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indigozeal
Note: I started playing Silent Hill 4 two years ago; I stopped due to...well, due to circumstances detailed below. I'd like to resume the game this Halloween, but when I found my old notes, I discovered something: my comments differed significantly in certain aspects from my current impressions of the game. I'm going to publish my old notes to lead off my discussion of SH4, then follow up with my current, dissenting impressions, as well as various other retrospective thoughts on the first half of the game. I'll then comment on the second half of the game as I attempt to tackle it.
Also: my notes below were a bit incomplete in spots. Places where I had to fill in material are bolded. The material kind of peters out near the end, and I'm loathe to add more than necessary, since my thoughts & recollections have changed since I originally wrote this; I'll be expanding on those points in my next entry.
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indigozeal
20 October 2014 @ 11:37 pm
I was directed to this consummately ridiculous poll by the Baten Kaitos fandom, where the game's up for Best Explorable Towns. I sauntered over to vote, but, good God, I don't think there's any saving this list of nominees. Suikoden II's Luca "die, pig, die" Blight for Best Villain; an Ar Tonelico game for Best Romance Subplot; Earthbound for Best Enemy Design; Final Fantasy Tactics, where all the characters have the exact same face, for Best Character Designs; and Chrono Cross - CHRONO CROSS - for "Best Cast of Characters."

P.S. I just noticed that this poll was sponsored by an iOS game. This explains so much.
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indigozeal
19 October 2014 @ 10:01 am
about Neverending Nightmares and The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo: I remember a quote from Roger Ebert in which he addressed why "critics always seem to like foreign films," and he explained that the foreign film market in the U.S. was so precarious that only the very best foreign films got released. Well, if that mentality translates to gaming, then the mainstream market for art games is now strong enough that we've finally started to get bad ones.
 
 
 
indigozeal
18 October 2014 @ 11:43 pm
It's basically another iteration on The Twist, and while it's not quite as egregious as Gods Will Be Watching - it actually has something to say, for one, even though that something is just a slightly different variation on "you shouldn't be playing this game in the first place" - I'm still vaguely but piquantly dissatisfied with it, not only for that but for some other reason. The essays you unlock after you get the true ending go on about how the game's a response to GamerGate, and while I was initially going to object to that idea, the upshot of the work is that "people are more important than games," which is exactly what all those defending or dismissing the harassment campaigns in service of an allegedly higher cause fail to grasp. But the game - and while I'm wary of levying this charge considering how often in recent weeks it's been unfairly flung against genuinely worthwhile articles and viewpoints, it's true in this case - is acutely histrionic in how it trades in self-sabotaging absolutes. It talks about how games are "creating culture" and how it's good to have "games about more things...by more people," and yet it portrays games literally as these horrible monsters who enslave all who come in contact with them, shutting their victims off from a bright and ever-welcoming world of friendship and love. It wants to use the benefits of the medium to communicate its message, yet it also wants to end that medium due to the danger it supposedly unilaterally presents. It has a big dramatic climax that screams to all those in gaming's alleged thrall that we are here! We are here for you! We can rescue you unfortunate, benighted souls from your emotional isolation! And, dude, you're not here. You're a pretentious, self-absorbed git with a keyboard God knows how many miles away. The creator links to all these essays about how gaming provides an avenue for agency for those who feel powerless, how those people lack a connection with the common culture, and yet...he doesn't get it, on some level. He doesn't get that not everyone who plays games has "the same impulses as a suicide bomber," and even with those stuck in his Reefer Madness-level worst-case scenario of utter dependence on games for emotional fulfillment, he doesn't get how sometimes those support structures he assumes to be omnipresent in real life just aren't there. The game pretends it understands but has no real understanding of the situations it wants to address. It's this aggressively condescending yet kind of dunderheaded thing that sabotages any useful points it can make.

The other thing is that author is completely full of himself in his closing thoughts, both in substance and verbiage. "The abysm of my 4chan days." "The idiosyncratic haunted house that functions as my mind." They're the true horror that lies at the end of the game.
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indigozeal
15 October 2014 @ 09:22 pm
I'm basing this on the general outlook of the game's universe. Is there a good for which to fight, is good beside the point (and status quo supreme), or is the universe malevolent? Do you obey the given authorities, act by or to defend your own values & ethics, or is hellzapoppin'?

Lunar: Lawful Neutral. You do what Althena tells you because she's the goddess, and that's it. There may be higher ideals invoked on occasion, but that's the overriding rule.

Phantasy Star: Neutral Good. Right and morals are upheld by a band of outsiders working outside the system. Governments are unlawful or nonexistent. (III, as always, is kind of an outlier here; most of its heroes are royals, but the states themselves have very little relevance. You're left to your own devices for most of the tale, and the whole thrust of the story, such as it is, is to overcome your culture's ingrained bigotry and do what your heart thinks is right. I could see a Lawful Good argument but am content to leave it in Neutral Good with its cousins.)

Lufia: Lawful Evil. I hesitate here, because human governments in Lufia are reliably incompetent, and the little, defenseless humans of the world are left to fend for themselves, but in a larger, cosmic sense, there's a strong feeling that said little guys are merely acting out their sanctioned roles as humanity's defenders. The defining aspect of the world is the malevolent gods - the only gods we ever see - though humanity is given a bit of a sporting chance.

FF4: Lawful Good. The whole game is good royalty and soon-to-be-royalty helping to defend the integrity of good royalty and their kingdoms, and everyone's reward at the end for virtuous conduct in the service of the states is governmental power.

FF5: Chaotic Whatever the Fuck. I'm torn between Good and Neutral, leaning toward the latter; the game's really genial and really doesn't wish ill on anyone, but at the same time, the goals are the game aren't much beyond mere survival and reacting to whatever crazy stuff is happening at the time.

FF6: Chaotic Neutral. Despite the whole ending recitation of the little rays of sunshine that have kept them going through the hell of their world, the characters aren't fighting for any higher values per se; they just want everyone to be able to live in peace. (The world's not Chaotic Evil because while good's hard to keep going, it is possible. Things have gotten to a fucked-up state, but not because it's their natural inclination to do so.)

Terranigma: Lawful Neutral. The world is born, lives, dies, and is born again, indifferent to suffering on an individual basis. Everything is part of a cycle.

Legend of Mana: Chaotic Evil. Kill your allies, kill strangers, kill everyone. Why? Who cares! The whole stuff with the Mana Tree is kind of beside the point of the main plotlines of the game, which choke out everything else.
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indigozeal
then dragon-based Neopets thing Flight Rising is accepting new "players" from tonight to early early tomorrow morning (5:30 Eastern). The art and writing are a bit better than the norm for this kind of thing, and you don't have to sink horrendous amounts of time into it to have some fun. If you sign up, you can hit me up under this username for food & familiars.
 
 
 
indigozeal
09 October 2014 @ 09:54 pm
To cheer myself up a bit, I bought a little Lord of the Rings Rivendell Lego set. It features the Council of Elrond area and few outdoor elements & architectural accents (elven arches etc.) in autumnal colors. Two points of note:

a) The chairs at the Council swivel & spin around like office desk chairs.

b) Given how Lego handled the half-height thing, Gimli and Frodo cannot actually be posed to sit in their chairs. Arwen cannot sit either, as her lower half is a solid trapezoidal prism. Elrond can sit, but his cloth cape would get caught up in these particular chairs. That means that none of the figures included with the set can actually use the chairs provided. Currently, Arwen, Gimli, and Frodo are standing in their chairs, while Elrond is sitting grumpily on the ground, glaive in hand.
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indigozeal
07 October 2014 @ 06:06 pm
I posted a full review of Neverending Nightmares, the Edward Gorey-esque game about which I complained yesterday. Warning: contains the word "unhealthily."


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indigozeal
06 October 2014 @ 09:20 pm
Neverending Nightmares, the new $15 indie release with the Edward Gorey art style that's purportedly about the designer's struggle with depression, is a big bunch of hooey. It has as much psychological depth as CarnEvil, it lasts no more than two extremely padded and tedious hours, and it brings nothing to the table except a couple loving images of slashed & mutilated forearms straight out of Tumblr's self-mutilation porn comms. Do not waste your money. You can get a more satisfying experience by watching the game on YouTube - though I wouldn't recommend you do that, either.
 
 
 
indigozeal
04 October 2014 @ 10:08 am
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