11/24/2020

I took the last couple of weeks off for what should be obvious reasons. Wasn’t exactly feeling like sitting down and talking about my consumption of media when there were more important things going on. This will be more of a general “this is how I’ve spent my time” post rather than a focused write-up.

I’ve mostly been taking it easy. The weather is getting colder here in Colorado. It’s a time of the sun setting earlier, cold wind numbing your entire face, listening and re-listening to your Shoegaze collection, and trying to avoid showing any degree of pleasure or happiness while everyone else is affected by seasonal depression; sorry, but I really fucking love Fall. That also means that this is the best time to spend my days bundled up in a blanket, avoiding the miasma outside as much as possible. And what do you do when you’re all wrapped up? You either watch a movie or play a long-ass RPG. Living the gimmick here, I’m going to talk about an RPG.

Been playing some Hyperdimension Neptunia. It’s that time of year where I feel the need to consume as much cutesy anime shit with a moderately-sized budget as possible. I have a weird “seasonal” taste in my media. Does it have magical girls screeching and making weird faces while fighting monsters before they have to get back to class? Give me that shit. Inject it directly into my veins like it’s a popular new designer drug. I have to balance myself with adorable things, as much as I do with gory blood shit or fast cars.

Hyperdimension Neptunia is a game where a bunch of anthropomorphic video game console fight each other in a war that never ends. The main character, Neptune (named after the unreleased Sega Neptune) gets hit in the head, and falls to fake video game earth, losing her memory, and then hijinks ensue. That’s really all you need to know. The rest of the game is fighting game references, dialogue full of memes, and grinding a ton so you can fight the next boss. But you know what? That’s all I need. Neptunia is a very simple game. An issue with a lot of RPGs of this particular era is that they are way too fucking long, with very little happening. I remember playing Persona 4 several years ago and wondering when this prologue chapter would end and I could actually do stuff with my controller; that shit went on for what felt like hours, and probably was. I don’t have that problem. Dialogue windows in this game are not especially long. There’s a ton of small sidequests and a bunch of extra dungeons to explore, but it’s all active. You’re constantly doing something in the game. The combat? It’s not pressing “Fight” on a menu, there’s a whole combo system at work. There’s this constant interactivity, which is great, because it means that even when I’m turning my brain off to get experience or money, I’m not bored out of my fucking skull while I’m doing it.

Something I was a bit wary of when I loaded the game was the degree of horniness present. I mean, these girls do look pretty young, and a lot of games like this love to do the whole “she’s actually a 3000 year old demon” bullshit. And…it’s surprisingly tame? Like, there are definitely some characters with some big mondo tits, but at least they’re adults. It’s not like my nightmare experience of playing Blue Reflection on PS4, where the developers thought giving its 14-year-old protagonist jiggle physics was a great idea, in addition to providing lots of shower scenes and having her school uniform turn transparent in the rain so you get to see her underwear. Fuck Blue Reflection, I don’t give a fuck how good its music is. Hyperdimension Neptunia is more like, at worst, I would be put on an FBI list, as opposed to wondering if there are armed agents literally outside my door.

Anyway, the game fucking owns. I plan on playing more of this, and maybe even trying out its sequels when I’m done.

 

I’ve also been spending a bit of time getting back into Tekken 7, now that season 4 has arrived. Taking a look at all of the changes that have occurred, trying to get back to the rank I was on PS4, but on the PC version. How am I doing with that?

Think I’m doing fine.

I’m either playing with randos, or playing with my friend Hazel. Things have been really fun, and I’ve also noticed that I’ve gotten a lot less frustrated when losing. Every match is a learning opportunity, win or lose. If I get completely destroyed 3-0, well hey, that means I should learn to adapt to my opponent, or even hit up training mode if I need to. Losing causes me to laugh more than seethe, which is great. Like, yeah, I do take getting better at fighting games seriously, but they’re still games. It’s not a matter or life or death if I fucked up an input, or dropped a combo like a freaking dope, or if I’m faced with an unfamiliar match-up I don’t know what to do with. Fighting games are great.

So I think that’s a good place to wrap up this pos-

NO WAIT! FUCK! WHAT THE FUCK!? MY WORLDS! MY WORLDS ARE COLLIDING!

Video games rule.

Maybe I’ll do another post this week. Something more dedicated. Just needed to shake the rust off with this one.

3DO-Face #2: Blonde Justice (NSFW)

Last time I did one of these, I was very let down. I wasn’t expecting the first porn game I played on the 3DO to be so…pathetic. Playing Neurodancer, I sat there and thought to myself, “well, it can’t possibly get any worse than this.”

It’s going to get worse. This is Blonde Justice.

Let me start by getting this out of the way: Blonde Justice is not an actual game. It is simply a piece of software for the 3DO. It’s like putting a DVD in your PS2 and pressing the start button to pause and play. So this will just be a review of a porno I watched, which depending on your thoughts on sex work, my writing, or me as a person, will either be a new low or a new high.

There is a plot to this movie. I think. I mean, I watched every second of it, and tried like hell to pay attention. The problem is that you can’t actually hear any of the dialogue, as everyone is drowned out by the terrible Cinemax music. In my attempt at groping for some sort of video game analogy, it’s like a late-90s Capcom game in terms of its audio leveling. What I managed to gather was something about a strip club? One of the girls is being stalked? Said stalker wears a nearly-transparent stocking over his head that does not hide his identity in the slightest? There’s maybe a minute of dialogue before the “action” happens.

You got all these people I don’t care about spouting all this bull shit for about thirty seconds, before this sudden, jarring jump-cut to women dancing in front of a green screen for several minutes, before going back to thirty seconds of incoherent dialogue. Rinse and repeat until the end.

And these green screens are something. These Battlefield: Earth angles. Dancing in front of people looking away from the girls. A cityscape. All kinds of shit.

Oh, and real quick aside here: if anyone knows what the name of this arcade game this girl is dancing in front of is, please let me know in the comments section. Might be a good one to check out the next time I do a racing game round-up.

I apologize in advance here, because this will be a shorter entry than I’m used to. There’s not much to say. There’s a disjointed story broken up by this surreal concept of eroticism. Wordless, emotionless, frictionless seduction set to b-roll footage pilfered from a production library. Blonde Justice is like porn made by incomplete robots who had never even heard the word “sex” before, let alone put together anything remotely horny. Like Vivid Video invested in a machine learning algorithm.

You know, Neurodancer sucked. It was sad, pathetic horseshit where the interactivity was a cynical joke. But here’s the thing: Neurodancer had nudity. Yeah, that’s right, Blonde Justice, a pornographic movie, is lacking nudity. That is such a monumental fuck-up that I can’t even begin to criticize in any meaningful way. All I can do is wildly move my hands and do some exasperated yell-stutter asking nobody in particular HOW DO YOU MAKE A PORNO WHERE NOBODY GETS NAKED!? Oh, it’s suggestive, sure, but this isn’t supposed to be some bullshit you catch on one of the premium movie channels on a Saturday night. This was a product that cost money; probably a lot, and was published by an actual porn company. Some horny sucker spent part of the their paycheck on this bullshit, when they could’ve just jerked off to Chun-Li’s Spinning Bird Kick in Super Turbo, because as terrible as that is, you are getting the same level of titillation.

even the lesbian sex part goes out of its way to not show anything

If you make it all the way to the end, and if you look really carefully, you might see a boob or two. They’re on screen for all of half a second, and I to rewind multiple times just to get these screenshots, but they are there. I guess as some retroactive gotcha to prove it could be horny. So here you go, Vivid, a quick retraction: Blonde Justice is a porn movie completely lacking in nudity, except for two very quick scenes.

hot damn, boys. pull out the kleenex and poppers.

That’s Blonde Justice. It was bad. It was a waste of my time. A little TMI, but I went through this shitshow completely flaccid throughout. I’m starting to think that maybe adult entertainment on the 3DO was a bad idea. Go subscribe to someone’s OnlyFans or something instead of this. Jesus.

I need to start playing games I like, so I can finally have a blog post where I’m not so damned negative

who is this for?

EDIT: in my research (yeah, yeah, I know), I discovered that the lead actress was on the cover of that horrible Blink-182 album.

rising zan: the samurai gunman

Confession: I spent all week trying to think of a topic to write a blog post about. Something that didn’t involve retro video games or fast cars. I wanted a nice change of pace. It’s now Tuesday, and I couldn’t think of shit. I am a one-trick pony. Here’s a post about a retro video game.

I recently joined a small retro games group on Discord. It’s mostly a chill group where people in my particular age bracket talk about cool games and things that affect our particular age bracket, without all these damn Zoomers running around talking about Fortnite dances or the iPhone or, God Forbid, Blaseball. One of the things this server does is we hold a vote for a particular old game to play, then we talk about it on a particular channel. You’ve undoubtedly put two and two together and figured out that Rising Zan: The Samurai Gunman was the winner of the vote.

Rising Zan is a little bit different than previous games we’ve played, as I actually own this one. Wasn’t just something I loaded up in Retroarch and messed with for a bit. There’s a bit of a story to it, so allow me to tell you all about it.

This was back in 2004. I was 17, and my Junior year of high school had just let out for the Summer. One of those situations where I was trying to find some part-time work, as I needed money to buy things and to maybe save up and finally get the hell out of the shitty neighborhood I was living in. The problem was that all of the local businesses had no openings available, so if I wanted to make money, I would have to do odd jobs on the side.

One job in particular was to build a shed for a disabled neighbor. He was a one-legged diabetic who had just lost his leg a month prior, but was still pounding down shitty cheap beers like it was water. It was me, and another guy in the neighborhood: a recently out-of-work construction worker. Back in the day, this was code for being such a tremendous fuck-up that you got fired for being too drunk at a job where everyone else is already two bottles of Yukon Jack in before they finish building your bathroom. He was a friendly drunk, at least.

This job fucking sucked. I would have to wake up at six in the morning, and work in 100 degree weather until six at night. I was so badly sunburned, I had to spend the next month sitting and sleeping with a homemade “cold press,” a wet hand towel wrapped around an ice pack, constantly pressed against the back of my neck. I was in so much pain I could barely do anything other than attempt to work. I actually caught heat stroke from this gig! It’s mostly faded over the years, but I can still sometimes see the scar on my left palm from where I was nearly drilled through my hand. Oh, and in addition to building a tool shed, I would also have to drive this guy to the local Home Depot, where he would go into the bathroom and bathe himself using the sink. This despite living in a house with running water, and having people around to assist him in getting in and out of a bathtub. Did I mention this job sucked? I very well could have conceivably died doing this shit.

We eventually got the job done. The guy I was working with got a few hundred bucks. He was also gifted a new set of tools and a new grill.

What was my payment? Just barely enough to cover the cost of this game. Not even enough to cover the sales tax!

I got angry all over again writing this. You see, in my memories, I could have sworn that I was paid at least $20, which is already bullshit enough. But look at that image above. I was wrong! I misremembered just how badly I was exploited!

NINE NINETY NINE

This piece of fucking shit took a 17-year old, worked that literal child nearly to death, twelve hours a day, then paid next to nothing while giving someone else thousands of dollars in goods! I moved out of that hellhole the next Summer. I have never seen or spoken to anyone who lived there since then. Fuck them. Knowing that guy’s diet of Budweiser, he’s probably long dead by now anyway. Good fucking riddance.

Anyways. This was supposed to be a write-up about a video game, right? I remember really liking this game a lot when I was younger. Thought it was charming, goofy fun. I have to assume that this was the result of me nearly losing my goddamn life, so any form of entertainment would have been the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

Rising Zan fucking sucks.

Having replayed Zan, I don’t know what exactly I found so appealing about it. The controls are absolute dogshit, where inputting commands is a fool’s game. Zan moves with all the grace of a dehydrated teenager who should probably be in a hospital bed. The difficulty is already set to “unfair,” with enemies taking somewhere between 20 and a million hits to kill, and not being able to play it properly doesn’t help. Oh, and the hilarious, wacky dialogue is a bunch of South Park references.

And there’s a lot of “wacky” humor to be found, because that is all this game has. If this were made in the modern era, this would be called “stream-bait.” A game specifically made to be shown on Twitch because of how weird it is. Hey, a wild west gunslinger uses a samurai sword! He rescues cowboys in their underwear! He calls himself the “Super Ultra Sexy Hero!” You earn “Sexy Points” while fighting! It has a ludicrous theme song!

(ripped this from the disc myself, since the quality on YouTube is terrible)

It really ticks a lot of boxes on the “Weird Japan” checklist. I really wish it would stop, too, as I have used way too many quotation marks on individual words for this post.

You run around, fighting enemies at 15 frames per second, using a sword and a gun. Sounds like a slower Devil May Cry, I know, but DMC at least made sure that its game was actually good first. Eventually, you’ll meet a boss that speaks a version of fake Japanese that I would accuse of being racist had Rising Zan not actually been developed by a Japanese developer. Then you fight the boss, and also fight the camera.

playing rising zan, having the time of my life with a boss fight. the boss is just out of frame, fighting too.

It’s bad. It’s clunky as shit, even for its time. By the time Zan hit the market, Metal Gear Solid had already changed the world. Ape Escape was going hog-wild. There was already three Resident Evil titles. Megaman Legends was being quietly appreciated by the right people, with a sequel right around the corner. I owned most of these other games already! Action games on the Playstation were already at their best. I’m sitting here, a full-grown adult in 2020, wondering what I saw in this game. Was I really so easily entertained? Modern Me gave up after the second level, where I had to chase down an exploding enemy before it could blow up a building. Of course, along the way, enemies teleport in and cut off sections of the level until you kill them. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that I have spent a lot of time driving it into your head that the game controls like ass, runs terribly, and you can’t even see half the enemies because the camera actively works against you. After about five failures, I said fuck this and went back to playing Tenchu. If I’m going to play a weird, clunky game riddled with technical problems, it might as well be a good one.

the back cover tries way too hard. at least it’s not shadow tower with its “THIS GAME WILL LITERALLY RAPE YOU!” bullet point.

Rising Zan is a bad game. And it’s the kind of bad that’s not even the kind of bad that’s interesting. It may as well be something like Tai’Fu for people who still think tentacle porn and used panty vending machines are the height of comedy. It’s badly made, with mediocre design, and trying way too hard to have a quirky personality. It was not worth nearly dying over.

And I still have no fucking idea how to not get a “weak” finish.

gran turismo sport

I finally got myself a copy of Gran Turismo Sport a couple days ago. Mostly because it was cheap and I’m seemingly hellbent on playing as many racing games as possible these days. People who followed me back before a database failure deleted every post I made on here from 2008-2013 will remember that I fucking love Gran Turismo 6. It, along with Super Hang-On, is one of those sim type racing games that I loved even before I loved the sport it was based on. GT6 is very much a Pokemon For Adults, in the sense that you collect all these sports cars, race them, then leave them to sit in a box for eternity as you seek to acquire more of them. This is why I didn’t immediately jump on GT Sport, as it significantly cut back on the number of cars in an effort to focus on the actual racing aspect, to the point of having their courses officially sanctioned by the FIA. As I didn’t care enough about the sport side, I looked at it like buying a new Pokemon game, and only getting like 25 creatures to catch in a series that conditions you to find at least 250.

Anyways. I’ve spent the past 2 days pouring over this game. I hate to say it, but I find myself bouncing off of it pretty quick, finding GT6 much more preferable.

GT Sport does a really good job of sucking you in, aside from a really shitty intro that focuses on showing off a bunch of weird looking nerds playing the game instead of cars going fast while a Daiki Kasho jam blasts your eardrums out. But once you actually start the game, you immediately notice how fucking gorgeous the graphics are; and they fucking better be, considering the game is almost 100 gigs in size (sidebar: video games are TOO FUCKING BIG these days!). It’s pretty as hell, the soundtrack is full of the Daiki Kasho classics the series is known for, and the driving feels great. Despite cutting down on the number of cars, I was still able to buy my two favorite Nissan’s: the 300ZX and the 240Z (or at least, a close equivalent in the GReddy Fugu Z), in addition to a number of Mitsubishi Lancers, which are also really cool.

I cannot stress enough how satisfying it is to drive these machines around. And on top of all this, there’s a pretty great livery editor, which let’s me import my own custom textures. Finally, there is a Slimegirl Racing Team.

Yes, I will have a second Slimegirl game finished someday. Making video games is hard, okay?

There’s all this cool shit that looks and plays great. The soundtrack tries to make up for the fact that the PS4 sucks and won’t let you put your own music on the hard drive like you could with the PS3. But then there’s a problem. You don’t notice it at first, but the further you make it in the game, the more pronounced it becomes.

A big thing that GT Sport has is the involvement of Lewis Hamilton. There’s an entire Time Trial DLC where you have to beat his best times, lots of in-game promotion of him, and then a timeline of his life and career up to 2019. Obviously, this in and of itself is fine; the history of sports games is tied to athlete endorsements, Hamilton is on the verge of being the best driver of all time, and he’s apparently a big fan of the series. It only makes sense to bring him on-board.

No, what’s weird about this is that periods of his life are posted in relative terms to events in world history. Some of it is fairly normal, like the release of movies and popular albums. Then it starts to relate his career more and more to a bunch of conservative shit. Trump, Brexit, Space X, tech-bro stuff, the Pope. A few cursory mentions of Obama, Malala Yousafzai, and Usain Bolt, sure, but it’s still mostly old racist white dudes. At no point is any of Hamilton’s activism mentioned. “Black Lives Matter” does not appear a single time. No environmental activism. Nothing. All you know is that Lewis Hamilton won a bunch of races, and Windows 10 came out and revolutionized the world.

Yes, these are all important world events, true. But it does feel uncomfortable relating all of this to the life of a proud Black activist, you know? Why not relate his accomplishments to examples of Black excellence? Maybe mention more than three athletes? Strides made in equal rights? Anything better than “evil man succeeds at thing?”

Then this reactionary attitude spills over into the actual racing. In order to actually take part in the “Sport” part of GT Sport, you have to attend a “Racing Etiquette” class where some instructional videos tell how not to drive like an asshole. No running people off the course, no ramming other cars like it’s Burnout, no unsportsmanlike conduct. That sort of thing. Obviously, nobody who plays this game follows any of these rules. It’s to be expected that a bunch of clownshoes will play dirty in their quest for a podium. That’s not a surprise to me. But then you play the offline campaign, and the fucking AI drivers start pulling shit on you, too. They’ll gladly run you into the dirt. I had to restart a race about four times because the CPU cars were too busy trying to kill each other, which made driving impossible. You don’t get penalized offline, either. Feel free to hit them back. Drive over a curb if you want, who gives a fuck? The online penalties are a joke, too! In real racing, you do an illegal overtake, you have to give up your position and let the other driver pass you. In real racing, you intentionally cause all sorts of safety hazards, you can be suspended for several races, and have points taken off your license. In GT Sport, the most you get is a 2-4 second penalty added to your time at the end, which won’t mean much if the guy you forced into a wall is now in last place.

My attempt at online racing has left me firmly in the middle of the pack, getting 5th or 6th in a 12-person race. Trying to play the right way at least raises my “Sportsmanship” rating, and I was willing to at least accept that. But now I can’t, knowing that the offline game is just as chaotic. The reason I’m calling GT Sport a conservative game is because it puts forward all these rules, expects you to follow them, then proceeds to immediately and blatantly break them in front of you, as Conservatives do. Unlike real racing, there’s no team, there’s no Constructors Championship. Everything is a solo effort. Anything below 3rd place is irrelevant. In other words, all I’m doing is losing and all I have to show for it is a meaningless number going up, with no real points to my name. The game is conservative because trying to follow the rules, showing decorum and respectability and all that shit, will make you a loser. You either look like a loser and complain about unfair it all is as you keep losing, or you start to play dirty like everyone else. That sucks. Racing has politics, yes, but I’m not interested in being the Nancy Pelosi of Motorsport, you know?

It’s a shame. Gran Turismo Sport was a game I was expecting to spend years with (or at least until Sony kills the servers and tells you to buy a PS5, idiot). Maybe I’m approaching this game from the wrong mindset; wanting a regular Gran Turismo, and instead getting this weird yet gorgeous thing that expects you to be an asshole that has to cheat to win. Not a fan. I prefer my skill-based competitive games to be based around skill.

I guess I’ll turn the PS3 back on and load up GT6.

daiki kasho- all my life

ramona does what nintendon’t

It’s been kind of a shit week. Away from home again for work (though I won’t have to do this bullshit again for some time, and money is money). My body is hurting again. People are being generally terrible in my direction and it makes my brain feel bad. I will spare you all a moody, “I’m mad at stuff” post that I was originally going to write. Instead, I will simply refuse to let the bad times get me down, and write about things that are cool.

Realizing over these last few months that I pretty much only give a fuck about retro games, fast cars, or retro games about fast cars. I’ve talked about the PC Engine being God’s favorite console. Brought up my love of the original Playstation and the Game Boy. But my actual, all-time, no bullshit favorite system is the Sega Genesis. Or the much better sounding Mega Drive everywhere else in the world. I want to talk about that system today.

I guess to be more specific, I want to talk about the early days of that system. Some of the games that came out at the dawn of the systems life, as it tried to find an identity in a time where Nintendo and NEC were the big boys. There’s this aesthetic that’s hard to explain in this era; this transitional period from the 80s to the 90s that I really like. It’s weird, and it’s probably only in my head, like people who long for the “old days” of non-existent bullshit like the Andy Griffith Show, except my nostalgia is a little less racist.

Anyways. Here’s some stuff I’ve been playing to pass the time until I’m finally back home where all my stuff and a comfortable bed is.

Kujaku Oh 2/Mystic Defender

Let’s start this out with a real banger. Mystic Defender (not to be confused with Mystic Fighter, which is among the worst games on the system) fucking fucks. This is one of those Mega Drive games with that look: this dark, murky, “late night” graphic design that would just as easily be home in a campy exploitation film you watch with your friends on a Saturday night. You run around, shooting psychic Hadoukens at monks and giant bugs. It’s cool as hell.

I’m playing the Japanese version of the game. 1) I think the character sprite looks cooler in this one. 2) It removes the evil SJW censorship, in that humans no longer have a blue skin tone, despite exploding and melting the exact same way. The late 80s had a strange concept of morality.

In any case, this now means that I can be the Ultimate Edgelord and set babies on fire.

Check out what happens when you shoot them.

Such a wonderful game for an immature idiot like me. It’s short, but fun, a term that will be used to describe many games in this post.

fuck this level though. this shit sucks and the platforming is bad.

Rambo III- Dedicated to the brave Mujahadeen fighters of Afghanistan

I suppose it’s appropriate to talk about this one, given today’s news of John Rambo being the latest character in Mortal Kombat 11, a game that I actually really enjoy despite everything. It might also mark the first time there’s ever been a good Rambo game, if only by proxy.

Really, that’s kind of the fucked up thing here. Like, how do you manage to fuck up making a good game about Rambo? It is literally based on a movie about a guy running around and shooting things. It was the 80s! Reactionary power fantasies were all the rage! The thing about games, especially during this time, was their ability to take creative license with the properties they were based on. And yet Sega couldn’t make this boring piece of shit interesting. Hell, Rambo itself is the result of creative license. Sylvester Stallone saw this tale of a tortured, murderous Vietnam veteran and said “Wow! Cool robot!” decades before the guy who created that meme was even born. Seriously, read the book and be mind-boggled over how Hollywood took that dark tale and managed to wring out several sequels, games, a cartoon, toys, and all types of shit that shows just how little studio execs have changed in regards to being stupid as fuck and not being immune to military propaganda. Also the game is bad. Mostly because it is so boring! You shoot some generic probably Russians, and then navigate a bunch of big, boring ass mazes until you turn the game off, all the while feeling like you just opened up a Vietnamese child’s Shoeshine box. Johnny, I want to go home. I want to go home, Johnny.

looks like sega were the ones with weapons of mass destruction all along!

There would be better shooters on the system. Better games blindly influenced by media made by dudes who just finished jerking off to a picture of Reagan. Play those instead.

Oh, and the iconic “Rambo Knife” is completely fucking useless in-game. Way to go, Sega.

Revenge of Shinobi

Shit, I didn’t mean to be so negative and long-winded on that last one. Revenge of Shinobi is a bit uh, complicated. There’s a lot to like about the game, and it is a certified classic. But fuck me, dude, there’s a lot of shit to hate in here, too. For one thing, this game is way too fucking hard. And not in the good way. Enemies attack you from off-screen. There’s a lot of blind jumps to make, often times with an enemy off-screen ready to attack you as soon as you make that landing. When (not if) you get hit, you go flying backwards. Pray there’s no bottomless pit behind you. Level 2 is particularly egregious here, especially as it’s hard as shit to see anything, given the enemies match the background.

But then everything else is great! Audio/Visual wise? It still looks great now. And of course, like everyone else who has ever written about Revenge of Shinobi, I’m legally obligated to bring up Yuzo Koshiro’s incredible soundtrack. Yes, it is as great as any piece of music you will hear, in games or otherwise. “China Town” is a particular favorite of mine.

The other thing I’m required by law to bring up is the game’s flagrant disregard for copyright law, something that warms my cold leftist heart.

The game rules, but I do wish it wasn’t such a pain in the ass to play sometimes. If you’re going to play it, play REVISION 00, as that one doesn’t have the SJW Censorship that is “slightly altering sprites so as to not look like copyrighted things.”

Super Fucking Hang-On

Ah yeah baby, I saved the best for last. Fuck what you’ve heard, Super Hang-On owns. For one thing, the racing is actually fun. Given that this came out in a time where ports of or attempts at replicating Super Scaler arcade games were a goddamn joke, this is nothing short of a miracle. Sure, it’s not nearly as fast as its arcade counterpart, but that don’t matter. What the console port has is “Original Mode.”

Original Mode is where the real meat of the game is. You don’t just race; you race, and then buy better bike parts when you win. You have rivals to beat, sponsors to impress, mechanics to fire when your muffler fucking falls off again for no discernable reason what the fuck. It’s surprisingly compelling, even now in this post-GT, post-Forza world, where this sort of thing is de rigueur. Obviously, an arcade port from 1989 is not going to feature the most detailed realism, but again, this doesn’t matter.

holy shit look at that guy

It’s funny, I had mentioned that I thought Satoru Nakajima F-1 Super License was among the best racing games on the system. It still is, mind you, but I had completely forgotten about this game when I had written that. What makes that funny is that I’ve liked Super Hang-On since I was a kid, long before I had any interest in motor sport. I wasn’t super into it the way I would have been with Sonic or Streets of Rage, but it was a fun little game to throw in every so often. I spent pretty much an entire night this week playing the Original Mode, making it to the final track, trying to save my money for the best possible parts, instead of having to repair broken ones I already had.

I think this balancing act of upgrade vs forced repairs is what does it for me. Obviously, this is not on the level of R: Racing Evolution’s sports manga take on the sport, but there was clearly an attempt to add some sort of drama to the game. Managing finances and building up a support team, all while dealing with some shit-talking asshole who thinks they’re better than you. I think once again, Nakajima comes in second here, and Super Hang-On is the best racer on the Genesis.

Owns.

r: racing evolution

I’m back to give the people what they want: me talking about racing games! Yeah, I’m as shocked as you that these are as well-liked as they are; I was expecting a bunch of nerds pushing up their glasses and asking me how the latest “Sportsball” went after the first post. Anyways, this game in particular is big enough that it gets its own post, rather than as part of an ADHD-like post where I write a bunch of shit down. Let’s take a look at R: Racing Evolution.

As you no doubt already gathered by the title screen, R: Racing Evolution is a Namco racer. Designed to be a more realistic take on the Ridge Racer series. So no drifting on every turn and making sweet jumps on anything that isn’t a Rally car. Real world sponsors. Real world cars. Honda and Ford replace Assoluto and Age Solo. Think of it as Namco’s take on Gran Turismo. Namco’s take on Gran Turismo, but now asking one very important question:

What if Gran Turismo was horny?

Like, really horny?

Also: what if it was kind of gay and riddled with the kind of lesbian tension people who like Stephen Universe lose their shit over?

Well, that’s R: Racing Evolution.

Okay, so the titties are big and the main characters are primed for their own Archive Of Our Own category. What about the rest of the game? Does it own? Is it sick? The answer to that is yeah, dude.

Like I said, this is a realistic sim, unlike Ridge Racer’s off-the-wall, drift every corner style of driving. The courses can be tough; good lord can the courses be tough. The game doesn’t hold your hand, either: know how to drive going in, or get the fuck out. Hmm, okay, maybe it doesn’t demand that level of perfection out of you, but neither will it take it easy on you.

Something that’s pretty cool about R is that there’s more to it than Stock car racing. You get Rally racing, Classic Car (Privateer) racing, Prototype challenges, and even Drag racing. A lot of variety that’s good for taking someone like me, only really familiar with one type of auto sport, and turning me on (lol) to a whole host of other methods of making car go fast vroom vroom. I might want to consider looking up some Rally races on YouTube later. And the reason why that’s cool is that one of the reasons (I’ll get to the other one later) it took me nearly 34 years to appreciate, let alone enjoy, racing was because it looked so boring. All left turns for about a million laps. Between playing this game and sitting down to watch the 2020 Indy 500, I can easily understand why racing on a ring can be exciting to someone the same way watching a race on a varied track with lots of hard turns is for me. There’s a lot of strategy that goes into it: intentionally driving slower than normal, not breaking out of the pack, so as to stay within the slipstream of other cars around you, allowing you to speed right the fuck up as the race gets closer to the end. That’s pretty cool.

That’s the mechanical side. R:RE is a fun ass racer that feels good to play. But what makes it memorable and makes it stand out amongst the other racing games of the era is its story mode. It’s fucking great. The game suddenly goes all “sports manga” on you, and focuses less on realism, and more on the drama on and off the track.

BREAK TIME

 

The main character is an EMT with big titties who gets recruited to a racing team after taking one of their drivers to the hospital via sick racing moves. I’ll spare you all a big synopsis, but know that it involves all of the different racing modes and competing for championships. Along the way, shit gets all fucked up. Like fuck dude, there’s implications that your team is owned by the mob, and that people who try to leave don’t do so alive. But much like the game itself, I will have to drop this plot point after one sentence. Kind of a big problem here: a lot of stuff is not resolved. Whether there was a rush put on the game, or if there were plans to expand on the story in a sequel that never came, I don’t know. But it’s a shame you only get glimpses or the really out-there elements.

The parts of R’s story that stick with you are the in-game radio conversations. It goes above and beyond the standard team radio you hear in real racing. Now, you have the pit crew having full conversations in your ear. You can hear your opponents talk shit about you, or conversely, freak the fuck out as you start to overtake them. Everything feels more competitive, even more personal at times, as a result.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for this sort of thing, but I love it. The whole thing comes across as an extension of what Ridge Racer 4 was trying in its Grand Prix mode.

Actually, hold on. Is it cool if I go way the fuck off-topic and talk about how sick Ridge Racer 4 is for a moment? It’ll all tie back into this piece about R: Resident Evil.

R4 was the first racing game I played for any real length of time. I was in middle school at the time, didn’t care much for cars, but I was a young mark and easily susceptible to hype for upcoming Playstation games. I had a shit time around cars as a kid. Growing up with alcoholics driving you everywhere while drunk. Trying to learn how to drive when you’re older as they scream at you for going 26 in a 25. The closest thing to a racing fan club is the derelict house across the street where White Trash drink cheap beer and get into fist fights. I did not like vehicles. They were loud, they broke all the time, and I went about 18 years never having a single good experience inside of one (before someone makes a joke about virginity and teenage sex, I didn’t fuck in cars. I fucked in strangers bedrooms at parties thrown by rich kids that I knew from school). I mentioned before that I’m still prone to anxiety attacks behind the wheel. Well, now you know why. But Ridge Racer 4, in its infinitely cool, stylish way, showed me that there was another side to cars. That they could be fun, that they could be part of the most interesting sport in the world. I liked the game a lot, but ultimately, I filed it away as “video games are video games, and real life is a shitshow where everyone yells way too much.” And besides, racing is just cheap redneck shit where you load up on Bud Lite, make out with your sister at the track, and get home in time for your klan rally, right? In my mid-30s, I’m regretting all the time I spent ignoring the sport, but you can understand my thought process.

Anyways. While working on my own game development, I’ve been rolling around the idea of a racing game in my head. Influenced by R4’s story mode, I wanted to make something that could appeal to someone in my position: a game about cars for someone who has bad experiences with them. More dialogue during races, rivalries played out during and between races, all types of cool shit like that. Then I played R: Racing Evolution, and realized Namco themselves beat me to the punch 17 years ago.

This is what I wanted out of a racing game, and I got it. A game that could make a non-fan understand why someone would love the sport so much. Something to help you visualize the beauty of the track, and the skill that the drivers navigate it with. Which is why I’m giving my highest possible recommendation for you to play it; it runs really fucking well in Dolphin. The game owns bones. And it has big titties in it, and really, who can hate that?

the pc-engine is god’s favorite console

I am not currently home at the moment. I’m spending a week out because of job reasons, so instead of sitting in front of my high-end Gamer PC, I’m struggling to run PC-Engine ROMs while trying to have more than one internet tab open on a shitty laptop from 2014. This thing struggles even looking at the menu for Retroarch, and Bizhawk stutters like a motherfucker, so I had to travel back in time and play these games on my old cracked version of Magic Engine. Remember that emulator? I still think it has the best UI.

Something that I said before when I complained about F1 games was that, despite those games being decent to shitty, the PC-Engine is still very much God’s Favorite Video Game Entertainment System. Trying to think of what the system’s best game is is impossible, so I won’t be doing that. Instead, I will be writing about a bunch of its games that made an impression on me.

Parasol Stars: giving beer to children.

Parasol Stars fucking rules. Is it the best game on the PC-Engine? No. Does that matter? Again, no. It’s a cute little game where you play a fat kid that picks things up with his parasol, then shooting said things at other things. You pick up fruits and alcohol and crowns and money and all types of brightly colored shit. There’s all these obtuse scoring mechanics and hidden items you need to get in order to actually finish the game.

When I was still a hot shot on Tumblr (a term I use derisively), I spent a lot of time talking about PC-Engine games, and this was one of the more talked about ones. The reason for this was that every Friday, I would get fucked up on about one or two vicodin (I weigh about 130, drugs don’t have to work very hard to take effect on me), make some ramen and iced tea, watch wrestling, and then play this game. That was my night for about a year. Sounds kind of sad when I describe it out loud like this, but it was a fun time. I got to be a home-body, doing things I liked, and then there was a cute video game that pleased my addled brain with its bright colors. And no, I don’t take pills for fun anymore. Don’t drink, don’t pop shit. Doesn’t make Parasol Stars any less good, though.

VERDICT: this game rules. Check it out.

Genpei Toumaden: why no, nobody knows what the fuck this game is about

I very briefly brought up Genpei Toumaden when I wrote about the Namco Museum Collection. But I didn’t really go too in-depth on it.

Let me reiterate what I said then: this game is weird. It’s another one of those games that manages to make perfect sense, yet also makes no sense whatsoever. You play as an undead Samurai, based on a real life samurai named Taira no Kagekiyo, who goes across Japan, fighting other real-life samurai and daimyo who are all also now creepy-looking undead creatures. It’s a side-scrolling action game with a unique, creepy visual style. Makes sense so far, right?

Then the perspective changes, and the sprites are bigger, and your character does that really ugly thing where a character has individual body parts that animate that never looks good.

Then there are levels that are top-down. In these, you fight enemies that spawn from gourds and puddles of water. Then at the end, you choose a torii gate to enter, that will take you on one of the many different paths the game has.

So far, this makes sense. On a mechanical, actually-playing-a-game level, this is extremely normal, maybe even by the numbers. But when you apply this to a game with an unusual and outright creepy art style (on the Genpei Toumaden episode of Game Center CX, even Arino was weirded out by some of the levels), abrasive music and voice samples, and an extremely haphazard sense of level design, it’s really out there.

Then you fall down a pit. In most games, this results in a lost life, or a full-on game over. Here? No.

Instead, you fall back down into Hell. You fight a few enemies, then make your way to the end. There, you meet Enma Daiō, the king of Hell, and he presents you with a series of boxes. Pick the right box, and you go right back to the surface like nothing ever happened.

Pick the wrong box?

Game Over! Play More Serious!

I realize that I’m probably making this game sound really interesting. That being said, let me make this perfectly clear: Genpei Toumaden is a bad game. The controls are terrible, enemies come at you from all angles faster than you can react, you bounce from one end of the screen to the other if you get hit, it’s possible to fuck yourself into an unwinnable situation in the first level. This was an arcade quarter-muncher that, for better or for worse, was almost perfectly translated to a console. It’s bad, yes. But you still absolutely need to play it. Genpei Toumaden is something that needs to be experienced; it feels like outsider art, at times.

VERDICT: I’m shrugging my shoulders and shaking my head at the same time.

Deep Blue: it’s a game about fish

This is another weird one. Deep Blue is a side-scrolling shooter where you are a fish that shoots at other fish. What makes this weird is that you are the only fish in the ocean that shoots. The other fish are all realistic looking, and are content to swim at you as fast as possible.

you don’t even look like a real fish!

I don’t have nearly as much to say about this as I did Genpei Toumaden, but the spirit is the same here. It makes sense, from a game perspective, but then gets weird when you stop and think about the concept, and then actually play the game. Aside from the player sprite, everything is as realistically depicted as the PC-Engine would allow. You slowly swim from one end to the other, with this background music that manages to sound both calm and like the soundtrack to a dissociative episode. Even on a system loaded with shooters, good and bad, Deep Blue still manages to stick out amongst the crowd.

VERDICT: not especially good or fun, but another PC-Engine game worth looking at from an experimental perspective.

That’s it for this entry. Spent way too many words on Genpei Toumaden. The PC-Engine had a number of amazing games. But even its bad games had something to offer. This is why the system was fucking amazing, and certainly deserved better than what it got here in North America.

Parasol Stars legitimately rules, though.

racing roundup (tentative title?)

People seem to like it when I talk about racing games so I played some more for the blog woo hoo let’s goooooooooo!!!

First up is Nakajima Satoru Kanshuu F-1 Hero MD. For those unaware, Satoru Nakajima is a former driver and teammate to Ayrton Senna, known for uh…being a teammate to Ayrton Senna. But, you know, that’s good enough to get you six games with your name on them. And at least one of them is good! But not this one, though.

the main menu is presented by a group of seemingly bored women looking at something off screen. a good sign.

It’s an attempt at a Super Scaler game on the Mega Drive. Driving from a cockpit view, attempting to navigate courses with terrible draw distance. I could just barely get through a practice race, as the controls are really bad. No matter what your car’s setting are, you will go over the chicane when you want to reorient yourself on the track, and understeer every single sharp turn. Doesn’t help matters when you hit something (and you will), your car will (realistically) immediately stop dead in its tracks, back in first gear going zero kilometers per hour. It is barely playable.

and you only get half a screen to work with

To the game’s credit, at least its barely-concealed use of real-life teams and drivers did make me laugh. Big fan of Alain Prest and Nigel Mansol, here. Off-topic, but I was very glad to hear that Sebastian Vettel finally got the fuck out of Farreri; they were really fucking him over for too long.

a genetic clone of satoru nakajima made from circus peanuts gives you advice before the race

Much like Nakajima himself, his game is vastly outclassed by Ayrton Senna. It fucking sucks.

A funny thing here is that this actually left Japan. Here, it was known as Ferrari Grand Prix Challenge. Forget for a moment that Nakajima never actually drove for Ferrari- sorry, Farreri. Another funny thing: the Western version is actually much worse. AI cars all but vanish the moment a race starts, leaving you behind to sit there and slowly eat shit like a loser.

Also, what the fuck is this menu screen:

 

The next game is Nakajima Satoru Kanshuu F1 Grand Prix. This one is much better. Another top-down racer, only the controls are pretty good this time around. You can actually finish races, possibly even get a podium!

You can see in the screenshot above that it’s a very simple looking game. Very serviceable sprite work with a relatively unobtrusive HUD. But it works. After all, in a genre like racing, you need to be able to see the road in front of you. Another great thing you may have noticed is that the faster you go, the further to the bottom of the screen your car is, allowing you more time to see upcoming turns or other cars in your way. It seems like such a silly thing to get excited over, but holy fuck dude, I went off when I saw this. Finally, a developer that gets it! Varie Corporation had a meeting, and they said “we want to make a racing game, possibly even a good one.” and then proceeded to almost do that. What keeps it from being the best game on this post are the controls still being a little too touchy, and the view, even with the shifting viewpoint, is too zoomed-in for my liking. Other than that, the game is perfectly acceptable. A solid F1 game.

Something really cool is the use of photorealistic graphics for things like Nakajima, or even the pit crew working on your car. Hey, at least I appreciated it!

 

Last game for this entry is the best one. Nakajima Satoru Kanshuu F1 Super License. It’s more or less the same as Gran Prix, but with the issues I had with that game fixed. The handling is really good, and the viewpoint is far more zoomed out. There’s finally a top-down racer that’s playable.

The biggest complaint I can throw at the game is the AI cars not giving a fuck and trying to collide into you. Strangely, though, this isn’t that bad. You spin out for a second, but then immediately pick up speed, something that F1 Hero got hilariously wrong. Granted, it’s not a realistic situation for a game that’s meant to be a simulation, but sometimes you have to make concessions in the name of making something good, rather than real.

Now look at this fucking menu. This kicks ass. The look of a man who is dead serious about his racing. And he doesn’t give you some ho-hum POINT OF ADVICE. No, he provides you with NAKAJIMA’S EYE, motherfucker!

It’s great. You have this super serious racing pro telling you how to take turn 7 and to look for the gaps your opponents leave. But then there’s this sudden shift in graphical style, and you get these anime babes informing you of your grid position and the upcoming Grand Prix.

hey baby, want to make MY pole position?

hachi machi

This is the game, right here. Not only is Super License the best F1 game on the Mega Drive, it might very well be the best racing game on the system. I will have to investigate this further.

There are three more Nakajima games to play, but I will save those for another time. One of them is on Super Famicom, F1 Hero ’94, and given the other F1 Hero, I’m not super confident about it. The other two are on Game Boy. Much as I love the Game Boy, the idea of playing a racing game on it fills me with a primordial fear. Like opening the door to a murder scene, or going underwater in Final Fantasy VII. Racing is fun, and getting into the sport is probably the best decision I’ve made all year.

B.B Queens- SPEED OF LOVE

birthday post

My birthday was on Saturday. I’m 34, which means that I am now officially Too Old For This Shit. Be nice to me, or go to hell. Anyways, here’s how my day went.

I began my morning by watching some TV, while drinking my morning coffee and checking out the results of the Italian Grand Prix qualifying round. First of all, holy shit @ Lewis Hamilton setting the fastest lap time in F1 history, even after the FIA put his car at a handicap because he was winning too much. And shout out to Pierre Gasly breaking the status quo and winning the race itself today after all the shit he’s been through.

But back to my TV. I don’t watch a lot of it. Dynamite every week, and maybe some reruns of Bar Rescue. But I was flipping through the channels anyways, and what did I find?

MOTHERFUCKING TRAIN CRUISE

Granted, it was a rerun from last Summer, but still. Train Cruise on my big ass TV. And to top it all off, it’s not an episode that I was able to find online (I double-checked before I started writing this). Between the races and this, I was feeling pretty good about the way the day was going to go.

I also wanted to check out my Animal Crossing town before I left the house. I wanted to see what was in store for the Birthday Bitch.

It was a sweet little party with a cake and a pinata. But I wanted to walk around, and see what the rest of the town was doing that day.

K.K Slider holds a special concert for you! That’s cool! And as this happens, various villagers leave these sweet messages for you.

Very nice.

Now it was time to leave. The plan for the day was that I was going to go to this sort of new mall (rebuilt after getting fucked the fuck up in a hail storm) with my mother. I was going to get her to buy me the new Tony Hawk, and then we would have pizza, and then I would go home. I didn’t plan on being out all day, 1) mostly due to COVID; hell, I felt bad just being out there for non-essential reasons in the first place and 2) it reached 100 degrees outside, and it was way too fucking hot.

So of course I ended up getting Tony Hawk as a gift. I also bought myself a couple pairs of pants.

If I ever decide that I want to cosplay Leo Kliesen, I’ve got half the outfit ready to go. We can pretend that the stripes are the right color.

My thoughts on the Tony Hawk remasters are that they fucking own. Something I don’t talk about much, because the topic doesn’t come up, is that Tony Hawk 2 is one of my absolute favorite PSX games, and probably one of my favorite games ever. I was also a bit wary, not going to lie, because this would have been the third PSX game getting remade for the PS4 that I was getting, after Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy VII. Great news, unlike those two games, Tony Hawk 2 was not fucked with. It is exactly what it claims to be: Tony Hawk 1 and 2 with some extra stuff. Extra music, extra skaters, all sorts of cool new shit added to the custom skater and custom park modes.

I’ve finished all the Tony Hawk 2 levels (because of course). I’ll eventually make my way over to the first game, even with the downhill levels that nobody except for Hawk himself actually likes.

A neat thing about this game is that the custom skater option lets you make an exceptionally non-passing trans skater. This is not a complaint; I think it’s great that you can have women with masculine features, or men with feminine ones. I felt it was going against the spirit of skateboarding if I made myself look like some smoking hot model, instead of a grungy transsexual who doesn’t give a fuck.

I also bought myself a copy of F1 2020 on PC, because of course. It’s another awesome racing game with a fun new team management mode. The character creation isn’t as robust as Tony Hawk’s, but hey, being able to customize my livery and team uniforms is cool too.

Sad news: the pizza place we were planning on going to was closed. Instead, I ordered some noodles from a local Chinese place, and that was my dinner. Ate that, and some cake, while watching AEW All Out. All Out was a really fun show, aside from Matt Sydal fucking up his Shooting Star Press literally the minute he debuted, and Matt Hardy’s really scary concussion.

A really fun day, overall. Got some cool stuff. People were really nice to me, both on and offline. The racing was good. The wrestling was good. On top of all this, guess what? I’m now two whole years sober, motherfucker! Not a single drop of alcohol has touched me. Admittedly, it’s been hard as fuck, especially when you got assholes out there really testing my patience and willpower as of late. But I held strong, and pulled through. I have to remind myself of the good things I have in life, and fight the urge to go off on people who caused/continue to press old traumas. The best revenge is living well. Their bullshit shouldn’t be my business anymore. I don’t work in their industry. I’m not in their social circles. I should stop giving a fuck. As I said, I’m now too old for it. Be nice to me, or go to hell.