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Demo Driver 8: Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey

It is apparent that the letter Q is silver.

I fought a werewolf with nothing more than weaponized words. That’s what I did today.

Bookworm Adventures was always weird.  In a good way, mind – I think the weirdness of the very premise had a charming quality, albeit happily disconnecting from anything resembling reality by simply deciding that forming words deals damage and going from there.  It is, in many ways, the logical precursor to games like Puzzle Quest and Gyromancer, games with love for the RPG model but with an eye toward making the mechanics of fighting things a bit more unusual.

You cannot, however, call it the “logical precursor” to Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey without being exceptionally generous with your use of that term, because it’s the same damn game.  Letter Quest, top to bottom, is so close to Bookworm Adventures that calling it even a spiritual sequel is a bit too gentle.  It’s the same core game with a slight facelift, a different look to it, and new challenges for you to clear through as you plod along through some story or another that’s not terribly well-defined and mostly exists so you can kill monsters with letter tiles.

That’s really not to its detriment, though.

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Telling Stories: Sexuality without the skeevies

Yes, I know, it's a horrible logo. I'm not always good at those.I’ve said before that sexuality is part of roleplaying, because it is.  It’s part of the human condition, it’s a valid thing to explore in roleplaying, and it’s going to happen anyway.  But there’s a line between involving sexuality in your roleplaying and making it the sort of involvement that makes everyone around you look at you with narrowed eyes and intense discomfort.

This has come up a fair bit in the Final Fantasy XIV community of late, for kind of disturbing reasons that serve as an excellent highlight of the issue.  Because there’s a race of adults that are clearly meant to look like human toddlers… who are also very definitely sexually mature.  Which raises a lot of uncomfortable questions about the characters being played in the real world by adult humans.

Fantasy is, of course, fantasy.  But it’s useful to understand how fantasy lines up with and can be influenced by reality, and to understand why one might make the other far more uncomfortable.  It’s important to have sexuality as a component in roleplaying, but it’s also important to do so in such a way that no one gets disturbed by it.

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The Final Fantasy Project: Final Fantasy V, part 4

I don't expect it to last, but it'll be nice while it does.

Artwork from a sketch by Yoshitaka Amano

So the protagonists of the game are currently not doing well at their stated goals.  Two crystals encountered, two crystals destroyed.  In their defense, the job wasn’t theirs until the wind crystal was already in bad shape and the water crystal sort of happened without their consent.  Nevertheless, based on series history I’m sure that the other two crystals will wind up being just fine.

Well, they might.

All right, so it’s a foregone conclusion what’s going to happen from here.  The important thing is to keep moving on despite that fact, after stopping to have a brief chat with the King to indulge in a round of the “We Told You So” dance.  To his credit, he’s already realized that he probably should have listened to the group in the first place, not that it helps him a whole lot now.  But Walse wasn’t the only kingdom amplifying its crystal with machinery, and the kingdom of Karnak seems poised to be the next victim of… whatever is going on now.

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Hard Project: Otherland

And now the song is in your head, and I'm happy to be responsible.

Wastelands, teenage or otherwise.

There are a lot of things that I really like about Otherland, one of them being the simple fact that it followed the age-old trick of making the future seem real by only looking forward a little bit and making reasonable assumptions.  The story doesn’t take place in the year 1999 on a space liner, is my point.  Sure, VR technology didn’t become the focal point of computing for a lot of reasons, but the world put forth in the book feels plausible.

At a glance, it’d make a pretty cool game.

The Otherland MMO has shuffled developers and publishers more than once, but it always seemed like a really bizarre concept to me based off of reading the story’s setting far too literally.  Not that it’s the fault of the programmers, who doubtlessly just wanted to adapt a vivid and interesting world to play in.  At a glance, this seems like a no-brainer for a project; it’s only on closer examination that you realize the whole thing is damn-near impossible to pull off, and not terribly rewarding if you do.

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Fundred percent completion

That can't be the whole reason, in other words.

I’ll probably keep playing this game for a long time, even if I don’t have any more objectives to chase therein.

I remember when I stopped caring about getting 100% completion in a game, and I remember the game.  It was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and after having done the hard work necessary for 100% in both of the previous games, what stopped me this time was nothing like a challenge too difficult or a mission too irritating.  No, it was a bug.

San Andreas consisted of three cities – Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas, functional stand-ins for Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, respectively.  Each one had little tokens you had to pick up throughout the city for 100% completion; so far, so good.  San Fierro asked players to take snapshots with the camera to imitate the standard San Francisco tourist.  Only one little problem emerged – I snapped one of the pictures, and it marked as cleared, but the completion wasn’t noted by the game.

Getting the shot opportunity back was impossible.  Going back to an earlier save was impossible.  Just like that, the game had rendered 100% unreachable no matter what I did.  And I was angry at the time… but then I realized that the game had kind of given me a blessing by freeing me from crap I didn’t really want to do in the first place.

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