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Lamp, broken circa 1988

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Posts posted by Lamp, broken circa 1988

    Adorable NES styled platformer where you are a tiny rat hunting freaky cryptids and trying to recover all your cool cryptid notes and save your partner in cryptid-hunting from the head of the Cryptid gang, Sasquatch. Usually don't go for pixel retro stuff anymore but this one's got such a powerful premise that I dont regret checking it out at all.

    I was having a good time- not a great time- until in one of the dungeons all of the enemies just suddenly started not following the rules of the rest of the game. After failing that encounter ten times and nearly throwing a controller (which I literally haven't done since Super Mario Galaxy) I went into the difficulty options and cranked down the enemy damage to the absolute bottom to keep going. It's fine, but it's uneven. I want to see where the story is going.

    It's free and it's a super paired down Auto Chess, and a few years ago I attempted to explain Auto Chess in here so just read that and then imagine it's like 1/5th as much complicated.

    Here's a variety of snippy things I have said about this game to other people.

    • If you would have asked me on saturday night I would have told you this is the most disappointed I've been in a game.
    • congratulations to Cruelty Squad for winning Game of the Year in a fuckin walk
    • i've been wondering who this game is for and I'm starting to think the answer is "the developers"
    • at least the speed runs will look nuts

    Five hours in and I've been having a miserable time. I was looking for an eerie adventure, and instead have recieved hyper-repetitive platinum action with PG horror elements. If you played Doom Eternal and disliked The Marauder, imagine there's Three Different Kinds of Marauder and you'll have a sense of what you're in for. The combat is repetitive, the animation is so fast that it looks like ads for mobile games, the one-hit-kills from the EMMI aren't even like exciting when they happen because Nintendo wont show anything graphic, but they also won't relent with how fucked up they are to deal with so you'll see the same three death animations over and over... Not having fun! Regret buying this! Wouldn't recommend!

    EDIT: srsly tho Cruelty Squad is the game of the year, the snippy part is emphasizing just how much better it is than everything else that's happened this year

  2. And hopefully in Actual 2021! This year has seen a LOT of records that I've adored so I'm interested to see what else came out that didn't land on my radar.


    1. First Come, First Serve.
    2. If you nominate two, I'll listen to zero.
    3. No guarantees that my review will be positive.
    4. If someone suggests your album I'll ask the both of you if you have another album you'd rather I review. First Come First Serve still applies.

    My personal album of the year was "The Apple Drop" by Liars, which came out on the same day as my runner up, Lingua Ignota's "Sinner Get Ready." I've been a huge Liars fan for years and years and this very well may be their best record. The thing I love about Liars is how different they sound and how much they challenge their outer boundaries of what they can do as musicians, always learning and expanding. This time, now that Liars is just Angus Andrew, the way that he chose to expand is using professional musicians and a writing partner. The result is an enormous, eerie, fun, great rock record. I'll also post my full top 10 at the end of this process for anyone who's curious.

    And yes I realize there's three months left in the year, so if you want to wait that's totally fine. Submissions close on New Year's Eve.

    Now, please to be share yon records!

  3. Alright! That's a wrap for 2020 there! Sorry that took so long to get done y'all. I do intend to do this again this year but I'm not going to open that up for another few weeks.

    1. "Fetch The Bolt Cutters" by Fiona Apple
    2. "Forever Black" by Cirith Ungol
    3. "Show Pony" by Orville Peck
    4. "All Hands Around The Moment" by Richard Youngs and Raül Refree
    5. "Wake of a Nation" by Zeal and Ardor
    6. "The End of Everything" by Noah Cyrus
    7. "Eons" by Neptunian Maximalism

    I know nothing about Zeal & Ardor. A cursory set of googles leads me to two discoveries I don't know how to reconcile. First is, their website has the subtitle "Blues, Gospel and Soul meet harsher music." The second is that the wikipedia about the band invokes 4chan as how they found their sound. It's time to listen before deciding how I feel about those two things!


    Well, I don't mind intro ballad as a move. The swell on the chorus is really large and interestingly dissonant, rooted in some sort of ambient approach instead of distinct chords. The song itself feels like a good prelude, sitting on an idea and slowly expanding it outwards without a real relief point.

    Alright well black metal wasn't the direction I was expecting, though from the cover's upside down cross it's not the biggest surprise. Although, compared to most black metal, it's got a really clear melodic focus. It's made this really interesting almost-kind-of pop-black metal sound, where it's got hooks on top of double kicks and under growls. Kind of reminds me of Opeth's "Watershed" album in that way.

    What is the metal term for a slow jam? I guess power ballad? Is there a distinction? This is whatever that is. I really like the chords in this song, and it moves at a decent clip while expanding instrumentally. It also feels like a closing track sort of? I wonder why this wouldn't be put at the end? I guess I'll find out.

    This one's an interlude, so I dont have a lot to say about it. The youtube video for it has extra minutes of silence, and I'm not sure if there's a purpose to it? The bandcamp doesn't have the extra minute and a half of silence...

    ...but it's ended up making this song's beginning feel like it's exploding into the silence, even if it's just a vocal treatment to start. This one's interesting for a few reasons. First, it's the song that feels most like the "gospel... with harsher music" combination suggested by their website. Second, it uses a sound that's somewhat uncommon instruments for metal, with the way the drum machine drops into subwoofer sounds. I'd love for them to play more with that! That's a good idea! Also there's a segment where there's just some overdriven bass and I'm always going to be into that. This is my favorite song on here so far.

    Oh, ok, the reason that one song isn't the ending is because the energy they're trying to leave listeners with is "GO FIGHT." Thumbs up for no ending ballad! This is also the song that feels most weirdly radio-ready on here. I could see this airing on a rock station in the coastal cities of the US (the lyrics would keep this from flying inland).

    = = =

    Overall, an interesting listen! The writer at the center of it feels academic but the application of their theories isn't as alienating as that can be sometimes. This is a really tricky feat. Given the year it was released in, I can DEFINITELY see this being someone's album of the year (or runner up as the case may be here (again, really sorry about the clipping thing))


  4. 44 minutes ago, Shane said:

    It definitely feels like a Red Ventures thing, as Giant Bomb is also putting out a lot of shows now that are only tangentially related to video games (if at all). I'm not sure who is even left at GS. Tamoor and Lucy, I think? Not 100% positive on that, even. They show up in GB content, though, so it's a safe guess.

    you did the Stop/Spot thing bro

    admittedly that tweet is GameSpot reporting on GameStop so I understand how it happened but yeah

  5. On 8/31/2021 at 11:17 PM, DEAN said:

    Khali's fed in India brings up more questions than answers.  Why the lady in the corner of the ring behind police tape?  Why the beck brace?  This feels a lot like 1995 ECW and thus it is awesome.   Plus, they lay it in.


    So here's what I've pieced together:

    -The lady is Divya, the ring announcer who also insists that she is the Queen of CWE. I think she's demanding to still do ring announcing stuff but as queen has an entourage for protection and fanning.

    -Badshah Khan (who I've decided his gimmick is Man Who Cannot Control His Emotions) hates this dude named Avnish for some reason that's not clear. He tried to jump him, and, well...

    And then Badshah sees someone watching some video he thinks is Avnish and chases him with the Cookie Sheet of Wrath, and, well...

    By the way, Sardar Singh just posted a promo where him and his goons hang a man so I am pretty sure CWE is my new favorite company.

    • Like 1
  6. Today I learned that Great Khali's wrestling school is uploading matches. This has one of the most unique setup gimmicks I've ever seen, looking like a comedy caper at the end of a movie about an underground fighting ring. The match itself is ecstatic shades of green. Straight up might be one of the most fun matches I've seen all year.


    • Like 1
  7. @Casey since they put out two consecutive albums about vampires and werewolves

    @username It's entirely your call. My position is I gave my word that I'd listen to it so I intend to, but if you want to change albums that's totally in your prerogative.

    If it helps with your decision, the short version of that clipping review is that I liked midcity & CLPPNG, didn't like the sci-fi one, believe that spirit > technique, and that losing mystique is a hard thing for anyone to overcome. Favorite song was Run For Your Life, least favorite was Story 7.

    • Thanks 1
  8. ok here's a news update: I listened to clipping's album "There Existed An Addiction To Blood," had an unbelievably miserable time, and then realized that wasn't even the right clipping horrorcore album. I wrote the review and everything. So I'm going to give it some time before i listen to the correct clipping record and finish this process, to wash that whole record out of my head and give the right one a fair chance.

  9. Who knows, maybe that "metal musician yearns to make a genre of music that's not full of white guys (yet)" is a San Diego thing, but I've run into that dude so often. The one I wont forget is the virtue signaling groper idiot cop caller grindcore guitarist/drummer who was overheard yearning to be in an afrobeat band. Hard to forget a thing like that.

    1. "Fetch The Bolt Cutters" by Fiona Apple
    2. "Forever Black" by Cirith Ungol
    3. "Show Pony" by Orville Peck
    4. "All Hands Around The Moment" by Richard Youngs and Raül Refree
    5. "The End of Everything" by Noah Cyrus
    6. "Eons" by Neptunian Maximalism

    As an alt-country liker, I've definitely heard about Orville Peck and just haven't gotten around to listening to their music, though I did hear one song that a friend sent me but it was so long ago that I don't remember which it was. Genuinely looking forward to this!


    Ok i made it to the chorus before thinking I should write anything, this is kind of exactly the thing I'm looking for tonight. This is pretty standard all told, but really well executed. I love his vibrato, it feels like it's whipping through the air around me. This is the kind of thing I'd listen to with my drinking buddy.

    This is good too! The production on this one isn't amazing: the vocals are pushed way too far forward and while it can carry his songs, it puts an ego in the recording that's not present in the song here.

    I was ready to get started on the singer and piano thing before the guitar started wiggling in the back of the song, as if to comfort me that the band was coming. This one's ok, I guess? It's a little cornier the other tracks so far, but at the same time, a comedian I like once said "love is being out of style together" so I can't get that mad at it.

    This is a good one. I like how the band swells in and out with the tension in the chorus and the bridge/solo causes it to drain slowly before the chorus returns in a softer fashion, which matches that feeling of years going by as detailed in the song.

    I don't love this duet. The vocal push is happening again, and this is too broad and expensive of a song to fit comfortably with the rest of these songs, especially knowing there's a song left to coming which is just reeking of Ending Ballad listening to this. It's killer for his career and so good job for that, but this doesn't feel right.

    Love to be wrong! This is a wild cover of a Bobbie Gentry song that's rewritten to maybe be something trans? The instrumentation is spacious and smothering, which feels like maybe this was chosen or recorded after the Shania Twain cover, so I at least understand why it followed it on the record. I'd say I find it really interesting though I dont know if I'd say I like it as an ending, but EPs aren't albums so I'm not gonna knock it for that.

    I was lucky to get to this after a really hard day. I was fond of half of it and not put off that far by the other half. Good for an EP I guess? Is that backhanded? Anyways I would also recommend that whoever nominated this also should listen to Daughn Gibson's "All Hell." It's place on the list can swap day by day with the album below it. They're very close, and tonight I feel like putting it above.

  10. What's funny is, I suspected that's why you nominated it and almost skipped it because of that, but I couldn't prove it and asking you to show your work would've given you an out and made me look bad. Instead you outed yourself after I gave you the benefit of the doubt for two hours. So, good job, you got me. Don't worry about submitting records anymore.

  11. Obligatory reminder that there's no guarantee I'm gonna write something positive about what you submit.

    1. "Fetch The Bolt Cutters" by Fiona Apple
    2. "Forever Black" by Cirith Ungol
    3. "All Hands Around The Moment" by Richard Youngs and Raül Refree
    4. "The End of Everything" by Noah Cyrus
    5. "Eons" by Neptunian Maximalism

    Googles of Neptunian Maximalism revealed a bunch of Belgians in dreadlocks calling themselves a Drone Metal Arkestra. The bandcamp describes the band as a community of "cultural engineers." I've never seen a band I'd be less surprised to learn that they are racists. also this thing is two hours so this is a really long review.


    I can't get on an album's case for starting with a simple repetitive phase, since one of the best albums I've listened to in the last two years is a 90s record where the first 20 minutes are identical with occasional bursts of noise. It does mean I don't have a lot to write about for a few minutes though. Whenever this record drops off into doing jazz attempts, I'll also not have terribly much to say as I am not earth's greatest jazz appreciator aside from Charles Mingus. That intro was ok.

    This song really reminds me of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum with the driven 5 string bass over drums that are attempting to sound primitivist but give away too much technique in the application, betraying the conscious effort to sound simple. I wonder if they've been approached to do soundtrack work. I imagine a Samurai Jack episode sounding like this. This ends like the show's about to cut to commercial anyways.

    This is starting in a interesting way. It's unique in where it's placed in the album, as the last two tracks have been a lot of studio musicians pretending to get in tune with nature, where as this actually sounds like ominous weather. I suspect this band started as a drone metal band and then had this experience that I've found happens to a lot of metal musicians, where temporarily they wish they made afrobeat or jazz or calypso or something. Something less excessively white. Usually those musicians never act on this impulse except to talk about it while drinking and then go back to being in really boring metal bands. This band seems to have acted on their impulse to be Sun Ra, despite having actual talent at drone metal and its construction. Beats having regrets, I guess.

    Ok now we're blending the drone metal and the junior high drum circle. For as much of a hard time as I'm giving them, I can't call the music bad per se. I think it's misguided and self-important, but that's millions of bands. "Your band is bland ambition." As this song has been going I've been looking at how many physical copies of this thing they've sold at what must be at least 30 euros and hey fair play to them. This wasn't one of the more interesting songs. I find when they're playing at length, that's where their drone metal roots are betraying them. The songs don't meaningfully escalate.

    make a jazz noise here

    Wow ok this song has a really fascinating setup, like mixing in 70s tv sci-fi background sounds, psych rock guitar, the baritone sax (do they have another one) and the rhythm section starting in a jazz place before progressing to something actually different. This actually sounds like a band that would call themselves Maximalists. From the tracklist, this seems to be the end of the first vinyl and it's does a phenominal job of building intrigue of where this record is going just in time for where you need to switch records over, and then the ending is a for real crescendo. It feels like the end of an Act 1, and if you're gonna stage your record like it's got acts, you need to close the first one strongest to get that conceit over. This is the best song on here so far.

    For as much as they needed a departure to start the second record, they have not achieved it. This song sounds like tracks 1, 2, and 4, the same bland ambition sound. I again wonder if they get offered soundtrack work. I think they'd OK at it.

    Oh alright we're transitioning between tracks now! There's also a drum noise at the start of this song that made it sound like someone just broke into my house so thanks for making me jump lol. They are making jazz noises while one guitar makes drone noises and another makes psych noises. When the chanting starts it feels like this is a noise bed for a D&D live play podcast.

    This is another brief instrumental break but this time they use a bunch of major intervals to create a different feeling from the last few tracks, which makes a clean seperation...

    ...that carries into the next song. It feels comparatively uplifting in comparison to the rest of the record. The layers of that uplift start slowly peeling away with the saxophone and the incantation (I can't find any lyrics for this record but I think that's a net positive). This is an ok tune all told. I would rate this one Third best so far (behind the track immediately before it and the end of the To The Earth section)

    more jazz noises. It's not an ill-fitting followup for what that's worth.

    I looked back and was surprised to learn that not only was this a different song but that this is the end of Part 2 happening. That's kind of a drag given how neat the break between part 1 and 2 was, but not uncommon for 3 act structures I guess? It's more improv stuff.

    oh good god the songs are getting slower and longer. They should be doing soundtracks because this is not working in just sound alone. I've made some indulgent things in my time, and it's sounded like this. Says here this part of the record is meant to be a "solar drone opera," which is an interesting understanding of what makes an opera I guess. Or they were just grasping for a word with import and heft and chose that one. Here's a quote from the bandcamp page about it: “We worked on the power of frequencies and tonality, chthonian deep vibrations and iridescent high lights by using huge amplified baritone sax and guitars, spectral soundscapes, antic cinematographic views and tribal percussions.” I had to look up antic. I'm excited for this word to be the new Liminal.

    I just realized I have 30 minutes left and I'm out of things to say unless something interesting happens. This is a band of good players making really indulgent music and occasionally having killer ideas, but not enough for 2 hours worth of record. I assume the main way people experience this is as background music to something else. I can't imagine anyone listening to this and having their life changed in some appreciable way, other than people who were already aspiring to make prog rock or other aforementioned metal musicians looking for the strength to not cling to a genre their whole lives. If I write anything else it'll be because I liked something that happened on the remaining now-25 minutes.

    not on this one

    I do like the climbing bass line on the back half of the last track. It feels like it's trying to pull the song into ending on a major chord but it can't, which creates a weary & sad tension. That's probably the emotional crescendo they're going for so congrats, they did it.


    I give this the Most Music prize. It's got three songs that I think are genuinely good and here are their names.

    Track 6: TO THE EARTH : ENŪMA ELIŠ - La Mondialisation ou la Création du Monde : Éon Protérozoïque
    Track 9: TO THE MOON : VAJRABHAIRAVA Part II - The Rising
    Track 10: TO THE MOON : VAJRABHAIRAVA Part III - The Great Wars of Quaternary Era Against Ego

    The run time of those songs I liked adds up to 17:49. The run time of the complete record is 2:08:21. While it does have the apt name of Eons (I do appreciate an album that does what it says on the tin), a record I only enjoy 14% of has to be last.


  12. OK after dealing with a metric ton of trauma and realizing I wanted to do the Listen To The Albums thing for 2021 (which has been a GREAT music year), I remembered I didn't finish this year's, so, let's do that first!

    1. "Fetch The Bolt Cutters" by Fiona Apple
    2. "Forever Black" by Cirith Ungol
    3. "All Hands Around The Moment" by Richard Youngs and Raül Refree
    4. "The End of Everything" by Noah Cyrus

    A cursory google confirmed to me that Noah Cyrus is related to Miley Cyrus. I assumed that was the person who got caught lipsyncing on SNL but that was in fact Ashlee Simpson, literally 17 years ago. Time is ruthless. Let's listen to this EP!


    Ballad intro is infinitely more pallatable than ending ballad. Structurally though it's a little rote, though well performed and produced. It's always going to be weird to me to hear like pianos and drum machines sequenced to sound like rock ballad drums.

    Cyrus gotta country, I guess! It's not a bad premise for a song at all, a modern doomer croon, but the drum production still sticks out. I'm not saying there's no way to run drum machines under songs like this to modernize them, but the way they land here sticks out and is going to date this song very harshly. Not a bad tune otherwise.

    Ok that's three ballads now, I'm getting the sense that's all that's here. Noah's vocal performance is pretty good but it's not exactly carrying the instrumentation here. It's all very industry standard sound. Structurally it does me a favor of being brief, a thing that a lot of ballads have no interest in being. I appreciate a song that hits it'ss point and gets out of town.

    Yes Ok Ballad #4. A few weeks ago I went and listened to k.d. lang's "Ingenue" (I'm doing a Best Albums of the 90s thing somewhere else) and that's an album with a whole bunch of slow crooning. The structural difference is that all those songs have dense and interesting instrumentation, like there's people playing songs on it. This "me and a piano" shit is comparatively shallow, especially with the way that it's being coded as gospel-like here with the chorale.

    Ok this is immediately an improvement just through the threat of speed. The traditional information run in such a specific way as to sound like it's coming through a phone speaker is a REALLY clever touch. It creates the atmosphere of laying in bed trying to find stuff to make you feel better. When the instrumentation breaks through, it creates a mini-soar and that's whatever but the emergence through the speaker sound was inevitable. This is far and away the best song on here so far.

    Ok the vocal range deepening here is great for the pacing of the record and it felt really remarkably fresh. The brief run time also works in favor again here, as the single instrument and vocal overdubs would've worn out but the novelty of the different range and the speed of the song keep it moving. Also shout out for making a song called July that's not some "4th of July has Emotions" thing. Over that.

    What the fuck is this lmao ok uh this feels like a cartoon explosion compared to the rest of the record. First, the changing of singing patter from country to something more hip-hop and soul, then the Little Help From My Friends reinterpolation, then the autotune, then the drum kit that's half acoustic and half 808? This feels like it was from a completely different record, which sure is an interesting way to break up an album's pacing.

    Doomer Ending Ballad, but, ENDING BALLAD.


    The last four songs kick the first four songs ass, pretty much. It's hard to make an album be better the longer it goes so that gets credit. That's uh pretty much all I have to say about it? Oh, uh, if you like this, you should check out the first Daughn Gibson record, All Hell.


    • Like 1
  13. hello i do not post very often anymore but I felt like writing some game reviews and this is the only place I've put them for years

    scale reminder: 1 = hate it, 2 = regret it, 3 = don't regret it, 4 = love it

    Not usually a roguelike guy, and definitely not a save-the-world guy anymore, but I've been playing this in a co-op setting and the actual gameplay loop once you get more characters is pretty fun. I have fallen off of it as I have sworn off games with exposed numbers for the forseeable future, but I'd recommend this for anyone looking to do co-op RPG things. No netplay though, so, that'll be a hamper on that.

    JUDGMENT [4]
    If you like Yakuza games, this one's good and fun and different. If you don't like Yakuza games, this one isn't going to sell you.

    Started this because I have taken on a role in my friend groups of The Nintendo Streamer since they don't mess with Nintendo stuff at all but I do. Often great, but I'm in the home stretch and my main thought is that I can't wait to be done with it. This is also the most interesting way that Nintendo has ever enforced its "take breaks damn you" mantra because the puzzle element of the combat system is mentally taxing enough that I literally can't play it for long stretches. Also I got to hit Kamek with a hammer as many times as I wanted, which is hundreds.

    Samurai Gunn was a game I wanted to play but didn't because of a lack of netplay and a... let's say tendency among my friends to be super toxic competitors. Samurai Gunn 2 not only has netplay, but it has an adventure mode. It's stylish and heavy and impactful.

    Game of the year. Not close. The single best FPS since Titanfall 2, in literally the complete opposite way since Titanfall 2. It's like Deus Ex by way of the tv show Xavier: Renegade Angel, with the shooter gameplay of the original Rainbow Six games and a story that is Actual Cyber Punk.

    An example: my last mission required me to go attack three people who were working with the goofood startup G-TECH, as my employer had invested $5 Billion into them and they turned around and started selling trade secrets. Well, some of them. The third guy used their part of the money to stock up on chunkopop figures. Anyways, the first kill was easy as I was able to walk right onto their compound, only really encountering resistance from the guard dogs. I took them and my target inside and harvested their organs, which is my most profitable side hustle (I can't fish and I dont have enough money for the stock market to be worthwhile).

    The second and third targets were next door neighbors, with much more active guards. However, I propped myself upon a fence and had to choose between the two. One was on the top floor, the other was in a basement bunker. I figured it'd be harder to get the guy in the bunker so I did him first. After another round of firefights and organ harvesting, I reached the bunker. I saw him running around on the lower floor, but as I started going downstairs, the lights began to dim and the enormous computer console's eyes- a terminal panel more comparable to half a modern TV in size- opened and turned red. I decided I did not need to go down stairs, waited from him to walk in front of the staircase, and shot him in the ear. I left those organs behind, but I had no enthusiasm to learn what the computer was trying to do.

    Without an easy way back onto the fence- I'm saving up for Gunkboosters- I left the bunker and went to the local pizza restaurant to get something to eat before fighting my way to my third target. The man behind the counter opened fire immediately. He lost. I helped myself to his organs (hey, a stomach! Nice, those sell for a lot) and every slice of pizza on every table of the restaurant. They probably lost their appetite. That's why they didn't fight back. That and the part where I was walking around with a submachine gun in one hand, shoveling their food into my mouth with the other.

    The third target was the easiest of the three, though I still almost ate shit from someone hiding around the corner. The third target was also the braver of the three, as despite clearly hearing his guards being shot and torn apart, he wasn't running in fear. In fact, he thought I was like him: an appreciator of delightful chunkopops. Coming into the room, I saw a tower of the toys starting on my left, floor to ceiling, three boxes wide, that wrapped around the entire room except for the doorways and windows. He turned away from me to look at them. While the others died in fear, he died looking at what he loved. I could only salvage his pancreas. Upstairs in the attic, a similar terminal to the second man's bunker sentinel hummed peacefully, its own terminal eyes closed. The panel was a soothing purple. I let them sleep and made my way to the extraction point. On the way back, I noticed a house in this neighborhood had an enormous pentagram carved into the front of the house. Not my problem tho.

    This is a literal description of how I played one mission in Cruelty Squad.

    Game of the year. Not close.

  14. I bought an x-box series s because I'm not going to have a 4K TV any time soon and here's some things I've been playing on it, with brief reviews.

    MLB THE SHOW 21 [3] As good as you'd expect.
    NHL 94 REWIND [3] Also as good as you'd expect.
    CASTLEVANIA SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT [2] Redownloaded thru X360 backwards compat. I have learned in the last few years that repetition causes deep dread in me, and hitting the upside down castle made me want to run away from civilization so I tried some other stuff.
    ORI AND THE BLIND FOREST [1] This didn't work for me at all.
    HOLLOW KNIGHT [4] This did. It might be the single best action game I have seen in my life, I will keep you posted as I play through it.
    CROSSCODE [3] On recommendation from my brother. I like parts of it very much. The action loop involves plotting encounters in a line in order to increase the rarity of the drop rating. Neat! Except the game expects some amount of grinding and that hits the repetition thing.
    JUDGMENT [4] As someone who is completely done with stories about saving the world, a competently written crime drama works alright. I've already been rewatching a lot of Columbo so I'm in this mindset already.

  15. Hi! I did not forget about this. I've just been busy and didn't want to post a single thing in here until I had a review done. And so here we are.

    1. "Fetch The Bolt Cutters" by Fiona Apple
    2. "Forever Black" by Cirith Ungol
    3. "All Hands Around The Moment" by Richard Youngs and Raül Refree

    I know nothing about Richard Youngs or Raül Refree. Google searching Richard Youngs brings up him playing with Jandek. Raül Refree's first listing under his discography on wikipedia is a collaboration with Lee Ranaldo. I am now adequately prepared for what I am about to listen to.

    Also this came out December 2019 but I went radio silent for months and opening up with "THIS DONT COUNT" is a dick move so I'll let this slide just this once.



    A dizzying start, which is fun! I'm having trouble tracking the downbeat but everything sounds beautiful and clear. Structurally unpredictable harmony is REALLY hard. I have crass comparisons to make that come from the wake of post-rock and related songwriting that this is trafficking in. btw, brief aside about post-rock: all mogwai's kids ugly. Anyways, this is really really pretty and sophisticated, so it's hard for me to write about it because this is something I would need to listen to a LOT of times to pin down what's working about it. The mantra approach to the song title is fantastic, as someone who's spending a lot of time thinking about alternate ways around hooks that aren't verse-chorus structure. In a weird way, the vocals are kind of in the rhythm section since everything else structurally is free floating. Hell of a first impression.

    Much more rhythmically basic, which is a good relief from how broad the motifs of the last track were. By the way, I can't find the lyrics transcribed anywhere so I'm not going to speak on the content of the record since I feel like I can't do it accurately. What I'll say is that so far, no lines have pulled me out of the song and the mood it's setting. The soloing and such that's happening under the basic song is well placed. It creates landmarks as the rest of the song passes by, so in repeated listens it wont sound like it'll drag or be too samey- the terrible fate of many a long song.

    Also rhythmically basic, but brighter tonally. A less dismal key. This record is paced excellently so far. At the same time, this is the point where the lyricism is kind of taking me out of the mood. It feels like platitudes, talking about "people's appetite for silence" and offering ethereal advice. The song is still laid out in an interesting way, at least. I'm trying to focus on that here. The appearance of a drum is a welcome distraction, but it's not overweighing how much I find the repetition of the lyrics draining right now. There's something about the idea of positioning learning a language as a brave thing that bothers me but I'm running out of song so I can't quite put together why in time.

    I was kind of hoping the ending would return to the formlessness of the intro, but on the other hand I don't understand to write one song like that first one so I don't know why I'd expect anyone else does. The engineering on the bass and low end on this whole record has been superb, as when it barges in, it's to signify something different is happening. Unfortunately the last track kind of took me out of the atmosphere and I'm struggling to return to it. It's a nice enough song, but I think the feelings of sadness and remorse I'm feeling are not being created by the song the way they expected to. This is also the first time that one of the instruments has felt more like it's just noodling than contributing, and it's sadly the bass guitar. It's sticking out in the ending in an unfavorable way. Fortunately it gets out of the way for the dismount, which... they fuck up by cutting on the low piano note like it's some kind of mic drop. Unfortunate.

    = = =

    Well the first half is really great! The second half is not bad but at it's lowest it's frustrating, and at its highest it's just ok. I will probably listen to the first song a few dozen times because I'm just enamored with it's construction. So that's something!


    • Haha 1
    this game fuckin sux but you cant choose your coping mechanisms sometimes lol

    LOOP HERO [4]
    Early front runner for game of the year. I remember watching trailers of it and thinking "this looks awful." I  remember hearing it described (poorly) and thinking "this sounds awful." Eventually I just gave up and picked it up because I needed to see it for myself and OH BUDDY. I won't try to explain it because I don't rightly know how, but honestly it should be enough that it's a game that defies description while also being REALLY well written with an extremely metal premise.

    There's a cutscene early on where you knock on a door and the slide in the door opens and someone talks to you (I want a door like this) and says you cant come in, and so you knock again and they stick their fingers through to make a gesture and your character grabs their arm and then breaks it and then uses magic powers to explode the door, and then they mismatched the timing of the fade up from the cutscene so every time you come up from it you're getting shot by like 8 people.

    anyways it's gears of war but destiny with no live team and no games as a service aspiration but the demo is one of the most on-fire games I've played in years so maybe don't get it at launch

  17. Man this last week.

    So like, on the last tuesday in January I accidentially apneate while laying on my side and have a massive panic attack about it. Kind of a come to jesus moment about my health. That wednesday I talk to my therapist and I'm like "ok we're back on this calorie counting starting immediately cuz this can't happen."

    Last sunday, my sister expresses disappointment that I'm not trying harder to lose weight because she doesn't want to outlive me. Like... men in our family die early anyways so like I'm only so much in control of that, but regardless I'm already counting calories. This is not good enough. She proceeds to clash with me, over and over, for three days about this, saying tons of unfair and untrue and cruel things, doubling down every time I try to express "I'm already working on it and this thing you are doing is hurting me." The last day, I plead with her to understand that what she is doing is hurting me, and she insists I'm "addicted" (i don't know to what, that wasn't specified) and just continued to double down. At a point, I set the phone down and walk away, since the last text I saw had "Let me just say this and then you'll never have to worry about me again."

    I didn't read whatever came next. After three days of being hurt over and over again, I'd had enough. She's blocked me on everything, and I don't think I'll ever read that stuff. I have theories as to what happened to her but they don't matter. No one in my life has ever been closer to me. She spent three days ripping me across every vital line I had over something I was already doing. I don't think I can let her be that close again.

    I'm lucky that I have a broad and amazing friend group, one I've developed over the course of the pandemic and one that's done a lot to help me this week. There's a time in my life this would have devastated me, and instead they put out the fires by hearing me out. Now I just have bewilderment, and work to do to keep myself from internalizing any of what was said. I have good memories of my sister. I don't know who that person I talked to this week was.

    • Sad 9
  18. If you don't mess with pop or electronic music, I don't know how to begin to explain the impact SOPHIE has had on music in the last decade, or how that influence fucking exploded across the world of electronic and marginalized artists after this record, but if you'd like to start to understand then spin this today.


    It's a winter of backlog clearing and first on the plate was that I never finished my playthrough of this game. When I came back to my save, I discovered that the state I had left the game in was, uh, Catastrophic. I got a very bad set of ending circumstances, but in the skeleton of what I did I saw the amazing nature of everything I could have done and how much space there was for things to change. It's a 20 hour RPG that upon completion I immediately wanted to play again. This is, retroactively, the best game of 2019, and in totality, one of the finer things I've seen in my time playing games.

    And this is not. While i was tempted to play it at release, something kept me from it. Namely, a slowly increasing pit in my stomach over "indie games" and the homogenization of a codified style, where they become these pastel gelatin molds with googly eyes and they're trusting writing and "charm" to get the rest of the way. The success of the style only succeeds in making me feel really fucking insane. I made it three levels into this before the concept of doing more of it caused me to immediately stop and uninstall it. Game Pass is good because it gives me a chance to play an old game and be like "welp turns out I was right to never try this." I'm glad other people liked it, even if it makes my life harder to know that.

    I briefly entertained becoming a Shmup guy again in my desire to have an action game I could play. This is one of them. Unfortunately, repetition makes me feel really bad so I can't become a true shmup high score chasing sort.

    A quick moment to re-establish what my scale means: 3 = "I don't regret playing this." The phrasing is purposefully nebulous to allow for situations like this: I am so glad they put out a demo so I could have a chance to see what they did to the Hunting Horn and that I could find out before I bought it. If I had learned it through buying it, it would be the end of me playing Monster Hunter games and you would be reading a screed. But since it didn't cost me anything to find out my weapon is no longer in the game and therefore I have nothing I enjoy doing in the game, I'm free! That's $60 I get to put somewhere else! Thanks Monster Hunter Rise Demo!

    I wrote this a day after I played it because if I wrote it in the middle of mourning the death of my sweet beautiful Hunting Horn, I'd lack the hindsight to understand that the people who worked on The Least Popular Weapon In The Game probably see that as a problem and would rather see it get played more. I hope for their sake it works.

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