714 Reviews liked by FMTownsParty

Are you prepared to play the game? The dare's the only price of faaaaaaaame~ 🎵
Possibly the greatest crackshot rental I have ever had. Little did I know that during my wandering of those hollowed halls of that fabled local Blockbuster would result in me taking home quite possibly the greatest racing game ever known by my own two eyes. Captain Falcon's likeness on the cover beckoned me to come forth and play his game, a person who I had only known from punching Mario in the nose in some game involving smashing some brothers (DRAMATIZATION). How was I supposed to know he was the person behind the wheel of that blue car in that SNES game I played when I was like three years old? Unfortunately, I was most definitely not prepared to play the game.
After I threw that adorable little disc into my Gamecube, I was thrown into a twisting spiral of thrill going at the speed of sound threatening to somehow give me whiplash from the TV screen. With my new and now trusty Fire Stingray I became acquainted with the controls quickly, I leaned into those corners at Mute City as if they'd throw me from the seat if I didn't, and mashed the boost as much as I could upon my approach to the home stretch like some insane button pressing demon who loves pressing buttons. It wasn't until later I would find out about attacking other racers, and I would become a true heel of the circuit. Look out y'all, I'm comin' through! Get outta my way chumps! This doesn't even touch on other techniques I would learn such as snaking and flying like a damn jet aircraft. To this day, none can touch this.
Preparation in just the grand prix and practice could only do so much to prepare me for one of the greatest challenges I would encounter in this generation, the infamous story mode. The first few chapters? Not terrible, but then you get to your first true race and suddenly you realize just what kind of game you're truly in for. Chapter Seven is legendary amongst fellow racers who have experienced this mode. It's so well known that I capitalized it, as it deserves the distinguishment. The Story Mode Grand Prix race was insane and took me to my limit as a driver and put me on the brink of emotional breakdown, but in this world you've got to be strong. You've got to fight to keep your spirit alive. And you might feel like there is nothing left to go for and fight for, but it's the fight that keeps us ready and on guard!
I couldn't give up, I had to see the end! I needed to earn my happy ending. I had to channel Captain Falcon himself, I had to muster up driving ability that he would be proud of. I had to feel the power, see no fear, and feel no pain!
I've got power~ 🎵
I'm gonna fight to win~ 🎵
I'm gonna fiiiiiiiight to the eeeeeeend~ 🎵
Even I can feel the poooowerrrrr...when I think of him I see no feaaaaar....FEEL NO PAAAAIN!
For a second I had thought I had lost yet again, but I in fact won by a hair! Hell yeah, fuck you Black Shadow, you goddamn loser. One of my proudest achievements growing up, after endless hours over my weekend! After this, the final showdown with the true mastermind of evil was a piece of cake. After all, we are Captain Falcon. The fight has indeed kept us ready for anything they could possibly throw at us. In this world I have become strong, and my spirit is alive and well. They didn't stand a chance, as I'm not just a dreamer and Falcon will forever be the hero.
What truly captivates me most however, is the amount of love and care that was given to everyone on the roster. All FORTY ONE of the drivers have their own bio, theme music and unlockable Tekken movie. These aren't simple theme songs either, we're talking actual lyrics and many different genres being represented. How do you get me to care about Jack Levin? By giving him the catchiest song in the game, I mean why wouldn't he? He's a former pop group member. I used to spend an unhealthy amount of time dancing along with the characters to their music in the profile section, I love how Bio Rex looked like he was swaying and thrashing out to his music.
Hell, just last night at work I had Princia's chorus stuck in my head.
You're scared of the dark~🎵
Walk through the night~🎵
Give me your hand and let me take you through the night~🎵
You're scared of the dark~🎵
Walk through the streets~🎵
Give me your hand and I'll hold all the things you find~🎵
It's so good. I actually do really enjoy the cast, and it's pretty clear Nagoshi and the rest of AV had fun fleshing out the characters more. It's truly exceptional how the person who directed the first 3D racer I cared about would also be behind my favorite racing game ever. No one truly does racing as well as Sega. If there was one good thing that came about from Sega going third party, it's F-Zero GX. If there has to be an ending, I'm glad it's this. The only way you could one up GX is making the story mode a free roaming Yakuza-like with Falcon where you beat up Zoda goons, hang out at pubs getting pulled into illegal races, have a "Goroh Everywhere" mechanic where he constantly tries to challenge you to skeeball, texas hold'em, or darts, and meet up with the rest of the racers in crazy hijinx. One could dream, right? Even if it's all left in the past, he'll live through this masterpiece and forever he will be my hero....and now that I'm not just a dreamer....
Forever he will be my heeeeroooo~...🎵
and now that I'm not just a dreaaaaaameeeer~....🎵

The friends of Ringo Ishikawa was a game that took me back to my teenage years, viewed through the sobering & cynical lens of hindsight. The titular Ringo & his friends are a bunch of classic Japanese delinquents, with seemingly no initial higher ambitions beyond their schoolyard gang warfare, entering their final year as students with graduation on the horizon. Despite being a gaggle of petty thugs who smoke cigarettes & have seemingly little interest in their own futures, it's shown as the plot goes on that there's more to each of these delinquents than let's on. Your violent, dumb-as-rocks lackey Goro is a surprisingly talented thespian. Your number one brawler Ken has the talent necessary for a shot at a boxing career in college. Even Ringo himself is a shockingly erudite scholar with an interest in literature, a once-promising career in karate, and is a surprisingly idealistic, loyal, man of virtue. The one thing holding them back is their gang lifestyle & ideas, something that resonated with me as someone who saw this same situation play out dozens of times in my youth.
My own high school wasn't great looking back on it. Violence & abuse were common occurrences, drug use & sex in the hallways was an unspoken fact of life, and basically everyone was a minority of some kind from a low-income background. Lots of people I knew came from broken homes, or were working part-time to put food on the table, or were otherwise struggling with something no kid should've been dealing with at that age, the kind of things that can make studying for your history exam seem like small potatoes. It's a structural issue decades in the making that leads to people getting trapped in places like these, and unfortunately not everyone is able to escape it. Schoolyard fights that escalated into shootings. Football players who graduate with bright prospects only to then get arrested for murder. Kids akin to Ringo's gang members like Masaru or Goro, who have zero sights beyond the now & fully believe they'll be set for a life of petty crime after graduation. The short-sighted violent mindsets people box themselves into that end up spelling their own ends because they can't escape the circumstances that put them there.
I vividly remember hanging out in the parking lot after school one day, and I saw a kid reading a book on the hood of his car. His friends came up to him and immediately dogged on him for this and the supposed weakness such a hobby would project on your image, and he sheepishly put it away in his bag before he left with his friends. It's a small event in hindsight, but it was called back to my mind crystal clear during a scene where Ringo's friends rip into their fellow member Goro for his new vested interest in acting.
Ringo, for all his virtues, for all the books you can make him read, for all the training he can undergo, for all the studying & knowledge you can try to impart on him, still fully believes that his gang of schoolyard bullies is going to last forever, despite it being made rapidly apparent that everyone is starting to move on and find their own callings. Ringo still gets into casual street fights & latches onto his childish notions of schoolyard ethics, of "official challenges" and "rules," even as things spiral out of anyone's control & everyone starts to get in too deep. Much like some of my peers that I saw in my youth, he's a bright soul with potential and promise that is being squandered by his own adherence to violence and unhealthy group mentalities & expectations, and the simple fact is that as the days go by, everyone around him is starting to realize that they need to grow up and move past it all.
Everyone except him.

Word of warning I'm attaching some files to this review so you can have a glimpse at how utterly weird this game is. The audio might be fucked up because it hurt my ears so much I had to tone it down as much as I could while I played it. Papa can't lose his noise peepers.
Yeah I have no fucking clue what they were cooking with this. If you ever played Slayers X, imagine that but non functional. Too weird to be taken seriously, too rare to dissapear from the gamer zeitgeist. Multiple times something so weird and stupid happened to me while I was playing I had to second look around me ingame just to be sure I was not hallucinating.
Everything in this beast of a game is designed to either gross you out or make you desperately angry. Buy the ticket, take the ride as they say. The enemy design for the most part is lackluster, with all save for one of them being hitscanners with the same arsenal as you. Special shout out to the bosses being completely incomprehensible. Yes, the things accompanying him are turds. The game expects of you almost complete devotion, punishing you in the most bizarre ways possible if you aren't actively consuming it's crack-based content. You'll be blown to bits by a type of cosmic stupidity fuelled by bothyour own hubris and the developer's.
Did I mention the game also has platforming? On the build engine floatiness, no less.
But even so I find myself thinking...that that was a really cool fps! Definetely not the best Build Engine one, but completely able to perform on the same level of entertainment as Shadow Warrior or Duke Nukem. Everything is there, with "gorgeous" levels that tend to feel close to life and the perfect amount of grease and doodoo. When the going gets good, you can totally get an enjoyable, if deeply weird experience or downright comically painful punishment for not acting like an imbecile alongside it thanks to the atmosphere, straight out of Corona and sound design it has, half maddening screaming and cursing with ear blasting guns and half psychobilly soundtrack with Mojo Nixon and Reverend Horton Heat among others shooting it out the park with some really good hollerings and general crassness. Mojo really left himself go with the original stuff he wrote for the game, absolute psycho shit ranting. Mc Donalds can kiss my butt. I'll forever be thankful for the game for letting me hear Dick talk about something profoundly weird and obscene while shit and farm animals explode everywhere.

A weird beast off a build engine FPS absolutely not made for human consumption yet painfully fun, clearly made with love and a respect for the sources ( RIP Dick Montana ). I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, shit and all and I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone who wants to feel weird for a couple of hours.

just a casual update on this. prior to the game's newly implemented master rate update - which introduced ELO as a separate, zero-sum figure which factored into matchmaking and more clearly delineated skill in players - a charitable interpretation of the game's ranking system would be as an extension of the game's thesis, the idea that the journey for strength is never-ending. and there was certainly an appeal to that: now that you've reached master rank, you'll have to duke it out with every other person who put in the time and managed to make it to the top.
on a mechanical level, though, this felt tangential at best, and over time would likely only result in an increasingly lopsided system where most players had managed to get into master rank just by playing the game over a long enough stretch of time. having master rate now lends each and every battle this genuine tension & palpable weight. after all, nobody wants to be at the bottom of that leaderboard. nakayama's team designed sf6 with the notion that the versus mode is philosophically endgame content, a mode that, for absolute newcomers, should best be reserved until after the completion of world tour and some additional reps in practice. with this in mind, master rate goes beyond just 'endgame' content - it feels like a high level expansion where you're invited to prove your salt.
for my part, i've enjoyed two brief stints in the top 25 north american dhalsims, although as it turns out the mantle is hard to keep (as of writing: #45). is it impressive? i dunno, i feel like i have a lot more to learn and my character is underplayed by a margin of almost 200,000 players (as of august 14, there were around 221824 ken users. this is to be contrasted against a paltry 29183 dhalsim users). im not actually really a competitor in the FGC, but id like to keep growing stronger and keep fighting strong opponents. so i dunno, we'll see where this goes.
it's a significant motivator, then, that this is probably my favourite street fighter at this point, as well as probably my favourite fighting game. not to say that this is without fault - i appreciate world tour's inclusion immensely but it's half-cooked, the in-game economy leaves something to be desired, battle passes suck and the devs need to do more to encourage casual retention (further costumes is one thing but what about alternative winscreens, a functional music player, further customization of titles and versus screens, etc), matchmaking needs to be further expanded to utilize the game's strong netcode (why am i somewhat region locked), and no, you're not imagining things, the game's input register really is kind of wacky.
but i think a lot of other complaints at the moment stem from the amplification of certain voices on social media - as well as the fact that these people are also vying for a million dollars in the capcom pro tour and need things to resolve in their favour. so if we can learn to accept third strike as one of the apexes of this genre, a game constructed around problems with no clear, safe answers, a game where half of the normals kind of feel like shit, a game where chun li and yun and ken and all manners of bullshit are allowed to run rampant and free, then we can accept sf6 as a similar work in progress too. an evolving slate, one in which we have to learn - with time - to deal with strong characters and strong universal systems and strong offensive options.
this game really hits this absolute sweet spot of accessibility and depth of systems without presenting straightforward or clear solutions in a way that gets my brow furrowed in concentration and my brain eager to keep playing. i come from a samurai shodown background so everything to do with this central notion of not going on autopilot and guarding against the tendencies of players, in a sense moreso than worrying about the characters they inhabit, strikes a resonant chord with me. im really excited to see where it goes, and of course it goes without saying EVO top 8 this year belongs in the pantheon of fighting game tournaments. just a total gem. thank you capcom for giving me aki on my birthday
addendum: KB0 third strike review, november 2020:
"rather than establishing new legends, this game is about characters unsure about what the future entails, about what their next move should be, about what it even means to continue fighting - they waver, they fail, they practice, they move on. "
what a joy, then, that this is the overarching idea that propels world tour! street fighter has never really had traditionally good narratives, but when it chooses to it has pretty good vignettes and pretty good character writing, both of which world tour thankfully has in spades. very smart to organize a narrative around each character kind of just doing their own thing instead of trying to wrap them all into a sweeping narrative ala SFV.

Essential weird-y2k-invader-zim-full-zip-hoodie-tripp-pants-kingdom-hearts-depop-core. Looks like Salad Fingers mixed with Shadow Hearts mixed with EB Games by Walmart 19.99 section. If this actually scans to you, congrats you have BPD, welcome to the elite.

bitch youuuuuuu are a stranger. this broader aesthetic sense of making art thats like an overtly long talk therapy session with some two faced white woman is becoming maddening to me. i dont think its appropriate to belabor this because the "quiz" here is such a harmless & secondary example of it, and maybe is more self-aware than im pinning it, but also i had a pretty stark realization in here that i've heard this exact voice, story, talk, expression, diction, & conclusion more times than i ever thought possible. u kno both folks here probably said "power differential" 1 too many times in the relationship. forgive me but i gotta talk my shit for a minute: yall's own self-admitted lack of agency & disproptional reactivity dont bother yall?????? self-pitying shit is as much of a power play as anything else u woulda known that if you were up on ur nietzsche by now. might as well let ur fucking nuts hang & make art and say shit about what you would do if you had things your way instead of what would you woulda done were you the perfect lil tweebell them PhDs is tryna get you to be. like the final conclusion here is an overtly self-conscious epigraph about how being too self-conscious is bad. you bitches need an intervention!!! i may be a broke ass bitch ass nigga but trust that rapping along with pap when he goes "hunnid on me...these bitch ass broke ass niggas better not say nothing to me" prepares me to tackle life's problems more than anything coming from this lane. maybe im a sociopath and got a impaired sense of empathy & dont get it but also ian seen nary a post or analysis or even a interpretative lens that would reward deeper investigation of smthn that got this "autoethnography" or whatever stench on it. another big whiff from itch.io 4 me.

Felt like revisiting an old childhood fav standalone Source mod!
Nightmare House 2 is very clearly inspired by F.E.A.R. Not by the genre-redefining gunplay, mind you; but by the practically infamous aniemic horror segments it insists on hitting you with. You’d think setting to focus your game around those segments would be a downright disaster - nobody sees those parts of F.E.A.R. as its hard sell, but Nightmare House 2 kind of adopts this jovial haunted house ride approach. It is so densely packed with spectacle. Unique, snappy little sequences and spooky flourishes around practically every corner, finding new ways to disarm the player with scares that are oftentimes hilariously blunt, and occasionally wildly forward-thinking (for 2010) or subtle. All the while, never resorting to audio jumpscares! God I kind of love it. Granted, it’s never scary in the genuinely affecting sense, but I am utterly endeared by its desperately eager-to-please sensibility of packing the short runtime to the gills with as much as it can get away with while maintaining a decent sense of pace.
This could be some element of nostalgia talking here, but I really do think that the modern-day torrential downpouring of self-serious and utterly miserable horror indies that blast through the Itch/Steam pipeline could learn a thing or two from what Nightmare House 2 has going for it. It will make you laugh & it will make you laugh & it will make u think.

v nice as a postscript to hello charlotte, giving a fresh perspective and deeper focus on the trio at the heart of it. because of this, despite framing itself as an au, it honestly feels more like the reality of these characters that informs the universe of the rest of the series. its very depressing but its not too dour towards making this impression either, if anything it being removed from the intensity of emotions the series led up to, while relying on prior knowledge of it, gives a clearer and less obfuscated picture of how much etherane can pack into these characters' relationships.

the diary (which you can read if you get the paid version, please get the paid version) is such a great final note; it's not just as anri's view of things but also invoking charles's preoccupations within their narratives from their views on anri and possibly themself AND also feels to me, potentially?, like one of the more directly personal things the author has shared. a constant series of narrativizing btwn character and creator and audience. think theres a v clear bridge btwn hello charlotte and tomorrow wont come to be found in how heaven's gate brings this obsession in ane's work, on humans blindly seeing themselves in others, to such a level of legibility that it seems like it was readymade to be worked into the core of twc.

the stark, battered grief that hangs over hg gets expanded on nicely by twc too, and it also feels fitting that it comes after the anger and melodrama and anger ABOUT the melodrama of the series that came before. the arc of these games' development is like seeing someone develop their own self over time, trying to figure out what they honestly believe and what they mean to express. even this technically unnecessary side story vn to a larger rpgmaker series has a place in that bigger picture--one that i admittedly, ironically, am creating for myself. but im ok with believing in it, because this search is what affects me most in etherane's work: its not that the author has hard conclusive answers for the problems they present, but like they are still trying to understand and rigorously interrogate their view of the world in ways i can relate to v much, as if we are doing it together.

This review contains spoilers

Went in completely blind and I wouldn't wish not doing the same on my worst enema. A genuine technical marvel and a tremendous testament to the importance of atmosphere as the primary vehicle for horror. This is what games are about, folks.
Sincerely think the metatextual elements are handled crazy good here. The mod being sourced from a forum post that links to a Google Drive where an uninitiated player (me) can just accidentally download and play the wrong file is so fucking good as a disarming technique - one of many mindful off-putting flourishes that compound as the layers of the .wad reveal themselves. Even the approach to the starting line feels sloppy and homebrewed in a way you don't get on the Steam/Itch store. It's understandable for folk to be wary of any game that tries to build a mythos surrounding the playable executable, but the supplementary material here is so lean and evocative. You won't stop the doe-eyed youtubers from demystifying and theorizing shit into perfectly solvable mulch, but My House only wishes for a slightly transactional push+pull on your curiosity to find the clues for progression in the .txt.
At its absolute strongest when it isn't aping the liminal spaces cinematic universe wholesale. While it's pretty cute that the dev realised these areas in such a fully-fledged manner under such oppressive engine limitations, I can't help but wish I wasn't seeing the same ol' thing.
Ending made me choke up. Doggy........
Want to give the dev a big wet sloppy kiss for having the chutzpah to release a horror title without a fucking audio jumpscare. This man is not a coward.

Actually genuinely think this is incredible. Buying this completely blind, with all the DLC and gubbins was the sensation of having the most heavy game of all time airdropped directly onto me & flattening me like an Ed Edd n Eddy gag. Immediately evident in its years of careful tuning through content and quality of life updates on top of the sizeable season pass extra facilities and continents. Such a behemoth of moving parts would otherwise have felt mismatched, insurmountable and offputting were it not for the way these mechanics are eased and tutorialised through story context.
I had a session where I felt like building an airship for my fleet, and learned that I had to travel to the arctic, go on a perilous expedition to save a stranded soul, lost in the pale archipelago, carefully manage my campaign’s dwindling heat and health to best a gargantuan iceberg all to find a fucking Hydrogen vein I can transport halfway across the world. It keeps happening. I keep setting short term goals only for the floor to fall out from under me and suddenly I’m playing a completely different game. I’m terrified of what will happen to me if I open a restaurant for my capital.
Trust & believe in the sheer industrial might of Ubisoft Triple-A to cram a city builda to the gills with enough varied emergent content adorned by absolutely luscious sunkissed gouache presentation that I forget that I'm essentially doing admin. Tending to a blooming orchard of stacking intercontinental production lines, all the while receiving affectionate telegrams from a motherfucker actually named “Willie Wibblestock”. Entering first-person mode at key milestones in my nation’s development to see a downright adorable early 00’s PC game looking simulation of my beloved townsfolk livin their bestest lives I can afford them. It’s so nourishing yom yom 🥕🥦🌽💚💚💚😊.