Open Thread

Open Thread #266

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.

74 thoughts on “Open Thread #266

    1. Oh nice! I didn’t know they were working on this. Maybe this game will be a much greater creation than BC as they’ve now had more practice. I’ll definitely be looking at reviews, and if solid, wish-listing the game.

      I fired up my Switch last night to delve into some Puyo Puyo and noticed on Nintendo’s news feed that they’re illustrating the entire timeline of Zelda. At the very end is Tears of the Kingdom 2023. As it’s still slated for a May release, I suppose this marks the beginning of their marketing campaign. Surely, there will be a big push to advertise this title during a February Direct. This is one of the few games I have almost total faith in being a solid game upon release.

      In other positive news, new leaks and developer quotes suggest the RE4 is not cutting any content, and will instead be adding even more and expanding on the original. There was one quote that read something like, “we’ve looked at all the player feedback from RE2&3 and are attempting to improve on all aspects of RE4.”

      Also, I just started playing The Messenger which is critically acclaimed as a NES style action game. I have to say I agree with the general consensus. The gameplay is extremely smooth, challenging yet fair, and there is tons of quirky humor and funny dialogue as it doesn’t try to make a super serious story out of a pixel art game. I got it for a few bucks, totally worth it.

      Before tapping into The Messenger I tried playing the first installment of the Tomb Raider reboot. I was pretty impressed by a few things right off. There were seemingly intentional slow-mo shots of Laura falling that gives the player a solid look at her cleavage. In the game she also has a male role model and she is actually saved from drowning by a man in the intro cinematic. She’s not a bitch, has faults and doubts, and isn’t a super badass or anything. This game could not get made today. Some of the death scenes were quite brutal, btw. Something about Laura being crushed by a boulder didn’t sit well with me. Maybe it’s the white knight in me. Also, the sort of shaking camera effect that happens when you’re sprinting may come off as more cinematic and dramatic, but it actually makes me feel a bit queazy and there is no option to turn it off. The only game that ever made me more queazy than this is Mirrors Edge. That game gave me legitimate motion sickness when I played it.

    2. Those are all good news! I am quite excited about RE4. If this game turns out well, I may even buy a PS5, but only at a later point. I’d probably wait for the inevitable “Gold Edition” release. After all the games I was remotely looking forward to last year turned out to suck, I revisited some more classic games. The other day I started a play-through of the first Fire Emblem for GBA. There is now a complete fan translation to English available. It is pretty solid and I quite enjoy it. There are a few other GBA games I may want to play through.

      Speaking of Fire Emblem, I bought the two games in this series that were released for the GBA in the West in the mid-200s, together with a Gameboy Advance Micro. The reason was that I read that those were very difficult games, with characters in your party dying permanently. I played the games this way, but years later I learned that it is apparently more common to reset the game whenever you lose a battle. Well, if you play these games how they are intended, they are quite captivating. The one on the DS, Shadow Dragon, is a bit lame, and the one on the GameCube seemed broken. On my first and only play-through, I suffered heavy attrition in the last few battles but I wanted to see how far I could get. At some point I either only had one or two characters left, but because these now got all the experience points and got massively overpowered, I was able to clear entire maps with them. I found this bizarre, and it turned me off this series. (Years later, I played Fire Emblem Awakening on the 3DS and was taken aback that this series had turned into an SRPG as well as a dating sim. This was the last game of the series I played. The follow-up, Fire Emblem Fates, heavily featured same-sex relationships.)

    3. The first game in the Tomb Raider reboot trilogy is great. Unlike a lot of Western games, it even gets better towards the end, with the last 20% or so being really engrossing. The difficulty also ramps up quite nicely. I played through this game on PS3, and I also briefly owned the “definitive edition” on PS4. That one was so definitive that they made the character model less attractive. By the way, the main protagonist ends up moaning and groaning so much in the game that a bystander listening in could be forgiven for believing that you are watching porn.

    4. I’ll have to try Moonrider.

      Shinobi III had a very obscure sequel called Shinobi Legions on Saturn.

      On indie games: The Messenger was a lot like NES Ninja Gaiden.

      House of Dead Ninja is another really good one, though not exactly like any 8/16 bit game I think of.

    5. I knew of a Shinobi game on Saturn but was not aware that it had a Western release. Judging from the footage I just watched is seems pretty mediocre and a step back from Shinobi III on the Sega Genesis.

    6. @Drosera

      I was able to reach approximately the end section of The Messenger in one night. That’s just how much it hooked me. The Time Merchant actually makes a direct reference to Ninja Gaiden when he grants you the climbing gear.

      I was at my buddy’s last night and he was actually playing Moonrider when I showed up. It’s like a cross between Shinobi for the Genesis and Megaman. Seems pretty cool, I’d definitely wait for a solid sale on it personally, though.

      I’ll look into House of Dead Ninja.


      Thanks for summing up the Fire Emblem games. I should set up a few emulators. I bet the GBA (which I’ve never tapped into) has a lot of worthwhile titles. There’s definitely a few Zelda titles I never got to play through out there.

      As I mentioned I got a chance to hang out with my buddy for the first time in a while. We had a blast playing all these obscure shmups I’ve never heard of, mostly on the Sega Saturn. This was the first time I ever got to play that console. He had tons Japanese only co-op shmups that we attempted to get through. I can’t even tell you what they were called tbh. One thing that stuck me about that system, however, was the d-pad on the controllers. It’s like it rolls with your thumb and results is a super smooth play experience.

      Also, something else that was pretty striking is how pristine these used Japanese CDs had been preserved by their previous owners. Not a single visible scratch or smudge on these discs.

    7. I bought a GBA when it first came out and the screen lacking a backlight was so aggravating that I sold it again within a couple of weeks or so. I would have not bothered with this handheld again had I not come across people kvetching over the difficulty of Fire Emblem. Probably this is also what made many people try their hand on Dark Souls. Anyway, I think that the GameBoy Advance is a very interesting console. That era, i.e. GBA and Gamecube, was the last time Nintendo did not use gimmicks. Technically, you could say that the analogue stick of the N64 was a gimmick, but it clearly improved gaming technology, unlike, for instance, the touch controls on the Nintendo DS, which were often shoehorned in.

      The GBA has the graphically most impressive 2D Zelda (“Minish Cap”). Games I have shortlisted include the three Fire Emblems, the two Advance Wars games, the three Castlevanias, Golden Sun (I played this game on the original GBA until I could not take the screen anymore), Lufia – Ruins of Lore (I really enjoyed Lufia II on the SNES), and Sword of Mana because it has such beautiful graphics.

      A lot of hardcore gamers swear by the Saturn D-pad. It seems to be the best D-pad out there. There are new Saturn pads, licensed by Sega, and based on the original blue prints. I think they were released a year or two ago. I recall seeing them on Amazon, and for a pretty good price, too. One of the best Western shmup players used the Saturn pad, by the way.

      I once owned Caladrius Blaze for PS3, which a friend of mine bought for me at a used-game store in Japan. The game looked completely new, with not the slightest scratch or crease, not even on the plastic case. This seems to be normal in Japan. I would argue that this shows that their culture is more advanced as they are taking such good care of their possessions. This reminds me that I have seen a videos of Japanese gamers who were using gloves. I wash my hands before I pick up a controller, which probably few people do, but compared to the Japanese I am probably an uncultured brute.

    8. Mark_MSX just released a thorough video review of Moonrider:

      Summary: He thinks the game is good but not “Super Metroid-good”. He makes some apparently very valid points. Unfortunately it seems the developer has not learned from some of the mistakes in Blazing Chrome like long, stretched out sequences with repetitive actions or downtime in levels.

    9. I have to say that what little bit I’ve seen of Moonrider doesn’t look to quite live up to the Shinobi III footage I’ve watched. Have you by chance watched The Electric Underground’s review of The Messenger and Cyber Shadow in reference to Ninja Gaiden?

      I have to agree with his assessment so far with The Messenger in regards to how it morphs into sort of a metroidvania. There are 7 or so really solid levels in The Messenger that could just as well be a complete experience with a satisfying ending, but then the entire map opens up to you and you’re supposed to go around freely solving puzzles and stuff. As soon as that happened I lost a lot of motivation to continue. Still, it’s worth playing if you can get it for a few bucks just for the really solid first half.

    10. I have not watched this review but I just had a look. Mark_MSX makes some pretty good points. I think he is, in general, very good at analyzing game mechanics and assessing them. Probably no professional reviewer picked up on the problems he identified in The Messenger. Also, I found his comment that “metroidvanias” (horrible genre name) are essentially 2D open-world games quite good. I had not thought about this, probably because I do not play those games, but the similarities are indeed quite obvious.

    11. Aaron, I just learned that Fire Emblem has a new game if Switch titled Engage. Do you have any thoughts on it?

    12. I have barely looked into Fire Emblem Engage. In fact, I am not even sure when it was announced. Just a few weeks ago I became aware of it. My first reaction was that the art style is quite sterile. In the past, there was a certain grittiness and seriousness to Fire Emblem but the current cast looks as if they are taking part in some Japanese idol contest. The typeface of the subtitle is also really generic. The game is simply too colorful compared to the old Fire Emblem games. However, I also think that the current audience of this series does not have much in common with the old one, so it probably makes a lot of sense to turns this game into some kind of dating sim with battles in between flirtatious conversations. (I shudder at the thought of playing this game, talking to some random soldier on the battle field, and the game pushing my avatar into a same-sex relationship.)

    13. I just started this Skill Up review:

      First impression is graphics look really nice, and it’s great that there are chicks with massive tits featured in the game. It appears this game isn’t strong on narrative, though. It appears this particular title is weaker overall than previous ones.

    14. The graphics look really good. Well, the game is also woke now, apparently, with black female hammer-wielding warriors. It seems that the big technical innovation is that the game zooms to a battle perspective based on the actual in-game surroundings. In previous games, battle scenes were depicted in preset default surroundings, e.g. with a particular background or environment for all fights in a meadow etc. Here, the camera simply zooms in. As a former temporary hard-core FE player, though, this only makes me shrug because if you are seriously into the battles, you will probably simply disable the battle animations as they are irrelevant. They also take a lot of time to play out.

      EDIT: I finished watching this review. It seems like a big step back that the game no longer has the concept of high ground. This was the major innovation of the FE game on GameCube. I don’t quite recall if it was still present in Awakening. Oh, and I really hope that Nintendo will patch out those big-titted sluts. This is completely unacceptable in the current year. Also, this is the first time I have seen gameplay of FE: Three Houses. I like that game’s graphical style quite a bit more than FE: Engage’s.

    15. Ah, thanks for looking into and providing some thoughts on the new FE game. That’ll be a hard pass on that one then.

      As far as metroidvanias go I really enjoyed Metroid: Dread. Before that I had completed the base portion of a game called Blasphemous which I thought was pretty good. However, after Dread, I tried playing Hollow Knight as it is highly praised in the indie community, but it just did not grab me. I felt very bored playing it. I would maybe try playing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night some day. I don’t think it’s a bad genre or anything, I just think there are few games within that niche that are really worth playing, and if not done correctly they can be boring and frustrating. Metroid Dread, for example, was extremely intuitive only once do I remember mistakenly bypassing the next logical progression point in the game and having to back track for a little while.

    16. I only played a demo of Blasphemus after you mentioned it a while ago. It seemed to be a really solid game. I could imagine the excessive amount of gore getting tiresome after a while, though.

      If I still owned a Switch, I would be interested in buying Metroid: Dread. The game itself, though, is not attractive enough to justify buying another Switch, though. Also, an interesting though is that the “metroidvania” genre is fundamentally broken because the only really successful and widely acclaimed games are the exploration-focused 2D Castlevanias as well as the 2D Metroid games. None of the other games in this genre seem to be getting close in terms of quality, no matter what some game journalists with the fine-motor skills of a toddler may say. I briefly played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on an emulator and could immediately acknowledge the high quality of this game. Yet, one of the most lauded more recent games of this genre, Shovel Knight, did not grab me at all. It would have made for a pretty mediocre NES game.

    17. This is great news. I am keeping my fingers crossed. With a bit of luck, we will have at least two really great games this year, the RE 4 remake and FF XVI.

    18. I now have mixed feeling about Square Enix with that recent steaming pile of garbage one of their divisions (the one responsible for FFXV) put out recently, Forspoken. Not only is it a another shitty modern PC port, but the game is filled with diversity, ugly characters, woke rhetoric and uninspiring gameplay. I admittedly have quite a bit of hope for FFXVI, though it has been somewhat attenuated with the release of Forspoken. It is, however, quite a relief to see how bad it has been received. Maybe Square will rethink pulling this kind of shit again anytime soon, or perhaps this was their way of proactively apologizing for the upcoming release of their all white game filled with hot waifus.

      Since REmake 4 is planned for a PS4 release as well as PS5, and considering how well 2&3 ran on the Deck I am optimistic that it will be a serviceable PC port. By the time it goes on sale I should know all about it’s performance.

      Another game I’m pretty interest in is Sea of Stars, which we’ve discussed briefly before. It’s essentially a Chrono Trigger spiritual successor made by the same studio who developed The Messenger. It’s shaping up to look like quite an endearing classic-style RPG with some interesting battle mechanics.

    19. I watched part of the Forspoken stream of Synthetic Man. Even though I expected a dumpster fire, I was not prepared for what I saw. If you saw his recent 20-minute review, then keep in mind that he barely touches the surface. Quite frankly, Forspoken is the biggest pile of garbage by a mainstream publisher in years. In the stream, Synthetic Man refers to the writing as the product of a middle-aged woman. I have not looked up the writer, but I would not be surprised if this was indeed the case. I would guess that the writer is more likely to be in her early 30s to mid-30s, though, which is the age at which their frustration about reality has the biggest impact on them. On a related note, I do not quite see the appeal of watching someone else play a game, with the exception of superplayers, but in the case of utter garbage like Forspoken, I am more than happy that there are people out there who play it so that I only have to sit back, relax, and be entertained.

      Gaming is a pretty bad spot nowadays as too much rides on indies. I do not like this development because oftentimes the talent is not there. Some of the best minds in the industry produced classics like Super Mario World, but we have yet to see a similar-sized indie team produce a genuinely stellar game that will remain relevant for decades. Don’t get me wrong, there have been quite a few great indie games, but their scope is normally quite narrow, and unfortunately at lot of indies are quite derivative. Perhaps this ship has sailed, considering the flood of games nowadays.

      Before getting too excited about Sea of Stars, I would like to play a demo. The graphics are quite appealing, though. Speaking of Chrono Trigger: I intend to try out a few RPGs sometime this year. One game I am particularly curious about is Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. A replay of Chrono Trigger is on my list as well.

    20. On Forspoken’s wikipedia it lists credit to four writers, all of which are non-Japanese. Two of said writers certainly have middle-aged sounding female names. In fact, one of the women has a link to her wiki with a picture of her. She’s 58, btw:

      I imagine the Japanese developers responsible for turning this libshit fantasy into a reality weren’t very passionate about what they were creating. I believe the quality of the finished product as a whole speaks for itself.

      With regards to indie games I recently learnt that Celeste has been confirmed to be trans. For that reason I could no longer recommend the game simply out of principle. One promising aspect of Sea of Stars is that Yasunori Mitsuda, who worked with Nobuo Uematsu on Chrono Trigger, became interested in the project and reached out to the team to produce a track for it. There are videos of the CEO of the development team on their youtube page where he is streaming a solid hour or more of the early game and it looks really nice.

      I’m not familiar with the Shin Megami series other than that they release a new game last year. Would you be interested in playing the DS version of CT? I originally played a SNES rom a few years back.

    21. I did not know that Amy Hennig was involved in Forspoken. I know that she worked on Uncharted 2, which was barely woke. I also don’t recall that this game had a noteworthy story. This woman is often used as an example of top female talent working in the games industry but I am not sure how well her work holds up when compared to the output of prominent men in their field. It is also quite likely that she only got name-recognition due to incessant promotion by “games journalists”. Certainly, I did not walk away from Uncharted 2, thinking that it was a narrative masterpiece.

      Shin Megami Tensei is probably the most prolific RPG series out there. There are not just the mainline games but also countless spin-offs. Persona, in fact, is a spin-off as well. I have watched footage of Shin Megami Tensei V for Switch, and quite like the art style. As I played Chrono Trigger on the SNES, via emulation, around the year 2000, I am more interested in the DS version. It is supposed to have a better translation. There are also quality-of-life improvements such as moving the menus to the second screen and auto-mapping.

      By the way, I just read that initial sales of the Dead Space remake are about half of the sales of The Callisto Protocol. Probably it cost less than half to make, too, so it arguably is not the biggest issue in economic terms. Seeing that sales are often heavily front-loaded, and EA is not known for nurturing franchises, this could mean that Dead Space will go on hiatus again.

    22. Apparently Amy Hennig had some involvement with the Legacy of Kain series, which doesn’t quite add up. My guess is she had minimal involvement with the direction of that series, but it’s hard to say. I went ahead and looked up a picture of the other female writer (she did not have a wiki link) and just by appearance she pretty much fits Synthetic Man’s description spot on:

      I didn’t realize that Persona was related to Shin Megami. I have, however, heard some of the rave reviews for Persona 5. As far as RPGs go I need to finish Dragon’s Dogma before anything else. I’m just reluctant to start such a grand adventure at the moment. I’ve been entertaining the idea of going back and doing a hardcore run of REmake 2 lately as well as playing a few shmups (I recently picked up Crimzon Clover). Let me know how your RPG journey goes.

      I’m not completely sure but it seems that Dead Space did not receive the same level of marketing as TCP. The latter was extremely hyped if my memory serves correctly. Which leaves me wondering how the hell Nintendo is going to market Zelda as we are fast approaching the release date. Nintendo is such an enigma, it seems.

      Btw, in addition to universal toilets in Woke Space, they turned one of the main cast members into a dyke and replaced a white (or hispanic male, I can’t really tell) with a negress. I believe there are also audio logs containing details about a gay couple according to a reddit post I skimmed. All the reddit fags were quick to defend these changes. One person made the remark that because it’s a spaceship it akshually makes optimal sense to organize the toilets in this manner due to issues with having enough space. Well, I could easily argue that women and trannies are not optimal crew mates to be staffed on a mining vessel for various reasons, but that’s neither here nor there. Plot twist: What if all the hideous necromorphs running rampant on the ship are really just gay pride activists?

    23. Shin Megami is an old-school turn-based RPG. The games I find most interesting are Strange Journey and SMT IV, based on the footage I watched. Right now, I am playing through the first Phoenix Wright game, in addition to my Tetris The Grandmaster grind. Crimzon Clover is an absolutely fantastic game. Try playing the Novice modes with the Type-Z ship just to get used to it. The 1CC in Novice is not quite as easy to get as it may seem as the true last boss is not a pushover.

      Nintendo does not seem to do a lot of marketing these days. I recall seeing public ads for games like Mario Tennis a few years ago. It may well be that Nintendo has figured out that they do not need to spend as much money on traditional advertising anymore, now that they have a very strong user base on the Switch and a very successful YouTube channel.

      I just had an absolutely horrible thought regarding Dead Space: What if some modders replaced the monsters with the woke brigade? There is a plethora of reasonably detailed woke 3D models available, e.g. in the Saints Row reboot or in Life is Strange, so this should be relatively straightforward to do. Of course, I would be outraged if some modder really defaced the artistic vision of EA this way.

    24. I briefly looked into Pheonix Wright and it sort of looks like a visual novel. Is the story pretty cool? I just remembered a Japanese indie game I played some time ago called Mad Father. It was a very good, short and sweet game. A funny story about my initial experience with Crimzon Clover is that I ran the game in arcade mode on normal difficulty. My jaw figuratively hit the floor at the level of difficulty I experienced. Since then I’ve tried novice mode and had a much better time. The Electric Underground, as you’re probably aware, praises the game’s novice mode as being appropriately difficult versus some shmups’ tendency to feature a “super easy” mode. I’m also eyeing Gun Vein for it to come down a bit.

      I’m currently watching DF’s performance review of Woke Space. It’s pretty nasty how the PS5 version’s variable rate shading causes a muddy pixelated effect on certain assets. It got me to thinking about the sales for this game thus far. I wonder if a not so insignificant percentage of PC players were reluctant to pick the game up on day one because of the shitty performance of TCP, among others recently. People can only get burned so many times, and early footage of Isaac’s terminally ill-looking girlfriend was a preview of the kind of unnecessary fuckery to occur. I’m pretty impressed with the side by side comparisons between the remake and the original, though. As in that the remake really does stand up quite well. I’d have been happy with a simple remaster with 60 FPS and faster load times.

    25. Phoenix Wright has a pretty humorous story. The first game could probably not get green-lit nowadays, considering that the roster of witnesses includes a prostitute and a transvestite. Some of the characters also embody typical female anime stereotypes, which is too much for the woke brigade. I first played Phoenix Wright on the Nintendo DS about 15 years ago, so for me this is also a nostalgic experience. If you want to check it out, I would recommend using a spoiler-free walkthrough as a small number of the puzzles are pretty obscure, such as triggering a new story prompt via showing an NPC an item you just received from them. There are about a dozen games in this series, which is a great example of classic Capcom, i.e. running a franchise in the ground commercially by releasing countless sequels. The first three games are considered the best ones, by the way. I only played the first four.

      Mark_MSX from Electric Underground is a huge fan of Crimzon Clover, and I also know that he considers its novice mode a great introduction to the genre. You make an excellent point, which is indicative of a bigger issue with shmups: the games are focusing too much on a small hardcore audience, and its creators do not even consider that some people may never have played a shmup in their life. Once, I had a friend over who was curious to check out some of the games I play, and to him, shmups were completely foreign. In fact, he managed to get killed by one of the first bullets in the game, and he did not fare much better after respawning. Needless to say, he was not particularly pleased with this, in particular since he viewed himself as a “gamer”.

      Your recent comment on the sales of Dead Space vs The Callisto Protocol made me realize that there is a pretty nasty game-theoretic problem at play. Consider this:
      – TCP was released early in order to not complete with DS (originally, both were slated to be released almost simultaneously), implying that TCP, as a new franchise, probably would have struggled to compete directly against the latter
      – DS got the post-Christmas spot in order to not have to compete with any big games, thus its creators thought that the game cannot compete with the big hitters
      – Ergo, there was a lack of confidence in both, and probably for good reason since DS is a dormant franchise; EA even killed the studio that originally created it
      I think that the choice of release windows was the only plausible one. Had DS been released a few months earlier, it would have drowned. Had TCP been released at the same time as DS, i.e. in January, it would have sold less. Now, however, it looks as if the early release of TCP tanked DS because the games are just too similar in terms of target audience. People who may have bought both could very well have reconsidered buying DS after having gotten burned by TCP. Looking at this, I think that DS was almost bound to underperform. Had TCP been a hit, people would have ignored DS, and now that TCP flopped, people may have soured on the genre for a while. Probably a better move would have been to release DS months later and do a marketing push that emphasizes its strengths.

    26. The first three Pheonix Wright games are sold as a trilogy on Steam with overwhelmingly positive reviews sitting around 97%. I went ahead and wishlisted ‘em. In regards to DS remake I was watching a video where Synthetic Man’s recent stream comments came under scrutiny for alluding to the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. I don’t see how you could look to a city like London and not come to this conclusion naturally, whether it was purposefully done or not doesn’t really matter except there actually is plenty of evidence to suggest that white culture is under attack. I’ve actually spoken to a couple of English people recently and anecdotally, they’re quite disgusted with the migrant crisis in their home country. Anyway, I look forward to his official review of the game.

      In one video, Mark_MSX seems to hold the view that in terms of gaming, shmups are like slamming intravaneous heroine whereas modern gaming is more like a slow morphine drip. However, I could see how this could be quite the opposite for most gamers because they’re simply going to have a frustrating experience and very little reward since they’re getting completely wrecked. I can complete Caladrius consistently on easy mode now with lives to spare, btw. I’ve hit a wall on normal difficulty.

      In light of our recent discussion of DS remake and TCP, do you believe REmake 4 is liable to have similar issues with sales and criticisms?

    27. In his Forspoken stream, Synthetic Man also clearly showed on which side he was on, even joking (?) that he would need to edit out parts of the video for the later upload. London no longer has a British majority, so if anybody argues against the Great Replacement, it means that this person refuses to acknowledge reality.

      You are right that Mark_MSX ignores the fairly high barrier of entry in skill-based games. There is a wall after wall of difficulty to overcome and probably you need to have a particular kind of personality as well. I do not shy away from challenge, not just in games, but this is not how the average person approaches anything. In contrast, modern AAA games often almost play themselves. Congratulations on clearing Caladrius! The transition to normal difficulty may be easier if you remain on easy mode until you can clear the game without losing a life, or perhaps just one. The next step would be to limit the number of bombs you use. This assumes that bombs are optional in Caladrius Blaze, which is not the case in some modern shmups. Thanks for pointing me to GunVein, which I completely missed. This looks like a surprisingly high-quality indie shmup. Even more surprising is that it is made by NGDev, which does not have a good track record, in my opinion. (EDIT: I just started watching Mark_MSX’s video and laughed when he opened by saying that this game is published by NGDev, not developed by them, so we should not prejudice GunVein based on the NGDev name.)

      I am cautiously optimistic that REmake 4 will be a good or very good game. However, there have been a few high-profile cases of developers blatantly misleading the audience via advertising, e.g. FFVII Remake or The Last of Us II, so I hope that this kind of behavior does not get normalized. Capcom’s other big title this year, SF VI, is also pretty woke. On the plus side, Capcom knows how to make a mechanically good game, whereas the companies behind the DS remake and TCP were unproven.

    28. Speaking of REmake 4, some new screenshots and infos got released today. The design of Leon S. Kennedy is pretty good, and a lot better than, for instance, Chris Redfield in RE5 with arms the size of a bodybuilder’s thighs. However, I do not like the design of Ashley at all. It is also jarring to put Chris into a reasonably tight-fitting T-shirt whereas Ashley has to cover her assets with multiple layers of virtual clothes. I hope that some more appealing outfits are unlockable. Otherwise, the sophisticated gamer would have to get this game on Steam, after modders have given us what Capcom wants to withhold.

      In other news, Platinum Games will hold a “10 year anniversary” event for Metal Gear Rising alter this month. Ten years, man… The last decade surely flew by for me. Should there be a sequel, I would not trust Platinum to be able to put out a good game, considering their recent track record.

    29. Oh, gaming was crappy about twenty years ago already. I just learned that Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon hides some items behind access to an in-game store that is only accessible via WiFi. Too bad that Nintendo shut down this service a few short years after the release of this game. Thus, you can no longer get these items. This has effects on the gameplay as there are a few units that cannot be promoted without them, and there is no other source for those items. The Japan-exclusive sequel goes even further and only grants access to some quests via WiFi. This is quite jarring, considering that there is no gameplay justification for it. It was free content, so Nintendo did not even make any money on it, at least not directly. The business justification was probably that the company was looking for ways to get people to use WiFi, and their online store, on the Nintendo DS.

    30. “ Caladrius”

      Is this a Latin word? The medieval world in Mount and Blade series is called Caladria.

      Is this just a coincidence?

    31. Japanese developers seem to like foreign sounding names, which may or may not make sense. For instance, in the game Samurai Shodown II there is a character with the fake-German name “Neinhalt Sieger”, which presumably is supposed to mean “Non-stop Winner” or “Unstoppable Winner”. “Nein” (German for “no”) and “halt” (German for “to stop”) cannot be combined in this way, though.

    32. In one screenshot it at least looks like Ashley is sporting her trademark green mini skirt, though I can’t see her legs well in that particular photo either because of the lighting or because they are covered with hose or something. Assuming Ashley’s more conservative design is the only fuck up in the game, then mods should easily be able to make this game a win. Fingers crossed! I’m certainly starting to get more excited for REmake 4, but I won’t be too let down if something goes terribly wrong. MGR:R has been memed to death in recent years, as well as the music in the game being covered by various youtubers. There’s no way Konami hasn’t picked up on this. I’d say a sequel could certainly be successful, and I’d be more curious about that than a simple MGS remake. I’m starting to get a little desensitized to remakes at this point. Anyway, I’d certainly enjoy going through another play-through of MGR eventually, and also Vanquish.

      I’ve known Synthetic Man on a few occasions to either get drunk on stream or pissed off, and start ranting about loxism in modern games as well as dancing around the JQ a bit. He’s certainly well aware of a lot of the things we’ve discussed here, no doubt. It’s part of the reason I wish him more success as a streamer. In fact, it’s kind of odd because lately it seems as if more successful content creators (like the ones that got review copies of DS and presumably even some shill money) are acting as gatekeepers and making bogus arguments to try and shut him out of the conversation. It’s great that his streams seem to be picking up more and more steam, though, and he’s found a nice little niche so that we can at least have some alternative dialogue in the realm of gaming.

      On that topic, I found this article detailing that Blackrock, Inc. was majority shareholder for EA at just over 8%, or 23.5m shares back around February of last year, right above Vanguard Group, Inc. Probably not a cohencidence:

    33. In his Forspoken stream, Synthetic Man sneaks in a good analysis of The Critical Drinker, pointing out why he is a grifter. I was not aware that the latter also has a gaming channel. As Synthetic Man points out, the movie review channel targets the anti-woke consumer base, which is quite large, but because anti-wokism is very actively suppressed in gaming, he completely changes his tune. Some of the takes of Drinker are shockingly bad. It was quite something to hear him downplay wokism in the new God of War.

    34. Someone just posted another picture of woke propaganda in the Dead Space remake. In the original, there is a poster showing a white man and woman with the caption “powering humanity into the future”. You could argue that this was already pandering towards females. However, in the remake, the white guy in the poster had to make way for a black gentleman.

    35. First major strike against AH is that the dubs are awful. I would most likely opt for Russian audio with subtitles.

    36. I found the narrator’s remark that the game takes 25 hours to beat more concerning because this indicates that Atomic Heart will not be a tight game. Filler content is probably the last thing you want in a shooter.

    37. I instinctively recall this term

      Can I use it for neinhalt?

      I learnt this term from Call of Duty series.

      Can I say unhaltbar? Or unhalt?

      I am not sure why there is auf and bar. Auf is an important preposition in German, I don’t understand bar as well

    38. Yes, “unaufhaltbar” would be correct. “Neinhalt” does not exist as a word at all. The adjective “unhaltbar” also exists, but it has a different meaning, actually it is the opposite (lit. “indefensible”).

  1. The YouTube algorithm recently choked and recommended a video I was actually interested in, pointing me towards the most recent album of Dance With The Dead, a band I used to listen to a lot about five or six years ago:
    The new record, “Driven to Madness”, is very good. I’ll have to listen to it some more but my early opinion is that it is their second best record. Their masterpiece is The Shape, which I consider one of the best records of the retrowave genre.

    1. Thanks for sharing some new music! I’ll definitely check it out soon and get back to you.

    2. This is right up my alley. I love that there are guitar riffs and leads, as well as synth rhythms that emulate the driving sound of a guitar. It sort of sounds as if they mixed power metal with synth wave. Gives off some very retro video game-y soundtrack vibes if artists were somehow able to incorporate rock instruments into their music back in the day besides relying solely on synthesizers. Definitely good workout material here. I’ll check out The Shape at some point I’m sure.

    3. You’ll probably like The Shape even more than this record. However, one downside may be that the former is really aggressive, so I find it difficult to listen to it on repeat. I do not have this problem with Driven To Madness, which I listened to for hours each day since discovering it.

  2. I’ve got a story for the Chad Chronicles, guys. It’s a tale of a guy I know from my temporary position at a certain facility that I just learned about.

    Basically, this dude works in a department with a skewed female to male ratio, and said dude happens to be Chad. The guy was dating an attractive secretary with an academic discipline majoring in dance (LOL). Although retarded, you can imagine what sort of shape she is in. She dotes on the guy, paid for an expensive vacation and even bought him a multi-thousand dollar gift for Christmas . I’m not exaggerating here, and the fucked up part is he easily out earns her by a multiple of 2.5-3.

    What happened is the dude started banging another chick from the very same department, right under her nose! These two were an item, so the other chick involved definitely knew without a doubt what she was getting into. After his girlfriend learned about what had transpired, she keyed up his fling’s vehicle and loosened the lug nuts on one of the wheels. She was soon relieved of her position afterwards, and that’s as far as I know with regards to the consequences she faced.

    So, you’d think the chick he was cheating with would have realized what kind of guy she was dealing with and that she’d end up being cheated on herself. You know that’s not how women think (rationally) when it comes to Chad, however. She’s currently in a public relationship with the guy.

    I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious the moment I learned of this. Not that I really want that kind of drama in my life, but I just imagined how wild it would be to be able to play chicks like that whenever you feel like it and instead of other chicks thinking you’re a piece of shit or a sociopath, they instead line up to get their share of Chad porridge.

    1. This is a great story! I particularly like that the secretary with her degree in dance (LOL indeed) removed herself from Chad’s life due to her shortsighted actions. Her behavior also shows that she saw no blame in Chad but only in the other chick he was banging. Out of curiosity, what kind of multi-thousand dollar gift did he get? I can’t quite imagine her buying him a used car of a watch, or a couple of Krugerrand gold coins.

    2. The gift he received was something along the lines of this:

      I could go on a rant as to why these boomer guitars are horribly overpriced, but I’ll refrain from doing so. It’s quite possible that she didn’t have the coin lying around to buy one outright and instead opted for a monthly payment plan. It’s not hard to imagine a woman with her level of impulsivity (extremely stupid major, destroying property/endangering lives, jeopardizing finances) making an installment based purchase like this on a whim. Probably her Boomer father idolized this stupid instrument so she thought it was an amazing gift idea, or the Chad’s Boomer dad thought highly of them and he hinted at wanting one. I know he received the gift as he told me himself that she had purchased it for him. He seemed, under the surface, proud to have been lavished in such a way.

      A recent update I received is that the crazy dancer lady is now already in a new relationship with another guy. I’d say he’s also pretty Chad-tier, except this guy in particular is actually a pretty nice dude, so I question his judgement for committing to such a nutty chick.

    3. This woman really does not make a lot of smart choices. An interesting aspect here is that she is mirroring the behavior she expects from a man, i.e. she would like to get expensive gifts, so she is giving expensive gifts to this dude. Yet, this guy probably would not really care and just bang her until he grows tired of her regardless. The other dude probably has not really thought this through. Well, it seems that her Bachelor’s in Dancing is paying dividends, at least.

    4. That is why there is absolutely no double standard when it comes to body count. If women acted like men and were disgusted at Chads who fucked around, then men would be even more careful with sleeping around. But instead, women even rewarded male promiscuity.

      That is the singular explanation for why Chads could operate between girls. They stick to him and whine about it.

    5. @CQV

      I think a better explanation boils down to supply and demand. There’s a high demand for the top percentage of men (and thus a very limited supply), so women are willing to “pay a higher price” to be with them. Of course, if monogamy were a valued and propagated social institution, then high value men would simply pair off with other high value women, and everyone else would also do so accordingly in alignment with their looks/status.


      I usually get a chuckle when I hear women explaining that their “love language” is giving/receiving gifts. I think a good comeback would be to state that your love language as a man is to receive blowjobs every morning before being served a high protein breakfast.

    6. I think this recent scandal involving a married female police officer, who btw is very average to below average looking, illustrates just how bad things are for the average guy these days. Just imagine how her husband must have felt when he realized his ugly wife was boning all the Chad and Tyrone policeman from work:

      Add to this all the men married to school teachers that fondle little boys for whatever reason. They probably think, “hmm, I couldn’t get enough Chad in college or wherever, so I’ll just let the 14 year old Chad from 9th grade geography studies prematurely ejaculate in my work out late 20s pussy.”

    7. This is one of those stories where it is hard to believe that they are true, considering that his woman is a solid 2/10. She is so ugly that she would probably look more attractive if she had a missing limb as you would feel pity and therefore not judge her so harshly.

    8. Pickernanny:

      I think calling her average-looking would be very generous. 🙂 To me she’s ugly as heck.

      Weird thing is I read her husband is staying with her even after these revelations. Wtf?

    9. Yeah. The video I watched where I discovered this scandal showed pictures of her husband and some of the police officers who were fired. She’s definitely the ugliest person involved here by a good margin. I’ve known average to below average chicks to slut it up quite easily honestly. I remember me and a couple guys from work all sharing our experiences with one such slut a few years back, and basically having fun at her expense detailing how she had propositioned each one of us. Chicks like that will simply move from one guy to next offering easy blowjobs etc. They have no shame about it, and plenty of dudes will go for it, too. It’s always interesting to observe how they act once they’re “committed” to someone as well, although quite predictable.

    10. @Aaron: I know you’re used to certain standard of woman in your sexual history, but if this chick is a 2/10, it sounds like you open your window to look outside and find that the average woman looks like, let’s not say a Sports Illustrated model, but at least a community-level beauty pageant. Police forces in particular are a magnet for girls who are way uglier than this one, not to mention your run-of-the-mill fishwives, cleaning ladies and political activists. We would need to go below zero to grade those ones.

  3. Aight purebloods. You meet the girl of your dreams, and she’s into you. She’s hot, she hasn’t had a gazillion partners, based (enough), gets along with the other people in your life…

    buuuuuut she’s vaccinated.

    Do you knock her up?

    1. There is a good chance that you will not be able to knock her up and if you do, she is more likely to miscarry.

    2. To me if she is actually as you describe I would let the vax stuff slide, personally. It’s tough enough finding a good woman, add in that single women especially are more susceptible to societal pressures and it’s going to be difficult to find a non vaxxed woman who wants to marry you. Not ideal of course but we can only play the game we’re given.

      I would however question if she is truly “based enough”, or if that’s your dick making a rationalization.

    3. I don’t follow how my dick is making a rationalisation. I’m talking about a hypothetical girl.

    4. Thanks for clarifying. I can see why some of the guys on here interpreted your post as one of those “asking for a friend” questions.

    5. I don’t plan to ever have kids,but even if I did,a woman of great beauty AND character (This does not mean I believe less-attractive women automatically are of better character,as Aaron has written about in the past. But in general,its just difficult to find somone who is an almost complete package nowadays) is rare. I think you’d be a fool to let someone like that go over such a small detail.

      >I don’t follow how my dick is making a rationalisation.

      We are prone to rationalizing bad behavior from those we are very attracted to. That’s true on both sides. It pays to be mindful about it so you don’t fall into the trap.

    6. My current S.O. is twice-vaxxed, and I plan to marry her when she’s out of college. It’s not like vaxx side effects are a flat function or anything, maybe she’ll be completely spared. Time will tell.

  4. I was recently advised to leave behind speech language pathology as major due to its intensely stressful grad school. My psychiatrist said I should consider a major in Linguistics with a programming on the side.

    Do you guys happen to know anything about Machine Translation? I know it is a subfield of Machine Learning. But I am not sure I am a good fit for it. I have passed Calculus I with an A with a ridiculously easy grading policy. I don’t think I am that much of a good math student. Anything beyond Calc III and introductory Linear Algebra are beyond my capacity to understand. I used to try to self-study Real Analysis before but failed to grasp many aspects related to Topology. Even basic concepts like Compact interval and compact set are beyond my ability.

    What does it take to work in Machine Translation? Does it require you to have exceptional background in Math and Stat?

    1. Your psychiatrist is not a trustworthy source. Machine translation is a solved problem, perhaps with the exception of very obscure languages. Have you tried out ChatGPT, by any chance? Ask it to write some text on any given prompt, and then tell it to translate it to a different language, but make sure it is one you are able to read fluently. The quality of the translation may surprise you. Also, we are entering yet another “AI winter”. All the big tech companies are busy culling their workforce and this does not just affect diversity hires. Countless AI experts have been kicked out at the likes of Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. Google recently announced layoffs, too, but I have not looked into it yet. However, I would be very surprised if their machine-translation team did not get downsized, considering that Google Translate is far behind ChatGPT. In fact, it cannot even compete with DeepL.

    2. “Have you tried out ChatGPT, by any chance? Ask it to write some text on any given prompt, and then tell it to translate it to a different language, but make sure it is one you are able to read fluently. The quality of the translation may surprise you. ”

      I have tried to go to ChatGPT, but it says that it is not available in my country.

      Do you mean that their translation is very good and accurate? I guess so because you said “machine translation” has been solved.

    3. Yes, the translations by ChatGPT are very good. DeepL is already quite excellent, and it uses older technology.

    4. I actually have a doubt about the long list of complains on Reddit. Speech pathology is a field that is dominated by females. They constantly say that they are stressful, they are on antidepressants. I wonder if this is the reason why the whole place looks so gloomy and starry.

      I personally find Speech Pathology to be a field that suits me. No, I won’t make even 60,000 USD a year or something like that fresh out of college but I can do better. It is also a field that is, in my humble opinion, not easily automated.

    5. Your reasoning is correct. If you want a job that cannot be easily automated, the allied health professions are a pretty good bet whereas prospects for “information workers” are pretty gloomy, in my opinion.

    6. DeepL does not have Vietnamese haha!

      I typed: I don’t give a damn about your past. Get over it!
      They said: Je me fous de ton passé. Oublie-le !
      Google says the same.

      It should be J M’EN fous de ton passé.

      Do you think some days, translators and interpreters shall be erased from the face of earth? I can see that translators who work on literary translation will not be replaced anytime soon. Poetry translation is too complex for machines at this point.

    7. I think there will always be a role for specialists, but there simply won’t be a lot of them. For instance, there are still shoemaker or artisan bakers, but most of those workers have been replaced by machines.

  5. I pasted a section of the Gettyburg Address of Lincoln and let it translate into Vietnamese. The result is atrocious. “Four score snd seven years ago” was rendered as “bốn điểm và bảy năm trước”.
    Score was understood as “score in academic or sport setting”.

    The rest is barely understandable.

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.