Bio
Half of Analgesic Productions, who made Anodyne 1, Even the Ocean, Anodyne 2, and Sephonie, Angeline Era!

For 2024 I'm trying the "no-3s" rating system. A 1 means I really didn't like it, 2 means i didn't like it or didn't resonate with it much. 4 means i like it,5 means it was great. I hope this will let me be more decisive and figure out what it is about games that is interseting..

I grew up starting with the Super Nintendo, Game Boy, PS2, and Windows PC games (edugames, kids' adventure like Putt Putt). As I got older I'd play web browser games (Neopets), flash games (Newgrounds, Armor Games, Kongregate), and MMORPGs (MapleStory, Mabinogi, etc). At the end of high school I started getting into PC Indie Games, mostly freeware, and then through college moved more over to playing mostly PC Indie Games. After college I kind of play on whatever - computer, emulators, consoles, etc.
Personal Ratings
1★
5★

Badges


Replay '14

Participated in the 2014 Replay Event

Pinged

Mentioned by another user

Donor

Liked 50+ reviews / lists

GOTY '23

Participated in the 2023 Game of the Year Event

Gamer

Played 250+ games

Treasured

Gained 750+ total review likes

2 Years of Service

Being part of the Backloggd community for 2 years

GOTY '22

Participated in the 2022 Game of the Year Event

Adored

Gained 300+ total review likes

Famous

Gained 100+ followers

Loved

Gained 100+ total review likes

Trend Setter

Gained 50+ followers

N00b

Played 100+ games

Gone Gold

Received 5+ likes on a review while featured on the front page

Well Written

Gained 10+ likes on a single review

Best Friends

Become mutual friends with at least 3 others

Popular

Gained 15+ followers

Liked

Gained 10+ total review likes

Noticed

Gained 3+ followers

Busy Day

Journaled 5+ games in a single day

384

Total Games Played

043

Played in 2024

018

Games Backloggd


Recently Played See More

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Jun 20

The Final Fantasy Legend
The Final Fantasy Legend

Jun 18

Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land Bundle
Super Mario 3D World and Nintendo Land Bundle

Jun 15

Bernband
Bernband

Jun 15

God Hand
God Hand

Jun 10

Recently Reviewed See More


some detailed thoughts on like the first half of the game here, especially the dungeons:
https://x.com/han_tani2/status/1802275470991605804

First, I was really surprised how much this game feels like a first draft of what led to Ocarina of Time and Link's Awakening.
Today, this game strongly has a feeling of being undercooked but then polished as-is in order to make a release date. In particular there's kind of a weird mismatch of all the things you can do and items you have, and the levels and world themselves. For instance, in this interview, Miyamoto talks about designing the physicality of pushing and pulling switches. https://glitterberri.com/development-interview/

It's a nice notion and the kind of thinking I like, and it's true that for 1991 this kind of design innovation and sense of physicality in an action-adventure is commendable. And actually I would say that the picking up and throwing is one of the most brilliant mechanical things from LTTP: it gives the world a really embodied foundation and sense of discovery - arguably serving as a foundation for the mechanical aspects of what made Ocarina of Time really memorable.

Game sequels are tough to make. Because you're designing as a sequel, you can easily fall into trying to correct or include things from the original. If you stick too closely to this way of designing, ultimately you'll get a work that feels like it's pulled in too many directions. Zelda is a series that is symbolic of this: one good idea is counterbalanced by the need to include some old idea.

That is, I think LTTP's weakness is that it was being created as a follow-up or correction to LoZ: while you have Miyamoto's innovation of the pick-up-and-throw, you also have like... this expectation of a giant overworld and these puzzle dungeons. Link has to have a sword, so combat gets designed around that, rather than exploring the implications of picking/throwing.

In addition, the game doesn't even just explore the sword: because it has the expectation of dungeons + items, there's so many things that go underused - and that don't have their designs polished enough so we get a gigantic list of weird inconsistencies that - I imagine - probably would make Miyamoto scream. I would scream if I had to ship a game with these sort of weird design mis-affordances. Here are but a few.

- The ice rod can't stop those rotating fireballs
- the boomerang and hookshot bounce off of nonsensical enemies
- the sword hitbox doesn't match the sword very well , especially the lv. 1 sword
- you only slash the grass tuft that's exactly in front of you...
- you can't set mummies on fire with a lantern
- You can't pick up the chargeable-only rock piles, even with level 2 mitts, despite them being composed of level-1-pickupable-rocks
- the cape makes you invincible to bouncers
- knockback (and directional bumping away) of enemies is very confusing to get a hold of
- the medallions don't hurt many bosses
- the hammer doesn't damage things you'd expect (the ice boss's ice)
- Bombs often don't damage things that.. should be damaged

Overall, the dungeons have this mushy indistinct feeling where you just try a bunch of stuff until it works, or a puzzle is so obviously asking you do to a simple thing with a single item. Likewise combat feels more like trying to annihilate everything with the correct item before you're slammed by fast-moving spiky objects and chugging potions.

It's funny because Zelda often comes SO close to just embracing limitations - the object picking/throwing, OoT's limited jump... but then it often throws that out of the window in favor of like 'big epic inventory'. Truly, you don't need much to make an adventure game work, you just need creativity and confidence to make a smaller set of things work, rather than going big, wide, shallow. Regardless of how I feel about say, BotW as a whole, the puzzles in that game were fun because you only had a few items!

It's still an impressive game for 1991, though with the quiet narrative direction they went, they really could have punched up the sense of place of many or most dungeons. Instead the whole game just has this subtle sense of... there being something missing.

Anyways, throwing signs and bushes and pulling on mario paintings to get money is brilliant... make a game all about that!


It's Good. It takes the typical turn-based RPG language developed through the 80s and instead uses it as this vehicle to simple create juust enough dungeon-exploring friction to tell a surprisingly expansive story - a story of a party of 4 surprisingly brave people who are climbing a tower that connects multiple worlds. Multiple worlds of other peoples who don't really care about whatever truths this tower contains - they just want to live normal lives.

The heroes reach the pinnacle of 'truth' of their existence, and when faced with a doorway of what 'true existence' might be, they go 'Fuck this heavenly outer space bullshit,' and walk right back down to their town to live out their lives. Roll credits where we step through all these strange moments we just experienced - moments that were told in the fastest cutscenes imaginable, while aware that the audience likely is aware of these situations and tropes from other media and lets us fill in the blanks.

I really like how creative many screens are, and how they take advantage of the gameboy tiles so well, and convey so many space and ideas. The whole < 10 hour JRPG form seems really interesting, the way that time constraint leads to denser levels, denser everything all around.



(Edit) - So I played a bit of this again. I would say purely historically I have to give it the 5/5 because of how much I played it in 2015, but in 2024 it doesn't really hold up. The exploration is still kind of neat but the combat / death loop is seriously slow, combat comes down to weird circle strafing around very weirdly defined hitboxes, OR, spending hours learning roll windows for attacks. It's just not at all interesting, and it's something that a Lucah-esque rewind function could alleviate (something to let you more easily practice). But that still wouldn't fix that fact that walking around in circles feels awful...

--

thinking abt this from the 2014 goty event.. while i appreciate recent fromsoft to various extents, I think this is their last work to really capture my imagination, for all sorts of reasons. (Not to say that their post-DS2 games don't have great moments of their own, but that's a matter for another time). I think the main reason is DS2 feels like the the turning point for their focus more towards a very specific sort of action which interests me less overall.

Dark Souls 2 is honestly a little fucked up! But that's what makes it good. There's more levels than there should be, stuff is stitched together nonsensically..

The game keeps going on for like 10-20 hours more than you'd expect with the dragon islands world, the shrine of amana, etc... each area feels like this dense zone that the creators wanted to share, even if it didn't perfectly fit. It kind of has this texture of madness to it and theming that feel so video gamey but manage to work as a coherent and memorizable world. idk. It honestly has that energy of those sprawling wild adventure platformers (think ecco, kid chameleon, dragon slayer 4..), that feeling of 'why NOT add a sick dark green poison cave with gigantic impossible to see giants'). But it's all kept so densely knit, just wild little idea after idea.

The thing is though, when I do pick it up it feels really hard to get into. I have a lot less patience for the whole 'die and run back and slowly try again' thing since i've already done that a lot in the past. i should just make a cheese build or play with save states or something