808 Reviews liked by TailoredMuffin

Even in an alternate timeline, Capcom refuses to give us Light/Wily yaoi
What am I fighting for?

At first I thought this game was a divine comedy but then I realized it was a divine tragedy

If I had a nickel for every 2013 MLP fangame which slowly morphed into it's own project gaining a cult following with me being apart of after following the development in my teens, I'd have two whole nickels, which isn't that impressive, but is a funny circumstance anyway.

Read Virgil instead of this mid ripoff.

Odin is King. He will save all of us for His love is boundless.

In this moment I am euphoric, not because of any phony celestrians’ blessings but because I am enlightened by my own intelligence

Toss in SADX, hit Input 2 on the TV, boom
Ooooooooh shit, Dad's running downstairs. He's yelling to turn it down. Quick, get the remote
Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
The audio-sensory overload of children's media is bludgeoning - an overload of vocal-chord-contorting performances and vorpal echoes. It's not just the sounds themselves, but specific rhythms, candors and patterns in certain catchphrases. I recall this one point in childhood, maybe 12 or so, where I saw Egoraptor's Mega Man X review and was so enamored in the specific gags, I would just repeat things like 'Where do I go, what do I do' and 'Mega Man 12, this land before time' like a parrot.
OOooooooooooh shit he liked Sequilitis, let's tickle his ribcage and push him off a waterfall
I was dumb and stupid, and I thankfully don't do that anymore! Now I bide my time memorizing and repeating whole Homestar Runner episodes in calls!
Also, I have a younger brother that also does this.
I will mouthgurgle about how this relates to Poinie, uhh, 2 paragraphs down from here. Boop of the bop.
Poinie's Poin is a fake game that does not exist and was made up by dreamcast aesthetic twitter pages. It is a Japanese-exclusive PS2 3D Platformer was voice-performed in English FIRST, and has ENG subs to match (with a shitton of typos, but totally legible nonetheless). The dub isn't an option tucked away in a menu like DC Puyo Pop Fever, it's there on the main title and pops up again every time you continue your progress. It's totally warped around the crazy-hazy antics of American 'toons with a capital T, but it's never overtly a 'cartoon parody' - the influence comes down to a synthesis of English wordplay with Japanese character themes and bubblegum imagery, and a heaping helping of 'squash and stretch the models as much as you can'.
Calling this a platformer is a bit misleading tho. If I could describe the experience, it's like, a 5 hour RPG Maker puzzle game turned 3D and injected with ooze. Most of the runtime is spent exploring the hub world or dialogue - which is perfectly ok, 'cause most of it kicks ass. Every line is voiced, and all the vocal performances are rock-solid. Couldn't get enough of these weirdos just mouthing off random things with their dumb vocal inflections and immature mannerisms. The only knock against it is that the platforming is mostly mid-to-bad. Moment-to-moment objectives are vague, and Poinie's toolkit and camera are too limited to do anything creative. Think Ape Escape if there were no gadgets or monkeys to catch.
There was a specific 'my brand of autism is seen' moment in Poinie's Poin, where the game opens with Poinie totally sucked into this dumbass cartoon, and he spends the rest of the game repeating his main catchphrase ("Yippie Yo! You Can't Touch This!") for the entire remaining duration of the game. He says it during plot important events! He says it during cutscene dialogue! He says it when you beat an objective! He even fucking says it in the OST! The entire universe speaks in a similar broken-record prose, spouting off American-English expressions every chance they get.
I was awestruck by the feeling of being a kid and taking in contextless information, processing through air-headed and nonsensical ways, and doing nothing with it - 'cause you're a kid, what can you do but study and play? A lot of shit happens in this game's 3-5 hour runtime but hardly any sticks, it all comes down to wayward shenanigans handled with the frivolity of a backyard wiffle ball game. Just that child-like mentality of responding at 100% emotional investment to something, then moving on as if it never happened. Bess is head over heels with Tom and practically threatens to kill him when he starts groan-inducingly flirting w/ another character, but immediately resumes the Juliet act after the fact. You complete a mission so you can fix up a broken train station, but then the train gives up halfway and takes you home and you never use it again. There's a fucked up bit where a prankster ghost haunts a parent with the vision of their deceased son, and it's not played for laughs or for drama, it's just a thing that happens?? A sacrificial character bit is pulled near the end, and it's the one moment where Poinie genuinely gets knocked out of his 'hehe funny cartoon' mode, and then the status quo in his brain resets as soon as his mom appears. Life goes on.
Anyway yeah, Poinie's Poin is one-of-a-kind. Crazy how little coverage or documentation surrounds its existence despite being a SCE production with a cross-cultural development. In a sane timeline, Sony would just throw the Japanese ROM on the PS4 store, but we don't get nice things here. Fuckin', Syphon Filter and PSP Star Wars games, Jim Ryan? Self-sabotaging loser weirdo.

Fire Emblem is the only game series where if someone tells me a rom hack is good, I'll actually believe them. You just know if this hack's premise was done by a Pokémon fan or a Megaman fan or something, it would have played like ass.

I miss this game. The game was very simple, easy to learn and comfortable to play. Character designs were very cute. For players of MapleStory 1, there were plenty of references and throwbacks to the original game.
Sadly, the game didn't do well enough to keep getting updates and service, so it was shut down after about a year.

I work in accounting and while I still do legitimately enjoy my current position, the nature of eight hour data entry shifts means that I will often return home feeling exhausted, especially on days where my seasonal allergies were particularly active. I'd often find myself unwilling to even play games after these shifts, especially since I primarily play games on PC, meaning I'd have to deal with a screen that looks just like the one that I just stared at for eight hours.
One day after work, I booted up my Switch and started playing Link's Awakening, aiming to rectify the error I made in never finishing it as a young teen experiencing it through the 3DS Virtual Console. And over the course of the five sessions I played it in (the first four of those being directly after returning home from work), I noticed that something about it seemed to make it the perfect game to play when I was tired out from an eight hour shift. This initial thought led to further thoughts about how the game was made after hours as something of a passion project by the devs. And the similarities between the circumstances Link's Awakening was made in and the circumstances I was playing it in made me realize exactly why I felt the way I did about it: it fundamentally is a game about escapism.
Whereas the adventures in the first three Zelda games are presented as something Link does both out of obligation to both the monarchy of his world and his status as a hero of legend, Link's Awakening establishes Link's primary goal as just getting back home or more specifically, waking up from a dream. However, the game puts a great deal of emphasis on him helping people on a smaller, more personal level. It initially struck me as odd how the trading sequence, a staple of the Zelda series that was introduced in this game, was mandatory here as opposed to its later incarnations where it's an optional sidequest. But it works well in presenting the game's adventure as an act of wish fulfillment on the part of Link. Instead of following some vague duties that affect the world on a macro scale that he can't really process, he's helping people in a way where he can more easily visualize the good he's done. It's one of the many examples of the first incarnation of a mechanic in a game series feeling the most impactful because it was there for a reason that isn't just "Hey it was cool when this other game did it so let's have it in this one too."
Similarly, it's interesting to contrast Marin to the earlier incarnations of Zelda when you see the former as another act of wish fulfilment on Link's part. Whereas the first three games' Zeldas don't really have chemistry with Link and only really exist to fulfill the common heteronormative fantasy of saving/getting the girl, Marin feels like an actual person. I especially love the part of the game where Marin accompanies you and all the optional interactions that happen as a result of it. Stuff like how you can have her try the Trendy Game only to get kicked out or how if you play the Ocarina, she'll tease you and pretend she didn't really goes a long way in making this part of the game feel like friends or lovers genuinely hanging out. I read Marin as representing a desire for genuine companionship on the part of Link. Maybe I'm entirely wrong with these readings but that's part of what makes stories that take place in the dreams of a major character so compelling when executed well. You can always read something interesting from any given occurrence and try to piece together what it says about the character in question.
Of course, this is all only temporary. All dreams have to end eventually and as you enter the latter half of the game, the ephemerality of the game's world becomes increasingly apparent. Ever since the defeat of the fifth boss, Link will get constantly bombarded with reminders of the true nature of Koholint Island. This culminates in the final battle which isn't against some power hungry tyrant like Ganon but rather a more abstract entity that wants to keep the world from disappearing. After this fight, the game ends with shots of all of Koholint being erased and Link waking up alone in the vast blue sea. Just as the stories we use to distract ourselves from our obligations in the capitalist hellscape we live in are only temporary, so too is the dream that keeps Link away from his obligations as a hero of legend.
But I think what stands out about the ending shot of Link alone in the ocean is how instead of crying because it's over, he smiles because it happened. While the stories we distract ourselves with may not be real, the ideas we've learned through them, the emotions we've felt through them, and possibly even the people we've met through them are. Escapism might not be a foolproof solution to our problems and could even make them worse if done in excess but it's something that humans seek out for a reason. We all need something to keep our mind off of our own struggles.
If Link to the Past was the game that set the body (i.e. structure) of the average Zelda game in stone, then Link's Awakening was the game that established the heart of Zelda, be it through the strange but memorable style of characterization that the devs gave credit to Twin Peaks for inspiring or through the various themes and ideas that Zelda explores at its best.