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Blacklightning last won the day on April 24

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About Blacklightning

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  • Birthday 07/06/1988

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  1. Temjin (Virtual On) This game puts me in an incredibly strange position. It's an arcade one-on-one third person mecha duelling game probably best known for baffling choice of tank controls. Now I'm going to put a lot of emphasis of those controls throughout this writeup, because it's possible you may have misheard of misinterpreted me. I don't mean tank controls just in the sense that your character turns left or right instead of strafing - I mean tank controls in the sense that your character literally controls like a tank, giving you two control sticks and forcing you move them as guiding the individual treads on a tank even though none of the mechs in this game actually run on treads. For example, just to turn around in place you have to push one stick forward and the other backwards. This is a game I really, really debated representing at all because in its purest form, the writeup would be just "mecha game has shit controls lol", but that leads me to two internal arguments I've been having with myself over it - one, these controls are the reason it's made a name for itself to the point that it's iconic and a big part of its identity, and two, why the fuck am I willing to give Killer7 a pass for quirky controls and not this? And there really isn't a simple answer to either of those, so I figured I'd use this as an excuse to air my thoughts out a little more publicly. I think the first, foremost, really big point I have to make about this is the same point I make about nearly every competitive fighting game in memory, as it's clear and obvious it's the medium it intends to stand up to - the end result is a learning curve designed to be exclusionary above all else. It's already bad enough when traditional fighters abuse cheat codes to the point that they become somehow normalized as a standard part of gameplay - Virtual On instead makes even the basic act of moving around the arena a clunky chore. And competitive games have an incredibly bad habit of making games difficult to play and construing it as "depth", when all that really amounts to is requiring you to put hours if not days of practice into it at a time in order to play the game at the bare minimum level for any given character to be considered viable. Contrary to astonishingly fucking common belief, you CAN make a game with a very high skill ceiling without intentionally obfuscating and janking up your own controls and mechanics in a way that enables only a select few to actually play it. And this is a fact that AM2 were almost certainly aware of when they ported the game to Xbox Live Arcade, because not only did they add an option to control your character with a single stick like any other 3rd person game with common sense, they made it the standard control option to boot. Okay, so let's say you subscribe to the notion that it's okay for a game to intentionally defy industry trends to stand out. Maybe you like it because it's quirky, or you get a kick out of things that are ironically bad. I'm not judging. The point is, it's not something you can do just for its own sake - mechanics still have to serve a purpose in the grander game, and the game has to actually be designed in a way that accomodates it. I have reservations with the way Killer7 controls, but it was absolutely designed to be a game that functions on a series of branching rails in the first place, and using the A and B buttons for moving and turning ends up making a strange amount of sense before long because it frees up the control stick for aiming. What purpose does it serve for Virtual On to literally control like a tank? Absolutely fucking none. The metagame is effectively to avoid using them as much as humanly possible and just abuse dashes and jumps instead, because they both forcibly turn you instantly towards your opponent and effectively acts as an autoaim. You probably think that's hyperbole, so you're welcome to watch professionals do it instead and judge for yourself: So in a way, I would actually argue that Virtual On neutered itself long term by being designed in such a way, because although people remember the game for being designed in such a way, it is ultimately only ever remembered as a novelty and not much more. A gimmick even, I would go as far as to say. Which is kind of a shame honestly, because despite the distaste I've expressed for the way Virtual On is made I still believe it has plenty of potential, and I hate it when Sega just sits on potent franchises and does nothing with them every bit as much as I hate it when anyone else does it.
  2. Tilo (Ghost Of A Tale) Stealth games haven't really had a high profile ever since Splinter Cell. Maybe that's part of why I keep getting drawn to niche titles like this every now and then. It has a pretty strong start, all things considered, every bit like like the stealth titles I grew up with to the point that I felt genuinely younger all over again in the first escape sequence. Immediately after that, though, the level design takes a sudden and very drastic shift outwards and upwards in size - not nearly to the point of being size for size's sake like say, a typical Assassin's Creed game, but it's a pretty stark warning that this isn't a level-based affair and a sign of things to come. You're not just trying to escape or get from point A to point B, you have objectives to fulfill and sidequests to find and leads to chase up and you're constantly backtracking all the time for each of them. In hindsight it should have been a red flag, but I was still having a decent amount of fun regardless. It did have that undertone of "where the fuck do I go", but it was nothing that couldn't be overcome by exploring the area and furthering your understanding of it, which is something that open-ended world design should be encouraging anyway. And then, Ghost of a Tale takes another sudden and MUCH more drastic turn. You're given a problem that simple stealth can't solve - the way out is locked shut, and without spoiling too much, the circumstances that lead there can only be solved by assembling a disguise and taking side quests from the perspective of the guards. And this is where the fun of the game takes a MASSIVE nose dive, because not only does stealth basically not exist anymore, said disguise is a heavy suit of armour that Tilo can't move around very well in, so not only does the game suddenly devolve into an incredibly boring, almost non-gameplay fetch quest you have to endure the added tedium of taking much longer to get anyplace without risking getting caught by the guards, or having to repeatedly unequip or re-equip your outfits whenever you need to accomplish any task that requires some semblance of fucking mobility. It feels very much like a game that was written and designed completely ad-lib, without much thought to how elements of story or gameplay would flow together or whether they were even fun of their own right, and this is like 80% of the entire game from that point forward. What the hell were they thinking? Regardless, this isn't the reason I decided to give an entry on the list to this game - just a background detail I couldn't afford to omit, because it paints a picture of the grander point that I'm about to make. That being, that this game makes mistakes that tend not to be made unless you don't have a history in videogames, and nowhere is that more apparent than the strange oxymoron that is this game's graphical style. It's evocative of a Wind in the Willows style of design that I haven't seen in goddamn forever (...maybe that's another reason why the opening of this game made me feel so nostalgic), and it would be pleasing at a glance even if it were just that. But it also needs to be said that this game's graphical style is the brainchild of an animator that formerly worked at Dreamworks. And it shows. And yet as much as it pains me to say, for all the work that went into an indie product, I really have to say it. That's all this graphical style is: pleasing at a glance. That's where the oxymoron of this all comes into play. It's an artstyle that looks good, but is actually astonishingly crap at its job. You're probably wondering what the hell that means, and for the longest time I was struggling to put that into words myself. Until I found myself rewatching a Dunkey video one day and something suddenly clicked. Now, even in these more analytical kinds of videos Dunkey still has a habit of goofing off and going on silly tangents and exaggerations, as is his signature style of making videos, so I think you can forgive me if I don't immediately figure out where his emphasis is supposed to be. But for the purposes of this writeup, here's the most important bit: "the background is in the background, and the focus is on the characters". And to emphasize what that actually means, I'm going to use an example from a game that DOES have good graphical design: Yes, that's right. I'm using a NES game from 1986 to make a point about a game made in 2016. That's how fucking bad this problem has gotten. I know some people are already scoffing at this, but here's the rub - videogame design is all about knowing where the player's eyes should be drawn, and distinguishing objects from one another whenever they have a reason to be. I chose Castlevania for this because they accomplish this with simple, demonstrable colour theory. All the backgrounds in this game follow a theme of either cool or grey colours (blue and green in this case here), whereas most of the tiles you can actually stand on are warmer colours (orange) and the player and enemies are distinguished in a realm all their own through combinations of colour not seen together in either layer. The background is in the background, and the focus is on the characters. Colours aren't the only means by which you can accomplish this, and the best in the business have accomplish much smarter and more subtle means of differentiating these "layers" of gameplay from one another so the player doesn't have any trouble knowing what to do, where to go, what's an enemy and what's something they can collect to use for later, but it's the most obvious means I could use to express this point. Now with all that in mind, let's go back to GoaT: Look at this picture, and ask yourself "where are my eyes supposed to be drawn to?", and you'll find the graphical style of this game quickly unravel. There's not much in the way of real landmarks, the lighting effects are so bright and beautiful that they're actually distracting and either keep you from focusing on any one thing or actually physically making them harder to see, and speaking of hard to see things the game has an overall palette that frequently devolves into brown, grey and green mush that has a really hard time distinguishing what needs to be distinguished. And it really is telling how much games these days use waypoints as a crutch when you see a game like this without them, because you physically cannot find shit in a game designed like this without them and you practically have to go to the ends of the visible earth in this game to find the shit you need to complete it because reminder, this is a game that quickly devolves into an utterly generic fetch quest and everything looks the fucking same from a distance. It's embarrassing how commonplace this has become in the industry, and how much people inexplicably treasure this style of design instead of loathing it. News flash: videogames that are designed like movies are actually total dog shit. Why are we still doing this?
  3. Alright, so I guess I couldn't stay away from this forever. Although the original list is done, there's still some games I wish I could have introduced and addressed and some trends of the industry I still want to talk about, and for the most part that's because they only left an impression on me after I finished it. So you know what? Let's make this an ongoing thing for now. It certainly won't be DAILY updates like this thread was previously, but if a game is memorable and gives me something to think about, I'll do pixels to go with my thoughts. Starting with: Sunny, Aubrey, Kel and Hero (Omori) If this game were a part of the original list, my writeup probably would have been much the same as A Night In The Woods's - a recommendation that you play the game with as little context as possible and take my word for it that it's fucking brilliant, because even the slighest allusion to what happens in it can colour the way you personally experience the game. I still recommend that, and if there's one thing I'd to assure people that haven't played this game yet to go do that now and come back to this later, it's that this is the game that upended Undertale for me in its respective indie RPG niche, and that's not something I say lightly for how fucking saturated we are in Undertale inspired games and AUs now. However if you're still not convinced, I decided to challenge myself this time and see how much I can summarize broadly about this game without spoiling its biggest twists. It's much better presented, for one. Look, I fucking love Undertale, but it's very much unashamedly a game created almost entirely in MSPaint, for the most part by a lone creator just trying to do enough to get by. I respect that, don't get me wrong, and Undertale gets around it either by playing its cheap looks for laughs or by being brilliant enough in other areas that it regularly escapes notice. But Omori is a game that's brilliant for many of the same reasons Undertale is, including a phenomenal soundtrack easily on part with Toby Fox's work, AND still has a wonderful aesthetic going for it, donning character art in its battles that often spans the entire screen and expressive characters in of themselves that change on the fly from the game's signature emotions system. Even in the overworld, where the pixel art was often at its most stylisticly lazy in Undertale, the sprites are still surprisingly expressive and well animated. It doesn't have to do a lot in the technical department to be pleasing to the eye, but I can still appreciate every little extra mile a niche game like this makes to that end nonetheless - because to be totally honest, if I were in their shoes I probably would have just done the same thing Toby did and just get the graphical side of things over with. Much like the game's mechanics, the narrative of Omori goes through a wide variety of different moods, sometimes with absolutely neck breaking abruptness. You ever hear the term "mood whiplash" before? Yeah, that's a term I would accurately use to describe Omori. It's a game that has a lot of bittersweet if not outright heartwarming moments spread out between the sadder downtimes and the boss fights that feel like they are all competing to be the final boss, and it's honestly quite difficult to accurately represent how harshly things can rise and fall at the apparent drop of a hat without giving any specific examples. So instead, I'll say this: Omori is one of maybe three games I've ever played that opens with a trigger warning. And the only game I've ever played where said trigger warning is absolutely justified. The game's cute exterior, incredibly relatable cast and just all around brilliant writing belies something that is, at its core, a psychological horror game. Not some playable roller coaster ride laden with cheap jumpscares, but deep, slow burning dread that gnaws at the player's insecurities and presumptions and laced with a level of symbolism that is absolute theory-crafting gold. Small, otherwise innocuous details that become unexpectedly significant later are this game's asphalt, not so much as Chekhov's Gun as it is a Chekhov's goddamn clusterbomb in introducing things that will only make sense in hindsight. And the ultimate truth of this game, no bullshit, has left scars in people that are still healing. Even I was still thinking some pretty dark thoughts after all the soul damage I'd been through in the end - and in the end, I believe it's equally valid for a game to be memorable for being miserable as it is for being fun and joy inducing, so long as its for the exact reasons they set out to do. I think that's about all I can elaborate on in good conscience. I would still overwhelmingly recommend playing this game as blind as possible, because it is simply brilliant at what it does - but don't tell me you weren't warned about what to expect this time.
  4. Happy birfamaday Blacklightning! I hope you've been staying safe and well

  5. hey guys are bras just underwear for your tits

    1. iambitter21


      this was something you made, that I read, with my eyes. wtf?

    2. Polkadi~☆


      no shit sherlock, that's why you can find bras in the underwear section

    3. Supah Berry

      Supah Berry

      And the skull is meant to be underwear for your brain.




      And it did nothing to protect it from this

  6. From what I recall of Sonic Heroes, they simply moved the goalposts to earlier in the level if you're playing as Team Rose. If ever they were to seriously humour the thought of difficulty settings, that's probably the simplest and most impactful decision they could act on, unless you're Mania and have acts stream right into one another. To the best of my memory though, they've never actually had a problem doubling up on the same stages with rearranged enemies and hazards and calling it Hard Mode. Just keep doing that. That being said I would rather Sonic Team just learn what a difficulty curve is, and they've been on both opposite ends of the spectrum in that regard. Sometimes they'll fail to introduce mechanics or level quirks in safe spaces before testing the player on them which leads to relentlessly killing them over and over in later stages (Unleashed being the main case in point, among a few other notable examples), but the current trend seems to be more or less the difficulty equivalent of a dial tone that stays consistently bland through the whole game. And I don't think it should be controversial to suggest there's a distinct difference between making a game for the status quo, and making a game that goes nowhere and does nothing with the perceived excuse that they're doing it "for the kids", in spite of the fact that they're not stupid and will learn and adapt when given the tools to do so just like the rest of us.
  7. p-shrek-john-lithgow.jpg

    I was today years old when I realized Lord Farquaad is a euphemism for fuckwad.

    This movie has been out for twenty years and I only JUST got that

    1. Blue Blood

      Blue Blood

      Was "fuckwad" a part of your vocabulary twenty years ago though?

    2. Blacklightning


      You say that as if teens don't know every curse word in the english language

    3. dbzfan7


      I am also today years old to hear that. How did I not see that XD

    4. Dejimon11


      Wait really?

    5. Crow the BOOLET

      Crow the BOOLET

      "He must be compensating for something"

    6. Supah Berry

      Supah Berry

      I was there when Shrek was on this forums and he replied "don't be a farquaad"

    7. Ferno




    8. Strickerx5


      Honestly... same, damn

    9. Ryannumber1gamer


      The reason he has that name is because Katzenberg based Farquaad on Eisener, and they hated each other lol.


    1. Blue Blood

      Blue Blood

      That's not even subtle. What a fun detail.

    2. Supah Berry

      Supah Berry

      And look! It's in ruins just like back when Perfect Chaos ran through it!

    3. AWild No.1 washed up gamer
    4. Harkofthewaa


      Is the Joker gonna appear from nowhere and gas Batman when he leaves?

      EDIT: Also, props to the poster for using the correct version of Casinopolis for comparison.

    5. The Master

      The Master

      Even has the wee TV monitor next to it.

  9. if fox is pronounced focks does that mean a fox is in fact made out of multiple fock

  10. Nack, or Fang?

    1. Strickerx5
    2. Your Vest Friend
    3. Ryannumber1gamer
    4. Zaysho


      I like Nack

    5. Milo



    6. Sonictrainer


      Nack the Fanged Sniper

    7. Supah Berry

      Supah Berry

      I tend to unconsiously edge towards Fang, even if feel it's understablely an overly edgy name and Nack I admit is more fitting.

      On a releted note, why do both he and Bean not follow the "Name, The Animal" scheme, why does his other name call him a weasel, and why the hell is he actually a jerboa wolf hybrid?

    8. Diogenes


      i like to think of nack as his actual name and fang as his self-chosen code name, because he's a dork like that.

    9. Soniman


      Nack: Fanged Sniper 

    10. Solister


      Fang. Grew up with it and can't stop associating Nack with Neck.

    11. AWild No.1 washed up gamer

      AWild No.1 washed up gamer

      Fang all the way.

      His theme song just screams it.


    12. Cuz


      I look to the naming conventions with Tails, and Robotnik and consolidate.

      Miles "Tails" Prower,

      Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik,

      Nack "Fang" the Weasel. 

      Because I'm banal like that. 🙃

      Edit: so yeah what Diogenes said; I turn Fang into a Nick or Handle.

    13. Blue Blood

      Blue Blood

      I think I tend to go for Nack because it rolls off the tongue more easily, but I'm just as accustomed to Fang. I'd honestly never think twice about it.

    14. AWild No.1 washed up gamer

      AWild No.1 washed up gamer

      Tails is the prowler?

      His name is miles after all I guess.

  11. ...why did snakes get associated with liars and deceivers originally, anyway?

    1. Teoskaven


      Genesis, the snake is essentially an emissary or an aspect of Lucifer wanting revenge against God by tainting Adam and Eve.
      I can imagine the thought process was that since snakes are naturally dangerous and common in the regions of the middle east, they applied this concept to warn people and teach lessons to children back then.

    2. Blue Blood

      Blue Blood

      I would hazard a guess also that it's  Biblical. But then you could also ask where those authors got the idea from.

  12. Having recently replayed SA1, allow me to float an alternate reason for that - it's not necessarily just because fans want to hurry up and get over the fluff so they can get to the meat of the game, but also because SA1's absurd jank makes intentionally interacting with anyone a massive pain in the ass. Not only do you have to be in a very specific position and facing to trigger dialogue in the first place, but it's triggered with the same button that most characters in the roster use to attack. Best case, people start feeling like assholes for punching people just for trying to get a word out of them and start abstaining out of respect, and worst case you're playing as Sonic and zip to the opposite side of the map every time you miss because you just triggered a spindash, so they start abstaining out of frustration instead. I'm sure the stronger designs and better written dialogue are still key reasons why a lot of people prefer Unleashed's NPCs instead, but I have little doubt that the quality of life improvements that Unleashed brought to hubs was itself a huge factor that a lot of people have taken for granted. I do wish it didn't come at the cost of a nerfed moveset whenever you're in a hub area with NPCs in it, but I also recognize it's kind of a necessary evil until some madman figures out how to make that shit work without compromise somehow.
  13. I'm not really sure why you wrote all of that up as if that tiny throwaway sentence at the end of my post was in response to you. I even specifically singled out 06's handling of it, not yours, so I'm really confused as to how you took anything I said that personally. But fine, if we're comparing notes anyway: That is quite literally what telekinesis is. If throwing oneself and others around with the power of the mind somehow doesn't fulfill that definition, I'm honestly not sure else you could be looking for. In fact it almost sounds to me like you're trying to describe an entirely different power, because a lot of what you're describing is centred more around the simple defiance of gravity than what telekinesis is as a concept. I guess fair point if you'd rather Silver played like that? I'm not saying it doesn't sound like fun - I just think it's kind of silly to blow smoke about what the "feeling" of telekinesis is supposed to be, already an incredibly subjective thing in the first place, and then somehow manage to be factually wrong about it too. It would have been so much simpler just to agree to disagree.
  14. I've been over this before, but the tl;dr version is that a good Sonic moveset prioritizes mobility above all else. Preferably you want to be able to both move and attack with the same move, but under no circumstances do you ever sacrifice mobility for it because it makes gameplay feel incredibly janky from a Sonic standpoint. Even if it ever manages to be good of its own merits, it will always beg the question of why the fuck you would ever choose a Sonic game to do it in, because Sega has plenty of other beat-em-up franchises that could stand to benefit from the inspiration. Silver in 06 is a failing in every one of these fields, and yet it's difficult to abandon it completely because it's a big part of his identity and frankly, still what most people remember him for. The best compromise that comes to mind is just to make him a Klonoa expy - have him telekinetically grab and pull enemies to him with one button press, and then either jump to use them as a platform or surf them to gain lateral distance depending on the needs of the level design. Maybe let him keep his 06 hover if there's nothing nearby to grab, although I wouldn't make it bring you to a sudden stop every time you use it. That shit's annoying.
  15. This is more what i was referring to. Kirby's had a lot of spinoffs, sure, but there's usually a substantial amount of its iconography and mechanics intact enough to justify calling it a Kirby game, and it was clear from a glance that they were built from the ground up with him in mind. Without Kirby's face in Epic Yarn, you probably couldn't tell they were related. The mechanics are fine, but they're as alien to Kirby as Doki Doki Panic was to Mario, and it can be kind of a bad habit where Nintendo are concerned. It's actually in large part because of the icy reception I had with Epic Yarn that I skipped over them, honestly. Especially because it was drawing the spotlight further from Fluff, who is honestly an interesting character who could stand to be seen and explored more, and because Yoshi didn't really feel like he had a "main" game since the N64 so humouring more of the wooly stuff felt like a bad idea. I dunno, maybe I'll give it a shot eventually, but I have a gut feeling I'd only enjoy it marginally more than i did Epic Yarn. Aaaaaand with that, the list draws to a close. Today's the last sprite. And honestly, I think I feel a little frustrated more than anything, because this has been a steady habit for almost a year and now I need to find something else to do to occupy my time. Maybe it's about time I thought about time I started trying to actually animate something, cos I started this list with the intention of being able to make a game someday and that intention definitely hasn't changed. Maybe I'll come back to this thread later to give a few awards to certain games, maybe eventually I'll put everyone together into one group picture like I originally intended. Eh, no point dwelling on shit I'll probably end up doing as spontaneously as this project started. So I guess I'll just say thanks to those of you who have been staying tuned all these months, and finish off with: Hobo (Jazzpunk) "Comedy" games usually elicit a huge groan from me. It's not uncommon for a game to establish itself as nothing more than a basic concept and a name and try to claim it's funny based on that alone, like what happens every 4-8 years when the internet has a new president to make fun of: "OooOOOooOOO lEt'S pUt ObAmA iN a ZoMbIe SuRvIvaL gAme" and then not doing anything else beyond making a functional zombie survival game that just happens to star an unusual main character. Even games that attempt to tell actual jokes tend to fall flat a lot because as it turns out comedy is a very difficult and subjective that tends to be found fairly rarely in people who program and design for a living. Even when you directly involve people who can make genuine jokes in their own medium, it matters a lot less in a videogame because good videogame humour is told through subverting the expectations its own mechanics create, not just telling it through dialogue and cutscenes, which is something that career comedians in other mediums tend to struggle a lot with. Even Stick of Truth and Fractured But Whole, despite modestly good and honest attempts in weaving the two together, tend to fall flat on delivery a lot bar a handful of honestly brilliant outliers. These are none of the words I would use to describe Jazzpunk. Jazzpunk is simply put, the funniest god damn game I've ever played. It may essentially be a walking simulator in all but name, but it constantly subverts expectations with all the mechanics and situations it does give you, and is always keen to reward you with more for looking around. You can get all the way through the intro and the first mission in under two minutes if you really wanted to, but you won't because they pack a RIDICULOUS amount of gags into such a tiny space, even going as far as to provide sidequests that don't give any material award and don't need to because the gag is its own reward. Hell, even the way your character interacts with the world on an incredibly basic level can still make for a convenient gag every now and then, such as how your character reacts to falling from a great height. As usual, trying to refrain from giving specific examples here, because genuinely funny games are best experienced with as little context as possible, just like genuinely well written games are, because honestly both are two sides of the same coin anyway. There isn't a whole lot I can bring myself to complain about. One could say that there's an overall lack of direction, but sometimes the gag is that you can interact with a specific object or NPC at all so honestly, providing any more direction than the game gives you like highlighting interactable objects might end up taking something out of the humour instead. There are occasions where they'll play the same joke more than once over multiple locations in the same level, and as much as I can appreciate the dedication necessary to make a full fledged Quake 3 clone complete with functioning AI for a single gag it definitely left me feeling frustrated that I kept re-opening it over several different places expecting something else to happen. And honestly, your player character could stand to be a lot faster than they are right now, partly because it takes too long to get anywhere and partly because that could have led to other gags of its own. On the whole though, Jazzpunk is consistently hilarious slapstick almost all the way through, and there are very, VERY few games I can say that about. It's definitely a game everyone should play once if they have the ability to, even if it won't bite the same way on subsequent playthroughs. It's just that brilliant at what it does. And that's a wrap! I'll try to fix the rest of the broken links on previous pages whenever I get a moment, but thanks again to everyone who's been keeping track of this stupid project all the while!
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