Open Thread

Open Thread #260

The Open Thread is a place for open discussion among my readers. Post anything you feel like sharing! From now on, the Open Thread will no longer be monthly. Instead, there will be a new Open Thread whenever it is adequate. The stage is yours. Go ahead!

The latest Open Thread is made ‘sticky’ to improve access.

Please consider throwing a few coins into the tip jar, and buy my books! They are great. Your support is greatly appreciated.

102 thoughts on “Open Thread #260

    1. I knew one of those before/after images. On a related note, there was a Jewish movement in architecture in Europe, which started in the 1920s, to destroy the beautiful facades of historical buildings. There is even a German Wikipedia entry on it: This article is misleading and does not even mention the key term that was used back then. This defacement of some of our most beautiful buildings was called “Entschandelung”, which is a neologism that is constructed as the opposite of “Verschandelung” (lit. defacement). Thus, the very act of defacing, by ripping off the facade of a building, was turned into its inverse by claiming that the facade itself defaces those buildings.

      It is also noteworthy that the National Socialists used “Entschandelung” as a term for harmonizing the architecture of various historical streets. An example is here; the top image is the redesign. I wonder why this term was turned on its head by a particular group.

    2. Aaron,
      I never quite understood why Gov wants to destroy anything that is beautiful. Isn’t diversity related to destroying structures that are historical and beautiful?

    3. The goal is that you should have nothing grand to look at that could remind you of your own history and culture. Pickernanny mentioned brutalism, and I think you brought it up as well in the past. This kind of architecture is supposed to case you stress and discomfort. It is different for the people who do this to us because they live in beautiful mansions. I am sure they find great amusement when they tear down a beautiful 18th-century building, replacing it with a misshapen block of concrete and tell you that this is prize-winning architecture.

    4. I wish I could find the images of Jewish “architecture” where it looks as though they inserted an actual gigantic tumor or virus right in the middle of some buildings. It’s like they’re literally spreading a sickness. Do you know what I’m referring to? Btw, that’s crazy you recognized one of those before and afters, or just the new building itself. Makes me wonder how much has been lost.

    5. Alright, so I can’t actually confirm that these atrocious designs are the result of Jewish architects, but if anyone knows the names of these buildings then it should be easy enough to figure out. Either way, these designs are rather telling, as the anon poster hypothesizes:

    6. Even if the architects were not all Jewish, they got exposed to a lot of subversive garbage that formed their view on their discipline. This is similar to how the centuries-long tradition of classical music was broken in the early 20th century (this is a prime reason why Wagner was so hated, as he opposed this development). The universities were taken over, and suddenly you had professors teach students about “atonal music” instead of how to write symphonies. The same happened in art.

      I was not familiar with all the buildings in the image you linked to. Certainly, the accompanying comment is very well written. This kind of architecture is a genuine societal and cultural cancer. By the way, Jewish museums often have absolutely hideous architecture. Just look at the Jewish museum in Berlin, or anything else the Jewish architect Daniel Libeskind designed. He creates one eyesore after another.

    7. “This is similar to how the centuries-long tradition of classical music was broken in the early 20th century (this is a prime reason why Wagner was so hated, as he opposed this development). The universities were taken over, and suddenly you had professors teach students about “atonal music” instead of how to write symphonies.”

      I had a conversation with a young man a little while back who is attending a pretty decent music university in Texas. He was sharing with me some of his favorite composers and he actually had some really great tastes. He went into discussing music theory and stuff and actually brought up the atonal aspects of the curriculum he was being taught, and I could tell some of that garbage had somewhat been accepted by him. The name Arnold Schoenberg came up, and I actually recognized it from some research I was prompted to undertake after one of our talks where you discussed this very subject of atonality.

      What little I sampled of Schoenberg’s “works” on youtube were utter garbage. And honestly, I’ve listened to some metal music before that has utilized atonal methods in a very interesting way, but in those examples they usually resolve the tension satisfyingly. With Schoenberg, what I heard sounded like random madness. It didn’t take much convincing from my end to persuade my acquaintance to see things my way. I don’t see how anyone with decent musical sensibilities could take crap like that seriously, if not other than a morbid curiosity.

    8. Do those Metal bands really use atonal music or instead just play with dissonant notes or chords? The latter is a stylistic choice that has little to do with atonal music, in my opinion. (I think there is even a track in the FF IX soundtrack that uses atonal notes for effect.)

      During and after the destruction of classical musical education in the West, the Jews claimed that we needed to “mature” to really understand atonal music and that someday, even postmen will whistle Schoenberg’s compositions. This is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever come come across. As bizarre as it may sound, I heard a highly educated idiot make this very statement in real life, and he seemed completely serious. Well, it has been about a hundred years, and we still have not evolved sufficiently enough to truly appreciate Schoenberg’s crap, just like our aesthetic sense towards architecture has not developed either as we still find brutalism repulsive. It somewhat reminds me of the problem of Socialism that likewise never works, even though it is promoted and defended relentlessly. It clearly seems that we goyim need a proper reeducation to make the world a better place.

    9. There’s a clear difference in intent when an honest musician chooses to create resolvable tension in the listener vs when the intent is to destroy an entire industry. In gaming, an entire different industry, CDPR made the witch trio in The Witcher 3 horrific for effect, yet the game offers many opportunities to undress and bed sexy women. Now they just want to make it where there is no beauty in gaming. Btw, I’m going to give Square Enix the benefit of the doubt here. I have no interest in FFVII remake, but at least the women in that game are hot. I can appreciate the backlash they’re getting for a homogenous XVI, and I’d bet money there will be some hot waifus in the game. I’m for sure going to keep an eye out for this game. Maybe they’ll hit a home run this time. With FFXI, RE4, Zelda all coming out, 2023 might be a considerably better year. 2022 seems to have overall been one of the worst years in gaming history.

    10. The three witches in the bog in The Witcher III made a great impression precisely because they are disfigured, in a world in which there is no shortage of beauty. This was an incredible quest.

      FF XVI looks pretty great, and the director doubling down on homogeneity (!) is a great sign. Perhaps this game will be the JRPG counterpart to The Witcher III in terms of cultural impact. The Witcher III is seven years old and people still talk about it. Yet, the last few Final Fantasy games home come and gone. Probably the last game in this series that made a genuine splash was FF X, which came out over twenty years ago.

  1. @Pickernanny
    I recently read up on the differences between the original Resident Evil 2 and its remake. To my great surprise, the remake removes a lot more content than I had assumed. In the original, there are two interconnected campaigns, which show what happens to the other protagonist. In contrast, in the remake, the only differences are in the very beginning and end, whereas there are no differences in all the rest. It seems that the implication is that both campaigns play out in parallel universes, seeing that there is one NPC that is killed in both campaigns, and there is no explanation, be it logical or nonsensical, provided for this by the game itself.

    1. Yes, I’ve played all 4 scenarios and only two are totally worth it. In the original you have Leon and Claire’s “A Scenario” on separate discs. When you completed one scenario you were prompted to perform a save, which unlocks the B scenario on the opposite disc. There were neat little consequences built in, for example, in one instance you were faced with the decision to take either an extra items side pack or a submachine gun. You could take one or both (or maybe none), but if you took both then the opposite character’s B scenario left them with nothing. There was also a secret door at the end that required a 2 step unlocking process, so it had to be initiated in scenario A and completed in scenario B to finally gain access to it. The remake had none of these consequences built in.

      I’m quite certain that in the remake they originally planned for only a single Claire and Leon play through. However, there was a lot of backlash and I think they decided to half ass it and cram in the B scenarios, and it does show up like you said with what seems to be parallel universes playing out. I actually wish they hadn’t done this and instead made a throughly mapped out Leon and Claire scenario that made more logistical sense. I would say play Claire’s A scenario first, then go for Leon’s B scenario and that should be pretty satisfying. There are just some things that will not line up though, like Mr. X being killed off in Claires play through, yet being a threat to Leon all the way near the end. It’s not a perfect remake at all especially from a narrative perspective, but still a pretty decent and fun survival horror game. One of the best in a long time.

      I’m curious to see how they handle Leon moving forward, because they made him too naive and kind of unbelievable in REmake 2. Though the voice acting is better in this game, it’s kind of drastic how some of the character’s personalities got shifted. Claire and Ada are probably pretty true to form, but Leon, Chief Irons and Anette Berkin just come off as sort of odd and ultimately portrayed more poorly.

    2. It seems likely that Capcom intended to only have one scenario in the RE 2 remake. This is not the first time they reacted to external feedback. In my view, Resident Evil 5 would have been a much better game without that braindead African AI sidekick, which was added so that Chris Redfield would not be perceived as a racist, white colonizer shooting down black zombies. RE VII presumably got the third-person DLC as a response to fans wanting to play this game in that perspective, and the result is not great. Did the RE 4 remake not also get expanded to cover all areas of the original?

    3. “Did the RE 4 remake not also get expanded to cover all areas of the original?”

      I assume you meant RE 2 remake? There are a lot of similarities between Leon and Claire’s campaign, but only the beginning of the B scenario is significantly altered really. The biggest differences between their A/B campaigns are the extra playable characters and the final confrontations as well as how they end up navigating to the underground getaway train. At one point, Leon takes a bullet for Ada and faints, at which point you assume control of her for about 20-30 minutes. With Claire, there is a segment where you must control the little girl, Sherri Berkin, and escape from Chief Irons. Then their insertion into the sewer section have different methods, but that’s mostly it. Honestly, if they had just created a Claire A and Leon B instead of a Claire A/B and Leon A/B, it would have been perfectly fine and could have been much easier to make a coherent narrative given their development window.

      They didn’t end up cutting any areas in the overall remake. There were some city segments in the very beginning that got cut, except they repurposed them midway through as you make your way from the police station into the sewers, so they are technically there just later on instead of at the beginning. However, some areas got redesigned for better or worse. I think the the sewer section was definitely an overall improvement hands down, as there is much more content to explore and a really nice chess puzzle. The lab redesign is debatably as good or maybe a little worse. The iconic police station, though, is kept virtually recognizable and true to form, with some new areas and added content.

      REmake 3 is a different story. There is nothing recognizable about this “remake”. They should have just called the game something else maybe.

    4. I meant the RE 4 remake. When it was first shown, there was some commotion online, with people speculating that the game will not be nearly as comprehensive as the original one. I recall that Capcom originally referred to it as a “reimagining” of their iconic game. A while later, however, Capcom came out and said that all regions of RE 4 will be in the remake, too. This could very well mean that they put in some content again which they had cut during development. In any case, this response struck me as pretty reactive. They could as well have told fans that they “honor their legacy” or that they “will be delighted” with the game.

      I did not know that Sherri Berkin was an NPC in RE 2. Capcom retconned her into RE 6 as a blonde, big-boobied slut. This could not happen nowadays.

    5. Oh, I’ve not heard of any of this. I don’t know, man. I’m not getting my hoped up this time. I’m sure they probably learned their lesson with RE3, but mistakes can still be made. It’ll most likely be a fun and playable game, I just think it’ll disappoint in some ways. We already know Ashley got nerfed, which is a damn shame because now we have all this awesome hardware and the software to make hyper gorgeous women but ironically may never get it this generation. I just thought, what if the stellar gameplay trailer we recently got for RE4 was what the devs knew the fans would react to ecstatically and make them run and grab pre-orders, but then they just end up getting baited and switched to some degree or another?

      I had no idea Sherry Berkin was featured in RE6. I really didn’t enjoy what I played of it at all so I never made it that far, haha. I can really appreciate the booby physics in that clip, though. This is what we instead got for RE7:

    6. Well, on PC you can thankfully mod characters, but this has limits. You may get to swap one of the main characters with a hot one, yet this does not help much if every other female in the game is butt ugly. With RE 4, this would work as there is only one female with significant screen time in the game, but in an RPG with dozens of minor and major characters, it would be futile to wait for a mod.

      It’s a good point that the RE 4 remake trailer is a bait-and-switch. Sony did the same with The Last of Us II. Ken Levine, who happens to be Jewish, boasted about misleading the audience into believing that Joel would be a major character in this game. [EDIT: I meant Neil Druckmann, who also happens to be a Jew. Ken Levine is, according to himself, an “atheist”, yet managed to cram an excessive amount of anti-gentile propaganda into his Bioshock games.]

      The RE 7 chick looks really plain. Then again, the current standard is that butch in Horizon and compared to her, she is almost attractive. Then again, it would have taken Capcom just as much time to put a hot slut into this game.

    1. That Perturbator track is nice. It really catches the spirit of the 80s with a dark twist to it. It’s nice to look at the club footage in the Terminator and see it around 99% white. When I was around 4 or 5 years old I used to watch Terminator 2 on repeat. It was my favorite movie and I must’ve seen it several dozen times before. Back then I wasn’t really able to filter the bullshit, though. It must have been a hard sell to older audiences to convince them that some black dude invented the Skynet processor thing. Actually, it’s kind of odd that they’d paint a black man as the guy responsible for nuclear armageddon. Which, btw, with that AK video, some of that footage literally looks like black armageddon. Weird.

    2. Rewatching your favorite movies from the 1980s can be quite enlightening. I find it the chutzpah of Hollywood quite remarkable. The silliest tropes were pushed, such as having a white/black pair of protagonists, where the black guy is often the really witty one whereas the white guy is short of words if not a bit dumb.

      In Greek mythology, there is the pattern that their oracles speak in ambiguous terms, like the oracle of Delphi telling some ruler that he will “destroy a great empire” if he starts a war. The outcome was that he ended up destroying his own empire. Similarly, Hollywood prophecies may not quite play out as imagined. The Hollywood elites wanted blacks to play a more important role in society. They envisioned a black high-IQ engineer developing SkyNet, and what we instead got were millions of out-of-control blacks ransacking our cities. To add another facet to this pattern, as you point out, the token black guy in Terminator 2 was supposed to be displayed as a genius, not as the destroyer of the world. This is not quite unlike a truth seeker asking the Gods for X, not realizing that X will also lead to the very undesirable outcome Y. They are doing the same with diversity hiring, which has the effect that women and minorities are taken less seriously in the workplace.

    3. I wonder if the phrase “be careful what you wish for” stems from this phenomenon. Some people might have learned the importance of wording their desires carefully at some point. An art that seems lost among the modern masses. If you are able to clearly identify a goal and write the end result down clearly and concisely, you’re probably way ahead of the average person. But what do I know?

    4. This phrase, which does not seem to get much usage nowadays, might be related to this phenomenon, but it is used more generally and not just in situations where you get a wish granted by fate that is the interpretation of an ambiguous desire. It is more commonly used in situations where people might not realize the risks and potential consequences their desires entail, e.g. wanting to bang a lot of chicks can lead to meeting psychos who cause a scene at your place of work or some chick might trap you with a baby. Another good example is when people who do not have the right personality type want to go into management. This is a particular problem in Engineering. The situation is so bad that it has become a cliche to “try management in order to become a better engineer”, when in reality this just means that those people were not a good fit for this role.

    5. The negative outcomes involved with the limited success I’ve had with women weren’t even all that massive, but just the way they many tend to wrack your nerves has been extremely off putting. There’s this chick I work with at the moment and I haven’t even slept with her (nor am I trying to). She’ll gaslight me on a regular basis. She’s moved my belongings such as car keys and cell phone to slightly different locations over two dozen times. Once I even spent about five minutes looking for my keys before I could leave the building to head home. Imagine actually being married to such a chick. A man would no doubt go crazy!!

    6. Women moving your things is extremely annoying even when they do not do it just to gaslight you. Some women move your keys or other important items, which you may habitually keep in one particular place all the time, somewhere else on a whim, or because it fits her aesthetic preferences better. This is truly maddening. Of course, it is worse if she forgets where she put your things, or if she tries to guilt-trip you by asking you whether you “don’t want a tidy home” or other such nonsense, in order to distract from the root of the problem, which is her meddling with your routines.

  2. Any of you guys knowledgeable on “Mewing?” Honestly,from what I can understand,its just training people to learn to breathe deeply through the nose in their daily life rather than through the mouth. And this will result in the effect of your jaw developing in a good way. Of course,whether or not it really works (especially for fully grown adults) is subject to a lot of debate in the community. But it seems proper Meditation practice achieves this as a side effect anyway.

    More reason to get young kids into Meditation (and lifting. To start training properly and consistently along with eating right starting pre-puberty is the closest you’ll get to the natural version of being on steroids,hehe) I suppose,haha.

    1. Mewing is either fully or almost fully bullshit. I have not even seen a shred of evidence or even just a rational explanation for why it should work for grown adults. Perhaps there is (very) limited efficacy for children, but even at that point most of the damage is already done. Kids have bad jaw lines and crooked teeth because they do not get breastfed and also because the food they eat is too soft. Remove bottle feeding, pacifiers, and garbage food, and people would, overall, have much less need for orthodontics.

    2. I had no idea that Pacifiers are actually bad for children. I think I’ll dig deeper into this topic later,but thanks for bringing it up.

      I had a love for meat growing up (I would probably be considered the devil in the eyes of many Vegans out there,lol) and that did involve persistently munching through harder meat parts on a somewhat regular basis. I’ve gone to dentists in the past and they’ve always complimented me on how I have “strong perfect teeth”. There’s not a single missing or damaged tooth on me even as we speak. I guess I should count myself lucky that I loved meat and didn’t have a sweet tooth at all back then and I rarely ever ate sweets. The only exception would Chocolate Milk drinks and the occassional Oreos to go with it.

      Although the one big downside to my nutrition back in the day was that I didn’t like eating Veggies and only learned how to enjoy eating them (Find Veggies that you actually enjoy eating,no need to force yourself to eat any specific Veggies because chances are,some other Veggie/Fruits can cover those nutrients as well) later in my life. That,couple with the fact that I wasn’t physically active outside of walking around for school errands and chores/tasks.

      We seem to share the viewpoint that the Mainstream Education System tends to actually hurt instead of help children. I strongly believe that school the way it is run in my country actually held me back from developing to the fullest. Pretty hard to find time and energy to lift and find a sport I actually enjoy when school unnecessarily eats up 10 hours of my entire day. (I believe the US Education is not as bad here,but comes rather close. I’m not kidding about that 10 hour figure. Going to school here is like a frigging 9-5 job. not to mention,completely counterproductive to getting complete daily sleep.) Even outside my own experience,mainstream school seems to significantly increase the chances of meeting up with bad influences who could sway you away from the right path. A lot of kids out there think its cool and edgy to be contrarian for the sake of it. I believe you’ve even written on the topic,about friends/family who will shame and make fun of you for trying to strive in life:

      I don’t know if you would agree with me here,Aaron. But I’ve honestly come to believe that 1-on-1 personal instruction with experts/professionals on various specific fields,is the best kind of Education System. To elaborate further,please read this reddit comment as I feel it gives a good description of the kind of system I’m talking about:

      You can get their”Socialization Needs” via Social clubs and hobbies. Besides,I feel you’re more likely to make real friends doing an activity you both enjoy rather than the forced association in school. I’ve met a lot of bullies and assholes in school (and many meet them in the workplace),but almost never in gyms and hobby groups.

      Of course,this is not something everyone can afford,but I do sincerely believe that,for many kids out there,unless you’re able to attend a truly outstanding school,this is the best way to go for Education. Its really hard to beat 1-on-1 personal instruction.

      Ok…I guess this topic kinda blew off in another direction here,lol. You’ve expressed concerns before about how to raise a daughter and prevent her from being negatively influenced by continuing degradation of society. Maybe this is your best chance of preventing that from happening should you do decide to do it in the future.

    3. Homeschooling, in particular if you have the means of hiring quality 1-to-1 instructors, is surely infinitely better than sending your children to a state school. In fact, interest in homeschooling has gone through the roof in countries that allow it, as the failings of public schools can no longer be papered over.

    4. In the past,I’ve always urged people that if they plan to have kids,they should make the effort to move to a country with an excellent school system. Finland as a primary example. The reason is because I strongly believe that a good/well-done school life serves as an important foundation for your children’s overall development.

      I’ve mentioned bad influence friends before. They really can ruin everything,probably more than anything else. I’ve watched my step sister for example start off as a decent,down-to-earth kid but once she transfered to a supposedly higher class school (A school I went to myself. “Private Schools” are not at all a guarantee of quality..),she began to…change. and not in a good way. Think degenerate with colored hair. stays up late partying,several “boyfriends”,has been involved in several dangerous altercations,and I highly suspect she isn’t even a virgin anymore despite being younger than 16 years old. (I’ve told her that how she lives her life is none of my business,just as long as she doesn’t get pregnant and pull the family down or put us in danger. so far,she’s honored her word there at least)

      Graned,its not as if her mother was anything close to a virtuous example herself (Yeah,dad has made quite his fair share of terrible choices…),but it really goes to show the power of peer pressure. I believe studies have actually shown that the kind of friends your child makes actually makes a bigger difference in their personal development than the parents themselves. At least the friends you make in the gym are much more likely to be on active self-improvement,and that may hopefully rub off on your kid.

      To use a less extreme example,I think we both agree that introducing Video Games,Social Media,and Smartphones too early into a child’s life is very detrimental to their development…but how do you keep them away from that stuff if almost certainly,their associates at school is going to be heavily into them? When I was in high school,it was not uncommon for my classmates to find ways to sneak in cellphones against the rules. That was before the invention of smartphones. I imagine the issue is probably even worse now.

      The Lucid Dreaming instructor I’m watching summed up Social Media and the Smartphone quite nicely…they are the opposite of Meditation. They actually kill your attention span and ability to focus. And those have a major influence on your ability to learn new things and acquire new skills.

      Although to tell you the truth,I can’t really blame them for doing that. When you rob kids of so much of their free time by forcing them to attend an unproductive 10 hours a day at school,can you really blame them for doing stuff like that so they have a way to have fun? That includes staying up late playing video games. I think you can go a long way into solving the bullying and hooliganism problem at our schools here just by cutting those hours in half (I think I’ve already mentioned elsewhere that standard school time in Finland is around 5 hours) and making the education process much more efficient.

      But 1-on-1 instruction I would say is superior to even the best public schools. I’m sure there are still bad influences even in Finland schools,and I’ve heard that bullying is still a major problem over there. (Which I’m not surprised to hear. Sadly,that’s not exactly an easily solvable issue.)

    5. Moving to Finland for its educational system may sound like a good idea on paper, but if you have no connection to its people and do not speak the language, you will face quite an uphill struggle. Your point about private education not necessarily being superior is very valid. I know people who went to boarding schools that cost tens of thousands of euros in tuition per year, yet the issue is that these schools primarily select based on parental income and not on merit. They also often have serious issues with behavior (hazing) and drug abuse. One of my friends summarized this dryly by stating that you know that you are attending an elite private school when the upperclassmen snort cocaine instead of smoking weed.

      Video games are an interesting topic. I got a Super Nintendo as a kid and most of the games I played were skill-based. This means that it was actually tiring to play them for long stretches of time. In contrast, today’s games are designed to numb you and demand little in terms of skills. This reminds me of a cynical video I came across a while ago where someone made the point that MMORPGs basically play themselves nowadays.

    6. Just to be clear,when I talk about *not allowing kids to get introduced to video games too early*,I’m not necessarily referring to age (although that can be a real factor here),but rather that you probably want your child to have had experience with a wide variety of fun and skill building pursuits/activities BEFORE video games.

      Just like you,I grew up in old school gaming era. I definitely agree that there are some real benefits to be had there in comparison to modern video games that essentially just babysit you. They were challenging and make no mistake,I got pretty good at them. I definitely do not regret my fond memories with games like Legend of Legaia,Crash Bandicoot,Brave Fencer Musashi,etc. (I owned a PS1 as a kid)

      The problem however was that I became so fixated on video games that I wasn’t willing to give anything else a chance back then. I’ve talked before about my negative experiences in the mainstream school system. That also happen to led to me having an initial negative experience with sports and physical activity. To summarize my experience,have you seen the toxic community in multiplayer games like DOTA? (People have gotten into fist fights and wrecked internet cafes over that game,JFC) Imagine that,but in PE. People feeling the need to treat a casual game in school as if we were competing in the NBA championships and be toxicly competitive,not even letting a beginner be a beginner and learn the ropes. I’m sure you can already imagine why little ol me had zero interest in sports back then given this initial exposure.

      I feel the issue with kids getting fixated on video games and not giving anything else a chance,aside from the physical activity,is that they’re wasting a prime learning period of their life. We just don’t have the ability to learn things as quick and efficiently (as long as we’re enjoying the process that is…) as we do when we were young. Its similar to what I said before that to begin resistance training properly and consistently at the start of puberty is probably the closest a person will ever experience to the natural version of being on steroids. Missing this window of opportunity is certainly not the end of the world,don’t get me wrong. But it certainly hurts to miss it.

      Furthermore,I feel you increase the chances of your child making the most of their experiences with video gaming if they already possess skills like Drawing,Animation,knowing how to play a music instrument (so they can replicate the beautiful music they hear in their favorite games,etc.),lucid dreaming,etc. I have seen some very beautiful works of fanart from niche’d gaming communities. You definitely want to give your kids the capability of being a “producer” in the communities they may wish to join. Its a very healthy exercise in creativity and general skill development/refinement.

      Those are my thoughts on this topic. I feel this route gives one the best chance of being able to raise someone into a well-balanced individual.

      The one possible exception might be certain multiplayer games/MMO’s. I feel like those kinds of games were designed precisely to be addictive and suck the money/time out of you as much as possible. Hamza for example has spoken about his experience with Runescape:

      While I disagree with Hamza on the overall bigger picture about his view that Video Games don’t have a place in a truly healthy lifestyle,I can understand why he came to that conclusion given his experiences. I think you get the most of practical benefits that video games could offer you via old school single player that are heavily based on story.

    7. More Clarification:

      To sum up my point,I feel that if a child already has had rich experiences with a wide variety of other challenging and skill-building activities (preferably one of them already becoming a passion),then I feel its more likely the introduction of video games will be a positive influence/addition to their lives rather than being a detriment. Because by that point,they will have first hand experiences of how hard work and delayed gratification can lead to great results.

      However,if Video Games are the very first thing a child experiences and becomes passionate about,I feel you reduce the chances of them giving other activities (especially sports) a shot. Old School Games are indeed challenging,but its not quite the same as learning to draw,play a musical instrument,or getting good at a vigorous sport,etc. There just isn’t that same level of time,effort,and emotional stake/frustration that comes with developing a real life skill. If you’ve ever cried while training a Martial Art because you just can’t seem to get a certain technique right despite hours of vigorous practice,you’ll know what I’m talking about. (Unless maybe we’re talking the hardest of the hard old school games like old Ninja Gaiden games or Silver Surfer for the NES,etc. or participation in speedrunning competitions. I’ve definitely seen people cry and scream out of frustration in those kinds of events,lol.) You can probably see how a child who has gotten used to video games too early can be scared away from pursuing these kinds of activities.

      I come to this conclusion based on my own childhood experiences. I definitely do not believe video games are an overall bad thing by any means,but its certainly something one can very easily become addicted to if one is not careful with their approach.

    8. Definitely don’t want your kids playing modern woke video games tor obvious reasons, nor do they need to be spending all day playing Fortnite when they need to instead be developing skills to help them survive and become independent in this world. Also, I don’t think having private access to a cellphone, tablet, or a laptop is a good idea (tap their devices with spyware at least). And streaming services are a no as well.

  3. Aaron,
    Have you ever seen the movie Blood in Blood out? Its about street gangs and crime drama in L.A. I don’t see Hollywood making movies like this anytime soon. Now, everything is woke and crap.

    1. While movies in the past were better than what is on now, they still had a lot of what I call “pre wokeness”. For example the scene you linked it to is clearly anti-white.

  4. I picked up Portal 1&2 for $1.98 total on Steam. You can breeze through them pretty quickly, and I see why they are so highly rated. They’re basically like FPS physics-based puzzle games with platforming elements, sprinkled with some dark humor and a little bit of narrative. These games were made by valve themselves, so I guess that means the Steam team created the franchise. I’d highly recommend them at $1 a piece. I wonder if the Half-Life series is worth getting into?

    1. Valve has a long history of almost giving away their games. Their biggest titles, Dota 2 and Counter Strike, are available for free, and it seems that Portal gets discounted every other week. Those games are pretty good, and I would definitely recommend playing them with a mouse or a similar input device. I originally played Portal on the Xbox 360, as part of the Orange Box compilation of Valve games. In the later levels, it is very difficult to move the reticle fast enough with the analogue stick. In contrast, with a mouse pointer, those challenges are trivial. Somehow, no reviewer pointed this out in their glowing 10/10 reviews for this compilation.

      I think that Half-Life is too outdated. I played Half-Life 1 after Quake, decades ago, and thought that it was not particularly good. Half-Life 2 I gave a spin perhaps ten years ago, with the conclusion that it does not hold up well. Your mileage may differ, but I found the game too slow-paced, and the lauded situational storytelling, with their guards that are supposed to look like nazi storm troopers, is about as subtle as the social engineering of our elites nowadays. Half Life 2 also has some really ham-fisted diversity garbage in it. Half-Life Alyx, their VR game, got stellar reviews, though, and it supposedly is the best, or one of the best, VR games. This could be interesting, but so far I don’t think there are any compelling reasons for getting a VR headset. (Normally, I would buy used hardware if I am not sure, but used headsets are probably about as hygienic as buying used underwear, with the added problem that you cannot properly clean the former.

    2. Thanks for your review of Portal and comments about Half-Life. Since I don’t care for VR gaming at the moment I’ll go ahead and skip all the Half-Life games based off your assessment. I checked the Nintendo store out of curiosity to see what Portal goes for on there. Right now, the bundle is 33% off from $20. Nintendo Switch is only relevant to me at all now in the sense that it has a few good exclusives titles. Their games are too damn expensive, and they never come down more than 5-10% on their exclusive games once in a blue moon. Speaking of Nintendo games, my buddy was telling me about Mario Maker 2 and how a fan spent years creating what is now dubbed Super Mario Bros. 5. A full play through of the 40 level creation can take several hours to complete.

    3. I understand why Nintendo keeps their prices for first-party games high, but for some reason third-party games cost a lost more on their platforms as well. This might be based on the assumption that their customers do not own multiple consoles, or a gaming PC. Also, if the “attach rate”, i.e. the number of games bought per customer, is quite low it would make more sense to try to maximize profits by higher prices. Well, this reminds me that the PlayStation became popular because you could easily mod it, and burn CDs yourself. While that kind of piracy seems to be harmful at first, a lot of people I knew back then ended up with sizable collections of store-bought games once they earned their own money, and this carried over to the PS2. In the SNES days, it seemed relatively rate that people had large game collections. Yet, during the PS2 era, I saw the occasional impressively large stack of game boxes.

      On a somewhat related note, there is a trend in gaming I find quite distasteful: inexperienced Western developers trying to cash in on nostalgia by buying stale IPs and pumping out sequels. Windjammers is a good example, but also Magical Drop, which I mentioned before. Just now I read about Magical Drop VI coming to Steam, and the high-res, low-detail graphics look like garbage. The art style is also heavily based on Magical Drop III.

    4. I did not know about the Mario Bros. 5 fan project. Here is a video, for anyone interested:

      Some of the ideas are interesting. I liked the Thwomp that chases the character, in particular because it normally tries to crash you by dropping onto you.

    5. I too was pretty impressed with some of the creativity in this fan made project. It appears that the courses start out pretty casual in the same vein that I remember the Super Mario World for the SNES, which is pretty neat.

      I found on the Switch store yesterday (I haven’t checked Steam) that there are several Puyo Puyo games for sale. For one, there is the Japanese version of Puyo Puyo 2 (I think) for free on the SNES emulator available on their online subscription. I played around with it for a few minutes. Then there is actual Puyo Tetris 1&2 for sale on the Switch store. Do you have any experience with this crossover?

    6. Puyo Puyo 2 (“tsu”) standardized the rule set of this game. Follow-up releases have added some bells and whistles to the rules, but the “tsu” ruleset is so popular that it is normally or always included. Even in Puyo Puyo Tetris you can select it. Maybe play the SNES version of Puyo Puyo 2 to see if the game clicks with you. As you can tell from the lessons plan I posted a while ago, this game that takes a bit of study, so don’t expect to get hooked within minutes. Quite frankly, it still has not clicked with me, and I have tried getting into it multiple times over the course of probably twenty years.

      I think I briefly mentioned Puyo Puyo Tetris before. The sequel does not seem to add much of value (fun fact: Sega sent me an invitation to a survey on the design of Puyo Puyo 2, which was under NDA. I knew about this game many months before any information was made publicly available.) I played between 150 and 200 hours of Puyo Puyo Tetris on Switch in total, which perhaps sounds ridiculous, but if this is your main game for months and you sit down to relax for half an hour to an hour every day or so, this adds up over time. Without wanting to boast, I was in the top 5 ranked players in Sweden (peak at #2 or #3) and the top 20 in Germany — in every Western country I checked, I was very comfortably in the top 0.5%. This game has a large Japanese fanbase, which skewed the numbers a bit, but I was still in the top 2% world wide and could hold my own against good Japanese players, with the obvious exception of the very elite players. I stopped playing when Nintendo started to charge for their online service. In my view, Puyo Puyo Tetris is only worth it if you enjoy playing online. The story mode is tedious. It tells a supposedly humorous anime story with two dozen characters, Puyo blobs, and Tetris blocks. Even worse is that some game modes do not work at all, as they try to mix the mechanics of both Puyo Puyo and Tetris, and you have to suffer through them, too.

      If you want to play Tetris, perhaps check out Tetris 99 (free on Switch Online) first. There is also Tetris: Effect, which focuses a bit too much on visual effects. In my view, the best Tetris game available for Switch right now is Tetris The Grandmaster, which was recently released as part of the Arcade Archives series. It costs just $8, and if it clicks with you, you will probably want to reach the Grand Master rank, which takes people normally about a year. Afterwards, people try to improve their time. There are some Japanese players who have been playing this game even since it came out. I have been playing it via emulation for years, and it is quite possibly my most played game overall — and if it is not this, then it’s the sequel.

    7. I just recalled that I sold my copy of Puyo Puyo Tetris via a classified ads site. The buyer happened to live in the same city. We chatted for a bit, and he told me that he used to be in the Swedish top 3 on Tetris DS. This was the first time I met a hardcore Tetris fanatic in real life (my wife plays well, too, though).

    8. Is the standard Puyo Puyo just not very enjoyable for you? I looked up the Steam version of Puyo Puyo Champions and the latest batch of reviews are quite mixed. Apparently, with the new update there has been a lot of issues with hacking, or something. That’s pretty incredible to hear about your standing in PPT! Did Sega happen to implement any of your suggestions for the sequel to your knowledge?

      I will look into playing PP2 for SNES atm as it is free and seems pretty solid. If I get good at the computer then I’ll consider perhaps playing PPC for Switch. I have not considered playing any rhythm games before. Are you into them? Honestly, depending on the nature of the DLCs they may or may not annoy me. I never did mind cosmetic only DLC in Titanfall because at least the core game was high quality and there were no pay to win transactions, for example. What’re your thoughts on Zelda as a rhythm game, namely Cadence of Hyrule?

      I managed to set my grandpa up recently with Mean Bean Machine (I stay with him a good bit as he lives alone). At first, he scoffed at the idea and pretended not to remember the game, but soon after he began playing for about an hour or more a day. It was neat seeing his transformation as he did quite poorly in the beginning and then quickly progressed to the higher levels. A disc only version of Puyo Pop Fever came in the mail for him last night, so I’ll see if he’ll play it probably today.

    9. My feedback on PPT 2 was very negative. I provided damning criticism regarding a new mode they had planned, which, as far as I know, did not get included in the final game. Surely, others saw the flaws in it, too. In my final summary, I told them that PPT 2 is hard to justify as the main draw of this game is competitive multiplayer, which the original PPT covers already. The marketing buffoons, however, seemed to believe that the single-player story mode was the biggest draw of this game. I also told them why I consider their suggested price point ridiculous. PPT 2 should have been cheap DLC for PPT 1, not a standard release.

      Standard Puyo Puyo has not grabbed me yet; I find the game interesting, though, and I like that it has a very high skill ceiling. In PPT, you can play Tetris, Puyo Puyo, or a mixed mode, which hardly anybody does — and the opponent has the same options, meaning that you can play Tetris while they play Puyo Puyo. (I played Tetris.)

      The only rhythm game I played was Elite Beat Agents (EBA) for the Nintendo DS, and that was about 15 years ago already. The DLC of Taiko consists mainly or exclusively of extra tracks, so it is not just cosmetic like all those costume DLCs in fighting games. Cadence of Hyrule seems to be a rogue-like with rhythm elements, judging from the gameplay I briefly watched just now. EBA was remarkable as it managed to appeal to a wide audience, thanks to toning down the mechanics and putting a bigger focus on story. Unlike with Hatsune Miku or something like Sound Voltex, you don’t need to be an autist to play it. For Taiko, you probably need to be on the spectrum, too.

      It’s great that you got your grandpa this game. There is probably also the aspect that a game whose mechanics you have fully internalized is relaxing if not comforting to play. As I had assumed, he was able to improve quite quickly, despite the long hiatus. It was the same with me and Tetris, which I originally played on the GameBoy. Despite a hiatus of about two decades, it took me perhaps an evening until I got really comfortable with this game again. Let’s hope that he likes Puyo Pop Fever, but see if there is a way to disable the “fever” rule as he may find that it dumbs down the game.

    10. Does PPT feel balanced? As in, are there certain advantages and disadvantages for opting for one if the three play styles over another? Also, is there a solid matchmaking system in your opinion? I would love to set this game up for my grandpa, but it’s hard to justify a Switch + game + online subscription purchase.

      It sounds more and more like these game producers are completely out of touch with reality. It seems to me, anyway, that once online versus became a reality that hardly anyway would actually purchase such a game for the narrative. I imagine virtually nobody does. More examples are with topics we’ve discussed recently involving Konami and CDPR going all in on remakes and entirely brand new concepts simultaneously for Silent Hill and The Witcher. EA completely killed Dead Space by throwing way too much money into shotgun style marketing and then completely redirecting the core gameplay of the series with the third installment, effectively alienating the core fanbase in an attempt to pick up a few more casual players.

      Btw, I found this extremely interesting PS2 horror game recently titled Haunting Ground. I’m actually pretty blown away by this review:

      Can you imagine the controversy if Capcom were to release such a game today? First, the protagonist is busty and hot, as well as extremely feminine and quite helpless as your companion in this game, the doggo, essentially protects and attacks enemies for you while your focus is more based on running and hiding. The game displays depictions of voyeurism while your character is forced to change into tight, revealing clothing. There’re even scenes portrayed of incest (during a death sequence) as well as a “bad ending” that illustrates your character as having been successfully impregnated and held captive by a close relative. This game appears incredibly well done. I’d certainly like to obtain a rom of it and play through it one day.

    11. Balancing Puyo Puyo and Tetris is not trivial and there have been some issues, so much so that after I had reached a certain point, I only played against other Tetris players. By and large, the game did a good job matching you with people of a similar skill level. Once it suggested I play against one of the top 10 players in the world, which made me chuckle. The original PPT is probably dead online at this point, and for Puyo, Puyo Puyo Champions is probably a better option. This game was specifically designed for online play. In Japan, there are even dedicated tournaments for it. If you think that your grandpa might like to play Puyo Puyo competitively, I’d suggest getting a cheap used PC and buying PPC on Steam. It probably runs perfectly well even on ten-year old hardware.

      PPT has a very extensive story mode. This is not like COD with its five-hour campaigns. If you want clear all of it, including the extra missions that get unlocked upon fulfilling certain criteria, it probably keeps you busy for about 20 hours. By the way, there is a demo for PPT on Switch, which allows you to play against the CPU in either mode. I recall people joking online that if you do not care about multiplayer, the demo is as good as the full version, and I would concur.

      I came across Haunting Ground when looking into Capcom’s history, but I have not looked into it yet. I’ll check out this review later, though. It sounds like a pretty unusual game, in particular in contrast with today’s cookie-cutter approach to game development. On a related note, Capcom used to be really experimental. On the PS2 they also released God Hand, which some consider to be the best beat ’em up there is, as well as the visually impressive Shadow of Rome. I also learned that they funded development of the very first game in the Red Dead series, Red Dead Revolver, but they sold the IP to Rockstar, which gave it the GTA treatment in Read Dead Redemption and its sequel.

    12. I’ll keep an eye on PPT2 on Steam and see if it comes down significantly. My only concern is if they create another sequel some day which will then dilute the player base further.

      Bad news, PPF was a miss with my gpa lol. The colors in the game are much brighter in comparison with MBM’s relatively drab art style, which is off putting for him. Not to mention it has a really feminized aesthetic to it. It’s no big deal, though, because he’s probably not going to be sick of MBM anytime soon. Do you by chance have any thoughts on Tetris World? I believe this game is much more up his alley, as the GC version has that dull color palette he prefers and a gender neutral approach to it.

      I made a note of God Hand and Shadow of Rome should I ever begin emulating games again. I didn’t know that about the Read Dead series. Could Rockstar not have just came up with new IP altogether, essentially creating a knock off of Red Dead while renaming it to save a lot of money?

    13. Getting your grandpa PPF was worth a try. I do have some rather strong opinions on Tetris Worlds. The company that owns the Tetris IP enforced so-called “guidelines” in the early 2000s, cementing some rather questionable gameplay mechanics. I would take a wide berth around Tetris Worlds. You can probably pick up Columns and Columns III used for little money for the Genesis. Columns has an “endless” mode and thus no definite goal, which I consider a design flaw (most Tetris games have the same problem). In Columns III you have a series of matches against the AI. Isn’t the Genesis region-free? If so, see if you can get the Japanese version of Puyo Puyo 2. Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is a reskin of the first Puyo Puyo game. Other falling-blocks games are Klax, Pac-Attack, and Blockout, but I have not played any of these.

      There is also a really obscure puzzle game for the Gamecube, Egg Mania: Eggstreme Madness; you basically build a tower out of falling blocks and use it to get ahead of an AI opponent (I may be getting this wrong as I only briefly watched gameplay footage). I only know about it because one Japanese Tetris super player who holds at least one world record in the Tetris: The Grandmaster series got really into it and posted some videos.

    14. Here is a pretty good introductory video on Tetris the Grand Master, which was recently released for Switch:

      This guy is downplaying his level of expertise, though, as a sub-11 minute time is really good. Only about 50 people in the West are known to play this game that well.

    15. Rockstar does not have a good track record when it comes to acquiring IPs. Red Dead was questionable as it was a completely new IP, and how difficult can it be to come up with a new Western cast? Probably the cast of Red Dead Redemption is completely new anyway. A much worse decision for them was buying the Max Payne IP from Remedy, which they only used for Max Payne 3. This game must have bombed pretty hard, seeing that you could pick it up for PS3 for a few bucks new a few months after release. This is not a bad game per se. Probably, Rockstar thought they could sell 20 million copies in a year, and Max Payne just is not that kind of franchise, seeing that it is soaked in cynicism.

    16. Columns used to come free with the Megadrive back in the day, and we had it. My grandpa did indeed enjoy that game, but I had actually forgotten all about it until you mentioned it. I’m not sure if the Genesis is region locked or not, however, my buddy showed me a few years back how simple it was to make a SNES region free. There was simply a tab built into the cartridge deck that needed to be removed. The US cartridges are designed with a groove where the tabs fit, so once you remove the tab you can slot the Famicom cartridges in no problem.

      I watched the entire Tetris video. I was not aware of the techniques he spoke about such as pyramid building, wall kicking and Frenching. Was he narrating while while playing, or over the captured footage? Either way, that was quite something to witness.

      One thing I’ve noticed about MBM (which you say is basically PP1) vs PP2, is that the latter seems to have a cancelling mechanic, as in when the AI combos and sets up gray blocks to fall on you, your immediate combos will first cancel out the threat before setting up blocks on the AI’s end. MBM seems to ignore this entirely and just sets the gray blocks accordingly completely disregarding any looming over you.

    17. This trick with the SNES, which I think is also possible on the N64, cannot be done on European consoles. In fact, gaming in Europe used to really suck until the arrival of the X360 and PS3, in combination with LCD screens, with the exception of the Dreamcast, which died an early death. The Dreamcast could be connected to a regular computer monitor via a VGA adapter, which made it possible to enjoy superior image quality and, more importantly 60Hz output. The European standard used to be PAL, which is based on a 50Hz refresh rate — some GameCube games optionally offered PAL60 output, which only worked on some TVs. Most games were not adjusted in the slightest, so they ran a lot slower (we got 50 images per second in the same time you got 60). Also, consoles used to release late, compared to the US, and the market was smaller, so you got a much shorter interval with new releases, you also got much fewer games. For instance, the SNES was released only in mid-1992, and in 1995 you already got the PlayStation as Sony was very fast with bringing it to market in Europe.

      The TGM intro video talks about techniques that are unique to this series. They don’t really apply to Tetris World and others that follow the so-called “guideline”. He was narrating over a pre-recorded video.

      You spotted the key difference between PP1 and PP2! The ability to cancel incoming garbage tremendously changed the gameplay. Unlike with PP1, in PP2 you probably want to also briefly glance at your opponent’s playfield to see what he is up to. PP1 you can more or less play as if your opponent is not there as you can just bury them in garbage, with them not having the chance to cancel any of it. Of course, you still need to know how to build chains. The PP2 ruleset is simply an extension and refinement of the PP1 rules.

    18. I think there are also cartridges available that allow you to add ROMs yourself. I would probably go for that, simply because I have a penchant for checking out relatively obscure games as well whereas those X-in-1 cartridges tend to include the most popular games.

    19. There are a lot of Genesis clones available as the patents have expired, but from what I have read, there are big differences in quality and reliability. Even with the best ones, if you do not have an old CRT sitting around, you probably want to also get an upscaler that recreates the image of a CRT on an LCD by adding scanlines and visual artifacts. For a long time, this meant spending $300 on a device called “Framemeister”, which meant that you would probably have been better off just getting a high-quality used CRT, but there are now cheaper alternatives like the Open Source Scan Converter (OSSC). If I’m not mistaken, you can build one of those yourself. I much prefer the convenience of emulators for older consoles, though.

    20. Speaking of puzzle games, the other day it struck me that Puyo Puyo 2 is the only long-lived puzzle game out there. Its spirit still lives on in the present-day releases as they include the rule set of the original game, almost 30 years after its original release. There are still people who play the original Puyo Puyo 2. You can find footage of Japanese tournaments where high-level players fight it out, often in a “best of 99 matches” format. In contrast, Tetris has changed completely and got turned into a competitive puzzle game that rewards execution speed while trivializing stacking by drastically limiting randomness whereas stacking was the appeal of the earlier releases. Thus, the fanbase is splintered, with multiplayer-focused “guideline” players, fans of the old NES game, and the small but dedicated group of Tetris The Grand Master aficionados.

      There used to be countless puzzle games who had their day in the sun once and none of them really matter anymore. Sure, there are niches for Dr. Mario, Magical Drop, Super Puzzle Fighters, Mr. Driller, and others. Yet, only relatively hardcore fans of the genre even know about them. I only know about them because I grew up when they came out. This entire genre is basically dead. I think the problem is that there are not enough interesting concepts. Tetris has a certain aesthetic appeal as it feels good to build a nice stack, and Puyo Puyo has arguably the most intricate combo system of all puzzle games, allowing for incredible combo lengths. Here is one of the most well-known videos from the Puyo Puyo scene to illustrate this. Every other (action-)puzzle game I have ever tried is simply shallow in comparison, which does not mean that they cannot entertain you for a while.

    21. The Steam Deck screen allows you to adjust it anywhere from 40-60Hz, so a neat trick you can pull off in handheld for resource heavy games is to drop the screen to 40Hz and then lock the game to 40 FPS, which will obviously give you a slightly better experience than running at 30 FPS. I’m guessing there were quite a few games of Gamecube, for example, that were locked at 30 FPS. For such resource heavy titles at the time, does that mean you guys got stuck with 25 FPS on your 50Hz TVs, or am I missing something? Does the images per second gave something to do with the PAL? Either way, I had no idea that was the state of play in Europe for so long!

      I got the bright idea to place some puzzle roms for the MegaDrive and the SNES on my old Raspberri Pi and sync a PS3 controller to the device for my grandpa. I’m using an 8bitdo Ultimate with, the one with the wireless receiver, on my Steam Deck, which is great, though I’d rather not shell out another $50 atm. Currently, my MegaDrive library is pretty small. One game I grabbed up pretty early, though, is Contra Hard Corps. It’s definitely my favorite run and gun game of all time, and I used to be able to clear certain branches by myself as a kid pretty consistently. Have you ever checked it out? The Japanese got a different version called Probotector, which swapped all the human characters with cyborgs/robots, presumably because it was perceived as less violent that way.

    22. It is indeed the case that you got to enjoy games locked at half the TV’s refresh rate at 25 fps in Europe. Console gaming in Europe sucked pretty much, but PCs seemed surprisingly popular. Growing up, I knew a lot more kids with gaming PCs than a SNES. The ease of copying disks or CDs surely helped in this regard.

      I think building a small Raspberry Pi retro-gaming box is probably the most cost-effective solution nowadays. A few years ago, Sony released the short-lived PS Vita TV, which could be hacked and used for emulation purposes but they disappeared from stores very quickly so I missed out on that. Back then, I thought that this would have been a very nice little box for emulation.

      I know Contra Hard Corps but did not play it a lot (I was able to clear the SNES game Contra III as a kid, though, I think even on one credit on normal difficulty). The US version of Hard Corps a lot more difficult than the Japanese one, by the way. Also, Probotector is the name of the European version. This was due to censorship, and this leads to another problem with console gaming in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s: censorship was through the roof. Some companies modified their games but others did not even release some titles. Occasionally, the government even confiscated games, such as Quake. To this day, there are quite a few games that you cannot buy on Steam from Germany. Oh, speaking of German censorship: A while ago I mentioned that I quite liked Sleeping Dogs on PS3. The German version of this game is censored to a ludicrous degree, so much so that it severely affects gameplay. I think that either all or almost all environmental finishing moves have been cut. German Steam users get to also enjoy this heavily censored version.

    23. With games running at 25 FPS and getting censored to hell it certainly does sound like you guys got a bad bargain in terms of gaming. I had no idea. My uncle and I once rented Contra III: The Alien Wars for SNES some time after it had initially came out and were able to clear it via co-op on easy within a few days. I emulated within the last 4-5 years and revisited it and was surprised at how difficult I found it. Also surprising, was how I noticed that my motivation to endure and re-learn and attempt to master the game was quite low. I was able to relatively easily clear it using save states, however. I think that even though Contra was a hard game compared to today’s standards, it was actually pretty fair and balanced for the day. Contra for NES was probably the only game I ever beat, and my Uncle usually co-oped it with me when I did. I played Contra Hard Corps by myself quite a lot, though.

      With what you say about Puyo Puyo, it may not even really be worth it to attempt to get my grandpa into many other puzzle games. He is very content with MBM, but I would introduce him to PP2 and perhaps get him some Tetris and Columns and he would probably be content with that for the rest if his life.

      Btw, my buddy sent me a recent article detailing how FFXVI will be the first in the mainline series to get a mature rating. I doubt it will be near as explicit as The Witcher, but there will be probably be some pretty intense violence and sexual content. As far as nudity, there more than likely won’t be anything beyond partially exposed breasts and buttocks, but I bet the waifus in this game will be exceptional, especially for modern gaming standards.

      Are you by chance a Chess fan? I tried playing some on mobile a few years back, but quickly realized that people can use a chess calculator unless you’re using very low turn times (which I wasn’t really up for). It seems like casual online chess can really be an issue in terms of cheating.

    24. When I replayed Contra III a few years ago, I was surprised how well I remembered the levels. I even had plenty of muscle memory left and could run-and-gun through certain parts of it just like in the old days. You are right, though, that those games are tough. Considering that they are, for the most part, no longer as appealing today as they were when they first come out, it is not easy to find the motivation to seriously play a classic video game you have no sense of nostalgia for. In contrast, mid- to late-90s arcade shmups often hold up incredibly well.

      Contra III is not nearly as difficult as it is often claimed. When I first played it, I also had access to a NES via a cousin who lived nearby. The games on there were often total bullshit. Just comparing the two NES Contra games with the one on the SNES is a good illustration, another is comparing the NES Castlevania games, in particular the first one, with Super Castlevania IV on the SNES. The latter is almost laughably easy in comparison, albeit hardly a pushover if you do not make use of the password system, which effectively grants you unlimited retries.

      I’d suggest you get your grandpa Puyo Puyo 2, as the new offset mechanic leads to a much more dynamic style of playing. Then, perhaps, see if you can dig up your old copy of Columns — I don’t like that it has no win state, but it’s a well-made game with a surprisingly good soundtrack — and look for Columns III online as well. The only Tetris game I really recommend for single-player games is Tetris The Grand Master. It probably won’t run well on the Raspberry Pi as it is relatively demanding to emulate. If you are curious if he can become the oldest new Tetris grand master in the world, then look for a cheap, used PS4 and get him this game. (The sequel is a lot easier to emulate but it is a lot faster. It’s a pretty brutal game to pick up, even if you can quite easily get the GM grade in the previous game.)

      I saw a trailer of FF XVI that showed a few of the elementals, or whatever they may be called, which you can summon in fights. It is clear that its creators have not forgotten how to design good-looking women. Given the high budget of this game, we will probably get some of if not the most exquisitely crafted waifus ever to grace a video game.

      I played chess in my teens and early twenties, even going so far as to seriously study the game with the help of textbooks. Online play was bullshit even back then. It has been well over two decades since humans were able to beat chess computers, and those engines have only gotten better with time. In the late 1990s, about twenty seconds was plenty of time for a good engine to find your next move on a PC. Today, you can do this instantaneously even on a budget smartphone.

    25. You are absolutely right in regards to the NES. I just remembered the only games I was able to complete besides the first Contra were some of the Megaman games as they had a decent password system built in. I definitely was able to finish Megaman 3 & 6. The amount of cryptic BS in some of those games was astounding. In Castlevania 2 you had to do some obscure nonsense such as collect a red orb, walk to the end of a certain area, equip the orb and then duck for several seconds against the wall until a tornado scoops you up and carries you to the next area. All this and there is no in game guidance, I believe, so 99.9% of players would never figure it out naturally.

      I was playing some more Puyo Puyo 2 just recently and got a game over screen, however, this game actually gives you tips, albeit in Japanese, but you can easily decipher the meaning from the images. For example, one good way to clear out garbage is to stack your combinations along the grey blocks accordingly either horizontally or vertically.

      On another note, I’m surprised to see how many players seemingly just purchase games and never actually play them very much. As I’m sure you’re aware, Steam and some consoles offer achievements for completing certain objectives etc. On Portal you get an achievement simply for completing the game. Only 53.8% of players on Steam have managed to clear the game once! And these aren‘t very lengthy games either. I imagine it’s even less for Portal 2 as it is a longer experience and arguably more difficult to reason out. I’m on the final stretch of it now, so I’ll report back with the completion rate. I’m proud to say I’ve not looked up any of the puzzles thus far.

      Btw, you might get a kick out of a recent Vice article about the Senator of New Hampshire throwing a tantrum at Gabe Newell of Steam because the platform has way too many based users apparently:

    26. Mega Man 2 is also pretty easy, unlike what hipsters online who got an NES when it was trendy to do so, ten years ago, may tell you. With passwords, you can probably complete it in one sitting. I was aware that Castlevania II had some obscure mechanics, but I had no idea that it was this ridiculous. The first Zelda also had some bizarre mechanics in it such as, if I recall correctly, walking around two trees in the shape of a lying 8. This may have been described in the manual, though. Nonetheless, I don’t think anybody can defend such design choices with a straight face.

      There could be an English translation patch for Puyo Puyo 2. In any case, this extended conversation we have been having about this game has piqued my interest in it again. I may give it another try over Christmas.

      A lot of games give you achievements for starting the game, or for your first kill. Developers do this to figure out how many people buy but never even play the game. I figure that this used to be a big problem when there were Steam sales with discounts of 90%. I have a bunch of games in my Steam account that I did not launch a single time, but I learned my lesson and now I only buy games when I am either very sure that I am going to play them in the foreseeable future or, better yet, soon want to play them. The consequence was that after 2016, I only purchased one single game on Steam, Exapunks, a decent coding-based puzzle game. That was in 2019, and since then I have not bought anything else. (I may pick up a few games in the ongoing sale, though.)

      This article you linked to is crazy. Amusingly, it embeds the original letter written by the senator. It reads like satire. The mere thought that this is what this cunt spends her time with is bizarre. Imagine being the Valve lawyer who gets asked to respond to her bullshit! Someone should tell her about all those games with big-breasted anime sluts. I’d love to read her letter on that topic.

    27. I just recalled that my cousin had all three Castlevania games, but in the second one we had no idea what you were supposed to do. This was before the Internet, after all. I have memories of us taking turns talking to random NPCs in some city and being totally stumped. If someone on the school yard had told me this elaborate procedure you described, I am not sure I would have even believed it.

    28. Caladrius Blaze and Dragon’s Dogma have gotten a massive 80% discount, as well as I game I’ve been keeping an eye on called The Messenger at 60%. DoDonPachi Resurrection has been significantly reduced as well, so I’m going to be checking out some shmups soon in the future!

    29. Those are fantastic prices! I have not bought games on Steam in a while but I don’t remember seeing discounts of 80% or above at all recently. The very first Lost Planet game is also available very cheaply at the moment, and so is Raiden V.

    30. I just saw that Puyo Puyo Champions has a 75% discount. Most of the player base is probably on Switch, though.

    31. Only 37.6% of players on Steam have actually beat Portal 2. Oddly enough, it’s the highest rated game in my library. I wonder if Valve had anything to do with that? Haha. I did think it was quite delightful to play through.

    32. This is actually a pretty high number. Portal 2 is pretty good. I played it on the Xbox 360, but not to completion due to the same controller issue as with Portal 1. It is too bad that Valve did not put out a third game. They can’t be that expensive to make so the commercial risk should be quite low. Well, there is now Portal RTX with ray-tracing, which is more of a tech demo.

    33. Aaron, I meant to ask in my previous post, but have you by chance achieved GM status in that particular Tetris series?

    34. I am indeed a Grand Master in Tetris The Grand Master (that’s the one you can get on Switch via Arcade Archives); I have also achieved the rank of Master in Tetris the Grand Master 2. I was surprised by how much more difficult the sequel is. I achieved the GM rank in TGM in 2019, after about half a year, which is comparatively fast. I then started playing TGM 2 and was able to quickly reach the end, i.e. clearing it (level 999), but getting from there to reaching the Master grade took me another three years.

      To reach the GM rank in TGM2/TGM2Plus, you need to survive invisible stacking for about a minute at the end. I have not even started practicing it because I am not nearly consistent enough to make it worth it. To put things in perspective, I have reached GM in TGM a total of 128 times, and if I sat down to play five games in a row, I could probably get a GM grade in three or four of those games, if I played a bit less aggressively. In contrast, I have only achieved the M grade in TGM2 twice.

    35. Regarding Tetris The Grand Master: if you are really interested in dedicating some time to this game to see if it clicks with you, I can look up a few gameplay videos for you. The review I posted some days ago shows fairly decent gameplay, but I have seen people stack a lot better. In fact, even in my better games I stack better than this guy. Genuine high-level play by some relatively obscure Japanese guys who have been playing this game for twenty or more years, however, is on an entire different level and a real sight to behold.

    36. I haven’t actually completed C2: Simon’s Quest personally, so there may actually be alternate routes to take to completing the game. However, the infamous red orb tornado mechanic is one such way and is a great example of bad game design, I think:

      Do you think for sure that you’ll be getting back into Puyo Puyo at some point soon? I think I’ll attempt to get more into PP and pick up TTGM some time in 2023 or perhaps 2024 (I’ve got a massive backlog now). I have, since our last exchange, given both Caladrius Blaze and DoDonPachi R a complete playthrough on the easiest mode just to see how these games work and what they offer. My buddy is ecstatic that I’m finally getting more serious about shmups now, and his true appreciation for the genre has been exposed to me haha. We’ve decided to attempt a 1CC run on easy mode in CB via co-op, for which while we are apart we’ll practice about 30 mins a day or so solo. My first impression of these two shmup titles is very positive! CB has some very nice teenage waifus and gorgeous backgrounds to feast your eyes upon. DDPR is just insane. I can definitely see where the term “bullet hell” gets its name. I’m getting the sense that these are much more rewarding types of games to play on average, and generally just a blast with super high re-playability. Thanks for suggesting them to me! I’m still waiting on a better deal for Crimzon Clover: World Ignition.

      Honestly, I’m not at all surprised to hear you’ve achieved the Grand Master title 128 times. I’d bet your wife holds that title, too. And certainly, please link to more high level Tetris gameplay. I’m particularly interested in witnessing what these multi-decade Japanese players are able to pull off. The shadow stacking mechanic (was it?) in the sequel sounds a bit ridiculous lol. I’d be happy enough nabbing a GM title in TTGM. I doubt I’d even attempt the former, however it would be entertaining to see in action. If I could just get Tetris in front of my gpa, I have a hunch there’d be a high chance that he’d get into it. TTGM sounds like the one to go for.

    37. Puyo Puyo and Puyo Puyo 2 are already in my MAME folder, next to a very small number of games. There is a non-zero chance that I will sink some time into these games in 2023. Meanwhile, my PS3 is gathering dust as it is more difficult for me to carve out an hour or two of uninterrupted time.

      It’s great that you are enjoying shmups! DDP Resurrection is completely ridiculous. Check out footage of the Black Label mode, played by one of the top Western players. The image quality is a lot clearer when you play it yourself. YouTube uses less compression on their videos compared to the past but there is so much going on that the video ended up being pretty blurred, even on higher resultions.

      My wife used to play “guideline” Tetris but switched to NES Tetris after I had introduced it to her, and she stuck with it. At that point, I had not even started playing TGM. Had I introduced this version to her, she would most certainly have become a Grand Master herself. Here are some examples of extremely high-level TGM gameplay:
      – TGM 1: The best player in the world is “777“. He has a lot of videos on his channel. Here is a very solid nine-minute clear, but you can watch more or less any other video by him as well. You will immediately notice how extremely clean his stack is, and this is a lot more difficult than it may seem. I also highly recommend watching his 20G world record performance. 777 has been playing TGM since its release, which was in 1998, and he has been the best player for I think almost the entire time. There are other who may have reached a nine-minute time a few times, but he does it routinely. He is basically on another level. Sadly, there is no video of his world record, only a picture.
      – The best player of TGM2Plus is Kashiwa. Here are his world records in Master and Death. Death is considered the most difficult mode in the entire series, yet you would not guess it if you watch him play. He is far above even other top players. There was a Death tournament earlier this year, for which he practiced intensely. In this context, he got nine GMs in Death out of ten games. Most people find it incredibly difficult to keep a remotely clean stack in Death, but not he. I like these two games in particular.
      – TGM2/Plus ends with an invisible stacking challenge. There is one Japanese player who has fully mastered it and has many dozens of times completed it without there being a single hole in the stack. Sadly, he mostly posts pictures of these feats, and without knowing first hand how tough the invisible challenge is, a picture like this one may not even be that impressive but this was completely unheard of and he is the only person in the world who has ever achieved a clean “invisible roll” or M-roll, as it is called — not once but countless times He has recorded two videos (one, two).
      – TGM3 has not been fully embraced by the fanbase as it is heavily focused on speed while drastically reducing the difficulty of stacking due to increased piece maneuverability, multiple previews, hold, and a randomizer that aims for a very even distribution of pieces. Another novelty is that it saves your progress and gives you “promotion exams”. Only after you have passed the GM exam can you earn this title in a game. I do not care much about this game, so I do not keep track of the top players. In any case, Kashiwa is pretty good at it too. Here is his GM promotion exam, and here he plays Shirase without hold.

    38. I’m finding out that there are at least two distinct goals to have when attempting to master a specific shmup. You can either go for survival and attempt a no lives lost/1CC run, or you can opt for a high score run. The latter it would appear that it could cost you lives in certain instances just to beat out the top score, therefore the focus is quite different. I’m thinking I shouldn’t even bother picking up the collectibles at all, and instead focus on eliminating only the most threatening enemies and avoiding bullets detecting my hit box.

    39. This is right in principle but there are some implications which, strangely, are sometimes not even acknowledged in enthusiasts’ forums. First, it normally does not make sense to “play for score” if you cannot 1CC the game. Some people say that they play for score as a cope because they cannot 1CC the game. Yet, even a basic 1CC would result in a score far higher than what those “scorers” can accomplish. You can construct theoretical corner cases, such as a player milking an earlier boss, getting a massive score, and not being able to clear the game, but this does not hold water either because these rather simplistic scoring tricks should be possible for anyone who can clear the game as well.

      I would not got for a 1LC (one-life clear) in bullet hells because they are normally designed around the idea of resource management, i.e. bombs and lives are resources that you may need to use to overcome certain challenges if you cannot dodge them yet. There are design choices I do not agree with in some later bullet hell games that put up a “resource wall”, i.e. the final boss may have attacks that you cannot dodge, meaning that you need to bomb or sacrifice a ship to survive, and if you have no resources left, you are going to die. In some games, you also need to strategically bomb or “suicide” in order to lower the game’s “rank”, i.e. internal dynamic difficulty. (Resident Evil 4 was praised for its dynamic difficulty, but arcade games had this over a decade earlier already.)

      I think that the best-designed games combine scoring and survival, i.e. reaching certain score thresholds leads to getting “extends”, i.e. extra lives, thus making survival easier. Progear, which I mentioned before, is an excellent example of this. In order to increase your chance of clearing the game, you probably want to spend some time mastering the scoring system. This game in particular is quite generous with extends.

      By the way, there is also a distinction between All, 1-All, 2-All, etc., as some games have multiple loops. Clearing the first loop is equal to a clearing the game. Of course, if you can make it to the second loop, if the game has one, you can increase your score even higher — this is the best refutation of the score vs. 1CC pseudo argument, in my opinion, as it shows that the baseline competency of clearing the game gives you access to even greater scoring opportunities. By the way, the Death mode in TGM2Plus is patterned after this. If you reach level 500 but you are too slow (this is already quite an achievement), the credits play and the game ends. Yet, if you are below that threshold, you get to play the second half of this mode, up to level 999.

  5. Aaron, thank you for the extensive list of video links and information regarding Tetris, and for your input on shmup play styles! I will whittle through the list in the coming days during my downtime at work, they should be pretty entertaining. So far, I’ve managed to clear CB with four different characters on easy mode while using a few continues each time. Once I’ve seen each character’s story arc I’ll choose whichever one I think is the most fun to use, or whichever one I think has the most balance and start getting serious about the 1CC. Another consideration, however, is which mode to pursue, as there are extra levels on two of them. Btw, one incentive for dying in this game is to unlock all the graphics depicting the near naked waifus in distress.

    1. I recall seeing screenshots of this game on NeoGAF a few years ago but could not put a name to it. This seems like a decent enough run-and-gun game, but I see a few issues right away. One is that there is a lot of downtime where nothing really happens. Contra III has a segment where you ride a bike and shoot down enemies. It is short and relatively action packed. In Blazing Chrome, on the other hand, it sometimes feels as if it takes ten second between enemy encounters. I wonder if it feels as responsive as Contra III.

    2. This is a devious mechanic. Remember that Caladrius Blaze came out in the arcades, too. The effect is that if you want to see what those prime-caliber waifus look like, you have to lose, i.e. put more coins into the machine. A more generous interpretation is that the developer wanted to make losing lives/credits less painful. Thus, you get some nice pictures of waifus to look at. When I played this game, I simply picked the chick with the biggest tits.

    3. I have been watching these high level Tetris plays. After doing so, I’m highly doubtful that either me or my gpa are going to reach GM status haha. The level of skill needed is just too fast for me, I think. Not to mention I would have a difficult time devoting enough time necessary to master it. To reach GM status, though, I imagine your plays look pretty similar to these players especially to the untrained eye. So, hats off to you, man! Approximately how many Grand Masters currently exist today? Also, considering the barrier for entry for recording a play is quite low today, who’s to say that some of these photos aren’t just doctored?

      Also, have you heard the recent Nintendo news making the rounds lately? According to Digital Foundry, Nintendo had a mid-generation hardware revision in the works, but has since scrapped it. Then there are very convincing pictures of a Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom themed OLED that recently leaked, pointing to the fact that, if not mere rumor, Nintendo is not planning on releasing a next gen console in 2023. People are instead saying that TotK will be the Switch’s swan song, and honestly, considering that it is a direct sequel to BotW built straight off the original map, I think it would be pretty shitty to present that as the first title to release alongside of brand new hardware. Considering Nintendo’s track record, however, I’m concerned that their next console could possibly be a dud.

    4. The first TGM game is not particularly fast, so by playing or half an hour a day every other day or so, you would eventually get there. The sequels are a lot more demanding, of course, in particular the Death (TGM2Plus) and Shirase (TGM3) modes.

      There have been wild estimates online that there are 10,000 TGM GMs, 100 TGM2Plus GMs, and 10 TGM3 GMs in Japan. I think that the first two estimates are far too high as these are arcade games that cost a lot of money to play. At 100 Yen per play, you are looking at an expense of around $2 to $5k, if expressed in USD. Buying the arcade board would be cheaper, and it is known that there are only a few hundred such arcade boards around. Emulation is also not very popular in Japan, but now there is the Switch release of TGM, which is selling quite well. The Japanese community is very well connected and they were quite good at keeping records. For the numbers above to make sense, there would need to be a group of players much larger than the publicly known ones, and they have to operate fully in secret. This is about as convincing as YouTube trolls during the early speedrunning days who left comments, saying that a particular performance was not a world record because there surely are a lot of people out there who are better — yet are not part of any community and never write about it. My estimate is that there were, before the release of the Switch port, less than 300 TGM GMs worldwide, and perhaps 40 TGM2Plus GMs. All TGM3 GMs are publicly known, which is why the estimate of 10 was complete nonsense. (There was just about a handful of such GMs when this statement was first made in the Western community, and repeated ad nauseam ever since.)

      A problem with the Western community is that for years you could not emulate TGM properly, i.e. it ran too slowly if you did not have a top-of the line CPU, and TGM2/Plus were emulated at a slower speed (60Hz instead of 61.8Hz, which makes a difference, in particular in Death mode). In both cases, the effect was that it was easier to play the games. Thus, you have to take a large part of the Western records with a grain of salt. In fact, I am doubtful of anybody who did not stream their GMs as cheating is simply rampant. Most retro gaming videos on YT are fake, in fact. When someone puts up 1CC videos days apart, you can know for certain that it is bullshit without even looking at the video. There are save states, you can play games at a fraction of their original speed, and some emulators even allow you to rewind the game. In the shmups community, some alleged superplayers were caught cheating; the latest case is just a couple of years old, with a guy named Perikles found out to have been cheating his way t a 1CC through many dozens of shmups and enjoying getting fawned over. He was playing a lot of relatively obscure games, which probably helped a lot with covering up the fraud. Also, on console shmups you can “pause buffer”, i.e. you rapidly pause/unpause the game, allowing you to get through the most difficult spots with ease as the game effectively slows down to a crawl; this was apparently very popular for Cave shmups on the Xbox 360. Cheating has been so bad in the shmups community that the creator of Crimzon Clover put a speed check into his game. If the game runs at less than 100% speed, the assumption is that you are cheating by throttling, which invalidates your run for the leaderboard. I think there are some other checks, too.

      I think it is more likely than not that the successor of the Switch will bomb. My guess is that they will postpone releasing the new console for as long as they can, due to the worldwide economic slowdown. I would not be surprised if TotK has been sitting on their servers in a complete state for many months now. Probably they will pull it out when they want to boost sales, similar to what they do with Pokemon games.

    5. “Not to mention I would have a difficult time devoting enough time necessary to master it.”

      Just wanted to add that blocking off time to devote to the game isn’t a problem, it’s more so that I would personally not be able to stick with it long enough. I do think it would be nice to have some Tetris and Puyo Puyo on tap to play around with in the future.

      You might find it amusing that Epic Games recently gave away Death Stranding. I got it and installed the game thinking the walking simulation would be relaxing to play from time to time. I ended up deleting it of my SD card the same day to free up space. I wasn’t allowed to skip the cutscenes in the beginning to actually get a feel for the gameplay. The story in this game, based off reviews I’ve watched, is pretty bad. I feel bad for people who actually paid good money for this game thinking that Kojima was going to deliver some kind of revolutionary masterpiece. I feel bad for
      myself for spending the time installing it.

    6. Give it a chance, as the game may get its hooks into you. I have been playing the first few games for years, of course with breaks. You can probably set up MAME on the Steam Deck and play it this way.

      I am not sure what exactly Death Stranding is. According to one or two reviews I watched, you play UPS delivery guy in a post apocalyptic world. It looks like a parody of an open-world game to me.

    7. To my surprise Steam’s Tetris library is quite lacking. I did check the Switch and found TTGM for $7.99USD. I bet I could catch it on sale soon and get it even cheaper. Do you think just playing it on Switch would be fine versus emulating it with MAME? Actually, I can see one problem with attempting to get serious with this game on my Switch, and it’s that I’ve had some serious drop off and lag at a mere 8 feet of distance via the standard bluetooth controller. If I were to get super serious about a shmup or puzzle game then I’d definitely want to opt for a wired controller. Still, if I can get TTGM for a couple bucks on Switch then I think I will play it on that platform to start with. There’s always handheld mode, or bringing the console within a closer range when playing on a monitor. What is your opinion of Tetris Effect for casual play? I know we’ve discussed it before and you didn’t have a favorable opinion of it. It seems like a title that would attract a lot of normies with its supposedly stellar sound track and flashy visuals. Btw, Tetris99 is free on Switch, so I’m going to download that one immediately for the meantime.

      That actually makes perfect sense about TotK being ready to ship at any moment, and with regards to the economy it’s quite likely that Nintendo is attempting to squeeze every last bit of value that they can out of the Switch as producing an entirely new console would be quite risky for them. I’m thinking they must have some Mario game or something in the works to go along with whatever comes next. Do you think they’ll opt for a hybrid console again next time, or perhaps have several tiers of their next console, such as a handheld, hybrid version, and a dedicated stationary console for power? In all likelihood, I realistically expect Nintendo to take a more conservative approach. I can respect their business savviness and how they’re able to make a killing while utilizing underpowered tech.

      What you said about DS made me laugh. It’s funny because the actors involved and I believe some of the staff are on record for saying that even they didn’t quite know what they were involved with during development (in fact, Kojima himself might have said so). Kojima can be a massive troll also, so the game being a parody of the open world genre isn’t too far fetched. With the announcement of DS2 recently, I think it’s safe to say that he has definitely hit the wall. I’d be interested if he and Del Toro were to work on a horror game, but I do not find DS to be worthy of my time. The story and dialogue is on par with a crappy sci-fi channel movie.

    8. The Switch has the benefit of portability. If I had not sold my Switch Lite one or two years ago, I would probably have bought TGM on it by now. The game is not that taxing in terms of execution, so playing it with the Switch controls should be fine.

      I think that the modern Tetris games make for a rather poor single-player experience, regardless of what version you are looking at. Tetris Effect has one mode designed for expert players, which has only been beaten by two or three dozen players. It may look impressive to the untrained eye, but let me point out the big mechanical flaw. Here is a video of a clear that was played somewhat sloppily. Go to the last third, and perhaps reduce playback speed to 0.5x. Then you will notice very easily that this player is indecisive, moved peaces around left and right, tries various rotations, and sometimes used the hold function to stall. I find this pretty gross, compared to the elegance of Death mode in TGM2Plus where you need to make a decision, commit to it, and execute it properly. The game chews you out quickly, i.e. if you move the piece left, then right, the game won’t let you because it locks too quickly for that. By the way, here is a video by the best player of this mode, incidentally he works for the game studio behind Tetris Effect; I think he was one of the designers, or was at least brought onboard to fix the Master mode. He plays in VR because the game runs in 90Hz, making it more responsive.

      I think Nintendo will do another hybrid console. Despite what people on NeoGAF may say, people don’t seem to care that much about the fanciest graphics on Switch. They did not care that the DS or 3DS had graphics that were one or two generations behind consoles either. The Switch successor will probably be based on another energy-efficient graphics chip, and if you want to play it on your big TV, Nintendo will happily sell you an overpriced dock for it.

    9. After watching the videos in a former post that you linked to featuring high-level play and then viewing this TE video, it’s quite noticeable how forgiving the latter game apparently is. The 1:46 mark is an excellent example, where the L block appears to be flailing around on the structure for like a solid second before locking in place. That’s just bullshit. How is it that only a few dozen have managed to clear this mode? Am I missing something?

      In regards to a new hybrid Switch model, do you think it’s feasible to have a dock that grants the Switch access to external ram, processing and graphics power, so that it runs smoother and displays better on higher resolution monitors? It could even perhaps be an optional purchase. I don’t see why such a thing couldn’t be possible, however unlikely it may be from Nintendo.

    10. Guideline games make stacking trivial. The only way to increase difficulty is by making the game faster. What irks me most is that you can spin an active piece multiple times. In slower games, like Tetris DS, there is even the strategy of hitting the rotate button repeatedly until you have decided on where to place the piece. I do not know how popular the Master mode on TE is. The average player of this game probably fires it up once, sees that pieces are dropping to the bottom of the well instantly, and stop playing.

      For more high-level players, it seems that the last section of Master mode in TE, 290 to 300, is very challenging but probably they just don’t know the game mechanics well enough, considering that guideline players tend to fully focus on multiplayer games at 0G where the pieces do not even fall. Here is another video of someone who has completed this mode. Skip to 5:45 and you will notice right away that “xir” (I think this player is non-binary) slides pieces left and right as a stalling mechanic before deciding on where to put it. Again, this just looks gross to me compared to high-level Death runs.

    11. Regarding your idea regarding a more powerful stationary Switch 2, this already exists in a different, yet not too dissimilar a context. Apple has a history of building decent laptops, but with really poor GPUs, albeit their recent models seem to have improved. If you really must have an Apple laptop and do your gaming on there, you can get an external GPU (eGPU) in a case. You just plug it into your Apple laptop, and get to enjoy better performance as a consequence. You can get a decent gaming PC, in particular if you build one yourself, for the price of an eGPU, though. Still, the existence of eGPUs shows that there is a market for it.

    12. Yeah, that gameplay certainly does look “cheap” compared to TTGM gameplay I’ve seen. I do kind of dig the soundtracks on that version of Tetris, though. A quick update on my Caladrius Blaze progress: it’s not great, haha. I can clear a very easy run on about 3 credits, but I think if I can get good enough to save all my bombs for the boss fights I can manage a 1CC on very easy before the end of February. I’ve been playing about 30 mins 2-3 times a week.

    13. This is not bad progress at all. If shmups had difficulty labels similar to modern games, then “very easy” would be “hard” or “veteran”. I recall a post on a shmups forum where someone new to the genre picked up Gradius V, set it to the highest difficulty and could not even survive for five or ten seconds in the first stage. He complained about this game, and brought up that he has beaten games like The Last of Us, Uncharted, or Call of Duty on the hardest setting. He did not seem to understand that shmups require mastery of the mechanics and some memorization instead of just flailing around, repeating one section over and over until you get lucky. This also reminds me of someone bragging that he made it through one of those Naughty Dog games on “crushing” difficulty, dying 160 times or so. It’s total clown world. I think those modern games are poorly designed, but there is also a problem with modern gamers who do not even have a concept of mastery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.