Wherein I discuss my writing victory, a $13 billion dog, two upcoming review candidates, and that one preposterously prominent Polish zombie game.
This past week, I finished editing my sixth novel, Psycho Bullet Festival 2222, which wound up being a resounding 139,000 words long. After I finished this, I assembled all chapters into a main Google Doc. From this new master document, I spent 90-ish minutes creating posts for all 22 chapters, scheduled to release from 2/2/22 to 2/22/22 at 22:22 UTC. This means that even if I die tomorrow, you WILL be able to read Psycho Bullet Festival 2222 in its entirety.
However, that does not mean that Psycho Bullet Festival 2222 is 100% done, as I still need to prepare the 23 header images and cover for this novel. As of queuing this post, I prepared art assets for the cover and the first nine chapters. Meaning that I still need to make a modified 16 x 9 version of the cover, and header images for the remaining 13 chapters. Originally, I was not going to give myself a deadline for these things, but the process has gone WAY smoother than expected, so I should have header images for all chapters when they’re published. I mean, assuming I don’t die within the next month.
The news cycle kicked off with the announcement that Take Two Interactive is poised to acquire social gaming juggernaut Zynga for $12.7 billion. The core reason this acquisition is being made, according to the press release, is because Zynga and Take Two occupy vastly different strata of the games industry… And because their corporate accountants forecasted that this could make a lot of money for shareholders in the long-term.
Looking at this dollar figure really reminded me just how big the mobile sector of the games industry truly is, which I do need to be reminded of, as I have a very ‘old world’ way of looking at computers. I assume that most people still use desktops or laptops. The idea of using a phone to browse the internet or message people via text still makes little sense to me, as I just find mobile to be disgustingly limited next to a desktop.
However, many people in many countries in the world do not have access to a desktop or laptop and can only access the internet via their phones. Plenty of young people only have a phone or tablet to access the internet as those, bizarrely enough, are cheaper and more accessible than a standard PC. Mobile is becoming the dominant force for how people engage with the web, technology and yes, even games. Now, the console/PC industry will continue to grow as time goes on, especially in Southeast Asia and MENA markets. Yet, as far as ‘tech’ is concerned, mobile is dominant, and… I kind of hate that. I could list the reasons why, but they all come down to how I do not really know how to use a smartphone ‘properly.’
I mean, I have spent a cumulative hour using my smartphone in bed and 95% of the time I’m using it, I’m playing Dragalia Lost. A game that I would rather be playing on my PC with a wired Xbox 360 controller.
What else can I talk about this week? Well, there were not many major announcements, as people are getting back into the old grind after their holiday breaks. Though there were a few things that captured my attention.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Kirby Discovery: The Forgotten Land both got new trailers that look pretty good. Normally, this would not warrant a spot in a Rundown, but both titles are going to be some of the next game reviews on Nigma Box. So I may as well talk about them a bit more.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus’s trailer was more of a roundup of the unique mechanics introduced in this game. Namely, how it has more Monster Hunter DNA, features faster and more visually stimulating combat, and might bog down the gameplay loop with manufactured checklist-filling. I have concerns about this game, but I don’t really see playing/reviewing this game to be a choice. I am cursed to forever be invested in this IP and FOMO’s a dastard, so I know I cannot just ‘pass this game by.’
I also should announce that I’m going to release my review of Pokémon Legends: Arceus on February 23rd, hours after finishing the publication of Psycho Bullet Festival 2222. Now, that is nearly a month after the game’s January 28th release date. I could probably get it out sooner, but I want time to sink my teeth into this game, and I don’t want to interrupt the publication of PBF 2222 with any review malarky. Bonk that ish!
Meanwhile, I am interested in Kirby Discovery: The Forgotten Land because Kirby Super Star Ultra is one of my favorite games of all time. Now, that might make you think I am a massive Kirby fan, but I’m really not. I’ve ‘played’ everything from Dream Land (1992) to Air Ride (2003). However, I never ‘got‘ Amazing Mirror (2004), thought Squeak Squad (2006) was blasé, and kind of lost interest in the ongoing series after Triple Deluxe (2013) was so standard and safe. I loved games like Epic Yarn (2010) and Mass Attack (2011), but the platformers released afterward did not capture my interest. At least, until Forgotten Land.
First off, Forgotten Land is a gorgeous game set in a distinct, colorful, and personality-rich world that doubles as a post-apocalyptic setting. One where society was once prosperous and heavily industrialized, but everything has been reclaimed by lush nature and cutesy critters. I dig this art style, and want to see just how warped and dope it gets during the later levels, as Kirby games wanton do. Secondly, this is a 3D Kirby platformer. I have wanted that for over 15 years, and if there was any gameplay hook to get me reinvested in a mainline title, it’s that!
Now, I would like to get a review out close to its March 25th release date, but that is right in the middle of tax season. So instead, I’m going to queue a review for early May. It’s late, but at least it’s not years late, like the dozens of reviews I’ve been putting off due to my crappy scheduling skills…
Open world zombie shooter Dying Light 2: Stay Human was a punching bag for a day or two after developer Techland announced that this game would take 500 hours to complete. Techland later clarified what they meant by that, stating that the main story would take 20 hours, doing every side quest would take 80, and doing literally everything would take 500 hours. Which makes it sound like a game that appeals to people who like games of all lengths.
Still, that 500 hour figure strikes me as very… perplexing, considering how much content would need to be included into a game to justify those lengths, and why Techland would even want to boast such a ridiculous length. I do not have an answer… but the real answer might have to do with how this is a sequel to Dying Light. A title that has seen some of the most thorough post-launch support of any game that isn’t a live service.
Dying Light originally launched in 2015, where it was met with a less than stellar critical reception. This was due to how it was a survival-based open world zombie first-person action game that came out when people are fatigued of those things, and how the game was a bit light on content at launch. However, the title still proved to be a rousing success, selling over 5 million units in 7 months. This prompted Techland to support the game with a series of content packs, new features, and a cornucopious amount of stuff. Stuff that allowed the game to retain an active playerbase for far longer than anybody would have guessed back in 2015.
It speaks volumes of just how much post-launch support and updates can change a game and how, in these modern times, the whole idea of a launched product being the ‘final game’ really is not true. Games can be supported for years, morph into something better, and I actually think that is a great boon to this past generation of gaming. However, I want to highlight how Dying Light is NOT online only. I think some features are tied to a central server, but you will be able to play this game forever. Now if only other heavily supported and actively developed games would follow that example. Or, you know, not tie a rope around the neck of something that cost millions of dollars and lifetimes of labor to create.
It is also worth noting that Techland confirmed that Dying Light 2 will receive 5 years of additional content. While this is admirable, it makes me wonder why anybody would opt to pick up DL2 when it launches on February 4th. At launch, it will be at its most expensive, buggiest, and most limited state. Then again, you could ask the same question for basically every game with a ‘content roadmap’…
Header image comes from Crossdressing Fetish Gone Out Of Hand by Marialite. Marialite is one of those wonderful patrons of the perverse who frequently commissions TSF comics from a wide variety of artists, but their comics have a few unifying traits:
They involve some sort of bodysuit or ‘gooey’ transformation where people steal one another’s identities, a dark twist of some sort, end in a permanent or semi-permanent, and are bizarrely specific in their content and structure. They all read like something Marialite meticulously outlined before commissioning, because they get so specific and so niche. Which is something I value, as a lot of TSF works can feel rather samey.
Crossdressing Fetish Gone Out Of Hand, their most recently translated work, follows a former crossdresser who lost the ability to adequately feminize themselves after puberty gave them a toned and tall male body, forcing them to give up on their hobby. But then their former crossdressing buddy gives him a drug that turns women into bodysuits, allowing him to fulfill his— and there’s no other way to say this— his autogynephilia fantasies within the body of a busty blonde bunny girl.
I thought it was great for a 31 page comic, and one of the reasons is how it manages to nail this beautiful blend between something more cartoonish and silly and something both dire and intense. You start with this brutal scene where the protagonist injects this woman with a drug, causing her to panic as she realizes that something wretched and wrong has entered her body. As her panic begins, the life leaves her eyes and her body to fall down, like she was made of plastic, before the mass evaporates from her body. What was once a person is now reduced to a sheath of skin. A thing that the protagonist immerses himself into, sinking into her arms and legs while panting and sweating in pleasure, all positioned against a dark backdrop.
This is quickly followed by scenes where the protagonist wears these grade A goofy expressions as he masturbates like a horny bumbler before he gets himself amped up for lesbian sex with his bodysuiting buddy.
Seriously, the expressions are one of the things I most look forward to when reading a hentai— after the plot, obviously. And whoever the artist is here, they did a great job of creating faces that help endear the reader to the character and make them feel like more of a person. That might not seem like a big deal, but… it is to me. I have seen so much drawn sexual imagery that I am basically numb to it, but I will always stop and look at the funny faces, because they’re cute!