Justice Playthrough #167: Heart and Lightning

There are some interesting ideas here, but for real, was this actually playtested?

I do not think this was playtested.

Page 27, Game 25: Heart and Lightning by Swords and Flowers (Note: Dead link. I guess the author took this down?)

I mean, I’m sure it was played; I’m sure the author sat down at a table with his friends and played this, and everybody had a lovely time. But did the author hand-off this ruleset to somebody who played it blind with no prior exposure to the game? I’m thinking “No.”

Anyway. You and your fellow players are all Daughters of Lightning, children of a deity of the tempest, like Thor, or the Stormfather! (The author indicates that the mythos here is heavily based on Leigong, God of Thunder from Chinese folklore, which is pretty cool. A lot of the in-text references are to Thor, but I assume that’s because the big Norse bastard is having his day in the sun right now. Let’s face it, Ragnarok was fukkin’ AWESOME.)

So, you’re basically goddesses. Also, you’re teenagers. Rebellious teenagers, who just got chucked out of your home. Why? Who knows. Maybe you were playing your god-music too loud, maybe you were getting a little too familiar with those hotties pounding mead in Valhalla, maybe you formed a nahel bond with a brave mortal sadboy. That’s on you to figure out.

Regardless, you’re out in the world now, looking to have some fun aid raise some hell.

With ya so far, game.

There’s a bit of a disconnect between the stated theme and the game’s mechanics, though. The fluff text claims you’ve been stripped of your powers, but the mechanics of the game make it clear you’re pretty fukkin’ badass. You’re basically unkillable. Not, like, Deadpool unkillable, but still, death is really just an inconvenience. I’m totally on board with it, but it does muddy what tone I feel like the game is trying to establish. Are you a homeless, lost soul trying to make your way in a confusing world? Or are you an unstoppable god here to party amongst mortals who can barely contain your awesomeness? I’m seeing both, so I guess it very much depends on where you and the rest of your table land.

The core resolution mechanic has heavy Apocalypse World vibes, but it’s not listed among the game’s influences, so I guess it’s at least a generation removed from that. Basically, you roll 2d6 and add some stuff, and see if you got a fail, a partial success, or a total success.

All well and good. Except I lied; you only roll 2d6 if you’re a punk. There are plenty of ways to coax one or more additional d6’s into that roll, the easiest of which is simply having a friend help you.

This is why I’m deeply skeptical that this game has seen a single round of playtesting.

The 2d6 mechanic works very well, but only when it’s tight. In Apocalypse World, you’re adding a +3 at your most bad-ass. You need 7 for a partial success, 10 for an unambiguous one; failure is always a possibility, and a big success is never guaranteed. It adds a lot of tension to every die roll, particularly when circumstances force you out of your optimized roll.

I have not actually played this game. But just reading the rules, I would expect adding more d6’s to blow that balance completely to hell.

Hitting 7+ on 2d6+1 is likely, but hardly a guarantee. Hitting it on 4d6+1 is piss-easy. Failure is still technically possible, but would be shocking.

So, you’re playing teenagers, but all but the most hair-brained of actions are virtually guaranteed at least some degree of success, with “Totally Crushed It” actually your most likely outcome most of the time. I feel like the author and I had very different experiences with being a teenager.

The only way I can make sense of these rules is to say that no matter how many dice you roll, you still only take the two best. It still feels overpowered, but that at least seems more manageable to me. Unfortunately, I see no indication that’s how the rules are written. Best I can figure, when the author says to add additional dice to the roll, that’s what the author means.

It makes me feel like the right way to approach this ruleset is not as a completed product, but as something in an intermediate stage where you’re going to have to hammer-out the details of the rules as you go. Honestly, I don’t like that. It leaves a funky taste in my mouth.

Maybe the author agrees, and that’s why he took it down.

If playing a rebellious teenage goddess sounds fun, I’m sure you can find copies of the rules if you Google around a bit. Just be warned, running a game of Heart and Lightning means you’re basically consenting to co-design it. Or accepting that your players will be able to do whatever they goddamn well want at all times with only a minimal amount of rules manipulation.

Will this next game have mechanics for my daddy issues?

Page 54, Game 9: INDECT by WorstConcept Games

“‘For the Insecurity of Citizens’ | a WIP dystopian cyberpunk platformer”

Ah, more Big Brother issues. I’m down.

Justice Playthrough #166: mMcFabs’s Texture to SkyBox Converter

A simple tool for solving a problem I don’t have. But maybe you do.

Page 56, Game 23: mMcFabs’s Texture to SkyBox Converter by mMcFab

At least I know what a “skybox” is. It’s the distant background in a 3D video game, the far-away stuff that you will never be expected to (and cannot) interact with. Apparently, turning a texture into a skybox is A Thing, and this particular dev uploaded a tool they whipped-up for handling it.

Be warned, it’s a very simple tool. To toy with it, I selected one of the screenshots I’d harvested for the previous game:

This is about to become your world

The tool has two modes: import a PNG, export a PNG. So, I imported the PNG, which showed me a camera rotating around a world that had been transformed into a low-fi puzzle platformer:

Imagine this, but spinnier

There’s no way to take control of the camera, or look up or down. Just twirl around. Ironically, the skybox creator doesn’t let you look at the sky.

The export feature created this:


Is this … good? Bad? Fuck if I know. The tool advertises itself as being for converting textures into a box, so me feeding it a screenshot may have been kinda dickish.

But like I said, I’m not the target audience for this tool. I’ve never boxed a sky in my life. It’s clearly a bare-bones tool, but who knows, maybe it’s one you’ll find useful.

Will this next one help me create stuff one might want to put under a sky?

Page 27, Game 25: Heart and Lightning by Swords and Flowers

“Teen Gods Sword & Sworcery RPG about rebellion, and the troubles they get into.”

No, sounds more like some gods looking down from that sky. “Teen Gods” — is that gods as teenagers, or is that like a pantheon full of The Goddess of Dubious Vampire Fiction and stuff? Let’s find out!

Justice Playthrough #165: stop

I swear, sometimes you can just FEEL the good game trying to claw its way out from inside an iffy one.

Page 51, Game 13: stop by daichifob

(Note: This is an in-browser game, so if you wanna give it a try, all you have to do is click the link.)

This is a puzzle platformer of the “brutal precision” variety, where you are a square who would like to hop your little geometric ass through a lethal obstacle field and over to the circle. What’s the circle? Drugs, maybe. Or maybe it’s the latest Brandon Sanderson novel. There’s an excellent chance he wrote one since you started reading this, you know.

I MUST see what Shallan has gotten up to this time….

There are plenty of things trying to kill you here, but luckily, you have to power to stop time! Sometimes this helps, sometimes it doesn’t. For instance, in the level below, you can hop on a button that will cause three blocks to drop from the ceiling. Freeze them in place, then hop over to that other platform. Unfreeze time, push the button on your balcony, freeze the blocks when they’re higher in the air, and jump across them to your precious reward.

Is Maya coming back to life? I must know!

Also, don’t touch the little spiky boys at the bottom, as you’ll totally fuckin’ die.

This is one of those games where you die a LOT. Like I said, brutal precision platformer; it’s kind of a staple of the genre that you’re perpetually one split-second oopsie away from pixelsplatter.

I came into this trawl thinking that this just Isn’t My Genre, but I’ve found that skillfully executed examples (like Tamashii) can appeal to me just the same. Stop, however, was more a source of frustration than enjoyment. What’s the difference?

For one, the difficulty “curve” to this one is more like a buzzsaw blade. Some levels are easy, others are brutal, and it flips back and forth like crazy between the two. Take this little bastard:


This is level 27 (out of 30). Pushing that button will drop a block, which will block the killer laser beam as it shoots left to right. (You, the stuff you can interact with, and everything that can kill you are all read. I appreciate minimalism, but that might be leaning in a bit much.) You want to freeze time, and get your square butt down below to the trampolines and the button. The trampolines, unfortunately, do not execute when time is stopped. So, you push the button to deploy a Companion Cube (really — nice touch, game), and toss it over on the left trampoline. Then, you must time your jump on the right trampoline such that you pass the laser just as your companion cube blocks it, and get to your precious Stormlight Archive sequel.

Why is this level ass? Oh, let me count the ways.

  • That jump is EXACTING, and is at the absolute limit of your vertical jumping abilities. You have to absofuckinglutely NAIL the timing on that trampoline, or you come up just short. Even without the laser there to kill you, this would take a few tries to execute — and with that laser present, you have no way to practice.
  • Putting the button between the two trampolines was an absolute dick move by the dev. See, only one companion cube can exist at a time, and pushing the button again will explode any you’ve already created. New cubes drop over onto that right trampoline; you have to catch the cube, then get it over to the left trampoline WITHOUT touching the button. This isn’t a challenge, this is a nuisance.
  • You have to be PERFECTLY synchronized with the bouncing companion cube. Otherwise, you get zapped.

This is an awful level. It puts me in a position where I can SEE the solution, but I can’t EXECUTE the solution. Why lard it up with needless difficulty like this? Why not give me a little margin for error on that vertical jump? Nailing the timing on laser-block is hard enough as it is. Why stick the cube-shattering button between the two trampolines? Avoiding it isn’t fun, it’s just annoying.

That’s where the game lets me down; it’s often hard for no good reason, it’s too frequently demanding past the point of being “challenging” and just becomes “fussy.” To my way of thinking, the game would flow better and be vastly more satisfying if it weren’t so eager to kill you for the slightest transgression.

But having said that, I DID make it all the way to level 27 out of 30 before it finally lost me. There’s a lot to like here. It’s a bit TOO minimalist for my liking, I feel like the dev should have set aside a designated Shit That Will Kill You color, but I do like the chill visual aesthetic. Riding bullets was honestly pretty cool. When I settled into a groove, when I felt like I was trying to use the tools at my disposal and not struggling to nail microsecond timing, I did indeed feel like a very clever boy when I made my way through to the end of the game.

The page indicates this came out of a game jam, and I can see that. It feels raw. It feels like it wants some more refinement. With another coat or two of polish, this could be something really special.

As it is, it’s fine. Maybe more than fine if you dig puzzle platformers more than I do. But for something that got cranked out in a jam, it’s honestly pretty cool. It winds up being one of those games I appreciate more than I actually enjoy, and I respect that.

Will this next game present me with murderwalls that cause me to explode on contact?

Page 56, Game 23: mMcFabs’s Texture to SkyBox Converter by mMcFab

“Convert flat horizontal tiling textures to convincing skyboxes with relative ease!”

Sounds like if I want entire landscapes filled with murder, this tool will help me get there.

Justice Playthrough #164: The Colors of Magic

I think I’m just not a storytelling-RPG kinda guy.

Page 59, Game 1: The Colors of Magic by Jon Lemich

As always, the disclaimer, because on the off chance the person reading this is not my wife, there’s almost no way they’re reading these entries in chronological order: I don’t actually play most of the tabletop entries in this list because I have neither the time nor the ambition. I could claim “Covid!”, but that’d be a big damn lie. For tabletop role-playing games like this, I read the ruleset until I start getting bored, skim until the end, and then write-up a review based on how much I’d be interested in playing it.

Is it fair? Probably not. But it seems more fair than just skipping them entirely.

Does Colors of Magic make me interested in playing it? Not really. Even though everything about it stacks the deck in its own favor. It’s aiming to capture the feel of high-end non-kiddy fantasy cartoons, to which I can only say, hells yes! Steven Universe! Last Airbender! The Dragon Prince! I’m all over that shit!

And the primary mechanic involves eating candy! Like, providing actual physical candy at the table and eating it! I have the dietary preferences of a twelve-year-old child! I have candy on my desk right now! I’m going to eat some candy!

Oh, bananas. Truly you are the best Runts.

You play with precisely four players — I don’t know why the game is so adamant about this, but it sure the fuck is. (It’s not the primary reason I’m not feeling it, but the author seems to have a VERY specific vision of how this game should be played, and the rules have a tendency to come off surprisingly heavy-handed and arbitrary.) Under the guidance of the “gamerunner,” exactly three people shall create protagonists, in the form of wizards who all know each other and are more or less friends. You define your beliefs, your spells, and the important people in your life with a character creation process that’s very loosey-goosey about HOW you define this stuff but oddly very specific about just WHAT you’re defining. Once everybody has their characters, off you go!

There are no dice or game stats or anything. The GM takes a moment to think up a general plotline (possibly using a literal Mad Libs worksheet provided by the game which uses all the information you just defined, which I actually kind of love), and away you go.

When the game starts, the GM will lay out some multi-colored candy. There need to be pieces of five colors; the six Big Boys, minus blue. In other words, Skittles. (Or, if you’re going for color-blind accessibility, Runts.) When conflict arises, as it inevitably shall, you resolve it by eating a Skittle. The color of the Skittle determines how successful you are; purple means it was a catastrophic failure clusterfuck, green means it was a total success, everything else is somewhere in between.

Note that you do not choose your Skittle out of a bag — you just choose the color. (I mean, technically, you don’t even have to eat it, to which I say fuck you you sucrose-shaming bastard.) The game is quite adamant about this: every time a conflict arises, you choose whether or not you succeed or fail, and to what degree.

Obviously, this requires you to be in a completely different headspace than, say, D&D or Apocalypse World. The goal is very explicitly not to succeed; success is as easy as pounding green-apple Skittles until you’re sick of them. (Hell, the game actually advises you to just fake it if you run out of a given color; there’s not supposed to be a resource management aspect of any kind present.) The goal here is to tell an interesting story.

Which I’m on board with, as far as it goes. But what has me giving this particular game the side-eye is how you and your friends have COMPLETE control over how the story unfolds. There are even non-candy mechanisms for undoing things if the story winds up going in a direction somebody doesn’t care for.

At that point, is it even still a game?

The games that hook me, the games that really pull me along, are the games that make me want to see what happens next. In this game, that’s going to be whatever we all AGREE happens next. That doesn’t feel like a game to me, that’s just a group storytelling exercise, one where everybody involved has veto power.

Everything about this game feels safe. Meticulously safe. Exhaustively, emphatically safe. I appreciate that modern RPG designers are trying to make their games more inclusive by empowering players to nerf or avoid topics they find personally upsetting, but Colors of Magic takes it a step further and cultivates an environment where you only subject yourself to even the mildest of upsets by explicit consent.

And I’m not interested in that. I don’t want absolute control over my environment. I want to be pushed. I want to subject myself to the unexpected. I want a game that’s capable of disappointing me, of taking my careful plans and pissing all over them.

I want to be able to fail.

What’s going to happen next in this game? Whatever me and the (EXACTLY) three other players at the table say happens next.

Unless the other three players are just dynamite storytellers, I find it hard to imagine I’m going to get terribly invested.

The game is shooting for mid-teens cartoons, but it’s so emphatic about bubble-wrapping its players that it reads as way, way younger than that to me. This seems more appropriate for full-on kiddie fare, where the important thing is to keep the little fuckers placated and not screaming at Mom for a half hour at a time. Keep things shiny, but don’t do anything that might upset them.

For the cartoons its emulating, the game needs the capacity to be unpredictable, to surprise, to upset. Reveal to me that my sainted mother was actually the villain all along. Wreck my carefully planned eclipse assault, defeat my allies and scatter them to the winds. Get me invested in the story, and then when it blows the fuck up, force me to roll with it.

If I want absolute control, I’ll just write. If I’m playing a game, I want something else.

If somebody I trust were to tell me “Dude, you are SO wrong, this game is fucking AWESOME!”, then sure, I’d be willing to give it a try. If nothing else, I’ll get some Skittles out of the deal. But this just doesn’t look appealing to me at all.

Will this next game tease me with a title that’s one letter off of a Terry Pratchett novel and then give me absolutely nothing resembling Discworld?

Page 51, Game 13: stop by daichifob

“stop time to solve puzzles”

Honestly, “Stop” could totally be a Pratchett novel, but it isn’t. And I’ve found some puzzle games here that I’ve really enjoyed. Could be a keeper.

Justice Playthrough IOU: Learn Japanese To Survive: Kanji Combat OST

I said I’d come back to it.

Page 51, Game 1: Learn Japanese To Survive: Kanji Combat OST by Slaleky

Definitely sounds like a JRPG soundtrack to me. I don’t play a ton of JRPGs, so I can’t say much more than that. Is it a GOOD example of such things? A notably derivative example? Is it just Final Fantasy 32: The Chocobo Riots but with the serial numbers defaced? No idea.

I will say that this is almost certainly just the game’s music resources dumped into playable form. These tracks are all meant to be on loops, presumably playing indefinitely as you get up to whatever educational shenanigans the game has in store for you next. As far as I can tell, there’s no effort whatsoever to try and smooth-out the beginnings and endings so they sound more like actual discrete songs. The beginnings all sound all right, but the songs don’t “end” so much as “stop.” Seriously, every time a track ends, it sounds like somebody fast-forwarded to the next one halfway through.

Aside from that, it seems like a perfectly cromulent video game soundtrack. Though I have to imagine that if you’re going for a Final Fantasy-esque groove, you’d probably just toss on an actual Final Fantasy soundtrack. Those exist, too.


Justice Playthrough #163: Space Mayhem

A good zoomie shootie explodie pew pew space game that wants to be great. Doesn’t quite make it. But is still pretty damn good.

Page 20, Game 30: Space Mayhem by Chronic Vagrant

You have a spaceship. Your spaceship has a pew pew shootie laser. You know what to do.


Of course, you don’t just zoom around smashing rocks for long. Other ships start showing up. At first, they’re no big deal, just a bunch of pokey little dudes that will try to ram you. But there are more. Then more. Then more.

All right you off-brand Sinistar bitches, lets do this

To help aid your battle, power-ups will regularly drift by for you to go pick up. These are divided into two categories: lasers, and things that wish they were as awesome as lasers. Seriously, having a laser is like strapping a light sabre to the nose of your ship. It’s fucking awesome.

I spin my ship and you DIE

This game is fun. It’s easy to get hung up on little things it does poorly or on opportunities it missed, because there are honestly a lot of those — and because I’m me, I’m about to go into those in more detail. But this is also one of those games where getting screenshots past the first few seconds was difficult because I didn’t want to stop what I was doing and compromise the run to get the damn screenshot. This definitely goes into the “Glad I Found It” bucket.

But it could have definitely been more.

The game defines a very tight battlespace; you have the dimensions of your screen and not a pixel further. Slam into the edge of the screen, loose health as though you’d been shot. This was a bad decision; this game is all about getting into an adrenalized murderous flow, about capturing the Thrill. Having to pull back from a killshot because you don’t want to run afoul of the borders impairs that flow. Why not make the screen wrap, like Asteroids? If you must have barriers, why not make them bouncy, like Omega Race?

The power-ups could benefit from some balancing and differentiation. The laser is, indeed, awesome, and I got a little battle boner every time I saw one floating across my screen. There’s also a flamethrower which works more or less the same way — you spray a short-range field of concentrated destruction, for which you’ll want to spin your ship and clip as many things as you can manage. Except, while the laser just blows shit up, the flamethrower only bestows a single hit, and if that’s not enough, catches the ship on fire so that it may take a bit of damage over time. It looks baller, but in terms of gameplay, the flamethrower is just the laser, but shittier.

Why does my gun overheat if I shoot it too many times in a row? This is another design choice that goes against the go-out-there-and-fuck-shit-up vibe of the game. If any game should be rewarding me for getting in there and blazing away, it’s this one. There are a couple of power-ups that are basically “My regular gun but it doesn’t overheat,” and those are the least exciting to get, because … it’s just my regular gun, but without the overheating. Meh.

Why does everything — everything — damage me in precise 25-point chunks? If my health is 100, I can take four hits. Wouldn’t it make more sense for my health to be “4” instead?

Why isn’t there more differentiation among the ships? Some enemies will drop coins, which give you cash you can use to unlock other available ships. I unlocked two ships, and honestly, they were pretty much the same game experience as the starter ship. One of them went faster, but that’s honestly a mixed blessing in this game, particularly as I have to spend a lot of my time not splattering myself on the borders. I would have liked a different main weapon, maybe. Or something that gets more mileage out of my power-ups. Or … just something that made me feel like the game was DIFFERENT now that I had this shiny new toy to play with.

Like I said, it’s easy to get lost in the “Minor error” weeds. None of these missteps wreck the game, but cumulatively, they do keep it from being as exciting as it could be.

The best comp I’ve encountered in this trawl is Cycle 28, which I loved. That game had a sense of escalation, stakes, and freestyle pixelship badassery that I feel like Space Mayhem is gunning for but doesn’t quite achieve. It feels restricted. I want Space Mayhem to be let off its chain and run ripshit rampage through the neighborhood.

But even so. It’s fun. It looks great, it sounds good, it’s just plain fun to play. If you’re a fan of arcade-style spaceship shoot-em-ups, I can definitely recommend playing it. I’m really glad this one crossed my path.

Is this next game going to have me rushing towards clusters of enemies so I can blow-up my awesome “Roundhouse” bomb right in their stupid enemy faces?

Page 59, Game 1: The Colors of Magic by Jon Lemich

“The Colors of Magic is a light, collaborative, story-focused, fantasy tabletop RPG about a group of wizard friends.”

Sounds like it will have a minimum of face-blasting. Which is totally fine.

Oh, and hey, it’s the last one! Not, you know, the last one I’m gonna do. (I don’t think? I’m not slamming out as many of these as I used to.) Just the very last game in the bundle. Nifty. Let’s see if it’s as good as the first one was.

Justice Playthrough #162: falling is not the same thing as dying

Maaaan, capitalism really does ruin everything, doesn’t it.

Page 40, Game 10: falling is not the same thing as dying by Sisi

This is less of a game, more of a bit of minimally interactive fiction. There’s not much to it, but what’s here feels heartfelt. It’s an autobiographical piece about a Chinese-American lesbian girl ruminating on her identity and high school and how much high school sucks, all while not playing tennis.

As that, it’s quite good. It’s wildly unsuited for the anime soundtrack I have playing in the background — looks like the answer to THAT question was actually a big ol’ “NOPE!” — but it’s nevertheless a moving little look into someone else’s reality.

Given how slight yet deeply personal it is, I initially assumed this would be one of those games you can play right from the page I linked to.

The author is currently asking $5.00 for it.

Which is just so … weird, and actually mildly off-putting to me. Part of me thinks that’s pretty shitty of me; can you really put a price on personal expression? But the thing is, you absolutely goddamn well can put a price on personal expression. We do it all the time. And I know $5 doesn’t buy as much fiction as it used to, but it can definitely get me more than a few hundred words.

If the author were making this freely available, I’d absolutely recommend it as being worth a few minutes of your time.

But if I’d actually paid $5, I’d be feeling pretty punked.

Make of that what you will.

Will this next game make me indulge in the offensive practice of putting a price tag on art?

Page 20, Game 30: Space Mayhem by Chronic Vagrant

Yeah, now THAT sounds like the kinda of thing a basic bitch like me can really get behind.

Justice Playthrough #161: Learn Japanese To Survive: Kanji Combat OST

OOOOOOHHHH it’s a soundtrack.

Page 51, Game 1: Learn Japanese To Survive: Kanji Combat OST by Slaleky

I mean, it says so, right fucking there: “OST.” Original Sound Track. Reading comprehension is totally a thing you guys.

So, no learning for me. Just some anime inspired music.

Rather a lot of it, actually. Three whole disks’ worth. Dayam. That’s a hell of a lot of music that sounds like the Final Fantasy games I never quite got around to playing.

Right, this one’s gonna be an IOU. I wanna play a thing tonight and not just listen to music. Though what the hell, depending on what gets rolled-up next, maybe I can do them concurrently.

All right, is this next one gonna be suitable for a soundtrack that makes me think of androgynous teenagers swinging overcompensation swords the size of a phone booth?

Page 40, Game 10: falling is not the same thing as dying by Sisi

“cute high school game about jv girls tennis”

I don’t KNOW that this is an anime game, but the answer might just be a big damn “Yes.”

Justice Playthrough #160: Chimpology

Quite possibly the purist piss-take I’ve yet encountered in the trawl. I can’t quite decide if I admire it or despise it.

I think I’m settling on … like, 20% admire, 80% despise. This game is ass, but there’s something about the shamelessness of its ass-ness that kinda forces me to respect it a bit. It’s like a no-budget video game version of Adam Sandler when he’s in 100% “I’m just suckering the studio into paying for a vacation for me and some buddies” mode. It’s so brazenly apathetic to both my time and to the very concept of “effort” that it makes me want to slow-clap while telling it to lick my taint.

Page 43, Game 6: Chimpology by themorfeus

You are one of the many, many chimpanzees powering the Internet in the 90’s. You will manually send out the zeros and ones that create the pictures people were sending willy-nilly to each other back in the day. Type pixels, get bananas!

Press either “0” (the “z” key) or “1” (better known as “m”) when the game tells you to. As you do, the picture you’re transmitting will reveal itself. Fuck up once, and your multiplier meter crashes. Fuck up again before your multiplier meter has turned over, and it’s a parity error, game over.

That’s it. That’s the game.

There’s a lot of stuff you COULD do with this game. For instance, instead of randomly cycling through a small set of pictures, you could instead use them to tell a story of some sort. You could start introducing more mechanics to screw with the player and keep them on their toes. You could use the silly, tedious gameplay as a starting point for a slow descent into madness a la Frog Fractions.

But, naw. Type ones and zeros, get bananas.

There’s two-player mode. There’s multiplayer. There’s a trailer on YouTube. THIS GAME IS AVAILABLE ON STEAM, where it’s getting good reviews and may be purchased for $1.99.

I’m honestly in awe at the truly extravagant lack of fucks on display here.

To finish off the absurdity, the download for this game — which, I remind you, is satirizing the Internet’s low-speed early days — is ONE HUNDRED AND TEN MEGABYTES. For the zip file, I mean. It expands into a svelte 209 MB. Most of this is taken up by what appears to be a complete copy of version 1.8 of the Java Runtime Environment.

Almost a third of a gig of my hard drive is now devoted to this fucking game.






Lick my taint.

Will this next game make me break this streak of reviewing stuff like a colossal douchebag?

Page 51, Game 1: Learn Japanese To Survive: Kanji Combat OST by Slaleky

“The Kanji Combat Official OST!”

Oh thank fucking god. There’s only so assholish I can be to a game that’s actually trying to teach me a thing.

Justice Playthrough #159: CARBAGE

Fuck. Multi-player with no AI.

Page 19, Game 20: CARBAGE by HelloThereGames

This game looks great. It’s a goofy and cartoony game of driving cars — competitively! I looks like it could be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the dev punted completely on the AI, so I can’t even piddle around with an easily defeated opponent just so I can get some sense of what the gameplay is like.

Early in the trawl I was forgiving of stuff like that, but I’ve grown steadily less sympathetic as time goes on. Bottom line, I’ve seen too many “multi-player only” games that actually had perfectly serviceable AIs. If you’re adamant that the best version of the game you’re creating involves multiple human players and that no AI could possibly capture the intricacies of having another living person playing your game … first off, you’re wrong, you’re just being lazy. But, fuck it, time is finite, and I have to assume it’s not easy to create an AI that provides a challenge without kicking the living shit out of your players. Lazy is defensible.

What I’m less willing to defend is having absolutely NOTHING for a single-player. Not even an arena where I can tool around and get some sort of feel for the game and see if this is something I’d even WANT to rope my friends into? That’s just shitty.

Instead, I’m left with controlling one car sincerely with my X-Box controller and using the keyboard to move the other one just enough to get some notion of what this game is like.

Doing this with Carbage does not leave me filled with optimism.

The first sign of trouble comes from the character selection.

That bear with the hay in his mouth and the derpy expression might be a bit problematic, actually

The four doofy goofballs you can get to play are on a turntable in the center. Drive you generic monster truck up on it into one of them, and that’s who you are.

Did you drive into the wrong one? Did you want to be Mohawk Guy and not Fuckwit Bear With A Pick-Up Truck? Suck it up and play your classist stereotype, pal.

Did you need to drive your truck around a bit while figuring out the controls, and are thus hitting the turntable from a sub-optimal angle? Ooh. That was stupid. Are you sure you can drive well enough to play this game?

Then, the game begins.

Where are the graphics?

That’s what it looks like. For real, the character selection screen is WAY more visually interesting than the gameplay, which looks like placeholder graphics. Wait is that what’s happening? Am I shitting on an alpha release?

Looking, and … nope. Not seeing anything on the game’s page stating that this is just an early release version. This is apparently just what it is.

Anyway. When you drive, those blocks will vanish. You want to be the last car to fall through a hole in the arena and perish in the uncaring void. Which means that if you don’t get your ass driving rightdafuckNOW, you will lose. I couldn’t fiddle around with this much, because the other stationary car would just promptly die on me.

That sounds like an infuriating experience, particularly if the other players involved are already comfortable with this game’s mechanics. Maybe you should just dink around in single player a bit until you get used to OH WAIT.

I acknowledge that it’s inherently unfair for me to slag a multi-player game without having actually played it. But I can ask the question: Is there anything about this game that makes me WISH I had another controller so my wife and I could give it a try together?

The answer here is a simple and clear “Nope.”

Will this next game likewise send me on a high horse about how classist stereotypes are gross and that punching down at poor people is still punching down?

Page 43, Game 6: Chimpology by themorfeus

“Internet was slow, because monkeys.”

I’m just gonna assume these are gonna be wacky silly trouble-causing monkeys and refrain from deploying my liberal outrage unless I’m quite certain I need it.