Site-Wide Activity

  • Darkest Dungeon 2Darkest Dungeon 2 is, obviously, the followup to Darkest Dungeon, which I previously reviewed. The developers deliberately wanted to take the sequel […]

  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey This is the first SMT game I’ve reviewed that was made after Devil Survivor, so we’ve finally caught up to my first exposure to the series! Let’s see […]

    • I think that’s much too generous. COEXIST denotes tolerance, but SMT’s Neutral route is consistently extremely intolerant.

  • Quick Reviews 6Inside: Vision Soft Rest, What Remains of Edith Finch, Dungeons of Dreadrock Vision Soft Reset Metroidvania A Metroidvania where your […]

  • Christmas Steam Games (2022)Here’s the roundup for the remaining Christmas games that didn’t warrant full posts. Inside: Snake Pass, Environmental Station Alpha, Slime […]

  • Digimon World: Next Order I despaired of ever getting to play this because it was a PS4 exclusive, but this year it got ported to Switch! Digimon World: Next Order is the […]

  • Titan SoulsThis is sort of like a bite-sized 2D version of Shadow of the Colossus. (Despite what the name may lead you to think, it doesn’t actually have much […]

  • Act wrote a new post 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    Yo. I just wanted to give a heads-up that sometime in the next few weeks I’m going to private all of my posts and no longer respond to comments […]

    • So. This is a message for the person who wrote this post, the one who knows the email address attached; I as a person am Nameless because getting into public fights has influenced how lurkers on this blog (that also belong to other fanfic sites) have interacted with me, and I don’t want any more of my marginalization- and mental-illness- influenced thoughts being taken out of context and misinterpreted by people who don’t know how to deal with anyone outside the white culturally-Christian norm. I’ve really had enough condescension from people who think I’m the most condescending youth of them all for my thinking of my own non-white culture as the default instead of as an ‘other’, which really isn’t your problem but I thought I should explain why for my own sake that I’m hidden like this.

      I grew up with extremely strict immigrant parents with a set of cultural rules that aren’t the same as the mainstream US. Your shitty father reminds me of my idiot mother, who, while I was a teenager, got into alt-right Trump conservatism, and started enthusiastically promoting a terrible, suicidal ideology that advocates for both my family’s deaths as racial minorities, and also my death as a queer teenager. An influence like that made a kid like me into a person that interrogates everything vigorously, because for a person like me it’s not about feelings, but survival.

      In a way, though, I think being one of the people specifically targeted by conservative shit at the time was protective — over the past few years, I’ve seen people grow vicious and dangerous. Hate crimes spike and yet my ethnic group is STILL voting conservative, because they think that being hard on crime is the way to stay safe.

      > We’re all, of course, products of a cissexist, white heteropatriarchal order, and we all wrestle with internalized biases, but growing up in the kind of environment I did fucks you up even further than that baseline.

      So, like, this is true in a sense that anyone decently well socialized in white America gets a faceful of bigotry, but from someone raised outside of it, ‘internalized biases’ sound kind of a like brainworm because if you question them/think about them you can hear what they are, and then they aren’t internalized anymore. Also things are extra confusing if you are not white passing so thinking of yourself as more fucked up than whiter people, uh, don’t blame yourself that way please.

      > Finally getting diagnosed with autism provided me with a new framework for understanding a lot of the conflicts I’d had with people over the years, where I struggled so much both to communicate my feelings or to properly interpret someone elses’.

      Sooo, I’ve had multiple people ‘explain themselves’, explain why a social situation they’re in has gone badly, by using autism as a framework, but I think that’s fucking stupid. Autistic people are good at rules that don’t change, and communication is built upon rules. I think the real problem is cross-cultural, if we’ve learned different rules, because we suck at adapting to each others’. And this is important because I’m also fucking autistic and my non-neurotypical-ness has been the source of many issues, and it’s not something inherently wrong with your brain that makes you run into conflicts, it’s not knowing how to deal with differences that you’ve never been fairly taught or learned about.

      For example, my race generally tends to be smaller and skinnier than others, including northerners in general as well as European Americans in particular. In comparison to the White American beauty standard, which is based on white people, girls of my race tend to be smaller or underweight; they’re not called mannish or masculine, they’re ‘hyperfeminine’ and ‘attractive’, and I assumed that all girls only got called those things. Hearing those words make me extremely uncomfortable because being an object of beauty isn’t actually a position of power. For this and other reasons, I spent most of my teenage years around boys; I did not want to know what racially tinged thoughts people had of me, and I did not ever look myself in the mirror, and also I didn’t want to set off my own dysphoria. So based on my own experiences with my race and my body and avoiding thoughts people had about how people look, I had no idea that fat white women would ever be considered masculine and not just women — this I put together the first time only a few days ago.

      I was raised in with ‘color-blindness’ as the precept in my ethnic enclave; I really did not learn of this insane American bullshit until I had an very sensitive, close-up discussion with someone who I dearly trust. My parents’ culture is to raise their children while not acknowledging race (and its physical attributes), and consequentially not thinking that racism is real, and hearing your stories of your mom being unable to stop commenting on your body (as well as my own experiences with someone of a related race whose mom was also like that), I kind of think it’s still better to be raised with no acknowledgement of beauty standards as being important at all. But, I also failed to communicate with you on this front because I had no idea these standards fucking existed, and so even if it’s really not our responsibility to learn a-whole-nother culture, it’s what is necessary to being useful/being part of a bigger conversation about what stories that aren’t being told that should come into existence anyway. And that’s what I really love about you — “I’ve also always known that the stories in our bubble can’t be where things end, because there are bigger stories, cultural ones, that she’ll hear no matter what I do.” How can anyone hate someone that thinks like that?

      > I just know more now. I know more everyday.

      So like yeah, hard same.

      > I also really don’t want to like, publish a paper on how critical it is we examine the marginalization of black women’s gothic fiction only to have people start emailing me going, “Yeah but I have a screenshot of you saying this game wasn’t racist when it showed black people as animals,” because individually responding to each one of them trying to explain that, yes, I thought awful things as a traumatized 22-year-old that I don’t think now, is emotionally and physically draining in a way that’s hard to explain and I literally never want it to happen.

      Yeah, so this is definitely bad faith harassment. I think it’s probably harder to tell if you start off feeling you’re doing something wrong but don’t know what, but someone that’s kept a creepy fucking screenshot, someone that’s mad you didn’t do more, wouldn’t be approaching your other (clearly not hating black people) writing to say that no, you’re actually a racist, how dare you support antiracism, because the part where you’re being a good person is the thing they’re actually mad about. My suspicion they’re from kiwifarms or something, which is the evil internet group that loves keeping screenshots to harass people, and I remember seeing your guys’ name or site linked there which, uh, thinking about it, actually may have to do with why you keep getting the worst people here that come trolling, like this channer guy that uses a standard playbook of *chan harassment tactics meant to make people angry.

      Anyway, I say this after like a few days of ruminating over why this post was affecting me so much. I think, if you don’t want conversation, detach your email or something, but leave the posts up. I’ll join the several other people talking about how useful your posts were to developing media literacy and questioning things and holding an opinion that other people don’t and it’s good that they’re kept up for other people to look at too. There’s no writing without commentary and no commentary that doesn’t hold meaning. Even if it isn’t the best thing to take at face value, there are others probably in the same position as you were a while ago that’d gain something. And that’s really valuable.

  • Abomi Nation is a roguelike mons RPG — essentially, an entire game built around a randomizer Nuzlocke. I think this is a pretty smart pairing — the biggest problem in mons games is that it’s infeasible for a […]

  • The years preceding Localization Crimes III: Nocturne saw a large number of spinoff releases for the series. One of them was Persona, which Act reviewed way before this, but a lesser-known one was Devil Summoner, […]

    • What annoys me is that they totally could have made it clear. Just describe her personality in fire/ice/electric terms, with the words highlighted to make it clear that’s what’s going on. (“She’s a fiery one”, “She’s electrifying”, “She’s an ice queen” etc.) If I ever figure out how to mod 3DS games I am totally making a hack that does that.

    • Sorry this got flagged as spam! We get a lot, so the filter can be overzealous.

      I did not expect there to be a lore explanation for the demon redesigns! That’s actually a pretty neat idea, even if I disagree with the execution. Making supernatural creatures explicitly reflect pop culture is always sorta weird to me — like, did they secretly inspire the fictional depiction in this universe, or did they change their own appearance to match the fictional depiction? If the latter, why, and if the former, now the entire entertainment industry is part of the masquerade, making it even more implausible for the masquerade to be upheld… It could be fun in a more comedic story, but for something as serious as SMT it just raises too many questions.

      Let’s not even get into the designs that are explicitly racist or anti-Semetic (the former thankfully only lasted for a game and was swiftly retired, the latter is still used to this day).

      Actually I would like to get into that, do tell 👀

    • Wow. Just… wow.

      I had read about a quote from the writers that was weirdly supportive of Christianity (the one about YHVH being the source of all gods/mythologies), but I had no idea it went so deep. I’m surprised that this actually explains the Kagutsuchi = YHVH connection, which baffled me when I played SMT3. (I came up with my own very different explanation for my fangame, which I am not changing in light of this.)

      Disappointing. Even aside from the anti-Semitic problems, it’s just boring to take a kitchen sink setting and say actually it’s all just one mythology. I’ll have to keep this in mind when reviewing future games in the series.

  • Disc Creatures is a fantastic mons RPG that effectively captures the feeling of old-school Pokemon while bringing plenty of new things to the table. It is also, unfortunately, a very standard jRPG that got […]

    • I mean, not really. I didn’t get tired of Undertale’s random encounters. Although they also turned off after a certain point so as not to overstay their welcome.

      …How many regular enemies did Undertale have, actually? …The wiki tells me 27, not including minibosses. So 100 would be a very tall order, but, say, 50…? Also, most of the work that went into Undertale’s enemies seems to have been the animations and unique bullet patterns; if a simpler SMT-style text interface is used, it would probably be much less daunting of a task.

      I can’t remember the game, but it had a Bell that you could equipped at will to turn on/off random encounters. Which to me sounds like the best compromise without reinventing the wheel.

      More games are doing that, and while it’s better than nothing, it’s treating the symptom and not the disease. If players are actively avoiding your central game mechanic, something has gone horribly wrong and needs to be fixed at the design level.

  • St. Elmo's Fire wrote a new post 3 months ago

    The site was down for the past couple days due to some hosting issues, but it’s been resolved now. Welcome back!

  • St. Elmo's Fire wrote a new post 3 months ago

    This isn’t a review post, but what’s the point of having a blog if you don’t go mad with power at some point. I just released the open beta for a fangame I have made: Reinvention of the Goddess, a rewrite of the […]

  • Subnautica is perhaps the best survival game I have played, but in the process I’ve come to believe a lot of the things I dislike about survival games are intractable problems with the genre. You play as the […]

  • This was the first main series title to get an international release, I guess because the moral guardians finally quieted down enough for Atlus to feel comfortable floating their screed about the many evils of […]

    • If you want to know why the series is not called “Revelations” it’s because it has nothing to do with Christianity. Like… fuck, that should be obvious. Like the “screeds about the evil of Christianity” part made it pretty clear that you didn’t really understand things. The series doesn’t really have a hostile view of Christianity, and it makes all sorts of religions into bad guys and good guys, depending on how things shake out. Apocalypse has the East Asian gods all be the villains, while in 4 it’s SMT2 happening after the Conception.

      You might be mistaking The Great Will for being a reference to YHVH, but it isn’t. Instead it’s a bigger threat that uses YHVH, which is easier when YHVH is corrupted. Though it’s instead behind most of the villians in the series, and is counteracted by the Great Reason, who seems to be YHVH’s true master and a benevolent god.

      Revelations isn’t really a great title for Persona 1, which is why they ditched it. While “Alternate Goddess Tales” isn’t a great title, it does convey that it’s an alternate timeline from Shin Megami Tensei. ‘Shin Megami Tensei’ is a better distinct brand name anyways.

      By the way the the titular goddess reincarnations are actually relatively important throughout the series, it’s not a full artifact title. Three’s really the main one without an important

      You did miss quite a bit of the plot, to be honest. I suspect you didn’t do the optional dungeons, which add a lot of plot. You are correct that a lot of the character work is weak because silent protag + no one to speak for him. This isn’t a reboot, but a ‘fork’. This was actually the game that did a lot to set up the alternate timeline setup of the series.

      The Demi-Fiend changing shape and becoming demonic all over would have clashed with his whole theme of being a human-demon. Demi-Fiend is not quite a great translation though it’s probably the snappiest one considering they decided to call all the Chosen Demons ‘Fiend’. His Japanese name is Hitoshura, or Human War-God, in the context of “Person who battles endlessly for the sake of battle alone”. He’s a demon in human form, made to kill until he wins or loses.

      This game is actually about how the world was fixed after the calamity of SMT2, and leads into the rest of the SMT series.

      • The series that features the literal Christian God has nothing to do with Christianity, really? I suppose you’re going to argue next that it doesn’t have anything to do with Shinto when it features the entire Shinto pantheon in an incredibly on-the-nose subplot about the poor woobie Shinto gods getting betrayed and suppressed by the Judeo-Christian God?

        Apocalypse has the East Asian gods all be the villains

        How dare I base my analysis on the games I have played instead of the one I haven’t. How foolish of me.

        Telling me I “missed” everything without telling me what I missed is useless, and incredibly rude. If you actually care about this, tell me the missing pieces instead of just sneering about what an idiot I am.

    • In this case it’s even worse than what you’re thinking: The optional dungeon was exclusive to the international re-release. So it was basically “Buy a second copy of the game if you want to understand the plot.” Fortunately it’s automatically bundled with the latest Switch remaster, but yikes.

      The optional dungeon honestly raises more questions than it answers; it’s where we get the “YHWH is only a part of the Great Will” lore, which is really just kicking the can down the road, and also it reveals out of nowhere that one of the major characters in the main plot is actually the protagonist of SMT2, without explaining how that is possible when this is clearly a different universe from SMT2, nor how this is at all relevant to anything. I presume it’s teasing ideas that would be developed in future games.

      It’s also where we get confirmation that God is once again the bad guy, when this was the first numbered entry where God had seemingly no influence on the plot. Which makes the claim the series “has nothing to do with Christianity” even more absurd.

  • Farla wrote a new post 3 months, 4 weeks ago

    Lot of Ash, an honest to god shiny eevee found in a dumpster fic, and we also end with a burst of people-and-pokemoning. But there’s also some good stuff. Also, a bonus obligative review sneaks in under the […]

  • St. Elmo's Fire wrote a new post 4 months ago

    Monster Crown is a mons game by people who either don’t know or can’t be bothered to construct a functional video game.

    The game is incredibly janky, with obvious screen tearing, […]

    • This was the PC version. Possibly the console versions have less disastrous UI, but I doubt the phase-through out-of-bounds monsters are unique to PC.

    • I just want to mention that as someone who stuck with the game from Day 1 as a concept on Reddit, that the games devs did not help with Pokemon Uranium.

      Huh, I wonder where I got that from then. I’ve removed the references to Uranium in the review. This does, however, mean my initial goodwill has gone from “some” to “none”. I probably would not have bought the game if I hadn’t thought it was from the Uranium crew.

      They own up to those mistakes

      Unless they plan to stop charging money for this garbage until they can release a functional version where, at a bare minimum, menus are navigable and characters do not noclip all over the place, no, they haven’t. Demanding money for such a lazy and slapdash project speaks to incredible contempt for their audience. If you can tolerate the level of quality on display here, good for you, but I have higher standards.

    • I gave the game far more of a chance than it deserved. I would have been well within my rights to return the game immediately after the opening when I saw what a mess it was. (The main reason I didn’t was because I thought they were the Pokemon Uranium guys, so I’m not sure why you’re harping on that being a harmful assumption.) If the devs wanted me to give their game a chance, they shouldn’t have released an obvious beta that was actively painful to play. They also could have not placed a grinding barrier before the very first town. Why should I devote more of my time to a game when the creators have already demonstrated how little they care about making it playable? People do, in fact, judge books by their covers, because people don’t have infinite time and you have to convince them you’re worth theirs. I will believe the devs are willing to “own up to their mistakes” when they fix the slapdash mess they are, again, charging money for.

      And “skimread” is an interesting way to say I posted the text in its entirety.

    • What does the dev being “good people” have to do with whether or not the game is good?

  • Farla wrote a new post 4 months ago

    So many trainers of so little competence. Also, another example of trying to show how good the main character is by giving them a traumatized pokemon, who will of course have no issue belonging to a new trainer […]

    • We’ve had enough off-topic posts that I think I’m going to start deleting them until people get the message. You’re welcome to repost this on the relevant post, but don’t clutter up unrelated posts.

  • Farla wrote a new post 4 months, 1 week ago

    Some varied flavors of self-inserts, one of those ones that’s at once ultragrimdark and yet ridiculously ungrimdark because the characters will somehow manage anyway, and yet another “AU” where a different […]

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