8 reviews liked by rinv

I think that to truly love something, you have to go into the deepest depths with it. That's exactly what I've done here. Mega Man for DOS feels like a freshman's legally distinct computer science project, because that's not terribly far off from what it it is.

This is kind of interesting in that it was developed entirely by Stephen Rozner, an aspiring young developer who was acquired by Capcom for development of this title. Rozner somehow left Capcom during official development and, through a vaguely interesting legal loophole, was still able to release the game. Because of his departure from Capcom, Rozner completely drew up the assets and code for this, from scratch, on his own. In that way, Mega Man for DOS is among the earliest examples of a fan game.

Pretty interesting story, right? Unfortunately, that story is much more interesting than this game. It's about as amateurish as games get, with enemies that are either too short or too fast to properly land hits on, practically nonexistent level design, and 3 Robot Masters that have, luckily, been confined to the annals of history—"Voltman, Sonicman, and Dynaman." This doesn't even have music; in fact, it may not even have sound, although that could've just been the DOSBox emulator acting up. I can't finish this, as I'm neither compelled to nor am I convinced that it's possible to. I'm actually convinced that this game is fundamentally broken by design.

Shout out to Stephen Rozner, the only man whose idea of sticking it to your ex-employer is to make something completely meritless.

I have like, at least 100k characters at minimum at the ready everytime to explain why I love this game; But I'll just explain it very succinctly here.

Treasure's games are designed with a 'Turing-completeness' to their greater design space. A term coined by John Carmack when describing Doom, it is essentially a game that presents infinite possibilities. The producer and creator of this game, Kafuichi went on record stating he wanted to make an action game that wasn't strictly memorizable. And even though the combat is very unbalanced, the boss AI generally being easy to throw loop, he really did succeed. Even though the game's relatively easy, any challenge the game throws at you posits some of the most emergent gameplay I've ever seen.

The attribute mechanic is very introspective and just, COOL. I love how the zero teleport analog in this game can launch enemies, at a perfect angle where they'll get subsequently juggled, and you can grab them out of mid air and pole vault off of them or use their bodies as bullet soaking shields. Everything Shyna can do in this game is additive to it's core conceit. The difficulty might be a bit lopsided to some, the last few bosses being very particular. It kind of reminds me of Cave Story, how the bloodstained sanctuary tests muscles the game didn't build, because nothing else is quite like it. I still love this game to death. It's easily the coolest game ever created.



Dissection puzzles have existed at least as long as recorded history, probably. In brief: a dissection puzzle is a set of tiles that can be assembled to create at least two (but usually more) different configurations of geometric shapes. It’s an idea so simple that variations of it appeared in at least two different parts of the world completely independent of one another. In Ancient Greece, dissection puzzles that visually illustrate the Pythagorean theorem were developed, and are believed to be instrumental to its proof as a fundamental relation of geometry. In China, a type of dissection puzzle known as the tangram has origins in oddly shaped modular banquet tables of the Song dynasty, meant to be moved around and arranged into fun shapes to entertain guests.

How exactly dissection puzzles made their way to Japan is unclear. In 1935, Hanayama Toys manufactured a dissection puzzle made of wooden blocks called the Lucky Puzzle and codified the version of the game that would remain popular in the Land of the Rising Sun to this day. Likely based on the tangram, it bears a remarkable similarity to its Chinese cousin. It’s composed of seven pieces, just like a tangram, but has an elegant self-symmetry that makes it unique from almost all other dissection puzzles.

In Japan, the Lucky Puzzle is recognizable enough that no explanation is needed. So in November of 2007, when a Nintendo DS game based on the classic brain teaser was released, they simply only needed to call it Lucky Puzzle DS. However, North America required a different strategy. Dissection puzzles reached western shores at various points in history, but failed to establish themselves as popular choices for would-be brainiacs. Rather than call it what it is, Osaka-based publisher and developer Yuke's invented the nonsense word Neves to adorn the front cover, similar to other puzzle games on the system. (Polarium, Zenses, and Magnetica, to name just a few of many examples.)

Even without the strong cultural recognition, Neves is intuitively easy to pick up and play. Following a brief tutorial, you’re ready to get right into snapping together shapes. The main attraction is the “Silhouettes?” mode, which is a digital refresh of a Lucky Puzzle picture book. You’re provided with outlines of the solution you’re tasked to replicate, and you have an unlimited amount of time to flip and rotate blocks until you figure it out. The puzzles themselves run a good gamut of difficulty, from ones you can solve at a glance to others that will have you fitting shapes together in every possible configuration and still scratching your head. On a few occasions, I even encountered a version of the famous tangram paradox, in which a construction of pieces seems to be an impossible subset of another. Very cool!

Neves does, however, ignore an important element of dissection puzzles: the ability to create your own silhouettes and challenge other players to mirror them. Perhaps this wasn’t possible due to the medium or too complicated for the type of budget the developers were working with, but Neves does attempt to offset this shortcoming with a couple of additional game modes. There are timed versions of each puzzle, as well as a “7 Steps” mode in which each block you place can’t be moved once it’s glued down.

Due to its novel form factor and tactile controls, the Nintendo DS would end up being an incredible platform for puzzle games. Untethered from the need to interface with games through the mechanical presses of buttons alone, it became possible for your hands to interact with puzzles almost as quickly as your brain could parse through them. Neves doesn’t make the experience perfectly seamless (the flipping and rotating can be a little clunky), but one need only compare to games like Tangram for the Amiga or Daedalian Opus to see how quickly things speed up. It’s a surprisingly solid offering, but then again, it does have the advantage of a few millennia of game design.

"A young boy had a dream. A young girl has passion. A mysterious stranger had a mission. And the world will forever know their story. As long as there are dreamers who have the courage to pursue their dreams, the world will have heroes. And as long as there is a thirst to discover the unknown, there will be new stories to tell... and new adventures to be had."

Unlike many RPGs, Skies of Arcadia is not about obtaining best-in-slot gear or about doing 9999 damage or about mastering your party composition. In many cases, a player that isn't on the game's wavelength will be tearing their hair out at the game's random encounter rate, especially because combat is frequently unsurprising. Most of the time, you'll find yourself buffing Vyse as much as possible so that he can use Pirates' Wrath or Rain of Swords over and over and over and over. But, again, while serviceable and impressively textured, combat isn't the purpose of Skies of Arcadia. It is always trying to pull something much more childlike and optimistic out of the player—wonderment and anticipation of what strange civilization or discovery lies just beyond those far off clouds. This is one of the only turn-based RPGs I've played that understands the anticipatory pull of what's around the corner in the way that something like Wizardry does. Every discovery gives way to Arcadia's immense scope, with generations of lost history brewing just beneath the fold. The game is riddled with distinct problems that don't weigh against the experience of playing it, of unfurling it, or of finding peace in it. Skies of Arcadia feels like home.

Octopath Traveler came out at the right time, It kickstarted the HD-2D genre.
That's about all I can say about Octopath Traveler. While the game was a commercial and critical success, It felt lacking in more aspects than one.
So here comes the long awaited sequel, how does it fare to the original?

As of writing this, I don't believe I've ever played a game that improves on every single part of the original game and rises to new heights in the entire genre. It's a magical little game that has managed to hook me in from the first minute of playing the game, every single character is interesting and are fun to be around, they each have their own storylines together. It feels like everything has finally clicked.
The original game simply feels like just a proof of concept compared to this.

Octopath Traveler as a game was an interesting idea, but it lacked the narrative hook and It didn't help that the characters weren't really interesting either, the interactions between them were minimal or even non existent at times, everything felt disconnected.
The game at its core felt like a short 20 hour long classic SNES JRPG about multiple protags of which all of them had their own storylines cough Live a Live cough but stretched over to 100 hours, it felt exhausting.
This resulted in the average person picking up the game for around 20-30 hours, having their fill and putting the game down.
However Octopath 2 feels like it deserves those 100 hours and ends up making every single minute of those 100 hours insanely fun and entertaining, be it the combat, the characters or the beautiful environments.

If you were someone who loved the original, were let down by it or absolutely despised it.
I desperately urge you to give the second game a chance, there is no doubt in my mind that this game will go down as one of the greats in the entire medium.

I can see the faint traces of the magic that people see in this game. I can hear bits of the echoes of the things that touch them or that they find charming. But for me, it came up very, very short.

I got all the way to the sand monster boss, where my game would not stop crashing, which I took as a sign for me to stop trying to force myself to have a good time.

I think I could go on at length if I could talk out loud, but having to formulate my thoughts right now in this little word box, I don't know if I can articulate why it doesn't click with me very well, but lemme give it a shot.

I've heard people compare this game to like watching episodes of a Saturday morning cartoon. People have said it's a hangout game, or a vibes game. I think that's true for those people, but the missing context there is that it's a certain type of Saturday morning cartoon; it's a certain type of hangout. It's a boy's club hangout.

DQ11 feels like the perfect, most magical game dreamed up by three 10 year old boys in 2002 from within a treehouse with a 'NO GIRLS ALLOWED' sign on it.

Just not my thing.



i have not played replicant ver. 1.22 at all and i imagine it may be some time before i do, but i wanted to take a moment to say a couple things about this game. mostly, i wanted to talk briefly about nier's particular place in recent games history in the west.

think of what video games looked like in america in 2010: extremely dominated by AAA western games design, to the point that many games by japanese developers were coming from increasingly disadvantaged development studios trying to keep up with what sold. jrpgs were at an all-time low—call of duty and gears of war reigned. final fantasy was as maligned as it would ever be. from japan, we saw the likes of binary domain, quantum theory... lots of cover shooters and miserable militarized shootmangames. (don't get me wrong: binary domain is cool!) there were certainly examples to the contrary, mostly niche games in staple genres, but this was the prevailing flavor of the day.

so: demon's souls? while not a massive departure from western aesthetics, it clearly signified a resurgence in fresh, inspired games from japan. i don't think it would be a significant stretch to suggest that nier may have benefitted somewhat from the renewed interest demon's souls and bayonetta elicited, but much more than that i'd say it owes its success and its legacy entirely to itself. nier came out swinging: fuck you, this is japanese games. bullet hell shooters, farming sims, references to zelda and resident evil, the sheer weirdness of it... it was a game that seemed to be proud of japanese games, unwilling to bow down to the demands of the western market. and i think the success of this approach speaks for itself. just look at how things have turned around over the last decade! and these days, how many games can be praised for this level of sea change?