Another years has come to a close, and It is time for me to end this year the same way as I usually do, with a highly emotional ending theme from one of my favorite games of all time. EarthBound holds a near and dear place in my heart, and I can’t help but become super emotional whenever I listen to its music or play it. Hell just speaking about it now makes me want to replay it.
And it is also quite appropriate since 2020 was a highly emotional year. It’s been kind of a meme about how much this year has sucked, but it did end on a positive note with Trump losing re-election. And yes, that doesn’t mean all of our problems are gone, but after four years of this asshole, it’s a relief to see him go the fuck away. And maybe things will start to get at least a little bit better.
CW: Mentions of Nazism, pedophilia, incest, antisemitism, and kidnapping
It seems as if the games I play are constantly trying to push the envelope for different ways to be absolutely fucking awful. I am at the point where if someone asked me the worst game I ever played, I’d ask what criteria they are basing them on. I could go with the game that was so disgusting and scarring that it made me suicidal, I could go with the no-budget “experimental” game that included real life gore in it, I could go with the RPG Maker game with no battles, levels, dialogue, or ending, or I could go with the game that required you to manually rename the game’s exe file to even play it.
Games&Girls is now among those games as “the visual novel that I almost didn’t review because I didn’t think I could review it without insulting the developer.” And even approaching this review is difficult because I’m not sure if I should do what I usually do and start describing the story, writing, presentation, or open with the fact that the 4th episode has you trying to seduce a fucking Nazi?
Echo Tokyo: An Intro is a visual novel that is meant to serve as the introduction to a larger series. Specifically, it is meant to be the origin story of two characters for an upcoming open world game known as Echo Tokyo, at the time of writing of course. While I can say that Echo Tokyo itself does seem like a fairly interesting game if it is done well, the mentality of Echo Tokyo: An Intro serving as on add on really shows. That is not to say that Echo Tokyo: An Intro is a bad game by any means, but at the same time, I’m only interested in Echo Tokyo as a whole because it is supposedly going to be different.
Lightning Warrior Raidy is a hentai dungeon crawler that was originally released back in 1994, and was stored on five floppy disks. As this site’s arch nemesis HCBailly would say, this was high tech stuff back in the day. If this game’s Jast USA store page is correct, this is also the first “all-female yuri fantasy dungeon crawler RPG.” I don’t know why they say that though, since there are not only male characters in this game, but there are sex scenes involving men. From what I could gather, Lightning Warrior Raidy is considered a yuri title because of the amount of lesbian sexual content, and I guess back in the 90s that is something that is noteworthy.
A Kiss for the Petals: Remembering How we Met is the first game in the long running Sono Hanabira/A Kiss for the Petals series to receive an official English localization. Sono Hanabira is a series of yuri eroge that has had yearly releases from 2006 to 2016, and hasn’t had anything since then… probably because that tends to happen when you milk a series too quickly. A lot of them seem to be on the shorter side (or at least the ones I looked up on VNDB) so I guess I can at least see why they got them out so quickly. Also I’m not making any judgement on the quality of these games, it’s just… damn, over 20 installments in 10 years.
This particular installment, Remembering How we Met, is actually one of the more recent entries in the series, having come out in Japan on March 13th of 2015 and getting released in English in September of the same year. It’s also one of the few entries in the series that doesn’t have any erotic content, which is likely why it was the first to be localized. It should be noted that this game DID get a PC remake with added ero content in 2016, but that version hasn’t been localized.
God damn, I wrote my review of You Have to Win the Game six years ago. I was either 19 or 20 when I wrote that review. More time has passed since I wrote that review than has passed between the original release of You Have to Win the Game and its sequel, Super Win the Game. No, that’s not a jab saying that the game was made too quickly after the original, it’s a two year gap. It’s just… time goes by so slow yet so fast.
So I recently decided to check out Super Win the Game to see if it’s any better than its predecessor. Super Win the Game is, in fact, better than You Have to Win the Game. While neither game is a must play by any means, it is nice to see that a lot of the issues I had with the previous game were resolved in this one.
I’ve always had some level of curiosity towards retro Japanese games that were never localized, especially those by major developers before they got big. It’s hard to think of a more household name than Nintendo. After all, a lot of Nintendo’s major series have started back on the NES and are still going strong to this day. I mean, Mario, Zelda, and Metroid, no context needed.
But not every classic Nintendo title went on to get tons of sequels and get milked into oblivion. Kid Icarus got one Gameboy sequel and then a reboot decades laterbefore fading into obscurity again despite the reboot being very successful. Punch-Out got a SNES sequel that no one cared about, and then a Wii reboot decades later that flopped. StarTropics got one sequel then nothing. But at least these games were localized (except for StarTropics which was made in the US and not released in Japan).
CW: Transphobia, parental abuse, gaslighting, depression, violence, and suicide.
So here we are at another Trans Day of Rememberence, the day where cis people can bitch about trans social justice warriors and bathrooms while trans people mourn their friends and family who were murdered by cis people, or who killed themselves because cis people felt inconvenienced by their desire to, you know, live.
I’ve used Trans Day of Rememberence as a framing device for my work in the past. Two years ago, I used it for a highly emotional piece where I let my anger and disgust front and center. This time, I’m going to do something a bit different. It just so happened that the next game on my schedule for a review is also very much relevant to Trans Day of Rememberance. Not only is Secret Little Haven made by a trans developer, but it is also a trans centered title with a lot of highly relevant subject matter. It’s also an absolute masterpiece that comes strongly recommended even if you aren’t trans.
CW: References to rape and slavery as plot devices.
Sometimes, the games I review make me answer some unexpected questions. Given that my reviews of eroge always end up among the most viewed of my work, I knew I would be taking a look at this series eventually, and I always knew that I would have some difficulties with it. In this case, I don’t mean “difficulty” as in it being hard to play, but more so hard for me to review.
I’m sure that most of you are well aware that I’m a feminist, and that my feminist views have largely impacted how I perceive the world around me. If I’m being honest, I’m usually hesitant to bring it up with most normies because they either know next to nothing about it and thus don’t grasp the significance, or they are one of the many who have been groomed by right wingers to believe that feminism amounts to what they see on Buzzfeed or Youtube cringe compilations.
Home is the first game developed by indie developer Benjamin Rivers, and was originally released in 2012. It is a short horror title made with the premise of letting players choose their own interpretations of the game’s events. I am unsure how to feel about this approach to storytelling. On one hand, a good work of fiction should always involve some form of subtlety and allowing for multiple interpretations gives a work more versatility. On the other hand, actively trying to invoke “multiple interpretations” oftentimes comes across as if the writer wants to have an excuse to not finish writing the plot and addressing every plot point.