Posted in Gaming, Steam Challenge

Steam Challenge: Doki Doki Literature Club

Game: Doki Doki Literature Club (Free!)
Time: 4.1 hours (+time spent on YouTube watching alternate endings and Streamers scaring themselves silly)

Doki Doki Literature Club is a psychological horror game pretending to be a cute, cheerful visual novel dating sim. Well, actually, it doesn’t even pretend… you have to agree to a disclaimer before you play the game:

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I went into this game fully aware it was a horror game, but without any details about the story itself. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone (seriously, go into this one blind if you’re going to play it), so this post will be a mostly spoiler-less review (with the exceptions of a few warnings at the end).

Last week, in a post, I said:

This week, I’m also slowly playing through Doki Doki Literature Club… which is a free visual novel I wanted to try just because people have said it’s downright disturbing. I guess I haven’t gotten to the disturbing part yet. I’ll keep you posted!

So, yeah, here it is.

Late Friday night, I decided to make a midnight snack. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to keep going in DDLC since I didn’t feel like playing something more intense so late at night.

M̱̫i͏̱̲͕̺̟ͅͅst͚̙ͅa̻̪̫̦k̩̼̘̘̙e̝͝s̤̝͍̜̪ w͕̤e̻͕͙̺r̭e ͉̟̳͚m̩͖̖̩a̶d̸͉̠̪̼̣͎e̹̲̞̠̝̲ͅ.͏͙̯

Half an hour later, I was so creeped out I had to shut the game off and take comfort with a purring cat on my lap. Even then, I went to sleep with the lights on. I beat the game the next day (I didn’t get the best ending — I looked it up on YouTube because I refused to play it again), and the freaking theme song is still in my head three days later.

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While there’s not so much a plot, so to speak, the concept and originality of this game just blew me away. I didn’t even get the good ending, but man… what an experience. Props to the dev.

Th̜͈͇̝̳̤i̝s͎ ̛̲̯̙g͖̣̪̙̭͠a͚̠̪͍ͅm͎̺̺̙̹̜͞e͓̖̬̞͢ ̥̯̥̩̝̙i̗̮͕̟͉̥͘s ͉̦̤̲̺h͜a̰ùn͍͓̞̻t͜in̳͚̻̦̣̤̦g̯̱ ̺me̱̱.̘̦̭͈̞̖ ̦̜̦I͉͉̱͟ ̡͔͓͎̠h̟̹͎͍͎o̡̩͉̘p̬̮͈̪̜̀e̶̮͈̰̘͖ ͚̖̥̯w̥͖ri͓̟̮̜̟ṭ͙̱͚̘̳͓i͞ng̀ ̴̼a҉b͎o̴u̘̥͟t̨̰̝͍̦̳̙̫ ̝i̩͓̞̰̟̗t̡͙̫̻ ̳w̫̬͎͠i͜l̦̲ḻ ͎̘͓͞m̥̞̠̩̥͇͍á̯k̟̪̰e̞ ̱͠i̦̦̰t̞͚̟̜͘ͅ ̮̗̯͘g̣͚̩̜ơ̹̰ ̣̣͎̠͝ąw̴̲͇a̘͕̯͞y̶̬̙̰̦͔̖̟.̮̪̲̯̹̹͞ ̝͇̱̖̜͖̜

Granted, your mileage may vary. I like horror. But standard jump scares and zombie stuff doesn’t bother me much. I get a quick scare and it’s over.

Psychological horror on the other hand — you know, when fear is generated by good use of tension, suspense and disarming sound/visuals — that will get me so badly every time. Creepy things. Subtle and out of the norm, building over time. That’s when your own imagination amplifies your internal fear and expectations.

T͍h̟̹͎͉͕͍̙͝a̮t͇̜̹̖ ̹͍̮͍͓͈̳͝s̘̼͍t͍͕̭͖ͅa̙̜̼͡y̻s̬͍͎͍͇ ̴͖̘̤̙w̖̜̪͚̜i̦̤̩̩͍t̗̝̝h͈̼̮͖̜̭͔ ̞͚̮̪͉m͏͉e̞̱̟̞͕̣.͇͙̭͘ͅ ̣̯͖̩̘

This game built suspense and expectations very well. It’s slow to get rolling, but for a good reason.

The first hour and a half or so, it establishes a baseline of “normalcy” so you can identify when the game turns everything you thought you knew inside out. Once the switch is flipped, you can’t go back. You can only go deeper down the rabbit hole.

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So if you’re playing this game and it doesn’t feel like it’s getting anywhere, stick with it. Pay attention, even to what seems like just a normal dating sim. Details are important.

This game goes very deep. Check out the wiki for Easter eggs once you’ve finish it. And do yourself a favor – either play for the good ending (it’s not obvious how to get this) or watch the good ending on YouTube. You’ll feel better about it if you do.

I’m going to recommend this game to people who enjoy this kind horror or want to see how a well-crafted game can break genre and gaming conventions. It’s a free game, though you can support the dev by purchasing the DLC fan pack if you decide to.

However, I want to put some serious warnings along with my recommendation.

Warnings

If you are strongly emotionally effected by topics like depression, self-harm, or suicide, or you’re just easily disturbed, please do not play this game.

Spoilerish warning: Know that this game will write and manipulate files on your computer. I wasn’t aware of this before I played it, and I know some people feel strongly against this. I will say that this was harmless (it only manipulated files — mostly .txt, .chr and image files — within its Steam game folder), and it was part of the game play that you were aware of it happening. (Oh man, was it creepy.)

Recommended:

yes Yes – but please take all the warnings and disclaimers seriously.

J͔͑̓̄̄͊͋ͭu̷̟̘͍̐͛ͣͯ͒͛̃s̲̯͉̝͔͓̭̈ͭt̵̺͎̣͛ ̲͇̯̬ͣ͐M̑̆ö͔̣̠̘̲͈͓́̂̈́ṋ͕̺͙̙̾͝ͅi͔̋͂̓ͫ̽̚k̞͍̹̳̞͐͒̄̎ͤ̂̀aͧ͂͆͊̇ͭ.̖̙̝̼̝͈̞̈̌͆̍̃͋̎͠ ̥̐̽͐ͫ̓̑̕

Posted in Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs

GW2: Time to Talk About Mount Skins

I really have tried to avoid writing this post. I’ve bottled up my feelings about what’s been happening around GW2 and selling mount skins in the Gem store. But, it’s bugging me. I need to get it off my chest…  Mostly because I’m starting to feel a little like I was duped.

Let me explain. This could get long.

Continue reading “GW2: Time to Talk About Mount Skins”

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Tales from the FATE Finder – I’ll Cushion You!

I can’t call this a Tales from the Duty Finder, because this didn’t happen in a dungeon/duty environment.  However, it put a big smile on my face, so I thought it was worth telling.

Starting yesterday, FFXIV brought back the Dragon Quest crossover event, Breaking Brick Mountains. My two main characters already completed this back in the day, so they had all the rewards. But I have a slew of alts who never got the King Slime Crown, and that needed fixing!

I did the event three times last night for a few of my alts — I took the lower leveled ones in first so that they’d have a bunch of other people with them to do it. Not that it’s that hard. It’s a level 7 quest and all you have to do is complete two back-to-back FATES that sync you down to level 12.

In fact, the most time you spend in this event is waiting on the FATEs to pop. Sure, there are several zones where these FATEs happen… But the truth is, the majority of people pile onto the spot in Central Thanalan since it’s the closest to the quest giver location… and most players, by default, will choose the path of least effort. Myself included. 😀

The first two times I did this FATE, it took about 20 minutes for it to spawn. Not great, but I could live with it. When I got to my lala, Hedge Mouse, I swear I waited 45 minutes or more.

This gathered a huge crowd of folks, just waiting. Some were patient. Some Mandervilled. Some were queued for other things while hoping to do this in between.

Bored, and with the lack of dances on an alt, I had Hedge use the /playdead emote.  Which, on a male lala is the butt-up-in-the-air face-plant pose.

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As seen on the left…

While I was laying there in /playdead, and almost giving up on the FATE spawn, an unknown lala (named Bearclaw Neko) walked over and stood on top of Hedge. At first, I was… concerned… with what she had in mind to do since poor Hedge Mouse was lying quite prone.

Then, the most adorable thing happened. She made a summon motion with her hands, and a Plush Cushion minion appeared under him!

She had given poor Hedge a pillow to lie on!!!

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I was completely beside myself as she walked away and left it there for me. I wanted to do something to let her know this was the cutest thing I’ve seen all week, but I was scared to move and ruin it. I squeed and took screenshots instead.

I probably should have whispered her something, but she was queued in Duty Finder, and vanished a few minutes later. She’ll probably never see this post, but if she does, I’d love her to know that she made my night.

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(The FATE popped shortly after, btw.)

Posted in Gaming

November Gaming Goals in Review

November has come and gone. What a crazy month this has been for me with an unexpected NaNoWriMo and holidays beginning! With all that writing done, I’m back to blogging more regularly.

I did manage to squeeze in a few of my goals this month, while knocking out one major goal that I didn’t even have on the list (cuz I didn’t think it would happen this month): Obtaining my Griffon mount in GW2.

Here’s what I’ve got:

FFXIV Goals

  • Level Paladin (Beast Tribes/Quests/Hunts) ✓
  • Level Machinist (Alliance Raid Roulette) ✓
  • Level Crafters
  • Clean up Stormblood quests ✓

I’ve not spent a whole lot of time in FFXIV this month, but when I did, I was pretty focused on leveling Paladin and Machinist. Paladin is at level 64, mostly through beast tribe quests and cleaning up quests around the Ruby Sea. I’ve been leveling my Machinist by running alliance raid roulettes, though this has been a casual thing. The idea here is to be able to share gear with my Bard, who is already level 70, and clear up some space.

My crafters got ignored again this month. I have a feeling it’s going to be a while before I get the motivation to really work on crafting. Part of me is hoping for a crafting Beast Tribe quest to ease the leveling pain.

Switch Goals

  • Play Mario Odyssey ✓
  • Beat 3rd Divine Beast in BotW
  • Complete Octopath Traveller demo (In Progress)

I didn’t do so well on making my Switch goals, but it looks worse than it really is. A number of new games, such as Farming Simulator and Monopoly, caught my attention instead of the ones on my goal list.

I did progress a bit in Mario Odyssey — I got to Lake Kingdom. Yeah, not too much further, but it’s progress, right. I really like the aesthetics of this kingdom (a lot more than the desert one) so I hope I’ll be able to pick this up more over the holidays.

I didn’t touch BotW at all again. Curse it!

And while I didn’t complete Octopath Traveller’s demo, I did start it, and have really enjoyed what I’ve played of it. I’ll write about that when I’ve spent more time with it.

Steam Goals

I actually did pretty well with my Steam goals.

Granted, I did pick up a couple games during the fall Steam sale, but looking back over this whole year, I’m proud to announce that I’ve only bought 4 Steam games the entire 2017 year. And of the 4 Steam games I bought, I’ve played 3 of them!  I haven’t gotten around to the 4th game yet because I’m already involved in another visual novel. But I plan to get to it.

I think part of it is because my new game purchases have shifted to the Switch this year. Now it’s my Switch backlog I need to worry about!

Anyhow. Steam goals.

  • Try 1 Steam game from my backlog each week ✓

This did happen, though I haven’t blogged about every game I’ve tried yet.

The first week, I played through Oxenfree, which I really enjoyed.

Due to popular vote, the second week I dedicated to playing Back to the Future Part 1. I’m in the middle of Part 2 in the series, but I’m running low on steam (pun intended). I still think the game is enjoyable, but I’m having trouble focusing on it with so many other games trying to get my attention. I’m going to stick with it, though.

On week 3, Syn and I picked up Portal Knights. I’ve put about 6 hours into it, and while there’s a lot more to explore, I feel like I can probably write up a first impressions post about it soon.

This week, I’m also slowly playing through Doki Doki Literature Club… which is a free visual novel I wanted to try just because people have said it’s downright disturbing. I guess I haven’t gotten to the disturbing part yet. I’ll keep you posted!

Posted in Writing

I Did Something Stupid (And Succeeded!): NaNoWriMo

So I just completed NaNoWriMo for 2017, despite the fact that I started it halfway through the month – dumb thing to do. I won’t say it was all easy going, but I’m glad I took the dive into exploring this world, characters and story.

Last week, when I puttered out and skipped writing on Thanksgiving, I started wondering if I’d make it at all. I almost put off the final 1K words until tomorrow, but decided just to push on and get it all done tonight.

I feel like this is a pretty good point to pause in my writing, anyhow, as I’ve chewed through most of my loose plot-plans already. I need to really think about some of the developments I’m going to mess with the next stretch of the story. I’m not done with writing by a long shot, but I really do need a rest after all that. Whew!

Posted in Gaming, Mobile Gaming

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Ambivalence

In a previous post, I noted that Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp was one of my anticipated games of this month. So now that it’s actually released, and I’ve spent some time with it, how do I feel about it?

Well, it’s complicated.

It’s not complicated for the reason you might think, either. I’m really not bothered by the micro transactions in this game. They’re background noise, things that don’t tempt me in the slightest, because I’ve already seen them in so many different games in so many different forms.

I think what bothers me is that in order to squish Animal Crossing into an app, they had to cut a lot of what made Animal Crossing what it was. Now, I never expected this to be on par with a real Animal Crossing game, but it feels like an app dressed up in Animal Crossing cuteness, but lacking everything inside that mattered.

On Rails Experience

I was thinking about this last night, and I came to the conclusion that what made Animal Crossing so magical was in how the game changes. These are sometimes tiny changes. Sometimes they’re big changes.

The town changes. You unlock something new to build. A new shop appears. Something becomes upgraded.

The hour changes. Different theme song plays.

The season changes. First snowfall. Flowers of spring.

Your relationships change. People come and go.

Animal Crossing is meant to be a dynamic miniature world. What kept me hooked was those tiny changes.

The problem with Pocket Camp is that the experience is completely on rails. By the time I met the third animal, I knew the pattern. It’s the same every time.

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Meet them and talk to them for the first time to get level 1. Talk to them again. Give them stuff three times. This always gets them to level 3. You can’t give them anything else after that until they either move to a new location or you use a ticket to get more fetch quests.

Then, once you work up their friendship to the right level, you grind out the furniture they want, and prompt them visit your camp. They always come to your camp as long as you checked off all the prerequisites. Again, an on-rails list.

Sure, some animals need a higher friendship rank to entice to your camp. But that’s just the same conversation and fetch quests more times.

What’s worse, is sometimes the dialogue is also repeated across animals of the same personality types. So they don’t even have that much difference between them.

Lack of Heart

Let’s not talk about how little life the animals have. If they’re in your camp, they’re only doing one thing or interacting with one object until “move time” comes. If they’re out on an island, they’re just standing there waiting for you to give them stuff and talk to them.

In Animal Crossing, animals would be wandering around all the time. They might talk with each other. Go fishing. Go shopping. Just go missing for a while.

And when you talked to them, you had a wide variety of interactions with them every time. Sometimes they just talked with you. Sometimes they gave you things or sold you things. Sometimes they gave you multiple choice questions that made you reflect on your state of life. Sometimes they sent you on fetch or give quests. Heck, they even played hide and seek with you.

There’s nothing of that in Pocket Camp. You can’t even interact with animals in your friends’ camps either, which really bugged me. I’d love to meet and talk to those animals, but the app restricted it.

Yeah, the lack of interactions with friends, too, is really sad.

What It Does Well

So, despite all the negatives I listed above, I keep playing it. I know exactly why, too.

It’s cute. It’s so, so cute. They got the Animal Crossing outer trappings looking great.

It’s mobile. I have all my Animal Crossing pals in a little personal camp I take everywhere with me. (Note: I feel a connection to these specific animals because I made relationships with them in previous AC games, not in this game.)

You collect and craft. Animal Crossing is all about collecting. Fishing and bug catching have all translated well into the app. I do enjoy collecting. I like the addition of crafting to the game. I don’t even care if it has timers on it.

Decorating. They’ve taken the updated system from AC: Happy Home Designer and used it here. It’s a good system, and I appreciated when they updated New Leaf with it. It makes decorating simple. This game thrives on simple.

Islands. I think using islands as a way of focusing on specific things (bug catching, salt water fishing, freshwater fishing, etc) is a good idea in a mobile setting. I wish the islands were a lot bigger though. Everything feels so cramped.

Camper customization. I like that they included a little area all your own in the way of a camper that you can expand and decorate.

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Soooo… anyhow. I’m not giving up on Pocket Camp, yet. I want to see what they’re going to do for the holidays, for one thing.

Not to mention, this is a very young app that may have functionality added to it in time. What’s there works well and looks cute. But what’s there right now just isn’t really an Animal Crossing experience.