Game-related ramblings.

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History Lessons: Lord Of The Sword

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’d never heard of Lord of the Sword before doing research for this series. Released on June 2, 1988, a little over a month after our last entry Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter, Lord of the Sword was allegedly inspired by Wonder Boy In Monster Land, the arcade platformer with role-playing elements that released a year earlier. That game was a pleasant surprise when I played its Master System port for this series, so I was intrigued going in to Lord of the Sword.

Solium Infernum Is Getting A Modern Remake

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

Well, well. Long time readers will know that I love Solium Infernum, the 2009 strategy game about the dark politics of archfiends vying for the throne of Hell. I’ve written quite a lot about it, so rather than repeat myself I’ll just link to those pieces in a moment. The important thing is that a modern remake of Solium Infernum was announced yesterday, in development by League of Geeks who have obtained the Solium Infernum IP from original creator Vic Davis with his blessing. I am… very excited. The biggest problems with the original game are its user interface, some unclear rules and mechanics, and the need to manually pass around turn files between players. The new version seems poised to address all of that, while staying very faithful to the original design. With a few rebalancing tweaks, of course. Plus it has some pretty slick new art, even at this early stage (expected release sometime in 2023).

I never played League of Geeks’ earlier game Armello, but now that I know it was inspired by Solium Infernum I very much want to. I’ll also be keeping a close eye on their new version of Solium Infernum. If you are curious to learn more about why this game of scheming, backstabbing, and navigating the complex bureaucracy of Hell is so good, why not peruse my earlier writings about it? My first post gives a nice overview, then later I wrote a full diary of a multiplayer game I played, going through every turn in detail. Then I recruited three other players to write another, even better diary of our next game, showing all of our perspectives on the epic power struggle that ensued. Those diaries are pretty long, though, so you might prefer a slightly more succinct story I wrote about a different game. Lastly, I contributed to another Solium Infernum diary with perspectives from several players, hosted over on the Bumbling Through Dungeons blog.

If you want to try playing Solium Infernum yourself, we have a Discord server with a small group of active players, so just let me know and we can get you set up. I’ll see you in Hell.

Scratching That Itch: Un Pas Fragile

This is the one hundred fortieth 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 leapt into view with a dramatic cabriole. It’s Un Pas Fragile, by DocGeraud, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Follow the journey of Camille, a frog who dreams of becoming a ballet danc…

Brush off your pointe shoes and practice your turnout, it’s time to dance.

Blood And Wine Is A Heartfelt Farewell To Geralt Of Rivia

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

At long last, I have finished The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Which is to say, I’ve finished its second and final story DLC, Blood and Wine. I’ve already written three entire posts about the base game, plus one more about the first story DLC, Hearts of Stone. Blood and Wine is quite a bit larger than Hearts of Stone was, set in an entirely new location: the Duchy of Toussaint. This duchy played host to some important events in Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels on which the Witcher games are based, and it’s a fitting place for protagonist Geralt of Rivia’s story to end. And an ending it surely is. The developers at CD Projekt RED have gone all out for Geralt’s final farewell.

Scratching That Itch: Theorem

This is the one hundred thirty-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.

Another random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is rolling towards us, one polyhedral face at a time. It’s Theorem, by Geckoo1337, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Minimalist puzzle game

That’s a minimalist tagline, too.

Backlog Roulette: Bezier

This is Backlog Roulette, a series in which I randomly pick an unplayed game from my backlog and play it. This particular entry is also part of the Keeping Score series about games and their soundtracks. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

In a surprise move, as soon as I’d finished playing (and writing about) The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, which I had selected at random from my huge backlog of games, I decided to pick another random game from my backlog and play it. Maybe Backlog Roulette is actually becoming a real series? This time, the digital dice picked Bezier, credited to Philip Bak and NiineGames, although google suggests it was basically a Philip Bak solo production. I had no recollection of acquiring Bezier, nor any idea what it was. I suspect I got it as part of a Humble Bundle, because while my terrifyingly organized spreadsheet of games I own indicated that I had Bezier on Steam (it’s also available from itch.io), it also said I had the soundtrack from Humble. So it was probably a Steam key plus digital soundtrack combo. Curious, I installed Bezier and gave it a spin.

Scratching That Itch: Super Slime Arena

This is the one hundred thirty-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. 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 next random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is positively gelatinous. It’s Super Slime Arena, by JellyTeam, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Slimy 16-bit style, party-fighting game using any controller in 2-50+ multipla…

You have probably guessed that the truncated word is “multiplayer”, which poses a bit of a problem for me trying to play it for this series.

Scratching That Itch: Standoff

This is the one hundred thirty-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.

Another random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is staring us down, accompanied by some epic trumpet music. It’s Standoff, by Matthew R.F. Balousek, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A game about telling ridiculous stories together.

That’s right folks: it’s time to get ridiculous.

History Lessons: Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter

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.

When I first started writing about early console games, I was only planning to play through the Final Fantasy series. Then I decided I should probably go back and play the Dragon Quest series too. Then I decided I should also play a bunch of other role-playing games, and then that I should add some action role-playing games… the result was something of a mess in terms of the timeline, jumping back and forth as I kept expanding my list of games. This post, however, brings my (now massive) list back into order. My last post was about Hydlide 3: The Space Memories, which originally released on November 22, 1987. The original Final Fantasy (the very first post I wrote in this console history series) appeared about a month later, on December 18, 1987. A mere two days after that, the excellent Phantasy Star released. Next came Dragon Quest III on February 10, 1988. And, finally, that brings us to Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter, originally released in Japan on April 22, 1988 for Japanese home computer systems like the PC-88. From here on out, we should be going in chronological order!

As the name suggests, Ys II is a direct sequel to the original Ys that finishes up the story. The connection is so strong, in fact, that both games were later remade and re-released as a single title, Ys Book I & II, for the PC Engine CD/TurboGrafx-CD in December 1989. That’s the version I played, and I’ve already written about Ys I. I then paused my playthrough to cover other games that released between Ys I and Ys II. Now, I’ve gone back to finish off Ys II.

Scratching That Itch: Story Time Frames

This is the one hundred thirty-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.

Our next random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has announced itself via a social media post. It’s Story Time Frames, by NotWriting (AKA Michael Elliott), and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A social media storytelling game!

Stop scrolling through cat pictures for a second, folks. It’s story time. (Frames.)

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