Games of October 2019

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (Game Boy)

With Nintendo re-releasing the classic The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on the Switch as The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening but with forced-perspective 3D and Funko Pop-like characters, I figured it was time to dive into the classic Game Boy game again (using The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX), and as a novelty, decided not to use any guides whatsoever, only raw trial-and-error and the knowledge from having played through the game a few times, mostly recently as of around December 2016.

The cool thing about The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is you aren't exactly told the story in the first half of the game, and every dungeon item you get opens up a new part of the map. In the first dungeon, you get the Roc's Feather (allowing you to jump over small pits), then the Power Bracelet (allowing rocks to be moved), then the Pegasus Boots (allowing you to jump over bigger pits), then Zora's Flippers (allowing you to swim). The last four dungeon items have little use outside their respective dungeons, however, and the story is backloaded into the last half (spoiler alert: it's just a world manifested from a dream). Link's Awakening also has a small surprise at the end if you go the whole game without dying once, but the game compensates for being gentler in terms of hearts taken away. A permanent sword powerup that will send enemies flying across the screen can be acquired about a third into the game, drowning won't count against you, bomb explosions will never harm you, and most enemies only take half a heart, even toward the end of the game. You won't have the Shovel to dig up hearts in the overworld if you trade it for the Boomerang (which is often lethal instead of just stunning like other games) but even so, it's not bad. The DX version even has a "photo booth" feature where you could activate a sidequest for a small purple mouse to take funny pictures of Link across the game, which don't exactly much up with the artstyle presented in the beginning or the art for the game. Despite this, it is often used by stupid people in online arguments to prove that Link's Awakening was never "serious".

One of the things I guess I'd change if I played it again is just name myself THIEF from the get-go, which you'll be called if you steal from the shop. Besides, the game isn't well-programmed and having a name less than five characters will just have extra spaces ("Well, Link , you finally snapped out of it"). (Final Rating: 4/5).

Factorio (PC)

Factorio is easily one of the most addictive games I've played. I may never get to play anything close to SimCity again (Cities Skylines, as it turns out, was a false prophet) but Factorio comes close to satisfying that itch. I've easily sunk 8+ solid hours into this game at one time, and made me think of efficiencies and how to resolve blockages. It's definitely an acquired taste game with a slow start. You start out with mining ore, and transforming those to finished products. In one case (I may be paraphrasing this, so it's not the exact story), I noticed a shortage of "purple science", one of the "science packs" to research new technologies and eventually launch a rocket. At the plant that made the "production science pack", there was plenty of electric engine units in storage but no electric furnaces needed. The electric furnaces were not being produced because of a shortage of advanced circuit boards. The advanced circuit boards were not being produced because of a shortage of plastic bars. The plastic bars were not being produced because of a shortage of petroleum gas. The petroleum gas was not being produced not because a shortage of crude oil, but the crude oil processing had run out of space for light oil and heavy oil. Once more storage units were added for them, production continued back to the "purple science" plant, with petroleum gas plastic bars could be produced, with plastic bars advanced circuits could be produced, with advanced circuits electric furnaces could be produced, and so on.

While some processes are glossed over for the sake of simplicity, it's impressive because it shows how much of the world around us is produced by coal and oil. In the real world, nearly every common chemical is related to petrochemicals somehow, through steam cracking, boiling point burnoffs, or reactions from other byproducts. Mods for Factorio let you experiment with more "real world" ingredients, including wood resin, mineral oil, naphtha, coke (the coal byproduct, not street drugs or soft drinks), and an array of others. One of these days I need to experiment with those mods, but the two problems are I don't see anything I can do anything with them except build more of the "science packs" and not see how they interact with the greater world (plus, the whole petrochemical world has made many people quite wealthy) but I feel like I can already dump over 30 hours easy (not to mention many an afternoon, and I thought Prison Architect was addictive... (Final Rating: 4.5/5).