7 reviews liked by nickfourtimes

Guess what? This one is also funny and cute.

Notebook's a smart addition, had a blast puttin' stickers on there with my partner and it's another avenue for jokes!

I'm shattered. No game has made me sob this hard. I often say "I'm crying" when I watch, read, or play something sad, but that's mostly exaggeration. I just tear up and very rarely actually cry, but no, I straight up loud sobbed after finishing this. I broke down. My face contorted and couldn't hold back a stream of tears for half an hour straight. My lips were quivering and I was groaning and I could barely breathe; I almost never respond this intensely to things.

Stories about apocalypses normally benefit from their own silliness. These narratives never feel real; they're either too fun, dramatic, or action-packed to have substantial weight. But Goodbye Volcano High is exceptionally hard to swallow.

These feel like actual teenagers. They have real interests, their diverse identities are relatable, their dialogue sounds genuine, they mess around naturally, their tabletop sessions have all these little details and comments that make them feel like the ones I've had, they have awfully relatable casual conversations, and their issues are grounded. For a game about dinosaur people, I always felt like these kids were human.

When you take some of the most real feeling characters I've met in any game and have them face the existentialism that arises from fears of an apocalypse, I was constantly on edge. This is a story where its characters have to grapple with the inevitability of their deaths, and at no point was I not deep in thought regarding their fate. Their happiness, each tuft of fun, and all of its love and positivity is carried by the gargantuan burden of questioning what will happen when that asteroid hits.

When characters make comments about "asteroid facts," describing things like "if you hit solid rock hard enough, it can liquify," it's some of the most disturbing shit I've seen in a game. It may seem tame in a vacuum, but when your world and characters are this convincing, the concept of a realistically approached end of the world is terrifying.

It's especially upsetting in the beginning, when everyone treats the asteroid as a joke, with folks making memes and using it as a crutch for humor. People claiming they wish the asteroid would just hit to get them out of certain situations is so painfully real. It's a behavior that actual people would showcase, and little moments like that make me think about our own existence and how little time we have.

Its narrative is tied to our most future-conscious period—senior year of high school, where we are expected to make definitive decisions on what we do for the rest of our lives—and those futures being shattered by an unavoidable natural disaster is heartbreaking. To see these kids lose their ambitions and dreams, and there is nothing they can do but accept their fates… it's far too fucking heavy for anyone at that age to have to go through. Just thinking about it nearly brings me to tears.

And I cannot put into words how much I relate to the protagonist. Fang failing to find acceptance from their parents, difficulties with their gender identity, conflicts and conversations with their brother, being pegged as the spoiled, selfish brat, and even something as simple as being Arabic... all of it feels so scarily relatable to my personal experience. Many people won't quite get that from it, and it is probably a huge contributor towards why Goodbye Volcano High felt so real for me, but I see myself in Fang more than I ever have in any fictional character.

Today, I'm flying across the Atlantic ocean to see my girlfriend for the first time. I can say a lot about Goodbye Volcano High, but the only thing that matters is that after finishing it, I want nothing more than to hug her as hard as possible. To value the people in my life and the short time we have. The few moments of happiness we can spare in something so ephemeral.

Goodbye Volcano High shattered me, but rather than it having a debilitating effect, I want to do better at cherishing the people I love.



perfect little game that felt very very very polished!!! beautiful!!! little guy runs around!!!

There are things this game does that I actually really love. It has moments of a Gnog-like playfulness where it rewards a player's organic exploration of the surface of the game (roll a big snowball! surf on a surfboard!). At times it really seems to prioritize the texture of play as a way to showcase the haptic capabilities of the new controller. The monkey suit could be an entire little game on its own.

The problem is that these moments of genuine joy are drowning in a pro forma V I D E O G A M E that's full of enemies, platforming, and levels. What's worse, the entire thing is just a huge advertisement for the PS5. Its existence on the console by default and for free casts small and playful games as valueless relative to the AAA content behemoths that are the PlayStation's stock in trade these days, and its ceaseless references to Sony's history are heartbreaking in light of its destaffing of the Japanese teams that made the very games it lionizes.

More than anything, Astro's Playground makes me feel melancholy. It's a glimpse at a crossroads where the route has already been chosen, and so in a way it's a eulogy for the path the industry refused to take.

I've never been good at picking up new languages. I struggle to memorize vocabulary, and conjugations fly right out of my head the moment it's time to form a sentence. Despite spending my entire schooling in various different language courses, I never picked up enough to be even conversant.

This is a source of great dismay to me. I love talking to people, I love reading, and I want to approach other cultures on their own terms rather than asking them to switch to mine. So four years ago I decided to start learning just a little bit of French every day with the help of one of those language apps. Even after COVID swooped in to severely limit my spare energy, I made sure to at least practice a bit every day to avoid losing what progress I'd made.

Dépanneur Nocturne is a bilingual game to a degree that I've never seen a game attempt before. It's not a "choose you language in the settings menu" thing—it's a "step into the dépanneur and the clerk starts speaking French to you" thing. You can respond in French or in English, and that's what she'll use to speak to you unless you ask her to switch. It's exactly like walking into a store in a Francophone region.

Despite four years of fucking around with a language-learning app, I've never had the courage to try actually engaging with Francophone media in its native language. I didn't think I could hack it. Even with frequent dictionary consults, I thought the process would be too slow and painful to actually be engaging.

I would never have gone into a menu and selected "French" for this game. But sure, I can say bonsoir when I walk in the door, just like I'd do in real life. And I found I could mostly make sense of the ensuing conversation. And so it was that I made it through the entire game without ever asking Eugénie to switch to English.

Of course, I had to consult the dictionary plenty of times. But not so much that it kept me from appreciating the cozy atmosphere, the mysterious worldbuilding, and even the charming writing of this game. And through all of that was woven the warmth of the implicit invitation the game provided to play it in its own tongue without judgment or expectation. And that means the world to me.

Finished with my woman cause she coudnt help me with my mind, people think I'm insane because I am frowning all the time

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by Vaslav |

19 Games