Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Gray Garden

The other night, I finally completed The Gray Garden.

It's really long, but not in a bad way. The game is very centered on the story rather than the gameplay and the pacing is probably the best I've seen for a video game story in a long time. Said story centers around a world where a God and Devil of one realm have found peace with one another. As a result, Demons and Angels now live together in harmony. We see this world through the views of many different characters, centered mostly on Yosafire and her friends. Eventually, the conflict of the game is revealed after we learn about the daily and peaceful lives of the inhabitants of the world. Turns out that there may be some sort of raid on their world sometime soon and now everyone is investigating the possible incident. 



The gameplay itself seems as if it's based on being an RPG with a familiar battle system, but the battle system actually isn't all that important. Halfway through the game I decided that it was just there for the satisfaction of seeing a fight happen, to feel as if you're doing more than following roads and reading story. The game properly equips you for most battles, if you're willing to look around for the free equipment laying everywhere. No battles other than forced story related ones are even necessary, so you can skip the small-fry. I previously didn't know if I would have to grind these small-fry enemies or not, so I decided this time to try and do it without fighting them. Other than the first boss fight, I had no problems getting through mostly unscathed. I would suggest that if you're going to play this game, do pick up a ton of apples for the apple pie quest as they turn into free healing items.



I also, honestly, fell in love with pretty much all of the characters. Every one of them feels unique and well written. Not only that, but the character designs for this game are pretty amazing.

If I had to choose a favorite though, it would definitely be Froze (One of the main characters). She's pretty stoic and logical, which plays well with Yosafire's illogical tendencies. Yosafire (another main character) may seem pretty annoying, but by the end I felt like she was probably also one of my favorites. Some of the characters take on some major changes in the story while others stay the same. That feels a bit more realistic to me than having everyone change in personality.
I also really like the cats because, well, they're cats. Cool looking Demon cats. They're really strong, physically, but they're pretty air headed so it's really fun to watch their adventures.


I also really enjoyed the music of the game. It's really varied so sometimes it's really gorgeous piano music and others are an upbeat rhythm or maybe even some pretty rocking battle music. All of them really complete the sort of retro RPG soundtrack style, though (albeit with it's own twist). The video below is one of my favorites. Another is #13  (Etihw and Kcalb) on the playlist I pulled this one from.



Final thoughts are really positive. I thoroughly enjoyed this game. I'd suggest it to anyone who likes to play games for story and wouldn't mind taking several hours to play through it. I think I'll keep playing the games from this particular creator as it hasn't let me down yet. I like the whimsical writing and feeling to their games a lot.

If you're looking to play the game, you could find it here. This is the English translated version, which is the one that I played.
Also, there is a small short story April Fools version of the game that genderbends some of the characters. It's actually pretty cute.



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

More Games!

Greetings!
After some time, I've gotten through several more games (or started playing in some cases.) A trend I'm noticing is me playing through a lot of RPG maker style horror games. Sometimes they're really not that bad! Now that I'm looking at my list though, I've been playing quite a lot....
Still so much to go through...
But it's good that I have a lot of things to fall back on when I have a few moments of free time. 
Here are a few in no particular order!

Misao



Misao is more intense than most of the horror games I have played. It punishes you for interacting with most of the items on the screen, which was difficult for me since I like to investigate everything. You have to do everything just right, basically. Luckily, you don't have to go far back if you do something wrong; there are quick saves that allow you to go back quickly to a specific spot where you saved. These are reset after you turn off the game though. This is especially useful for seeing all the different bad end animations and screens with little consequence. 

It was pretty fun, but if you're afraid of a little more gory or seeing deaths, this isn't really the game for you. However, it is very much focused on story while also being a horror game. On top of that, there are quite a few puzzles to figure out.

As for a general idea of the story, Misao is about a girl who wanted to be friends with a classmate. However, she never got the chance to befriend her before her classmate, Misao, went missing. After an earthquake occurs at their school, the building is thrown into a strange world that may be linked to why Misao is missing.

I'd recommend playing it, but only after playing Mad Father first, since they may or may not go hand in hand together. 


Mogeko Castle




So weeeeeeird. Mogeko Castle is probably my second favorite rpgmaker style horror game now. As I said before, it's weird, but probably in a good way. It's a fun adventure through several levels full of story and learning about a strange world. I genuinely had fun in the world despite how little sense it would make sometimes.

Mogeko Castle's story is about Yonaka Kurai, a high school student. When she falls asleep on her usual train home, she finds that she is in a strange new world. Her motivation to get home is to go and see her brother, who has been away from home for some time.

There's a few warnings about this game if you want to play it though: It's pretty sexually explict. There aren't any NSFW images or anything, but the information and situations are pretty crude. Also, don't play if you don't like prosciutto.

Even though the story is weird, or the entire game for that matter, it's pretty fun to learn about the world that the Mogeko live in. I must have spent hours just talking to NPCs in the game.

I highly suggest it if you're into having a weird journey.



The Gray Garden



Created by the same person who made Mogeko Castle, The Gray Garden is a whole different adventure. It plays pretty much like a normal RPG. You choose when to fight enemies (aside from bosses) and venture around with different party members. you can buy and equip weapons and use potions and whatnot. The only problem I have with it is that sometimes it feels like you need to grind enemies for experience. The worst part of it is that you don't know if that is futile until you reach a boss because the enemies barely have a difference of levels in each area.

The art of it is really nice, though. I think I just like this art style really.

I haven't been through all of the game yet, so I'm not quite sure what the story is. All I know is that there are angels and demons living together in relative harmony. You play as a gluttonous demon who likes flowers and apple pie.

I'm having fun with it, though, aside from the possible need to grind.

And yes, since it is the same creator, it does have some crude humor and sexual themes.



Mad Father

Mad Father was one of the first few of the RPGmaker style horror games that I played. It's always been highly praised and I can see why. I had quite a lot of fun playing this one, but only after I got past the first few puzzles. It starts out pretty slow, maybe a bit confusing, but it picks up pretty soon after.

Usually I look for story in games, but the gameplay for this one was probably more likable than the story in this case. Not to say the story was bad, but the story section of it was broken up by a lot of the gameplay. You'd have a scrap of story, then a bunch of gameplay, then another scrap here, and it just kind of goes on like that. It's just one of those rare cases where I liked to actually play the game than read the story.

The story is decent though. It's about a young girl who's father is kidnapped one night. She wakes up to screams and finds that the house is filled with the living dead. It's kind of scary for her, but not too out of place since her father murders people in the name of science.

The art is usually really pretty and I actually really love the character designs. Each of the endings are pretty nice, too.

Puzzles keep you running around the entire mansion and the choices you make in story really feel as if they are affecting your character through the game.

It does have a bit of gore, though, so if you're squeamish, I'd probably stay away. Otherwise, please do play this one!


The Witch's House



The Witch's House wasn't really that fun for me. It's spoken highly of, and there's a lot of really pretty art out there for the characters. I got through it, but only after setting it down a bunch of times first.

The problem for me was the gameplay, mostly. It's one of those 'touch anything wrong and it kills you' sort of games, except it doesn't have the quick saves like Misao. So you have to overwrite files eventually if you save often because you're afraid to touch everything but want to see the story of the house.  It also relies pretty heavily on chase scenes, which really aren't all that fun to me. I feel like it artificially tried to amp up the terror and horror by throwing in a chase scene ALL THE TIME. Even if I successfully completed the chase scene, I'd often put the game down because I realized I wasn't having fun playing this.

Otherwise, it plays like a general RPGmaker style horror/puzzle game.

The story is lacking for me as well. I didn't get to see very much of it, only bits a pieces. I hope there is more out there, but as it stands, a normal play through netted me just a small shred of story.

I can't really recommend it, personally, even if the graphics are pretty.

Dreaming Mary


I'm going to be honest upfront: I didn't like Dreaming Mary. The music was beautiful, what little bit of it there was. I want to say the art was beautiful, because most of it is, at least until you get to the ending where it's full of artifacts and barely recognizable.

The game is pretty simple to play until I realized that the one mechanic in the game- interacting with things on the screen- switches up when you are talking to NPCs. It was pretty confusing to interact with everything by facing towards it using the up arrow and then be thrown off by having to talk to NPCs by facing left or right towards them and interacting.

The puzzles were easy and repetitive (You do a puzzle, come back later, do that same puzzle again except with a different item or lower amount of time).

The only 'horror' aspect of it is a single chase scene. But that's okay because the creator doesn't really see it as a horror game, so I'm not holding that against them.

I've only heard the story as being praised for being very deep. I didn't see that at all, but instead saw it only as a touchy subject. I personally don't think that dealing with a touchy subject = deep.

The story, though, is about a girl who is dreaming, Mary, and her adventures with her dream friends. If I say anything more, it's pretty much spoiled because of how little story there actually is.

It's a pretty simple game, if you want to play something that doesn't take anymore than about 15 minutes to play. Probably more like five if you get the bad ending.  So it's an okay way to spend a few extra minutes if you want to clear an entire game.

Irisu Syndrome



Okay, maybe this one is a bit odd for me. I picked it up because I liked the art of it. I don't regret it or anything, but it's a completely different type of puzzle game. Instead of RPGmaker style, this is more like a mobile app type puzzle game. The point is the keep matching colored blocks together when the reach the ground. If you don't, it quickly drains your lifebar. It's a little difficult for me to play, but it's still fun to play to pass the time.  You unlock story by getting further and further into the game.

The story is pretty simple, though: Four kids hanging out when one notices a girl wearing a witch hat with rabbit ears. No one believes them and eventually kids start going missing. If you decided to play this game and want to see all of the story, I suggest reading the text files in the game's folder.


 Wadanohara


I haven't finished this one yet. This is made by the same person who did Mogeko Castle and The Gray Garden. I also picked up this game based on the art (it's really pretty in an odd sort of way). It plays like an actual RPG, like The Gray Garden, so there isn't really a deviation from the gameplay.

The story for this one is that there is a witch and her familiars who plan to return home to the sea kingdom. Pretty short and simple since I have only gotten as far as returning home.

Like most of the games this creator makes, there is a lot of crude humor and sexual themes.

 Alice Mare


This game felt more like a strange novel than anything else. I don't think it was ever labeled as a horror game. It's not a horror game. But it was a fun play. It's very story-centric and that's what makes this game what it is.

If you're looking for a nice story, this is probably the game to choose from the entire list. To keep it simple and kind of a surprise, I'll say that the story involves some fairy tales you may know of but it's kind of a twist on those.

Other than that, it's a really simple puzzle game where you run items back and forth or solve riddles and whatnot.

Forest of Drizzling Rain



I still haven't gotten through a lot of this game, but it's been decent enough that I know I'm going to play it to the end.

Forest of Drizzling Rain is about a girl who goes back to her parent's hometown to discover her missing past. When she gets there, things seem pretty strange and she meets people on the way. However, some of these people start disappearing and the main character goes out to find her.

It's a puzzle game with a small bit of gore to it (so far) and seems to rely decently on story.

Kantai Collection


I also started Kancolle a while back. I play through it pretty slowly and I'm still learning it. There isn't an english version so the first time I tried to play through it, I gave up because of the language barrier. Kancolle viewer has been good enough to me, though. It helps that I can turn around and ask at least two people to come look at my screen and tell me what something says (or general advice for the game).

The game isn't a horror puzzle rpgmaker style game at all, it's only in this list because it is indeed a game that I'm playing.

I'm going to compare it instead to Pokemon, just to make it easier on some people who may not understand the style of the game. While there is no walking around in this game, the system of battle and 'collecting' beings is pretty similar.

All of the girls in this game are humanized version of ships. Real ships that really existed. You start out with just one, and eventually find plenty more to help build your team (or fleet) to take on maps of enemies or even other players. Maybe you just want to send them out to find resources, though. That's fine, too.

In my screenshot, you'll see my favorite ship girl. Her name is Kiso.

Apparently this is what she actually looked like.

Anyway, she's my favorite ship girl and I think she's really cool.
I didn't touch too much on it, but you get the general idea of being a commander and sending out ships to fight battles.


I'll be continuing to work on the games that I have and writing out my thoughts on them here!

Monday, April 20, 2015

What am I listening to? #5



Hello again!


It's been a while since I've shared what kind of music I'm listening to. Let's fix that!

First off, I suppose I should warn and say that some of the songs here contain spoilers for certain games. Also, most of the videos are under the read more tag because it'll slow down my blog for some people otherwise.






The first song, my favorite so far from this list, is "Self-Inflicted Achromatic". It's actually pretty depressing, but I think it speaks well and is a very pretty song. I kept with the one with the video based on the game Ib, so the video is filled with spoilers, so beware. 


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Tennessee Adventure!


Hello Everyone!


I recently went on an adventure with my two senpai's to Tennessee! We went on vacation hoping to go to a cherry blossom festival, and so we did. Unfortunately, there weren't very many cherry blossoms blooming at the time. They probably had done so earlier and the festival, and we, missed it. But I did find a few, and I laid down beneath one as a break for a while and it was nice and cool and also pretty (even if most of the flowers weren't blossoming).



I talked about my Dreamv yukata before; I decided to take it with me to the festival, only I wanted to actually have a different obi for it. I currently have a pre-tied obi and a hanhaba. I didn't want to do the pre-tied obi to the festival (They really just don't feel as nice when you wear them) and my current hanhaba didn't fit spring or match my yukata in any way. I looked around online and saw that nothing would get here on time for the trip, so I decided to make my own hanhaba obi. I found a wonderful cherry blossom fabric and knew that's what I wanted to use.

But why stop at just an obi?

I actually decided sometime before buying the fabric that I wanted to do a more modern style yukata get-up complete with many accessories. In the end I also ended up making a puchi-heko obi, adding lace to the hanhaba, making my own kanzashi, and stringing some beads to a flower to attach to the hanhaba.  I know it's not very traditional but I really liked how it all came out! Unfortunately, any picture taken of me in it was long after hours of walking around. Luckily I had the paper parasol that my parents had found at an auction. It kept me from getting overheated or sunburned~


Like a lot of things lately, the cherry blossom festival itself wasn't so exciting. What was exciting, though, was the city surrounding it! I got to eat all sorts of tasty and interesting foods, there is no way I could complain!

We then moved on in our journey and headed to the tourist town of Gatlinburg, TN. I've been here several times before in my life. We arrived too late for snow and snow related sports, though. I would have liked to have gone snow-tubing, but I guess that will have to wait for a later year!
I'm going to be completely honest here for a second.
The drive to the mountain chalet that we were staying in was absolutely terrifying.

The road was winding up a mountain with no rails on the side and barely enough room to share the room without scraping each other's cars up. The drops at the side were completely horrifying to even just know where there. With so many hills and turns, you never actually knew if a car was coming up from the other side either! To top it all off, we were basically at the very top of the mountain.  In order to get to town and food, we'd have to drive up and down the mountain at least once each day.

At least the view from the patio was amazing!

The chalet itself was pretty cozy, too! We even had a hottub on the balcony where we could see off the side of the mountain! Pretty cool, huh? The place itself is really cheap to rent out, but I can understand why if people are too terrified to make the journey up the mountain. It's not something I'd ever want to do again, honestly.


For the next few days, we had our adventures around town. It was full of laser tag, arcades, mini golf, fondue, great food, awful food, donuts, going up and down mountains various ways, ducking into places to avoid the rain, window shopping, and really great views.

Speaking of food, if you ever find yourself in Gatlinburg and you like Chinese restaurants here in the states, I suggest going to North China. It's always been my favorite place to eat here.

View from the side of a mountain after we road the skylift up.

I got a few souvenirs to bring back, including these really cool cats that you can 'draw' on by scraping the black paint off of them. My senpai's helped me to win one (it was the cheapest prize anyway) and the guy at the counter gave us three (which were all given to me) and some candy as well!



One of my senpai's also bought me a fox plush as a souvenir. It's really adorable and its head wobbles and stuff. Other senpai named the fox Kory and we've both been carying Kory around until the point that the plush reached my computer desk. 


It was an amazing trip and I had a lot of fun, majorly due to the wonderful company I was in. I hope we'll be able to take more trips together in the future! I love the adventures that we have together!
Also, my cats have missed me so much and won't leave my side now. I'm so happy.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Post Con Write-up: Pro±Con 2015

Hello everyone!


It's been a while again, huh? I really should get back to writing here on a normal basis. I'll try to do so, I really will! Especially since people have told me they like to read my posts on here. I feel so honored and flattered! So thank you everyone who enjoys reading my posts!


Anyway, today I guess I'll write up a bit about Pro±Con!

I've been to this convention for the third time now and I don't know if I'm enjoying it as much as I used to. I'm glad there is a free small convention in the town I live in. I can't complain about price or not getting my money's worth or anything like that, so in the end it's okay, but again, I'm just not having as much fun.

There seemed to be a lot less to do this year. It felt like less events and less panels and less variety in gaming. Maybe it's just that they were catering to different people aside from me, which is fine. For an convention hosted by an anime club, though, it seemed to lack a lot of the anime aspect to it. Sure, there was the anime viewings, but the panels mostly did not apply. I think they probably had a lot of problems getting volunteers to do such panels. It's understandable.

For the second year in a row, I've been part of the maid cafe. While it's fun, I still think that it has a long way to go from the bake-sale environment it hosts. When I got home, I spent the next few days writing up a few pages on how I personally would like to see it improved and where I"d like to see it go. I didn't want to come off as rude so I haven't shown it to anyone really, but if you're part of the staff there and would like my opinion, I'd gladly send these few pages over to you and talk about what I'd like to see, personally.


I spent about 3-4 hours in the maid cafe while I was there, and the other hour at the con dressed as Ginko, trying to find something to do. I didn't find much, honestly, and I was really cold in the outfit, but I went to a ramen shop nearby and had some curry rice and it warmed me up!


Unlike the previous two years, I didn't participate in the costume contest. Just as well, too, because I still don't agree with or even begin to comprehend how it is run. I saw a few things on it swirling around the tumblr universe that I have to say I strongly disagree with (not as far as their choice in contestants but how they are handling the contest as a whole). But it isn't my contest and as long as people are actually enjoying themselves, I have nothing more to say. 

They may be playing with the possibility of holding it in North Charleston instead. Maybe having it in a larger building would do them a lot of good! I feel like they still have a long way to go for this convention, but I wish them the very best. Even if I'm not having as much fun as I used to, I can still stop by and have at least a little fun!



I'm sorry if a lot of this seemed more on the pessimistic side; it really isn't meant to be, and I hope the convention continues to develop, eventually into something extra cool!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Getting Through My Games Collection

Hello everyone! 

It's been a while, huh? Well, I've been a bit busy lately and one of these things that has caused me to be so is me finally going through some of the stuff on my 'to play' games list. Also a release I've been waiting some time for. So I wanted to talk about some of these games today!


NekoPara



While people seem to label it as a Visual Novel, I guess it's more like a Kinetic Novel (if I had to describe it in this post just for continuity's sake). As in, you don't make any choices in the game. Instead you watch and read about the adventures of two catgirls and their master. It's a story of catgirls invading their master's cafe and home after moving away and leaving them with his sister- who is their owner. The master has to learn how to take care of these catgirls properly despite the sometimes not-so-true advice from his sister. Eventually they become part of the cafe staff.

 I've loved Sayori's art for some time now and always adored Vanilla so of course I was going to play this.  Honestly, it didn't let me down either. It was super cute. I played the demo before release and was afraid of how Vanilla was going to turn out. It seemed like nearly every single line of her's was basically the same thing: 'I do what Chocola does/would like'. I'm glad that her character actually properly developed after what the demo covered. She's still best catgirl.


Planetarian ~ The Reverie of a Little Planet



Another Kinetic Novel. This one was done by Key so I knew right away that it was going to play with my heart a bit. And sure enough, the set-up for it in the beginning only confirmed for me that it was going to be a sad story. To go over a bit of the story; It's a post-apocalyptic future where the main character is a 'junker' which is basically someone who scavenges materials he can use to survive. The most important things being food, cigarettes, and booze apparently. With the dangers of human-killing machines and other gangs of junkers who happen to be territorial, he fights to get into a building that he thinks may have supplies. Instead he finds a malfunctioning robot girl and "Miss Jena", a black planetarium who no longer works. A lot of the story from here is actually repairing Miss Jena back to working condition.
It's absolutely a good read, though. 




To The Moon



This one has been sitting in my list for a while now but I finally got around to it. This one is an RPG of sorts. It's an RPGMaker game and I recognized some of the tiles immediately. It's really well made and the story is just lovely.

It's about an old man who's dying wish is to go to the moon. As he obviously cannot do this, Sigmund Corp. is called. This company fulfills wishes of those dying by creating artificial memories for them using a new technology. Two of the doctors from the company come to him and is informed by his caretakers that no one knows why he wanted to go to the moon in the first place and we continue in finding out that even he doesn't know.

In order to change his memories, they have to set up a series of events that would lead to a place where new memories of going to the moon would happen. Interacting with objects and people helps with going back further and further into his memories where the prime opportunity for changing the memories would be.

It ends up being a bit sad, sometimes slightly creepy, sometimes happy, but in the end that's why it  becomes such a great story.

It's filled with exploration and talking to people and puzzles. Unlike most RPG games though, you don't have to really worry about battles since that's not the kind of game it is.



 Ib


I've been meaning to get around to some of these other RPG Maker games and recently got Ib as I've heard it's fun. I don't really get scared by games and this isn't an exception. However, it is a really fun puzzle game in the sense that you are pressured to solve puzzles in the middle of situations that will kill you. The story for this one is short enough to explain. You play as Ib, a young girl who was brought to an art gallery with her parents. When she ventures off alone, she sees that her parents, and everyone else in the exhibit are gone. Things turn weird and horror based at this point and she begins listening to paintings and clues to try and find her way back.

I'm not quite done with it yet, but it seems really fun so far. I assume I'm probably halfway through now and hope to be done really soon. (So no spoilers please!)