Games I need to play (again)

You may not know it from the things I most often talk about online, but my main interest is actually video games. I’m currently on Wolfenstein: Youngblood (badass Nazi-hunting sisters, wooo!), and continuously on Granblue Fantasy and Fate Grand Order. I’m waiting for Control, Death Stranding, Code Vein, and Man of Medan to name a few. And I have a backlog.

But that’s not what this post is about. In this post, I’m going to talk wistful about old games I haven’t played in a long time that I really want to play again. Or for some, games that I haven’t played yet and have on the side waiting to be played.

Chrono Trigger

It’s literally impossible to overstate how awesome this game was and is. It has so much heart and soul in every pixel and line of dialogue. You get to travel across multiple times and see how humans lived in those (fictional) times. Acquiring magic powers feels special. Like it’s not just randomly thrown out there, the characters awaken those gifts, and they have an affinity specific to who they are.

Reaching Zeal is always the most amazing part of the whole game. How can it not be? It’s an amazing magical island! Of course, there’s some very vile corruption at its heart that leads to its downfall. Queen Zeal herself always seemed pretty amazingly wicked. And like all Squaresoft games of this time, getting a flying vehicle just blows the mind. And this one can be used to travel through time! Though I remember being sorely disappointed that I couldn’t use the lasers that Dalton added to its wings.

It’s also a wonderful touch how you can do things to change time periods all over. Leaving Robo in the past to work on a desert, come back centuries later to find a whole forest from his efforts? Awesome.

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

This game got so much hate, and it really didn’t deserve any of that hate.

What I understand of the hate it got is that it was “too easy.” Final Fantasy games brought over from Japan tended to be made much easier. But I think people who hated it for that reason didn’t spend enough time looking at it to see its beauty.

The main map is a bunch of points you walk to – no airship. When you use a point, unless it’s a battleground, you can walk around the town/dungeon. UNLIKE other RPGs from this time (that I played), your weapons can do different things on the map. They’re not just for fighting. A claw will let you climb up certain walls, or grapple and cross gaps. An ax will cut trees to open new paths. For its time, it was very advanced.

You have two playable characters (though one can be set to auto). The second character changes depending on the place in the story. It was great to have that dynamic, to imply closeness between the two journeying together.

Each section has a sort of elemental theme – earth, fire, water, wind. And the landscape backs it up. This was also one of the Final Fantasy games where crystals actually meant something. They weren’t just a prop. They had power and wonder to them. You could see how they impacted the world. It also may be just me, but for some reason I get a sort of “Biblical” vibe from the game. I’m not religious. But I can appreciate a game that gets a cool atmosphere to it.

Vandal Hearts

The last time I played this game was so long ago that I honestly can’t say much about it. What I remember most is using Gameshark to get the Vandalier class, which could do absolutely everything. It’s a strategy RPG in the same vein as Final Fantasy Tactics, and it has character classes (though not as robust as FFT).

Lunar: Silver Star Story + Eternal Blue

This is another game that I honestly don’t remember very well. I may not have gotten very far into it. At the time, it was a rental.

What I remember is that completing the main dungeons awarded dragon equipment, which provided special abilities to the main character. It also had anime cutscenes, which was new and innovative in the PS1 era.

I only played Lunar: Silver Star Story. I never played Eternal Blue.

Thousand Arms

I haven’t played this game in ages, and probably nobody remembers it or knows it even existed.

Like other entries, I don’t remember a hell of a lot. I remember a bit more than the others though. The most memorable part of the game for me was the dating sim element. You have the typical fighting, moving story forward, etc deal. But the dating sim is used for improving your weapons. The better relationship you have with a female character, the better you can improve what you have. It’s sort of a predecessor to Ar Tonelico in that way.

Shadow Hearts

Shadow Hearts is a franchise that reeeeeaaally got a raw deal. It arrived toward the end of the RPG era, and never took off like it should’ve. If people know it, they likely know it because of Shadow Hearts: Covenant, which was published by Midway (since purchased by Warner Bros. and changed to Netherrealm Studios).

This franchise had plenty of amazing new concepts and approaches. For one, it was set in the “real world,” in the past. Shadow Hearts and Covenant were set around World War I, settings mainly in Europe and China, with some Russia and Japan in Covenant. From the New World jumped ahead to Prohibition era, and changed its setting to America.

Its setting was sort of gothic horror. The main character was a “Harmonixer” who could absorb monster souls and shapeshift into them. Throughout each game, the gothic horror ties into the history in one way or another. For example, energy released from a tower became the reason for all the bloodshed of World War I. You also run into Rasputin as an enemy, and Roger Bacon (a 12th century philosopher) is a supporting character.

The game was finding its footing with Covenant, which moved it a little further from being as rigidly serious as the first game and introducing more fun and sometimes silliness. By From the New World, your party includes a mariachi-playing gunman who uses his guitar in attacks, and a goddamn cat.

Right now, Shadow Hearts is sadly dead in the water. The company that owns the rights to it doesn’t seem to give a damn about doing anything with it. From the New World got a lot of flak as well, but I think that was due to people thinking it had to rigidly stick to a more serious tone, whereas I always saw FTNW’s sillier tone as the franchise evolving as it gets closer to the modern day.

And that’s all I have at the moment. There are certainly plenty of other old games I COULD play, but they aren’t part of my sweet spot feelings of games I want to go back to.

Disney Will Close Avengers Alliance In A Month’s Time – Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News

Hey guys. Guess what? Before shutting this down, Marvel never added Polaris to the game.

They added Magneto, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, even Havok, but never Polaris. Despite many people wanting and asking for her. You could run a Google search, but this list provided by @therealsongbirddiamondback demonstrates this much better.

692 Votes: Silver Surfer

512 Votes: Namor

393 Votes: Blade

359 Votes: Nova

249 Votes: Professor X

215 Votes: Jubilee

209 Votes: Polaris

169 Votes: Winter Soldier/Bucky

165 Votes: Songbird

160 Votes: Sentry 

These were the top most wanted characters for Marvel Avengers Alliance. Polaris ranked 7th in the top ten of all Marvel characters not already in the game. Still no Polaris.

Is it any wonder that I have so little faith in Marvel and complain so much about them screwing Lorna over, when they do stuff like this?

Disney Will Close Avengers Alliance In A Month’s Time – Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movie, TV News

‘1666 Amsterdam’ is back in ‘Assassin’s Creed’ creator’s hands

I haven’t talked about video games a lot on this Tumblr, so this is a moment where I do that.

Patrice Desilets started 1666 Amsterdam at THQ Montreal. In his agreement with THQ, it was stated that if the company decided not to make the game, its rights would return to Desilets. A few years ago, THQ entered bankruptcy and got bought by Ubisoft. Desilets and Ubisoft had a rocky relationship from when he worked for them before, and though they tried to work together briefly, they split again.

At that point, Ubisoft put 1666 on “indefinite hold” for development. It was a blatant move to keep Desilets from getting the rights back to his own IP. By not actually canceling the game, but also not doing any work on it, Ubisoft could “punish” Desilets within the letter but not the spirit of the contract.

Today, Ubisoft FINALLY gave Desilets the rights back to his own IP.

What that means for me is I can buy Ubisoft games again. I’d been refusing to buy Ubisoft games until they did the right thing and returned the rights to Desilets, and it finally happened.

The main one I’m looking forward to playing is Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. I’m really looking forward to playing as Evie, especially the Jack the Ripper DLC. I’ve heard great things. I’d buy it at full price if the game just came out, but because it’s been 6 months, I’m going to wait until it’s on sale. I feel like I’d be stupid and getting cheated if I didn’t wait.

I heard Watch Dogs is okay, worth playing if it’s $10-15. Far Cry is a maybe. I suddenly remember Child of Light as well. There’s probably other games I’ve forgotten that I’ll get and play.

‘1666 Amsterdam’ is back in ‘Assassin’s Creed’ creator’s hands

nekotechie:

Let’s sing along

Odessa, Kanono, Rosella, Alena, Hatsune Miku, Lyonesse
Mackenzie, and Freya and Beatrix and Eiko, Megurine Luka, Celes
then Marta and Sypha and Farah  Cecilia, Jill Valentine, Maya, Garnet
Aya Brea, Chris Lightfellow, Meliadoul, Agrias, Rafa, Junon and Colette

Nakoruru, Shantotto, Lucia, Lucia, Leona, Leona, Emilia
Asellus, Luna, Yuna, Kunoichi, Feena Katt Rutee Mary and Phillia

Miria, MsPacMan, Red Eye, Fio Germi, then Nadia and Irene Lew  
Opera, Precis, and Lyndis and Jenna then Gum, Cube Piranha and Mew
Tengaar, Kasumi, Cornette, Ladybug, Mia Hamm, Tyra Elson Papri
Timegal and Rydia Charlotte and Lara Croft Monica Kid and Chun Li

Every female ruler you play in Civ 4, and then Samus well that’s a no brainer
Josephine, Alyx Vance, Pyra and Jade and all female pokemon trainers

there’s Lightning and eri, rose and then sami and then goku’s granddaughter pan
Princess Erika, Bianca, Lukia, but only if you buy your games in Japan

Marle and miyaka then ayla then lucca then blaze ronnie bell and aeris
the version with clothes, athena and king  alisa stewart and faris

Lissandra, Irelia Karma Quinn Poppy Soraka Lux Lulu Diana
Caitlyn, Cassiopeia, Fiora Annie and Sona Jinx Nami Tristana

there’s rena and terra and relm and micaiah bayonetta maria renard
and lena and alis masuyo baraduke tower of druaga’s ishtar.

sonia sonia sonia sonia sona? that is an overused name
teefa and teefa… there’s only two teefas valis is from her own game

any game where you can make your own character that applies to male or female gamers
that’s a good chunk of the videogame library…

so when they tell you
they’re not represented
kindly go tell them
to learn about gaming
pick up a controller
and play

Oh good, this load of bull again.

1) If you have to cite female characters from incredibly obscure games to pad your numbers, you’re wrong.

2) If you have to cite female characters that were made 15-30 years ago and haven’t been used since, you’re wrong.

3) If you have to cite minor side characters that didn’t lead their own games, you’re wrong.

4) If you have to pretend many of these women are not the sole token woman or one of only a few women among character rosters that have double or more men, with male characters usually treated as more important, you’re wrong.

Lists like this try to deny there’s a problem by pretending that if you can generate a list of ANY female characters across the ENTIRE HISTORY of video games, then somehow it cancels out the past 5-10 years of mostly male characters as the stars of mainstream entries.

These lists also pretend that taking the same incredibly loose criteria used to come up with at most a hundred women and applying it to male characters wouldn’t result in a list thousands of male characters deep.

None of this “women have enough representation, look at these names” junk is a genuine counter-argument. It’s desperate grasping at straws to act like valid criticism is invalid so the industry doesn’t have to get any better.

I just realized: a lot of people on Tumblr will reblog or like what someone posts JUST from a glance, without looking at the whole post, much less thinking through everything it says. I even realize I’ve done it before in retrospect.

That can be pretty dangerous. I’m not going to explain how it works, what I’ve observed, because really shitty people would exploit it as a way to ruin lives. I’m just going to say that if you see a post, try to look at all of it before you like or reblog it.

“True Fans,” Fandom, and Gatekeeping

If you’ve been active on social media at all, or even taken part in something that would get a lot of spread on social media, you know how volatile people have become.

A lot of people are getting their names and reputations dragged through the mud, receiving harassment and death threats online, and some have even been SWATted (where a fake threat is called to police to get a SWAT team to raid someone’s house – which can result in actual physical harm and threats) and essentially chased out of their homes.

All of this activity can ultimately be traced back to one thing: the concept of a “true fan”, and attempts to dominate fandom and control who is or isn’t considered a fan.

As much as I’ve been active on Twitter, I haven’t been nearly active enough about this on Tumblr, and it’s time for me to say something here.

There is a lot of loaded language wrapped up in this concept, so there’s no perfect place to begin. We have to just jump right in and elaborate from there.

We’ve seen a lot of volatility as of late in fandom everywhere. There’s GamerGate, full of people who insist they’re fighting for ethics in games journalism – when really, the language of most GGers is stilted in things like “fighting the SJW menace” and “exposing <insert female critic, developer, research, etc>’s lies.” Many GGers insist the people they target are “not real gamers.”

When the Batgirl cover referencing the Killing Joke came out, and many people complained and criticized it (I believe rightfully so), many people insisted demands to pull the cover amounted to censorship… and some of the people who demanded the cover be pulled received harassment and death threats, and calls that they weren’t “true comic book fans” or “true Batman fans.”

I’ve experienced this first-hand, of course. Nowhere near to the same degree as so many others have received it. But practically any time where I’ve criticized a company or product or shown concern that something bad might happen to something I love, there will be someone who comes along with this insistence they’re a “true fan,” and that I’m not because I said something they didn’t like.

So here’s the critical question in all of this: what makes someone a “true fan”?

If I buy absolutely anything and everything a company makes, even if they openly insult me as a consumer and all the things I care about – am I a true fan?

If I buy absolutely nothing, never have and never will, and say something needs to radically change into something else before I’ll buy it – am I a true fan?

We know the dictionary definition of a fan, but there are so many individual, personal semantic definitions. One person thinks you’re not a fan unless you defend a company and what it does to the death, no matter how bad it is. Another person thinks you’re not a fan unless you mercilessly criticize everything and show no appreciation. Still another person thinks neither route is correct, that you need a mix.

Or is it something else? Are you a true fan if you play X number of games or read X number of comics featuring something? Are you a true fan if you paid to commission fanart, or write fanfiction?

Depending on your definition, who counts as a “true fan” changes.

Suddenly, a person who’s read comic books about their favorite character for years and bought countless comics and art commissions isn’t a “true fan” because they’re willing to complain about the company that owns that character’s rights.

Suddenly, a woman who makes experimental video games or cares about better representation for women in video games isn’t a “true gamer”, while a man who’s never played a game before and has regularly insulted gaming as a whole is an “honorary gamer” for supporting certain people and playing a little bit of one video game.

Suddenly, people who deeply love and respect something “don’t count” as “true fans.” And here’s the reason: power.

Fiction has cultural power, and whoever has the loudest voice gets the most say in its shape. Whether explicitly or implicitly, most people are starting to realize this.

Want a character to get raped? Silence all dissenting voices, and it might happen.

Want a certain person to quit the video game industry? Send him or her enough death threats, make up things like “she has sex with dogs” or “she’s a rapist”, hack his or her bank account, all sorts of nastiness, and it might happen.

That is the shape “fandom” is increasingly taking right now: smear jobs, character assassination, real life harassment even to friends and family just for being associated with the intended target.

It’s all gatekeeping. It’s all an attempt to take possession of the keys, and then dictate who’s allowed to have them. “You’re not a true gamer unless you accept games as they are.” “You’re not a true Batgirl fan unless you accept her being presented first and foremost as Joker’s victim.” “You’re not a true Polaris fan unless you never complain about Marvel and never worry they might do something bad to her.”

And while it looks recent, this has actually been going on for years. Probably far longer than I’m even consciously aware.

When Anita Sarkeesian launched her Tropes vs Video Games Kickstarter in 2012, she received a wave of harassment and threats simply for the IDEA of criticizing video games through a feminist perspective, suggesting that as great as they are, they can be better.

When a woman working for Bioware said video games should permit a “skip gameplay” option to be able to enjoy only the story, also back in 2012, she received a swarm of harassment for daring to suggest games don’t need gameplay.

This behavior looks new, but it’s not. It’s been a very gradual escalation across several years. It only looks new because most people weren’t watching the horizon and what was slowly spilling over it.

The more people who think this is the right approach to fandom, the more extreme people will become when they get desperate. Right now, GamerGate laughs off the idea that any of the people they target will ever get killed. But is it really so laughable? In the span of 3 years, we’ve gone from internet harassment and some online death threats to women like Anita Sarkeesian, to people getting SWATted, and smeared as supposedly being rapists or fucking dogs or selling their kids for drug money.

All in an attempt to become the gatekeepers of fandom, and terrorize and chase out anyone who disagrees with them. If 3 years is enough for people to turn out like that and think it’s perfectly acceptable, what will 3 more years bring us?

Any time you see the words “true fan”, always, ALWAYS ask: who’s using them, how, and why. We can’t afford to not ask those questions when lives are on the line – right now, professional lives, the ability to actually get a job. But perhaps some day, the ability to continue living at all.

I don’t like when companies make excuses, especially when it’s excuses to cover up the fact they did something they know was wrong.

I didn’t like when an exec at Square-Enix tried to claim the game mechanic in 3rd Birthday focused on making clothes rip off “Aya’s” body when she takes damage was about realism.

I didn’t like when the writer and director of Final Fantasy XIII at Square-Enix tried to blame a lack of towns in the game on making them in HD being “too difficult” in a time when we have massive worlds like Skyrim and Fallout New Vegas.

I ALSO didn’t like when that same writer and director for the same game, Final Fantasy XIII, claimed dungeons had to be linear to fit a JRPG story. Even Final Fantasy IV had tons of branching options and had the same on-rails approach for half the game.

I didn’t like when a certain person tied to the “Tomb Raider” “reboot” tried to make excuses for “Lara” not being her tough, cool self innately by adulthood because you supposedly can’t have a game starring a child character learning to survive.

I didn’t like when Ubisoft claimed they didn’t have enough to to add
playable women to Assassin’s Creed Unity, that it was something they
could only add “if they have time” as if they couldn’t have added
playable women if they wanted.

I didn’t like when the director for Resident Evil 6 claimed Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield couldn’t be added to the game, an anniversary game part of a celebration for the franchise, because it would be too many characters. When half the new game’s roster was random new characters.

I didn’t like when Capcom tried to blame fans of Megaman Legends on the cancellation of Megaman Legends 3, claiming there “wasn’t enough fan interest.” When it was incredibly obvious Capcom was doing it to spite departing creator Keiji Inafune, and after Capcom had plans to try to make MML fans PAY FOR A DEMO to “prove [they] want it badly enough.”

I didn’t like when the director of DmC tried to defend his radically changing “Dante” into a completely different character better suited to a brand new IP by saying the actual Dante from Devil May Cry wasn’t “cool” enough, would be “laughed out of a bar” for his looks, and that fans only cared about hair color and nothing more.

I didn’t like when an editor at Marvel tried to claim Polaris shouldn’t be Magneto’s daughter by making a convoluted excuse about genetics “breeding true” in order to excuse permitting Siryn to have the same powers as her father Banshee while saying Lorna can’t have the same powers as HER father.

I didn’t like when that same editor tried to claim Polaris couldn’t take part in Avengers vs X-Men and interact with her family because such events are only for A-listers and B-listers, basically saying Lorna can’t be part of it despite her huge stake in that event because he didn’t want her there.

I didn’t like when Marvel tried to claim the cover for All-New X-Factor #14 wasn’t released until a week before release purely because the second issue in a double shipping month doesn’t get that out until previews. We know damn well Marvel could and would have put that cover out and promoted ANXF #14 well in advance if they wanted.

I don’t like basically every single excuse Marvel keeps making to justify or hide the fact they’re trying to undermine and ruin the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises in all the rights they have purely because they don’t like the deal they have with Fox over the film rights.

I’ve been dealing with poor excuses and bad behavior out of companies and people heading up major franchises at them for nearly 8 years. Every excuse is paper thin to me, and frustrating. These are people working jobs at major companies that don’t seem to appreciate what they have, and don’t respect their fans and consumers like they should. They get hit hard financially and PR wise like they should, yet their egos and wet dreams about somehow making more of a profit by being tools toward IPs and fans keep them going at it.

Obsession with personal goals and changing things based on false assumptions is rampant as hell in creative companies, and I’m sick of it.

By the way, I deliberately left out the names of people responsible for these cases where I knew them. There’s a serious risk over the past couple years that people might send threats and harassment to those people when named, and I don’t want to risk that happening. If you want to create change, refuse to buy products from those companies. If you know the people responsible, refuse to buy stuff they specifically make until things get better. Either they change for the better, or the money line and any prestige and power they seek suffer. Sending them direct personal attacks is never right or helpful. They can be greedy, selfish or ignorant, but they’re still people, and it can at least be said that they’re not killing anyone. Not directly and intentionally, at the very least.