Wednesday, June 7, 2017

PM reply turned into blogpost

I was talking to someone in PM, they told me that they completed StB and DS in half a day and proceeded to ask me if I think DS is the apex of the genre. I wrote a pretty lengthy reply and since it read more like a blogpost I decided to put that reply here for anyone interested. Just contains some thoughts on my favorite games I guess!

"It's stupidly fast. The norm is to take 5-10 times as long at least, and it's not unusual that people get stuck on some scenes for hours. Like my first DS playthrough, I could beat most scenes right away or almost right away, but I encountered a few that I'd get stuck on for half an hour maybe. And in StB since I was more of a beginner back then (Just had easy 1ccs in the bag) I encountered many scenes that took hours to crack. A flawless speedrun through Shoot the Bullet is around 50 minutes, and in Double Spoiler around an hour. (Not sure of the specifics since I don't speedrun them). But the games are designed to be incredibly rough the first time around and yeah it's normal to have a lot of trouble adjusting to the game play and figuring out or just surviving the scenes. So many people hit a wall as early as level 5 in StB. Honestly, you must be incredibly skilled and I hope to see your gameplay in action sometime if you ever decide to (have decided to?) play some shmup more seriously!

Of course, I could see how watching others would speed things up. I mean, you have scenes like 10-4 in StB which noone could be expected to beat through skill alone, you'd have to either know how to do it or spend a while figuring it out. I think it's normal to take hours to beat this scene because people can't really crack the strategies. So if you already saw someone else do it for example then that would speed up the playthrough, and this goes more or less for a lot of stuff.

I mean, I don't know about using the word apex, especially not since it's so damn different from normal. But DS and GFW are the games that have fascinated me the most. The problem with DS is that a lot of the scenes are kinda shitty. I just gloss over that because there's so damn many of them so you don't have to play scenes you don't like if you don't want to. Another hurdle to get past is that the game is incredibly unfair. I never midned unfairness itself though, I just wanna enjoy myself and feel engaged. If something is unfair in a fun way then I don't care.

For the pure fun factor, sometimes I gravitate towards the Phantasmagoria games, but PoFV, intense as it is, is too monotonous and simple to be compared with DS and GFW, which are deep and varied. and I've never played a multiplayer match in PoDD which means I'm rating it entirely as a single player game... not to mention comparing multiplayer with single player is always iffy.

I don't think there is an apex because there aren't any clear rules about what makes a game personally appealing. Like you can tell with the games I view as favorites that they're quite RNG heavy and really difficult and scoring oriented usually (Dragon Blaze being an exception in the RNG area, though. that game is pretty static. Then again, I haven't put as much time into Dragon Blaze yet, so I don't feel as strongly in my opinion in that one) On the other hand, many other veterans loathe this kind of RNG and prefer to be able to do what they've practiced more reliably. There is also the issue of how much we value game feel versus mechanics and stage and pattern design. Would I give Batrider a 4.5 if I wasn't totally in love with the style of the game? Definitely not. The style is so appealing to me so the feedback you feel from just playing is all there which makes it a great game to play casually. There are games that I can see as being genius and classics but that I don't personally get turned on by, like DOJ. I learned some chaining routes and gave it an honest chance but, althought he game is undeniable amazing, It's just not a game that personally excites and fascinates me to this extent that it's at my top. Like I find the game kinda dreary and ugly looking, I'm not sold on DDP-style chaining, Hibachi is a really stupid boss to have at the end...

For conventional shmups, Perfect Cherry Blossom or Guwange would be the apex for me. You could say that they both floor me but I think both aren't quite perfect. Both have a lot of milking that turns off some people and I think that milking being quite mindless (and ruins your hand) in Guwange aside from on the Catspider is its biggest flaw. Other than this the game is pretty much perfect with an ideal scoring mechanic with its gauge management and deep cancelling structure. Perfect Cherry Blossom has one of the most ridiculous and awesome scoring systems ever with an enormous skill ceiling. I think it has the perfect scoring system and an amazing relationship between its mechanics and design. For the most part they are flawlessly linked so you can be doing something cool and difficult in almost every part of the game. a common discussion about fans is about how much of an accident this game may have been for ZUN. Some people insist that ZUN doesn't put that much thought into his games (with his newest games I can believe that he doesn't) but I think there's no way that PCB is much of an accident. Now, if PCB does have a flaw, I think I can point out some. The first two stages can feel a bit slow other than some key techniques available being absolutely bonkers, and I was never that keen on the Extra or Phantasm stages. Lots of pointless nonspells in these. As well, PCB is a pure score-em-up, this isn't a flaw per se, but it isn't a very interesting game to just dodge bullets in IMO. The bullets are mostly really slow, which works fine with its scoring, but for fun of dodging I like faster bullets.

For me, GFW and maybe DS are my favorites, but I would never say that they're objectively the best or anything. GFW is just such an odd game that gets easily misunderstood by newcomers. For example, a common complaint about it that I hear from people that didn't really play it (much) is that using ice to bypass patterns is cheesy and that such mechanics hinders dodging. The truth is that GFW is a very dodging heavy game, and it's dodging heavy in the way that I personally love: there's a lot of multitasking. You're not just avoiding the bullets but you are managing boss health, shot versus boss positioning, timing of shooting, whether how much to graze to reach a certain ice meter percentage at a certain time, timing to charge and timing to freeze and positioning to freeze depending on how you want the ice to behave in relation to bullet space and enemy positions. Then you are also multitasking the resource game which is by far the best in any game I've played, the way you gain perfect freeze and motivation and how you "spend" your resources and the routing around this is totally unmatched IMO.

So in short, I have some clear favorites because of my tastes, but I think there are other potential "best games" that I don't feel as strongly about personally due to some personal dislikes being too prevalent (Ketsui, DOJ, Garegga spring to mind...)

And of course, since these examples are more geared towards hardcore players, there's no objective truth saying that a simpler game with a lower skill ceiling is worse for it. Some people love games like Gradius. But I just don't see anyone spending 1000s of hours on such games when there's the aforementioned alternatives, and for me an apex most definitely need to provide incentives for you to pour such time into it. Shmups are very divisive among fans and there are things that could easily turn you off or on them, small or big things. Like in the touhou community just about everyone has a different favorite game or least favorite game."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Double Spoiler current progress

Double Spoiler is progressing pretty well. Initially I was going to work more before making a post like this, but I just kinda started writing and ended up grading my score in every category. This should help show my progress and show which scores are more outstanding and which needs more work to be up to par. My score gradings are highly subjective. For example, 4-5 is so easy that just about anyone could learn to optimize it, so some people might disagree with my comparatively decent score ratings here. Meanwhile, some other scores that I graded lower than 4-5 might be extremely hard to beat if you just can't execute it. Keep in mind that difficulty levels among scenes vary greatly, so my score grades won't hold true for most players. Just to make it clear, I'm grading how good I think my own score is.
5/5: Among the best I've done
4/5: Among the better ones
3/5 Among the middle
2/5 Among the worse ones
1/5 Among my worst scores
Also, it might be a bit inaccurate, especially at 3 and under, since it's a bit hard to remember everything...

1-1:
4.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
Good scores. Aya run is better than the Hatate one. Both can be improved by a few 1000 realistically, but with Aya it is truly brutal to increase that much. Extreme precision optimization scene at this level.

1-2:
2/5 Both
Old and half-assed scores, don't think they're very good. Easy scene.

1-3:
2/5 Both
Highly RNG based scene, but relatively easy. Kind of meh scores.

1-4:
2/5 Both
Easy scene, with once again filler scores.

1-5:
4/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
Kind of hard to avoid dying. Very RNG based scene. Pretty good scores, especially Aya. Hatate has a bit more room to improve, but still a long way to go to beat Fisty.

1-6:
1/5 Both
Dislike this scene, so I barely played it.

2-1
4/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
This scene is very difficult to do with Aya, but more of a subtle optimization with Hatate. I still want to go back and do even better with Aya, actually.

2-2
2/5 both
Easy luck scene.

2-3
4/5 both
Easy luck scene, but I grinded it out well.

2-4
1.5/5 both
Easy, but I've neglected it.

2-5
2/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
Pretty hard to do without dying. I never quite got the hang of this scene, I think. The Hatate score was surprisingly good, but I think with more familiarity on this scene it might be easy to beat, still.

2-6
3/5 Both
Pretty troublesome to read the bullets and optimize the pictures, but I can't remember exactly how good these scores are, they might be better than this. I wanna go back to improve.

3-1
2.5/ Aya
2/5 Hatate
I don't like the gameplay in this scene and you need really lucky boss movements.

3-2
1/5 Aya
2/5 Hatate
Taking good pictures from behind was hard, so I used an easier strategy... It seems hard to learn to score like t1100.

3-3
2.5/5 Both
A work in progress. Quite luck dependant. Execution isn't too bad, but still hard enough to be troublesome.

3-4
3.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
I think I'd like to go back and redo the Aya score. This scene is pretty interesting, and not too tough.

3-5
3.5/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
A pretty luck based scene with some difficult timings. My scores were quite nice, maybe slightly better with Aya? but there is room to do better.

3-6
2.5/5 Both
It's a very luck based score grind, but pretty easy gameplay. I should go grind this out sometime, because the scores are just okay at best.

3-7
3/5 Both
An easy luck scene, not very interesting, I'm content with my decent scores.

3-8
5/5 Aya
3.5/5 Hatate
The Aya score is one of my best. It might not look impressive, but it's an extremely lucky run. The Hatate score is good, too, but I spent most time on Aya. Not a big fan of this scene, so I'm not too keen on grinding Hatate the same amount as Aya, who I spent 30 hours on.

4-1
2/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
Seems like the optimization at the highest level is utterly extreme. I think my scores aren't bad, but they don't even come close to t1100...

4-2
3/5 both
One of the hardest scenes in the game, especially with Hatate. My score with her isn't even 2/3 as high as t1100. Unless I'm missing something, the randomness makes this scene nearly impossible to score that high. Probably the most confusing WRs in the game for me is here. I'd like to try to improve and see if I can learn something I don't know...

4-3
4/5 both
It's a very easy luck based scene, but still some of my better scores. Not much interest in playing this more.

4-4
3.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
Another easy luck based scene, but this one is a bit harder. Maybe my Hatate score is slightly better? I still wanna improve Aya a little.

4-5
3.5/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
Yet another easy luck based scene. I think maybe this one is even a little easier than 4-3. Probably will grind out Aya some more.

4-6
2.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
I really neglected Aya in this scene, I'll probably fix that in the future. My Hatate score is really good apart from not figuring out some of the optimization room, so that makes it still slightly disappointing.

4-7
2/5 Both
This scene is very difficult, so I had a lot of trouble, even so, my scores are definitely not good here.

5-1
3/5 both
A really easy scene which is kind of luck based at a high level. Might try to improve here.

5-2
2/5 both
Kind of halfassed with both characters. Moderate difficulty

5-3
2.5/5 Aya
3.5/5 Hatate
This is a really weird scene about hitboxes, subtle manipulations and multipliers. The Aya score didn't optimize well, so I'll probably redo it. The Hatate score was a beginners luck, it has a solid first half but a weaker second half.

5-4
5/5 both
One of the harder scenes in the game and hands down two of my absolute best scores. A nightmare of RNG, and crazy demanding, but I nailed both characters. Both scores can still realistically improve fairly significantly, I say. I foresee Aya to possibly reach 10 to 15 thousand higher if I grind this out for a month, and Hatate even 20 thousand higher in a month. I only spent a week on each, but the results are very satisfying.

5-5
4.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
Don't get me wrong, these scores are good and the scene is a difficult one, but I'm still not satisfied... especially not with Hatate, which has a very mistimed photo mixed in. There's quite a few weird things to learn on this scene.

5-6
4.5/5 Aya
3.5/5 Hatate
A luck based scene with only a moderate dodging difficulty, but easy pictures. The Aya score is one of my better, with superb luck, but the Hatate score could grow more.

5-7
4/5 Aya
3.5/5 Hatate
The Aya score is slightly luckier. For me, this is one of the easiest scenes, so it is simply a luck grind. It shouldn't be a huge trouble

5-8
x/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
The Aya score is a maxed score, which is very easy to do on this scene, and only this scene, since it has no randomness, no weird manipulations, and is so straight forward with a lenient timing and positioning. However, Hatate struggles much more. My score with her is pretty decent (I used sticker to help find the best pixel) but the gameplay is so tough for me, since it's all about finding the best pixel and doing some extreme camera movement precision.

6-1
2/5 Both
This scene is frustrating due to random forced deaths in most runs and lots of stalling. The pictures have weird timings that I couldn't quite nail yet.

6-2
4/5 Both
I'm satisfied with these scores, but maybe I'm overrating them slightly? I really didn't like this scene. Weird timings yet again

6-3
4.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
No RNG, all execution scene. Harder than it might seem. My Aya score was grinded out pretty well, although it could still grow. The Hatate run is still a little rough all in all and could grow a bit more than Aya.

6-4
4/5 Aya
2/5 Hatate
Hatate score was just thrown together and then abandoned, so I'm going to have to return. The Aya score is good, though. All in all, one of the hardest scenes in the game easily

6-5
3.5/5 Aya
2/5 Hatate
The Aya score is pretty good but still not entirely satisfying. It's not hard, but it is based on luck. Hatate tech is completely different, and this score is a filler score.

6-6
1/5 Aya
2.5/5 Hatate
The Hatate run is just a precise optimization, but the Aya run is actually really hard to do so I just gave up right away.

6-7
3/5 Both
LUCK. Stupid scene. There is plenty of room to get luckier

6-8
4.5/5 Both
Some of my better scores! A really subtle and hard to do optimization scene.

7-1
4.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
The Aya run is satisfying although I had to do a slightly worse picture style at the end. The Hatate run loses more points, but I'm not sure I'll return to this scene. It's pretty rough.

7-2
3.5/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
Luck... Nazrin has to go to the top, and stay there. There is so much room for the score to grow here by getting even luckier with base value, and the execution isn't exactly free either, although I wouldn't call it hard, it's very possible to mess up and even get forced to die.

7-3
2/5 Both
WTF is with this scene? Shou aims randomly kills every run. Confused...

7-4
3.5/5 Both
Easy luck scene. I got lucky with Aya so fast, but with Hatate I grinded and grinded and grinded... and the luck I sought after never came. The scores are pretty good, but due to the time investment on Hatate, I'm not satisfied. The Aya run also has mistake in it.

7-5
1.5/5 Aya
1/5 Hatate
I really didn't like this scene so I moved on with shitty scores.

7-6
4/5 Aya
3.5/5 Hatate
I used to be satisfied with the Hatate run, but after reassessing it, it's clear I should aim for at least 2 million. A very interesting scene in my opinion. The Aya score is also great but because I like this scene so much I'll probably return to it as well.

7-7
2.5/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
Getting these scores wasn't that hard after "learning" the scene. However, I don't feel like I've fully learned it. The risk bonus is completely misunderstood.

8-1
3/5 Aya
2/5 Hatate
Kind of a hard scene, so I might have an excuse, but these scores aren't anything to write home about. At least the Aya one might be acceptable...

8-2
5/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
The Aya score was a triumph for me. Hard scene, impossible difficulty without using something to show you which pixels to sit on (I make small pieces of sticker that I place on my screen on all the pixel spots)

8-3
4/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
There is plenty of room to grow with more characters, moreso Hatate. This scene is very subtle, but it's also precise, difficult, and even requires a decent amount of luck, although not too bad in that area. I'm interested in this scene, so I will return.

8-4
2/5 Both
STUPID luck scene. Fuck it! To elaborate, the luck doesn't even let you live almost ever. Then there's score luck, too. I will grind it out, though...

8-5
3/5 Aya
4.5/5 Hatate
The stalling is almost mindless, and most runs are doomed to lack the needed luck. Once you actually get a run going, which could take a long time before it happens, you're at its mercy. Not that hard.

8-6
4/5 both
Of course, another score luck scene with one easy strategy and one hard strategy. the catch is that the hard stratey only has a tiny potential improvement, and that due to luck the easy strategy can score higher. the hard strategy on the last shot is almost impossible due to how hard the random dodging in, so getting luck on all shots with the hard strategy is just one of those insane things to go for in DS, I haven't done that.

8-7
2/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
This scene is really hard, and I didn't play it that much, so as expected the scores are a bit lacking. At least I got lucky with Hatate once. Big potential on this one.

8-8
3/5 Both
It's not that easy to even figure out how this scene works, but beyond that my scores were the result of not that much effort, so they're just decent. Not hard, but subtle and luck based.

9-1
4.5/5 Both
An extremely hard scene which is partly memo and partly yolo. The last 3 photos are the hardest with both characters if you really wanna take this far. Both my scores are spotty, but the scene is just so hard that they're still some of my best runs. It's also one of my absolute favorites, so a return is very possible.

9-2
2.5/5 Both
It's pretty clear that I haven't perfected the technique here yet.

9-3
3.5/5 Both
This might appear to be a moderately hard scene, but really it should be counted as a very hard scene due to the non-apparent difficulty of making shots happen and making those calls. t1100's Hatate score proves that you can get a much more optimized run than mine. My Aya score could reasonably improve by at least 150 thousand, I would say, maybe even more.

9-4
3/5 Aya
3.5/5 Hatate
It's hard to just learn the pattern, let alone follow it. Both my scores are very spotty, but at least the Hatate score follows the pattern a bit bettter. A really interesting scene and quite difficult.

9-5
1/5 Both
A simple yet gimmicky scene that I've barely played. I don't really enjoy the style, it's imperative to let go 1 frame within pressing shot to retain multipliers, and going around the bullets is let's say... heartbreaking. DS hitboxes...

9-6
3.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
I actually used to grind for these runs a lot, and it's a pretty rough scene especially due to the luck aspect of photos 5-8. The stalling is strong with this one, but despite that I'm a fan of this scene. BCF shows how it's done on this and on 9-4.

9-7
2.5/5 Aya
3.5/5 Hatate
Stupidly hard scene. I don't think anyone can really purposefully avoid the bullets when optimizing the picture, so it's a matter of getting superb luck to just move through them. I've tried and tried, but I can't get anything great done here.

9-8
4/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
The Aya score is an older run, but one that was pretty great when I got it cause the last shot was so high and came out of nowhere. Unfortunately, one of the other shots was terrible, so the run is still flawed. I didn't spend quite as much time on Hatate and don't remember much about her style... but it was surprisingly troublesome. One thing that is highly subtle is shot timings. Medium difficulty scene.

10-1
4.5/5 Both
The Aya score is only dissatisfying because the luck simply didn't give in when I was grinding, so the end result was only a few 1000 higher than my previous PB. Now, the luckiest last shot I've had would have numerous times brought my PB above a million upon finishing. The saddest run was the best pace, where the luckiest photo would give me 1.015-1.020m, but instead I got horrible luck and ended up with around 990m. Hatate style is a bit different, but she's even harder. The score isn't totally optimized with her, whereas with Aya the score is more luck based.

10-2
3/5 Both
This was a kind of rough scene but I did let go a bit too early to get great runs here. Pretty fun.

10-3
4/5 Aya
5/5 Hatate
I dunno if the Hatate run really deserves 5/5, but I don't see myself improving it. Awesome luck and strong shots. There is still room for it to grow, because the scene is so ambiguous and based on luck. Quite a tough one.

10-4
3/5 Both
Just learning the strategy might appear impossible to some, but I thought it to be quite doable. Unfortunately, the optimization aspect was too much back when I made these scores, leaving me a bit unsatisfied. A flasy scene but not especially fun to me.

10-5
3/5 Both
My Hatate score is lower, but at the same time Hatate scoring on this scene is fucking brutal. The technique isn't as bad with Aya, though, so at a certain level it becomes more about luck.

10-6
4.5/5 Aya
5/5 Hatate
The Aya run is a bit spottier, but this is a high difficulty scene and it felt good to abuse it to this level. Especially breaking a million with Hatate! This scene is about difficult dodging, stalling, getting lucky and having a great sense of timing.

10-7
4/5 Aya
3.5/5 Hatate
You need to get lucky with the shots, but there is also some underlying subtleties, and I never felt like I really got a grip of Hatate's style. I also find it harder to survive taking the shot with Hatate. This is a mean scene which forces to kill you quite often, but it is only moderately hard to do well with Aya.

10-8
3/5 Both
Nothing outstanding, I gave up pretty early due to really bad luck. I think you need amazing reaction speed to play this scene for score if you're not keen on just bruteforcing the high photos.

11-1
1/5 Both
Neglected scene. I used to play it just a bit when DS was still pretty new to me.

11-2
3/5 Both
I actually found a way to significantly increase a photo with Hatate, but it requires insane survival luck, so it's only adviced to do once on the first shot. This scene isn't that hard with pixel stickers, but it's luck based in a way that gets quite annoying, and the timing is easy to miss.

11-3
3/5 Both
Subtle optimization, but a low barrier for entry. My scores work, but nothing outstanding.

11-4
4/5 Both
Subtle, and a bit based on luck especially at the end, but my scores are pretty solid here.

11-5
4.5/5 Both
Ostensibly the Hatate run is slightly better, but I'm not so sure. Either way, two of my better scores. This scene is all about hammering in an exact series of actions and repeating that, since it is no RNG.

11-6
2.5/5 Aya
2/5 Hatate
A really boring stalling scene which also happens to be hard, in a way that is entirely unfun. I haven't gotten into this scene, but the scores can grow so much higher that I really want to return to it.

11-7
3.5/5 Both
Quite a boring and luck based stalling scene, but the shots are also somewhat interesting. Both scores were good, but there's room for growth.

11-8
4/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
It might be hard to learn to play this scene, so even though my scores are highly sub optimal, it's not easy to finish a good run.

12-1
3/5 Both
Subtle optimizations. Much room for growth.

12-2
3.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
This scene is pretty hard and luck based, but I did a good job with Hatate especially.

12-3
4.5/5 Aya
3.5/5 Hatate
The Hatate score is slightly luckier, I think, but Hatate doesn't have to dodge any bullets, so my Aya run is actually much tougher to beat. The score is based on luck with both characters, and there is plenty of room to get more of it.

12-4
4/5 Both
Aya is harder, so it's hard to really say one score is better than the other. It's a really difficult scene and luck plays a role to enable awesome photos, but execution is the hardest part.

12-5
3/5 Aya
2.5/5 Hatate
Precision scene with luck based shots. Problem is that I really lacked in the luck department, so the scores aren't that great. The Hatate run especially was just hastily thrown together after t1100 came up with a radical new strategy, so a return is in order.

12-6
4/5 Aya
4.5/5 Hatate
The score can still grow significantly, but it's a huge luck based scene, and pretty hard too. I spent especially time on Hatate aiming for 2 million but came short and gave up. Realistically the score can go up hundreds of thousands, you just need amazing luck.

12-7
3.5/5 Aya
4/5 Hatate
This scene is really hard for me, the shots are very specific and it's hard to deal with knife hitboxes and survive, too. The top 2 scores just gets absolutely unreal shots, so that's why I feel like my runs aren't that amazing in comparison. Still though, these scores should be hard to beat.

12-8
3.5/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
t1100's Hatate score is a mystery to me. A long scene, not super hard from moment to moment, but due to its length it's hard to put an awesome run together.

EX-1
3/5 Both
Stalling, stalling, stalling... I really dislike this scene. Both scores can grow quite a bit, Aya loses small points here and there, and with Hatate I gave up on trying an optimal final photo.

EX-2
4/5 Both
A score luck scene with relatively lower difficulty, but still hard enough to mess up easily. I got solid luck with both chars but certainly you can get more. Small mistakes, too.

EX-3
2.5/5 Aya
3/5 Hatate
The Aya score is old and I think it wasn't very good... The Hatate score is also too low since I resigned because all the great paced runs died on the last shot. I dislike how Hatate has to handle the last shot, sometimes it just won't work.

EX-4
2/5 Both
Doing this scene my way might be hard for some. Still, these scores aren't good because I'm not optimizing them which is really tight. I dislike this scene because shots always randomly kill you.

EX-5
4/5 Aya
4.5/5 Hatate
I think I did well on this scene, but there was one awesome chance to get a brilliant run due to getting an extra familiar somehow... it only happened one time.

EX-6
4.5/5 Both
A luck based scene where the shots are actually pretty easy to take, the main difficulty is dodging in between. It might appear really brutal, but due to low optimization room, I would say this is one of the easier scenes in the game. I got fantastic luck with both girls.

EX-7
4/5 Both
Stalling, stalling... Reimu has only a 1 in 4 chance to give you the RNG to take a photo, so 75% of the time you have to wait a while to move on. Timeouts here are quite frustrating. When you get the right RNG, it requires a specific set of actions to take a good shot. I'm pretty satisfied

EX-8
1/5 Aya
2/5 Hatate
I didn't like this scene at all, so I just threw something together that would increase my overall score.

EX-9
1.5/5 Aya
1/5 Hatate
Optimization scene. It's been too long since I played it, and I spent too little time anyway (only 141 shots with Aya and 37 shots with Hatate)

SP-1
1.5/5
You only have to take one shot which is a subtle optimization. The catch is that if you want to place well on Royalflare scoreboard, you can't use CTRL to skip dialogue, which makes it such a chore to play...

SP-2
2.5/5
I wasn't such a fan of this scene, so I just got an OK run.

SP-3
1/5
Luck shit. Garbage run

SP-4
4/5
Quite luck based, and not that hard. I'm satisfied with this score.

SP-5
1.5/5
Like SP-1, you only take one picture, but this one has a little more optimization room.

SP-6
1.5/5
I hardly bothered with this, just didn't enjoy it.

SP-7
1.5/5
This scene wasn't that bad, but still, a pretty lame effort on my part.

SP-8
2/5
This score was okay maybe, but far from satisfying and I actually don't dislike this scene (yet).

SP-9
4.5/5
The room for luck on this scene is absolutely out of this world. Extra lasers and Aya's positions changes everything. I'd say it has the highest luck room in the game, with 10 shots and many variables changing score greatly on each shot. The execution isn't easy either, especially not if you play like I do and try real hard to scout for the best density shots. It gets fucking hard to just survive the last two shots, let alone scout for score RNG.

Statistic:
5/5:
3-8 Aya
5-4 Both
8-2 Aya
10-3 Hatate
10-6 Hatate

4.5/5:
1-1 Aya
5-5 Aya
5-6 Aya
6-3 Aya
6-8 Both
7-1 Aya
8-5 Hatate
9-1 Both
10-1 Both
10-6 Aya
11-5 Both
12-3 Aya
12-6 Hatate
EX-5 Hatate
EX-6 Both
SP-9


4/5:
1-1 Hatate
1-5 Aya
2-1 Aya
2-3 Both
3-4 Hatate
4-3 Both
4-4 Hatate
4-6 Hatate
5-5 Hatate
5-7 Aya
6-2 Both
6-3 Hatate
6-4 Aya
7-1 Hatate
7-6 Aya
8-3 Aya
8-6 Both
9-6 Hatate
9-8 Aya
10-3 Aya
10-7 Aya
11-4 Both
11-8 Aya
12-2 Hatate
12-4 Both
12-6 Aya
12-7 Hatate
EX-2 Both
EX-5 Aya
EX-7 Both
SP-4 Both


Furthermore, I'm still playing DS. It's just a bit sporadic, so sometimes I go weeks or even a month or more without playing. Other times I'll play 5+ hours a day. To see the replays, go to score.royalflare.net

Saturday, February 18, 2017

100 Films

Top 4 is interchangeable

1. Ohikkoshi             (Moving)
1. Den-en Ni Shisu         (Pastoral: To Die in the Country)
1. Un homme qui dort         (The Man Who Sleeps)
1. Barry Lyndon
5. Mimi wo Sumaseba        (Whisper of the Heart)
6. Nekojiru-sou            (Cat Soup)
7. Der Seibente Kontinent    (The Seventh Continent)
8. Russkiy kovcheg        (Russian Ark)
9. Du, Levande            (You, The Living)
10. La chute de la maison Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher)
11. Fehérlófia             (Son of the White Mare)
12. Play Time
13. Nybyggarna            (The New Land)
14. Mind Game
15. Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala (The Eve of Ivan Kupalo)
16. 2001: A Space Odyssey
17. Face like a Frog
18. Geomen tangyi sonyeo oi     (With the Girl of Black Soil)
19. Cha no Aji            (The Taste of Tea)
20. Až přijde kocour        (The Cassandra Cat)
21. Water and Power
22. Visa de censure no X
23. Kusa-meikyū            (Grass Labyrinth)
24. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
25. Bakha Satang        (Peppermint Candy)
26. Nemuru Otoko         (Sleeping Man)
27. Sátántangó
28. Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni  (Birds, Orphans and Fools)
29. Narayama Bushiko        (The Ballad of Narayama, 1958)
30. Možnosti dialogu
31. Hatsukoi Jigoku Hen        (Nanami: The Inferno of First Love)
32. Taifû Kurabu        (Typhoon Club)
33. Dong            (The Hole)
34. Sånger från Andra Våningen    (Songs from the Second Floor)
35. Oasis
36. Körkarlen            (The Phantom Carriage)
37. Kurutta ippēji        (A Page of Madness)
38. Andrei Rublev
39. Quatre nuits d'un rêveur     (Four Nights of a Dreamer)
40. Omoide Poroporo        (Only Yesterday)
41. Eureka
42. Seance on a Wet Afternoon
43. Ovoce stromů rajských jíme     (Fruit of Paradise)
44. Sud sanaeha            (Blissfully Yours)
45. Walden: Diaries, Notes & Sketches
46. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty
47. Tsumiki no ie        (The House of Small Cubes)
48. Šťastný konec        (Happy End)
49. Mon Oncle
50. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
51. Dream Work
52. Outer Space
53. Eraserhead
54. Sansho Dayu            (Sansho the Bailiff)
55. Harakiri
56. Seelische Konstruktionen    (Spiritual Constructions)
57. Chumlum
58. Mat i Syn            (Mother and Son)
59. Spalovač mrtvol         (The Cremator)
60. Praėjusios dienos atminimui (In Memory of the Day Passed By)
61. Idi i Smotri        (Come and See)
62. Local Hero
63. Steklyannaya garmonika    (The Glass Harmonica)
64. The Bed You Sleep In
65. L'humanité            (Humanity)
66. Persona
67. La femme qui se poudre    (The Woman who Powders Herself)
68. Scenes From Under Childhood Section One
69. Sink or Swim
70. Passageraren
71. Meshes of the Afternoon
72. Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis
73. Trains are for Dreaming
74. De Ofrivilliga        (Involuntary)
75. Play
76. Chikamatsu monogatari    (The Crucified Lovers)
77. Himalayaeui sonyowa        (Himalaya, Where the Wind Dwells)
78. Domestic Violence
79. Hospital
80. Maboroshi no hikari
81. Sho o suteyo machi e deyō    (Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets)
82. Soshun             (Early Spring)
83. Tobenai chinmoku        (Silence Has no Wings)
84. Onna no Mizuumi        (Woman of the Lake)
85. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
86. The Draughtman's Contract
87. Nostos: Il ritorno (Nostos: The Return)
88. Week-End
89. Forest of Bliss
90. Sedmikrásky         (Daisies)
91. Elippathayam        (Rat-Trap)
92. Julien Donkey-Boy
93. Hausu
94. La Ville des Pirates    (City of Pirates)
95. Tenshi no Tamago        (Angel's Egg)
96. Sherlock, Jr
97. Duck Soup
98. Airplane!
99. L'ange            (The Angel)
100. Kamen            (Stone)

Bubbling under:
A torinói ló      (The Turin Horse)
Ugetsu
La Seine a rencontré Paris     (The Seine Meets Paris)
Pierrot le Fou
Kauas pilvet karkaavat        (Drifting Clouds)
The Hart of London
Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine
Akahige                (Red Beard)
Threads
Ordet                (The Word)
Odinokiy golos cheloveka    (The Lonely Human Voice)
Stalker
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man 1992
Ko to tamo peva        (Who's That Singing Over There?)
Crumb
Pather Panchali            (Song of the Road)
Le roman de Renard        (The Story of the Fox)
The Shining
Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru     (Night on the Galactic Railroad)
Tonari no Totoro          (My Neighbor Totoro)
Pom Poko
Une histoire de vent        (A Tale of the Wind)
Sweet Movie
WVLNT
Sans Soleil
Koufuku no Kane            (Blessing Bell)
Terje Vigen            (A Man There Was)

25 Anime

1. Akage no Anne [Anne of Green Gables]
2. Mimi wo Sumaseba [Whisper of the Heart]
3. Nekojiru-sou [Cat Soup]
4. Mind Game
5. Nichijou
6. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
7. Omoide Poroporo [Only Yesterday]
8. Tsumiki no Ie [The House of Small Cubes]
9. Osomatsu-San
10. Yuyushiki
11. Tenshi no Tamago [Angel's Egg]
12. Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru [Night on the Galactic Railroad]
13. Tonari no Totoro [My Neighbor Totoro]
14. Pom Poko
15. Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei [The Tatami Galaxy]
16. Azumanga Daioh
17. Kanashimi no Belladonna [Tragedy of Belladonna]
18. Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
19. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo [The Girl Who Leapt Through Time]
20. Chika Gentou Gekiga: Shoujo Tsubaki [Midori]
21. Atama Yama [Mt. Head]
22. Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi [Spirited Away]
23. Hotaru no Haka [Grave of the Fireflies]
24. Kaguya-hime no Monogatari [The Tale of the Princess Kaguya]
25. Kaiba

My selection of best animes I have watched. I value a pretty artstyle, fluid animations, emotional, dreamy, contemplative, and surrealistic contents.

Bubbling under:
Steins;Gate
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
Kemonozume
Serial Experiments Lain

Friday, December 23, 2016

Best games I played in 2016

Only games I played for the first time this year are included.

I didn't spend much time to grind STG this year, and for the time being, I'm on a forced hiatus. I got into something new that I never would've expected instead: Visual novels.

The first reason I picked up a visual novel was because I had watched the anime Oreimo, which I hated, but I really liked Kuroneko, so I decided to play a game featuring her, the PSP game Oreimo. It was surprisingly enjoyable, but it didn't exactly have good writing, it just had fun gameplay and overall just clicked with me. That's when I decided I wanted to play at least some visual novel that was actually supposed to have good writing and see where that takes me. Well, I really didn't expect to read like 30 VNs in half a year...

So, that is why this entry has a lot of visual novels. I think I've had a pretty good streak with them, so I'm assuming there's many excellent ones left to find. If you are uninterested in visual novels, you can scroll down to the games below them. Just keep in mind that I used to assume visual novels were something I would never like and I was wrong.

Visual novels

Symphonic Rain (All ages)

A slow burner, but let it consume you and you will be deeply rewarded. There's not much point in trying to talk about it, because its many qualities are hidden away and you must play it and find out for yourself. A very moving game in the second half.

Saya no Uta (Eroge)

A great love story at its core. This novel is helped tremendously by the godlike soundtrack and the effective use of CGs. The writing is generally very good, although also the biggest problem with the work. It has a bit too much focus on exposition, and the minor characters behave pretty stupidly. I also wish it spent more time during its first half. Too flawed to be a masterpiece, but still an essential game I think.

Period (Eroge)

This sure is amazing for a moe-trash game. Kohane's, Aoi's and Tzuzumi's routes are excellent. It's simply a happy, joyous game with delicious art by legendary H-artist Ooyari Ashito.

Katawa Shoujo (Eroge...?)

I'm a big fan of this game for one reason: Rin's route. I feel that many people will just misunderstand this route and interpret it on a simple surface-level, so try to pay attention if you're playing it. The other routes are OK, but if it weren't for Rin, I wouldn't care that much about this game.

Steins;Gate (All ages)

I think it's overall a good babby's first VN (though it was my 4th or so). Everything in it is just on point, the writing is interesting and ties together well with some of its characterization, the unique art style is appealing at least to me, and it has great tunes. The gameplay is a bit too obtuse, so you'll need a guide for this game. Unfortunately, Steins;Gate had some pretty bad things too, like the Faris arc.

Kikokugai - The Cyber Slayer (Eroge)

This is just a very enjoyable cyberpunk/wuxia novel. It caught me off guard, I didn't expect it to be this good. It's a badass masculine game with some fun edgy pretentions on the side.

Rewrite (All ages)

A strange game. very strange. Too long. There's so much to say. So many flaws to point out. I'll just say that for all its flaws, the good parts really stick with you, and if anything, it's very interesting thematically. Oh, and Chihaya's route can fuck off.

Ever17 - The Out of Infinity (All ages)

This game is a bit difficult to judge for me. On one hand, the common route and the first route I did (Tsugumi's) was an unforgettable experience (much thanks to the brilliant sense of mystique and powerful emotions) but on the other hand, the farther into the game I got, the more I started to feel disappointed. Unlike everyone else, I honestly didn't care for the true route at all.

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (All ages?)

Similar to Ever17. Too similar, in fact. Looking past that, it's obviously a very good game, but not quite as good as Ever17.

Swan Song (Eroge)

A great game that was surprisingly not as depressing as I expected. It's quite well rounded. It's not a perfect game, but I really liked it.



Other games

Yume 2kki (Exploring)

It's a fan-game of Yume Nikki. I loved that game, and this one is just as good, if not better, considering how much bigger it is. I can talk a bit about how the two games are different and how it becomes a bit awkward to try and compare them, but let's just say that I love both. Yume Nikki is a bit more of a personal experience while Yume 2kki's strength over Nikki is its sheer size. I think it is a good idea to play Yume Nikki first, for a number of reasons, so don't jump into this one blindly.

Middens (Exploring/RPG)

The most wonderfully surrealist game I've encountered. Despite some more problematic aspects, I think it is one of the best games I've played. It is just about precisely to my taste. The prettiest game ever, in fact.

Gingiva (RPG)

Another game by the creator of Middens. This one is a bit more straight forward, but almost as good. A lovely psychedelic experience with moving dreamy contents at the end.

DustForce (Platformer)

One of the finest speedgames I've come across. sivade's gameplay is mindblowing.

Mother 3 (RPG)

Of course I had high expectations for Mother 3, it has a reputation of being one of the best games ever by people who I think could be somewhat trusted on that matter. I felt like the game lived up to the hype, considering I'm not very fond of JRPGs. It's not one of the best games I've played, but it is absolutely solid, much thanks to such a memorable end-game, and it compares favorably to EarthBound in my opinion.

Labyrinth of Touhou (RPG)

The gameplay during bosses is exactly what I want out of an RPG. Absolutely perfection. Unfortunately, the game has a lot of flaws elsewhere. I generally really like dungeon crawling, despite my limited experience, but they really need to put a limit on how much XP you can get. I had to intentionally stay low leveled to have fun with this game. You will actually gain levels faster and faster the longer you grind.

Beventlaed (Puzzle)

A fantastic grid-based puzzle game where you match UFOs, featuring Sanae. Although the game is incredible, I'm very uncomfortable with the mouse control, and I don't know if it's the games fault or my hands fault. It honestly hurts my hand to play this game. If it doesn't hurt your hand, count yourself lucky, because the gameplay is bliss.

The Cat Lady (Point and click)

A great character-driven horror adventure with a fantastic visual style. It has some shortcomings, but overall it is highly recommended.

Gundemonium Recollection (STG)

I fell in love with this STG right away. The question is how fun it will remain during a scoreplay, since I've reluctantly quit STG (hopefully temporarily. I simply can't play in my current state) I might never find out. So, the placement is a little awkward, because I only played it for about 2 hours.

Toilet in Wonderland (Parody)

I went through a spree of playing through a bunch of horror RPGmaker games. Those were mostly rather mediocre, so finding this gem was a breath of fresh air. It's a parody of those kinds of games, and it's hilarious. You're going to want to play games in the style of Witch's House or Mad Father before jumping into this one to get a sense of context.

My 3 "must-plays" are: Yume 2kki, Middens, & Symphonic Rain. The rest are honorable mentions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Photography (StB + DS) scenes rankings

The rankings are from my scorer perspective and don't take into account for example timeout attempts (which is very fun on DS 9-7) or aesthetics or anything else like that that's unrelated to how I play the game. This is simply about fun of playing for high photos and ofc it's all my opinion.

Maybe it will be useful to someone else who wants to go for high photos and doesn't know which scenes are good, but keep in mind that in the end its just down to my own taste. I like variety, though, so I put some "simpler" scenes high, despite generally favoring the more difficult and deep scenes.

Favorites and mini favorites of course are the best scenes. Like and really like speaks for itself too. Interesting however, means that the scene may be either good or bad depending on the perspective I adopt. For example, a scene in the interesting category might have interesting gameplay, but while not being particularly fun. Or, it may be fun to play in small dozes, but lacks optimization depth and becomes boring fast. Hell, maybe it's actually a good scene and I just have some obscure issue with it.

Shoot the bullet

S rank (Favorites)
9-6
9-5
7-6
5-1

A rank (Mini Favorites)
EX-4
6-5
9-1

B rank (Really like)
10-6
6-8
9-4
4-3
6-4
8-5
3-3
5-6
7-7

C rank (Like)
EX-3
7-1
6-6
EX-1
EX-5
1-6
7-2
4-8
EX-8
10-4
10-5
3-1
7-4
9-8
6-2
3-5
2-4
5-2
8-4
EX-7
5-8
2-3

D rank (Interesting)
7-8
7-5
3-8
10-1
4-7
4-2
2-6
8-8
6-7
10-8
6-3
1-3
10-2
8-3
9-2
5-3
9-3
6-1
8-2
9-7
5-4
10-3
10-7
EX-2

E rank (Don't like)
5-7
2-2
8-1
1-2
4-4
3-2
EX-6
3-7
4-1
8-7
3-6
5-5
2-5
2-1
4-9
8-6
1-1
1-4
3-4
4-5
4-6

F rank (Hate)
none

Double Spoiler

S rank (Favorites)
9-1
7-6
12-3
12-4
8-2
8-6
10-6

A rank (Mini favorites)
12-6
8-3
11-8
12-7
10-2
11-5

B rank (Really like)
9-8
10-7
9-4
9-6
10-5
3-6
7-1
6-3
4-6
6-8
8-5
5-4
5-2
11-3
2-5

C rank (Like)
10-4
EX-2
5-6
EX-6
5-7
10-1
12-8
2-6
2-3
11-4
6-4
9-2
12-1
EX-9
EX-5
10-8
1-1
3-2
3-8
9-7
4-2
2-1
8-1
4-7

D rank (Interesting)
3-4
4-1
5-3
8-7
3-3
12-2
4-4
1-5
6-5
2-4
7-7
11-2
12-5
EX-1
EX-7
7-2
3-7
5-8
9-5
11-7
1-3
4-3

E rank (Don't like)
7-4
4-5
2-2
1-2
9-3
6-6
EX-4
7-3
3-5
1-4
3-1
7-5
EX-3
11-6
10-3
8-4

F rank (Hate)
5-5
5-1
EX-8
6-7
6-1

Undecided
1-6
6-2
8-8
11-1
SP-1~9

I still have significantly less playtime in Double Spoiler, so I had to put some scenes as undecided. I've barely touched some of them for score. SP-9 is a cool scene that I'd probably end up putting in the B rank. Also, DS ended up being the only game with F rank scenes. In general, I think DS is the better game, but that it also has more annoying content at the same time. I do prefer playing DS these days, for what it's worth.

Also, DS has two separate characters and they often approach the scenes significantly differently. I ended up not thinking about that too hard, hopefully I always had the "more fun" character in mind for each scene.

So, in the end I think my top 10 Photography scenes would be:
1. 9-6 (StB)
2. 9-5 (StB)
3. 7-6 (StB)
4. 9-1 (DS)
5. 7-6 (DS)
6. 12-3 (DS)
7. 12-4 (DS)
8. 8-2 (DS)
9. 8-6 (DS)
10. 5-1 (StB)

9-7 (DS) will always have an honorable mention for actually being more fun not to score in. Pacify it instead to practice your dodging!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

100 favorite games

1. Yousei Daisensou (Fairy Wars)
2. Touhou Bunkachou (Double Spoiler)
3. Touhou Yumejikuu (The Phantasmagoria of Dimensional Dream)
4. Touhou Bunkachou (Shoot the Bullet)
5. Touhou Youyoumu (Perfect Cherry Blossom)
6. Touhou Kaeitzuka (Phantasmagoria of Flower View)
7. Money Idol Exchanger
8. Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
9. Dragon Blaze
10. Guwange
11. Armed Police Batrider
12. Yume 2kki
13. Yume Nikki
14. Unreal Tournament
15. Sutte Hakkun
16. Heroes of Might and Magic III Complete
17. Middens
18. Touhou Koumakyou (The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil)
19. Symphonic Rain
20. StarCraft: Brood War
21. Within a Deep Forest
22. F-Zero GX
23. .flow
24. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
25. Super Mario 64
26. Gun.Smoke
27. Saya no Uta
28. Rocket Knight Adventures
29. Dangun Feveron
30. EspGaluda
31. Katamari Damacy
32. Period
33. Gingiva
34. Touhou Eiyashou (Imperishable Night)
35. Touhou Seirensen (Undefined Fantastic Object)
36. Flame Zapper Kotsujin
37. ring^-27
38. Katawa Shoujo
39. Transformice
40. OpenLieroX
41. DustForce
42. Denjin Makai II
43. Gemini Wing
44. Strikers 1999
45. RayForce
46. Battle Bakraid
47. Mother 3
48. Steins;Gate
49. Aero Chimera
50. Sexy Parodius
51. Crimzon Clover: World Ignition
52. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
53. Adventures of Lolo 2 (J)
54. Labyrinth of Touhou
55. MegaMari
56. Ninja Gaiden II (NES)
57. Gimmick!
58. Twinkle Tale
59. Super Smash Bros. Melee
60. Gundemonium Recollection
61. Lilian Fourhand
62. Ristar
63. Limbo
64. Rewrite
65. Ever17: The Out of Infinity
66. Riven
67. Alpha Centauri
68. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
69. The Cat Lady
70. Mars Matrix
71. Quantized Blaze
72. Batsugun Special
73. Beventlaed
74. Europa Universalis II
75. Advance Wars 2
76. DoDonPachi Daioujou
77. Nox
78. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
79. Arcanum
80. Battle Garegga
81. Kururin Paradise
82. Quake III Arena
83. Etrian Odyssey III
84. Kikokugai - The Cyber Slayer
85. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
86. Pu-Li-Ru-La
87. Darius Gaiden
88. Toilet in Wonderland
89. Civilization II
90. Strikers 1945 II
91. Gunbird 2
92. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
93. F-Zero X
94. Twinkle Star Sprites
95. Night Striker
96. ChoRenSha 68k
97. Touhou Fuujinroku (Mountain of Faith)
98. Dungeon Keeper
99. Dimahoo
100. Elasto Mania


Bubbling under:
Ketsui
Super Mario Bros. 3
Swan Song
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
Hagane
DoReMi Fantasy
Raiden DX
Cannon Dancer
OutZone
Knytt Stories
Day of the Tentacle
Parsec47
Dragon's Fury
Vib-Ribbon
Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup
Zangband TK
Goof Troop
EarthBound
ToeJam & Earl
Willow
The Last Blade 2
World Heroes Perfect
Ib
Diablo
Machinarium
Metamorphic Force
Metal Black