Game-related ramblings.

Author: Waltorious Page 3 of 19

I Finally Played Dark Souls

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

I bought Dark Souls when it first came to PC in the form of the Prepare To Die Edition in 2012. I fully intended to play it, but I never did. I suspect this was because I found it intimidating. The press about it made it sound like a fascinating and compelling game, but also a game that is very difficult and obtuse, not to mention huge and all-consuming. There were heaps of praise, sure, but also those who claimed its difficulty was punishing rather than fun. And the horrid behavior of hardcore fans who respond to any criticism of the game (or, indeed, requests for advice from struggling players) with derisive shouts of “git gud”, positioning themselves as gatekeepers who insist their way is the only way to play. A particularly awful example of toxic game culture. Worse, I read about Dark Souls’ online components, which let players “invade” other players’ games, implying I might be minding my own business only to have one of these “git gud” assholes show up and kill my character, like the worst possible griefer.

And yet… Dark Souls sounded fascinating. It launched its own sub-genre of “soulslikes“, not just from original developers FromSoftware but from numerous imitators. None received as much acclaim as FromSoftware’s own successors, of course, be they Dark Souls’ direct sequels, the gothic flavored Bloodborne, samurai tale Sekiro, or last year’s smash hit Elden Ring. There’s no denying that Dark Souls had a huge impact on games as a whole, and I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. So, at long last, I have played Dark Souls, in the form of Dark Souls Remastered since it’s easier to run these days. I now know that all the praise Dark Souls has received is well-earned: it is indeed compelling and fascinating. It’s also not quite what I expected.

Backlog Roulette: XTHRUST

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.

On the last Backlog Roulette, about She Remembered Caterpillars, I was wrestling with how to handle random games picked from my terrifying spreadsheet of games I own, versus those acquired more recently in gigantic bundles from itch.io. I decided to weight the spreadsheet games more heavily, because I’d owned them longer, and playing them was the original intention of this series. I’ve thought about it more since, and decided not to bother including the giant itch.io bundles at all. The spreadsheet games are the ones I want, why pretend otherwise?

And so, the digital dice selected XTHRUST, by eipaw ltd, martinez, and njb design llc. I have no memory of acquiring it. It’s just in my Steam library. I suspect it was a giveaway at some point.

Scratching That Itch: Down.

This is the one hundred seventy-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 seventy-second random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has just awoken, lying on the grass. It’s down., by Pixelbark, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A short, somber, narrative experience about depression and anxiety

This isn’t a cheerful one, folks. [EDIT: and it really should have a trigger warning for suicide, as discussed below.]

Backlog Roulette: She Remembered Caterpillars

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.

Last time on Backlog Roulette, I debated how to handle my “regular” backlog of games, which I have organized in a terrifying spreadsheet, versus the massive bundles I’ve acquired in recent years. My Scratching That Itch series is handling games from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality, but I have several more bundles from itch.io that are nearly as gigantic. If I focus solely on my spreadsheet games for Backlog Roulette, I run the risk of never checking out these other bundles at all. But including them risks turning this series into something too similar to Scratching That Itch. My last Backlog Roulette entry, about Tomato Clinic from the Indie Bundle for Palestinian Aid, sure felt a lot like a Scratching That Itch post, but the original intention of the Backlog Roulette series was to highlight games I’d acquired with a bit more intention. Interesting indies I’d picked up but then never got around to playing, or selections from much smaller, more curated bundles. These also tend to be games I’ve owned for longer, since the giant itch.io bundles only appeared in recent years.

So, this time I went for an 80% spreadsheet, 20% bundle weighting before picking the next random game. I also quickly decided that if I wasn’t enjoying the pick, I’d discard it in favor of another one. It took mere minutes to realize that the open-ended slasher film puzzle boxes of Lakeview Cabin Collection (acquired in a Humble Bundle) were not for me. Similarly, the gamified police raids of Door Kickers (also from a Humble Bundle) failed to entice. That’s OK; those are two games I can cross off of my spreadsheet. The third random pick was She Remembered Caterpillars by jumpsuit entertainment UG, a very pretty puzzle game I remember reading about. It’s not from a Humble Bundle, but I’m not sure when I got it. It’s just in my Steam library.

Scratching That Itch: Last Word

This is the one hundred seventy-first 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 seventy-first random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is engaging us in witty repartee. It’s Last Word, by Merlandese, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Sophisticated RPG mystery where methods of discourse hold secret power

That’s right, readers. It’s time to… converse.

Rainbow In The Dark: Hi-Fi Rush

This is Rainbow In The Dark, a series about games that actually contain colors. This particular entry is also an honorary member of the Keeping Score series, about games and their soundtracks. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Hi-Fi Rush surprised everyone, as it was both announced and released on January 25, 2023. Uncharacteristically, I actually played it not long after; usually I’m several years late at least. It’s something of a departure for Japanese developers Tango Gameworks, who are primarily known for horror games: The Evil Within and its sequel, as well as the spooky action-adventure Ghostwire: Tokyo last year. As is typical for the horror genre, those games are pretty gloomy and drab color-wise, although Ghostwire: Tokyo does spice things up with some neon lighting on occasion. Still, it’s nothing like Hi-Fi Rush, which came out of nowhere with a bright, vibrant manga comic art look. A jolt of color for those of us playing our games in the dark.

Scratching That Itch: Live Hot Bugs (Waiting For YOU On Proxima Centauri b!!)

This is the one hundred seventieth 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 seventieth random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is trying to create some exceptionally sexy mosquitos. It’s Live Hot Bugs (Waiting for YOU on Proxima Centauri b!!), by L Reeves, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A speculative mini-comic about making sexy bugs for the good of humanity.

You see, we have to make the bugs sexy. It’s for the good of humanity!

Scratching That Itch: IMMURE

This is the one hundred sixty-ninth 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 sixty-ninth random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is stumbling through a dark and surreal mansion. It’s IMMURE, by Wither Studios, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Inescapable Horror

You can’t escape it.

Scratching That Itch: They Stole The Moon

This is the one hundred sixty-eighth 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 sixty-eighth random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality offers ritual magic to face loss. It’s They Stole The Moon, by Tabletop Hotdish (more specifically, by Aven Elia McConnaughey, one half of Tabletop Hotdish), and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A short story and ritual about grief, loss, and magic.

I can confirm that it contains both a short story and a ritual.

Scratching That Itch: Lacrymo Tennis 2016 (+2018)

This is the one hundred sixty-seventh 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 sixty-seventh random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has taken to the streets with a mask and a tennis racquet. It’s Lacrymo Tennis 2016 (+2018), by Les Jeux d’la TĂȘte, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

No one does bourgeois revolution quite like the French.

Je suis d’accord.

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