Save States

Autosave is a standard setting you see in games since it stops the sad story of so many stalling their progress from loss of saves and system shutdowns that strive to occur in situations solely when something special is starting or in a situation where your stuck in a sequence set up for the sake of story that can’t be skipped. However, some games still have the standard of selecting saves and saving through save points. These games serve as not so subtle nods to services in select games from some time back where save rooms were seen as standard for saving and suspending progress. The saves were spaced out so that you couldn’t save scum or to simplify it, save after every step of success to slowly but steadily succeed in pressing on to the subsequent save point and securing new save data. This style of spacing out saves was to strengthen your skills so you could step up and subdue anyone stopping you and have them serve as stepping stones for your survival. However, statistically speaking this served as a slow start and lead to stumbling as spaces between saves were stretched out. The standard setting of difficulty was set so that in games staying alive was a sticking point. So some games from back then served to stop people from speeding ahead and had them survive using their skills at play to succeed. Some of these games have seen a surge of strength in sales due to select titles showing up on some online stores as software to store on your system instead of a standard cartridge or disk that was scanned to start up the game. This set the standard for save states.

You see save states were so special since you could sync up with saves that you set yourself after setting yourself up for success. If you slipped up and suffered some sort of setback or searched around and stumbled upon story elements that stopped you from searching for secrets, then you could simply reset by selecting that save state you saved beforehand to save yourself from such simple slip ups. They served as a simple scouting feature to survey upcoming spaces and spend time searching for the simplest path to successfully securing the objective. Some games simply spend so little time at the start showing you where to start that starting off can be staggering. Shouldn’t it be somewhat fine to save when you see that you’ve spent so much time without a save station in sight and surely could have something shut down the system causing nothing to be saved. Sure it can be started up again, but some seconds are meant to be well spent and no one wants to sucker themselves by not saving when saving could save their souls. Okay, I should stop using such sardonic statements and stick to the story before this starts settling into simple sophistry. Save states can save a run since you can start and stop at your say so rather than scrounging around for save stations and being strung along by the game’s setting and story. It may seem like I am saying that this setting simplifies gaming, but that’s only sort of what I’m suggesting.

You see, using saves in such sizable amounts is most suitable for starting off and sticking through or in games with small chances of success where lives are used sparingly. However, when you stop straying from the story the game has started you on and you can search through without surprises than such save scumming is slowly used less and less, which can serve as a slip up as well. You see, if you save state, the save state starts back from the last save to start you off from that starting point, but that should suggest to you that saves done after that serve no purpose since the game simply seems to suggest those saves were not sound. The save state works on a system memory rather than what’s stored in the software that supports the game you play. So what happens when you shut down the software and start up using the system as the structure for your starting point. Let me say it more simply. What start do you start at when restarting the system without saving securely on the system itself? Its solution is to start up the system memory that used saved as your last save state. Now if that save state starts off where you seemed to be then that’s stupendous and a stroke of serendipity since you sought to be sure to save somewhat consistently. If you stop updating you save states and slipped up by loading in a save that starts at a point you spent several attempts on, that stings. Surely, it’s a shame but you can so simply strip all the stuff you have succeeded in by starting up an old save that sets you back somewhere closer to the start of your suffering. Simply put, shortcuts can serve you well in some games, but shortcuts can also serve as a stumbling block rather than a solution should you be careless and hit a snag you couldn’t see. Sometimes it may be simpler to just stick to the story and stay safe. See you all sometime again!

Thoughts on Nintendo

These days I think of the videogames I play in three different ways. There are the ones that I really enjoy playing even if they tend to frustrate me sometimes. Then there are the ones that I’ve played and remember liking enough but haven’t felt the urge to go back and play them. And then there are the ones that made me feel betrayed to the point that I do not acknowledge their existence and we don’t talk about them. No, I will not name any names… at least not today. Instead, I want to talk about where Nintendo fits in this category for me. I have talked before about how much time I have spent playing on Nintendo consoles as I was growing up. Although, more of it was spent on their handhelds then their actual consoles. Let’s face it, you can’t exactly bring consoles to school. And for all of you clever people who thought to point to a Nintendo Switch just now, I want to let you know that we didn’t have those back in 2006. The point is that I spent a lot of my childhood with Nintendo and the main reason was due to the fact that their handhelds were the most accessible. While other consoles may be superior in pure specs, other companies really haven’t even come close when it comes to the handheld market. So I stuck with them for a while because of that. Honestly, wasn’t even aware of the fact that consoles existed until I was like 11. I never really paid attention to well, life so I missed a couple opportunities. Ignore the fact that I had a PS1 as a child. I was dumb as a child. Once again I have gone so far off the mark so I need to bring it on back. What this what meant to convey was how much Nintendo shaped my early childhood and do to this I have a lot of fond memories with them and I still do support them financially. I’m not as gungho about it now, but I do keep an eye on them. So, with all this time and money spent on them over the years, how do I currently feel about them?

Well, remember a paragraph ago when I led with that opening about how I now categorize games. I would put the majority of the Nintendo games I played into the second category with some going into the first and some going into the third. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that many of the games I played were fun, but weren’t worth going back for a repeat playthrough. Truth be told, there aren’t many games that Nintendo has released that I enjoy playing all the way through every single time. The game is The Legend of Zelda series have some exceptions, and there are some other outliers as well, but most of the time they are one and done affairs. Nintendo is great at keeping things consistent and fun throughout their time as game developers, but just because something is fun once, does not mean it is fun to go through it multiple times. That’s why I still haven’t gotten every stamp in Super Mario 3D World. Doing every level with every character is very taxing, especially when you are playing by your lonesome. So I still only have one of them, I’ll bet you can guess which one. Anyway, I noticed that I don’t have a lot of desire to revisit them after playing them once. I realize now that is because there isn’t much reason to explore once you’ve done everything. Sure, I could go play similar levels again and maybe I could find some hidden rooms or pathways, but unfortunately that is just a maybe. What also doesn’t help is my memory is unusually strong when it pertains to secrets in videogames. Certain moments just can’t be experienced twice I’m afraid. Look, it’s fine if there games are fun, I just want a little more being done.

For instance, and you can probably guess what I am going to be talking about, but Pokémon has been one of those franchises that has so much potential and it is taking them years to tap into it. Truth be told, I do not necessarily need a new generation every few years. I would rather they do things like back in the day when they would make a new generation whenever there were big changes to the series or when they had something interesting to bring to the table mechanically. Instead they have kind of been copping out with gimmicks instead for the past few generations. Now we are starting to see some direction and progress, but man has it been a slow boil. Meanwhile there are countless rom-hacks that allow people to experience Pokémon games with creativity using older assets and coding at no cost. What I am saying is that a lot of people are taking inspiration from these games and making them into something new. It isn’t just the Pokémon franchise either. There are other series that are getting similar treatment. i for once have definitely played a few games over the years that have taken some inspiration for certain Nintendo properties and made them into fun games. Heck, the whole concept of Metroidvania was something Nintendo created and now it is more synonymous with random indie titles. Does Nintendo see nothing wrong with this as long as sales don’t change? Well then, I hope they don’t because otherwise who knows what they might do. I’m not trying to light a fire under them, but I want them to know that there are some talented minds out there if you ever need to recruit for new ideas. Just saying. Also, maybe rerelease some more Gamecube games at some point please? Okay, that came out better than expected after recovering from COVID, so I’ll consider this a win. Goodnight everybody.

Concerning Collectibles

I know i have spent some time talking about collectibles before on my blog. I felt that today I would dive a little deeper to make some distinctions between the types of collectibles a game typically has and give a way to characterize them. In my opinion there are four types of collectibles that you can potentially find in a videogame. For the recod I consider a collectible to simply be something that you can collect in a game. Now let’s get started. The first type is a collectible that has importance to the story. This type is essential for progression barring any speedrunning level skips that may exist to bypass them. Basically the game is coded to not allow you to progress without it. This type can be further divided in the type of collectible that you can use and the type you can’t use. To elaborate, sometimes there are items you need to collect to fight the final boss, but you can’t actually use them until that fight. However, there are some instance where you can use the collectibles from story progression to become stronger without being tied to the final boss scenario. As a example, in many of the more recent Sonic games the Chaos Emeralds are only used to fight in the final boss encounter, but serve no purpose in any of the other levels. However, in the later Genesis Sonic games you could use them once you collected them to become Super Sonic and he wasn’t necessary for the final boss encounter. This type of collectible is important for story reasons and typically is more important to the story rather than the gameplay, although like I’ve said there can be some overlap.

The second type of collectible are optional powerups. These can also be converted into two different types. These two types are temporary powerups and permanent powerups. Like their names suggest one of them offer the player who interacts with the collectible a stat boost temporarily and the other gives a permanent increase. These are meant to either help get through difficult areas or help the player grow to face harder challenges later down the line. These can come in many different forms such as armor or weaponry, but their purpose is the same. They exist to help increase your stats and give you a way to even the odds. The third type is not as noteworthy as the second type, but it is still important nonetheless. This type is the type of collectible that you can use as normal consumables or potentially craft into such items. Sometimes you even get the ability to craft these types into consumables of the second type. These are typically essential to getting through any type of game because without them you are left with no options except acouple of attacks with high risk and low health levels that are hopefully not accompanied by a beeping sound. The three types I have listed so far are the most essential parts of gameplay. However, I said there are four types. So, what could the fourth one be? You might have already guessed, but the fourth type is just there to be collected.

You see the fourth type doesn’t neccesarily have any importance to the story or the gameplay. It may have something that ties into things related to the story, but it may not have any noticable effect on the story itself. An example of this might be how some games have bestiaries that you can fill out by encountering certain enemies and gaining information on them. Hollow Knight would fall under this category. This type could also grant you fun rewards for gameplay after collecting enough of them, but they are in no way required for playing the game. A classic example of this would be the Skulltula tokens that are used to lift the Skulltula curse in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time which help unlock certain useful items to help beat the game. However, they are not required collectables so you can still beat the game without them. Typically this type doesn’t add anything substantial to the game. Usually the only purpose it serves for people is to fulfill their curiosity. Potentially there can also be achievements associated with these types of collectibles. These achievements tend to have a range of difficulties going from pretty simple to incredibly hard. Typically they are only worth it if you don’t have to go out of your way to do them, if they give you something cool, or if you just want a crazy challenge. Do remember that these are never required to collect if you want to enjoy the game. Don’t collect them unless you are either trying to get something or trying to prove something. That’s all I got. What? I can’t go on rambles and random tangents every time. They lose their meaning that way. So, see you next time and have a good night.

Rant on No Death Achievements

I’ll be honest. I despise these types of achievements. There are so many types of these kinds of achievements and for some reason they always love to put them in the most difficult games. I mean the game is already hard enough so why do we have to add on extra challenges like that? There are different levels to these types of achievements as well with some of them not even allowing you to get hit at all if you want to get the achievement. Not getting hit is a hard ask for just about any game so exactly how do they expect us to do it. Well, through practice of course. If we practice going through each stage of the game over and over again, we can eventually figure out a way to go through without taking any hits or find the route that offers the least amount of risk in getting hit. That can take hours and frankly speaking that is just for the chance at victory. There is no guarantee that you will be able to pull it off. You just have to trust that all of your effort will eventually pay off. These are challenges that aren’t for the casual player. They are challenges that are only for the few who want an insanely difficult challenge to put their skills to the test. This is not for me, obviously. In case you forgot from the name of the site, I prefer to play games in a more casual manner. The problem is that some of the games I play and enjoy quite a bit have these achievements tied to them. It’s a little annoying knowing I will probably never complete them.

You see, there are two types of no death achievements. The first is relatively simple since you just have to not die. This can either be a limited number of attempts or not once through the entire campaign. Things can be simple if you know exactly what you are doing. After all, you just have to be cautious and take your time advancing through the game. I however, am famous for choking at the final stretch. So, naturally I tend to drop the ball on these ones. They aren’t too bad though overall, since it is only a matter of practice. The problem, for me is the number of resets. One bad moment leads to a total reset of your progress and that can really tank your morale. You are probably thinking “Why is he thinking like this when he loves to play roguelikes?” The difference is that I don’t have to worry about practicing the route beforehand. It is all random so if something happens then that just shows I was unlucky more otfen than not. It doesn’t show necessarily that I was unskilled. It feels more painfull though when things aren’t random and can’t be chalked up to just bad luck. That is when it gets to me. You see, when luck is involved, at the very least I can gamble. I can’t gamble my way out of death wihtout having a certain amount of skill.

Now you might not be thinking that is so bad. However, these achievements aren’t always so nice. Sometimes they want you to beat the game with the best completion possible and even worse are the no hit achievements, which are the no death achievements on steroids. You see you will have to play through the whole segment without making a single mistake or all of your progress gets reset. There is no leeway and no second chances. Not only that but you have to do it in multiple levels in order to actually collcect all of the achievements. I will give you an example. Let’s gp back to the game I talked about last week, Celeste. It’s a pretty difficult little platformer. The thing is once you collect all the crystal hearts and beat every level you unlock the ability to collect Golden Strawberries. In order to get the final achievement you need to collect every single one in the game in addition to the original 175 normal ones in the levels. Thankfully those 175 can be collected outside of the run with the Golden Strawberry. To collect the Golden Strawberry for a level you have to collect it and continue for the rest of the level without dying. Since in this game there is no health bar that basically means not taking a single point of damage. You have to do this not only for every version of each chapter, but also the final bonus chapter Farewell. I can tell you that I have almost 5000 deaths to just beat it once. There is no shot that I get that Golden Strawberry in this lifetime. That’s okay though, it just means I will never get that final achievement which is a little heartbreaking. You see, I hate these achievements not because they are impossible, but because they are possible with time and dedication. These are two things I don’t have at the moment. Maybe one day, but not now. I just hate that I have to invest so much time to only have a chance at success. It’s a bit unsettling. I’ll probably still try though, because I’m stubborn like that. Oh well.

A Little Gaming Moment

Let me tell you a story. I am going to warn you about a couple of things before I begin though. First off, this will contain a couple of spoilers for the game Celeste. Nothing too major will be talked about except for a couple of collectibles but if you wanted to take the time to find them on your own, then feel free to miss out on my little story. The second thing is that this story will make me sound like an idiot, because I was being an idiot. There are some times where the answer is right in front of you and yet it just doesn’t click. This is one of those kinds of stories. Now let me start off where it all began in Chapter 1. I was hunting for the collectible strawberries, because if there are collectibles I am legally obligated to go after them, and I happened upon an area with a flashing television monitor which was cycling through the same sequence of colors on repeat. Right next to it was a swarm of colorful birds that had the same colors that were flashing on the monitor. Every now and then they would pause for a second and each one would dash out into a different cardinal direction. Now, obviously something was hidden here. There is no way this could all be a coincidence. So I sat there for a while thinking about what I could do. My only abilities were jumping, climbing and being able to dash in eight directions, but how could any of those possibly be useful to me in this situation? Yeah, this was my first I’m a fool moment as I left and didn’t think about this “puzzle” until much later. Now we are going to skip ahead a bit to later on in the game at a certain section of Chapter 6.

Me wondering what the birds are doing and being utterly clueless. You can tell from the picture but that monitor flashes in a sequence where the birds aren’t giving you this hint.

Chapter 6 was one of the chapters that I took the longest to complete. Not so much because of its difficulty, although it was a little challenging. the main reason is because I got stuck at a certain point in the level because I didn’t know how to progress past a certain point. There was this feather in the ground that I found hidden that allowed me to travel further upwards into a certain section. It only led to this one room that had four unlit torches and six colored gems on the wall. Needless to say that I was stuck. I had no idea how to solve this puzzle and I had no idea what the colored gems and symbols on the wall under the torches were supposed to represent. So I ended up leaving the game on hold for a while. I will admit that I should have maybe thought back a bit and realized this puzzle was probably not the way to progress the story, but clearly I wasn’t thinking. That can be a bad habit of mine. By the way, I did eventually find out that I was being dumb and that wasn’t the way forward in the level. The solution to this one was simple. Remember how I said there was a hidden feather that led me further upwards. Yeah, I just needed to ignore it and go to the right to get to the next screen. What I assume happened was since the leevel had a lot of verticality to it, I just assumed I had to keep going upwards for some reason. I guess I got in my own head, yet another bad habit of mine. So eventually I beat Chapter 6 and got through to the end game after being stuck for no reason other than my own foolishness. That’s another addition to the myriad of dumb moments I had while playing Celeste. After that things went a lot smoother if you don’t count the number of deaths I had, the game didn’t let it slide though, and I proceeded to the endgame. Then I was met with an interesting fact. You needed all the heart collectible to unlock the endgame content. At the time I didn’t have many so it was time to go back and look at things I missed. You can probably see where this is going.

Me in the room, lost and confused. For the record the colored gems are in the same sequence as the flashing monitor in the first area. No, I don’t know why I thought this was the only way forward. Also, pay attention to those patterns.

So now it was time for me to try and solve these puzzles and since you already can tell that I can’t even pay the slightest bit of attention to my surroundings, I had my work cut out for me. Thankfully upon going back to the first area with the birds i realized that the pattern of colors on the television was the same as the gems in the room on Chapter 6. In other words, I needed to solve this puzzle in Chapter 1 so that I could solve the puzzle in Chapter 6. This is the part where I started taking down notes. I figured maybe that would help me. It didn’t really do much though. At least not yet. What actually got me to the solution was I did my typical frustation dance and dashed all over the place asking myself what I was supposed to do. Now what would have been funny was if I unlocked it by randomly doing that for a while, but instead after I calmed down I realized that I was able to dash in eight directions and the birds happened to dash out every so often after the sequence ended. So I dashed north, west, southeast, northeast, west again, and finally northwest. This allowed to claim my prize: the crystal heart. So I went back to Chapter 6 after having figured it all out and did the same dance as before. And finally…. it happened. One of the torches lit up. Great! Now only three more to go. Now I figured it had something to do with the original pattern so I thought to look at the pictures and see if they could help. I could not understand the symbols though. I decided then to try and see what would happen if I reversed all of the directions in the sequence. So I dashed in the sequence of down, right, northwest, southwest, right again and finally southeast. Then I got the fourth torch to light up. So I was at least on the right track, but I was still missing something. Then after staring at my screen for a while it came to me. the only way to solve this was… geometry. Basically what I had to do was copy down their directions on a graph and reflect them over the x-axis and the y-axis to find mirror images. Doing both would lead to the complete opposite which I had already done. So I did two more dances to light two more torches and earned myself another crystal heart. Who would’ve thought that something I learned in school would actually end up being useful. Go figure. I hope you all enjoyed my little story and I will hoper to see you all again mext time.

Time Trial Troubles

Time trials are a taxing type of trial that tends to test how timely you can travel through to the end of the stage. These time trials typically tend to be tailored as types of tests to the player’s ability to travel through the terrain under a targeted time. They are tricky since trying them means traveling in a tidy manner under a tight timeframe so you can’t take your time and travel by trudging along. These tests are typically attempted by those who have triumphed over the tons of tasks the game has thrown at them and think to try something more taxing to test themselves further. Typically there are three tiers of times to try to trounce in order to take the trophy. Time is typically tightest when trying to take on the time that is the shortest. There are treachearous traps and tricks that you must try to trample on to triumph and take the trophy. The troublesome thing is that this is a trial with no time to take a break. Also, tripping up even temporarily trashes the attempt to the point that trying to continue is just throwing time away. You must know the terrain and trek through temples or up towers or whatever totally tired and typical setpieces they throw in that you take on to triumph and tell them to the faces that you can take on anything. Now they think they can treat this as a little treat tangentially tied to the main game and that it isn’t tied to the total completion so they can turn it into the most troublesome type of challenge they can track and test. That is the test they call a time trial. To be transparent, these typically are not tied to completion, theoretically speaking. They are tasks that can be treated as trivial. However, that is not always true.

There is one title of a trilogy that tricks you into trying these and then you take in that true completion is tied to your trophies in the time trials. This trilogy recently got a new title that took completion too far. That’s right, it’s the Crash Bandicoot games, where that tangerine troublemaker tripped up every time I tried to take him through the time trials and nearly brought me to tears. The timing on the traps and enemies must be timed to a tee or the whole attempt is trivialized and turns into wasted time. There are special crates that tamper with the timer and they must be thrashed to have a top time as you go through the trial. Also there is no time to trip up since that takes away time as well. It is pretty troublesome, especially in the latest title that has tons of types of levels to try and do time trials. The game is treated as already tougher than the original three and they still thought to make the player attempt all these time trials time and time again to achieve true completion for about tens seconds of a teaser at the end. They are totally trying to trip me up and take all my time for that. Typically, I enjoy tough platformers, but that is not the type of trial thas I consider to be tough. It is more tedious and trying time after time is taxing and takes too much time from me that I can’t think of completing the test as a triumph. Any trip up and the time taken up is trifling. This wouldn’t tend to take so much out of me if the time taken for the resets wasn’t typically in the first thirty seconds each time. Then it feels as though there is no telling how to take on the trial and that this is all trivial. Even though, this is not trivial when taking into account true completion. Typically most try not to think about it, but there are those who think to try anyway no matter how tough the trial ahead. They want to at least try to triumph over the total munber of trials the game throws at them.

Even if the game doesn’t tie time trials to any true ending they are still tedious to undertake since the attempts take so many tries before they start moving through in a timely manner. The timing of the enemies and traps have to be timed almost to a tee and the timing of your movements must match that timing that you set for yourself. that is the only option that can get you the trophy that you are trying to take. The number of attempts requires taking on the same trial tons of times and that can tire you out in no time. The thing is that you have to tough it out and power through since once the timing starts coming to you, then you can’t throw away the growth you’ve made and take on the time trial until you finish in the time you wanted to take. Truthfully, I tend to hate timed things in any game. There are times in games where you have a timer telling you your total time taken and to attempt special trials you must travel through in a certain amount of time or the trial cannot be taken. When the game is already taxing, trying to do it in time constraints is tiring and tricky, especially if the game tends to have ties to the gods of RNG. I’ve trained my techniques, took time to teach myself the terrain and the enemy types, I tried to get those gold trophies as many times as it took and now I’m tired of these tactics taking up so much of my time. Sometimes trying isn’t worth the trophy that you take home. That sound tongue tied but all theses Ts don’t really trip off the tongue. See you next time.

What it Means to Win

I was thinking recently about something that I thought was kind of cool. It was also the best idea I could come up with so I decided to write about it. Now videogames are pretty young if we really think about it. They are only around 40 years old. They have evolved in many different ways as time has gone on and one of the most notable ways is the nature of winning the game. Videogames first appeared in an arcade setting and their major focus was to keep people coming back to play. So naturally, games were pretty difficult to beat. The interesting thing was that what you were trying to beat wasn’t necessarily the game itself. Most games just looped endlessly and kept going until you died and used up your precious allowance. What you were actually trying to beat was your high score. You wanted to get the most out of your money and prove that you had the skills to beat aliens or eat pellets or climb scaffolding or whatever you enjoyed doing. The best part was leaving that there to prove that you were the best in the arcade. That high score stayed up there for as long as you wanted, that is until someone took it away from you. So then the process to get the high score would begin all over again. It required a competitive edge and a mountain of quarters, but entertainment is entertainment. Then things changed. The change was the appearance of consoles in the gaming market. Then they no longer wanted your change, they wanted your dollar bills. The tradeoff was you could attempt the games from the comfort of your own house. However, now the win conditions have changed.

I mean it makes sense right. After all, there is no way you allow a bunch of strangers over your house to play games in exchange for money. Well, technically you can but it would be a terrible idea. Anyway, now games had to offer something more than just endless replayability with an unforgiving difficulty. So they decided to do the unthinkable. They developed game with a clear ending. That is right. You could actually win the game. That was the game changer. Now it was about trying to beat the game and actually see a credits screen. However, they didn’t make it easy. Games back in the day did not have great things such as maps or difficulty curves or good physics so beating them felt like a real challenge. I’ll be honest and say that there are games from those days I still haven’t beaten. Maybe one day. However, now players had a goal. They had something to work towards again. They used whatever they could to beat the game. Some games made things a little more interesting by giving you different endings based on how you played. There were lots of ways to play, but it wasn’t all about single player. There were multiplayer experiences as well where you could compete against each other where the winner would be decided through a nice and fair competitive match. At least that was how it should go, but not everyone plays the same way. I’m not saying there was foul play, but there may have been some injuries after the fact. So some games were testing your skill against an opponent while some tested your skill against the game itself. While the method of doing so was different from the days of the arcade, the results were still the same. The major difference was that there was an actual goal to work towards and you could have better control over how much you played.

Now you would thing that beating the game would be enough right? WRONG! Haven’t you ever heard the phrase winning isn’t everything? That isn’t the case, but it is about how you win. Game have gotten a lot bigger and have a lot more content, most likely as a way to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Games implement different achievements that you could earn to show that you had completed certain tasks. Some people choose to complete all of the tasks the game asks for various reasons. Sometimes they want better endings, sometimes they just want to have the satisfaction of collecting them all, and sometimes they just want to brag to others about their progress. Whatever the case may be, it isn’t just about winning anymore. These days a lot of people who play games will try to challenge themselves when playing games people are familiar with and they do this by imposing rules on themselves before the game begins. Either that, or they have soemone mod the game for them so they don’t have to worry about breaking any rules. There are so many ways people can experience games these days thanks to mods and creative minds. This upsurge of challenge runs may be due to games starting to feel easier or maybe less broken. I can’t really say for sure, all I know is it is just another way for people to have fun and play games in new and interesting ways. Whether you play to unlock everything, whether you play to beat your best time, or whether you play to just enjoy a game, you are having fun while playing. We have gotten to a point where gamers can set their own goals on what it means to win. I’d say that’s pretty cool. Game will continue to evolve and we wll continue to play and beat them. The question is how many ways will we choose to play? See you next week and have a great night.

Special Post

I just wanted to take some time to talk about how it is entirely possible we could see Hollow Knight: Silksong within the next year. I’m so excited right now. The trailer they showed recently looks so good. There seem to be lots of diverse movesets and different ways to battle. I just can’t believe this mgith actually be happening. I have waited for news about this game for so long, so to see that there has been a lot of progress and a new trailer just brings a smile to my face. Thank you Team Cherry for continuing to work on what could be one of my favorite games this decade. Go check the new trailer if you haven’t already. I’ll leave a link below. Good night everyone and remember that we are making progress. Now all we need is to be patient until they release more information. I can’t wait!

Why I Play Roguelikes

“If you could choose any superpower to have, which one would you choose?” I have been asked this question multiple times over the course of my life. At first I wanted a cool superpower. I wanted something that was flashy and stood out. I wanted the classic flight, or superspeed or something that I could use to live out my wildest fantasies. It probably would have stayed like that had it not been for one thing. I got older. As many people know, getting older changes your perspective on certain things. Due to this my answers to this question changed as I got older. I no longer felt that I wanted something cool, but rather I wanted something practical that could be used in a variety of situations. For instance, flight isn’t great if you are in stormy environments and you can’t fly at high speeds without a durable body and strength as well. I toyed with teleportation but I was afraid I ended up warping into a wall somewhere. So I thought long and hard and eventually I came down to two answers. The first is the ability to understand a language after experiencing it once. I thought that would be cool to be able to communicate with anyone I wanted, but I might be able it would turn into a power that let’s me hear all creatures and that might be a problem. So I usually have a lot of conditions with that one. The other answer I give is that I would like the ability to be able to forget my experiences with a game so that I could play it for the first time all over again. The reason is there are some games that I really enjoyed, but I didn’t see the need to go back for another playthrough. The major downside to story heavy games is that one you finsih the story, the best part of the game, you can’t go through that experience again. Even in games where this doesn’t happen, when you play a game enough you tend to memorize solutions or layouts without meaning to becuase you enjoy the game so much. There is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I wish I could just start from the beginning and experience things in a fresh new way. I think that is why I like roguelikes so much.

You probably thought I wasn’t going anywhere with that previous paragraph, but I did in fact do that with a purpose in mind. I have noticed recently that roguelikes games tend to be one of the genres I spend a lot of time on. That felt kind of odd to me since many of those games don’t have very complex stories and that is usually what I look for when playing games. So I thought to myself why would I spend over one thousand hours in games when your progress is reset from the beginning once you die. At first I thought it was because I was crazy. Then I thought that maybe I had an addiction to gambling. Then after that I thought it was beacuse I was very stubborn and unwilling to admit defeat. All of these questions had inconclusive answers, but I think I at least have some idea. First off, the fact that you can get stronger by achieving certain objectives definitely helps. It feels as though even when I lose it all, if i have at least made some progress then I haven’t died for nothing. Most of the best items are things you need to unlock while playing so it is best to just keeep on playing to get the items you want. There are usually a number of ways to go about it as well which helps keep things fresh. That’s right every time I start a run, there is a chance something can happen. It might not be the best run, but I can still make it work. I rarely end up having good runs that I am comfortable with these days. More often than not I end up succeeding with just the skin of my teeth. That’s what is so exhilarating about it though. I enjoy having that feeling of starting from nothing to become something no matter how many times I do it. I think that is a dream we can all identify with to some degree. I like the feeling of getting stronger, but there is nothing more boring than being too powerful. Even if I can sweep through every enemy easily, I will only be able to do so for a run, not the whole game. I cannot state how little I play a game after I have become powerful enough to take on everything easily. I play games for a fun challenge, not to coast through. If I wanted a walk in the park, I would go outside.

Do you know what the best thing about playing a roguelike is though? It is never about the destination. You are lucky to even reach an ending sometimes. The true fun of the roguelike is the journey. It is building up your run and experimenting with different items to see what works best. Do you know how often I have to look up items and powerups because I genuinely don’t remember what they do or how they work. I do it all the time. That is partially due to my terrible memory, but the main reason is because there are so many ways to experiment and so many options to choose from as you play through the game. No good roguelike keeps itself to just one playstyle. There are always different ways to customize your run, but your ability lies in how you use those powers to take on neverending waves of enemies and bosses as you make your way through the dungeon. I have had some runs that were beautiful only to be ruined by my own hubris. I have had some mediocre run that managed to somehow push through until the end. There is really no telling what will happen in the end, but I know I will feel something whether I win or lose. That is the most important thing to me when I play games. I want how I feel to be the same no matter how many times I play. I feel like no matter how many times I play, I can still be just as excited or just as worked up as when I first started playing them. So at least I wouldn’t need to hit the reset button on these games if I ever wanted to enjoy a quick run. I am curious if there are any superpowers you wish you had and if they have changed from the past. There is no obligation to do so, but I am curious so feel free to comment about it if you want. See you next week!

Rewriting Characters

You know something that has always bothered me to no end? It is sequels. More specifically, sequels that actively go out of there way to destroy their foundations. Personally, while it isn’t my hope that games do this, I am perfectly fine with the sequels not making any major changes to the original so long as they do not make the game worse. I actually think that it might be harder to do so these days when games are typically built upon the same engines as previous ones. And yet, somehow they can still manage to ruin things by having established characters take on different personas. You all know what I am talking about here right? If not I will spell it out for you. One of my biggest pet peeves is when they decide to completely rewrite or ignore a character’s backstory just so it can work in a new game. Look, I am not saying that you can’t give new information about a pre-existing character. I just don’t want it to conflict with the information that we already have about the character. Take for instance the new God of War series. I don’t have a problem with how Kratos has a different personality in the new series because I feel they have done enough to show that this character has grown from his past. Sure, he might not be as angry and has mellowed out with age, but that is fine so long as they don’t ignore what he has done in the past. He is showing how he doesn’t want his son to end up like he once was by actively being a responsible father. It is a good thing he is a main character since that would usually just be a one-way ticket to dying early. Hopefully that isn’t something to worry about because I like this new overbearing dad Kratos. Not sure how I feel about giving the new series the exact same name though. Well, at long as the foundations are still there the game is alright with me. Unlike this next one.

Before I mention it though I want to talk a little about something I heard. I heard that Horizon: Forbidden West does completely ignore all of the progress you made in the previous game to have you start a new adventure and completely reboots Aloy’s personal growth. That is kind of annoying since I was having fun with my first experience of Horizon: Zero Dawn and was thinking of trying out the sequel after. Looks like I might put it on the backburner then. However, this is a game I still have some interest in despite that. A game that I can’t see myself playing no matter what the circumstances are is Metroid: Other M. Truth be told this game could probably be it’s own blog post for how much they destroyed pre-existing characters, especially the main protagonist Samus. However, I don’t want to spend all my time bash it because it has been done to death and it is not really worth the effort to get worked up about it. I just want to mention the biggest problem with it all in my personal opinion. Now, you may remember that in a previous post I talked about Samus and her ability to lose all of her items at the sart of each game. Well, in this game she has all of her items from the start so instead a character named Adam forces you to not be able to use certain abilities unless authorized. This leads to a moment later on where you are running through an environment that is continuously giving you damage since it is too ho and once you reach a certain point, Adam authorizes you to not take heat damage anymore. Yeah, it already sounds dumb right? It is even worse when you take into account Samus’ personality as established by previous games in the series. Samus in the past has been show to have great battle instincts, good judgment, and the courage to if necessary, take matters into her own hands. Tell me then, why she is just blindly running into fire? Not only is the story and gameplay discontent so bad it is laughable, but I can’t think of any reason why Samus would just blindly follow such a stupid order. Not only that, but I can’t imagine Adam giving such an order in the first place. He is smart enough to realize that this should have been an unnecessary order right? Or did he only give the order because he realized Samus hadn’t turn activated the Varia Suit on her own yet and was going to keep taking damage unless he said something? I honestly don’t know, but here we have Samus deciding to turn her brain off and walk through fire. That probably could have been cooler under better circumstances, but this is what we got instead. Oh well, onto the last one.

Okay, so remember earlier how I said that I hate sequels that aren’t doing anything but trying to destroy an existing character’s growth? I can’t understand if you don’t due to the whole mini-rant there, but if you scroll up you will find I did say that at the beginning. Well, there is actually something that irritates me even more then that. That is reboots that try and act like the established character we have grown fond of has been a mistake this whole time. Not only does it feel unnecessary, but it also feels like aslap in the face to fans of the series for just destroying established canon and personalities for a quick buck. There is no game I can think of that encapsulates this more than DMC: Devil May Cry. This game decided to make Dante, one of the most charismatic protagonists in any action game, into a whining teenager with no really interesting qualities. They change so much of his backstory that I have to wonder why they just didn’t make a new game out of it. They instead decided to create what feels like a cheap knock-off of the original Devil May Cry games. For instance, why are his parents an angel and a demon now? What purpose does that actually serve? Why introduce new characters if they barely contribute to the plot? Why introduce old characters if you wanted them to be the same but with less depth? I just can’t wrap my mind around it. At least Metroid: Other M was trying to tell it’s own story and was trying to give its own reasons for doing so in its own way. Sure the story wasn’t great and it had some issues, but I can’t be that angry at it because at least it tried. What was the point of changing all these characters in DMC: Devil May Cry from there original counterparts if the story doesn’t even feel like more than a mediocre reboot. There is a reason why they decided to scrap that whole thing and make Devil May Cry V instead. Look, I am a reasonable man, but you have to give me a reason why you decide to change something. If there is a good reason, then I can accept it, but don’t just do it for the sake of mixing things up. Please. I begging you here. Don’t. Do. It. Okay, I think that is a good place to call it for tonight. See you next week.