Thursday, March 9, 2017

Game Thoughts: Never Forget Me

Recently I found that a game I had played by WinterWolf Studios, received a sequel. Always Remember Me was a sweet stat building visual novel where the main character Amy and her bae get into a motorcycle accident. This should have ended in death but instead ends up with Amy having light injuries and the bf with amnesia. Yes...I know...but how it plays out you decided to either stay with your man in hopes he remembers or take advantage of this lapse in memory to start anew. (I make it sound terrible.)

So I'm talking quite a bit on the original game, so what about this sequel thing? WELL...

Never Forget Me is the epilogue in a way dealing with Amy's life with her chosen man AFTER the events of the first game. (The good endings). So it actually deals with married life. read right. A VN about married life! Whaaaaa?

In the beginning you choose which epilogue you want to play through and experience the various endings it could have.

The game is a stat building game, but the stat building is optional. (Required to get some endings).
Similiar to the last game it gives you a series of 2 choices in a scene for you to play out.

Does not over romanticize relationships
Deals with marriage AND KIDS
Handles mature topics gracefully

Uses the same character art from the first game but has way cool art for the title page.
The stat building feels like fluff
Doesn't make sense unless you've played the first game (Not a super negative but it's there)

Final Thoughts
The game is mature in that it deals with infidelity, child abuse, abuse, divorce, and taxes. That is to say that it does go through story points that go through some of the lows of relationships. But many things are good. It may not mean as much to a player if they haven't played the first game.
However, I can recommend it so long as you are aware of what you might be getting yourself into. (Honestly one of the storylines hits it a bit close to home for me and makes me uncomfortable.)

The game is available on the Winter Wolves website.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Game Thoughts: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice

 I love the Ace Attorney series. Even if its got so many flaws and hilarity when it comes to localization. Self-aware, pop-culture references, and delicious holds a dear part in my gamer heart.

So recently the newest installment for the series has come through to the States: Spirit of Justice. With a round of familiar faces coming back and great new ones.

This time 'round, we go through trials dealing with corrupt judicial systems, in foreign lands where defense lawyers are outlawed. The system instead relies on seances where the last moments of a victim are replayed for the court. We follow trials of Phoenix Wright taking a trip to Kurain to visit Maya Fey, Apollo Justice taking care of the office back in the "USA", and Athena Sykes helping along.

Mixes a lot of the old gameplay from previous titles.
Excellent characterization and engaging storyline
Delicious puns

They do show murder scenes so there is that.
...contortionist dude Maya...*shudder*...
Shows religious folks as pretentious or ignorant...or plain stubborn. Granted it is a hokey religion.

I'm a bit biased toward these titles but for good reason. While the justice system is terribly flawed (and illegal) in the games, I'm ignorant enough of actual law to enjoy them. This one gets approval from me. Check it out if you so desire.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Being a Hero

After reading a lot of panicked news about the decline of our culture and wide-spread corruption, it feels like all one can do is stand by and watch. But we don't want to watch idly by. We want to DO, to ACT on something. And that got me thinking about Captain America...more accurately Steve Rogers.

I'm only familiar with the recent movie so that is what I'll be referencing. One of the reasons this was one of my favorite movies is Steve's single-minded devotion. It was not enough to sit and watch along the sides or support the war efforts indirectly. He wanted to act, to participate, to DO something. However, he could not participate in the normal way.

So many times, an issue will crop up that makes me feel like I want nothing more than to take up arms and march against the injustice. However, in our world there won't be just one thing, it'll be 20,000. I want to give myself to all these issues. I want to right all these injustices. But I'm not Captain America, I'm Steve Rogers, blocked at every point of entry.

I've often reminded myself that there should be one main passion in my life and that is what my energy should be spent doing. It's just so hard to choose, especially with all the noise that surrounds us. Protest this! Petition against that! March with us! Write to your representatives! Fight the injustice! It's nearly impossible to think with all the shouts for attention.

At the same time, the Church calls us to uphold Social Justice. The question is how do you answer the call?

This is when I look to St. Terese of Lisieux's story. There is the physical world where we see a lot of injustice, evil, and destruction. There is also the unseen side of things where battle rages on. The Little Way to Christ is still a way. That is the most important thing.

Stewardship is what it's known as in the Church. Our Time, Talent and Treasure are what we can give. I'm sure it has come up in a homily or two in your parish. It usually aligns with the ministry fairs where every ministry is recruiting for new members.

This past weekend, I went to my parish's ministry fair. I officially joined the parish a few months ago although I've been attending masses there for a year. (It's close to my work and after night shift, I could catch the 7:30 a.m. mass on my way home.) It's been one of my "recovery steps" to get involved with a parish community again. AND luckily this parish has a ministry for those that struggle with life's difficulties.

I don't want to bite off more than I can chew because I have a lot of hobbies I love to neglect. For now, I've signed up to join the choir, I've been part of the Prayer Warrior team (seriously an easy ministry. They email intentions and you pray for them. I love it. It also give me a good picture of how folks in the parish are doing in life. Looks like it's not all a walk in the park.). I also want to join the sewing ministry that makes prayer blankets. Because it fits with my hobby of sewing!

For starters, Church ministries are a great place to start on your walk to hero-dom. (Which may lead to martyrdom.)

In anycase, Thank Jesus for everything. He likes to work through us to help the least of his people.
(Which is why I help kitties get adopted at the pet store on Mondays. <3 I know kitties aren't people! That's more of a make me happy volunteering. Although I still have to take time out to do it.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Game Thoughts: Ozmafia!

So I wasted my whole weekend going through all the endings for this game. I was turned around so many times.
Heads up, this will not be a spoiler free review.

So TL;DR: It's a mature game. Handle with care. Can't fully recommend. Bag of D*cks. <---Something I would say a LOT during my playthroughs.

So Ozmafia was released way back in 2013 by Poni-Pachet Sy. It was only made available on Steam this year I guess which is where I found it.

You play the role of the amnesiac "Fuka" (or whatever you name her) as she blunders through a town full of characters from classic (and not so classic) fairy tales. (Reminds me of Fables in that regard). Anyway, the town is run by several mafia families based on various fairy tales and literary figures. Fuka has to decide what to do with the life she has and figure out who the heck she is.

Let me go right into the virtues and vices.

Some paths end in marriage. Yay.
Going through life with a positive attitude
You can be a nun! :)
Hilarious anime situations and dialog. This game made me laugh so much.
End of Life ethics

Vices...vices as far as the eye can see:
Organized crime
pre-marital sex
Corrupt clergy <--This made me so sad on many levels. Even though CLEARLY not Catholic.
General cheapening of life

Dang, right? What's good about this game?! Granted, taking a lot of these things out of context can seem unfair. Because you can definitely have ALL these things and an amazing, worthwhile story. (Like Crime and Punishment which also has most of these things I list in the vice list.)

There are lots of things I like about the game too. Mostly it's art and the setting appeal to me. I'm a big fan of the Fables comic series which I see some similarities with. The music was charming but I really felt the art style (a soft watercolor) was a pretty stark contrast to the action in the game. Including straight up murdering folks and threats of gun violence. It's like a beatrix potter illustration gone dark.

Anyway, now let's get to the spoilery bits. If you don't want spoilers stop reading here.

The real premise of the game...
Dorothy Gale at the end of her journey does not go home but becomes a "good witch" instead. This requires her (for some reason) to live alone and never use magic on herself. She grants the wishes of her former travel companions to become human and creates a town for them including characters from fairy tales. (...which includes Oscar Wilde's characters. WHAT WAS THIS LITTLE GIRL READING!???) However, she ends up actually making a wish for herself which splits her into 3 parts: the tower, her magic and her hopes and dreams to grow up and fall in love. (Because the witch doesn't age older than a little kid.)

It took me days to get through all the endings to get to this reveal. One of my biggest frustrations was that "Fuka" NEVER gets her memories back or really tries to retrieve them in any of the romance paths. I tried every one. It gets mentioned but never resolved. It drove me CRAZY. So...good on you game making me replay ALL the things to see if they answered anything.

Part of the fun was trying to figure out each characters fairy tale counterpart. I was really bad when I first started and just started labeling people things. After playing the whole thing, my first guesses were WAY off. Also, my whole mistake of calling it OZMA-fia instead of Oz-Mafia. >_> Look, Ozma was a character in the books. I thought that was the play. Not being godfathered into mafia crime. -_- It took a long time for the lore to actually settle in. My first play through nothing was answered and I was floundering trying to make sense of anything except one character. Why don't they die when riddled with bullets? Why do the general population die? They BRAND everyone like cows? What even? I don't? Uggggggh!

It also had a mechanic with the Oz Trio where once you started "dating" one of them officially, the character with the 2nd highest affection points would try to interfere. You could switch characters. >_> For some reason this usually means as soon as you jump ship to the other ship you sleep with the biblical sense. (Glen...everything cool she just ruined it!)

First Play Through: Axel
 Took me far too long to realize he was the Tin Woodsman. ...I am an idiot.
I really enjoyed this character as he was considerate, restrained, honest and an awkward turtle. Didn't get the "good" ending but reminded me of myself. What is sad? What is love? Can not compute.
The most innocent character of the Oz three. Usually. (As I said if you jump ship from anyone you "break his factory seal" <---Dammit Kyrie! Why is this so hilarious to me?)

Second Play through: Kyrie...the bag of D*cks.
One...unfortunate name...really distracting when I go to Mass and think of this arse instead of Lord have Mercy, Kyrie Elison. This guy...I didn't like him...he was pretty tragic...and you end up marrying him in one ending. -_- I was so worried that this guy would be like Toma. He's manipulative and openly cruel. I couldn't trust him farther than I could throw. So not far. Oddly enough, his story is probably one of the more interesting ones. I personally liked the first ending I got where he loses his brains. ^_^ Seriously though...he's kind of a d*ckbag.

Third play through: Caramia
Again...unfortunate name...I kept thinking of Gomez and Morticia.

It's how it's said in my head EVERY TIME. Too sensual! His story was kind of vanilla if you ask me. It wasn't bad. I really enjoyed his storyline and character. He also treats the main character the best of all three in my opinion. But some endings are a bit on the eck...side. True ending ends in mawwige. So yay. He can cook too...always go for the guy who can cook! (Or will eat your crappy cooking. Either is good.)

Everyone Else...
Caesar: I was hoping this route would finally answer my burning questions about her past. NOPE. Disappointment. But hey...he stopped threatening to kill me? (Seriously, falling for your potential killer. What is wrong with this place?)

Scarlet: Innocent and sweet, one of the better ones. Optimism wins...and he cooks. Love a guy that can cook.

Pashet: Not a homosexual relationship like I originally assumed because ANIME. Fantastic storyline and I love her awkward relations with Axel. I ship them.

Robin Hood: I felt so unclean. >_> Once you find out he's a freakin' married man! But mix in Dr. Freeze and Frankenstien and gets weird. I was so uncomfortable with this route. It was so wrong on so many levels. 

Brothel: One...the route is called BROTHEL ROUTE. You know nothing good can come of this. Guess what...NOTHING GOOD COMES OF THIS! This one made me feel the uncleanest. I didn't read most of it. I clicked through so much. 
Granted, the ending where you take over the brothel was weirdly satisfying. Probably because it throws Kyrie for a loop. Did I mention I don't like that guy? Yeah I REAAAALLY don't like Dorian Gray. Kyrie is cakewalk to that guy. He's the real bag of D*cks. 

Soh: Remember what I said about guys who cook. YES. Soh was another good one. Especially after the trauma that was the Brothel route. He's one of the few who tries to take you OUT of town away from madness. But his real identity isn't revealed until the Epilogue. Turns out...
He's the worst kind of. All this b.s. is his plan. It's terrible. Soh how could you play with my heart like that!?

Hamlien: I almost forgot about the Pied Piper. This one you can become a nun because he's a schizophrenic criminal. (Spoiler: It's Soh's fault. ;__;) It wasn't a super interesting storyline. It comes up if you don't settle for someone else's route. Probably because he appears as the villain in every other route, it unfairly paints him into a corner. It's also a super short route so not a lot happens. 

The Ending...everyone starts killing each other. Even the young lady...

My feels after playing this game. It's good in that it played with my expectations, flipped all the tables and stuck with me. But also so much yuck happens. Not that stories should exclude this stuff but much Yuck. 


Final words, you have to be built of pretty solid stuff to get through this game on the moral front. It's not promoting a lot of good stuff. BUT it's entertaining as all get out. I weirdly enjoyed most of it. That said, can't say I would recommend it highly for the gif reasons above. However, mature audiences can enjoy it. It is a Will weakening one though. So maybe Pokemon Go...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Game Thoughts: Visual Novels

I haven't really been playing anything super new. I survived the Summer Steam Sale so far.

I got Banner Saga 2...which ends on yet another cliffhanger! (You're killing me guys!)

I've spent a lot of time playing Visual Novels I've found on Steam and places. I record my playthroughs with my atrocious voice acting. Not available publicly...they're pretty bad. I may start doing some visual novel reviews though. (I say these things but don't expect a follow through.)

Most of these VNs have been out for a few years so there are guides and walk-throughs already.

I've noticed lots of cultural differences between VNs made in Asian countries vs Western made games. And lots of disturbances between them too. Here are my top 5 disturbing differences:

The games I'm factoring in are: Dandelion, Nameless, OzMafia!, Blood Code, Amnesia
Western Games: Backstage Pass, RE:Alistair, Nicole, Remember Me, Seduce Me

1. Abuse. So much physical and psychological abuse! And in many it gets quite disturbing. It can be as minor as an overly jealous boyfriend to a straight up psychopath. The worst part is that the main female character will end up with them in some kind of "good ending". NO! don't do it! It breaks my heart.

2. Rape. While there are no explicit scenes drawn out the description is enough to trigger me. Look, if you don't have consent and the girl has NO idea what you're talking about, it's rape. This ties into the controlling nature of many characters I run across. But this one makes me so sad.

3. Passive Women. In a majority of the games, the female character is a naive, passive, polite, and pure maiden. A perfect recipe for a victim. I know this stems from a cultural difference but it still frustrates me. I love it when the girl talks back with some sass or backbone for herself. Oh and add amnesia/lost memories. It works in a sense that it makes the character carte blanche for you to fill in. But she has a personality sort of.

4. Cohabitation. It makes sense in a game design perspective, but it's SO dangerous. Usually there are about 5 men and they all live in the same place.

5. Murdering Fangirls. I don't usually see this phenomenon in Western games where one of the male characters will have a literal fanclub. And they will straight up murder your sorry bum if you get too close to their bae. Also murder. So many of these somehow ended up with murder.

So why do I still play? Usually the characters outside the main girl are interesting and take you on a fun little journey. And pretty art. I'm a visual artist and love looking at pretty things. And something that's usually a bit better in Asian games is the art and visual design. Currently I'm going through OzMafia and it's watercolor pallete is gorgeous although a weird mix for the setting where there's mafia violence. (And guns...very rare in a game like this. Makes me a bit happy being a resident of Texas.)

However, I prefer the protagonists, stories and situations in Western Style games. Usually the main character has an active personality and sticks up for herself.

Again, I fully realize it just MAY be the collection of games that I've played or watched Let's Plays for, but seriously. These cultural difference make for something quite disturbing.
And I feel slightly guilty for enjoying them like trashy romance novels, but I'm usually just yelling at my screen "NOPE! Don't do it!"

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Game Thoughts: Fire Emblem: Fates

So for Easter I got myself the game bundle for Fire Emblem Fates so I could play both storylines - Birthright and Conquest. One was advertised as being more difficult and focused on strategy, so I figured I might get frustrated with that storyline, but no...if you play both in Casual mode it's no biggy.


The avatar (Corrin) is royalty captured from their home country at a young age and raised with "the enemy" with the conflict growing between the countries Hoshido (clearly Japanese influenced) and Nohr (medieval Europe inspired). Once you find out your true heritage you must decide who you will support: the land of your birth or the family who raised you? Then work for peace and all that nonsense.


The game decided to split the story into two games and you have to buy both to get the whole story, which is lame if you are more story-motivated to play the game. There's also a 3rd game that's supposed to clarify a few things "Revelation".

There is DLC and amiibo stuff and nonesense.

Weapons no longer have a limited number of uses.

The partner, marriage, children system is back. They added bonding time with avatar's chosen spouse. Which just means more work for me...uggggh.


Again the marriage with children thing I have to highlight that here.
Lovely art and music
Some returning characters for nostalgia.
Easier gameplay compared to Awakening, a lot more accessible.
Empowered female roles.
A huge cast of interesting characters
Lots of pro-family goodness.


Very sexualized, revealing armor and body-types for female characters
Includes a gay marriage (male in conquest, female in birthright)
A somewhat convoluted timeline, really not sure who was the parent of who, but there is time travel which ruins everything.
Almost an overload of characters.
Ritual suicide (samurai story's expected.)
Personally the cutesie "bonding time" with your spouse is weird to me. Are we having sex? Is that what we're doing? I can't tell! I'm glad I can't tell, but seriously weird and oddly uncomfortable, but I'm uncomfortable with any affection from game characters anyway. I'll have to write about it later or something.
Suggested Incest? I think you can "marry" your blood siblings. Unless there's a story point that means you're not related to EITHER family. (Looking through walkthrough: spoiler not blood related but still very very very weird.)


I think this iteration can be passed over. The gameplay is similar to the last one but it's not super great. The fact you have to buy two games is rough. Personally, I like the Conquest storyline better. (Because personally, I'd feel more loyalty to the people I grew up with.) However, Awakening was a better experience for me.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter, Remakes, and New Games

Happy Easter! I'm back from my lovely vacation with my family. Had a great time meeting my nephew. I love him so.

 So I've dusted off my gamecube after 4 years of not turning it on. The HD remake of Twilight Princess got me feeling nostalgic. I don't have an HD tv...I don't really see much of a difference between SD and HD because of my vision issues. But I also got really nostalgic and part way through my twilight princess, I started up ocarina of time and played that.

That game is real hard on me sometimes. I was swearing a LOT in frustration. (I'm bad about that. Mostly F-bombs. After falling off a ledge for like the millionth time.)
In comparison, TP is so much easier. :) It was the game that got me back into gaming so it holds a special place in my memories. The beginning is always my favorite part.

I want to play Majora's Mask again too. But I'm tempted play it on my 3ds, but I won't. I own the game already. I don't like to buy remakes if I have the console.

I've also been playing Fire Emblem: Fates. It's...interesting so far. Not sure if I like it as much as Awakening, but I am glad weapons don't keep breaking. Currently playing the Conquest storyline. I'll make a game thoughts on it later.

So that's what's been on my plate. Nostalgia, a good easter holiday...oh and a job promotion.