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Lamp, broken circa 1988

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  1. 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.
  2. Today marks the 9th anniversary of the passing of MCA, and I mark that occasion every year by watching this. RIP.
  3. 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. "Fetch The Bolt Cutters" by Fiona Apple "Forever Black" by Cirith Ungol "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.
  4. I BOUGHT DAN IN STREET FIGHTER 5 AND HAVE SINCE GOTTEN BACK INTO STREET FIGHTER 5 [2] 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. OUTRIDERS DEMO [3] 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
  5. guilty gear beta good play potemkin, wait for their string to end, grapple twice, cackle loudly
  6. 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.
  7. 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. RIP SOPHIE
  8. DISCO ELYSIUM [4] 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. DONUT COUNTY [1] 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. MARS MATRIX [3] 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. MONSTER HUNTER RISE DEMO [3] 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.
  9. Okay. I don't know what part of me is the same if I don't hear DOOM. In small ways, looking at every day objects or words causes me to remember a bunch of DOOM lines. "Brita water filter juice." "Oh, my aching hands, from raking in grands and breaking in mic stands." "Disappear, reappear, disappear again." I've got all of Great Day Today memorized. In larger ways, he kicked doors open in my creativity and expression. I don't tell jokes the same way without DOOM teaching me how to use surprise. I don't see things the same way without him. I think that's why this didn't make me hurt so bad? Because the stuff he's put out has already affected me so deeply and the work that did come out after Born Like This has all felt like blessings from an old master, I guess I was ready. I hear him in my mind all the time anyways. RIP. and thanks.
  10. Hey I just wanted to make two things clear. First, I'm expanding the submission window to the end of this month. Second, no reviews for like a week because I find it hard, bordering on disrespectful, to listen to anything that's not MF DOOM at the moment.
  11. https://www.instagram.com/p/CJefkDalNYo/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading RIP, I'll have to more to say when I'm less in shock
  12. "Fetch The Bolt Cutters" by Fiona Apple "Forever Black" by Cirith Ungol Ok so obviously I know Fiona Apple. On top of that, I really liked Idler Wheel a whole lot when that came out. At the same time, my instincts as a former music critic and my general age meant that when Pitchfork gave the new record a 10, I was going to hold off on listening to it for as long as possible, because I had no interest in engaging with any kind of discussion with the zeitgeist of "OH MY GOD A 10" music listeners. I listened to it two months ago and found it fine but overblown. Now I will listen to it with my full attention.
  13. @Casey EPs are totally in play. As you may expect, I know basically nothing about this band! A google reveals to me that they're from southern California, and they've been around since the 70s. It also invokes "power metal" in the descriptor on wikipedia and if I'm going to be honest it's one of my least favorite kinds of metal (blame my ex's blind guardian/iced earth collection), but the thread isn't "I judge whether or not I want to listen to your album of the year" so here we go!
  14. Hey! Thank y'all for the kind words! Here's an update! The immediate news is that the next time I post in here, it'll be to review a record. As a result of how long this took, I'm gonna play a little fast and loose with how late I'll accept submissions, probably until some point in January. As for my sister, she's one of the people with that Long Haul shit going on. It's not a terrible surprise to any of us, really. If bodies are machines, hers is a lemon. Of course this is how this would go. So, she's not better, but it's stopped getting worse. Also to update my original post: while I think the new Avalanches record is delightful in a brand new way than they've ever been, I still say "What's Tonight To Eternity" is my #1. So there's that.
  15. FYI Cyberpunk seems to be really harsh on epileptics. A Game Informer staffer reported suffering a grand mal seizure while playing, and wrote about the things that provoked her own epilepsy in this article here:
  16. i mean to be fair hudson also steered anthem so who knows maybe this is a good thing
  17. Here’s my Steam Autumn Sale Haul! NAMCO MUSEUM ARCHIVES VOL. 1 [4] Purchased after the release of the Action Button Review of Pac-Man, after I learned it included an NES demake of Pac-Man Championship Edition (the original is not available on PC in any way). Had to. It’s glorious action. Maybe playing it after a 3 hour dissertation on Pac-Man heightened the experience for me, but, still. The rest of the games in it are of middling quality- they’re all NES ports of arcade games, with the exception of one really interesting game called Dragon Spirit: The New Legend. It’s a shootemup that is exactly as fair as “NES shmup” sounds like it’ll be, but it’s not a straight arcade port. Rather, it expands on the original in ways that are super ambitious for the time. It starts with the last bossfight of the arcade cabinet, and depending on how the player does it will change the story and difficulty of the game ahead. A death means Gold Dragon (easy) mode, which has a different setup and a different level order (mainly a shorter one). Success puts you in Blue Dragon (normal) mode. From there it’s a hard shootemup on a remake compilation that includes rewinds and save states, but for an NES game it tries a lot of very ambitious things. So I’m glad I saw that and tried it out. SUPER MEGA BASEBALL 3 [4] A very good baseball game, but I dont know how much I have to actually say about it. I’ve got friends to play it with. I recommend that. The music is bad. If you like baseball but don’t plan on buying any more playstations, This’ll Do. UMURANGI GENERATION [4] One of the best games of the year. I’m starting there because the next part is that I beat it in about 3 hours. It does however have a DLC addon for $10 that I’ll be getting in a week or two for sure. It’s a genuine delight because it’s the kind of game I’ve been hoping to see someday in some form or another. The player character is not a hero, only an observer of Interesting Times. A photographer trying to make ends meet. The gameplay loop is a bit like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, where you’re dropped into a level with tasks to accomplish- get two boomboxes in the same shot, find a union jack somewhere and snap a picture of it, things like this. The aesthetic is a bit like Jet Set Radio, of a highly stylized cyberpunk future. They take these two identifiable things, and mix in the boldest realization of Environmental Storytelling I’ve ever seen. Where big developers have turned that into “pick up chunks of radio play during the down periods,” that storytelling is all the storytelling you get in this game. For the people around you, it’s fundamental truths of the world so there’s no reason for exposition. It’s all around you in graffiti, in terse signs, in strewn newspapers and dance parties. The way they use the environment in the game to tell the story is just genius. Simple words on everyday items set my mind on fire drawing connections, and the game demands this in order to complete your tasks, to witness this world pivoting and make a memorable record of it. An absolute delight, and without question one of the best games of the year. Shit, it might be my #1. If you're prone to gloom and doom this won't help. If you have a PC, I can think of no other reason to miss this.
  18. Hey, so, here's an update: on halloween my sister got Covid. It's been fucking terrifying and hard to focus on, uh, anything critical thinking-wise. So I do intend to do this, but there's a little while before I'll be ready to do anything. It seems like things are on the mend but it's hard to tell with this fuckin thing. I'll keep you posted.
  19. DESTINY 2: BEYOND LIGHT [3] I know there's a destiny thread that would benefit from this review more than this thread would, but all my reviews go here, so. I have some misgivings about how Bungie does things these days, and I will not let those go unmentioned. In brief: I hate their dedication to undermining everything I placed value in, mostly tossed away because they give up. I liked Future War Cult, so factions are gone. I liked collecting the guns and armor I acquired over time and storing them in the vault so I could pull out anything I needed for any reason, so now all gear has expiration dates. I liked doing crucible and gambit, so now the matchmaking doesn't sort by skill and there's rampant hacking. It's not going great! All that being said, Destiny 2: Beyond Light: The New Authored Levels And Story is I would say the #3 Destiny expansion so far (behind Taken King and Rise of Iron). A big part of that is personal: Variks is my favorite character and he's been blamed for the death of my least favorite, so being able to save Variks life in the first fifteen minutes and then being able to hang out with my clicky buddy has been great. While Europa is a very eye-strain kind of locale, the actual encounter design in all the new areas is actually pretty fun. The Strike on Europa is my favorite Destiny 2 strike by far. Speaking of Strikes, they remade the last encounter of the cosmodrome strike so it doesn't feel like being bled dry anymore. Bungie the Live Service Developer is pretty bad, but Bungie the Game Developer still has it where it counts. tl;dr: it's good but if you're put out by how they've been doing things, they didn't fix those things YAKUZA: LIKE A DRAGON [4] Ten hours in and I adore this game. It'd be hard to talk about without spoiling things but the short version is this: Ichiban is a fantastic protagonist. I hate using D&D terms to describe this stuff but I'm tired and it's the best analogy I've got right now: where Kiryu was Lawful Neutral veering on Good, Ichiban is Chaotic Good to a degree that makes the game feel like a departure. It would be easy to write another Hyper-competent Good-Hearted Gangster. They tilt the opposite way and put the player in control of this Kismet Bull In a Kismet China Shop, who's thickskulled eagerness pushes him through any god damned thing. The justification for the way he acts is almost pure: "I just do what I think a hero would do." They also go a long way to make societal punching bags the entire core of the story, showing dimensions to sex workers and the homeless that most open world games would trample en route to cheap jokes. and then outside all of that it's a Yakuza game, so it has all the sharp writing and all the absurdity and everything else you've come to expect, just wholly freshened up in a way that major game franchises just aren't anymore. A pure delight. I intend to 100% it, and that includes learning Shogi.
  20. Kakuryu (back injury) and Hakuho (knee surgery recovery) are both out for November.
  21. yeah the GOTY candidates right now seem like Hades, Genshin Impact, and Animal Crossing. Among Us blew up HUGE this year but it came out two years ago, so, there's that. A lot of the big budget games this year have either whiffed or been super divisive. The best big budget game I can think of is Ghost of Tsushima and while it's well made I struggle to look at it and think "Yeah, that's the game of the year". Granted there's like 13 new games out next week but somehow I think it's still going to come down between those three. for the record i do not like genshin impact but talking about games that blew tf up this year, that's one of them
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