˚· ʚ₍•ᄋ̫•₎ɞ .⊹

i have been - and remain - incredibly ill lately so i want to just get some games thoughts out of my head in a fashion devoid of much structure.

elden ring

it probably is surprising i dont consider myself a souls fan, considering the name of this site, my dark souls tattoo, my gwyndolin shrine, etc. but truly i only really care for demon's and dark souls and generally consider the 'community' that surrounds these games to be filled with the most obnoxious and boring humans imaginable. i had very little interest in getting elden ring - and hadnt even seen the original reveal trailer - until talking with my dear friends blood and gwen made me want to try it, and much to my surprise ive enjoyed it.

elden ring really feels like fromsoft wanted to regain my fandom as so much of it is tuned to my own particular tastes. there are very obvious things like the angel girl iconography and feeling more like an rpg than an action game, but i never expected them to lean into the transfeminine elements that were in demon's and dark so heavily ever again. arguably elden ring has embraced them more than ever with how explicit ranni's story, body, and connection to gwyndolin are.


elden wren

i want to write more comprehensive elden ring thoughts later - ill most likely create a section for proper essays when i feel well - but im surprised and glad that this game has given me the same feelings of obsession as demon's and dark. ive been playing and swapping stories with a small group comprised of my gfs and a few friends, avoiding all other discourse and information, and its surpassed my joy of the days when i imported demon's souls and could only talk about it on anonymous imageboards.

good design i want to steal

'good design' in games is almost always a subversive shorthand for 'unobtrusive design', but they are not the same thing. ive been thinking a lot about small game design things i miss and want to make note of ones that i would like to implement in my own work that are considered taboo in the current climate.

at the beginning of ogre battle you are given a tarot divination, while in tactics ogre you choose between four goddess to pledge yourself in service to, and both of these choices guide your fate for the entirity of these 20+ hour long rpgs. its so shockingly bold to lock the player into these permanent and dramatic choices immediately with no context of what they are agreeing to - but that is the genius of this design. it immediately places the player in a unique situation that they are responsible for and draws players in to the world's mythos in an organic way.


ogre battle tarot

i really love maximalist UI design. its probably seen as the ultimate taboo now - even fromsoft has gone to lengths to reduce it in their games - but i really do love it. games where 1/4 of the screen is occupied by static portraits of the playable characters and intricate borders, games where every item or party member is accompanied by a small icon, games where equipment menus are contexualised by where on the body the equipment is placed - each of these are designs i love truly and dont believe should be treated as inelegant design.


demon's souls cut equipment menu


lunatic dawn ii


angel night


vantage master

more broadly games do not really systematize real world actions anymore. when playing the original rpgs like ultima and wizardry its apparent that the mechanics are abstractions of real world actions, but as games began to adopt things from each other eventually these were lost and these systems just became repeated over and over without their original context. ocarina of time contextualised lock-on as your fairy flying towards the enemy and focusing on her - and if you lost your fairy you could no longer lock-on. i think theres a lot more room for re-examining base assumptions when designing games and working from a point of trying to replicate real world actions rather than actions from previous games.

escaping the panopticon

im not going to bother talking at length about the panopticon and how it has been reproduced in social media because many sociologists have spoken on this already, but i think we all innately feel the pressure of surveillance that exists on the internet now and the threat of punishment for real or perceived crime - especially for angel girls.

ive been playing a lot of japanese handmade (going to use this term in opposition to indie) games lately and all i can feel is a terrible jealousy that these devs are often creating in a much more unrestricted fashion. western 'queer' indie games often cant even show sex without the creators being doxxed and losing their jobs so are forced to be 'wholesome'. the expectation for production values are so incredibly high that most of what gets attention are works by ex-industry developers with combined 30+ years experience creating 'products' too polished for any amateur to hope to compete with. meanwhile japanese solo devs are creating games with terrible art, full of obtuse systems and 'problematic' fetishes that alienate most players, seemingly without any concern whatsoever.

obviously its not that simple and ive seen japanese solo devs face harassment, but games like the citadel or dark fairy tale series or the era series make me long to create art so completely self-indulgent and free from the surveillance of others and fear of reprisal.


the citadel

maybe this is a problem only i have, maybe ive seen too many trans fems and angel girls harassed for innocuous 'crimes' like kinning a touhou character or describing a character as a 'shota', but my goal for my next games are to completely abandon the worry of this happening to me and just create the most repulsively self-indulgent works i can. hopefully going down this path will keep the humans away.

【wren】