Monday, May 30, 2016

Truly A Severe Weakness

I've never really looked into the Fire Emblem games very much; I think I've been distracted by the razzle dazzle of Super Robot Wars every time I've considered it. (Yet when I look into the Advance Wars family of games, I don't have the same problem. Weird.)

That doesn't mean I can't appreciate what I've learned on those occasions I've managed to hold my attention on it, such as the following:

What I want to point out isn't the video's main subject, though, but this rather amazing summary of the extremely powerful penultimate boss's greatest weakness:

Crap acting.

I've heard much better voice acting in '80s cartoons*. (Actually, it's in the same neighborhood as a lot of '80s anime dubs, which were usually much crappier than average when it came to voices.)

*Granted, I watch the original He-Man cartoon a lot, and while that shows certainly isn't without flaw, the voice acting is well above '80s par. If you ever think it sounds bad (and sometimes it does), remember that there were like five to ten people doing all the voices, they were producing more than one episode a week just on that show alone, and they still managed to produce some genuinely wonderful actual acting (among other things, holy hell but could Linda Gary ever scream when she put her mind to it).

Also above par were several other Filmation cartoons and the original Transformers.

-Signing off.

Friday, May 27, 2016

(Fairly Brief) Game Reviews: Alien Invader

Alien Invader (hacked version linked because I'm lazy) is perhaps the funnest rampage game I've ever seen.

I suspect it'd be a little less fun if I'd played the non-hacked version, where I presume you're more vulnerable and don't get to do some cool things as often, and are more subject to a time limit. But the core of the gameplay is probably pretty fun anyway because it's awesome.

Playing as a tripod is a thing I think I've seen once or twice before in browser games, but my hazy recollection tells me that none of them were this beautiful. I mean seriously, that's a nice tripod. (Reminder: There's no such thing as a "wrong" tripod, or as I put it elsewhere, every tripod is a "right" tripod. But there is a such thing as a great tripod, and this is definitely one of them.) But that only adds to the enjoyment that this game brings to the table.

See, just walking around as a tripod would be kinda boring. Fun at first using your heat ray or whatever to incinerate things and withstanding things with your shields (I don't know how effective they are because I can't be bothered to play the game without infinite health and shielding), but it'd get old quickly. The game designer(s) clearly knew this, because rather than restricting your abilities that way, they threw in a couple of things I've never actually seen attached to a tripod before, and they're actually brilliant choices.

First is a dash step that lets you move about a screen's worth of distance in about half a second, which is really cool to watch, fun to do, and pretty useful if you're actually in a hurry to complete the game objectives (it's also part of the reason I presume the cooldowns slow things down a lot, because with the hacked version I can finish a level in fifteen seconds or so thanks to the dash step).

Second and even better is the shockwave stomp, wherein your tripod can jump, and if you do the highest possible jump will come down and just make a frigging explosion with the landing.

The screenshot only brings across a little of the glory of sticking a landing in the midst of a small army and sending them all flying, but I'd recommend playing the game at least once just for that.

Anyway, after playing this game a little, I found myself thinking "this is the perfect way to spice up tripods if you feel the need to." Because, you see, tripods are a bit played out, even if they're still great when they're just kinda there. If you want to make your tripods more impressive than the baseline by making their assault capabilities scarier, rather than going with concepts built around realistic advancement in technology and the like, come up with superpowers and tack them onto the tripods. It's a lot cooler that way.

Regardless of my alien invasion-centered nerdery, this is a very fun game and I can recommend at least the hacked version. (And you can play the hacked version with the hacks off, FYI, so there's that.)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

(Fairly Brief) Game Reviews: StickyLinky

StickyLinky is a puzzle game that's actually mostly pretty fun* despite a title that, well, sounds a little dirty at face value.

It mostly involves clicking linked groups of these, well, blobby things, and using them to create the "creatures," that is, things with faces, to collect those creatures.

Which is also pretty weird.

The point is, though, it's actually pretty fun, and one of the reasons why is that sometimes the obvious strategy isn't actually the correct one.

Particularly, there are certain stages where it's hard to build a stable structure and you lose bits of it all the time, and at face value these things are presented as bad (in one case, fish come and eat your things, and you're told to click on the fish to destroy them and keep the things safe). But it can actually be beneficial to have an unstable structure, because you normally have a limit on how often you can click in a stage (not in an onerous way, you have a mana supply you can potentially replenish, and it starts at fifty). So unstable structures may give you more chances to build chains than you'd otherwise get.

My poor reflexes mean that a lot of games frustrate me because they demand you do things quickly, but this game's a good one because it doesn't make such demands. You can play it in a quick-moving way, but you can also play it in a slow, careful way, and it's just as useful of a strategy.

There's also Zen Mode, which lets you play until you run out of chains instead of when you run out of mana, and it's a sort of fun diversion, though also frustrating because it's a "survival mode" and actually wants you to play somewhat differently than standard, which can take some getting used to.

I rather like StickyLinky, and can recommend it.

*I'm not actually a particularly big fan of a lot of puzzle games in general, which is why I phrase it that way.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 23, 2016

(Fairly Brief) Game Reviews: BigTree Defense

BigTree Defense is a tower defense game with a somewhat unusual structure.

It's quite simple, really: You grow a tree (or perhaps are a tree), and the turrets are "flowers" growing from its branches.

This is a pretty fun idea, and I've always liked it. (I'd meant to review this game years ago, but never got around to it.)

On the other hand, while your tree can increase in size and become pretty impressive, I find the game's balance a bit iffy.

Specifically, each time I've played the game I've stalled out a couple levels in, because the enemies get dramatically stronger around the third stage or so.

I suspect part of the problem is the nature of the game's enemies and waves. You see, the enemies are insects that are apparently invading through holes in the sky or something, and when they successfully deal damage to you and then escape, they retreat and spawn new enemies. It makes for a very tricky gameplay experience (one enemy getting away can mean lots more enemies later), and I think the enemies could have used a bit more balancing.

Also, while I like the concept, the art of the game is... a bit underwhelming. The turrets and enemies are fine, but the shape of the tree and its branches is... ugly.

If you're better at this sort of game than I am (not unlikely), it might be more fun than it generally is for me. As it is, it's fun to play with until things get unreasonable a few levels in.

-Signing off.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Bring Back Plastic Man Cartoon Villains 2016

So I watched this intro to the 1979 Plastic Man cartoon (thanks for pointing it out, snell).

And one of the first things to jump out at me was Plastic Man turning into a rickshaw.

Okay, I kind of adore rickshaws? But Plastic Man has often turned into cars, so that's definitely kind of meh.

Here's what really got my attention, though: The Clam.

Yes, this is a vaguely pirate-themed clam who is also apparently a supervillain.

And apparently, a lot of the villains from this cartoon were like this (names pulled from the wikiped page): Dr. Superstein, Doctor Dinosaur (hey!), Computerhead, Badladdin (apparently an evil genie?!), Count Graffiti, Joggernaught, and Gearshift Swift (who sells Earth to aliens for a quick buck).

Bring these guys back. Especially The Clam.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What Other Board Game Lets You Use Cannons? (Genuinely Curious*)

Some while ago, the functionality of Java was changed so that old things can't be made to work even if you want them to. (At least as far as I can tell, and I did a lot of looking.)

Which ticks me off the most because of the old chess applets at the Chess Variant Pages, because some of those were really fun.

On the other hand, there's now, a weirdly named site that lets you play plenty of board games, including xiangqi, which is something of a drug for me**.

And it's a lot prettier than the old applets, I'll give it that, even if it doesn't have a tenth of the variety. (Big missing example: No shogi. Y U NO SHOGI, JOCLY? More understandable missing example: Yitong [see below footnote link], which isn't much of a game because one and only one side has a rook/cannon/quasi-knight composite piece that can go anywhere and kill everything.)

*I know that janggi does, but the elephants in that game make me incredibly furious, so they don't count.***

**It's the cannons. It's always been and will always be the cannons.

***Also the cannons in janggi just aren't fun the same way the xiangqi cannons are.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Non-Indicative Title

This game feels like it ought to be a bit better known than it seems to be (which is to say "I know I've heard the name but I've never really heard people talk about it).

(NOTE: I watched this with the speaker off, so I've got no idea what some shrill noises in it sound like*.)

Live A Live (what the hell kind of name is that supposed to be?) has to have been one of the most ambitious JRPGs of its era, what with all the genre-shifting and sharp story twists going on.

*Rather wish the guy who did this video had used a more tasteful phrase than "ear rape."

-Signing off.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Truly Baffling

One thing that's a bit weird to me just in general is the game Lemmings.

Not quite the fact that it exists, even though it is pretty weird that a game about leading around a bunch of cuddly little anthropomorphic lemmings and trying to save them from awful death was ever a thing.

No, the thing that truly mystifies me is the fact that, for a period from the mid to late nineties, it seems like it was on at least one school computer in every school I was ever in. What the sweet hell was up with that?

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Run, Little Dinosaur, Run!

Okay, this update is very light because my internet connection was dead, but it also provided the content, so...

While Chrome is inferior to Firefox in most particulars, I'll admit it's pretty hilarious Chrome has this little game on its error page.

Though the day/night switch thing it does is painful for my eyes (my eyes don't like the blurring speed either) and when I'm on a decent run said switch is the most frequent direct cause of my losing, which makes it even worse.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 9, 2016

And You Ask Yourself How This Got To Be A Thing

This is one of those things where I feel like most of the people who are interested in it have probably seen it already, then remember that there's all sorts of things that are right up my ally that I didn't see until the past year or whatever.

So here's a pair of music videos that have a tremendous fandom all their own.

Because Scooby Doo parodies created for music videos need surprising depth of story and characterization, right?

I think the second video relies a little too much on the first one to build on by comparison to the ridiculous number of details and amount of information you can actually get from the first one, but it's not bad (and I like the oni chick or whatever she is, for that matter).

-Signing off.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Perhaps The Best Approach To Eldritch Abomination Characters

It's hypothetically possible that I blogged about this at some point in the distant past, because this has been lurking in my bookmarks since a computer or three ago, but if I did, I can't find it.

I have no interest in playing League of Legends, but some of the things they do with their characters are fun, like the alternate skins that come with character personality changes.

Gentleman Cho'Gath is perhaps the single best thing I've seen associated with League of Legends, which (in case you aren't aware) also has a mummy whose central character conceit is that he's sad all the time and a robot character who has an alternate skin called Definitely Not Blitzcrank which is wearing mustache glasses to prove to you that this is Definitely Not Blitzcrank.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Influence A Bandersnatch

Apparently, I'm in the kind of mood for posting random vaguely humorous things I find on Wikipedia:

"In a letter from 1959, C. S. Lewis wrote, 'No one ever influenced Tolkien—you might as well try to influence a bandersnatch.'"

C. S. Lewis you frigging nerd.

-Signing off.

Monday, May 2, 2016

They Had a Whole Island Disappeared (Not Really)

(My sister has a Patreon now. I will point out that we are poor and this would benefit me, personally. Not to guilt you or anything.)

Amazing Wikipedia article sentence of the day:

"Explanations for [Bermeja's] apparent disappearance include an erroneous observation by the early cartographers, shifts in the geography of the ocean floor, rising sea levels and conspiracy theories claiming that the CIA destroyed the island to expand the economic zone allotted to the United States."

Considering that there were apparently reports of the island's disappearance dating to over one hundred years before the CIA actually existed, that last one seems even a little more unlikely than usual.

(Also is it just me or does the CIA attract more conspiracy theories than other organizations of its type? I mean, I don't have numbers or anything, I just have a vague impression that this is the case.)

-Signing off.