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Blacklightning last won the day on January 5

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About Blacklightning

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  • Birthday 07/06/1988

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  1. Dizzy (Fantastic Dizzy) Dizzy is a puzzle platforming game that I liked as a kid for many of the same reasons I liked Sonic - regardless of any progress you made, you could take a different route every playthrough and learn a little something new about the game every time. Whereas Sonic was all about several tiers of separate routes through one level, though, Dizzy is probably the first game I played that could be genuinely considered "open world". The majority of the map is accessible from the start with a little walking, and the areas that aren't usually only need a single item to open up. I don't even consider winning the game a requirement of remembering it fondly, because almost anything you do in this game can be considered an adventure in its own right - which is something that games several hundred if not thousand times its size routinely fail to accomplish. I have to be honest with myself though, and say that the inventory system was very much a product of its time and would never fly today. For starters, you can only hold three items at a time. Once you know where everything goes, this simply becomes part of the routing process and can strategize dropping and swapping stuff when it's convenient, but when you're still uncovering stuff it can be irritating to come apon a dead end and realize you left the means of opening it on the opposite side of the map, or at the end of a very long minecart ride. Even when you DO have the right items for the situation, often you can only use it if it's in the leftmost side of your inventory, which often means dropping your entire inventory on the ground to reorganize the right item into that slot, and that doesn't feel like that should have been necessary? Especially when there are specific items - like the rope - that work regardless of which slot they're in. I also have to give special mention to Zak's Castle at the end of the game, which is just straight up evil. We're talking borderline Sierra levels of evil here. To even get up there in the first place means a sequence of tricky platforming on clouds that you're constantly sinking through, and you still need 5-6 items to finish the game after that point - so even if your platforming is perfect AND you know the exact items you need ahead of time, you still need to do this sequence twice at bare minimum. And then once you've used them all up? Right before the final platforming section is a "star barrier". All those little star pickups scattered throughout the world like Rings? You need to collect them - all two hundred and fifty of them - to open this barrier, including the ones scattered throughout the aformentioned very long minecart ride. The game doesn't tell you this until you reach it, which is a certifiable ragequit moment because most people are running short on lives at this point and don't have resources to backtrack through hazardous terrain to mop them all up. But if you'll forgive an unintentional pun here, the game is fantastic once everything clicks into place. It's one of the very, very few puzzle games I can ever replay even after knowing all the solutions, which is a mantle that seldom seems to get any praise in the gaming world. Codemasters is better known for racing titles overall these days, but I still think Fantastic Dizzy is an achievement they should be proud of, even all these years later.
  2. Turning 32 in about a month, actually. To my knowledge the games on my list start in the 1990s at the very earliest - looking back at Duke 1 and Commander Keen, though, I'm surprised sometimes they weren't made earlier than that. Bubby (Rainbow Islands) Rainbow Islands is another example of jank that would have been perfectly acceptable in the day it was made, and everything is jerky instead of smoothed out, including the jumping - which isn't coded as an arc so much as "ascend X number of pixels and then go into falling state". You would think that would work against a game billed as a platformer, but honestly, I hesitate to call Rainbow Islands a bad game. In fact I'd go as far as to say it's pretty goddamn underrated. The main attraction of Rainbow Islands is undoubtly the titular rainbows, which Bubby can create with a button press. And in much the same ways that say, Sonic's rolling is, they're deceptively versatile and can be used for a number of different purposes that tend to be discovered as a natural result of playing around with them. They function as projectiles and wipe out any enemies in their path. You can walk up onto them and cast more as you go, using them as impromptu stairs and platforms. If you jump on them in a certain way, they shatter, and the shards actually defeat enemies too, allowing you to attack enemies below you. You can even use them to collect pickups without walking up to them. Most of the time it's for platforming purposes - levels in Rainbow Islands only scroll vertically, the goal being to reach the top before the island floods beneath you. Simple jumping isn't always enough to make it all the way to the top. In fact, there's at least one stage in the game that doesn't have natural platforms at all, so learning how to carefully ladder up great heights without breaking your rainbows beneath you becomes a pretty important skill. There IS one big complaint I have with it, though. The game has two endings, and getting the true ending is almost statistically impossible. The catch? Throughout the course of the game, you have to collect seven chaos emeralds big diamonds. You can get these as rewards for defeating bosses at the end of an island, but to make them spawn at all you have to collect a series of seven small diamonds throughout the island itself before the boss of that island. And how do you get those? RANDOM. FUCKING. DROPS. Enemies drop items when they're done dying from a rainbow, and the small diamonds is among their drop pool. So unless you somehow know how to game the RNG, whether or not you get the good ending doesn't depend on anything you do playing it, and even today knowing I haven't done it yet is still an endless source of irritation. Don't let that give you the wrong idea though - it's still a very solid game overall, and I wouldn't dare set an impression otherwise. Maybe sometime after I'm done with this project I'll go back to this game on something with savestates, because unlike Dinoland I respect this game too much to just look up the real ending on Youtube and be done with it.
  3. Gen and Burn (Growl) ...although my copy was called Runark. This was one of two games (the other being Dinocity above) where I owned the JP version of the game instead of the PAL one, and to this day I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe my dad bought these on a flea market or something. But uh anyways, onto the game. Growl is a Taito beat em up game where you play as either discount Indiana Jones or discount Randy Savage (The game actually has four characters, but the other two have identical sprites to Gen and Burn - yes, not even recoloured, identical), wildlife rangers hunting down a gang of poachers to beat the shit out of. And it needs to be said right away that Growl takes a sadistic, almost NARC-esque glee in mowing them down by the dozens - in the opening fight alone you're given a choice between four weapons, and one of them is a four shot rocket launcher that can literally blow them to pieces with spectacular explosions that light the whole goddamn screen up. Behind the brief power thrills, almost literally dozen to one ratio mooks and the occasional stampede out of nowhere taking care of fights for you, though, lies a beat em up that hates it when you use the punch button. You probably think that's hyperbole. Lemme elaborate on that. See, in most other beat em ups, fighting games or just about any genre with a melee attack period, one is guaranteed a moment's safety from the enemy you land a successful hit on - which is to say, they're stunned at least long enough for your attack animation to finish and reset you back to a neutral state from which you can act further. In Growl, the attack that is performed when you press the button is random. Of the 3-4 choices the RNG can roll for when you initiate an attack, one of them is a kick. This kick takes almost three times longer to recover from than any of the other moves, but shares the same hitstun as the other moves. What this means, effectively, is that at complete random the enemy can recover faster than you and punish you just for hitting them all, even in a one on one - and if you've been paying attention so far, you'll remember that most confrontations are definitely NOT one on one. So how does one avoid this? One might say "just use a weapon". True to Gen's stereotype, the whip is by a pretty large margin the best weapon in the game, able to not only hit multiple enemies in a pretty long range in front but even behind him when he reels it back in - but you drop weapons whenever you're knocked over, and they despawn if you drop them one too many times. And projectile weapons obviously have ammo counts which are non replenishable. What I'm getting at is that you can't rely on weapons forever, or sometimes not even for very long. So what do you have that's dependable in the meantime? One might initially suggest special attacks, which are usually some variation of a helicopter kick that barrels through enemies and knocks down everyone in your way. This initially seems to have no drawback, but it actually drains health every time you use it - and because Growl uses a Golden Axe-esque health system where one bar reprents an indeterminate amount of health points, most of the time this health drain is invisible and you don't realize what it does to you until you're on death's door and realize you can't use it anymore. And that's before you learn some enemies recover faster than this attack too, and are in fact built to counter it and normal punches by design. So what does that leave? Jump kicks. Lots. And lots. And lots. And lots. And lots. And lots of jump kicks. It's guaranteed to knockdown almost any enemy in the game, does about the same damage as the special without the health drain, and consistently puts you out of the way of retaliation by whoever you missed just by chaining another jump out of it. Being good at Growl isn't a matter of learning hidden and obscure techniques (which this game does actually have, not that I learnt how to pull them off consistently) or grasping any kind of meta the game throws at you - just realizing that the jump kicks are factually the best and safest move in the game and that you don't really have any option besides to cheese your way through it with them. It stops getting exciting pretty fast. If there's a positive lesson to get out of Growl's design though, it's that you shouldn't be afraid to be ridiculous. It's one thing to be a game that's bland if not awful, but people will remember you if you're ridiculous no matter if you're good or bad for it. The first boss of the game wears a vest lined with sticks of TNT, and instead of falling apart when it explodes he gets launched into the air and sprints at you in an arm flailing tantrum, and he can do this multiple times. Wild animals help you out at several times throughout the game, sometimes completely unprompted, but I don't think any of them are as simultaneously hilarious and badass as being saved from a god damned tank by a rampaging elephant you had saved from captivity minutes ago. And without wanting to spoil too much on this front in particular, the final boss is quite possibly the most insane sudden twist I've ever seen in a beat em up game, ever - and that's even including the tank throwing, top hat wearing robot with machinegun claws that you fight moments before it. ...on a more personal note I learnt while making today's sprite that you can make a guy look more buff just by adding an extra pixel's width to all their limbs and now I regret not doing that with Duke. Oh well, I'll get another shot later.
  4. Billy Blaze (Commander Keen) My experience with the Keen games is limited to Ep1, Ep3 and Dreams, but I'll mostly be talking about the former two. It's a platformy shooter, leaning more platforming than shooting, but the main thing I usually take from it is its unusual choice of controls - besides the movement keys it uses two buttons, and neither of them is a "shoot" button. You have one for jumping and one for toggling this pogo stick that makes your jumps higher in exchange for making you auto-jump when you hit the ground, but to fire your raygun you have to press them both at the same time??? It's hard to say with certainty why the controls were designed this way - old keyboards were notorious for eating inputs if you pressed too many of a certain combination of buttons at once, so maybe this was supposed to be some kind of hacky workaround? But whatever the case, it makes it hard to shoot without jumping by accident, and raygun ammo is pretty limited in this game, so definitely not the type where you want to miss shots by being a few frames late and jumping first. Honestly though, it's the only real gripe I think I have with the game. Out of the Apogee era platformers, Keen is pretty easily my favourite of the bunch. There's something just endlessly whimsical about chanelling vibes of Dexter's Lab and Macgyver - the backstory of Ep1 alone has Keen create a functioning spaceship out of soup cans and random crap lying around the house, and that kind of sense of disbelief immediately sets the tone for pretty much everything that happens afterwards, where the implied threat to humanity is given equal billing as his parents finding out what he gets up to with his alter ego while they're gone. It's the kind of imagination that doesn't get seen much in videogames anymore, although I guess part of that is because Keen's target audience today is probably hooked on free to play mobile trash. Speaking of which - fuck you Bethesda, for making Keen into free to play mobile trash. Don't go thinking I've forgotten the shit you pulled at E3 last year.
  5. DINO-Bunz (Dinoland) Was... was that really his name? Bunz? You know what, fuck it, I'm not gonna question it. So Dinoland's a pinball game in which Bunz here, being an armadillo-esque dinosaur, plays the part of the pinball, so naturally he spends 80% of the game curled up. Right away that draws a lot of parallels to Sonic Spinball, but for all the infamy it has in this fanbase I honestly have to say Dinoland is actually the worse game by a pretty large margin. I don't know if it's just because of bad programming or because there's no real physics system at play in the way you move around, but launching the ball never feels quite... right, for lack of a better description. And although in both games the pinball is a living, breathing character in both games, Spinball is the only one that uses that to any meaningful effect by allowing you to influence the trajectory of your falls just enough to avoid a fatal pitfall that would otherwise be unavoidable. Dinoland's also the older game, though, so I can forgive a little bit of jank. It's not the real problem I have with this game. Let's start with a problem both games have in common - you can't see the entire playing area of the board you're on at any given time, or even the entire half of the board you're on when they're split into two. So quite often, useful and even critical shots are offscreen from the flippers and have to be taken completely blind, which makes angles pretty difficult to guage even when you DO know the general area you want to be aiming for. To Spinball's credit, they sometimes remember to leave lines of blinking lights towards ramps you absolutely need to hit so at least you have a path to follow - Dinoland does no such thing. To make the same mistake on the same shot over and over because you have no way of eyeballing it gets annoying real bloody fast, and sometimes I hate that early pinball games couldn't just swallow their pride and make tables only a screen height tall to get around this problem. Once you get past that, then what? For the majority of your time playing this, you're stuck on the same board, listening to the same music, struggling to find some way to progress. It gets boring real quickly. There are alternate boards to travel to, and there's two methods to find them. The first is to wipe out the dinos on the bottom half of the board until a different species spawns, and wiping out all of them turns the pit at the bottom into a warp that carries you to one of the two other boards. I never figured out how to trigger the other species spawning, and for all I know it could be actual random. The other method is a literal slot machine at the very top of the board, and being warped away is among the rewards for matching three icons. So naturally, most of the gameplay loop is spent on the top half of the board trying to make the slots do something interesting. But it's all good once you finally get a change of scenery, right? NOPE. If you bottom out on either of the secondary boards, you don't lose that ball - instead, you're sent right the fuck back to the starting board and you have to do it all over again. It's not uncommon to enjoy the new board for all of two minutes before fucking up and getting sent right back because you're not familiar with all the new bells and whistles yet. Can you fucking imagine if Lava Powerhouse in Sonic Spinball sent you right back to Toxic Caves instead of letting you use another ball? It'd be enough to make you believe Toxic Caves was the game and all the others were just little bonus stages. So imagine my surprise when I watched a longplay of this game yesterday to find that not only did those extra boards contain their own boss fights, the game has an actual ending - for which you need at least 9 billion points, just shy of the maximum that the game can display. So now I get to share with you the conclusion of this game that I've waited nearly thirty years to see: Bunz gets his girl, Meeshell, but the Ice Age comes around, and EVERYONE FUCKING DIES. Jesus christ, maybe I was better off not knowing. That shit would have scarred me as a kid.
  6. Right, so I know I said I ordered all my games chronologically, but I'm making a special exception for the first 8 on my list because they're among the ones that I can say almost definitively that I played before all others. And I want to get these ones out of the way first because they're the games I would have played at my youngest and most impressionable - so more than likely, the games that form my core influences. And if you've taken one look at my avatar, you'll probably realize this next one is an influence I wear on my sleeve, so please try and act surprised when I reveal it's Sonic. Sonic and Tails (Sonic 1 / 2 / 3 / &K / CD) My first experience with Sonic was renting Sonic and Knuckles from the local Video Ezy. I was about 4-5 years old at the time, and rarely made it past Mushroom Hill (I remember getting as far as Flying Battery Act 1's boss and immediately Game Overing because I couldn't figure out its gimmick). But before it came time to return it, I got exactly one Chaos Emerald, and I was so proud of it I left a handwritten note in the case as if I was doing the next renter some kind of favour. It's sort of weird to think about how far I've come since then, where I won't accept anything less than the full set whenver I work up the urge to replay it. The first one I actually owned was Sonic 2, and while it's still a good game overall, it'd remain my least favourite in the original series until I got to play Sonic 1 many, many years later. Whatever the case, ALL of the original Sonic titles are incredibly replayable, but even though a lot of people will agree with that it's not often discussed why that's the case. And it makes me think back to that first time I played S&K all those years back, where I could never get further than FB act 1 but could never seem to express frustration about it. When I think about it further, at least part of it is probably down to old Sonic levels being basically playgrounds in of themselves. Yes, the levels eventually bottleneck because every act has a defined start and finish, but there's plenty to do along the way and plenty of different ways to approach it. Most people seem to like thinking of Sonic as some coke-headed speedrunning fest, but I think it's important not to forget that the games used to reward people for going off the beaten path and looking for places they hadn't explored yet, which is a playstyle that should be worth every bit as much as just rushing it. Game Overing before Flying Battery was never an issue for me, because there was still more level to find, and even something as simple as a shield would be enough to help my dumb ass through next time. S3&K in particular even has the benefit of multiple characters with their own benefits, and it annoys me when people complain they have too much in common with each other because even the singular difference they tended to have back then (never mind all the passive stuff Knuckles benefits from) is enough to completely change how you interact with a level and make your playthrough fresh all over again, without the drawback of having to get used to entirely different mechanics, physics or fucking genres like later attempts would do. There's not a whole lot else I can say at this point that this forum hasn't already discussed in exhaustive detail, whether it be concepts of flow and inertia preservation or the finer points of rolling physics or even just writing and characterization. But if you're disappointed you didn't get to hear me ramble on about the blue blur more, just remember that I've grouped these games based on a general playstyle and/or aesthetic that they all share in the same series - so this will definitely not be the last time you see Sonic on this list.
  7. I've had aspirations of making games someday, but I feel like I've been going out of practice after one too many burnouts. Just so I don't get too rusty, I decided to make myself a side project to keep myself occupied. I've spent the past half week or so listing and chronologically ordering every single videogame I can remember and care enough about to mention, and making at least one sprite based on each of them - or at least every little groups of them that can be considered a sub-series, as the case may be - and doing a little write up for each of them to describe the experiences I've had and the things I've learnt from them. Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem 1 / 2) I feel like a lot of people don't realize that Duke 3D wasn't actually the first game in the series, but I don't think it's all that hard to imagine why - I'll be the first to admit the first two haven't aged all that well. Duke 1 was made in a time where PC Speaker was the only option for audio, so it's not terribly surprising that it's hard to get back into today. But it's also just really kinda basic even for a shooty 2D platformer, but I think a part of that was because this was made during a time where gaming as a concept was something a lot of people were still trying to figure out. Intentionally or not, Duke is essentially the template for most of Apogee's better known games afterwards (which I'll probably get back to in a few of their other games later on into this list), so it's not a huge surprise that he's seen as the face of the brand, Duke 2, though still not a game I'd play for hours at a time, is where you start to see and appreciate Duke's growth as a character, and not just through the increased amount of text interludes between episodes. Duke is still a hero with shades of Arnold Schwarzenegger in him, and even today there's elements of that which never really left, but it's here where Duke's iconic sense of self-obsessed egomania starts to show. Example: the score pickups are merchandise. His merchandise. The game doesn't attempt to handwave this at all - in fact it doubles down in the readme by claiming Duke likes to collect his own merch. Sometimes it's just the little touches that count. Duke would occasionally return to the 2D realm at points after this, maybe out of some misguided sense of nostalgia - of the ones I've played, Manhattan Project which is kinda just okay, and Critical Mass which is a laughable critial and commercial failure even compared to the likes of Forever. It's never really been his element, even with advancements the industry would discover long afterwards. But in these earlier times I could appreciate that a franchise might have some growing pains first before it achieved actual greatness later, which is the kind of second wind you see almost none of nowadays, where more often than not you're gone for good if you don't immediately hit it out of the park... but I'm sure we'll get to the reasoning behind that much, much later. All I can say right now is that I miss having a flamethrower you can use as a jetpack just by aiming it downwards in midair.
  8. Just cleaned up the thread a little. No, your stupid fetishes don't constitute headcanon, and no I won't have people even humouring it because it may as well just be feeding trolls. Strikes will be issued if I see that shit come back again.
  9. No you know what, I actually agree completely with this - score and time runs should absolutely be graded separately, and one should only need to be ranked top in one or the other for the level to be overall considered A ranked. My main reason for bringing it up at all was that it suited Sonic as a character, who is otherwise commonly depicted using his agility to mock the situation rather than just to be quick and clean about it. I personally find it fun for the game to acknowledge these displays of cockiness in their own right, but no, I don't actually think it should be the sole metric that the player is judged by.
  10. One of the things I find facinating about SA2's approach to it is that a lot of the point bonuses you need to get max ranks - at least, in the case of the main hedgies - are simple routing differences. And that a lot of them are otherwise frivilous, but at the same time a perfect fit for the character if that makes any sense? Alright let's clear this up by going to probably the best example of this, which is pretty much the near goddamned entirety of Metal Harbour. Just 14 seconds in you're given an open invitation to grind rails. Is it necessary? No. Is it even faster? Probably not. But is it cool? Fuck yes it's cool. What about the homing attack chain at 0:27? I think you can just spindash jump over most if not all of it if you're just going for time. So why would you not only incentivize completing it at all, but even go as far as offering a longer route for points? Because fuck you it's there, and fuck you I wanna. And that whole deal with the rocket? Who the fuck in their right mind would literally risk life and limb ignoring a perfectly reasonable opportunity to escape to hunt down one that's even further out of the way for the same outcome anyway? Sonic the fucking Hedgehog, that's who. A hedgehog who eats danger, shits awesome and shows off just for the sake of it. It's such a perfect, self-encapsulated representation of the character, and it makes me a little sad that we've never gotten anything like it since - at most, integrated as a gameplay mechanic instead ala the tricks system in the Rush games.
  11. It honestly beggars belief to me that a boost title hasn't been done as a racer yet. It's quite literally built to function on long, linear stretches of track, if not circles and helixes when the curves are generous enough for it, and the self contained "meta" within Shadow's fight in Generations speaks to me that there's still plenty of room to flesh things out in a mode actually dedicated to it. At worst you might argue the playing field would be uneven just by virtue of maybe 5 characters in the franchise being boost capable or some equivalent of it, but I don't mind if the remaining cast have it just for this game so they don't have to drudge through the headache of balancing characters up to that level without it. I don't have a hard time imagining Death Egg Robot scaled down to the size of his egg pod and being tuned more towards going fast, but even that aside I could still see him slapping extra thrusters onto his SA2 walker to make it a lot less clunky to use.
  12. this song's gonna get stuck inside your

  13. I'm really not sure what this thread is supposed to be, but it seems like something better suited to status updates. Maybe the Marketplace if you wanna talk specifically about the plushes.
  14. Quick reminder while it's still pertinent - if you think the Sonic movie is going to be bad, just don't watch it. You're not sticking it to anybody by giving people money for shit you hate - in fact you're encouraging them to make more of it by contributing to its success. Buying shit out of a morbid "I wanna see how bad it is" curiousity is a fucking idiotic stance to take that's been destroying this franchise for the longest time and it needs to fucking stop.

    On the flipside, don't give other people shit for going to see it - if they like what they see, that's their choice to make. Spare a thought for the unpaid team that'll inevitably have to moderate people's shittalking for the next few weeks and try to keep things civil, if nothing else.

    1. tailsBOOM!


      Best of luck to you all, you'll probably need it

    2. Diogenes


      at this point it doesn't even seem entertainingly bad so an "ironic" viewing wouldn't even be worth it anyway. it's just a regular dull adaptation hitting the same basic beats as a hundred other forgettable movies.

    3. Ferno



    4. Blacklightning


      also sidenote, don't review the movie before you've even seen it you fucking tools

    5. Kuzu


      But how else can I farm clout and likes on social media if I don't post how much I hate this particular thing.

    6. TCB


      sure chief 


    7. Tarnish


      At this point I'm thinking staying away from the community itself is the best option. Seeing others supporting, giving money so something you used to like goes in a direction you no longer like and get no enjoyment from is just kinda depressing.

    8. Kuzu


      Or, you can understand that people might have different tastes from you and realize there's nothing wrong with that.

      I understand general feelings of resentment when you feel like a product is drifting away from your interests, but I don't think that's a reason to shun an entire community over it.

  15. Not that I think it makes Chief any more likely, but a lot of the third parties have at least two reps right now. Sega has Sonic and Bayonetta, Konami has Snake and the Belmonts, and Capcom has Megaman, Ryu and Ken. Another MS rep wouldn't be entirely unheard of, in this fighter pass or the next. What I am wary of is speculation and guessing based on ports, especially recent ones. I really hate to remind you guys, but the DLC picks were decided very early on, long before development of the main game had wrapped up (hell, a lot of it is arguably based on Smash 4's ballot), so none of this stuff has any bearing on a character's chances and it probably never did. We already went through this same song and dance when Doom and Skyrim got Switch ports and amounted to neither Doomguy nor Dragonborn, or even so much as a reference to either.
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