knytt

4

Here you go, screenshots from the knytt level I’m making! This is all very early-game. I’ll probably make some kind of screen compilation with large parts of the map once I get more done, but it’ll be under a readmore so nothing is spoiled if you are a knytter and want to play it.

There are some indie titles that I’ve been thinking about that need more love. I’m glad Undertale has the love it does and deserves, but there’s also a couple of games that come to mind: Knytt Stories and Momodora. Most of the Knytt games can be played for free and Momodora 1 and 2 are free. Knytt Underground costs money on steam and Momodora 3 is $4 on steam. Regardless, the Knytt and Momodora games feature great pixel art, storytelling, platforming, cuteness, and charm.

Knytt Underground Revisited

I recently posted this review of Knytt Undergound:

http://nichtschwert.tumblr.com/post/41644615818/a-little-review-on-knytt-underground

Now, that I have completed the game’s three chapters, I will go at it again with a bit less emotion and more calm assessment.

So after beating the game, what has changed? Quite a bit actually. Dora and Cilia get a lot more depth to them eventually and they even grew on me. I still find them a tad annoying here and there, but I am also impressed by the amount of background you get on those two.

The setting keeps getting more beautiful as you explore it and learn about the species, their villages and things like that. It makes me really sad, that the game doesn’t put more emphasis on explaining these things and exploring the after effects of the previous games. Knytt Underground is actually set after the other games and references them every now and then and I really would have liked to see more of that.

Another thing that changed was my view of Mi. While Cilia and Dora keep getting more and more background, Mi stays pretty much as she is. While in the early game, we got frequent insights into her thoughts, she becomes a complete mystery in Chapter Three. You do meet her family, but none of them really talk about her a lot, so she stays flat and unimpressive for the rest of the game.

But you know what did not change one bit?

The whole Myriadism versus Internet and Religon versus cold hard reason deal stays a major problem throughout the game, right until the very end. The two fairies actually talk and learn about the benefits of both worldviews and that is fine, but the other characters stay two-dimensional and anoying as all hell. What also rubbed me the wrong way was when I found two characters who explained the two factions to me in more detail and I noticed that the game appeared to be taking sides.

The myriadists turn out to be the ones who have a pretty good and logical understanding of the demise of the human race, while the Internet stupidly believe the humans to have been so superiour, that them destroying themselves would be impossible. That’s when it hit me. The Internets are religious. They make up ridiculous claims about godlike beings who happen not to exist anymore and while they call themselves intellectuals and scientists, everything they say is based on completely baseless conjecture.

The game has no truly logical and scientifically-minded being, save for Cilia, who is really obnoxious about it. And that really annoyed the hell out of me.

Of course all this is just my personal take on this, as I’m sure others will interpret the game differently, but to be quite frank: Even if I had liked the way religion and scepticism were handled here, it would still have been really out of place. It would still have overshadowed the much more interesting setting. The dialogue would still have sounded like it came from a completely different kind of game.

The whole thing really looks like Nifflas merged two completely different ideas for a game. one would be about exploration in a vast and stunning underground world, while the other would have been set in a modern city and its outskirts, where two world views clash. The gameplay comes from the former and the dialogue comes from the latter. it really is that jarring.

In the end I am glad that I played Knytt Underground. The gameplay really is great and Cilia and Dora make their way into appreciable territory eventually. I might pick this game back up in the far future. And when I do, I will simply skip over all the dialogue. It will make the game rather silent and sad, but that’s way better than cringe-worthy annoyance.

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2 Hours of Sleepy Video Game Music (Vol. 4)

A 2-hour compilation of ‘sleepy’ dreamlike music from various video games.

Playlist:
0:00 Ragnarok Odyssey Ace - Cradle of the Slumbering Machines – Kumi Tanioka
3:05 Wild Arms 3 - Night of the Legends – Michiko Naruke
5:47 Antichamber - The Garden – Siddhartha Barnhoorn
13:02 Animal Crossing: City Folk - 11 PM (Snow) – Manaka Tominaga, Shiho Fujii
15:45 Shadow Hearts: Covenant - Inugami Village – Yasunori Mitsuda
19:57 Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time - The Great Clock - Clank’s Subconscious – Boris Salchow
24:09 Klonoa: Door to Phantomile - Difficult to Say – Eriko Imura
26:12 Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days - Musique pour la tristesse de Xion – Yoko Shimomura
30:08 Hotel Dusk: Room 215 - The Long Night – Satoshi Okubo
32:49 Knytt Underground - Vanishing – D Fast
36:24 Tsugunai: Atonement - Whilst I Sleep – Yasunori Mitsuda
39:13 Age of Wonders - Nature’s Embrace – Michiel van den Bos
42:41 Monster Tale - Summer Shores – Ian Stocker
45:55 Etrian Odyssey Untold - Labyrinth II - Primitive Jungle – Yuzo Koshiro
50:12 L.O.L.: Lack of Love - Dream – Ryuichi Sakamoto
52:42 ilomilo - Once Upon – Daniel Olsén
55:35 Undertale - Home – Toby Fox
59:00 Final Fantsay IX - Eidolon Wall – Nobuo Uematsu
1:01:31 Tower of Heaven - Eternal Sanctity – flashygoodness
1:04:34 Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer - Anya’s Dreamscape – Rik Schaffer
1:08:33 The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - A Cat Relaxing in the Sun – Falcom Sound Team jdk
1:12:01 Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors - Recollection – Shinji Hosoe
1:16:01 Dust: An Elysian Tail - Twin Souls – HyperDuck SoundWorks
1:21:20 Beyond Good & Evil - Thoughtful Reflections – Christophe Héral
1:24:24 Code of Princess - Sadness’ Decision – ACE
1:28:49 Lunar: Silver Star Harmony - Reverie in the Brilliant Light – Noriyuki Iwadare
1:31:21 The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Temple of Hylia – Hajime Wakai, Shiho Fujii, Mahito Yokota, Takeshi Hama
1:34:54 Grandia III - Terrarium – Noriyuki Iwadare
1:38:00 Professor Layton and the Last Specter - Misthallery ~ Night – Tomohito Nishiura
1:41:29 Harvest Moon: Animal Parade - Goddess Spring (Night) – Yasufumi Fukuda, Hideaki Miyamoto
1:45:31 E.V.O.: Search for Eden - Asteroid Belt – Koichi Sugiyama
1:48:29 Viva Piñata - Bedtime Story – Grant Kirkhope
1:51:06 Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - Strength in Sadness – Kumi Tanioka
1:54:25 Machinarium - By The Wall – Tomas Dvorak
1:59:26 Yume Nikki - Saving Theme – kikiyama
~~~~~~~~~~

Sleepy VGM Vol. 1 - https://youtu.be/fqLGDMXwyvM
Sleepy VGM Vol. 2 - https://youtu.be/vf7sQgQjubo
Sleepy VGM Vol. 3 - https://youtu.be/JG-OMq_mCAA

Relaxing VGM Vol. 1 - https://youtu.be/XC2bdmc8_04
Relaxing VGM Vol. 2 - https://youtu.be/tEqJDCoUbsI
Relaxing VGM Vol. 3 - https://youtu.be/00bDP5fik0Q
Relaxing VGM Vol. 4 - https://youtu.be/gTRzMcQgpsw

The Big Nintendo Crypost

Since the past couple days have been ‘whine about Nintendo’ days and the NX will probably be outed in a month or so and everyone will be starstruck by the shininess, I might as well get out in front and much like The Gaming Brit, get my own crystorm about the company out. And while I’m sure I’ll get 100 people with nintendo-related names and icons of incidental Nintendo characters yelling at me as some CoD playing dudebro regardless, I’ll still point out that I have bought every single Nintendo platform, usually at or close to launch. For most of my life I was one step below Bob “Empty My Nine On The Halo Line” Chipman in terms of Nintendo fanboyism.

And Nintendo, for the past.. whoof, six years? Has sucked.

Nintendo Pricing

Nintendo’s pricing is bullshit.

The HD Ports of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess were priced about twice as much as they should have been. Every other company under the sun established the pricing pattern for HD Remasters about halfway through last gen when all the PS2 remasters started hitting, but Nintendo seems to have this idea that overpricing their stuff boosts their 'brand’ or something. It doesn’t really matter that they made some gameplay changes to the titles, either - that isn’t uncommon for remasters or HD collections and they don’t charge full price for decade old games for it. Nintendo games are good, but so are a lot of other games, and they don’t deign to charge me forty to sixty dollars per HD port.

But this doesn’t just apply to those games. Nintendo games stay at or close to full price forever. Hell, it was only recently that Nintendo added a bunch of games that had been out two years or more to their 'Nintendo Selects’ brand, reducing them to an actually reasonable price. Nintendo games stay too high for way too long, which again seems to be a deliberate decision made for branding or PR purposes rather than the realities of demand.

Amiibo Is Stupid

Oh god, Amiibo is so stupid.

The idea is sound - Skylanders and Lego Dimensions and Disney Infinity are popular, and people like them. But in all three of those cases, the figures exist to support the game. The game that Nintendo doesn’t have, and doesn’t seem interested in having.

I keep waiting for Nintendo to announce the Amiibo game, that actually uses all these toys for one unified purpose, but I don’t think it’s actually coming. They seem content to hock these figures and never have any game use them more than for an occasional easter egg or bonus. Also, most of the purchasers seem to be adults (I mean, and scalpers, but let’s get there in a second.)

Without a game that seriously uses these figures and the constant pipeline of releases, including special and limited edition Amiibo, the entire product line comes off less like something Nintendo seriously wants to use, and more like a scheme devised to pump their adult fanbase for money. It feels like the equivalent of the floundering comic industry announcing more and more 'variant covers’ and the like, perpetually trying to squeeze more revenue out of a stagnant if not shrinking fanbase.

Forced Scarcity

This is more of a minor point, but Nintendo has this serious issue with Forced Scarcity. They always have, from back in the NES days when they were the only place for publishers to get carts, and routinely underfilled cart orders for… some.. reason. This continued with the DS Lite and Wii, when they deliberately kept them scarce, in the Wii’s case for YEARS, for again, some.. reason…

I guess the logic is that it keeps demand up, and produces the impression that your product is highly desirable which is  beneficial for public perfection, but in the modern era all it really does is empower scalpers. While it’s stupid for hardware, at least most stores will not allow a scalper to buy up an entire stock of consoles. They make no such restrictions on Amiibos, so Nintendo’s bullshit forced scarcity enabled scalpers to take advantage of people. The only mercy was that, in a stunning display of compassion (or, in reality, probably oversight or technical impossibility) amiibos are not region locked, which considering Nintendo is a company that has literally designed the faces of their portables slightly differently in each region to have REGION LOCKED FACE PLATES, is a real amazement.

Anyway that’s not the point - Forced Scarcity is stupid and only benefits scalpers and Nintendo is stupid for continuing to do it.

Region Locking

Region Locking is stupid and pointless. People import games that don’t get released in the US, and reverse importing isn’t a massive issue with games the way it is with Anime DVDs. Region Free hardware gives consumers more freedom and enables developers to make games available to markets they lack the money to release in, or face legal hurdles in, like the recent series of Gundam games having english subs despite being only released in Asia.

Stop it.

The Treehouse Sucks

Nintendo Treehouse is a bad localization division. I’m not gonna get more into it than that since people like to raise their hackles in conversations about the treehouse and I’ve talked about it more and this is about Nintendo as a whole.

The eShop Also Sucks

Oh my god, the eShop sucks so bad. It has a bad UI, it’s a pain to navigate, and Nintendo is still weird about their releases. Especially Virtual Console. Nintendo’s slow trickle of titles on the Virtual Console is dumb. I can only imagine they believe a slow trickle of titles will make people more likely to buy games that they otherwise wouldn’t; like if they release all the games at once, people will only buy the 10/10 games, but if they do it slowly, people might buy a lot more games than they would otherwise.

Also, why do eShop titles not just, y'know, instantly have crossbuy? If I buy a PS1 game on my PS3 digitally, I just get it on my Vita as well. A lot of actual games do that, too. Why are they separate products on Virtual Console? 

It sucks they aren’t on PS4 yet, but when they inevitably ARE, they’ll almost certainly be the PS3/Vita purchases.

Nintendo’s online Infrastructure is STILL half a decade or more behind, and that’s inexcusable.

Spark

Okay, this is a hard one, but ever since about halfway through the Wii’s lifespan, Nintendo’s soul has pretty much died. This is a very hard thing to explain, but I’m going to do my best to articulate it anyway, although I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me.

The best way to describe is that spark a game has when it feels like 'someone WANTED to make this.’

Nintendo games have lacked this spark more and more. In the best cases, it produces something that is technically sound and highly polished, like Super Mario 3D World, or Link Between Worlds, which are good games even if they feel very 'safe’. In the worst cases it produces things like Triforce Heroes and New Super Mario Brothers Iteration 46 which feel like a robot made them. All of Nintendo’s output has been very safe, with very little divergence from formula. And as they did that, they’ve sort of 'turtled up’ and refused to step out of their most comfortable comfort zone even a little bit. I’ve mentioned this on twitter, but we haven’t had a 2D Metroid since like, 2004.

Since 2011 or so, Metroidvania has become, essentially, the dominant 2D Platformer Genre, with dozens of entries. Valdis, Guacamelee, Strider, Cave Story, Shadow Complex, two going on three Shantae games, Dust, Ori and the Blind Forest, Momodora, Rabi-Ribi, Axiom Verge, Knytt, Odallus, hell, even old doujin games in the genre started getting STEAM RELEASES, like Bunny Must Die.

And nothing. Nintendo let a resurgence in a genre named after ONE OF THEIR FRANCHISES happen, and didn’t make a single game. While they slowly make every franchise they have a 2D Platformer. (Please be excited for the Pikmin 2D Platformer.) Hell, no Wario games either, which was their 'soft’ Metroidvania series with lighter versions of those elements. They let an entire trend pass them by solely because the franchises that could take advantage of it weren’t one of their handful of mega franchises.

Nintendo used to be the company that consistently made wholly unique games, even within their own franchises. And they funded a hell of a lot of second party games that were totally unique, too. Now it feels like all those 2008-era /v/ shitposts about 'rehashes’ are true as they release samey game after samey game, slowly declining in quality as we get further in the lifespans of the 3DS and WiiU. And I’m sure we’ll see a bump in quality when the NX lands, but the question is if Nintendo can keep that going. They’ve kind of been on a downslide for a while now, with these brief spikes of improvement, but it’s still a noticeable downslide. Hell, the only games in the entire WiiU library that I’d call 'classic Nintendo’ are Splatoon and Wonderful 101.

Paper Mario went from TTYD and Super Paper Mario to Sticker Star and Color Splash.

3D Mario went from Sunshine and Galaxy to 3D World and NSMB.

Xenoblade lead to Xenoblade Chronicles X, which feels very rehashy of Xenoblade and lacks a ton of the charm.

Smash 4 feels more generic than either of the previous entries (hell, it doesn’t even have a subtitle, why?)

Are these games bad? No. Most of them are at least 'okay’ (not sticker star). Some are great (Smash 4, 3D World). But I’m pointing out that there’s a very clear and visible homogenization of Nintendo properties, and considering how fervant Nintendo’s fanbase is and how much consumer loyalty they (inexplicably still) possess, it’s disheartening that they’re playing it so safe when they really don’t have to.

I’m not saying re-invent the wheel, but they could definitely step outside the box more than they’ve been lately, with absolutely zero risk.

I want Nintendo to be good. I want them to go back to making tons of amazing games that I’ll happily fill my ‘’Best Games Of The Year” list with over and over. But they aren’t that company right now, and I don’t think I should pretend they are just cause they USED to be good.

it’s very weird to think about how far indie games have come. like as recently as 2009 it used to be that only a small handful of big indie games would come out every year. you had stuff like cave story, spelunky, braid, la mulana, super meat boy, vvvvvv. almost exclusively platformers, with the occasional oddity like world of goo and shit on steam like audiosurf. and those were THE indie games. those were the ones that people talked about. there were so few that there are a lot of forgotten indie games that, five or six years ago, were a relatively big deal. games like knytt or and yet it moves. nobody talks about and yet it moves anymore. the scene has expanded so much that formerly relevant games just can’t compete with the sheer number of good indie games released these days. you look at services like steam and psn and there are sooooooooo many indie games out there, and so many of them are wildly successful. minecraft is one of the most successful and influential games released in the last decade and it’s indie as hell. that game is written in java for fuck’s sake. indie games get shown off at e3 press conferences. like half of the games i buy these days are indie games and i’m not even TRYING to avoid other games, there are just so many amazing games being released by small studios every month now. i love it