What game are you playing?

I’m kinda in love with Ikenfell, the recent indie rpg set in gay Hogwarts. The game itself is pretty good, but what really gets me are the writing and especially the setting. I guess what I find so endearing about it is not just the fact that almost every character you come across is queer in some manner, but also the small ways the game normalizes them. For instance, when any character’s pronouns are revealed, everyone else (including villains) always sticks to them without question. The same goes for characters’ respective sexualities. Hell, it even manages to subvert the aggressively flirty gay character trope by simply letting her crush as hard as she wants while also respecting her crush’s boundaries. Plus, you’re all witches and wizards! And you save the game by petting cats! And the music is all by the composers from Steven Universe!

It’s just nice to see all this in a game. Especially when you’re someone who’s often starved for positive depictions of queer people just doing normal stuff. And for it do all this when it’s been…let’s say “difficult” for fans of a certain magical school franchise to reconcile their enjoyment of it as of late, Ikenfell honestly couldn’t have come out at a more appropriate time

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Sure, but I learned that from the original Spelunky; I’m still not surviving 1-2 on Spelunky 2 - those moles, the weird arc of stones when you throw them [the arc is flatter on Spelunky HD, whereas it’s easy to throw over an enemy at “middle distance” with a horizontal throw in Spelunky 2], and the timing differences [it seems much harder to just time whips against approaching foes] are all just sadness inducing. (Plus, it seems from the reddit semi-spoilers, and my own experience, that a lot of the cooler roguelitey things about Spelunky - relatively frequent variant levels from level feelings and so on - are just not there in Spelunky 2 (in favour of just giving a lot of those things their own dedicated branches or sublevels), which makes repeatedly doing 1-1 and 1-2 less interesting).
I should say, I’m, as always, playing with a keyboard, not a controller - and it does seem like Spelunky 2 is less tolerant of that choice than its predecessors were.

That may well be the case. As I said, I didn’t play much of the first game, so I don’t really have a comparison. Could be that’s an advantage?

You absolutely sold me on Ikenfell, thank you.

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I think it actually might be - it feels a little like Yu’s actually deliberately tweaked a few things so Spelunky HD players’ muscle memory betrays them. (If so, it’s presumably under the assumption that they need to have a few things made difficult as Yu assumes everyone who liked Spelunky HD has gotten the “secret” ending multiple times in a row by now. For me, who never actually completed a full run, and tended to die a lot in the ice caves [about ~50% of the way to the end], this is not a good assumption. :wink: )

Edited to add: I recorded ~15 minutes of my being awful at Spelunky 2 just now, for comparison. I think I’m a bit better than Celeste was, but it’s not good.

Going through some games from the Itch racial justice bundle, and hit upon Us Lovely Corpses. A lovely visual novella with the description “A girl, a monster, another girl, roses.” If that sounds like something up your alley, I can heartily recommend it.

It comes with some absolutely lovely artwork, too.

If you do play and like it, make sure to check out the short story follow up that’s included as a separate file on Itch. It fleshes out the characters and story in a really good way and has a lot of that good heart breaking/warming stuff.

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Yeah, Us Lovely Corpses was great, probably one of the games from the bundle that I most enjoyed.

Finally bought Return of the Obra Dinn. I’m already stuck but it seems very neat. I can imagine it getting satisfying figuring stuff out.

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Still poking at Spelunky 2, albeit in a less dedicated fashion since I finished it for the first time. Lately I’ve been playing it through the daily challenges, some warmup runs before I attempt the dailies and the odd run whenever I get curious about something.

Still learning plenty from run to run and still stricken with awe, terror and more recently… disgust, I guess, at some of the stuff that takes a little bit of work to find. I genuinely cannot believe some of the things that I’ve seen in this game with my own eyeballs and I’ve just barely begun to scratch at some of the more obtusely hidden secrets!

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I hadn’t played any games for weeks, too busy with work, family and renovations. I had been regularly booting up my PC scrolling through game libraries and shutting it back down feeling uninspired. But tonight I downloaded and played through Gone Home. I know I’m pretty late to the party but it’s real good!

Earlier in the year I played Deus Ex MD and finished it thinking I’d love an immersive sim with very little murder. This scratches that going through people’s emails itch. I did know the rough premise of the game having not avoided spoilers when it was released. But it was still a joy to experience myself. The story unfolds so that your mind goes to some dark places but it wraps up rather sweetly. It’s the perfect length for a single sitting too. Video games are alright.

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I was walking around for a good bit and couldn’t figure out how to find more clues or bodies and felt really stupid. Then I discovered you can open doors. :unamused:

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I think I’m on the verge of just deciding that Spelunky 2 isn’t my game, which is sad, given how much I liked Spelunky (and Spelunky HD). I can’t say much for the experience of anything past 1-3, as in the first 3 hours of play, I’ve only even gotten that far in 4 of my attempts, but it feels like Derek’s basically removed the things that were interesting about the original, for relatively low-skill players like me (the focus on variety and special level themes etc, even in the early stages, so replaying didn’t feel depressing) in favour of stuff which really benefits high-skill players (fixed “special level” locations and features, less random structure to the mini-quests in favour of more “conventional” progression stuff which is the same each time etc). I’m not saying I was awful at Spelunky HD - I might never have beaten Yama, but I did manage the odd conventional win, even if I tended to die a lot in the Jungle and Ice Caves - but Spelunky 2 seems tuned on the assumption that all of the original’s fans were the skill levels of BananasaurusRex, rather than what’s actually the case.

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First a small update from my last post: Blackguards 2 makes a whole lot of (very welcome) mechanical improvements from the first game and has a better beginning to the story but the mission design is so dreadful that I had to quit it. While the systems are all improved they still aren’t great and it’s not worth putting up with the bad fights to get a mediocre story.

After that I fired up Syberia 3. I had played the first two games a few years ago and (generally) really liked them and was mostly enjoying this one but the kinda janky controls just got too frustrating over time. And then the extremely unsatisfying ending happened and completely deflated my enthusiasm for the game. The DLC was kinda cute though even though it was about 25 minutes of cutscene and 5 minutes of walking around.

The next logical thing to play was the Syberia: The World Before demo/prologue and I kinda loved it?? It looks great, it plays so much better than 3, and it’s doing really interesting stuff with dual protagonists, Kate Walker continuing on after 3 as well as a teenage girl, Dana Roze in 1937 faux-Germany. The full game isn’t out until next year but I’ve very excited for it. Oh, and Kate being in a relationship with Katyusha is a big plus for me since I always thought Kate had big gay vibes so it’s nice that it seems to be a canon thing now.

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I… completely forgot about the blackguards series. The second game was definitely a mixed bag for me. I haven’t played the game since 2015, but I remember the premise being promising, just not delivered all too well overall?

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The initial premise of ‘you’re a deposed princess who escapes from prison to take back the throne’ is a pretty good start (and, imo, much better than the first game’s start) but I didn’t really get far enough to comment on much more than that. I did think it was really weird that Naurim (the dwarf companion) sold both Zurbaran and Takate (the other two companions) into slavery and all three of them don’t seem particularly bothered by it? Just a real weird detail that comes and goes like it’s no big deal.

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@Lastly I completely forgot about that. Ugh. I had been thinking about returning to it cause I never finished it, but sounds like it’s probably better to leave alone.


Anyways, I’ve been playing

Noita - This game is a delight. I was watching the Save Point segment earlier and the game was described as being the “I’m a genius! Oh no!” meme and that’s absolutely what it is. Additionally it can feel like a TRPG where you ask “can I do this?” and the GM always says “Sure.” Often to my peril mind you, but a realy fun peril.

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I really should get Noita now it’s at 1.0; from watching a few streams, it still looks as fun as it was back when I played one of the Early Access betas.

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I’m finding it very rewarding. Like, reading through your Spelunky 2 post, I resonate with a lot of what you were saying (though I’m continuing to play despite everything cause I’m stubborn) and Noita has so much of the fun secret discovery and system-focused chaos of a Spelunky but without such a brutal edge to the whole thing. And if I’m dying, I know why, it’s often abundantly apparent what I did wrong, and even though I’m dying, each play-through is filled with new things to discover and try, at least so far.

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I needed more of that “early 20th century medical history” flavor after finishing The Knick, so I started Vampyr. It’s a lot jankier than I remember. Texture pop-ins galore, baby!!!

I’m also trying to avoid embracing too many characters before I’ve ever even finished the game once, but the slumlord who coerces his female tenants into having sex with him? Yeah, I drained his ass pretty much immediately.

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I played the first level of the DLC for Doom Eternal - The Ancient Ones - part 1. Ever since bouncing off the game on Xbox but bouncing back hard onto the PC version, I’ve been dying for new single player content for this game.

There are 3 new levels in this update and it will be followed by 3 more with part 2. It expands the story beyond the ending of Doom Eternal in ways that feel like it’s setting up Doom 3 (in which Samuel Hayden presumably becomes Satan).

The first level takes place on this big ocean rig, that reminds me a lot of Titan from Destiny 2. At the moment it feels like the dlc is doing things to expand the difficulty beyond the core game. I guess by the end of the core campaign of Doom Eternal, I felt that I was never really using some of the more powerful later game weapons like the Balista or the 2x BFG weapons you unlock as I was fairly used to my normal weapons to get the job done. Doom Eternal levels, are usually paced with having 4-5 combat arenas which are connected by more linear paths that involve more of the game’s platforming mechanics and a few secrets.

With the new dlc, I’m noticing there are times where there are alternative pathways (alternative to the waypoint you are given) and if you venture down them there is usually a secret but then they will randomly spawn a tonne of enemies on you. It feels more like old Doom in that way. Like you suddenly have these mini arenas to fight through. I’ve noticed the dlc also throws you more Cyber Mancubusses, and more Titans spawned in on top of you within very small spaces. There is also a bit where you have to fight off 2 Marauders at the same time. In some ways it does feel like an expansion pack from the 90s which amps up the difficulty in ways that may not be as elegant as the core game.

I am enjoying it. My biggest point of criticism is kind of story based off the back of Doom Eternal’s campaign in that it sure seems as if Doom guy is dilligently carrying out orders and accepting waypoints rather than doing things his own way. Arguably from it being a video game, the game has to apply to this format, but at least in Doom 2016 there was more a feel that he was not caring about the concerns of the people talking in his ear.

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