My Organ Harvesting Diary: Day Three

Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden continues to plod along. Only partly because the game itself is slow. I am also to blame because I’m not making an effort to make time to play it more. Though that does keep me from having to do these write-ups too often, so I suppose there’s a bit of a bright side there.

I don’t remember if it was the ending of chapter two or the beginning of chapter three when I was told about tree sap. It seems that on a quality tree, sap will sometimes appear and will have varying effects. It took damn near forever for a sap to actually show up. Pretty sure it was after my kidney tree hit level 30. Anyway, I saw a total of three saps that session, the first and third made all my trees bloom organs immediately, but the second one did the little raining sap animation and then… nothing. At least nothing that was perceptible at the time. Sap seems to be too rare and too unpredictable to be of any strategic use. Maybe just a nice bonus once in a while.

I also received a pickling pot, into which I can place organs to… pickle them. I think it had a more fantastical name, but I didn’t bother to learn it because “pickling pot” is just so much more fun to say. From a story perspective, the process of pickling magical organs removes the soul from them. So then you’re free to stuff multiple magical organs into the same thing without the problem of their souls clashing and tearing space-time to pieces. Or some nonsense like that.

After what felt like forever (even longer than finding a sap), i finally managed to grow an excellent heart. I think the problem was that the trees need to be a certain level to grow better organs. And then the creepy woman in black from chapter two came back and took it from me before I had a chance to turn in a quest for it and earn a fistful of worthless money. Easy come, easy go. *shrug*

Speaking of money, I also unlocked another animal. This time it’s butterflies, and they are crazy expensive. Like, even having turned in what felt like a million pointless “grow X number of Y organ” quests, I could only afford one. However, the butterflies apparently cause organs to ripen faster, which is nice in theory, but I think they only work on a single organ at a time, rather than affecting all organs on a tree. So, not sure if they’re actually all that helpful in the long run.

As far as story goes, the creepy doll returned, asking for more organs to be more human-like. So we pickled a stomach for her, because like I was saying before, apparently having more than one fresh magic organ in the same being is a major no-no. There was also a witch that came by, who revealed that we are growing “Seraphim Fruit” which is a pretty fitting name for magic organs, I’d say. Only then the shop owner admitted that we actually only grow fakes. Fake magic organs. What the heck is even supposed to be happening in this story. And that same witch bought a wheelbarrow full of mincemeat to craft homuncluli. This cannot end well.

The chapter ended on a scene of the shopkeeper and her friend (I cannot be bothered to remember their names) having a existential conversation about pets. The shopkeeper is a cat person and her friend a dog person. I’d like to switch employers, please.

When will I play this again next? Will anything start to make sense? Is this story and/or the gameplay actually going anywhere? I sure as heck don’t have any of the answers!

Last Month in Movies – October 2017

Coherence – I’m not sure about the best way to describe this movie. On one hand, it’s one of those films where if you know what’s going to happen, there’s no point in watching it. On the other hand, it’s really hard to say anything about it without giving away too much. Full-on spoiler mode it is, then!

A group of four couples gathers for a dinner party on the night that a  comet passes by the Earth. Phones spontaneously shatter and the power goes out… except for at one house down the street. After a short expedition, our heroes learn that the people in the house down the street is an alternate reality’s version of them, and everything spirals out of control from there. Eventually, the main girl leaves quietly, spurred by the group’s infighting, and travels to many other realities until she finds a version where all her friends are not fighting each other. She knocks out the alternate version of her to assume her place in that timeline, and then… END.

It’s a bit of a heady film, which I do appreciate, but it does drag on at multiple points, which really kills any re-watch potential. What I actually found most interesting is how it was made: there was no budget at all, and the actors were not given a script or even the whole plot, but only vague directions for each day of shooting, in an effort to make their conversations and reactions more genuine. And I think they succeeded! For the most part, the actors seem much more like real people than actors, the improvised dialogue more authentic than written lines, and I think that’s a big plus.

Pod – This movie opens, as so many do, with a man stumbling through the snowy woods, somewhat disoriented, with his gun and his dog. But then the dog gets away from him. We hear barking, barking, barking, WHINE, silence. The man finds a trail of blood that leads to the mangled carcass of the dog. The man starts shooting wildly. Suddenly, he stops. He has seen something. The camera begins to pan and then… black. Cut to opening credits.

Seriously, how many films open with some variation of that? It’s so tired. Be more creative, please. The rest doesn’t fare much better. It’s about a stuffy fella with way too much moustache and his burn-out sister going up to a secluded cabin to visit their mentally unfit, ex-military brother. Who has apparently captured some manner of synthetic government assassin monster.  Most of the film is about how Moustache does not believe Crazy Eddie, and Junkie doesn’t know what to believe and just freaks out for about an hour straight.

It all comes to a head, though, when Crazy Eddie slits his own throat, allowing Moustache to go into the basement to see what’s actually down there. Surprise! It really was a monster all along! Moustache battles the monster while Junkie goes to get help. A man named Smith shows up and kills them both, and then the movie ends on the clumsiest jumpscare ever committed to film. I’m thankful that this movie was only an hour and fifteen minutes, because it was very bland. Nearly all of it was the siblings all squabbling between themselves. There was no tension, no mystery, no suspense. You knew exactly what was going to happen at all times. At least since it was very dialogue-heavy, it was an alright movie to have on in the background as I played picross.

Happy Death Day – I had been hyped for this movie for several months before release, and I was sure that nobody I knew would have even the slightest interest in going with me. So this was the maiden voyage of USS Ryan Goes To A Movie Alone. I was happy to see my movie, but it was still a little weird. I don’t know if I’d do it again. Go to a movie alone, I mean. I would definitely watch Happy Death Day again.

If you aren’t aware of the conceit here, Happy Death Day is basically the horror version of Groundhog Day; a stuck-up college girl is forced to relive the same day over an over again, each time ending with her murder at the hands of a masked killer. There’s a quote right in the trailer “this is your chance to solve your own murder” which is pretty well spot-on. It starts out with the usual disbelief of what’s happening, followed by acceptance and a couple montages of failed attempts. You know, exactly what you’d expect.

Where it diverges from the slasher handbook (albeit a little later in the movie that I’d have liked) is that the twists were actually good. And the way that it messes with both main character and the viewer were a lot of fun. I would be remiss to omit the fact that this is a horror comedy. That’s basically what drew me to it in the first place. I knew of the film and had a vague interest, and then I saw the trailer and thought “man that’s probably going to be hilarious.” It’s maybe not quite as satirical as I would have liked, but I got a number of solid chuckles out of it, and that’s really all I ask for.

To recap: I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish, and I believe that this was pretty much a perfect movie. For me. I’m sill confident that everyone I know would just turn their noses up and act like they’re above it. Oh well. That’s just how it goes in my lonely world.

Cult of Chucky – Speaking of movies that people would turn their noses up at and act like they’re too good for… this is the seventh installment in the Child’s Play series. That’s kinda nuts when you think about it. I never would have thought that this series, of all the 80’s slashers, would be the one to have the longest legs and maintain the highest level of quality. Well, there was that dip with Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky where the series had a bit of an identity crisis, but it shot right back up after those two!

Coming in five years after Curse of Chucky, this one follows the previous protagonist, Nica, who is now locked in an asylum after having been convicted for five murders. They go through the usual rigmarole of group therapy and the “Chucky was never real” business that I’m come to expect. And then, of course, Chucky actually shows up and starts killing off the patients and staff one-by-one, saving Nica for the very end. The first of two big twists here is that this time around, there are multiple Chuckys, explained away by Chucky having found a voodoo spell that allows him to split his soul and possess multiple hosts. This actually solves a lingering issue with the last film’s ending, but also raises the question of why he’s so focused on possessing Good Guy dolls if he can possess anything with “two legs and an arm to stab with.”

There is also a subplot where grown-up Andy Barclay (the protagonist from the first three movies) is trying to exonerate Nica and stop the other Chuckys, but it’s so separated from everything else that it feels like it was forced in. But they had that amazing post-credits scene in Curse and had to do something with it, right? Oh well. The main plot of the movie was perfectly good, and I don’t feel like Andy’s story really detracted from it, per se, it just didn’t feel quite natural. Didn’t flow right, or something like that.

Before watching Cult, I somehow got it in my head that it was going to be a big last hurrah for the series, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The ending doesn’t just have a sequel hook, it slaps you across the face at screams “You’d best be ready for more of these!” And they’ve really opened Pandora’s Box with this one, now that there are at least five Chucky hosts and two Tiffanys on the loose. Personally, I can’t wait for the next one, but I do hope that they scale it back down somehow, because it’s getting uncomfortably close to self-parody again. Chuckys on a Plane might be too far off the rails even for me.

The Babysitter – Netflix original movie that I assumed would suck because Netflix original movies usually suck. It did not suck! Kind of reminded me of Tucker & Dale vs Evil. You know, I want to write more about it, because it’s worth the words, but this post is already stupid long. I spent way too many words on friggin’ Pod. Ah, one paragraph, I guess.

The Babysitter is about a young boy who stays up too late one night and discovers that his babysitter and her friends are a satanic cult, intent on using his blood as a sacrifice. Hilarity ensues. It’s kind of a cross between Home Alone and a slasher parody, with the kid (I cannot be bothered to remember his name) forced to defend himself from the murderous teens/twenty-somethings. As usual, I assume that everyone I know will think it’s bad and stupid, but I thought it was a lot of fun, and it made me laugh out loud quite a few times. Heartily recommended.

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter – Obviously not actually the final chapter. There are six more and a reboot and a crossover with Nightmare on Elm Street. No sir, Jason is not done yet.

Anyway, this is a fairly standard entry in the series. Jason comes back to life, kills a house full of sexy teens, and then is taken down just before everyone is dead. I suppose the one twist is that this one features a small child, who is ultimately the one who kills Jason. Otherwise, there’s no gimmick. No Jason fake-outs, no 3D effects, no psychic powers, no trips to the big city, no ridiculous demon slugs. Just… a very paint-by-numbers slasher.

In fact, it may be the most boring entry in the series. So why did I watch this one? It’s got the highest volume of bare tits.

I kid, I kid (though it does have the most nudity in the series). In truth, this is just the one that the Netflix app promoted to me. Turns out that they acquired the whole series like a week before Halloween, but this is the one that they felt was important to make sure that I knew about.

So long, Best Social Media

Miiverse is dead, long live… well, I guess that’s just the end of it.

Today, Nintendo shut down Miiverse forever. It was a wonderful little social media experiment that let Wii U and 3DS users share thoughts, drawings, and screenshots of games. Nintendo also used it for special promotional events, and it was a valuable avenue for communicating with smaller game developers.

Of course, Twitter does all that, and from your phone, so.

Miiverse wasn’t perfect, but it did add a lot to Nintendo and video games culture. It gave rise to many memes, like “Y Can’t Metroid Crawl?” It provided us with one of the best Twitter accounts ever, @BadMiivesePost. And of course, there were the completely mind-boggling things on there like the always delightful Miiverse Water Guy.

If you were so inclined,  Nintendo offered a download of all your Miiverse posts up until last night, but I didn’t opt in. I felt it was better to just let it all go, rather than have another meaningless file to stick in a folder somewhere and forget about. It’s not like I had any especially insightful or funny posts, anyhow.

Honestly, I think the memories of how exciting Miiverse was at first are more important than the actual posts. It was a cool new feature to a cool new game console (which ended up being a dud for most), and I’m sure that I’ve spent much more time scrolling through Miivese posts than I ever will spend with the Twitter app. Oh well! It was a fun ride, but nothing lasts forever.

I think most of all, I’ll miss all the dick drawings that pop up after a game in Nintendo Land.

Let’s do the Odyssey!

Nearly all of last weekend was spent playing Super Mario Odyssey. I also took a few breaks to mash in two-thirds of Stranger Things season 2, and I was forced to sleep a little bit here and there. But mostly I just played Super Mario Odyssey.

AND WHAT A GREAT WEEKEND IT WAS!

Super Mario Odyssey is just packed – PACKED – with content and charm and fun and surprises. To the point where I think that its biggest shortcoming is how in the world is Nintendo ever going to make a worthy follow-up to this? But that concern is for like ten to fifteen years from now. Until that time, we can just bask in the perfection of the game we have.

For as much content as Nintendo showed off in various trailers over the year (that’s right, it was less than a year from reveal to release), there were still so many wonderful surprises in store that I was constantly grinning and constantly experiencing something new. There were so many unexpected gameplay twists in the assorted kingdoms that I cannot even begin to list out the best of them.

What struck me the most, however, is that once you collect enough Power Moons to get to the end of the story and defeat Bowser (which is a mind-blowing sequence of events, starting from the moment you set foot in the “final” kingdom), you’ve really only experienced like half the game. Maybe even less, if other accounts are to be believed. In fact, as soon as you boot up the post-game, you’re plonked into a new kingdom that I love to death. Absolutely wonderful and even better than the Throwback Galaxy that I adored from Super Mario Galaxy 2. I spent hours bopping around in this new kingdom alone, and there was still tons of other new content that I had unlocked that I had yet to start exploring. Really, I have no idea how many more massive secrets this game has yet to reveal.

One of the more questionable elements is that Super Mario Odyssey has honest-to-God achievements. Which is fine in and of itself; I don’t even mind that they count towards your in-game completion rate. What irks me is how they’re handled. Unlike system-level achievements on other game machines, you don’t just get them as you go. You need to beat the game to access them in the first place, and then you need to talk to Toadette, who will dole out a Power Moon for each one you’ve earned. And she hands them out one-by one. It’s a tedious process no matter which way you approach it.

As I said before, there is still plenty of game left for me to absorb. I have roughly 300 Power Moons out of… I think the official number is 905 or so? But then you can also collect up to 999 of them, so that’s a thing. Anyway, there’s a lot of game left! I’m excited! And I’m excited to see if this one is as timeless as Super Mario 64. In 2007 I thought that Super Mario Galaxy would overtake it as my favourite Mario, but I still haven’t ever replayed that game even as far as the credits, whereas I’ve 100%ed Mario 64 many times over those years.

But enough rambling. Super Mario Odyssey is really, really good! I’m probably going to spend most of this weekend playing it, too.

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up – October 2017

It was a rough month, because I had to make hard decisions about whether to spend my precious free time playing the hottest new releases, or the spookiest games in my library (because Halloween, you see). In the end, I just played like an hour each of all the games.

~ Game Over ~

Super Mario Odyssey (Switch) – Duh-doy.

Kirby Super Star (SNES) – The first thing I played on the SNES Classic, because I will always replay Kirby Super Star. I need to get someone else in on it though, as the AI allies are so dumb.

Magikarp Jump! (iOS) – I did it! I reached the end! Also, this is an idle game that actually has an end! ….Of course, there’s post-game content, but it’s not really worth exploring too deeply.

Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers (Wii) – Stop judging me!

Star Fox (SNES) – Ran through the easy route as a refresher before trying out Star Fox 2.

Picross S (Switch) – It’s hard to focus on scary games for the Halloween season when there’s a new picross game out…

Death Road to Canada (PC) – More roguelikes need to be funny (and multiplayer). That’s why I have so much trouble getting into them. This is what I’ve decided, and why I’ll play this game forever.

Silent Hill: Downpour (360) – Surprisingly, this is only my first replay of what is maybe my second-favourite Silent Hill game.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Wii) – It’s that time of year!

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The longest week ever

It’s finally here! Today marks the day of Super Mario Odyssey‘s release! Wa-hoo!

Making it to Friday has been a bit of a trial, however. First and foremost, I have been having some severe issues with sleeping this week, so I am crazy overtired. Having to spend three hours in a statistics class last night did not help the situation.

Actually, the whole lack of sleep thing is really about the only thing that’s really causing me problems. It started snowing yesterday and now the world is coated in a thin and very slippery sheet of ice, but that’s minimal. I don’t go outside all that often anyway, and I’m good about dressing warmly to deal with the sub-zero temperatures.

Of note is that I also had a mid-term exam in the aforementioned statistics class on Tuesday. Which was a great source of anxiety in the days prior, and probably contributed some to my restlessness on the Sunday night. Monday night I would have slept like a baby if not for the jerkhole what lives below me that has seen fit to start very loud phone/Skype conversations every night at midnight this week. And he won’t stop or talk more quietly no matter how much I stomp on my floor. T_T

I am not completely innocent in my sleep deprivation, either. While I have been kept awake by outside sources (namely that loud-talking downstairs neighbour) for the other nights this week, I went with my brother to the midnight Mario launch at a local retailer last night, which may have not been the wisest course of action. On the plus side, they opened at 11 instead of 12, so with a quick transaction and a short drive, I was home in time to get to bed about the same time as usual. Except for I couldn’t resist cracking open the game case right away and playing a little bit, so my tiredness today is entirely my own fault.

Was it worth it? Meh. The opening scenes and tutorial stage aren’t terribly exciting, so it’s not like I got a whole lot out of that first ten minutes. But at least it’s out of the way and when I start playing in earnest after work, it’s going to be amaaaaaaazing.

Though in reality, I’m probably going to just pass out five minutes in.

(Also important: Ninja Sex Party’s Under The Covers: Volume 2 is out today, and season 2 of Stranger Things is up on Netflix. I really should have taken the day off!)

My Organ Harvesting Diary: Day Two

Over the weekend, I found a little time between studying and watching the entire second season of Attack on Titan to play a bit more of Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden. And let me tell you, the second chapter was not substantially more exciting than the first.

The gameplay mechanics have grown slightly more complex, without any hope that some of the things that need constant clicking will start to click themselves. First of all, I was given a meat grinder. The idea is that you can pluck organs off a tree before they’re ripe to grind them into mincemeat. It seemed completely arbitrary and pointless up until the point where I learned how to make “excellent” organs. This is accomplished by letting a single organ grow on a tree while chucking any others that sprout into the grinder. So essentially, the grinder is a way of giving you something back for all those perfectly good organs you’re throwing away in hopes of cultivating one really good one.

The catalog hasn’t expanded appreciably yet. In addition to the frogs, I can now purchase moles and woodpeckers. The moles make organs sprout on trees faster (but don’t speed up the ripening process) and the woodpeckers will make the meat grinder run faster. This is all well and good, but the animals get distracted from their jobs very quickly, so once you have a decent sized stable of animals, you’re constantly clicking around to get them back to work. It’s more than a little annoying.

I was also given a third tree to babysit, this new one growing stomachs. It was at this point that I decided that trying to keep all three trees going at once was too much of a pain, and opted to just focus on one or two at a time. It seems like the “grow X number of Y organ” and “get tree Z to level Q” quests just repeat forever with higher numbers, so the best course of action seems to be to just focus on whatever the active story quest is. Sure, you can run the other quests over and over to earn more cash, but there isn’t anything really worth buying yet at this point in the game.

As far as the story goes, it’s mostly just been more creepy customers. One was a little girl who wanted an organ to make her cat talk. Irene told her that one of these magical soul-giving organs can only be put into something that isn’t alive, so the girl left, killed her cat, and then brought it back with the same request. Good lord! I think there was someone else who made a strong impression on me at the time, but I guess it wasn’t that strong in reality, because I’ve completely forgotten. Also there was a mysterious lady in black who came in and the whole screen turned dark, but not much happened with her yet.

So where is this story going? I have no idea. I really just hope that something happens with the gameplay to keep it from getting any more annoying. There is still room for more trees/machines/whatever, and I don’t much care for the idea of having even more clickable things to babysit. In fact, I might just sell all the stupid animals…

Book learnt

I wrote a test last night that I was not at all confident about. I’d spent the last week studying madly and despite that, I still found that leading up to and throughout the duration of said test, I was genuinely worried that I would fail.

Then I ended up getting a 90.

I suppose I owe my brain a thank you for not screwing up this time. But I’m going to wait and see how the mid-term goes next week before I do any celebrating.

*update: I scored 85% on the mid-term. Not too shabby!

My Organ Harvesting Diary: Day One

Most of the time if I’m writing a review for a game, I will start it while I’m in the middle of the game, and then change the review text as I go along. Sometimes the things that I write change quite a lot over that time, sometimes my initial impressions are spot-on and nothing changes at all.

This time, I’d like to keep more of a play diary. Our game in question is Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden. This was a random recommendation from Steam, which I clicked on and decided to put on my wish list, because it was a clicker game that looked a little unhinged. Not long after, it went on sale for a paltry $3.50, so I snapped that puppy up and jumped right in.

Now that the groundwork is laid, let’s dig into the game itself. Hopefully it’s interesting enough to justify using this format.

FMN:MOG opens with a bunch of dialogue, mostly out-of-context stuff that will ostensibly make more sense later. Then you’re given your role: as the assistant in a plant nursery. Only, the plants here grow magical organs instead of fruit or flowers. So far, we’ve learned that putting one of these organs in an inanimate object will give it life, but not a real soul, and that the organs come in differing qualities. Most of the customers have been various degrees of shady, and even your boss seems to have a questionable background.

It’s important to note that this game is from a Japanese developer (CAVYHOUSE), and it’s got an anime feel to it that isn’t overpowering, but is definitely perceptible. From the not-quite-perfect localization to the fact that your character addresses her boss as “master,” it’s clear that this isn’t originally from the Western world. I feel like I was going somewhere with this paragraph, but I’ve completely forgotten where that was. Oh well.

Gameplay starts off simple: water the tree, and it will grow kidneys. Pluck the kidneys and ship them to earn cash. The tree stores so much water, which is used up as kidneys grow, and the watering can will slowly refill over time. You can level up the tree by plucking kidneys, and the watering can levels up as you use it. Eventually you’re given a store, but the only item I can buy so far is a frog. Frogs speed up your watering can’s refill speed, but they lack focus and you’ll have to click on them every few seconds to get them back to work.

In this first session, I’ve completed Chapter One, which ended on a scene of the nursery owner (Irene) and a mysterious friend talking about going on a trip together, leaving me to run the plant nursery alone. I have a nagging feeling that my character may have been brought to life by one of the same magical organs that she is harvesting. Chapter Two also gave me a second tree that blooms hearts, so now there’s twice as much maintenance to take care of and my watering can does not fill nearly fast enough to keep up, even with three frogs buffing it.

So far, it’s been just a matter of juggling fruits, water, and frogs until the door lights up and you’re shown the next story scene. As your things level up and you collect kidneys, you’ll complete missions that give you more cash. It’s a slightly more complicated cycle than most clickers I’ve played, and most other clickers would have given you an option to automate the process by now (which turns them from clicker game into idle game). I suppose I’ll just have to keep playing to see how both the story and gameplay unfold.