Blog update check-in review thingy

Five videos in, thought I’d talk s’more about how I feel it’s going. Under a cut again to protect your delicate dashboards from my babblings. Largely stream-of-consciousness again.

Shaky start! Who could have predicted. Between QUBE and Anodyne I streamed a whole bunch for the Four Job Fiesta, which definitely helped loosen me up a bit. The addition of midgi as my co-host also made a huge difference, since we would often just banter away when playing games anyway, and I think it makes for a far more entertaining video than just me trying to be funny in an empty room for an hour.

My workflow has improved tremendously since Punch Out- that video took upwards of 10 hours to produce and the whole thing was kind of a mess. Spyro took about 2 hours total (not including the recording, obvs) and was a much more seamless process.

I’ve had some considerations to make about my ‘style’. I’d been trying for a snappily edited, LP style with the earlier videos which just didn’t quite gel with either the way I enjoy thngs, nor the format of the blog. The core principle is the 1 hour of gameplay, including learning curve and exploration, and t cut all that out makes it a bit wishy-washy. Also, I was spending ages cutting out all the dead air only to reduce the video time by about 5 minutes, and it was barely worth doing.

With midgi along to fill in the dead air a little, I’m happier making fewer edits and cuts, only cutting out the repetitive bits and loading screens. The videos are still very long, but I guess that’s kind of a necessity? Been considering multi-part uploads, but that might just make them more annoying to watch.

I have also been considering the reviews part of the blog. The next game on my list is Subserial Network, which is 100% reading things from browser windows and more dialogue heavy than a visual novel. It’s not going to be an interesting gameplay hour to watch at all, so I’ve been thinking I would skip it, and just upload a video version of the review with some gameplay snippets as visual aids. If I did that, I’d want to keep that a running thing- much the same way NintendoLife handle their video reviews, the video and the text are the same content, but the video has the benefit of showing rather than telling.

It’s a work in progress, but one I’m constantly re-evaluating. If anyone cares to have some insight go ahead reply to this post or let me know in my Discord server which I need to do a better job of highlighting.

Finally- streams. I’ve kinda started to feel they’re not worth doing, since I play at varying times and typically dislike having a live chat I need to interact with when playing something new (I hate hate hate being ‘helped’ by people without asking first, and it’s a compulsion few can resist, among other reasons). Streaming itself is fun, though, so maybe I can figure out a way to stream stuff tangentially related or not related to BBLC? Gain a cross-audience?

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Ours was a Nintendo household back in the days when collectathon platformers reigned supreme, and so Spyro and Crash were eschewed in favour of Mario, Banjo, and Kazooie. It was a few years after its prime that I first got to play Spyro, and along with it the sequel (I don’t think we ever got the third one, bu it was a long time ago). So, I go into the Reignited collection not with nostalgia exactly, but some memory of how the whole thing goes.

First and foremost- this is one hell of a remastering. I don’t quite have the technical chops to tell for sure, but it seems like the entire game was remade from square one (and, speaking of Square, releasing in the same timeframe as FF8 Remastered puts the latter to absolute shame). It’s more beautiful than my not-too-shabby computer can handle at its best, but even on the toned-down settings Spyro’s still a visual treat.

Unfortunately, the controls still feel a little archaic- I’m not familiar enough with the original to know if they’ve been updated at all, but the camera is very slippery and needs only the gentlest of inputs to careen wildly around Spyro. Still, the level design is basic enough at this stage of the genre’s development that you don’t need fine control to get by.

That’s not meant to sound like a sleight against the game; the original game came out before every platformer had seven hundred different collectibles to find and a slew of awful minigames which didn’t work correctly, and in some ways it’s refreshing that Spyro The First avoided all that clutter.

Fin or Bin:

Well, there’s technically three games here, but they all likely play similiarly enough that I don’t need to Fin/Bin each one in turn. I’m having fun with Title One, but remember Title Two being far superior, and I want to know how Title Three compares. Fin!


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Titles under the Humble Original banner are more often proof-of-concept toys rather than fully fleshed out games, and Operator is no exception to this. The game boasts one full mission of something that could potentially be much larger- the seeds are sown in ill-gotten emails and text messages for some expansive world-building beyond just the mission at hand.

It’s impossible to ignore how reminiscent of HackNet the whole package is- which, given HackNet’s status as BBLC’s GOTY 2019, is a mighty big pair of shoes to fit into. It’s perhaps an unfair comparison given Operator is a Humble Original, but as both games are available on the same platform (in Operator’s case, it’s the only place you can get it) it’s inevitable- and I’m happy to say Operator does about as well as it possibly could in the circumstances. It has a few toys HackNet doesn’t include, such as hackable cameras and even a drone you can pilot around the facility.

Excepting a few glitches (said drone can very easily be taken out of bounds), these additional toys would make for a very cool successor to HackNet. Time will tell if the team behind Operator ever takes it that far.

Fin or Bin:

The game was over within the hour, so this determination comes down to whether or not I would play more of it if there was more to play- and I absolutely would. With some spit-n-polish and access to more missions across an expansive story, Operator could be something pretty special. Hopefully one day I’‘ll get to Finish that game, too.


Two games in a row, now, we’ve had to struggle with the unreliable narrator- or, perhaps, the difficult-to-trust narrator. Where QUBE’s narrator promised I was totally on a spaceship and would totally get to talk to my wife soon, Anodyne opens with a direct instruction from a nameless and presenceless source- you will use the arrow keys to move.

It’s an interesting choice of language, and one that immediately sets the tone- Anodyne’s dark and unsettling dream-like nature is immediate and pervasive, with even the comedic moments being just off-kilter enough to feel sinister.

It feels a lot like a dark take on Link’s Awakening, a comparison the game itself makes several times with some direct references to the dialogue in that game. It’s something I wish happened less- or rather, not at all; they tend to steer the mood towards parody, and cheapen the tone the game has worked hard to set.

Anodyne describes itself as a ‘Zelda-lite’, with the best comparison being the original NES title. You move in the four cardinal directions and thrust your weapon- in this instance, a broom- forward one players-width in front of you to defeat enemies. Rather than collectible items, Anodyne has interactible elements in the world with which to solve puzzles. Sweep up a pile of dust and shake it off in front of a laser beam to block it, or guide enemies in front of the laser to defeat them and open the gate. It works fine, and the fact that most puzzles are contained within a single screen keeps the pace brisk.

Fin or Bin:

There’s a few instances of things ‘just happening’, which is tricky to do well- it often falls into the “lol so random xD” pit where humour goes to die. I think the overall foreboding atmosphere, and the dreamscape presentation, complement it enough that it hasn’t bothered me yet outside of some fourth-wall breaking references. I’m intrigued to see where the dream takes me, which makes it a Fin!