Save Point

Money can buy everything except “love”, “friendship” and “exp points”.

I’ve Heard Bad Things About the Moon December 29, 2009

Filed under: Homebrewed games,Specific games — haounomiko @ 6:50 pm
Tags: ,

I Wanna Be The Guy is an awesome homebrewed platformer that I have not yet finished, but demands blogging anyway because it is so good. It’s a nostalgic blend of 8-bit Nintendo memories and insane difficulty that will make your hands bleed. I’m told that when the original creator first heard that someone beat it on the hardest difficulty level (where there are no save points), his reaction was, “You’re kidding.”

The great thing about IWBTG is that it’s not hard for boring reasons like bad controls or barely-reachable jumps. It’s hard because it messes with every assumption players have learned to make. Anyone who’s ever picked up a controller has an instinct for what sort of thing is deadly in a video game– and that very instinct is what kills me most. I know I’m going to die, but I never quite know how; avoiding the obvious traps, I’m caught by unexpected ones. It usually takes me about an hour to get to the next screen, but I always feel like I’m making progress. I have to train myself to get through each obstacle, one at a time, until I can do it consistently enough to tackle the next. It’s hard, but I always feel like I will be able to do it if I try a little longer. My friends are on “R” duty, which means they sit next to the keyboard and press “R” to restart me whenever I die (usually every three to ten seconds).

My only real complaint is that it’s sexist. On the “medium” difficulty level (there is no “easy”), your character wears a pink bow. Right, because being bad at videogames makes you a girl.


Atelier Crack and Other Stories December 27, 2009

Well, I’ve been dead to the world lately!

As for games, I’ve mostly been playing Atelier Annie, a DS game known affectionately by my family as Atelier Crack because I play so much. It’s a resort development sim game with the Atelier alchemy engine as a major part of the development. I tried very hard to get the best ending without looking in any FAQs– and by “very hard”, I mean “thirty playthroughs hard”. Normally I’m not one to fast-forward through dialogue, but the game can be played in a few hours if you do. Unfortunately, it’s only possible to trigger the best ending, or even the normal ending, by coincidentally visiting a particular location in a particular month– the game gives no clue about this trigger point, and I had no reason to visit at that time, so I missed it every playthrough. It was easy enough to get the best ending once I gave in and looked it up, but I may never have stumbled across it otherwise. I think that’s bad game design. But not to worry; the game has seven different endings, so there’s plenty to figure out on one’s own. There’s also the addictive compulsion towards 100% data completion, from which I am one rare drop away.

A lament to Nintendo: I bought Super Mario World for the GBA because I was nostalgic for the original, which I learnt to play like a pro with my eyes closed when I was ten. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the controls; on the DS I had to hold my hand at a wrist-spraining angle just to accelerate and jump. I suppose this isn’t anyone’s fault because the buttons were remapped for the GBA, which didn’t have as many buttons as a SNES; but it’s made a choppy, barely-playable mess of a game that played like warm butter in its original configuration. The result is an insult to the gorgeous playability of the original. I wish they would re-release it for the DS with its proper control configuration. At least, I am glad they added a few bonus coins– it’s just like the original but with some extra bits that make me think, “Aha, that wasn’t there before…”

I’ve also been playing N+ for the DS. It’s a great deal of fun, although the lack of background music is a small disappointment. The difficulty of the levels is highly variable: some are ludicrously easy, and some are rather hard; since it’s meant to be a time trial game, experienced gamers will probably enjoy alternating between the two.

You all know, dear readers, that I’m in love with Mana Khemia 1 and have played it four times so far, right? In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, I adore that game. The sequel, on the other hand, does not even deserve to exist.