Rundown (6/26-7/02) More Like Die-mocracy!

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Wherein I discuss current political woes and the latest Nintendo advertising showcase!

…I really dislike talking about ongoing political happenings here on Nigma Box, as it is a happy place and a bastion of nonsense. Like stories where a legion of beetles drink the semen of a horseman demon eating a bucket of macaroons. However, it is hard for me to remain fully committed to the approach when the world around me is burning. This has not been a good year for the US politically— what with all the anti-trans legislation with the objective to force transgender people into nonexistence. However, these past two weeks have been an absolute field day for the evil fuckwits in the Supreme Court of the United States. Who have been doing all they could to rob people of their rights and erode progress for this stagnant and lagging nation.

Within two weeks, they have done the following:

  • Overturned reproductive rights and denying fertile-uterus-owners the right to have abortions. A decision that was not made for any actual religious justification, but rather a desire to keep the poor and the ethnic minorities ‘in their place’ and maintain the social hierarchy by preventing people from ‘cheating the system.’
  • Prohibited the EPA from implementing policies that would limit the effects of climate change. Because this will help the friends of SCOTUS, who won’t have to hinder their profits to adhere to pesky regulations that will save people’s lives.
  • Strengthened the bonds between church and State by allowing public schools to implement prayer. A truly vile decision that will ‘other’ non-Christians and the non-religious, in addition to perpetuating the idea that children have the maturity, intelligence, and understanding needed to participate in a religion. I do not care what an adult’s religion is, but when it comes to children… Religion is little more than a way for parents to control their children and use them as vessels to carry their ideologies.
  • And now they are on the verge of giving states power to control and dictate how they conduct Federal elections. Which is code for widespread voter suppression, keeping red states red, and giving Republicans carte blanche to implement vile policies to prevent swing states from ever deviating. With the ultimate goal being to transform the Electoral College into a system where Democrats cannot win by design.

Looking over all of this… it is hard for me to not become utterly disenfranchised with politics and adopt the belief that the system is the problem. That the system of democracy is something inherently flawed, because it has been manipulated to enable evil to win like this, and do so with such haste and such pitiful resistance. 

I utterly despise what has been happening in politics for the past 6 years or so. Because it is wrong. Because things are supposed to progress, they are supposed to move forward, and things are supposed to get better, and not worse. But the system keeps on being exploited by evil, and it has gotten so overt, so extreme, that I would accept literally any solution to this problem. Any solution to cleanse and absolve the world of this cartoonish evil, this disdain for life.

What is the best solution? Reformation! …But I do not think reformation is ever going to work properly, because the Democrats, as a collective, are a bunch of non-committal and ineffectual slime balls. People who should act aggressive in this fight for rights, but insist on ‘following the rules’ and ‘taking the high road,’ like a bunch of self-determined losers. Extreme actions necessitate an extreme retaliation, and not this wishy-washy attempt to ‘meet in the middle.’ Because if you let someone with a history of aggression control the conversation, then you already lost. If they shout, you shout louder. If they go low, you go lower!

So, what is the solution? Well, the simplest and easiest solution is the same as it always is. Murder! …No, seriously. If somebody is a problem, the simplest and easiest way to dispose of them, to be rid of the problem they represent, is to murder them. Find out where they sleep, run five deep, and merc that motherfucker before they ever saw it coming. Make sure to bring assault weapons, explosives to make your own entrances, cars because cars are good at killing, and when they come to hold trial, just talk about how you are acting upon your constitutional rights. Just make sure you read off of the exact same script as the people who you despise.

Am I saying that my readers should do this? Am I inciting violence against my political enemies who want people like me to be genocided or socially pressured into nonexistence? Nope! Not at all! 

But I am saying that if someone were to hypothetically do this, and to encourage people to mimic their actions, then many political opponents could be disposed of. Now, would this also lead to war? Possibly. Do I want that? Well… If evil is going to win, I’d rather it win in a nuclear hellfire, rather than a vile coup and systematic erosion. Because I prefer my evil to be loud and overt. Otherwise, ignorant motherfuckers might get it twisted. …Wait, what am I saying? They already know they’re evil. They just don’t care.

Anyway, screw this political real-life bollocks. Let’s jam with some fly ish that doesn’t mean anything in comparison. Video games!

Right before the end of Q2, Activision Blizzard surprised me yet again by acquiring another studio, despite their purchase by Microsoft still going through the regulatory. This time, they sunk their bloodied claws into the hide of none other than Proletariat. A studio of approximately 100 people who are best known for the free-to-play cross-platform battle royale game, Spellbreak

However, with this acquisition, Spellbreak will sunset (never be playable ever again because ‘ending is better than mending’) and the development staff will instead be put to work on World of Warcraft, namely on the upcoming Dragonflight expansion. 

You really have to feel bad for the developers here. Not only are their bosses selling them to a company of known abusers, but a game they spent years working on, and a community they fostered over the past two, are all going to be destroyed in early 2023. As for the bosses instigating this transaction… I get that they wanted some greater stability in an uncertain market, but selling oneself to a company like Blizzard Entertainment is arguably a step below shutting down your entire studio. At least you aren’t aligning with known scumbags that way.

Nintendo held another one of their mini third-party Partners Showcases. This is something they have not done since October 2020, and during the few times they did these showcases, they were seen as less important because, regardless of the games, they were not Nintendo games. And many Nintendo fans are exclusively Nintendo fans. As such, the expectations and hype around these showcases always paled in comparison to others… not like that stopped this from being a pretty solid Direct with some nifty announcements.

Starting with the ports, after nearly 5 years of musings about a port, NieR Automata: End of YoRHa Edition was finally announced. Thus bringing the 2017 title, and one of my top 20 games of all time, to the platform on October 6, 2022. 

After being announced for Xbox and PlayStation two weeks ago, Atlus finally announced that the second Persona trilogy will be coming to Nintendo Switch. Starting with Persona 5 Royal on October 21 and continuing into 2023 with Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable. As I said in the Rundown two weeks ago, these games are a good fit for the platform. And I hope that they attract a whole new strata of fans that will allow the series to grow and prosper going forward.

After being a fairly obvious secret for a few years, Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection was announced. Following the release of Mega Man X Legacy Collection and Mega Man Zero Legacy Collection, this was the next logical step. And thanks to Pokémon-esque dual versions, this collection looks rather stuffed, as it features a total of ten titles: 

  • Mega Man Battle Network
  • Mega Man Battle Network 2
  • Mega Man Battle Network 3 White
  • Mega Man Battle Network 3 Blue
  • Mega Man Battle Network 4 Red Sun
  • Mega Man Battle Network 4 Blue Moon
  • Mega Man Battle Network 5 Team Protoman
  • Mega Man Battle Network 5 Team Colonel
  • Mega Man Battle Network 6 Cybeast Gregar
  • Mega Man Battle Network 6 Cybeast Falzar

However, what is more interesting to me is what this collection DOESN’T collect. This is something of a problem with Capcom’s Mega Man collections. They only focus on the bare minimum without touching the weirder stuff because it is seen as less profitable, and they do these things not for preservation, but profit. …Though, I’m still going to point out the 5 games that this collection should probably include, but doesn’t.

  • Rockman EXE WS (2003 Wonderswan platformer)
  • Mega Man Network Transmission (2003 GameCube platformer)
  • Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge (2004 GBA deck building spin-off focused on 1-v-1 battles)
  • Rockman EXE 4.5 Real Operation (2004 GBA spin-off based on a side mode seen in MMBN4)
  • Rockman.EXE: Operate Shooting Star (2009 DS remake of the first title and crossover with Mega Man Star Force)

Admittedly, three of these never left Japan, so Capcom would need to localize these titles, and do some emulation work to get them going… But I still think this is a crummy collection because it does not even try to collect everything. I would be upset, but what should I honestly expect from the folks who did not care enough to re-release the GameBoy games and other spin-offs of the classic Mega Man series? If they can’t repackage the GB pentalogy with Wily Wars, Soccer, and other crud why would they give Battle Network the time of day?

Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection will be released for Switch, PS4, and PC in 2023. Strangely, there is no Xbox release, even though this seems like good Game Pass fodder. 

Moving from one endearing spin-off of an 80s gaming icon to another, Pac-Man World Re-Pac was announced as part of this showcase. The title is a remake of the 1999 PS1 platformer, which has the honor of being one of the few Pac-Man genre switches that was well-received, and probably one of the safer remakes Bandai Namco could have decided on. 

Visually, the game has been recreated from the ground up, with entirely new assets, an art direction that takes more than a few creative liberties, but it looks generally sharp, with vibrant colors and thematically simple yet endearing environments.

The title is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch, and PC on August 26, 2022. Where it will likely be targeted and praised/nitpicked by platformer Nintendorks who will end their critiques by commenting on how they want a remake/remaster of Pac-Man World 2. Simply because that one came out on the GameCube, and they all have GameCubes for genitals. Trust me, I checked!

…That is a callback to a throwaway line from Intertoids that I thought nothing of until Clavietika threw a fit over it. …Which in and of itself is a reference to Podtoid. I would cite the episode, but the Podtoid wiki died. Thanks Fandom!

Dragon Quest Treasures, a spin-off announced last year as part of the 35th anniversary of the series, was given its first gameplay trailer. In practice, the game looks like a combination of the Dragon Quest Monsters and Dragon Quest Builders series. Meaning that it is a real-time open world game where the player can recruit/befriend monsters to aid them in their quest. Except the monsters all have abilities that aid with traversal, from enabling guiding, to acting as a squishy jump platform.

However, the central goal, as signified by the title, is to find ‘iconic’ and valuable treasures as part of the game’s progression system, with small scores leading to triumphant discoveries. Dragon Quest Treasures overall looks like a chill and hang-out-able RPG-flavored action adventure game. And the title will be out pretty soon, when it launches worldwide on December 9, 2022 as a Switch exclusive.

Square Enix is a company whose insistence on creating one-off IPs genuinely confuses me. The Final Fantasy series alone is vast and modular enough you could have probably called everything from Infinite Undiscovery to Octopath Traveler a Final Fantasy spin-off. It probably would have helped their sales at the very least… Anyway, I bring this up because they announced Harvestella. A game that centers around growing crops, forming connections with local townsfolk, cooking, crafting, exploring the nearby naturey locales for goodies, and fighting monsters in real-time combat.

So it is a sort of mix between Rune Factory and Atelier (I say as someone who never played either series for more than an hour). Except Harvestella boasts a grander world-saving plot, and an emphasis on seasons indicating that the world is drawing closer and closer to a time of death and despair. It seems like a solid title, with vibrant environments and quality AA production values, and one that will debut on Switch and PC on November 4, 2022.

Next up, we have Little Noah: Scion of Paradise. A roguelite side-scrolling action game that I honestly was not too interested in until I realized that it was a Cygames project. Cygames is primarily a mobile game company, but they have been desperately trying to break into the console space for a few years. They published GaneBlue Fantasy Versus last year, have been toiling away at GranBlue Fantasy ReLink for over 5 years, and are also juggling various other projects, namely Project Awakening and Project GAAM, both of which are meant to be large AAA experiences.

As such, I could not help but find it odd that they would put out a digital-only side-scrolling roguelike for $15. So I did a bit of digging and quickly discovered two things. Little Noah: SoP is actually a project by Grounding, who were the work horses behind several projects. Including World’s End Club (which I will play eventually, I promise) and The Good Life (which I probably will not play, because Swery chose to stop being cool). Also, Little Noah: SoP is actually a successor to the 2015 mobile title, Little Noah, which was renamed to Battle Champs in the English speaking world, and shut down on January 17, 2019

The title was a city building strategy game developed by BlazeGames (developer of Dragalia Lost), so it has nothing to do with Scion of Paradise on a mechanical level. However, many of the designs and visual elements appear to have been lifted from or based on assets from the original game. As a result, the game gives off the vibe that it was originally a mobile game. Heck, that might have been the case for all I know. 

What do I mean by “the vibe that it was originally a mobile game?” Well, that is a bit tricky to explain, but watching the gameplay trailer, a lot of things stood out to me. The accumulation of items of different rarities, the collectible helpers, and even the fairly simplistic gameplay that looks like it would work with touch controls, even some of the visual elements and HUB area. Despite this, I would say that the game looks rather good. 

The general gameplay looks to have a good sense of flow to it. While the character models look a bit scruffy up close, the game is vibrant and colorful. And the progression system appears to be meaningful, which is something that I like to see in ‘run-based’ games like this. It is something that I would probably enjoy, but my backlog is overbearing at this point, so who knows if I will give it a go. Little Noah: Scion of Paradise is available for PS4, Switch, and PC.

Announced hours before the Nintendo Direct was a localization of the successor to the Boku no Natsuyasumi series, Shin-Chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation

For those not in the know, Boku no Natsuyasumi is a series of summer vacation simulators designed to simulate the feeling of being a little boy chilling out and enjoying summer vacation in a rural yet incredibly scenic location. They are incredibly chill experiences with few mechanics beyond traversal, basic puzzle solving, interaction, and item use, but that is part of their charm. They are meant to be laid back experiences that one can lose themselves in and remind them of both their youth and their summer vacations as a child. Even to this day, they stand as a shining example of what video games are and can be, and it’s a shame that the original entries have never left Japan.

That being said, I have always been a bit… surprised as to the rationale behind this game. I always considered Shin-Chan to be a somewhat crass comedy, based largely off of a few episodes of the English dub that I watched years ago. So I do not quite ‘get‘ how that style will mesh with something so laid back as this… but pretty much everything about the game looks stellar. 

The 2D backgrounds are gorgeously illustrated and colored. The quirkily proportioned characters are modeled incredibly well. And in addition to being a chill summer adventure, the game also features events where you can pit giant robots against dinosaurs. So it, by definition, has to be at least pretty good.

Shin-Chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation will debut as a Switch exclusive sometime in August for Switch and PS4.

Oh! OH!!! Speaking of which— Speaking of which— The Japanese version of this Nintendo Direct saw an announcement for a crossover that should have never happened, but did, and it’s amazing because of that. You know how Tecmo Koei has been lowkey reviving the Monster Rancher series with updated Switch ports? Of course you do! Well, they partnered up with Bandai Namco to make a new game in the series. But instead of centering around the scrimblo cast of Monster Rancher, they are using the kaiju cast of Ultraman in the aptly titled Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher!

Now, do I know the first thing about Ultraman? No! I tried downloading episodes of the 60s incarnation on LimeWire back in 2005, when I was 10, because my friend Usman recommended it, but my father stopped me from doing so. Though, giant rubber-suited monsters are one of my top 25 favorite things— and the epitome of cool—  so of course I am excited to see this be announced!

You use the power of music and select the song of your soul to determine your chosen Ultra Kaiju and then go about raising them by competing against other kaiju, venturing into the wilds, growing crops that your kaiju can harvest— somehow! AND YOU CAN MAKE SNOWMANS WITH YOUR GIANT MONSTER BUDDY!!! 

Also, when you have multiple kaiju, you can fuse them together to make a bigger, better, stronger kaiju! And, best of all, there are over 200 kaijus! …A lot of which are probably just recolors or ones with different heads! But that is still a lot of friends. …All kaijus are shaped like friends!

Now, I am somewhat steaming this game’s rectum (that’s something people do for pleasure, right?) because I really like the concept. Though, being more critical the game itself looks like a pretty typical AA experience when looking at it more analytically. Thenovel gameplay ideas seem like they will grow old after a few hours. The visuals are not making the most of the Switch’s power. And the art style tries to balance the realistic with something more fantastical, yet looks fairly bland as a result. 

Despite this, I feel compelled to support this release when it launches in 2022. …Unfortunately, it seems like Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher will not get an American or European release due to licensing issues, and the English version will instead be relegated to English-speaking Southeast Asia. Shout out to my readers in Indonesia by the way. I know y’all don’t officially speak English there, but clearly some of you do.

Actually, as it turns out, Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher is, in fact, coming out in western markets! Which is utterly wild considering how iffy the licensing on this stuff is! Meaning I will definitely buy this game when it comes out!

I have been poop-talking Atari as a company for… a long time. Because whatever good the company has held has been repeatedly beaten away with shoddy reboots, poorly conceived consoles, and going so hard on cryptocurrency that the company split into two. However, they recently announced a project that seems incredibly promising, dubbed Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration

As the name implies, this is a compilation of older Atari titles, along with the usual trappings of video interviews, a timeline detailing the company’s history, archival scans, and more. But there are three things that strike me as noteworthy about this collection. 

First, instead of being a repackaging of the 100 or so Atari 2600 and arcade games that have been re-released every generation, Atari 50 is a collection of 90 games spanning arcade titles, 2600, 5200, 7800, 8-Bit computers, Lynx, and Jaguar. Which I think will mark the first time that Lynx and Jaguar games have been re-released… ever, and that alone makes this collection a novelty.

Second, this collection will feature 6 new games. Which largely consist of reimagined or modernized versions of their older games— something Atari has been doing for almost a decade at this point. But what immediately made me raise a brow was how the developer behind this collection is making the fourth entry in the infamous Swordquest series, Swordquest: AirWorld. Which is something that I could gush about from memory, but I’m choosing not to.

And lastly, this collection is being handled by Digital Eclipse, who have a solid track record with this sort of thing. For example, they developed the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection and Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection. …Neither of which you should not buy unless you want most of the money to go to Saudi Arabia. So, chances are, the emulation quality should be comparable to anything you find on a third-party emulator, and the collection will be as definitive as the publisher allows.
Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration will release for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Switch, and PC this winter.

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  1. Dark Phoenix

    “A game that centers around growing crops, forming connections with local townsfolk, cooking, crafting, exploring the nearby naturey locales for goodies, and fighting monsters in real-time combat.” – So it’s SE’s take on Stardew Valley?

    “it is hard for me to not become utterly disenfranchised with politics and adopt the belief that the system is the problem. That the system of democracy is something inherently flawed, because it has been manipulated to enable evil to win like this, and do so with such haste and such pitiful resistance.” – The problem isn’t democracy; it’s the American implementation of it. It’s been done better in other countries since, and the American system has a bunch of major flaws built into it (Senate, Electoral College, etcl).

    1. Natalie Neumann

      I would say that Harvestella reminds me more of Rune Factory or Atelier than Stardew Valley.

      Yes, I know that the problem is the American interpretation of things and that other countries do it better. But I do not live in those other countries! :O