So this has been long overdue to write about, but this past January was my annual trip to the video game convention, Pax South. This has mostly been a way to re-unite with friends that are located all across the united states, but i must say that this year has been one of my favorites for letting me play some incredible games that I did not expect to be there. So I thought I would just go through some of these games in a blog post and rave about why people should check these games out when they eventually release (hopefully this year * fingers crossed * )
Hypnospace Outlaw has been a game i have been anticipating since its kickstarter reveal (which I helped back years ago). This game is being made by one of the folks who helped create Dropsy, a video game where you played as a clown who looked scary, but just wants to give hugs. This game is quite different than Dropsy, as Hypnospace is essentially a Geocites moderator simulator, or rather a re-imagining of the late 90’s internet space that I was just too young to experience at the time. In fact, the controls are basically the exact same as well… browsing the web.
Funnily enough, I first found out about their presence at PAX on Twitter, when I was searching the Pax South hashtag to find any clues as to what the show floor looked like from the inside. I’m not sure if anyone else had their mouth agape like I did when I found out they were here, but regardless I decided to seek out their booth on the first day. This demo was actually quite hidden away from the rest of the con, despite having a huge CRT television showing of the game while another would play the game on the laptop. Regardless, I managed to locate this bundle of joy and sat down to experience an internet I wish was real.
From my brief experience with it, I can imagine how different an experience with this game can be for a multitude of players. You can honestly just spend your time exploring “Hypnospace”, the name of the internet in this game without doing anything else. However, the game also encourages you to act as a moderator to report and remove such actions as copyright infringement, bullying, etc in exchange for actual internet points that can be used to decorate your fake desktop. I’m very curious just how immersive this game can become when more people can get their hands on it, but I at least made sure that i got every single one of my friends over at this booth to experience this for themselves. This was by far the coolest thing at the show for me personally, and that includes popular games that were at the show like Resident Evil 2’s remake.
I vaguely remember hearing about Boyfriend Dungeon last year, either from an announcement tweet, or maybe from something from Youtube. Whatever it was, I remember thinking “that looks neat, though I’m not sure if it’s for me.”. As it turns out, Boyfriend Dungeon is very much for me, as I had a pleasant time playing this game for about 15-20 minutes at PAX.
Boyfriend Dungeon is a Dating Simulator game that somehow also is a dungeon crawling top down role playing game (I’m really adding a bunch of words here that I’m not sure makes much sense right now). Basically the player goes through different dungeons and finds a weapon that turns into someone that you can go on dates with. Convenient! The action itself is simple, but I feel like that is intentional given you would not want it to be too difficult to find potential new dating partners if you’re not the biggest fan of the currently available suitors. I will say that I’m pleased that you can date dudes, ladies, non-binary partners, and you can also just summon a cat to just have as a pet. It seems really well thought out and has potential for being enthralling.
Given that it was such a short taste, I don’t know how the visual novel side of the game will hold up, but the premise is so strong that I really want to give it a show, especially as someone who has been waiting for a dating sim to get hyped about.
World of Horror
I feel like there is a trend with each game I talk about on this list, because this is yet another game I knew about ahead of time thanks to Twitter because it’s retweeted by cool people. At least this time it was actually one of my friends who brought me to the booth, because I was pleasantly surprised at their presence given that I had no clue they were showing up to Pax South this year.
World of Horror is a horror game (shocking I know) that feels straight out of the works of Junji Ito and Kazuo Umezu. It’s a mystery solving experience that involves your investigative character to check out various horror cases happening around them as reality seems to fall victim to horrifying powers beyond humanity’s control. The demo had one case available where the player got to explore a school to find enough materials to summon and defeat a scissor ghost that has been acting like a huge dick. I can’t say I was personally scared by the particular scenario, but I definitely know some folks who would fall victim to its jump scares quite easily as well.
The part of the game I sucked at was the final confrontation between myself and the ghost. Perhaps I didn’t collect enough materials or maybe I could not fully grasp this element of the game, but sadly I just could not deal a satisfying Rock to the scissors ghost’s…. scissors I guess. I’m still pretty excited for this game, and I’m also glad that friends of mine who primarily play on a PS4 or a Switch can get their hands on it as well eventually. I just hope that when the game comes out, I’ll learn more about killing ghosts other than yelling “BUSTIN BUSTIN BUSTIN BUSTIN” at my computer screen.