Games You Played Today: 358 Threads Over 2

I’m at the final boss (or probably the final boss?) of Guardians of the Galaxy and am struggling with it, but I wanna see it through.

Can’t think of the last time I played a game where I actively did not enjoy the actual moment to moment gameplay, but the entire, uh, everything else about it more than makes up for that.*

The heart-to-heart moments are genuinely some of the best I’ve seen in a game, and better than any of the MCU stuff (not that that’s a hard feat, just saying!).

Just a shame you play the game as the guy with the most boring abilities!

In other final boss news, I can get through phase one of Metroid Dread’s final boss easily enough, but keep eating shit at phase two. Just gotta keep chipping away, learn those patterns.

*Realizing now I said as much about Super Metroid a few months ago. Though I found that more engaging than this, at least as “pushing buttons to do things” goes.


Playing the GTA 3 remaster/remake. I don’t know which it is, remaster or remake. If they rebuilt the game in unreal then that’s a remake. But it feels almost exactly like the original, physics-wise. Actually I guess it feels like those GTA IV mods that use the GTA IV engine as a base to drop in all the PS2 GTA games’ art assets and stuff. Probably exactly how the development for this started.

It crashed back to the xbox dashboard once while doing vigilante missions. I guess I was just playing too well. Those police cruisers go really fast you know, the game probably couldn’t keep up with how awesome I was.

This is such a weird experience with these graphics. And the other two, while I haven’t played them yet, look very similar to 3. It’s like they took three kind of visually distinct games and smushed them all together and made them look like one game. Like there are no “trails” effects like on the PS2 games. Everything is too sharp and crystal clear, except when it’s rainy and stormy and then it’s too dark and muddy. I hope there is still an orange haze in San Andreas but I won’t be surprised if there isn’t.

They updated the shooting controls but they still feel jank as hell lol. Also whenever you aim the gun at someone they get outlined with this really bright, white highlight effect. And it lingers a bit after you stop targeting them and takes a second to start fading. It’s really distracting! And I don’t think there’s a way to turn it off. The options menu is a little sparse on that front. I like that there are options for classic controls and modern controls but you can’t mix and match so that you can have classic driving controls but modern on foot aiming and shooting controls. It’s either all or nothing.

Also stuff like money and health and armor pick ups auto float into you when you get close enough to them instead of you having to walk directly into them to pick them up. Lots of things like that. Everything is like immediately familiar feeling but also completely defamiliarized in some way, simultaneously.

I like being able to see to the other side of the city.

The rain effect is so weird too. When it rains it’s like there’s a few different raindrops-splashing-on-the-ground patterns that play interlaced on top of each other.

The whole game really feels like even more of a cartoon than it already was.


playing but mostly watching other people play minecraft on a private server and I’m disturbed at how blasé they are about designing a system of chattel slavery. I don’t remember voxel walden being quite this crass


what, are they like locking villagers up in a trading hall or something


Worse, trapping them in pits with beds so they make more villagers to trap in pits with jobs, etc.




since my very good horse daughters now have a quarantine zone for their further adventures, I can instead post about how I have fallen into a pit of phone gambling anime applications, all while assuring you that I do not have a gambling problem

Honkai Impact - okay, let me reveal my shame: I actually enjoy the combat design in Genshin Impact. characters are fun, bosses are neat, the abyss is a neat mix of brain teaser and execution. however, since every character is arguably 80-90% similar and the main difference between their kits are two buttons, things can get stale sometimes.

Mihoyo recently put up Honkai on Steam so I was like “fuck it, I’ll give it a try”. and my first reaction is that the game part is fine (it’s Bayonetta but you’re a team of three animes you gamble on) and I start thinking “yeah, I’ll get those login bonuses but otherwise not engage”. but eventually I start poking at characters and learning their kits and going into Honkai’s abyss and it’s like, jesus, the combat design in this dumb phone game is fucking impeccable. if stuff in Genshin was even half as wacky as some of the stuff I’ve seen in Honkai, it would have taken over the world by now (please ignore that the game made 3 billion dollars in its first year)

I dig this game and also I pulled the currently featured unit off her banner therefore it is good

Ragnarok Origin - so this is the… third? fourth? time they’ve tried to make Ragnarok Online a thing again

it’s Ragnarok Online to a fault. it is almost identical to the game I wasted so much time with 20 years ago, except I’ve changed and the few things they did add doesn’t change the fact that I’m spamming a damage skill and chugging potions like a man possessed to grind. essentially I changed (shocking) and the game didn’t

also the gacha was all cosmetics and since RO was only ever a couple of steps removed from being a graphical chat room, doing this set off all kinds of red flags in my brain

Blue Archive - I think this just launched in English. it’s about watching schoolgirls with guns run through a level and murder enemies and occasionally you push a button and they do a murder skill. it seems really well made but it’s pretty much an auto battler and as much as those games are well made (well, not Raid: Shadow Legends, somehow the most aesthetically bankrupt mobile game thing I’ve ever interacted with), they just bore me. I want to push buttons, dammit

also somehow I pulled a schoolgirl who is also a maid and I find this offensive (yes, I know, it’s probably too late to be drawing the line here but please give me some credit)

Dragalia Lost - actually I’ve played this before and I think it’s cool but I haven’t really gone too deep into it. mostly I want to talk about how embarrassingly good Cygames is at presentation because how many games have a vocal theme looping on the main/management screens or a rolling demo of the main character just marching through the world and passing by his buddies. even doing pulls has better music than most games could ever dream of having

also I like that the game is equal opportunity horny and it has buff dudes and buff dude dragons mixed in with the half-naked ladies and lady dragons (which checks out, Granblue is much the same way)

mostly I think it’s weird that DL is a Nintendo game but they never talk about it. they’re content to let it grind away quietly in the background while they throw crap like Dr. Mario World against the wall and watch it flounder and die. it feels like a thing that should have blown up or gotten a port or used as an IP somewhere else instead of “just” being a weird phone game

also I’m greatly concerned because the Gold Ship vtuber channel did a thing where she beat a Cygames dev at Shadowverse and her prize was being put in every Cygames game and I have to reckon with the reality that Nintendo-owned characters and horse girls will interact, if even for the briefest of moments

I would like to reiterate that I do not have a gambling problem but I do enjoy the dopamine hit from pissing away free pulls and no one can judge me for this


Did they keep the bug in the vigilante missions where if you quickly pause, then unpause the game the perp just leaves the vehicle?

I felt like a god they day I discovered this.

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you know what has an intact soundtrack and looks the way god intended?

gta3 in retroarch with crt shaders. it also seems to run perfectly fine, doesn’t have any of the static-y audio problems I was having like a week ago trying it. I don’t know if that’s because of updates to the ps2 core or because disabling nvidia’s nvcontainer feels like it’s given my computer it’s ninetieth wind


I can repeat all the scripts at the beginning, damn.


I don’t know I didn’t think to check. I’ll check today. I know some, if not most, of the old cheat codes still work though.

Also, hilariously, GTA 3 was the only game of the three to escape having any songs pulled over that years.

panzer dragoon orta cleared. holy shit! what a game. someone told me yesterday that tim rogers hates it despite zwei being one of his alltime favorites because he was mad that you had to use the dragon form shift mechanic, which is a weak coward opinion because that mechanic is the best part of the game, it makes the design so much more sophisticated and responsive than zwei (which i also loved) and learning the boss fight scripts and nailing the choreography is really satisfying. hating panzer dragoon orta and final fantasy xiii but loving lost odyssey automatically voids your xbot cred (come to think of it, orta almost reminds me of ff13, which i’ve now decided is a rail shooter actually). it’s a hard game and the 2nd and 3rd phases of the final boss introduce a hilarious bullshit mechanic that took a minute to figure out, but it was never unduly brutal. the peak of the genre as far as i can tell.

the visual design remained stellar and bracing in the second half - the midgame was probably influenced by rez, which came out the year before (katsumi yokota, the artist/art director for rez did illustration on panzer dragoon zwei & saga), but it really pulls it off in a way many other games don’t, and the boss designs remain some of the coolest i’ve ever seen. was really into the #insidethecomputer stage that seemingly randomly warps you along paths with entirely different midbosses. the narrative/emotional element is clearly secondary, and it loses a little in that regard compared to zwei’s elliptical brevity and saga’s spaciousness, but special shoutout to the blunt despair of the credits drop, even if it’s alleviated a bit by the obligatory post-credits epilogue.

started shin megami tensei v this morning, which i’m really enjoying so far! some people are complaining about performance (because it’s a switch exclusive so duh), but i’m really charmed that it looks and runs like a very stylish late gen ps3 game; it almost feels like it could have come out in 2013 instead of the tragically dripless and unsauced smt4. anyway i mean this as a positive, i really want more “ambitious ps3 game”-scaled switch games. the opening is slightly overtutorialized/“open world brained,” but i understand that’s to be expected at first and there are a bunch of confusing systems i still don’t understand and i’m excited to dig in. i love running around the map and i’m delighted that the first boss is a chonky boi who hits like a motherfucker and kicked my ass even on normal. committed to the underleveled lifestyle, but i’m going to have to do some thinking and background work before i come back to it, and that feels great. a real shimmy gummy tensay game!




My favorite example of this kind of approach to development over here was an unnamed mobile game developer in SF where they had, IIRC, a 4:1 ratio in terms of data analysts to everybody else in the company, because all of their money came from crunching the numbers to figure out exactly how to get the smoothest curves possible on their Skinner Boxes. One time when I was at a competing company we were playing their new app and one of my colleagues said “well, when do I get to attack somebody?!?” and I looked at their screen and said “you’re actually attacking somebody right now” (and it was true).


I get all of this, trust me

even in markets like Korea where games were already pretty much online by the time they hit critical mass in the rest of the world, seeing them go down a lot of the same roads as F2P and gacha was dismaying. I like a lot of the games that manage to come out of the wreckage and have solid mechanics and systems and feel like they wanted to make Cool Sick Game #3 but the market didn’t want it (I can imagine the only thing more depressing than a market rejecting a game is a market telling you they don’t want the game to begin with), and it feels like a lot of games from all over the world are starting to come out like that. on the one hand, it sucks, it really does, and when an entire country’s worth of devs and publishers are pushed to that, nothing good comes of it, but I think stuff that can be fun and entertaining (I’m hesitant to say “good”) can come from that

yeah, no, we’re already there. FUT, Fortnite preying on fear of missing out, fucking Axie Infinity (holy shit I read about this game’s deal and what the fuck is the crypto slavery mining pyramid scheme). shit’s getting as fucked, we’re just better at not talking about it as loudly because we still have boxed titles (which come loaded with tons of microtransactions).

with all that said there’s a Korean gacha game coming soon that’s Cabal/Wild Guns but the girls have nice butts so I’ve already lost


Someone who wrote the terribly cynical Signs of the Sojourner and writes Gensihin Impact articles for Kotaku purely to bait Western gamers on Reddit has this super annoying attitude that since a truly huge population of the world play gacha games and they have amazingly innovated on predatory mechanics that we should respect them as like The Future of Games.

There is literally not a person more baffling than her, in my experience.


she’s a really frustrating writer for me because she has this kind of sanctimonious attitude that seems very much derived from her asian american identity but in an incredibly superficial way

like, we have all this writing about asian americans, games about how asian america is not a monolith, writing about how even specific populations within asian america (“china”) aren’t monoliths and here’s a writer with an elementary school approach to this ethnic and political identity claiming a moral superiority about her takes using the phrase “as an asian american” as though there wasn’t literally a book released a few weeks ago questioning whether that’s even a coherent statement

feels like the kind of person that watches the scene with the convenience store owner near the end of do the right thing and concludes “yes, we are the same”

i like this quote from jay caspian kang in an interview about the aforementioned book here: Asian American Loneliness and the Search for Solidarity: A Conversation with Jay Caspian Kang – Asian American Writers' Workshop

Like Vicci Wong who tried to join the Panthers. When they told her to go do something else, do your own thing, that’s when she joined AAPA…. My point here is that I do understand why people are attached to the story. But I think that we have to be realistic about who those people were and why they were able to situate themselves in politics that way. The other people who were in AAPA at the time, their families had been in California for five generations. They were living under the era of Chinese exclusion… They could situate themselves very clearly under a rubric of white supremacy and it made sense to them. I don’t think that post-1965 babies are quite there yet. I think that we understand microaggressions, I think that many of us do understand violence in a type of way, but we have not actually articulated our own version of that. And my proof that we haven’t articulated our own version of that is because when we try and articulate a version of that, we talk about the Third World Liberation Front. We don’t have our own thing, we just go right back to the old thing. And so, yeah, I think that that is a lonely position. I think that is an alienated position. I am not saying this out of scorn or sarcasm or out of contempt for people who attempt to do that. I’m saying, out of sympathy, it is sad that we don’t have this, it is bad that we don’t have this, and I wish personally we had it, too. But we just don’t, and we just have to be honest about it.

it mostly feels like she’s not honest about it


I don’t know, I’m right here


Yes, I have nothing to add to this, because I feel the exact same way.

Bug is absent, sad to report.

Also whatever algorithm was used to upscale the textures got it wrong a few times and either no one noticed or just didn’t care to notice.

Or worse they noticed and were too stupid to realize there was a mistake. “‘Taste of a real man’s heat’, huh? Must be weird British humor I don’t get or something.”

I mean you’d think someone would have noticed considering the hot dog was obviously redrawn by a human (presumably) and not just automatically upscaled. Though reddit is saying it’s likely the result of these types of art assets being outsourced to non-english speaking countries, which sounds like the most likely answer.