Not sure that my emergency action plan has changed much since I was a child, aside from the rise of LED bulbs and that my phone can speak an emergency alert for tornadoes. But I’d like to think warning times have improved over the last couple decades.

Officially hunkered down. All the things near shelter point. Etc. But based on the radar and the weather, I’m thinking if I was going to die by tornado tonight I’d already by dead. Just the same, I’d rather it be a shorter trip if I find myself grabbing dogs and taking cover.

And then there’s the part I find more mixed.

Decided while I was at it: fresh underwear. Not unusual as part of my getting ready for bed. But not a horrible precaution for tornadoes either.

But then I pictured hanging from a tree branch by the elastic, narrowly saved from being gone with the wind. Because my sense of humour is rather twisted and easily amused. For some reason: this made my mind flash to a scene in the old visual novel: Family Project. Soon after the middle aged woman,  Masumi is introduced into the story: she tries to commit suicide by leaping off the nearest bridge. The main character ends up saving her by her panties, and putting the elastic to the ultimate test, in what’s a spectacularly hilarious scene (if terribly embarrassing for the character). Personally, if I was in that predicament, I’d be keeping that pair for good luck, lol.

Thumbing through my Steam library, my brain eventually floats off in various directions.

One is the reminder that Love In Space recently released their follow up to Shinning Song Starnova, and remember that last time I had checked their Patreon, and active projects post, the next installment of Sunrider was next on their road map. Much to my joy, it seems like Sunrider 4: Captain’s Return is elevated to current project. Just as previously scheduled.

I remember playing Mask of Arcadius, and enjoying how they combined turn based fleet + mech tactics with a visual novel setting. Because who doesn’t want to laugh your ass off between being out numbered like 80:1 in a space battle? I think MoA is still free, and it’s worth playing both for the intro to Sunrider’s story, and for the campaign.

When Liberation Day came out it was a rather shuddup, and take my money response. Excellent improvement on the mechanics, and enjoyable for the same reasons. But of course the damned thing ends with a cliff hanger end on par with Old Ben Kenobi, so it’s been a long wait to see what happens next.

The purely VN based expansion with a side story / alternate endings for the crew was also pretty amazing. Give or take how many jokes you can make about the story twists that Claude aka miss boob rockets presented in the campaign. Won’t spoil the details, but let’s just say between her attempts on Captain Shields, and what she turns out to be, you can probably enjoy that lark a lot more than the other plot twists. Because it totally fits her personality, and should make you revisit some of your beliefs in religion and science :P.

Ahh, in a few years perhaps we will have Sunrider 4….hehehe.

In an effort to catch up on some of my reading backlog, I recently found myself revisiting The Fruit of Grisaia, both the visual novel and the anime. Because sometimes time for reading is limited, and the story is pretty damned long.

In doing so, I’m kind of reminded of several things. The anime adaption while extremely well executed is also extremely condensed. Many key scenes are filtered through but as a whole: you only get something on par with 20% of the visual novel’s content. That is to say: the anime is great, but it’s like looking through a pinhole compared to the original media. Episode one’s one line summary of each character’s story is also spot on.

About 90% of the crude humor that makes Yuuji’s school life so enjoyable is cut, and each characters story is condensed heavily for time. For me that’s kind of sad because the joking and clowning around is part of why the novel left me laughing my ass of more often than not.

Considering that each characters story is practically a novel in of itself, the anime fairs pretty well for cutting out so much. You still get key moments like burying his classmate alive, but much of the detail around it is lost, such as the airhead’s true nature. I think Amane’s story is the only one that really escaped massive trim: probably because there’s no way to actually trim her story and keep the jist. By contrast, Sachi’s which is the longest character story in the novel: only got one episode that struggles to tell the jist of her condition. And the series totally misses out on her sadomasochist sense of humor to a fine degree, and Michiru’s constant bombardment of idiocy and subtle kindness. All sorts of things in the name of fitting into a standard season length.

Likewise things are quite twisted to create a point of co-existence out of the novel’s ladder like structure. So we don’t get to see how much Yuuji / Makina truly mirrors his relationship with Asako, as that would be destructive to a shared finish. And a host of other things. I don’t think we even get the hilarious Lamborghini and frozen turkey scene from Yumiko’s route which was just freaking awesome sauce. Instead a new ending is sort of created, and much of the characters’ suffering and healing is drifted off to the cutting room floor. But if you had to cram it down to about a dozen episodes, I’d say the anime is about as good as could be done with the story.

But then I remember what really made me interested in the story wasn’t Gurizaia no Kajitsu itself: but the anime adaptions of the follow on media. Which pretty much starts out by telling Yuuji’s story, and the road from his truly fucked up youth to his master, Asako, saving him for the pits of hell. It wasn’t until after the anime adaptions of the The Labyrinth, and The Eden of Grisaia that the original visual novel really went on my radar.

Which kind of leaves me wondering: and just how heavily condensed was the rest of the trilogy when they adapted them to anime!?

About a year ago, I came across an interesting hybrid game called Omni Link; combining space combat, exploration, and far more importantly a good story. Much to my surprise it also had a couple of great songs to go with the journey across space.

My review on Steam was quite positive:

At first I thought, “Huh, this feels just like asteroids!” when I got to the helm. But it’s so much more than that.

Omni Link is more of an RPG / VN hybrid with action in a vein similar to Asteroids for the space combat. You can explore and travel the star systems, but interactions are mostly combative or story driven. It’s fun but the story is where it is really at.

I greatly enjoyed the story. Good times between Keb, Arcadia, and Dawn. Malthus livens things up quite a bit. Suzumi’s rescue was especially good for the soul. All in all, I probably enjoyed the story more than I would have going to see a movie for the same price tag.

Music is freaking great. Honestly my favourite part is the sound track–I wish there was an add-on with the vocal tracks and some concept art.

Art is very well done. I love the intermixing of comicbook/manga style panels here and there, and the CGs that are scattered across the game are wonderful. Some of the moments are especially great such as the hug and the cowlick scene.

Action as previously said reminds me of Asteroids. Augmenting that however is your fleet. As you pilot the main ship, Dawn takes care of your support ships and they are quite effective. Meanwhile you can morph into whichever one you like for direct control agains the enemy: allowing you to be the quick scout, the gunboat, etc and delegate the other roles to the A.I. backing you up.

Towards the more typical VN parts things are a bit more sparse. Saving only can happen outside of the VN portions. No gallary, screenshots don’t seem to work, etc. But it gets the job done. More focused on the space combat parts of the UI than providing an interface like renpy. No real complaints because the story is excellent.

/* Also Steam client needs to add a spell checker :'( */

I use vndb to track and remember the visual novels that I play, and there are not very many that I rate towards the top of the voting scaleOmni Link is one of the few I voted 9/10. Which pretty much means great victory on the story front.

One of the perks of using Steam is the ability to follow a game, and hope that someday a news post is made if updates or new projects occur. When I heard the developer was working on a new project called Crypterion: it didn’t take long to add it to my wishlist.

Later on, when the Kickstarter project was announced, I was very tempted. Never been a fan of backing crowd funded projects, but given how much I enjoyed Omni Link: the odds are in my favour that fun shall be had. Hearing that there were still some CDs in existence from Omni Link’s own crowdfunding, I rather went from “Remember to do that” to “Where’s the sign up button”, lol.

Suffice it to say, I really enjoyed the game’s main themes, particularly the song “Love is Pretend”. Pretty sure that a transcription of the lyrics is going to end up in one of my notebooks somewhere.

Today, happily this arrived in the post box:

This CD shall be going in a nice safe space :).

Actually, this kinda makes me glad that I still have plenty of hardware that can play CDs, and don’t have to power on an old PlayStation, lol.

Steam Summer Sale – VN Titles and Markdowns

More than a few entries on this sale list warrant a gander for anyone interested in Visual Novels, or you may already own half of them :P.

A few lesser known ones worth mentioning:

  • One Small Fire At A Time
    • Short but well worth it.
    • This is currently the only entry on my VN list that ranked a 10/10.
  • The Letter
    • If you ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure book than this is for you.
    • The post credits scene may disturb you far more than the horror story :P.
  • An Octave Higher
    • Set in the same world as One Small Fire At A Time.
    • Players of the former will appreciate a certain side character ;).
  • Ladykiller In A Bind
    • Highly abnormal and twisted sense.
    • Come for the story not the adult content 8-).
  • ACE Academy