Game-related ramblings.

Month: January 2023

Scratching That Itch: The Bloody-Handed Name Of Bronze

This is the one hundred fifty-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.

Our one hundred fifty-fourth random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is busy conversing with a river. It’s The Bloody-Handed Name of Bronze, by Joshua A.C. Newman, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

The TTRPG of Bronze Age SWORD & SORCERY driven by PASSION!

Passion, and talking to rivers.

Backlog Roulette: Tomato Clinic

This is Backlog Roulette, a series in which I randomly pick an unplayed game from my backlog and play it. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

I’m still making up the rules for Backlog Roulette. When I started it, I wrote about my terrifying spreadsheet containing all the games I own. Except, it doesn’t actually contain all the games I own, because I also bought some gigantic bundles from itch.io. I’m covering the massive Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality in my Scratching That Itch series, but there are others too. The Queer Games Bundle 2021 isn’t too daunting, with a mere 236 things in it, but the Indie Bundle for Palestinian Aid has 1272 things in it, making it almost as huge as the Racial Justice bundle. Add in 998 more things from the Bundle for Ukraine, and these bundles are bigger than my whole spreadsheet, even without counting the Racial Justice bundle. Given that the Scratching That Itch series could easily take the rest of my life to complete, I worried that I’d never even look at the games in these other bundles.

So, this time I decided to add them in to my spreadsheet games when picking something random for Backlog Roulette. The danger of this approach, of course, is that it might make Backlog Roulette feel too much like Scratching That Itch, what with all the itch.io games showing up. So I’m not sure if I’ll keep doing this. Or maybe I’ll adjust the weighting of the bundles so my “regular” backlog has a higher chance of showing up. Those are all questions for the next entry, however. For now, the digital dice have selected Tomato Clinic, by npckc, from the Indie Bundle for Palestinian Aid. It’s a short visual novel about visiting a clinic to learn about vampires and their culture, and maybe donate some blood. In other words, a very Scratching That Itch kind of game.

History Lessons: Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family (AKA Legacy Of The Wizard)

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.

I wasn’t planning to cover any of Nihon Falcom’s Dragon Slayer games for this series. The first Dragon Slayer appeared way back in 1984 for the Japanese PC-88 home computer (and, later, other home computers like the PC-98 and FM-7), where it pioneered an action role-playing design in which players explore top-down screens in real time, bumping into enemies to fight them. This design was hugely influential, inspiring the Hydlide series (I covered the third game as part of this blog series) as well Nihon Falcom’s own Ys series (I covered the first two games) and Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda, which added innovations that arguably spawned a whole new genre. But Dragon Slayer itself sounded quite simple in comparison to these later titles, as well as potentially frustrating due to high difficulty or unclear objectives. And, of course, most of the Dragon Slayer games were never translated into English. So, early on in my planning sessions I decided to exclude them.

Then I read more about some of the later Dragon Slayer games that were eventually localized in English, which sounded much more interesting than I expected. So, I’m breaking from my timeline once again to go back and play a couple of them. The first is Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family (that stands for DRAgon SLEyer Family, of course), originally released in July 1987 for the MSX and MSX2 home computer systems, and later ported to Nintendo’s Famicom (for this blog series, it comes after Wonder Boy In Monster Land and before Cleopatra no Mahou in the timeline). Since American players had never seen any of the Dragon Slayer games before, it was renamed Legacy of the Wizard for its official US release on the NES about two years later. It keeps the single-square-sized characters and blocks from the original Dragon Slayer, but reimagines the labyrinthine dungeon as a huge side-scrolling platformer world, in which ledges, pits, ladders, and doors intertwine to create different paths. Players then choose from (and switch between) five playable family members, each with different abilities and usable items, so the entire game becomes a puzzle the family must solve together. Following on from Metroid, which had released about a year earlier, Dragon Slayer IV helped define what would become known as the Metroidvania genre. It sounded fascinating, and I decided I had to try it.

Scratching That Itch: SYSCRUSHER

This is the one hundred fifty-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. This particular entry is also part of the Keeping Score series about games and their soundtracks. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Our one hundred fifty-third random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has just landed in a sleek hovership, brandishing a high-tech pistol. It’s SYSCRUSHER, by DirigoGames, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Sci-fi first person shooter. The system is corrupt, a human touch is needed

I’ve just clicked on the checkbox that says “I am human”, so we’re ready to go.

Scratching That Itch: Spring On Me

This is the one hundred fifty-second 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 one hundred fifty-second random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is blushing awkwardly. It’s Spring On Me, by Swords and Flowers, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Go on awkward dates as messy individuals in love or more.

Messy Individuals In Love should probably be the name of a band.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén