JRPG Update is back folks… sorta. In order to make things easier on myself, I decided that some revisions needed to be made to how I would handle things, simply because I was overloaded the way that JRPG Update worked before. I tried to post weekly updates by covering as much JRPG related information as I could, even things that seemed insignificant. As such, I am deciding to do some vetting for the content that I cover and will try to avoid posting redundant news such as “such and such has new screen shots” or “details have been given about the shape of the hair of the NPC off to the top right corner in the second house in the games 13th town.” Also, updates will be posted monthly as opposed to weekly so I have time to actually work on other content.
Well, here is part 2. The last 13 entries have started out fairly tame but creepy before getting to downright freaky. I will say that each of the top 10 in particular could have worked as the number one spot and it was NOT easy picking the order, but I managed, and I think I have got some fairly solid reasoning. Well anyway, here are the final 12.
I have stated in the past that I have grown tired of people asking whether or not games can be art due to various reasons. One of the main reasons that I dislike this topic’s consistent appearance is because it seems to be causing a general insecurity on the part of a lot of developers. The more that people believe that games are not art, the more people will sacrifice quality in an attempt to make an artistic statement simply because they think the latter is more important. Normally the best case scenario is a well designed game with a pretentious story that tries too hard to be deep and the worst case is having a game that uses bad game design as an excuse to support said pretentious story. Eversion, however, manages to be a game that actually succeeds in using its gameplay as a story telling tool and being fun at the same time.
The survival horror genre has always been a rather unique case when it comes to games. Typically, the most important part of any game to most people is the fun factor. While it is true that some more recent games have had a higher emphasis on cinematics and cutscenes, it can be argued that those are a different kind of fun to some people. While it is not necessarily true that games need to strive for being exclusively fun, they mostly need to try and evoke some type of emotion that makes the player want to continue.
The survival horror genre, however, is probably the only genre of game I am aware of that tries to intentionally make its gameplay stressful and chaotic for the purpose of an artistic statement. This can be either done to be “realistic” or, in the case of Five Nights at Freddy’s, it can be done in an attempt to give the player an adrenaline rush that makes them panic and lose control. In other words, it is trying to be scary; which it succeeds at doing. There are plenty that have argued that Five Nights At Freddy’s is not truly scary because it relies solely on jump scares and that it is rather simplistic in how it handles it. This is a statement that, to an extent, I both agree and disagree with.
Music has always been a very integral part of almost any media. The idea of musical accompaniment to plays dates back thousands of years. In video games, the interactivity means players will precede at their own pace, so the music is often more “full” than in movies. Tracks are often used to signify places, events, or characters in games to set certain tones.
Naturally, one of these tones set is the element of fear. Most of the time, we don’t stop to think about the music used for these sequences. There are some tracks that people will listen to in their spare time for their own enjoyment; these are not those tracks. These are instead songs that, upon hearing them, will leave the listener uneasy and jarred through both their sound and their in game use.
I really did not want to write this review. The only reason I did so is because I could only stand to play this game for one hour before requesting a refund and I need to get this out while it’s still fresh in my mind. Ghostie Quest is bad, as in VERY FUCKING BAD! I only got this game because it was on sale for fifty cents on Steam and because there were no reviews. Thank god for Steam refunds, because this game is not even worth the fifty cents I got it for, let alone its normal $2.00 price.
This game, along with 8BitBoy have basically confirmed that I should not trust 2D platformers that look like the first Super Mario Bros. Yes, that may already be a “no shit” situation, but keep in mind that Super Mario Bros should not be so hard to do right. Unfortunately, that is not the case when you are an amateur developer who doesn’t test their games to make sure they have decent physics. The movement and jumping physics in Ghostie Quest, much like with 8BitBoy, destroy any chance that it had of being fun.
I’m going to clarify that I am reviewing this game off of memory from playing it back during the summer, and my memory is not entirely clear. The reason for this is not just because of how long it has been, but also because this game is only fifteen minutes long. As such, it is naturally tough to remember all of it. On top of that, I got a refund for this game after playing it and I’d rather not buy it again just for the purpose of trashing it so I’m going to go based off of memory. Anyway yeah, Midnight Carnival is pretty shit.
I know, when an article of mine is prefaced with “Steam Greenlight Landfill,” that is usually an indicator of the overall quality. I use this title because I don’t usually think about these games that much. That is also because these games are also shallow and lacking in depth or content. A number of games I reviewed on GameFAQs definitely fit the “Steam Greenlight Landfill” category and I currently of a library of over 500 Steam titles, a lot of which are highly obscure and low in price. Of course, I do usually feel the need to review these games for a few reasons, and no it isn’t because “le edgy gamer rage.”
BlackShadows is a game that, at first, looked like it had the markings of a terrible game. The average rating for its reviews on its Steam page was “negative” and it likely made it through Greenlight simply because it offered a free copy to whoever voted for it. Naturally, I expected this to be a Steam disaster on the same level as Day One Gary’s Incident or The Slaughtering Grounds. Thankfully, BlackShadows was better than I expected, but only barely.
While I still would not consider BlackShadows to be a good game by any means, I do still feel it at least offers a small amount of decent ideas and the bare minimum amount of effort put into it to be However, the problem is that it really has nothing to offer other then exceeding the absurdly low expectations set for it. In general, BlackShadows is just bland and generic.
I am generally intrigued by the concept of video games that cause real world danger. The reason why is because there is already a sense of curiosity and intrigue when playing a new game for the first time and discovering more about it. When you use someone’s unfamiliarity with a video game against them by putting them up against a game that hurts them in the real world, there is a sense of horror that most gamers can relate to.
As a result, I became rather curious about BAD END (yes it is spelled with all caps) when I stumbled upon its Steam page. The premise of BAD END basically comes down to “what if there was a visual novel that killed you in real life if you make the wrong decision?” Of course, such a game would be impossible to make, so closest choice was to make a game about someone playing the game in question. What makes this even more confusing is that BAD END is the title of both the game you are reading, and the game in the story.
I’ve been meaning to try and bring back my JRPG Update series for quite a while now. It was one of the few things I did that was more than just spouting my opinion, and helped provide people with useful information, but it just wore me out and was too hard to keep up with. If I were to bring it back, I’m thinking of doing so with a different focus seeing as how a lot of the appeal was just showing off all the various different sections of the JRPG market.
Chances are, a lot of my reader base will be familiar with even the niche middle market titles localized by Atlus, XSeed, Namco Bandai, NISA, and Aksyss, but there isn’t a lot of attention paid to the notable JRPG influenced titles in the indie gaming scene. Unless something is entirely unique like Undertale or LISA, it’s usually not going to get much attention. After all, what even is there, RPG Maker Fantasy Quest VII (Featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry series & Knuckles)?