Game-related ramblings.

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Scratching That Itch: Forever Lost: Episode 2

This is the one hundred twenty-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 seems to truly be lost. It’s Forever Lost: Episode 2 by Glitch Games, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Explore what awaits in front of you and learn all you can about what you left…

But, I am unable to download it. I just get the error message pictured above. Some quick research reveals that all three episodes of the Forever Lost series are included in the bundle, but none of them are downloadable right now, nor do they even have pages on itch.io. At the Glitch Games website, the series (which appears to consist of first-person adventure games with a horror theme) is shown as being sold via the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon, suggesting that they are focused on mobile only. Perhaps they were pulled from sale at itch.io? Whatever the reason, Scratching That Itch must continue onwards, so I must regretfully skip this one.

That’s an unfortunate 123 down, and only 1618 to go!

Scratching That Itch: The Company

This is the one hundred twenty-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.

A sleek helicopter sporting a corporate logo has just delivered another random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. It’s The Company, by Mega Corp, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Corporate Survival Horror

The only way to make survival horror more horrifying is to make it corporate.

Getting Even More Extreme With EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER: BOUND BY ASH

This post is part of Keeping Score, a series about games and their soundtracks. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

About five months ago, I wrote about the first season of episodic game Extreme Meatpunks Forever (which should be in all caps, but I’m too lazy to do that), subtitled Powered By Blood, as part of the Scratching That Itch series. Spoiler alert: it’s fantastic. I wanted to play the second season, Bound By Ash, while the first was still relatively fresh in my mind, so I grabbed it from itch.io and fired it up. Like the first season, Bound By Ash comes in six episodes, picking up where our misfit band of fascist-killing “gay disaster” meat mech pilots left off. And it’s even better than the first season.

Scratching That Itch: A Day In The Woods

This is the one hundred twenty-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 next random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality arrived by swapping positions with other games. It’s A Day In The Woods, by RetroEpic Software, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Guide Red through the woods to help her find grandma’s house.

Ah yes, just a nice walk through the spooky woods to visit grandma. I’m certain there won’t be any ravenous wolves lying in wait.

Some Witcher 3 Nitpicking

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

At long last, I have finished The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Although I still have two DLC story packs to play through, so I’m actually very much not finished. But I’ve done the main story, and I was waiting for that to conclude before posting about the game again. I’ve already written about how good it is, and celebrated its variety of faces, but now that I’ve spent more time with the game, I’ve found a few problems. It’s time for some complaining.

The first thing I want to complain about is the writing, which is a weird thing to say. On the one hand, the writing is really good: the quests in The Witcher 3 are so much more interesting than those in other role-playing games, each a little story with its own twists and surprising details. The game was rightfully lauded for this. But at the same time, a lot of the writing in the game feels like bad Witcher fan fiction.

Scratching That Itch: The NPC With A Thousand Faces

This is the one hundred twentieth 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 nearly as many faces as there are things in the bundle. It’s The NPC With a Thousand Faces, by Firgof (AKA Forgotten Workshop), and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Ultra-fast NPC Generation from 15 years of DMing!

That’s a lot of jargon in one tagline. “NPC” stands for “Non-Player Character” and refers to characters that are not controlled by players, usually in role-playing games. “DM” is “Dungeon Master” (often called “Game Master” or “GM” instead) and refers to someone who facilitates a tabletop role-playing game for the other players, setting up scenarios and describing how the world and its inhabitants react to player actions. Therefore, before even reading it, I can conclude that The NPC With a Thousand Faces is a guide to help a DM/GM create characters for the players to interact with. But don’t worry, I did read it, and yes, that is what it is.

Scratching That Itch: Hero-ing Addict

This is the one hundred nineteenth 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.

A can of paint has been spilled, revealing the next random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. It’s Hero-ing Addict, by Ethan’s Byproducts, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

An MS Paint-inspired action adventure game.

It’s time to drag swaths of primary colors everywhere.

History Lessons: Wonder Boy In Monster Land

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 wrote about Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, I mentioned that it inspired many other console games to combine platforming action with role-playing elements. I hadn’t expected it to inspire arcade games to do the same, but that’s exactly what happened with Wonder Boy In Monster Land. The original Wonder Boy from 1986 (which I did not play for this series) was a straight arcade platformer, a design which works well as a coin-operated game. There are discrete levels of increasing difficulty played one after another, and players must start over from the beginning if titular protagonist Wonder Boy perishes. Learn the levels after depositing enough coins for several attempts, and maybe players could make it to the end, or at least reach the high score list.

Role-playing games, on the other hand, tend to be longer adventures that last for many play sessions, with characters gradually growing in strength and abilities along the way. That’s not typically a good match for the short form, repetitive nature of arcade games. Yet it seems to have worked in the case of Wonder Boy In Monster Land. Its Sega Master System port is fondly remembered as one of the better games for that console, and its sequel Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap earned such a cult following that it saw a full remake in 2016, followed by an entirely new spiritual successor in 2018. Curious about the enduring appeal of this series, I decided to play the Master System version of Wonder Boy In Monster Land, developed by Sega and released in January 1988, about six months after Westone Bit Entertainment’s original arcade release in July 1987.

Scratching That Itch: Final Lap

This is the one hundred eighteenth 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 is speeding around the corner and into the final straight. It’s Final Lap, by Nicolas “Gulix” Ronvel, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Experience the conclusion of a racing year on the Circuit during the last race…

Honestly, an entire year of racing sounds a bit excessive to me.

I Have Golfed The Desert

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

After playing the excellent Tales of Illyria: Fallen Knight on my phone, I wanted to take a break before diving into its sequel, Tales of Illyria: Beyond the Iron Wall. I looked through a few mobile games I’d grabbed at some point but never actually played, but I found myself casting curious glances at Desert Golfing instead, a game that I have played. Having heard good things about this minimalist, peaceful and relaxing game, I’d tried it out for a while on an earlier phone before eventually losing interest. Its scrolling desert seemed to go on forever, one single-screen golf hole at a time, but is it truly endless? I headed to google and spoiled myself with the answer: no, Desert Golfing does eventually end, after 10,000 holes. This knowledge transformed it in my mind from a simple time-waster into something I could devote more attention to, something I could work at bit by bit, knowing that each completed hole brought me closer to the conclusion. In short, I resolved to golf the desert. And now I have.

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