'm going to moan about a type of level in video games I fucking hate with a passion, the ice level!

Now we all know about the sewer level and how much that sucks but that one is fucking obvious.  You step into a sewer and you know from the levels entry point that it's going to be a fucking maze with terrible backtracking, stupid level puzzles and crap enemies.  The ice level though, while generally a giant stinking pile of shit is a bit less obvious because there do exist good ones.  A great example of a highly enjoyable ice stage is the Ice Cap Zone in Sonic 3, an ice level so iconic in gaming that almost everyone and their dog knows the fucking theme for it regardless of if they have played the game or not.

For the most part though, ice levels are only one step above a sewer level when it comes to most games.  It's always a terrible excuse to have a shitty slip-sliding mechanic where the level designer to do their best to slide you into an enemy or a pit for an instant kill.  If it's not that then it's stupid sliding block puzzles where the blocks will fall into pits and never stay where the fuck you want.  Failing that it's stupid crap that involves freezing or defrosting things which usually involves copious amounts of stupid backtracking, the same concept as a level puzzle just with ice instead of levers.

One that's sticking out in my mind right now is the Ice Cavern in Ocarina of Time.  It's strange that this one should stick out so much because in terms of difficulty it's not all that bad.  However, it has all the things I hate about ice areas.  Slippy block puzzles, enemies that screw you with your lack of normal mobility, defrosting puzzles that involve backtracking if you didn't manage your bottles right, the whole shabang.  That and at the end of it you get iron boots, which on the N64 version of that game sucked because switching gear in that game was tedious as all hell although it's an issue the 3DS version does not have.

Another middle finger goes to Final Fantasy 10s Cloister of Trails for Shiva.  The cloisters were more of a mild annoyance than anything else while you solve baby's first RPG puzzle but the Macalania trail is just fucking dumb.  Lots of chances to fuck things up which means you have to reset stuff and getting the destruction sphere in that trail is probably the biggest pain in the dick thing to do in that whole game.  I'd rather spend HOURS grinding master/clear spheres to max stats then do that fucking trail.

Unlike the sewer level, I don't think ice levels should be abolished because like I said before there do exist good ice levels.  Just if you are going to make an ice level, don't be a fucking asshole about it.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Steam Censorship: What's The Point?

Before I start this isn't going to be a kind of "OMG CENSORSHIP SO BAD blah blah blah" kind of post.  Censorship of any kind is complete and utter bullshit but I can kind of see why they are doing it here, I just don't see the point.

So for a while new Steam have been providing a few VNs and other games that are a bit more adult in nature.  What I mean by this is that they are flat out selling porn games (known as Eroge in Japan) except they cut out all the porn.  Now I'm not going to get all angry at not being able to see anime characters fucking in my steam games but the whole thing seems completely pointless.

Why bother releasing something which you KNOW going in is an Eroge or some kind of porno game and make it available on Steam with all the tits and fucking cut out?  When people buy these kind of games, about 70% of the time they are buying them FOR the tits and fucking.  After experimenting with the genre a little bit over the years I have found a fairly sizeable number of pornographic games which either have really good plots to follow or have solid game play.  Big famous examples of these porn games with a bit more than meets the eye are things like Yume Miru Kusuri and Sengoku Rance.  The first telling a gut wrenching story about bullying and being true to oneself while the other plays like a Total War title where victory is rewarded with sex scenes.  Both are solid titles that stand up without the porn, but there's porn included for people who need some....release and that's probably why they bought them in the first place.

In some cases I've seen games on Steam where this censorship for all ages has actually affected reviews from users.  One game in particular that I came across (I forget the name, but I'll edit if I find it again) had a bunch of negative reviews from people who had played the non steam version because plot important shit only found in the sex scenes had been cut from the game and the Steam version of this title was therefore incomplete.

Why censor these games at all?  Just have a 18+ section or some shit where you can provide these games in their original, uncensored form for the people that want them and then younger users or people who aren't interested know what those games contain before they even click the games store page.  Otherwise, why bother putting Eroge on Steam at all?  The tits, fucking and cute anime girls are the genres main selling people and you're taking 2/3s of that content out so you're just shooting yourself in the foot.  Why would anyone buy a game like that on Steam when they can get the version with the goodies somewhere else?  The only reason I can think is if they didn't know it was an Eroge before they bought it but then again people who enjoy this genre are fairly well clued in about it so I imagine that number of people is rather small.

Either sell porn games or don't.  There is no point providing them if you're going to censor them other than trying to score a quick buck off ignorant users.  I'm sure if you labelled it probably no one would give a shit.  That said, Steam is too lazy to properly label their early access bullshit on the listings so they would probably be too lazy to do this too.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Museca Arcade

The strangely named Museca is a game that has been released recently to Japanese arcades and with that big strange controller I couldn't help but give it a try.  With so many rhythm games available in the arcade just how does this one stack up?

Well, I did the first thing one does with every Konami game and I scanned my E-Amusement card.  If you're unfamiliar with how gaming IC cards work, please refer to this video for a quick primer

After typing in a name and setting a pin number I was met with a whole ton of story, which is strange for this kind of game, that I just skipped through and went straight to the music select.

The games music selections at the start are you standard Bemani rhythm game fare with lots of J-Pop and a couple of Touhou tracks which seems to be a standard every sine Sound Voltex.  Usually I like to crank up the difficulty level since I play a lot of rhythm games but I couldn't quite figure out how to do it and since it was my first credit I didn't care all that much. 

The most interesting part of this game is definitely the controller

There are 5 buttons in a sort of Pop n' Music style arrangement that can be both pushed and spun.  Under the machine there is a pedal for a special type of hold notes but 2 of the 3 songs I played for my first credit did not feature any pedal action so I'm guessing that's something that only shows up at higher level play.  There are 2 main types of notes which are taps, where you push the button in and spins where you spin the button like a turn table.  It's fun to play and for my first time, surprisingly confusing sometimes.  Considering that I play a little bit of IIDX I thought 5 huge buttons would be easy to adapt to but I still found myself losing my place on the pad a couple of times, guess I'm just a moron.

When you finish, assuming you have a card, you are given a screen where you can unlock new music.  I could only afford to unlock songs on their easiest mode because buying intermediate or expert tracks is outrageously expensive on the in game currency.  Then again, It seemed pretty easy to gather so I'm guessing it won't be too long before I'm able to try some higher level stuff. 

Well, that's enough reading.  All in all I think the game is pretty good.  I filmed a video of me playing the highest level song available to me at the time so check it out.  I'll be coming back to this game a lot so watch this channel for some cool videos in the future

Friday, 8 January 2016

Arcade Quickie: Final Fantasy Dissidia Arcade Game 1 (Loss)

Today I played some Dissidia Arcade and unfortunately lost the game.  Still having trouble wrapping my head around everything that's going on.  Didn't help that I walked into a brave attack like an idiot then followed it up with mass panic slamming of the summon button which just left me open.  Oh well, lessons learned!

Turning Japanese: Twitch and YouTube update!

So, you may have noticed that the last two weeks have been extremely thin on the ground when it comes to streaming.  Well don't worry I've not given up, I've just been extremely busy.  The first week of absence was due to new year and the build up to it, I was extremely busy and didn't have all that much time.  This second week is due to AGDQ 2016 which, at time of writing, is currently still going and I'm far too glued to that to stream myself.  That said, I'll be going hard once its done so look forward to that.  In the meantime I want to announce two new segments coming to identity gaming.

First the Twitch update

I've been living in Japan for a while now and I can speak it pretty well but if there is one thing that has sucked consistently since day 1 it's my Kanji.  Since I have dreams one day of passing certain Japanese tests within the country I thought I'd incorporate a bit of gaming into my Kanji study.  So, every Wednesday will be Japan day, a day where I play Japan exclusive games and do my best to translate them live on camera.  Like I said, my Kanji kind of sucks so it might be slow and plodding but it'll help me out and hopefully you'll be able to see some games you've never heard of before.  I'll enjoy it at the very least

Next the YouTube update, let's start with a video!

I go to the Game Centre an awful lot, I mainly enjoy playing a digital TCG called Code of Joker and the plethora of rhythm games that they have set up there.  So, just for a bit of fun and to give my YT channel some much needed activity, I'll be chronicling my adventures through the arcades of Japan by filming game play from my phone.  Weather it's me sucking at Code of Joker, beasting some other game or just trying out something new, if I can I'll film it and upload it.  I'll also be happy to take requests to showcase some games so if you hear about something  let me know and I'll go seek it out!

I'll wait until I lose some weight before I upload anything DDR related though....

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this content and keep supporting me, the site and the Alzheimer's Society!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Mind Zero

So at time of writing this post I JUST beat this game.  I killed the final boss on my way home from work in the train and managed to watch the ending before arriving at my nearest station.  God bless portable systems.

Mind Zero (Or Mind=Zero or whatever the fuck) is a low budget RPG for Playstation Vita.  Usually Vita games cost about 3-5000 yen in the stores but this one was only 1000 and with my Vita library being a bit small I snapped it up and had no idea what to expect.  What I found was a fairly decent game with something horribly rage inducing at the end. 

Mind Zero follows the adventures of Takanashi Kei and his high school chums as they get roped into a strange adventure.  Popping up around bits of Saitama are strange doors that lead to a strange world full of monsters and our heroes are granted the ability to use their MINDs inorder to combat the monsters and stop them from running rampant in our world.  If you have ever played a Persona game then a MIND is essentially the same thing and that's the sad fate for this game is that it's pretty much constantly being compared to Persona 4 as a result.  Anyway, another group of MIND users show up and they are being a bunch of dicks and it all culminates in your buddy being kidnapped so it's up to you to rescue your friend and put an end to this strange groups nefarious schemes.

The game itself is a dungeon crawl sort of thing with all the exploring being done in first person.  When you get into combat you can switch between your MIND or your character although you'll only ever want to use MIND because the only thing your characters can do is use items and suck at fighting.  So you do a bit of story, explore a dungeon, kill a boss and then rinse repeat until you beat the game.  Things do get a little repetitive and the game sucks to try and play in long stints but if you use it to kill a train ride or fill your lunch break then it manages to stay enjoyable throughout.

Other features include a skill system where you get cards in combat and then head to a shop to level them up or change them into stronger skills.  The game has a total of 4 skills that are at all worth any kind of effort and then about a hundred useless sacks of crap that you'll never ever need or use.  I meticulously made sure that my characters were properly skilled out and everything was leveled up but I only ended up using 4 of the available skills because everything is piss easy.  There are also some side quests but they pretty much all involve going into a previously cleared dungeon and finding an item.  It's tedious as fuck so after the first 6 or so of these I just started using guides to find the shit because fuck wandering around  the same environment for another hour or 2 just to find a useless item to tick a useless thing off a list of requests.

Despite my bitching, I did actually enjoy playing the game, it definitely made my lunch breaks and train rides to work much more fun.  That said, there is one thing that really pissed me off and there is going to be some spoilers in case you care so...

!!! SPOILERS !!!

The game isn't fucking finished.  You get to the end of the game, confront the final boss and smash his face in.  He says a few last words, dies and then the bitch you've been trying to rescue the whole game gets sucked through a door of evil and we never find out what happens.  Then it cuts to a support character and his buddy and he gets blown up inside his car which is followed by the fucking credits reel. 

None of the mysteries the game put forth are answered and none of the problems that the characters are facing are resolved.  I guess this means that there's going to be a sequel but this shit pisses me the fuck off.  I play this many hours of an RPG to not get at least some kind of ending.  At least let me rescue the girl and have the characters ponder how fucked the world will be if they don't do something about that big fucking door that opened, you don't need to leave me completely in the dark about what happens next.  I might not even care enough to buy your next fucking dungeon crawling Persona rip off.


All in all, Mind Zero is a low budget game that is fun to play but has some glaring flaws and poses no challenge to anyone who's even looked at a JRPG before.  If you can get it for mega cheap like I did then check it out but if the asking price is anything more than about £7 then ignore and pick up something better for your Vita.  Finally, I know that it's been released in the west but I can't comment on the quality of the translation because I played it all in Japanese, so someone should let me know how that turned out.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Monday, 4 January 2016

FPS Used To Be Better

FPS is one of the biggest genres in the industry and always kind of has been.  A long long time ago we had Wolfenstien 3D, Doom, Rise of the Triad, Duke Nukem 3D among many many others and now the big players in the genre are things like CoD, Battlefield and other more realistic military type shooters.

But that's kind of my problem with the modern FPS game.  Most of them are sort of realistic type military shooters like Call of Duty.  The only other thing we have aside from that are things like Halo but that's just a military shooter with a sci-fi coat of paint.  These games aren't bad by any stretch but they don't come nearly as close to the thrill of the old school FPS.  The fast paced, acrobatic, labyrinthine and colorful shooters of days passed has been replaced with gritty, realistic yet unchallenging games and I can't help but feel things are significantly worse off as a result.

Most people who hold this kind of opinion of older games are accused of having rose tinted nostalgia goggles but this is one of those cases where those games were just better.  I've recently been playing Serious Sam HD: First Encounter off Steam and I'm having so much more fun with this than I have with any other modern FPS title.  I can have more than two weapons, my health doesn't regenerate for free, equipment and enemies are colourful and interesting, there are secrets everywhere and so much more.  I felt a similar thing when playing Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition a few months ago too.

Even multiplayer FPS was better back then.  It used to be all about speed, skill, knowledge of the map both for layouts and pick ups and that was just the tip of the iceberg.  Things like Quake which used a lot of rocket jumping had all sorts of weird shit in play that I can't even begin to wrap my head around.  Granted things are a lot more accessible now but it's a damn shame that the games just aren't quite as fun.

Still, this is just me and I don't want to completely disregard modern FPS games just because I feel the old ones are more fun.  I have a lot of fond memories playing Modern Warfare 1 and 2 online with buddies and sometimes I find myself getting tempted to try out  the latest version of Call of Duty.  Let's not forget the new Star Wars Battlefront which looks cool as shit.  That said, I'd much rather play some Doom, Serious Sam or Quake than CoD or Battlefield.  Luckily the genre isn't completely devoid of old style games and things like Painkiller and that new Rise of the Triad game are keeping things geared more towards fun than realism and prestige bragging.

Saturday, 2 January 2016