In which, stuff does not spark joy.

The last few weeks have been great weeks for cleaning out my space, both in terms of physical space and in terms of the game backlog. Both have involved a lot of throwing things out and taking things to charity shops. I can walk anywhere in our house now, and the only cardboard boxes lying around are ones we put out so that the cats can have temporary forts in their endless game of king-of-the-hill.

I have closet space, too, and that’s a minor miracle considering I used to have one of those secondary rails that you hang from your main closet rail because you have too many t-shirts.

I didn’t QUITE go all KonMari, but I feel a great deal freer.

I took nine games off the backlog recently as well, though admittedly only two of those were by actually finishing them. I have been going through the stacks of “this was on sale” or “people rave about this game so I should try it”, and I wound up cutting a lot of stuff after a couple hours of play because it just wasn’t sticking.

I did finish Senran Kagura: Reflexions, which was a weird little Switch game about massaging Asuka from the Senran Kagura series.  There’s a story around this, but it’s hard to describe without getting too into spoilers.  It’s not as pervy as you would think – this is on a Nintendo system, after all – but it still tweaks the blue hair brigade pretty well.  It’s a game that’s Banned From Discussion on resetera, and that’s usually a sign that a game is worth checking out.  Apart from the Asuka story, you can download stories for Yomi, Murasaki, Ryona and Yumi. I will judge you very hard if you do not rank the characters in roughly that order yourself.

Along that same vein, I also played through Lucy Got Problems, a visual novel about a succubus who knows that she’s been sent on a terribly important mission but can’t quite remember exactly what she was supposed to do. We’re not talking high art, here, but it makes fun of a lot of fantasy tropes and is actually enhanced by all of the failure states that you can run into.  Personally, any game where I can be killed by murderous squirrels within five minutes of starting is a game worth playing.

By default, it is NOT a porny VN, but there is a patch available on the dev’s Patreon if that’s your sort of thing.

Games I dropped, and reasons:

The Surge:
A reasonably good Souls-like, but it turns out that I don’t really like Souls in a sci-fi setting. The expansion, A Walk In The Park, is a little more fun, but not enough to make me want to keep going.

Yakuza Kiwami:
Running around a tiny slice of 2005 Tokyo is awesome. Seriously. For pure atmosphere, this is a fantastic game. Sadly it’s bogged down by really tedious boss fights and by the fact that I really don’t enjoy playing “tough guy” characters.

Sleeping Dogs:
This came with a video card and I’ve never even started it, but after bouncing off Yakuza because I didn’t like playing the tough guy, I think I am completely done with the gritty Asian underworld genre.

Mass Effect: Andromeda
I loved the original Mass Effect trilogy, but after 3 or 4 hours of this I realized that the most joy I was getting was when I reached a save point and could stop playing. Again, I think I’m just not a big sci-fi settings guy.

Code of Princess EX
A remake of the 3DS game, which was great, but now with higher resolution graphics and no English dub – what could go wrong?
Well, it turns out that the developers decided that the original game was too easy and they needed to tweak some of the boss AI. The original game had a great difficulty curve, the remake has a brick wall halfway through that I got tired of beating my head against. It also keeps the old subtitles, so there are some jarring differences between what the characters are saying and what the subtitles say.

Heroine Anthem: Episode 1
I thought this was a platforming action sort of game, and it is… if you don’t mind your platforming action regularly being broken up by talking-head pixel dramas and crazy-long loading times between screens. It would almost have been better as a visual novel.

The Hex
A new game from the Pony Island guy? SIGN ME RIGHT UP… except it turns out to be a bunch of kinda tedious mini-games and a plot that wasn’t going anywhere fast. Pony Island telegraphed the “we’re on a one-way train to crazy town” plot from basically minute one, but after two hours I was still wondering when The Hex was going to get moving.

So, after all that, I’m down under the 50 game mark in my endless war against the backlog. Right now, I’m playing through the Mortal Kombat X story mode and it’s actually keeping my interest despite, or perhaps because of, how just pants-on-head bizarre the Mortal Kombat lore seems to be.

Also I really thought they had Nathan Fillion playing Johnny Cage, which I thought was a great casting choice. It turns out that it’s just a guy who kinda sounds like Nathan Fillion but he is still fun to listen to.

Posted in organization, Switch, videogames | 3 Comments


I wrapped up the Uncharted remaster collection tonight.  The ratio of “shooting hordes of men in the head” to “solving puzzles and climbing on things” in Uncharted 3 was a little more weighted towards the puzzles and climbing side of things, which was nice.  Still a ton of combat, of course, and I’m not a huge fan of that side of these games, but I get the whole combat-as-a-puzzle gimmick they’re going for now and that makes it a little more tolerable.

Side note: I only found one waterfall that I could actually get to, and there wasn’t any way to get behind it.  I will give them a pass.  This time.

Uncharted 3 is definitely a roller coaster of a game.  I say that because it’s very thrilling but requires the player to sort of buy in to the way you’re supposed to play it in order to get the most enjoyment from it, and if you try to go against the designer’s intentions, you are going to wind up off the tracks and dying in a crumpled mess very quickly.  There are some sequences that are almost Dragon’s Lair levels of trial-and-error gameplay, where you WILL run down a corridor chased by a wall of water, dying over and over again until you know every possible turn and jump… and once you have mastered that, then it’s a beautiful, action-movie-like sequence as Drake dashes effortlessly down the hallway and jumps to safety at the last possible moment.  It’s an adrenaline-pumping moment that …well, that honestly felt like the director REALLY wanted a cutscene here but was told that he couldn’t have a budget for a cutscene, so you get to die over and over again until you play it the Right Way.

I play a lot of games where the enjoyment comes out of having an adversarial relationship with the game and its rules.  The Uncharted games have been games where the enjoyment is heightened once you are submissive to the game’s story-line, and where trying to play against the designer’s intentions is a quick trip to Frustration City.  If you let yourself go, then they are brilliant adventure stories with a quick-witted and charming (if somewhat homicidal) protagonist on a quest to save a) The World, b) The Girl, and c) His Best Friend, not necessarily in any particular order of importance.

It also helps if you don’t try to make any particular sense out of the world.  Let’s completely ignore all of the Awesome Ancient Puzzle Contraptions that are in sealed rooms that you can only get into because one of the walls has collapsed, and instead talk about Bob.

Bob is the name I gave to an NPC who stands on a little ledge on one of the ribs of a rusted-out wreck of a container ship that serves as one of the game’s platforming challenges, and he is there solely to be facing away from the player when you climb up to the ledge and push the Awesome Stealth Attack button to yank him down off the ledge to his death, with mandatory scream.

Once I got up on Bob’s ledge, I looked around.  There wasn’t any bridge to the ledge, or any other way to safely get to it, and the only way OFF the platform was to make a jump across a gaping chasm of instant death.

Look, I’m not going to demand realism from one of these games, but it wouldn’t have hurt to give Bob a little rope ladder to explain how he got there and how he planned to leave.

Also they should not have put so many spiders in the game.

I still had a lot of fun with the series, and actually thought that they got better with each installment.  I will probably pick up 4 the next time it gets priced down during one of Sony’s regular digital sales.

On an entirely personal note, I have a trip to Belgium coming up in a few months, where they apparently speak French? And I don’t know a word of French and honestly when I hear it spoken it all comes out as a solid blurrrrrrrrr of noise where Ican’ttellwhereonewordstopsandthenextbegins.  One side benefit to these games is that they let the player chose the spoken and subtitle languages, so I got to set them to French audio and English subtitles.

I still don’t know a word of French, but 30 hours of listening to Nate make wisecracks in French and be threatened in French has at least gotten me to the point where I’m starting to understand where the words start and end.  So at least I’ll probably be able to pick train station names out of the blur.  Totes educational.


Posted in PS4, videogames | 4 Comments

The Old Man and Mercy

It’s mid-January and I am still playing Overwatch for between 30 and 60 minutes every night while making the pedals of our exercise bike go ’round.  As far as exercise routines go, it’s pretty low impact… but it does make me feel better about myself so I’m going to stick with it.

I mostly play in the “Quick Play” mode, which is no-expectations-low-stress gaming that fills up an experience bar that occasionally goes “Ding!” and spits out a box of random cosmetics for characters that I do not play.  The important thing is that I am filling a bar, and then it empties so I can fill it again.

A few months ago, I decided to dip into Overwatch’s “competitive play” mode for just long enough to run the 10 placement matches to receive a rank.  I did not have high expectations, so I was positively giddy when the game ranked me at 1530SR, which is just barely into silver and which meant that, even though I’m dealing with all of the assorted annoyances of getting older, there was still a rank below me.

You take the small victories where you find them.

Anyway, it’s a new season of competitive Overwatch and I figured I would run through the placement matches again now that I had been playing Mercy for about six weeks and thought I’d gotten at least a little better.

I did better on the matches!  The first time around, I went 3-and-7, but this time, WOO BOY WATCH OUT. 

OK, not hugely better but surely better enough to place a little higher…

Nope!  Apparently I had somehow gotten considerably worse.

I like to say that I don’t have a competitive personality, but that’s not entirely true.  I am fiercely competitive when it comes to myself.  I want to be getting better at things, not worse, and this vexed me.

Some degree of reading Overwatch forums led me to a somewhat ego-salving explanation. According to the collective wisdom, placement matches are only really “placement matches” the very first time you run them.  After that, they’re basically just playing more competitive games at your current SR level, and it’s pretty common for people to drop a couple hundred points of ranking.

I liked this explanation a lot, but when I am being told something that I want to hear I always have a tendency to want to confirm it for myself.  Fortunately, I actually own Overwatch on the Xbox as well as the PC, thanks to the recent Winter sale, so in theory I could just run the placement matches there…

…except you need to be level 25.  And I was level 8.  And that was a grind that was going to be hard to do from the bike, even at an hour a night.

So for the first time in months, I actually sat my butt down in a comfortable chair to play Overwatch.  And play Overwatch.  And play Overwatch.  It took about 12 hours of “match time”, plus way too much time spent waiting on queues or stuck in the Skirmish mode, but I did eventually hit level 25.

There were some highlights along the way, like this entirely implausible four-gold-medals match:

I’m sorry, is it wrong of me to be extra gleeful about getting the #1 spot for both damage output and heals?

And a ton of endorsements.  Not many people play support classes in quick play on the Xbox, so if you feel like farming endorsements I heartily recommend doing that:

I hit endorsement level 3 at level 24, by the way.

Oh, and I got an achievement that I hadn’t managed on the PC version of the game.

To get this, you need to resurrect six people in one match without dying.  I was in a match that was going just stunningly well and realized that I had rezzed four people already and there were like two minutes left and if I just derped a couple of heals here and there I could make sure that I had a couple of bodies lying around to resurrect…

I’m not a good person.

Still, eventually I hit level 25 and went happily off to the competitive play mode to see if I was REALLY a 1350SR Mercy.

My first match did not go well.  The matchmaking algorithm dropped me into a game against a nearly-full group of coordinated players, and they just steamrollered us all the way to the finish line, then did it again in reverse when it was our turn on attack.

The only notable result was that I got my first salty Xbox Live message in 17 years of owning an Xbox.

I mean, it wasn’t that salty.  There’s no references to my mother or anything.  Still, I got told to Git Gud by an internet stranger, and I feel like a Real Gamer(tm) now.

I’d be lying if I said that the next nine matches went TOO much better, but at least I didn’t drop below my baseline:

3-and-7 in October, 3-and-7 today.  Eh, I’ll take it.

The end result, though?

BAM, I say.  BAM.  No being condemned to bronze-level scrubdom for THIS guy, no sir.  That is a high-SILVER level of scrubdom.  Practically gold scrubdom.  I am completely vindicated.

Anyway, I guess the message here is that if you really want to get a… slightly more complimentary measurement of your skill at Overwatch, all you really need to do is… uh… buy a second copy of the game and then spend about twenty hours of your life grinding up to level 25 again and uh…

I may have played myself.


Posted in Overwatch, videogames, Xbox One | 1 Comment

What’s the opposite of a “Sophomore Slump”?

Yeah.  Let’s get one thing out of the way right up front.  Uncharted 2: Among Thieves commits the same unforgivable sin as its predecessor, in that it has multiple waterfalls with absolutely nothing cool hidden behind them.  I checked.  Not all of them, mind you – there are a lot of waterfalls! – but enough of them to be profoundly disappointed.  There was even one waterfall that had an enticing little tunnel that led behind it and… wound up in a dead end.  What’s even the point, really?

So there’s no way that this game could ever get a ten out of ten in my book.

Still, it’s an amazing improvement over the first game, and I’m glad that I’ve finally gotten around to playing it, even if it did take me a decade.  It’s right up there with the Assassin’s Creed series for Best Improvement In A Sequel.  The opening train sequence – the tutorial level, for crying out loud! – is one of the best set pieces I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing through, and I didn’t even mind needing to repeat it about five hours later.

On the other hand, Uncharted 2 does represent some of the worst aspects of early-gen-7 game design, in that there are a lot of places where it’s not sure whether it wants to be a game or a movie, and the camera whips around and locks into the perfect angle to spotlight whatever the director thought you should be looking at at this precise moment in time rather than trusting the player with control.  Usually it’s pointing the way you SHOULD be going, which is maybe a little easier than designing levels that naturally draw the player towards the objective.  On the plus side, this lets some of the platforming be legitimately challenging – there were a lot of places where I would try and fail a particular jump over and over and would probably have given up on if the camera hadn’t been insistently saying “no, really, you CAN go this way.”

Then there’s the combat, which initially bugged me with the number of times I’d wind up repeating an arena segment over and over.  It took me quite a while to stop thinking of the firefight sequences as though I was playing a traditional 3rd-person-shooter and start thinking of them as puzzles, where figuring out the right order to fight enemies was way more important than any actual skill at aiming.  Once that happened, I discovered that I quite liked the shooty bits, and I’m looking forward to playing the next game in the series with that understanding already in place.

The final boss fight suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks, though, and I do not often type over a dozen consecutive “u”s so you may take that as extreme emphasis on the degree of awfulness represented by the last boss.  Also, I am astonished by the sheer amount of punishment that the opponents in this game can absorb.  In one particularly egregious case, I had a HUMAN opponent absorb seven .45 caliber bullets to his unarmored head from point-blank range before finally giving up the ghost.

I have never been shot, but I’m reasonably sure that it would be quite difficult to survive the first bullet, much less the first six.

Hmm, that’s been a couple of paragraphs of me whining.  Let’s offset that a bit by praising the story, because it’s a great pulpy adventure.  I went through a Doc Savage phase in my youth, and Uncharted 2 pushed all of my happy buttons.  I also liked the return of familiar characters who weren’t forced into the exact roles they played in the original game, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them and of Chloe in the future.

So, huge improvement, but let’s take off a half point for the bullet sponginess of the enemies and the final boss and another point for the continuing waterfall disappointment.

Not that I give points.  I don’t do that kind of thing.

Next up is NOT Uncharted 3, because I have a ridiculously pretentious post title that is stuck in my head and won’t let me do anything else until I’ve written the post to go with it. That has me working on an Overwatch project, the details of which are probably left in the crazier parts of my brain until I’ve actually finished it.

Posted in PS4, videogames | 6 Comments

A Perfect 7.

While I talk a lot about specific games on here, I don’t really consider my posts to be “reviews”, and I certainly don’t assign scores to any of the games I talk about.  If I finish something, I think it’s probably worth playing, unless of course I am finishing it just out of guilt for having spent money on it.

Also sometimes – often! – I will play a game just because it has cute characters.  I’m not particularly deep.

Despite my no-score policy, sometimes I find myself playing something that is just so definitively the example of a specific number that I can’t help myself, and that’s my rather mediocre segue into a few paragraphs blathering on about Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, a perfectly enjoyable game but oh-so-much the archetypical example of a 7/10.

I am, to be sure, a decade late to this particular game, but in fairness I DID try to play it back when it originally released. I downloaded the demo from PSN, cheerfully walked through a lush jungle environment for a couple of minutes, and then was asked to cross a log while balancing myself with the Sixaxis controller.

Three or four attempts later, I came to the conclusion that, even if I ever got across the stupid log, there would probably be plenty of other opportunities to be asked to do similar things later on in the game and that I should probably not even bother playing it.

On the other hand, people rave about Uncharted 2, and to a lesser extent Uncharted 4, so I’ve always been a little curious to go back to the series.  Just, you know, not with the dumb logs.

The dumb, dumb, DUMB logs.  My vocabulary today is not especially varied.

Then came the “Nathan Drake Collection”, which bundles up shinier and prettier versions of the first three games and takes out the balancing bits.  I could not have asked for a remaster more closely in-line with my interests, so I waited until it was on sale for 8 bucks and bought it so it could sit comfortably in my backlog.

Now that I’ve actually taken the first game OUT of my backlog and given it a run-through, it’s… well, it’s OK! I think I’ve covered that with the whole seven thing.  It’s very much an example of a game trying to be Cinematic, and there were a lot of times where I felt that I was just pressing forward and occasionally hitting X to jump on my way to the Next Big Scripted Moment, but it has enough Cool Scripted Moments that I didn’t mind the sensation of being on an amusement park ride TOO much.  I got into scrapes, I met some suitably villainous villains, I was startled by the Big Twist about 2/3rds of the way through, I eventually Saved The Girl and sailed off into the sunset.

I’ve heard the series described as “Dude Raider”, so I was expecting a lot of clambering across the walls of tombs and jumping from one precarious handhold to the next and falling off things and dying a lot.  I got that in spades, by the way, and by and large it was pretty enjoyable stuff.  I’m knocking a point off here, though, because I didn’t feel like the platforming followed a consistent set of rules.  At times, it felt like whether or not I could make a particular jump depended entirely on whether I was doing what the game wanted me to.  That’s a personal sensation, so I may be being unfair.

I also wasn’t QUITE expecting the game to have such an …emphasis on combat.

Basically, for a lovable scamp, Drake spends an AWFUL lot of time playing “insert bullet A into bad guy B” and there were a lot of times when I’d wind up replaying a combat arena for the nth time, knowing THIS time that after I killed THESE four guys that another guy was going to spawn on THAT ledge with a grenade launcher so I needed to be ready for him and oh god can we JUST GET BACK TO THE PLATFORMING ALREADY.

So, that knocked another point off the score and took it down to an eight.

It lost the final point for committing the greatest sin you can commit in a game:

This is a waterfall.  I am in a cave behind the waterfall.  There’s nothing cool back here.  It’s just a little depression in the cliff face that you can walk through the waterfall to get into.  Seriously?  Put something cool in here and we’ll talk about getting you your eight back.  For now, you get a seven.


Posted in ps3, PS4, videogames | 8 Comments

Ashen: I couldn’t think of a funny post title.

Let’s be clear.  I had a wide variety of post titles to choose between, but in the end I couldn’t decide between making a funny play on words involving “ash” or making a Souls reference that would be ever-so-clever but probably hopelessly opaque.

So, let’s set that aside so I can talk about Ashen, which is the latest “Like Dark Souls, only…” game to hit the market, and which gives us nutters something to do between now and whenever Code Vein and Nioh 2 come out.

Like Dark Souls, Ashen takes place in a bleak and dying world.  If you watch the introduction, you’ll learn that the world was created by a dying raven or something and its final breaths gave birth to the ages of man and, uh, honestly it seems like someone put an unusual degree of thought into their world’s mythology and I would be doing it a disservice to try to describe it.

Anyway, that raven died, a new one is about to be born, this is a Generally Good Thing but of course there are some Bad People who are quite happy with the whole bleak and dying world status quo and would like to keep it that way.  Enter you.

Setting the lore aside, some of the writing is exceptionally odd.

As you may-or-may-not get from the only screenshot I took during my play through, Ashen has a very interesting low-poly aesthetic, and I quite fell in love with it.  It’s also populated with NPCs that are much more talkative and generally less depressing than your average From Software game, and part of the appeal of the game is that you start out in a tiny encampment that you have taken over from a bunch of bandits and eventually turn it into a bustling and happy town full of all the people you meet on your travels.

So it’s Like Dark Souls, Only Hopeful.

It’s also Like Dark Souls, Only You Play With Someone Else.  You will always – unless you turn them off – have an NPC accompanying you on your slow quest to make the world less awful, and these NPCs are generally very helpful.  It’s good to have someone along to take aggro from a boss while you’re desperately trying to heal, or to help you on to ledges and so forth.  They’re not always going to be NPCs, though – part of the way the game works is that other players on the same quest as you will automatically be put into your game and you will see them as the NPCs that have suddenly mysteriously decided to start running around and picking fights you weren’t quite ready for yet.  Likewise, they will see YOU as the NPC in their game who is now hanging back and not supporting them as they charge into a bandit camp.

I turned the passive multiplayer off after a while.  I turned it back on eventually.  More on that later.

It’s also Like Dark Souls, Only A Lot Smaller.  It’s a very flat world and is split into a handful of very contained areas.  There aren’t any clever shortcuts between zones, and it basically divides into “The world you can get to before the third boss” and “The world you can get to after you get a movement skill from beating the third boss.” There are five big-health-bar-dramatic-music encounters in the game, and the first four of them are, frankly, kind of on the easy side.  Two of them are located at the ends of a couple of long and very nasty dungeons, so the process of getting TO the boss is the real challenge.  You also can’t save and quit in the middle of a dungeon – if you need to exit the game for any reason, you will load back in at the checkpoint outside the dungeon on your next play session.

Fortunately, both of these dungeons come with a convenient checkpoint just prior to the boss door.

The fifth boss fight, well, it’s a real corker.  The last boss is a real front-towards-enemy affair, where if they are pointed at you then you had best be dodging.  You don’t have very big windows to actually retaliate, and the line between landing a hit and getting too greedy and getting slapped down for 80% of your health bar is a very fine line indeed.

There is also no going and grinding up a bunch of levels somewhere to trivialize bosses.  Your health and stamina upgrades almost all come from quests, and there are a limited number of quests.  If you’ve done all the quests and a boss is handing you your own ash on a platter, you have limited options outside of getting better at dodging.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Anyway, this is why I turned the multiplayer back on, because the NPC companions were getting flattened and I wasn’t up to doing all the heavy lifting on my own.  I sat at the boss door for a little while, another player came along, we teamed up and played Boss Aggro Tennis for a good ten minutes and emerged victorious.

Other It’s Like Dark Souls, Only include “Only with no magic” and “Only without extensive build customization” and of course “Only rather less expensive” which is a nice thing to see in a marketplace of $60-and-then-there’s-a-season-pass-of-course releases and which makes up for the smaller world and the rather shallow skill options.  The game throws a variety of pointy and bludgeoning toys at you – no swords, though – and the entirety of your “build” comes from playing around with all of them and picking a moveset you like.  In my case, I started with a simple club, picked up a SPIKED club a few minutes later, and then just kept upgrading that spiked club until the end credits.

Side note on that whole “Only rather less expensive” thing.  The Xbone version is available on Gamepass.  So, if you subscribe to Gamepass, or if you picked up the $1-for-a-month deal over the holidays, or if you still have that free month of Gamepass voucher kicking around in your Xbone box, Ashen is an exceptional value.  It’s 40 freedom dollars otherwise, or roughly 40 of whatever your local currency is.

A final note on Ashen, specific to the Xbone version: It has many 17-point achievements, and quite a lot of them are entirely optional and yet VERY easy to knock out when you decide to do them.  What I’m trying to say is that if, say, you played Otomedius G back in 2010 and wound up with an odd gamer score afterwards…

…you can follow it up with Ashen…

…and suddenly you have a multiple-of-5 gamer score again and it can stop gnawing at your soul like it has been for the last eight years not that I’m anal or anything and not that I would be troubled by such a minor and inconsequential thing as a number on the corner of my TV not ending in a properly round number and err…

Hey! Look at the time. I gotta go.  Play Ashen, it’s pretty good.

Posted in Souls, videogames, Xbox One | 5 Comments

On Steam Erasure

Steam has gotten a little weird lately.  It’s gone from being a place to buy major games that occasionally had really good sales to being a place that’s… well, something of a dumping ground for indie games, and also you can buy games from major publishers unless they have their own storefront.  Which most of them do now.

There’s been some major confusion in the last year as to what exactly is allowed on Steam, since the concept of “curation” appears to have flown right out the window at about the same time as they ditched the Greenlight concept.  Right now, the rules seem to be that almost anything goes, and the result has been a ton of pretty low-effort games.  I’ve actually bought a few of these when they show up in my recommendations list, mostly because I respect the hustle of taking a Unity coding example, slapping some art on it, and marketing it as a real game.

This brings me to “Fist of Love”, a game where you play rock, paper, scissors against a small selection of attractive opponents.  It’s not much of a game, more of a quick way to get a bunch of Steam achievements, and it’s not surprising that it got delisted.

It was also only 24 cents.  So, really, it’s hard to expect a lot of game for that.

More interesting than the actual game, though, is what I noticed after playing it, because it’s basically invisible.  It doesn’t show in the “recently played games” on your profile page and you can’t see the achievements list unless you’re actually in-game.  I did get a trading card after playing it, though, and this had attributes I’ve never seen on a card before:

For the record, here’s a trading card from another game I have, “Afterfall InSanity Extended Edition”.  This game was likewise delisted – you can’t buy it any more and it doesn’t have a store page.  Still…

…this game’s cards can still be bought and sold on the marketplace.  If you want an “Afterfall” badge, there are a couple hundred of every card available right now, for about a nickel per.

So there are apparently a couple levels of delisted games – ones that Steam acknowledges in at least some sense, and ones that it wants to pretend didn’t ever exist.

Still, you can use the Booster Pack maker to make a pack of trading cards for Fist of Love…

…and there is a trade forum…

…and between these, I was able to throw together what will probably remain my rarest Steam badge ever:

So that’s a very odd little accomplishment.

The strange thing is, it’s not particularly unusual for these sorts of barely-games to show up on Steam and then get taken down after a few days. What’s unusual is that they’re not normally supposed to get trading cards.  There’s a waiting period after any new game is published where it has to hit a certain number of sales and a certain number of actual players before the cards get turned on, so at some point Fist of Love hit that threshold and got the Valve blessing of “OK, you’re a real game now” before falling down the memory hole.

Still, I can download and install and run it.  So even if Valve wants to pretend it never existed, they’re not yanking back the rights I paid for with that quarter.  And it did inspire me to use the trade forum, which was a new experience, and I got a blog post out of it.  So all around, I’ll call that a win.



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