EarthBound (SNES/GBA): Pure Artistic Desire (Detailed Review)

Earthbound | Ness's Nightmare

EarthBound is a game that has been well received since its introduction, but has only recently received a serious look by mainstream gaming websites in the past few years. We now find it frequently in top-10 lists near the number one spot. The weird thing about this however, is that Nintendo of America has ignored the EarthBound series and has given it no publicity over the years, so what was there to increase its publicity so drastically that major gaming sites started noticing? The answer would be the game’s rabid fan base that is incredibly loyal to the series and have pushed hard to get it noticed. This however has led some to some fans that are really overzealous and give the series a massive amount of hype with great expectations to fill. I myself at one point have been in that same position of near obsession with the series, but it has been years since then and I have moved on and played many other games that have made me just as passionate as EarthBound did.

I recently decided to replay EarthBound and I expected that losing my overzealous passion would make the game’s flaws more noticeable. Despite having a very special place in my heart I expected this review to be one that, while still having a positive tone, was more critical of the game. I was wrong, and being wrong has never felt so right. It turns out that not only in this play-through that I re-discovered exactly what it was that made me fall in love with it in the first place, but I discovered more. This play-through marks the only time that my opinion of a game I already played improved despite being one of my all time favorite games to begin with. Read more

Castlevania Retrospective #2: The Classicvanias (Part 2)

Castlevania Retrospective Part 2

Guess what? I didn’t completely forget about this retrospective project! After four months the second part is finally here… and I still haven’t beaten every Classicvania, or at least not every Classicvania gameplay wise. This piece DOES instead choose to rank the last of the traditional retro Castlevanias with the cut off point being the 2000s. Okay yes there is still technically Castlevania Chronicles but I’m covering the remake which was in 2001.

Castlevania has been kind of a strange entity in that nearly EVERY game in the series were linear sidescrollers, and then everything changed when the Symphony of the Night nation attacked! Since then the only traditional sidescrollers have been the aforementioned Castlevania Chronicles, the Rondo of Blood remake Dracula X Chronicles, the WiiWare title Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth that can no longer be purchased since WiiWare was shut down, and Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon that isn’t even an official title.

But this article is about the five Classicvanias that preceded those ones, although that term is a misnomer because on two of them are good. Anyway let’s get going. Read more

Persona 3 FES (PS2): Finding the Will to Live (Detailed Review)

Persona 3 | What I wanted most

When people think of the biggest JRPG series, what do they usually think of? Likely Final Fantasy at this point but the series is no longer what it once was. There’s also Dragon Quest if you are in Japan or are a total weeb like myself, there is also the Tales series if you are a weeb as well. But the face of new console JRPGs for the last decade or so has arguably been the Persona series.

Persona 3 was the first new entry in the Persona series in 6 years when it originally came out. The original Persona was pretty popular in Japan but it just kind lingered in obscurity in the US since it was a JRPG released before Final Fantasy VII. The first entry in the Persona 2 duology was not even localized at the time and as far as I know the second one wasn’t successful.

It was Persona 3 that decided to change its entire approach and that was almost single-handedly responsible for putting Atlus on the map. I first played Persona 3 almost a decade ago and had yet to replay it until earlier this year. While it is not without flaws, it is an immensely powerful game and is likely to remain a cornerstone in the genre for quite some time. There is a lot to talk about with Persona 3 both good and bad. Read more

RPGs of the Famicom: Earthbound Beginnings

Earthbound Beginnings | Title

With the release of Earthbound Beginnings on the Wii U e-shop, Nintendo of America has corrected a 26 year old mistake on their part. Earthbound Beginnings is the prequel to Earthbound on the SNES that was not originally released in Japan. The game was originally intended to be localized but was canceled despite the localization having already been fully completed. Until now the translated version of Earthbound Beginnings (which was otherwise known as Earthbound Zero) could only be played via emulation or a reproduction cart. Nintendo just now released the translated version for the Wii U e-shop making it available more easily and and legally.

Earthbound Beginnings is different from its successor in plenty of ways and is mostly an inferior game, but this is usually to be expected in terms of sequels. Even if one were to hold Earthbound Beginnings to the standards of a lot of modern day games it still handles things far more competently than most and is an amazing game on its own. Read more

Top 25 Saddest Video Game Songs (12-1)

Top 25 Saddest Video Game Songs

Well here is part two of the countdown, and this is where the tracks start to get very depressing. I am talking to the point of mood altering so be sure to wait until you’re in a somber or depressed mood to listen, or don’t. Listening to these extensively has had some unpleasant effects so that’s why it took longer than expected to complete this countdown. If you missed it, part one is here. Also SPOILERS in the blurb because I can’t talk about the full significance of each song without mentioning context.
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Quick Review: Contraption Maker (PC)

Contraption Maker | header

This is a review that I have been meaning to get to for quite some time yet has been put off for absolutely forever. There was a fairly brief period where I had patrons get to choose reviews for me as a reward on Patreon. There were only three games that were chosen. One of them was of Worms Reloaded, a game I reviewed a while back that no one else seemed to really care about. That game was something I would not normally be interested in but I reviewed it because my then patron John Dolan gifted me a copy on Steam. He also did the same with Contraption Maker.

Yeah, this was why I stopped having review requests as rewards. It just kept getting put off because I normally play these games based on my own level of interest. Contraption Maker just isn’t really the type of game that interests me in concept, and now that I’ve played it, I wouldn’t say it interests me gameplay wise either. Read more

Site Progress and Personal Update: November 2018

Guardian Acorn | Continue, Don't Quit

It’s funny how I remember that there was a point in time where these months were just going by so fast yet it now feels like an eternity has passed through each update. I have not been in the best place emotionally as of late. I really don’t want to talk about my failed relationship anymore because it feels wrong to publicize it any further, but I just haven’t been the same since then.

I should be happy right now with so many supportive fans and all the progress I made, but I’m not. Believe it or not, I’ve been trying my hardest to suppress my grief over this failed relationship of mine. It’s always been easier for me to cope with grief when I can just let it out publicly, but I have come to regret making some things regarding her public. I guess that’s just the key difference between us; she never wanted to be brought into this. That’s why I’m not mentioning her by name anymore.

As if that wasn’t enough, being with Twitter for a week made me realize just how dependent on it I truly am. In the period since the breakup, I have since played LISA: The Painful, The Beginner’s Guide, Persona 3, and Saya no Uta. All four of these games have major themes in moving on from past trauma, dependency, and coping with one’s disastrous and alienating fuckups. Due to a conversation I had with some close friends of mine, I have decided to pursue Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s quite clear I need some kinda of treatment, and seeing my step brother as concerned about me as he was made me finally understand it for certain that I need this. Besides, I need this in order to stop all this painful depression. Anyway here is the article recap for last month. Read more

The Interview (PC): Possibly the Worst Game of All Time (Detailed Review)

The Interview | title screen

I’d like to start this review off by apologizing to both The Fullbright Company and The Quinnspiracy for my reviews of their games. Gone Home and Depression Quest were the only games I reviewed to score a one out of ten before this one. While I stand by my opinion that both of them are terrible games, I honestly found The Interview so appalling that I do not feel that it deserves the same score as those two games. When I reviewed Gone Home, I made a statement about how there were likely plenty of games that were objectively worse than it despite the scathing nature of the review. I cannot say the same about The Interview. The Interview has got to be among one of the worst games released in this generation, and possibly of all time. The games accomplishes this not only in its lack of quality, but just in its offensiveness and how it represents nearly all of the worst aspects of modern indie gaming and even more.

I am going to start this review out by trying to sum up what few good qualities I can with this game, as tiny and insignificant they may be. To be honest though, the only good thing I can really come up with is that the title theme is pretty nice. Granted it sounds like something that may have been from the public domain, but I’m not going to dwell on that and will take what I can get. The rest of the possible positive aspects are ones that you really need to stretch in order to consider a good quality. You would literally need to MAKE the game entertaining in order to enjoy this. At best, you will end up spending 2 dollars for a twenty minute game with no real gameplay or storyline that just leaves you confused; and that is only if the game successfully tricks you into believing it went over your head. Read more

The Blue Wave Is Not Enough (But We Are!)

The past week has been absolutely devastating for me as an individual. As I am writing this my Twitter account is on lock down because of an aggressive remark I made to someone claiming that trans men don’t deserve financial support and have male privilege. It made me realize just how dependent I am on social media and on my existing audience. I’ve been anxious and on edge partly due to the news of Trump deciding to take a huge shit all over trans rights but also because of many personal issues. On top of that, Brazilian Hitler is now president in Brazil and I’m deeply worried for the safety of a close friend of mine.

Being trans is but one aspect of myself, and thus the setbacks that I face for being trans in a cis normative and heavily cissexist society are far from what I am limited to. I also suffer extreme drawbacks due to my many mental issues such as my agoraphobia, depression, social anxiety, complex PTSD, and likely from borderline personality disorder. I’ve thought deeply and heavily about what will happen if I ever need to turn to illegal activity just to live as my true self. Read more

The Last of Us (PS3/PS4): Why I Don’t Like AAA Games (Detailed Review)

The Last of Us | Joel and Ellie

TW: Gore, Death.

There perhaps, has not been a game as overhyped and lavishly praised as much as The Last of Us since the PSOne era. Not since Final Fantasy VII and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has there been this much hype towards one game in particular. However, both Final Fantasy VII and Ocarina of Time were legitimately good games. Ocarina of Time was one of the first 3D action adventure titles and there was very little else like it at the time. Final Fantasy VII, while not exactly revolutionary in its design, did create one of the first great cinematic gaming experiences and did so in a way where, to this day, people still miss the point of what made it a great game to begin with.

Fittingly enough, The Last of Us is one of those games that took great influence from what Final Fantasy VII brought forth whilst also missing what made it a great game to begin with. Unlike the aforementioned titles, The Last of Us could not have any less original unless it stole code from other games.

Originality is not always necessary to being a good game however. Maybe people could have just gave it all those game of the year awards because it just did everything so well. Yeah and maybe we will discover that Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Freddie Mercury, Tupac Shakur, and Michael Jackson never actually died and all plan to collaborate for a comeback album but you never know. Read more