It's super odd, but interesting in the most academic way

Idol Eyes: A Review Of Hyperdimension Neptunia PP: Producing Perfection

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Frankly, I wasn’t even aware that idol simulators were “a thing,” as they’d say, and as such Hyperdimension Neptunia PP: Producing Perfection represents my first foray into the realm. In it, the player acts as a manager guiding a fresh-faced ingenue in her efforts to become an international singing sensation. See, you’re… you’re simulating the career path of an idol. Someone’s idol.

These kinds of games popular in Japan, as is the Hyperdimension Neptunia series that this game is based on, but I’ve never played one before. And for better or for worse, what I got was exactly what I expected.

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What does it take to keep players coming back for more?

Breaking Down the Destiny Beta

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Reid and I have had plenty of time to sink our teeth into the Destiny Beta since it began last week. There was plenty about it that we both loved, but questions about how much the game’s story will actually matter, and how much more complex enemy encounters will eventually get, still leave both of us with a handful of reservations. (more…)

Ethan and Mike discuss Golden Sun's writing.

RPG Club Plays Golden Sun: Week 2

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This week Ethan and Mike take a closer look at Golden Sun’s writing, and whether the game’s call and response dialogue gets in the way of players enjoying a simpler, less cluttered narrative.

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RPG Club Plays Golden Sun: Week 1

Reflecting on the road ahead.

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This month, the RPG Club takes a look back to the turn of the century when a small game on a little handheld made a big splash. Mike shares his reservations about revisiting his first RPG love while I vow to make this encounter with Golden Sun a more fruitful one. (more…)

Got In My Head And Shook It Like A Rattle

Baby Steps: A Reivew of Among The Sleep

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I know that I can really get into horror games, so after my first playthrough I was curious to try out Among the Sleep on some friends. I had ‘em over, we set up the projector, and we waited until it was dark. The game doesn’t have enough content to justify a second solo playthrough, but with a room of friends it’s great to watch their reactions, hear their theories, and piece together what those chalk scribbles on the wall can actually mean.

Having played through again and watched my friends play and enjoy the game, I am now confident in saying that it isn’t just me; this is a good game with an interesting premise.

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Sometimes Less Is More

Unnecessary Mountain: A Review of Battle Princess of Arcadias

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Sometimes less is more.

It’s an adage that can be applied to pretty much any creative pursuit, be it writing, cooking, or fashion. Videogames have begrudgingly acknowledged its importance due to technical limitations – the diminutive storage space of old school cartridges and other physical media a silicone vice on their lofty ambitions.

Then came the modern era, and with it games like Grand Theft Auto III and Morrowind, titles that both blew previously held expectations about size and scale out of the water. You see that mountain? You can not only go there, but you can build a summer house there!

Battle Princess of Arcadias got lost on the way up that mountain, trapped in a quagmire of seemingly arbitrary game modes and needlessly complex systems that do little to improve the otherwise solid experience.

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RPG Club Plays Bastion: Week 4

the quiet after the storm

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After going AWOL for a week and a half, the RPG Club is back with some concluding thoughts to offer as we salute Supergiant Games’ first masterpiece and reflect on some of the things that make it so wonderful despite any of its individual flaws. (more…)

Nothing To Lose And Everything To Gain

Deep Breathing: A Review of 1001 Spikes

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There’s something immensely comforting about 8bit Fanatics’ 1001 Spikes.

For all its seemingly arbitrary ‘masocore’ trappings – a genre built on broken controllers and unvarnished obscenities, popularized by stuff like Super Meat Boy and deepcut I Want To Be The Guy – it’s actually an impossibly fair game. Everything works according to a set a very simple rules, rules that are communicated not through blocky white text or cute little mice, but instead through blood, sweat and tears.

Sure, the first time you clear that series of vanishing Heat Man-esque platforms only to land on a spike trap that you couldn’t have predicted, you might want to snap your controller in half like a very expensive Kit-Kat bar. But that’s the beauty of it – next time you’ll remember what those fucking asshole designer dickbags (you might shout if you’re me) have in store for you.

You’ll land, hear that tell-tale click, and leap out of danger…into another spike trap. But that trap? One square closer to the exit. You’re making progress.

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On The Eve Of Replaying Persona 4

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I love Persona 4 like Nicolas Cage loves Pachinko. And I might love Persona 3 more. These two games were the most revolutionary Japanese role playing games to come out of Japan in the last decade; I’m the kind of person who could debate Persona 3 or Persona 4 for hours.

(There is no right answer to that question, by the way. Persona 4 is the better game, but Persona 3 hits you right in the proverbial feels.)

I’ve beaten both of them just once, though I’ve watched people go through both of them with absolute giddiness. There’s reasons I’ve only played them once. For one, they are intensely lengthy affairs: my first playthroughs were ninety hours each, and I’m not the type to stop and smell the roses. With Persona 3, there’s another obstacle: that game is so emotionally exhausting for me that just listening to “Memories of You” from the soundtrack destroys me. Just typing that sent a wave of something through me*.

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RPG Club Plays Bastion: Week 2

Finding solace in a world destroyed.

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Tom Auxier

Having played Transistor so recently, it’s no surprise my thoughts about it were affected by Bastion. Namely: Transistor fails at the thing that Bastion did the best, which was provide the player agency while not removing any from the character. (more…)