Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Video Games

When plans go awry

I had a whole post written and everything, but I decided not to post it. I don’t have time/energy to write another one, so you’ll have to settle for this lovely little video about a tour of Rory’s (from RKG) island in Animal Crossing New Horizons…that is apparently alternatively known as Murder Island.

Laughter in the time of covid-19

Even before self-isolation, I used to keep something in the background as a way of white noise. Podcast, Let’s Play, old episodes of the original GBBO, etc. It helps me concentrate, though I do admit that I will take mini-breaks in order to listen/watch the program at hand. Of course, many of the Let’s Players I watch are now self-isolating as well, which means more solo livestreams. In particular, the members of RKG are used to working in a group. Mostly three, sometimes two. I don’t think there’s ever been a solo stream by any of them before the move to self-isolation. They are Brits, which means now they are in lockdown. They put a post on their
Patreon about the solo streams they were going to be doing, and the one that had me most excited at first was Krupa’s Dark Souls plat run, part 2 for obvious and not obvious reasons.

Obvious reason: Dark Souls. Also, this is a producers stream, so it was more intimate than the other streams. It’s a great community, and the producers streams are a nice way to relax and chat with like-minded folks. Not so obvious reason: Krupa is the reason I clicked with the group in the first place. I was watching an episode of them playing Dark Souls III, and Gav said something about Krupa being a great teacher, the kind you were terrified of at the time but realized years later how great he actually was. After some bantering, Krupa shouted, “I’m not telling you what a sestina is again!” (He had been studying for his English PhD and had to student teach as part of his studies.) That he had worked ‘sestina’ into an episode of a Dark Souls Let’s Play reeled me in. Also, he’s the one who’s the most similar to me, so there’s that as well.

The stream was great as Krupes ran through NG+, the second part of the game, with the help  of many summons and crushed out the Dark Lord ending. Every time he finished upgrading yet another kind of weapon, a trophy would pop, and he would put on the achievement music. We would all crow about it and praise that sun HARD. \[T]/ Which is really fucking hard to do in the Dvorak system. It went for 7 1/2 hours with cameos by Ramen, his Maltipoo, who is incredibly adorable. A few of the other members and I started the Cult of Pyros in which we praise Vamos, our lord and savior. He is the blacksmith who deals with all the fire weapons, and he’s really hard to find. Hm. I think we should add Izalith as our Goddess. She was the witch who tried to recreate the First Flame with disastrous results. Anyway, it was hilarious, and we’re thinking of getting a t-shirt.

There was a real feeling of community as we helped Krupa on his journey for platinum. I don’t play on the PS4, so I was mostly moral support and Google Maps when Krupa needed to find something. Sometimes, a know-it-all can be helpful! The reason I know the game so well is because I died so. many. times. In addition, there is no map, so I was forced to rely on my memory. I have a great memory, but I’m terrible with directions. It was only with repetition that I could remember where everything was. Even then, I had some pockets in my memory. Such as trying to get Power Within in Blighttown going backwards through the area.

Side Note: I feel as if I’m the crazy auntie of the group since I’m one of if not the oldest of the group. I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest, but I’ll allow for the fact that there might be one or two who are older.

The stream was 7 1/2 hours, and he’s still not finished. He needs to make all the unique weapons and that’s it. He has to kill Quelaag, Sif (sob), and Gwyndolin one more time, which means making it to Anor Londo once again. That’s gonna be another two to three hours of Dark Souls goodness! It’s a very chill way to spend a day, but there’s also a sense of accomplishment as well when he gets one of the trophies.


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Fiddling while Rome burns

While the world is aflame around me, I’m still trying to find the One True Game. Since I self-isolate much of the time, anyway, my day-to-day life isn’t that different. Although, I had a bunch of errands to run yesterday, and I stopped by a different Cubs to see if they had any toilet products. They had a few small boxes of Kleenex, but that’s it. As I walked around, there was an older man who was glaring at me. It wasn’t like a quick look, look away situation. He was leaning on his cart and GLARING at me. I stared back because I was not having it. There was a tense moment where it seemed as if he might come at me, but then he deliberately looked away. I know it’s probably because I’m Asian, which is annoying as fuck.

On the funnier side, this happened:

I posted a similar status on FB, and I got much love for it. I was pretty proud of it, tbh.

Anyway. I tried AssCreed Origins. Or rather, I wanted to try it, but my computer said NO. The freeze/stutter was annoying as fuck, and I Googled the hell out of it. I tried several of the remedies. I lowered all the settings. It fixed much of the issues, but the stuttering still happened in the cities. And I realized that I wasn’t ready for another AssCreed game because I was so impatient with all the little shit. Like only being able to dive in a specific area of the ocean. And putting two missions right next to each other that were 2 and 5 respectively where the logical way to get to the 2 mission was through the 5 mission. That did not work out well. Oh, and not telling me what exactly Senu was supposed to do. I was nitpicking everything, and that’s when I realized that maybe I wasn’t ready for another AssCreed. I’ll give Odyssey a shot because it’s free this weekend, but I doubt I’ll actually play much of it.

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Going to Mordor to find the one true game

Lucy Thorne, my nemesis, vanquished.

Since we last talked about games, I’ve quit playing Syndicate. Not out of hate or disgust, but I just stopped playing one day, and I haven’t picked it up since. I had way more fun with it than I thought I would, and since I got it for free, I got plenty of bang for my (zero) buck. I’m not mad at it, but it’s pretty much a disposable game–like the video game equivalent of the summer blockbuster popcorn movie. I have no desire to go back to it, even though I think Evie kicks all the asses. Jacob is back on my shit list, but I just treat him as an annoying younger brother–which, in my head canon, he totally is the younger of the two twins.

I’ve put in almost 40 hours into the game, and I’m…maybe 70% done with the story? I’ve cleared all but two of the boroughs and am about 90% done with the one borough. Plus, a whole new borough opened up that focuses around Jacob’s grandchild, Lydia Frye. Ok, I just looked up about Evie and Henry Green. Now I kinda want to finish the game just to get to the climax of that relationship. I’m strangely invested in the two of them hooking up, and I want to see it happen. But, knowing me, I wouldn’t be able to rush through the main storyline to get to it without being distracted by the other stuff. I really want to see it, though, so I may just grit my teeth and do it.

But! I’ve also been trying some other games, and I want to talk about them. Void Memory by Gustav (one dude, I think) is a 2D Castlevania Souls-like blah blah blah. I liked the look of it, and it has mostly positive reviews on Steam. It was on sale, so I bought it and gave it a test drive. I used a controller because I always used a controller for games like these*. There was an immediate problem of the prompts being shown for the k/m no matter that I was using a controller. In the menu, they showed the keyboard bindings, but not the controls. So, it was a fun game of ‘Which button do I press? Who knows?” as I figured out which buttons controlled which actions. I might have dealt with that except that the choice of buttons for the controller are really, really shitty. Attack is left trigger. LEFT FUCKING TRIGGER. That is not fucking acceptable. If you want to use your ranged weapon, it’s something like hold right trigger and then tap left trigger. I don’t remember because I wiped it from my mind as soon as I requested a refund, and there isn’t any buzz about it online.

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The boy has grown on me

The queen of all I survey!

So. I think I’m reaching the end of Syndicate. Not the end of the game as I’m only 50% through the story, but the end of my interest in it. It’s such a huge game with so much to do, but it’s all repetitive. It gets very samesy, and this is my breakdown:

Sneak up, shiv, loot.
Air assassination, shiv, loot.
Beat the crap out of someone, shiv, loot.
Hijack a cargo, shiv, loot.
Sabotage, shiv, loot.

See the running theme? And, yes, the animations are stylish as hell, but they get old after a while. In addition, there are, like, five versions of the mooks, so I get pretty damn tired of seeing the same faces over and over again. Your mooks also have the same faces, so that’s unintentionally funny as well.

I will say the biggest surprise is that I don’t hate Jacob any longer. In the beginning, I wanted to punch him every time he opened his big gob. Now, however, I just sigh and roll my eyes at Jacob being Jacob. He’s toned down the sarcasm a bit and doesn’t seem to be trying so hard, but I think it’s just resignation on my part. I will saw that I’ve taken him out more because he’s my brawler and until very recently the one with the carriage buffs, so he got the fighting and the driving duties. Plus, most of the story beats have to be played by him, so there’s that as well.

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Dim sum video gaming

Waiting for it to go boom!

I’m still searching for the one true game, but I haven’t found it. Instead, I’ve found a flock of games that I’m playing in rotation right now, which is not like me at all. Normally, I play one game at a time (and BOI:R as the relaxer every day), and then call it a day. In the past, when I wasn’t obsessed by a new game, I’d be playing a Dark Souls game as my main. Now, however, I’m in a unique situation that has me somewhat flummoxed.

I’m playing…one, two, three, four games at the moment (and, yes, one of them is a Dark Souls game) in addition to BOI:R. Five games! That’s unfathomable. I also tried the demo for a game called Death and Taxes by Placeholder Gameworks because it was touted as a game similar to Papers, Please, by Lucas Pope, which was an incredible game. I’m still sad I can’t play his follow-up, Return of the Obra Dinn because of motion sickness. I had seen NL play Death and Taxes, and I thought it looked interesting enough to give it a try.

I wanted to love it as much as I loved Papers, Please, and it had a lot going for it. The artwork is great. It has a jaunty tone to it that I really grooved on. There’s a cute cat in it! And the comic book style presentation slaps. But, the gameplay itself, is…lacking. You’re the Grim Reaper, called up by Fate, and you have to decide who lives and who dies from your desk in…wherever you are. Fate gives you the dossiers of a group of people, and then tells you how many have to die. There are conditions to be met, such as, “Save all the scientists”, which is how the game pushes you to make hard choices.

The problem is that the jaunty tone, while appreciated, does not fit the purpose of the game–if the purpose is to wring pathos at making hard choices. That was the purpose of Papers, Please, and that game did it brilliantly. This demo is only the first seven days, so maybe that’s not the purpose of this game. At any rate, I didn’t find it very difficult to meet the requirements, and I didn’t care at all about the humans save one. Who I had to kill.

The other issue is that they don’t use gender or ethnicity for the people, but they still physically ascribe gender and race characteristics. I can see why they did it that way, but it rubs me the wrong way. It’s a small gripe in the grand scheme of things, but I could see it getting more annoying over time.

I feel bad for saying I didn’t gel with the game, but that’s the truth. It’s not a bad game by far, but it just didn’t hold my interest. I still have it on my wishlist, and maybe I’ll grab it when it’s a few bucks. For now, though, I have plenty on my plate.

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Revisiting old favorites…and knocking out new ones

I’m ready to take on the world.

My gaming is at a stall. While I continually want to find the hot new thing (for me), I keep going back to games I already enjoyed. Ian asked me on Twitter (a thread thing) for my four favorite games. I was going to cheat and count each Dark Souls as a separate game, but I didn’t. I said Dark Souls (series), Night in the Woods, Cook, Serve, Delicious (series), and Torchlight for nostalgia reasons. I didn’t include Binding of Isaac: Rebirth because it’s not exactly a favorite, though I’ve played it more than all the Souls games put together. Probably all the FromSoft games. But it’s not a favorite in the sense of I really enjoy playing it. It’s a habit more than anything. I’m not saying it’s not a good game–it’s a very good game. It’s just not a favorite.

I’ve been playing Dark Souls II. I installed the original thinking it was SotFS, and then I decided to try the original because I haven’t played it. I also installed SotFS because SSD with 2 Terrabytes, bitches! I can install ALL. THE. GAMES. *evil laugh* Anyhow, I have seen a Let’s Play of the original game, and I knew that it was somewhat different, but not that much different. Oh wait. I started SotFS first as a Cleric. I forgot how much I hated not having a ranged option. Especially in this game where there are so many mobs. It’s one of my gripes that they come in groups, and being able to spell them from a distance makes a difference.

I fired up Dark Souls II, vanilla addition, and went back to my roots–I started as a Sorcerer. For whatever reason, you cannot start as a Pyromancer, which still makes me very bitter. In addition, it’s hard to get the Pyro shit, and it confirms my belief that casters get shit on in the games. Anyway, my sorcerer cruised through the first bit, and I did not die until after fighting the first boss, and it was a stupid death. Then again, my first death in SotFS was also dumb because it was in the tutorial at the point where they teach jumping, and it’s a tricky over a gap jump. I’ve died there several times, much to my annoyance.

One of the problems with playing the original DS II is that there aren’t many people playing. I did find one summons, but that’s not much. In SotFS, on the other hand, there are plenty of people playing. Both as a plus and a minus. I was in Heide’s Tower of Flame, and I was able to summon two people to run through it with me. Unfortunately, I got invaded, and he vanquished both my summons. So, I jumped into the ocean in order to avoid being killed.

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FromSoft games on my mind

While I’m not feeling my best (and in this case, have no idea what the hell is going on with me), I like to return to my comfort gaming. For me, there are a few games that reach that level. It’s not necessarily ‘easy’ games, either, as they are all games I struggled with when I first played them. But, they’re games I’ve played so much, I have a groove on when I get in the zone. I blame it all on Dark Souls being one of the first ‘hardcore’ games I’ve played. It broke me, remade me, then broke me again. I hated it with all my heart by the time I was done with it (having played the whole game plus DLC), and I was relieved to see the backside of it. Then, Dark Souls II was released, and, damn it, my interest was piqued. I wasn’t going to jump right in because I was cheap and never bought games full price. While I was gunning up for it to go on sale, I decided that the best way to prep for it was to play the first game again. Why? I don’t know. Time eases the pain or some such. I was and am a masochist. I don’t know what it is. I also don’t know why I finished the game the first time as I HATED it by the time I went to *spoiler, I guess, for a 9-year-old game* take on Gwyn, the final boss.

Honestly, I was done with the game after beating Biggie & Small. That took so much out of me, although for the longest time, it was the highlight of my gaming career. The fact that I died to them sixty to seventy times and then finally, finally, beat them on my own. I felt like a GOD, and you couldn’t say shit to me for, oh, three minutes. Until I probably promptly got killed in the next new area. That’s how these games work. With one hand, Miyazaki giveth, and with the other, he slaps you across the face repeatedly and as hard as he can.

You want to know what took the place of defeating Biggie & Small as my proudest gaming moment? Two things happened in Sekiro that tested my mettle and found me almost wanting. And by things, I mean bosses, of course, because those are the linchpins of the game. We can talk about the gorgeous environments and the interconnectivity all we want, but we all know that the pinnacle of the games is when you walk through the white fog and face that boss. Or don’t walk through the white fog in some cases, which is trollery at its finest.

Genichiro was the first boss to make me question why the fuck I was playing Sekiro and maybe I was out of my league. Ian likes to say that I get that way with every big boss in a Souls game, and he’s right, but there’s something different about Genichiro. You get a tease of him because he’s the tutorial boss against whom you are supposed to die. You *can* beat him, which I did in NG+, but that was when I had all my gear. The three times I’ve faced him in NG, well, let’s just say he got the best of me. I will say I did much better the second and third time than the first, but I still didn’t even manage to get one of his life pips.

Coming across him up on the Ashina Castle roof was epic, and it was the hard check that every FromSoft game has. It’s the boss that takes your measure and sees if you have what it takes to finish the rest of the game. Some games journalists say if you can take Genichiro, then you can take any of the bosses later in the game. I don’t think that’s true, but I’m truly mediocre at the game. I’m decent at Souls games by now, but Sekiro took everything I had to give and then some. I reached the third phase of Genichiro for the first time after being ecstatic thinking I beat him, and then he immediately grabbed me and killed me.


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Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?!–just as addictive as ever

The food of my people returns!

One of my fondest gaming memories is 100%ing the original Cook, Serve, Delicious!* even though I don’t care about achievements at all.  I’ve explained before that my OCD traits mean that I went for perfect days no matter what in the first game and gold medals in the second. It’s carried over into the third game, Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?!, which is what this post is about. It’s the third in the series, all done by one guy, David Galindo, also known by his Twitter name, chubigans. The game is in Early Access, but it’s already polished and very playable.

I’ve been playing it for a week, and I just can’t put it down. In the beginning, I played one or two days at a time because that was all I could handle. As I got back in the groove of the frantic keyboard pounding, I found myself chanting the letters over and over. For example, cannoli. I use it a lot because it’s a 4-point dish (out of 5), and I did it plenty of times in the last game. In the holding sta–

Ok. Let me back up. The last game introduced the idea of Holding Stations at the top of the screen where you can prep dishes ahead of time so they’re ready to go when customers arrive. You make them in bulk, so it saves on having to make them individually. Some of them require additional steps when the customer comes. Take, for example, hamburgers (another 4-point dish). You cook the meat (M) ahead of time in the Holding Station, then when the customer comes, you have to doctor the burger to their taste. It’s not uncommon to hear me chant, “M, M, B, C, S, R,” and sometimes I’ll add a, “SEND” at the end of it. I don’t think I could play this game in front of other people because it would be really disturbing to them. Not disturbing as in horrifying, but as in literally disturbing.

When I first tried the Holding Stations in the last game, I was against it because it was just one more thing to have to deal with. Now, however, I don’t know how I ever lived without them. It’s a godsend to be able to fill five or six orders at once rather than each individually, and then just have to fill it out once when they’re all gone.

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Video game randomness

Feeling scattered, so I thought I’d do a stream-of-consciousness post about what’s on my mind re: video games. How is this different than any other post you ask? First of all, rude. Secondly, it’s different because I’m announcing it ahead of time. Third point, normally I write about one general topic with many little side paths. In this post, they are all side paths. With that warning, let’s jump right in.

I spent all day yesterday thinking it was Tuesday? Why? I have no idea. Therefore, today is Wednesday in my world. That may explain why I forgot that Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?! was released in Early Access yesterday. Now, Steam is down, and I cannot cook, serve, and be delicious! By the way, I love the way the developer, David Galindo also known as chubigans because it’s his Twitter handle) numbered the sequels. The original is Cook, Serve, Delicious!. The first sequel is Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!. And this one is Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?!. It’s a little thing, but I think it’s fun. Well. The store page loaded and then the search page loaded. Then, the game page did not load. Apparently, Steam is down in the US and the UK.

Oh. Dark Souls thought. I’ve been ruminating about all the hate for casters I have several thoughts, but one that just suddenly occurred to me. Apparently, magic really was OP in Demon’s Souls–the one game I haven’t played. Not coincidentally, it has a mana bar, much like Dark Souls III does. That does make it easier to make casting overpowering because you can basically have as many spells as you want as long as you spec for it. In addition, in Demon’s Souls, the magicks don’t have level stats. Let me give you an example. In Dark Souls, White Dragon is a sorcery that needs 50 points of Intelligence to use. Pyromancy doesn’t require spell levels in the original game, but it takes 340,500 Souls to fully upgrade the Pyromancy Flame. That’s 55 levels. That’s a shit-ton of levels.

So my theory is that someone who played as a caster in the first game or saw someone play as a caster in the first game formed an opinion of casting that didn’t change throughout the games even though the mechanics of magicks have changed drastically from game to game. Also, I think it’s laziness in which someone just repeats what they see/hear in the videos/forums without really thinking about it. It doesn’t make it right, but it makes it more understandable.

Back to CSD3. Which I still can’t play because Steam is still down. The original was one of my favorite games of all times, It’s one of the few games I’ve 100%ed. Well, until they added new content. The same thing happened with Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. I got True Platinum God before they changed the requirements. Then I couldn’t be stuffed with either to do what needed to be done to achieve it again.

Steam is back up, and I am installing CSD3 as I type. I won’t be able to play it until later, but it’ll be a treat when I’m done with everything I need to do. I’m tempted to play it now, but I know once I start, I won’t be able to stop for hours. I have my Sabre Form lesson in an hour, and I am not going to want to stop by then.


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