how do you do, fellow twenty-twenty-two-er's
or: a look at 10 games i'd like to polish off in these woefully precedented times
it's been a whole minute since i made an effort to dust this sucker off and start posting in earnest. now's as good as time as any, as i'm quarantining for the novel coronavirus yet again. i've been fairly active on twitter for a bit, but, twitter is from hell, so it'd be great to get some thoughts carved into the walls of a different digital edifice--how's about here??
what follows... is a list?
disco elysium (switch)
it's just time. i gotta. i've restarted this game 3 times now for various reasons and have logged a cumulative playtime of probably 50~ hours and yet have never reached the second half of the game (or maybe i crested it? who can say...). the writing is some of the best i've ever seen in games media, and the recent update has had me reeling from new and newly voiced content. (insert picture of talking tie here) this is the first on my list for 2022, and i think it's, perhaps, the perfect flagstone to polish and pummel for the start of this new, scary year.
mother 3 (gba/analogue pocket)
the subtext that's oozing out of this blogpost so far is positively *viscous* with reference to the miserable state of the world, so i thought i would return to a game that has a similar subtext. well, actually, that's just the text in shigesato itoi's oft-mentioned 2006 rpg that everyone wants but no one will play. mother 3 is concerned with a world that doggedly pursues utility and profit, lacquered façades and superficial culture-bearers. what awaits a world that forgets its humanity...
this will be the first time i have played it on a system with decent buttons (love you, analogue pocket), so i will finally know the high highs and low lows of the rhythm battle mechanics. the last time i played mother 3 was when i was depressed in my freshman year of college, on a laptop, alone, in my room, wondering why we do anything. i can't remember much from the second half on, but i'm here today so it must have done something right (or maybe it's the memory-suppressed emotions...). hoping for that same sparkle this time.
attack of the friday monsters (3ds)
i keep plugging away at this joyous little thing when i'm scared. i did it right before i started my long-term substitute gig last january, and i did it again this last summer before a life-changing job-interview (spoiler: i got the job). with 6 months punctuating each session, and stippling my memory of the game with the faint tickle of peripheral anxiety, it's no wonder i never return to this game. i've pavlov'd myself into thinking i'm in a state of fight-or-flight whenever i boot the charming little game up. it's time to change that! or... wait for my next sweat-inducing life event.
the great ace attorney (switch)
my friend derek caught my attention when he mused (in, uh, not these words, but i'm sure he would agree with my exagerrated interpretation) that the long-time ace attorney fan has either grown a new, spiritual muscle in perseverance or has seen the sun set on their rabid enthusiasm for this increasingly formulaic series. when i first read his response to finishing the great ace attorney, i felt a little crestfallen. but, in time (two months), i realized, "oh, huh, that's probably why i burned through part one's four chapters and then hit the wall of the final chapter, shelving the game for three months." i will always bemoan the fact that the structure of the ace attorney textbox, with its perfectly-timed animations, sound effects, and visual gags, has yet to be replicated in any meaningful way outside of the series (many games have tried... many have fallen so, so short). but, for all the love i have for the experience of reading/engaging with an ace attorney game, it has become quite the marathon to participate in, especially in an age with so many prized thoroughbreds jockeying for my attention (sadly, pocket card jockey is not on this list for 2022—i apologize specifically to bryan for this. someday!!). it's difficult to carve out the dozens of hours required to complete an ace attorney, even one as coveted as the great ace attorney, a game we never thought the west would have.
anyway, i'm gonna finish it, because that game owns, dude.
gravity rush (ps4)
i've been wanting to play through this game since its first announcement for the ps vita in early 2011. and look at how much it's grown! i struggled quite a bit with the vita version back in 2015 when i finally got my hands on a copy. while the incredibly sensitive and thoughtful motion controls were cool, it just never clicked for me on the portable system. when you need to move the system around that often for critical mechanical precision, it's easy to lose sight of the screen or over-compensate. between that and some of the bleary graphics (on an otherwise GORGEOUS game), it was easy for me to set the game down in favor of anything else.
i was able to pick up both the remaster and sequel on ps4 for a criminally cheap price on one of the many psn sales in the last few years and have booted it up once just to see if it was the upgrade i'd hoped for, and: man, it ruled. i put it back down because this was the beginning of the first big lockdown and i was vibing with final fantasy vii: remake and death stranding, and then i just plum forgot. once i finish up with great ace (assuming i tackle these games in roughly this presented order), i predict that i will want to stretch my proverbial digital legs, and it seems that no game has a more enthralling platformer-playground to me than gravity rush.
the legend of zelda: breath of the wild: the champion's ballad (switch)
i have this thing where, when i enjoy something very, very much, i will seal it up lovingly behind plate-glass and daub "FOR EMERGENCY USE ONLY" in thick, red paint across its face before heaving it up with me to my dragon's horde heap, whereupon i promptly collapse and drift to sleep thinking fondly of my partial (unended, therefore living in perpetuity, ergo: perfect) experiences with all my little bibelots.
it's not a good thing, but it's what i do.
look at the world today. did you know at 3:43am on march 3rd, 2017, that you were sitting in the frigid cold, outside the local target, on a butt-bone-busting concrete line to purchase what would become the nouveau urtext for open world games as we know them today? i sure didn't! all i remember from that blissful week of recklessly scheduled paid time off was that i was experiencing something i might never feel again, and i would pay dearly to keep that feeling bottled up to parcel out over stretches of bleak ennui or in the face of impending doom.
last thanksgiving i was trapped in a cabin in the mountains with family for a truly delirious period of time and found solace in a bottle of sweet, gold ambrosia and a firm couch-nook. i hunkered down and finished the master trials over the course of three nights, when everyone had finally passed out or passed on from the mortal coil. for a few cherished moments, i was transported (transfigured) to that quiet serentiy i'd known in 2017—by god, it had worked!
anyway, i never finished the second batch of dlc, the champion's ballad. the yet-unnamed breath of the wild 2 allegedly comes out this year, so i would like to finish what i'd started with its predecessor before finding a new pearl of great price.
shin megami tensei v (switch)
it's the new shin megami tensei, baby! what more is there to say? i blazed through the first 20~ hours of this before being crushed by a metric ton of bricks at work. when i woke up, i found that my employers had used those bricks to build a prison around me, leaving me with nothing but a dried cask of amontillado to keep me company. it is now, months after i scrabbled my way through the cracks in the wall, dressed in naught but the cask with which they imprisoned me (held up by suspenders), that i walk again in the light, eager to return to this darkly tale.
if i'm being honest with you, dear reader, it's more that i just got a bit tired playing it, too. i love a good jrpg, but i run out of gas very easily these days. this is one of the tightest rpgs on the market (mechanically speaking), and yet with its light storytelling i have to rely heavily on mood and tone to flavor the experience for me. anyway, smt games are some of the few jrpgs i've actually beat, so i will return to conquer it soon. i think?
ever oasis (3ds)
now, again, if i'm following the order of completion i've arbitrarily set up here, i bet that i'm going to need the "gummy bear mouthfeel" that is ever oasis after being mercilessly pelted by the hailstorm that is shin megami tensei v. i've wanted to truly sit with this rpg (made by the creator of seiken densetsu/mana series—also, apparently, grezzo, the creators of line attack heroes and the recent 3d updates for ocarina of time and majora's mask??) for years now, but have never really committed to it. its simple, yet compelling, gameplay set in a world of hard-candy rainbows seems to me the ultimate balm for these weary bones.
the house in fata morgana (switch)
all i know is that fata morgana is better than ocarina of time, apparently.
i've heard truly fantastic stuff about this visual novel for years and was lucky enough to snag a physical copy not so long ago. i'm hoping that the hype around its allegedly rich and genre-defining writing isn't what it is merely because the vast majority of the gaming world hasn't read a book in the last 8 years... but we shall see!
shiren the wanderer: the tower of fortune and the dice of fate (switch)
and finally, shiren. after the dozens of hours of reading i'll be doing in fata morgana and whatever i've gotta plug away at in my career, i will be absolutely chuffed to climb the incredibly unforgiving tower of fortune. i played a fair chunk of shiren 5+ (as it's called overseas) for the vita in 2015, but ultimately lost my way. i was in the grip of a job that already made every waking moment a living hell, so why was i spending my free time on a game that was dead-set on killing me, too? i swapped the cartridge out for persona 4: golden and my journey ended there.
but now... well, now i just wanna play it again because i'm better at these games and would like to give this beautiful little game another shot. especially since i saw others getting into it this last year. and look at that pixelwork! truly a gorgeous, if ghoulish, game.