Game-related ramblings.

Month: January 2022

Scratching That Itch: A Strollplaying Game Trio Pack

This is the one hundred sixth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Another random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has ambled into view. It’s a strollplaying game trio pack, by s.pines, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

three print at home 8 fold zine solo RPGs for when you wanna game on the …

That’s right, folks. This one is actually three games, which means if you bought the bundle you actually got 1744 things for the price of 1741. Probably more, actually, because I’m guessing there are some more multi-packs in there. Also, as the term “strollplaying” suggests, each of these games requires going for a walk.

Scratching That Itch: The Sword And The Slime

This is the one hundred fifth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

This next random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has left a faint, sticky trail behind it. It’s The Sword and the Slime by Possum House Games, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

The buddy cop movie no one asked for.

Reader, I can confirm that I did not ask for it.

Scratching That Itch: Walking Tourist

This is the one hundred fourth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Another random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has just walked past. It’s Walking Tourist, by August Junkala, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A game about walking through crowds.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

History Lessons: Esper Dream

Other History Lessons posts can be found here. If you’re looking specifically for console games, those are here. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

In February 1987, just over a month after Zelda II: The Adventure of Link released in Japan on the Famicom Disk System, another action role-playing game appeared for the system that shares some of its ideas. Esper Dream, developed and published by Konami, features free exploration from a top-down viewpoint and random battles that can be seen, and sometimes avoided, on the main screen, like the shadowy creatures on Zelda II’s world map. Also like Zelda II, triggering a battle leads to a separate combat encounter, although in this case it’s a single screen top-down arena rather than a side-scrolling area. Esper Dream also sets itself apart by rejecting the swords and magic fantasy setting that most role-playing games used at the time, instead centering on a young boy with psychic abilities. Falling asleep while reading a book, his dreams bring the world of the book to life, and he must set about saving Brick Town from invading monsters by exploring surreal locations and battling enemies with guns and psychic powers.

This setting made Esper Dream sound very unusual, and made me want to play it. Unlike the Zelda games, however, it was never released outside of Japan, and never had an official English translation. Fortunately, there’s an unofficial translation from Mute which let me play the game in English. Sadly, unlike the translation I used for Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, it doesn’t include a translation of the game manual. But there’s good info in online guides to clarify what different items and psychic powers do. Also, yes, Esper Dream released about eight months before Digital Devil Story, because I totally failed to be chronological when starting this series. But I’m working to remedy that.

Celebrating The Many Faces Of The Witcher 3

As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

As I continue to play through The Witcher 3, I’ve found myself surprisingly interested in characters’ faces. At first, I wasn’t sure why. They are noticeably less detailed than faces from more recent games, so it’s not because of graphical fidelity. But each seemed eminently memorable, and somehow I never seemed to see the same face twice. Where the hordes of non-player characters in most games quickly become a haze of similar looking people, often with the exact same faces appearing again and again, The Witcher 3’s distinctive cast is an impressive accomplishment. I soon realized the game’s secret. Most games include characters that adhere to a standard of bland attractiveness, probably inherited from films where everyone is good looking because they’re all actors. But The Witcher 3 is not afraid to make its characters ugly.

Scratching That Itch: MELWAFF – My Exciting Life With A Fantasy Foreigner!

This is the one hundred third entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Our next random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has traveled here from a parallel world. It’s MELWAFF – My Exciting Life With a Fantasy Foreigner! by Julian Kay, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A heartwarming, humorous tabletop storygame where fantasy collides with …

That’s right, your heart is about to get warmed. Whether you want it to or not.

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