Waltorious Writes About Games

Game-related ramblings.

Scratching That Itch: RISK SYSTEM

This is the one hundred fifteenth 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 post is also an honorary entry in the Keeping Score series about games and their soundtracks. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

A new random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is on an approach vector, absorbing energy by flying really close to the blog’s defense systems. It’s RISK SYSTEM, by RISK SYSTEM (AKA Newt Industries), and its tagline in the bundle reads:

High speed kinetic action. Danger is the best offense!

“The best offense” is my middle name.

Another Expedition Into Qud

You may read my earlier posts about Caves of Qud here. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

I last wrote about Caves of Qud almost two years ago. But I’ve been following the weekly updates for this excellent far-future roguelike about scavenging ancient sci-fi technology the whole time. There have been some big ones. A whole new segment of the main storyline was added, centered on the Tomb of the Eaters, where the ancient rulers of Earth and the stars beyond are interred. A large swath of the southeastern jungle has been replaced by a vast lake, hosting a new area known as the Palladium Reef on its eastern edge. This even includes a new friendly settlement known as the Yd Freehold. Then there are some big mechanical changes: the option to ease up the punishing permadeath mechanics by playing in RPG mode, where the game is checkpointed at towns, or even Wander mode, where no experience points are awarded for combat and most factions start out neutral to the player.

All of that was tempting, but not quite enough to lure me back, since I knew that once I started playing it would devour my free time. No, what finally convinced me to dive in again was the announcement that the early game areas of Red Rock and the Rust Wells had finally been redesigned. Many new characters meet their deaths in these relatively uninteresting caves, meaning players may never see the much, much cooler stuff to come farther along the storyline. A redesign hopefully meant the early quests were brought up to par with the rest of the game. I decided to find out.

Scratching That Itch: Glitch Brushes: Maze & Organic Textures

This is the one hundred fourteenth 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 smearing glitchy patterns everywhere. It’s Glitch Brushes: Maze & Organic Textures, by Dataerase, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

once again you can digitally paint with power of glitch!

If you are excited for a videogame about painting with glitches, I’m afraid I must disappoint you. This one is, like the last entry, a pack of assets rather than a game. This time, it’s a set of digital brushes for making digital art. With glitches.

Scratching That Itch: Transitions – Godot Asset

This is the one hundred thirteenth 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 appeared via a slick crossfade. It’s Transitions – Godot Asset by César León, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Shaders and scene to make transitions between two scenes in Godot

No more smash cuts, people. It’s time to get fancy with scene transitions!

Scratching That Itch: Catch The Devil

This is the one hundred twelfth 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 heralds the end of the age of humans. It’s Catch The Devil, by Sage LaTorra, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A Tabletop Game Of Fear In The Late Anthropocene

The “late Anthropocene”, in case you are wondering, refers to the end of the (proposed) geological age in which human activity is the dominant influence on the world’s ecosystem, or as Catch The Devil puts it, “the last sputtering coughs of the human age.” Sage LaTorra seems to have a more pessimistic view of this than I, because Catch The Devil is not set in some distant future, but in our current world, right now.

Scratching That Itch: Wordsum Blitz

This is the one hundred eleventh 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 attempting to drown us with the alphabet. It’s Wordsum Blitz, by Pixelshot Games, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Tetris with words

I admire this succinct tagline, but I can actually imagine many different ways that could work. Fortunately for you, reader, I’ve played Wordsum Blitz and will tell you how it actually works, below.

Scratching That Itch: The Reaper’s Almanac

This is the one hundred tenth 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 been delivered in a sealed envelope with a handwritten address. It’s The Reaper’s Almanac, by Mitch Schiwal, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A letter writing game about embracing death and celebrating life.

For our younger readers, “letters” were these things we used to write, by hand, on actual paper, and then have the paper physically delivered to the person we were writing to in an envelope. People used to communicate that way, before social media. Crazy, I know.

Scratching That Itch: Schema

This is the one hundred 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 next random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is jabbering excitedly about a stack of printed tables. It’s Schema, by Levi Kornelsen, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A rules engine for tabletop roleplaying.

That’s right: this one is all rules, all the time.

Scratching That Itch: Blind Men

This is the one hundred 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.

Another random selection from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has entered the building, speaking surreptitiously into a hidden earpiece. It’s Blind Men, by Man-Eater Games, and its tagline in the bundle reads:

A boys’ love visual novel about a supervillain and the spies that try to stop hi…

That’s right: this supervillain’s nefarious schemes bring all the boys to the yard.

History Lessons: Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished

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.

One of the reasons I wanted to play the early Japanese console role-playing games is that so many have become enduring series. Everyone knows the behemoth Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy franchises, which have been running for more than thirty years, but there are so many others too. Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, which released in 1987, spawned the Shin Megami Tensei series and its spinoff Persona series, which had new entries in 2021 and 2020, respectively. Tales of Arise was a big hit last year, the latest entry in a series that started way back in 1995 with Tales of Phantasia on the Super Famicom. And of course, we got Ys IX: Monstrum Nox in 2019, which traces its lineage all the way to Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished in 1987.

I’m cheating a little bit with the timeline. Nihon Falcom released the first Ys game in 1987, a few months after Esper Dream (the subject of the last entry in this blog series), on NEC’s PC-88 home computer system, although ports quickly appeared for other Japanese home computers such as the X1 and MSX2, as well as Famicom and Master System ports a year later. But the version universally regarded as best among fans — not counting more modern remakes, like the 2013 version currently sold on Steam and GOG — is an enhanced remake (credited to Alfa System) from 1989 for the PC Engine (rebranded in the United Staes as the Turbografx-16) that bundles together Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished and its sequel Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter in a single release. This was actually the only time (again, not counting modern remakes) that Ys II was officially localized in English, which made my decision about which version to try a bit easier (although I’m waiting to play the second game until my timeline reaches its original release date). But by playing the 1989 remake instead of the 1987 original I’m making a fairly big jump in terms of technology. You see, the PC Engine version used the CD-ROM add-on, and was in fact one of the first games developed for CD-ROM.

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