Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: binding of isaac rebirth

A plethora of choices and two obsessions

I have an obsessive nature that if I don’t rein in, can run rampant throughout my life. It’s especially apparent when it comes to pop culture. I don’t like much, but when I do like something, I suck the blood out of it. Which is apt because I played as a Supervampire yesterday and died in the Mayor’s Village to a bullshit situation. I was trying to use an item, and then when I went back to actually playing, either my fingers were off or the keyboard wasn’t properly responding. Or, what is more likely, it somehow reverted back to Dvorak. Any rate, the Supercops killed me before I could figure out what went wrong.

What game am I talking about? Streets of Rogue, of course. The game I was going to quit before, several times, but then get sucked back in when I win a run. That high is almost comparable to beating a Dark Souls boss, but not quite because there is more RNG at work than in beating a DS boss. Yes, there is some RNG there, but it’s instances, not whole floors. In SoR, I often feel whether I win a run or not is based on items I get, traits I get, and which missions I get on which floor. Also, which character I play. Cop is the easiest (Supercop is cruise mode) with Soldier being a close second. (I would argue Supersoldier is easier than Supercop, especially with Infinite Ammo.) Assassin, once I got the hang of her, was super fun, and Vampire was fairly chill as well once I fully embraced her nature–and was able to chomp on people even when I was fully healed. It still surprises me that I won as the Shopkeeper, but I basically played her kitted out with as many guns as possible. And, since she got great deals on everything, I had enough money to buy ammo every floor.

So far, I have won with Soldier, Cop, Shopkeeper, Vampire, Assassin, and Doctor. I finished the Big Quest with the Slum Dweller, but got ripped apart in the Mayor Village.

Side Note: I’ve seen a recent spike of people using ‘apart’ to mean ‘a part’, and it makes me rage every time. One of my personal pet peeves (in English).

When you finish the Big Quest of the Slum Dweller, you become an Upper-Cruster. The other Super Special Abilities versions of the characters are way overpowered. This one seems like a joke because the only two positives I can see to her is that she starts with a tidy sum of money and she can use the alarm buttons during the later levels to summon a Supercop. This I know by reading about it because I have not made it very far as the Upper-Cruster. With the other souped up characters, I sailed through the game. Either I’m doing something wrong with the Upper-Cruster or she really is just a joke character (a poke at wealthy people being useless). Oh, Upper-Crusters run from conflict so having friends of your own class is not helpful in this situation.

Side Note 2: Teleport-Happy is god tier as a Trait. I didn’t value it much at first, even when Norrtherlion mentioned people telling him it was god tier. You can transport anywhere anytime as long as no immediate danger is president. Why is that a big deal? I’ll tell you why. Because you can avoid much of the mayhem on the Floor 3s, and you can transport to the Exit from wherever (with a few small exceptions). You can also teleport from indoors which you can’t do without it, which means once you finish the last quest, you can just teleport to the Exit. It’s fucking amazing, and it’s the reason I got at least two of my wins.


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Stuck in a rut

I have a habit of getting into a rut because I don’t like change. I adhere to a schedule, and it can be really uncomfortable when it changes on a dime. Small example: Yesterday, I had planned to do the laundry and go to Cubs. I told my mother the night before, but I made the fatal mistake of assuming she knew that meant going to Cubs right after I did my morning routine. Why would she know that, I don’t know, but it was so obvious to me, I didn’t mention it. She was on the phone as I was getting into the car, and she came running after me to inform me that they needed the car in half an hour. I lost my shit even though on the face of it, it seemed like a minor thing. There are many reasons this is like fingernails on the chalkboard for me, but suffice to say I did not take it graciously.

I waited for them to come back, and then after putting the first load in the dryer and the second load in the washer, I went to change. My parents went to take a nap, and I breathed a small sigh of relief. As I was in the bathroom changing, I heard a voice–my brother. He was in the neighborhood and thought he’d stopped by. I had  to talk myself down because I was on the edge. I love my brother, and I love spending time with him, but once a month is about my speed. Four times in a week on top of my parents? No. Admittedly, it was more my parents than my brother, but the fact that he came just as I was going to Cubs was the urine icing on the shit cake.

I told him I had to go to Cubs and invited him along. Then, my mom popped her head out because she hadn’t actually fallen asleep, and she wanted to go, too. Part of the reason I was going to Cubs was to have time alone, which quickly went down the shitter. Then, my mom spent an inordinate amount of time at the medicines, questioning each bottle. I grabbed a smaller cart and went about my business because I was losing my mind.

Side note: My mother has always been an over-talker. We all are, and it’s funny to hear them complain about each other with no self-awareness. I know I talk a lot. I know sometimes, my mouth just gets going and won’t stop. I’m trying to correct it, but it’s not easy. In addition, it’s in dire contrast to other times when I don’t say a word for hours. I don’t seem to have a stasis that is a comfortable medium. But my mom is bad is that she’s also an over-sharer. She likes to say she’s being frank, but she hasn’t yet learned you don’t have to say everything. I think it’s in part because she has to bite my tongue with my father so much of the time that she goes overboard in other times. When we were in Malta for her conference, she would tell anyone who would listen all about my father’s physical woes. If I were him, I would have been seething. She’s done it to me and to my brother as well, and it’s irritating every time.

She also has a habit of narrating what she’s doing no matter how trivial. “I’m washing the apple, and I like to soak it for twenty minutes because that’s the way to get all the (mumble mumble) out.” She’s not exactly sure what she’s getting out, but she knows it’s bad. I don’t care, Mom. That should be an inside voice thing, but she’s becoming more vocal about those kind of things in time.

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A little bit of this, and a whole lotta that

hello, beautiful!
Oh, what’s this? I’ve Forgotten.

I’ve been at loose ends in the world of video games, so I’ve mostly been comfort gaming. Well, kinda. I discovered that there was a booster pack for Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ which included a new character.

*Spoilers*

It’s name is The Forgotten, and of course, users data-mined it so they figured out how you unlock the character. Edmund McMillen, the developer, tweeted out his disappointment as he did the last time this happened, saying just enjoy the game and follow the hints. My dude. Be realistic. I understand from his point of view how unhappy it would make you if you spent hundreds of hours planning the unlock, only to have people cheat their way to it, but from a user standpoint, it’s completely understandable. Most people at the point of unlocking new characters have put countless hours into the game. Doing repeated runs simply to glean clues as to how to unlock a character isn’t fun, especially when the clues are so esoteric and random. Wanna know how you unlock The Lost? Grab a mug of tea and a comfy chair, and I’ll tell you how.

First, you have to take the Mysterious Paper into the Sacrifice Room  and die with it as a trinket four times. It’ll fill in each corner with a picture of a death, and then you have to do those deaths in order without dying in between. First, you die as Isaac to a Mulliboom on one of the first two floors (Basement/Cellar). Then, die as Maggie to your own bomb in the Caves/Catacombs. Then, die as Judas to Mom’s foot or hand. Lastly, die as Azazel to Satan, but only to him himself, which is the second phase. There’s another way to unlock it, but that’s more random.

This actually wasn’t that difficult to do, but no way in hell I would have figured out how to unlock The Lost. Now, here’s how you unlock The Forgotten. Beat the first boss in under a minute. Bomb the spawn room on the first floor. Pick up the item dropped (Broken Shovel) and carry it with you through the rest of the game. What does the Broken Shovel do? It allows Mom’s foot (or two) to randomly stomp around your character for. the. entire. game. Well, OK, not the entire game, but we’ll get to that in a second.

Can I tell you how much I fucking hate Mom’s foot? There’s a trinket that has this effect randomly, and I never pick it up. Having to deal with it the whole time I’m trying to, you know, win the game, is off-the-charts terrible. This is by far the worst unlock and one of the worst things in the game (trying to finish The Keeper’s post-it note is arguably worse. The Lost is fine since I now start with the Holy Mantle with this character), and I seriously thought I might not be able to do it*.

So, of course, I had to play as Azazel because he flies, he starts with mini-Brim, and he has more damage and speed from the start. In other words, why wouldn’t you start with Azazel? I have to say, I tried to unlock the character organically a few times, but no way in hell I would have figured it out, and after watching NL unlock The Forgotten, I’m glad I didn’t waste more time trying to do it myself. Beating the first boss under a minute is not something I ever would have thought of. Oh, also, if you beat the first boss in under a minute, you hear Mom laugh and then scuttle away. That’s your first hint.

Anyway, Broken Shovel’s active is you get a reprieve from the feet for the room. It has a four-room charge, and I was bumping it every chance I had–especially on the bosses. Oh, also, fighting Mom, the effect doesn’t happen. I suppose it’s because it would be too confusing as that’s the effect of the fight in general, but it would just mean avoiding two to three feet instead of one. So, a sliver of reprieve from the constant agony.

Then, you have to beat boss rush to get the other half of the shovel. You normally have to make it to boss rush in under twenty minutes. For this run, they turned off the time restriction, thankfully. Also, they make it so you have to go to boss rush, and you can only take the Negative because you have to go to the Dark Room. Once you get the second half of the Broken Shovel, it becomes the regular Shovel, but keeps the four-room charge instead of six (I think). The foot thing stops, thankfully, and you have a choice to make. You can either proceed as you normally would, or you can use the shovel to skip the womb levels. You can’t skip Shoal, so you have to do that and the Dark Room, but you only have to do the Dark Room until you find a room with a crumbly square of ground in the middle of it. Then you use the shovel on it and dig up The Forgotten.

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My Weird-ass Game Awards

So, most end-of-the-year game award posts/videos are about the top ten games of the year, which is fine, but not that interesting. Sure, there is slight variability, but it’s mostly the same games over and  over again. In addition, I’ve probably played little more than ten games this year, and not all of them were great. Or new. So, I’m going to do my own twist and just give out the game awards that tickle my fancy in no particular order. Ready? OK! Oh, and, this way be spoilers.

The Best Game I’ve Been Replaying Obsessively Despite My Previously Being Done With It Months Ago

Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

I’ve put countless hours into this game back when it was Rebirth, and several into Afterbirth, then lost complete interest when Afterbirth+ came out. I’ve already complained about the expansions and how they’re for the hardcore players, which I’m not (and I have Real Platinum God!). Hardcore meaning those who did all The Lost shit without the Holy Mantle (I did it with), which means not getting hit the entire run (barring the use of certain items). Since I’ve been sick, I mostly game on my laptop, and BOI: R runs easily on it. I reinstalled it and fired it, and I rediscovered the joy I originally had playing it. There’s been a ‘booster pack’ added since I last played, which means more items, trinkets, and cards. I stick mainly to Isaac, Eden, and Azazel, but I’m also trying to finish The Keeper’s Post-It Note. I only have MegaSatan and Delirium to finish off, but, man, it is no fun at all.

Still. A run can take up to and over an hour depending, and I like to do the rerun of the run immediately following. If I’m playing Eden, I can usually win the run without much problem IF I start with more than one heart, decent speed, and decent damage. By the way, speed makes such a difference in this game. Anything under the base of 1 makes it really difficult for me and my slow-ass reactions. It’s funny because I watched Pat and Woolie (of Super Best Friends) play the game for the first time, and it was both hilarious and frustrating as hell. I actually yelled at my monitor when Woolie (on the sticks) or Pat (giving commentary) did or said something stupid. It was especially funny when Pat would declare something confidently, and he was 100% wrong. He does that a lot, especially in the Souls series. He’s not so much factually wrong there as he’s taking his own personal feelings about something to be universal.

Anyway, BOI: R is my version of comfort food, and I’m enjoying it once again. It’s a way to turn my mind off and give it a break, and I am thankful for that.

The Most Anticipated Sequel That I Had Given Up Hope Would Ever Happen

Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

I loved the original game, and when the sequel was announced soon after, I was hyped! Then, a year came and went with no sequel and nary a mention of it. Then, the sequel was announced, and I was hyped again! Then, it was postponed, and I feared it would never happen. The roller coaster of emotions! The ups! The downs! When the release date was announced again, I held my breath. When it released, I was overjoyed. I dived in and was immediately transported back to my frenetic pounding on the keyboard days of CSD, the original.

The sequel is better in so many ways. The chores are more streamlined and no longer feel as intrusive. The food is gorgeous, and it makes me want to eat every time I play the game. I like the info on all the food, and playing is as intuitive as always. The menus are better than in the original, and I love the ability to design my own restaurants. It’s a wonderful sequel, and I’ve played the shit out of it. There are constant updates, and I’m glad the emails are back. The sequel was definitely worth the wait!


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These are a Few of My Favorite Things (Video Games)

meditate on this
The way of the dragon.

I’m in a video game funk ever since I beat Dark Souls III. I was in one before I got Dark Souls III, and now that it’s over, I’m back in it. I still play Binding of Isaac: Rebirth/Afterbirth every day, but it’s more just to scratch that video game itch. Don’t get me wrong–it’s a very good game. However, it’s more a habit by now than anything. I’m not a great Isaac player, but I don’t really have to think about it as I play it. I can zone out as I play, so it’s pretty restful for me. The problem is, Dark Souls has spoiled me for most new games. If they’re Souls-like, they just make me want to play Dark Souls again. There are a couple of Souls-like games that I’m interested in (EITR and Death’s Gambit), but they’re not coming out for the foreseeable future. I’m somewhat interested in Salt and Sanctuary, but not enough to actually buy it. I’ve tried to play some hack and slashes, which I loved before, but I found myself getting bored fairly easily. Path of Exile, which I loved when I played it in beta/early access, Victor Vran, and Grim Dawn. All three should be right up my alley, but I just couldn’t stay interested. I need a game that is engrossing as Souls is, but isn’t Dark Souls. Until that happens, I want to tell you about a few of my favorite games, all of which I’ve finished (or, in the case of Rebirth, got the Real Platinum God achievement. There really is no finishing Rebirth).

  1. Dark Souls, the trilogy. I’ve written ad nauseam about these games, and with good reason. The first Dark Souls is a masterpiece, and I would recommend it in a heartbeat with a caveat: Don’t play it if you’re easily frustrated or if you don’t like dying many, many times. I’ve had people try the game because of my enthusiasm, then confess that they had ragequit the game. They’re always apologetic, but I get it. I really do. I am a huge fan of these games, but I can understand why someone wouldn’t be. The games are often an exercise in futility, and it’s easy to get frustrated and sore while playing these games. I ragequit the first game the first time I played it and didn’t touch it for years afterwards. I don’t remember how I got back into it–probably because the sequel was being announced, and if I wanted to play that, I felt I had to play the original first.

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