Night Owl Shenanigans: Nocturne #2

I’ve been away from this site for almost a month, and there’s a good reason for that, I swear. I’ve dedicated myself to a new project, and it requires a lot of my free time. That, and, well, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night finally released.

I backed that game on Kickstarter about four years ago. I’ve been reading every development update with bated breath. And finally, the game is here, in my hands, er, on my shelf, I mean, the box is on my shelf and I put the game in my Nintendo Switch, but sometimes the controller is in my hands and I’m playing the game and … you get the idea.

I have the fucking game, is what I’m trying to say. And it’s everything I want in what I used to call “Metroidvania” games, though now the man himself has claimed the descriptor for himself and dubbed them “Igavanias.” A little pretentious, maybe? Still, I can’t deny that he (Koji Igarashi) has a particular way with putting together sprawling adventures in interesting and awesome locales. As I messed around with the game’s sound test last night, one song in particular threw me back about fifteen years to the 3D Castlevania games on the PS2.

I said to my brother “You know, if he decided to make another 3D game in the same vein, I would back it in a heartbeat.” That’s how magical his formula is: he can envision a new sort of story, set it in vaguely similar locations (typically a big-ass castle and its surrounding areas), get Michiru Yamane to compose a dope soundtrack, craft a wonderfully gnarly crafting system (yes, they have to craft the crafting system), and WHOA, there’s a new Igavania.

It’s taking all of my willpower not to write “Castlevania,” but I have to embrace the years-old separation of Koji Igarashi and Konami. Konami owns Castlevania, but damn, the unique spirit that Iga infused into his games lives on in his new stuff.

Is the game perfect? Far from it, but there’s something about the goofy voice-acting and wonky animations that’s charming. Maybe because it feels like a throwback to all the old consoles of yesteryear, and how tough it was to program perfectly smooth movements on them. Or maybe I’m too forgiving; it is 2019, after all, and maybe I should expect my games to live up to a certain level of professionalism.

I mean, the people who made the game are mostly professionals. Then again, this is a Kickstarter project; funds are not infinite, and neither is time, so some hiccups are bound to happen.

Maybe I should put it this way: I forgive the game’s unpolished portions, despite the anxiety they give me. This might be due to the fact that I changed my mind and ordered the Switch version of the game, but my game experiences long load times and, at least the first few nights I played, it crashed once or twice. Did this ruin my entire experience? No, but it did put me in a saving state of mind. As in, I’m saving my game every chance I get, and backtracking to the nearest save room just in case the game crashes again and I lose progress. It wasn’t the smoothest experience, but it still holds up pretty well.

So yeah, I finished the game last night. Weird but relevant aside about my dressing habits: I have to wear a specific t-shirt for work, but when I get home, I change into one of my own t-shirts. I own a ton of shirts, and I stack them all in one of my dresser drawers and work my way through the stack. When I wash my clothes and fold my shirts, I put the clean ones at the bottom of the stack, to ensure I wear every shirt at least once before I start my rotation again. Last night, when I got home from work, my Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night backer t-shirt was on top of my stack. I didn’t put it there on purpose, it was just the next shirt in the stack. So I put it on, booted up the game, and about three hours later, I had beaten the final boss. Fucking serendipitous, no?

I still have a long, long way to go before I’ve “completed” the game. Iga has a thing about percentages, and I can see how much of each collection I need to reach 100% in that respective category. I’m at about 90% with some collections, and only 50% with others. There are a ton of weapons to craft. I’m gonna be farming for crafting items for days.

Yet these are tasks that I enjoy, strangely enough. Sometimes it just feels good to sit back and mindlessly destroy the same monster over and over until it drops the item(s) you need. So I’ll be jumping into that soon, as I also work my way to the highest level and watch my familiars level up too.

I could go on and on about every little system and detail in the game, but I’ve rambled on enough, and I can save these little discussions for another post. For now, there’s one big thing I need to say.

I’m writing a book. The process is slow-going, given my full-time job and penchant for playing video games for hours after work, but I’m devoting myself to writing at least one page every day until the thing is finished. The way it works out, I think I can finish a decent book by the end of the year. So that’s my goal: by the end of 2019, I’ll have a full book complete and ready to edit.

Then the real hard stuff begins. Until then, I’ll try to keep you posted every once in a while, though probably not as often as I used to. I want to focus on myself and my goals, and writing a book has been a dream of mine since I was a younger lad. So I’m gonna make that dream a reality.

Keep on dreaming and scheming, folks.


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