Riou and Jowy promotional art for Suikoden II

Video Game Review: Suikoden II

Okay, this was totally supposed to be a review of Gone Home (made possible thanks to a new computer capable of running modern games), but nostalgia beats novelty. Especially when it comes to the Suikoden series, which is officially my favourite game series of all time.


Anyway, when I heard Konami was finally re-releasing Suikoden II on the Play Station Network–its long, depressing absence made all the crueler by the longstanding release of the original Suikoden on the same platform–I was happy I’d have a chance to replay it. Legally! With a copy I own (or, I guess, license from Sony…but let’s not pick nits). I was so delighted because, well, let’s get serious: pretty much the whole fanbase for this game was forced into piracy due to the game’s absurdly small production run and subsequent abandonment by Konami. Original copies cost literally hundreds of dollars. And no, great as Suikoden II is, it is not worth hundreds of dollars for someone’s scratched-up disc on eBay. Continue reading


JRPG Review: Suikoden Tierkreis

[Note: I recently found this review that I wrote of Suikoden Tierkreis a few years ago, but never posted. So here you go!]

Several months ago I finally relented and purchased my first ever portable system: a shiny blue Nintendo DS XL. Naturally, the first card to grace its virgin slot–that is, after the brief but obligatory primae noctis obeisance afforded to Chrono Trigger–was Suikoden Tierkreis, the most recent addition to Konami’s somewhat uneven but vastly under-appreciated console RPG series. Continue reading

Game Review: Cart Life

Richard Hofmeier’s Cart Life has become something of a critical darling, receiving quite a lot of positive press since its release in March of this year. Billed as a “retail simulation for Windows,” the game explores the use of video game mechanics and conventions in order to simulate a rather bleak world of desperation and drudgery.

When I say that I was expecting to enjoy this game, I want to be clear: I know that it is not intended to be “fun” in any traditional sense of the word as it applies to video games. I know the mechanics are supposed to be repetitive and generally unpleasant, and that it is specifically designed to evoke the sensation of futility and desperation that accompanies long days of hard work for not enough pay.

But the game’s premise and wonderful pixel-art aesthetic really hooked me, and I was very much expecting to have at the very least some kind of engaging or intellectually satisfying experience.

But that didn’t happen.

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VN Review: Save the Date!

I’ve been on a bit of a Visual Novel kick recently, inspired by a post on Queereka about Christine Love‘s new sequel to Analogue: A Hate Story, Hate Plus. I’m actually planning on discussing both those games here when I get the chance to write about them more thoroughly, but for those interested in her work generally, I wrote a review of don’t take it personally babe, it just ain’t your story for School of Doubt just a couple of weeks ago.

Today I’m going to be focusing on a different game, though, that quickly made it into my to-play queue once I started looking for more examples of the genre from indie developers. The premise of Chris Cornell‘s Save the Date is, well, that you are going out on a date with a nice girl named Felicia and you need to save her from a number of improbably dangerous scenarios.

SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT: I would advise playing the game a bit before proceeding, as my commentary will thoroughly ruin most of the game. It takes about an hour or so, all told, though each individual playthrough is quite short.

Continue reading