Pit Fightee

“Get up!”

My handler’s gruff hollering broke through my punch-drunk haze and everything came flooding back from there. My arms quivered. My body screamed. My legs cramped; I had been running circles away from my opponent and was exhausted, completely out of steam. My vision crept back and the blur gave way, I was flat on my back staring up into glaring orange. There came another command to get to my feet, this one motivating me enough to roll onto my compressed chest and force myself up and onto one knee.

I huffed and my hearing returned in full. My ears were ravaged by the cheering, the wailing and roaring, of thousands surrounding. I convulsed, succumbing to my poor state, and heaved while my lungs strained and I hacked up blood onto the hard arena floor.

“Peppers!”

I heard you, you bastard! Give me a goddamned second!

I would have yelled it had I the energy or could stop the fit I was enduring. Vertigo took me again and the crowds laudation faded to murmurs.

The Announcer’s raucous prattle emphasized my rapidly worsening condition. “And there she goes again –”

~~~~~

“And here you are, again.” The portent voice swirled in my mind. “Battered and beaten, again. Why not keep up the trends and just give up, hm?”

“I ain’t givin’ up.” I struggled with my voice.

“And yet you gave up on me.” A somber hiss in my ear.

I opened my eyes to a sea of subdued red and a single figure, a child, standing in contrast just behind me.

“I didn’t. I –“

“You ran! Like you always do. Always running!” It snapped and flared, teeth and fists clenched.

“I lost you,” I pled. “I searched. I’ve tried but –“

“It was too hard?” A second voice mocked and the plane shifted rapidly, a tall figure stood before me against a field of muddy brown. “And so, you gave up, because it’s so easy to be beaten down and bleed. Why fight it?” It grinned and reached an oozing hand to brush at my bruised face.

I snarled and viciously swiped the hand away. “You ain’t got a clue what I struggle with every day! Either of you!” I launched to my feet, tearing my glare between the two. “You don’t know nothin’ about me!”

The two figures slinked back, hissing and grumbling, breaking way for a calm. I wiped my forearm across my split lip, a thin line of red painting my pale skin.

“Not giving up then, hm?” The portent voice echoed and I offered no more than a curl of my lip. It sighed, “Well, I suppose there will always be next time. For now, you should move –”

~~~~~

“Move, ya git!”

All my senses stormed forward at once. The crowd groaned. My body screamed and my nose was battered by the thick scent of iron. I blinked and felt my heart catch in my throat at the sight of bruised and bloodied knuckles streaming toward my face. I forced my body to move, ignoring overwhelming paresthesia from head to toe. The haymaker grazed my cheek and threw me off balance. A thunderous cacophony of roaring and cheer erupted within the cavern and I could only imagine my handler’s dour relief.

“For a second there it looked like she was in a coma, but it looks like Peppers is back in action, folks!”

I stumbled to gain my footing and struggled against my aching body to hold a stance. My opponent turned to face me, he huffed and I beckoned.

Bait taken. I rolled underneath his rushing punch and threw a sharp knee into his gut. He folded and I stepped forward to wrench his neck into a choke hold. No sooner did I lock in the hold did he begin to thrash in my grasp. A moment passed before he threw his weight forward and sent me toppling backward, the impact causing dust to fly and my lumbar to cry.

A daze overcame me, yet I locked my ankles behind my opponents back and held him into place until his thrashing slowed and his body fell limp against my form.

 

“I can’t believe what I am seeing here today! Redacted is down after a gritty counter assault by Peppers! It appears to be a choke out, folks! There’s no answer on the other end! ”

Intertwined as we were, I could feel his heart pounding – his instincts battling against the inevitable. Yet, consciousness had left him. The Referee broke into our shared existence and forced us apart, me rising to my feet and my opponent falling limp on the arena floor.

~~~~~~

An old piece I have been working on here and there. My main focus is creating technical combat that is not confusing to the reader. Let me know what you think. And if you have any suggestions for reads that accomplish this much better, I would love your suggestions.

Fan Service: Hyper Dragon Ball Z

I could not believe my luck stumbling upon this one.

Sometime, somewhere, some small company managed to gather the fabled Super Dragon Balls and, after harkening the dreaded cries of trillions of fans throughout the twelve known universes, wished for the power to fulfill the battered dreams of these oppressed people. And so the divine dragon, Super Shenron, blessed these fearless heroes with the resources, talent, and relentless drive to tackle this righteous task…

Diamond In The Rough

Hyper Dragon Ball Z is regarded as ‘the Dragon Ball game that fans deserve.’ It is a fast-paced, combo-based, fighting game built within the M.U.G.E.N engine and draws much of its inspiration from other such games including Street Fighter and Darkstalkers. The game is entirely fan produced and is free to play on both Mac and PC. Its fan-made development displays some of the greatest moments of nostalgia and simply-stunning fan-service as it embodies the heart of 2D fighting games and Shonen Manga alike.

From start to finish, HDBZ dazzles with its true to genre charm and its gorgeous sprite-based art style. This arcade diamond breathes ‘the rule of cool’ from every ounce of its programming displayed in its technical, and surprisingly graceful, combat system. We all know that sound is a key part of game development and HDBZ does not disappoint, it presents the player with a harmonized blend of tones and tunes which are as much a joy to listen to as the game is to play.

Simple Yet Refined

The latest build, denoted ‘Champ Build’, appears to be the game’s ‘official release build’ and comes packed with nine unique characters, 21 series inspired stages, and nine game modes (though, admittedly, the co-op is entirely unbalanced and barely playable). The three main draws of the game will be the classic modes such as Arcade, Versus, and Survival where the player will be able to test their grit against relentless opponents and ask themselves Shonen’s most important question “do I have what it takes to become a master?”

This game holds a special place in my heart. I am an avid Dragon Ball fan and there is no easier way to get me to nerd out and go on for ages. I only found this gem, sporadically, a few days ago and I can not help but pour hours into it (no matter how frustrating it is). If you are even a minor fan of Dragon Ball, or a contender in technical fighting games, I implore you to give this game a shot.

Get It Before Its Too Late

Check out the Facebook page here to download the game and pay some respect to the developers. I would keep my eyes peeled for more characters to come – I can’t see this game fading away any time soon…

…unless the corporations have their way with it.

Keep on keepin’ on and stay true!

Beta Shout-Out: Nex Machina

Arcade Carnage

A competitive arcade twin-stick shooter, Nex Machina is the next contender in fast-paced, carnage driven bullet-hell awesomeness being developed by legendary creator Eugene Jarvis and top-notch Finland company Housemarque. The game is set in a new era where robots have transcended humanity in intelligence and have decided to turn on their former masters and launch an eradication plan against all humans. It is the classic cyberpunk conflict where you play the lone savior fighting your way through a mechanical onslaught in order to rescue humanity from the threat of total annihilation.

Blazing Fast Bullet Storm

As the spiritual successor of games such as Smash TV and Resogun, Nex Machina will see you facing off against hundreds of enemies while strafing and dodging across the map to avoid a gruesome and untimely end. Panic-fire your way to glory and destroy everything in your path in this high-octane death trap full of power-ups, traps, and endless enemies.

You will want to bring along plenty of skill, reflexes and wit, in order to rack up the highest score possible. The developers have created this one with the thought of competition in mind and will be hosting ranked tournaments and online challenges alongside an online leader-board and spectator mode so that players can pit their skills against one another.

Besides it’s clear game-play allure, Nex Machina also features some truly awe-inspiring graphics displaying plenty of dazzling explosions and lighting effects on top of a gorgeous voxel-based art style. Not only that, intense anime-style cut-scenes add a great deal of character and immersion to the story and play-style.

Beta Sign-Up

If you’d like to have a chance at testing out the game for its rapidly approaching PC launch, you can throw your name into the hat here and cross your fingers. I am looking forward to being able to try this one out and will be watching my email very closely until the Beta starts on April 21st.

Also, don’t forget to pay your respects to the developers and you can check out the official game-play video on YouTube or on Steam.

Game Review: Idra And The Little Fish

Game Jam builds are always a treat worth logging a few moments into. Idra and The Little Fish is no exception to this and takes the player on a particularly unique journey deep underwater where light is scarce and movement isn’t quite as us surface-dwellers understand it. Created for the ADGD Game Jam, this game is a deep-sea adventure which tests your wits and challenges the common gamer’s intuitive understanding of controls.

A Charming Treat

At launch we are introduced to a truly lovely character, Idra, your light and your goal, an angler fish girl who is hard of seeing and needs your help to navigate the dark and puzzling under-dark she has wondered upon. Though we are not graced with a voice at this early build of the game, her dialogue is poignant and endearing, rapidly motivating you to assist this ‘damsel in distress’ with all the effort you can muster.

Besides Idra herself, the greatest pull of the game are its unique controls. The developers wanted to produce a true sense of movement as a fish. A combination of altering the ‘A’ and ‘D’ keys allows the player to move forward while ‘W’ and ‘S’ control pitch. As you might imagine, this can cause some issues however, as this makes it impossible to turn without moving forward and there is no backward movement allowed.

The puzzles are very simple as of right now, mostly requiring the player to collide with objects to activate them. I would like to see some more in depth puzzle but as of right now the game seems to serve more as a show of art, style, and direction, all of which maintain a whimsical charm.

Hoping for more

Game Jam build often go unfinished and it is unlikely that a complete project will be undertaken in light of this intriguing start but one can hope. Try the game out for yourself here and don’t hesitate to leave a comment or critique. With any luck, some much needed encouragement will prompt the developers to return to this project.

Game Review: Dead Cells

Fan-folks of Spelunky and other rouge-like titles such as Risk Of Rain are going to love this one: Dead Cells is the latest spotlight project of the Bordeaux-based indie company Motion Twin. This rouge-like title specifically draws heavy influence from metroidvania games and takes you on a beautifully treacherous journey through a dark-fantasy island castle where new and deadly challenges await you with every step.

Dungeon Crawling At Its Finest

Dead Cells is massively procedurally generated providing a unique level and challenge to each player with every individual playthrough. Motion Twin has exhausted grueling effort into producing procedurally generated gameplay that contains logic and fantastic level design – a masterfully crafted combination of automated generation and manually designed levels. Each level is coded to provide a fair challenge depending on player advancement and progression.

Rule Of Cool

From the grudgey environment to the silky-smooth animations, Dead Cells is a gorgeous game which plays as handsomely as it looks. Rouge-like games are defined by their ability to produce a hard-hitting, fast-paced, and truly challenging, experience. Dead Cells easily accomplishes these feats while maintaining a degree of story progression and character development. Each playthrough offers unique upgrades, items, and weapons for the player to test and each engagement requires a degree of thought and forethought if you hope to make it out alive.

Final Thoughts

Dead Cells is a true rouge-like title and incorporates elements such as purchased items alongside character abilities to create a true sense of adventure and exploration.  It is an intuitive game that any player can pick up and understand in time and can provide entertainment in intervals in this time of ‘nobody has any time to do anything.’

If you’re interested, send out a beta tester application here. Also, check out the official website here and don’t forget to pay respects to the developers here.

Keep on keepin’ on and stay true!

Game Review: Evolution

Coming To A Screen Near You

Evolution is the digital adaptation of the card game developed by North Star Games in 2014. It is an in-depth game based around the idea of strategic adaptation. Players are pit against one another and the environment, a complete ecosystem, in a struggle to evolve and survive in a world that is constantly changing. If you are familiar with the card game, the developers assure players that this adaptation is anything but a copy of the card game to the digital medium; rather, it is being pitched as a unique experience aimed at expanding the game as its followers know it.

Adapt, Survive, Prosper

This game flooded me with flashbacks of Spore for many reasons. The gameplay revolves around each player starting as a basic species and they must control their species to feed, shelter, and grow their new lifeform. Survival is the name of the game, often pitting players against one another and against the harsh elements of the world. Players will deal with limited resources and struggle against predators and other threats as they expand their species to greatness. This game aims to provide a lucrative and inciting challenge that never quite plays the same no matter how many times you play. After all, is it not fitting for the game about adaptation and evolution to embrace those qualities in its mechanics?

Praised for its simple rules and intuitive gameplay, Evolution is designed for a wealth of different players with a variety of personalities and qualities. This allows the player to create the perfect species in their own eyes without limiting them to a specific play style that could be considered the ‘win tactic’.

Evolution Alpha

Currently, the game is in its early playable stages and the developers are asking for players from all over the world to sign up to test out their game and help them develop the best possible game they can. North Star Games is praised by their community for being responsive and for creating their game for the best possible experience for the player over anything else. I hope to see this game go far and look forward to seeing its final release. Even though this may be their first time dabbling with the digital medium, I have now doubt they have the talent to pull it off.

Take a look at the game here and rush to the final chance to join the alpha testing here.

Literature: Footprints of The Unknown

Written in the honor of Aaron Lunaaro, self-proclaimed Alchemist and widely considered “The Father of Planargy”, Footprints of The Unkown is a festschrift covering the studies and exploits of the late academic, most notably the years surrounding his teachings and his following of a powerful being from the alterplane known simply as The Mother.

Published only after the death of Father Lunaaro, the book saw a short lived publication and distribution before being called cultist propoganda and considered illegal. All copies of the book were rounded up by CyGen forces and were ordered to be disentigrated. One copy, however, was preserved by CyGen, presumadely to be disected for information so that they could eradicated the remaining Planargists. CyGen’s extremist reaction to these teachings served to drive the once pacifist following toward its own extremist behavior such as protests, riots, and eventually revolt against CyGen personel, property, and assets. These times came to be coined as The Rise of Planargy and the activists, the Children of Beyond, organized themselves as a religion dedicated to fighting the oppression of CyGen and spreading the values of Planargy. In so doing Footprints of The Unknown became revered as sacred text and although it was never produced in any physical format again it survives as lessons and guidelines spread only by word of mouth.

A small portion of CyGen’s highest ranking officials know of the continued existence of the original text. It was thoroughly evaluated and became the key to the tests and experiments leading to the development of Abanin Crystals as bioenergy batteries to further the limitations of cybernetics and biological manipulation. Lesser known is that it was also a key element leading up to the creation of the first of Abanancie’s Hybrids by CyGen’s own Chairman, Doctor Kirvo Aliffari.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Mystical

Word of The Day: festschrift

A Veiled Calling

2nd Cycle/452nd Hour/112 Hybrid-Era

Follow the bells, they’re ringing proudly, across the sea of shattered hills. They will guide you. Stand beside we and saturate the dulls of an ever shifting eternity.

I heard it in my dreams. A solon voice beckoning for me to heed its gentle call, leading me ever deeper into the beyond. I could hear it even as a woke; it tickled at my mind and lingered. Teasing. Ringing.

A distant ringing.

I turned over in my cot, my heated sheets rolling off of my form and falling to the cold stone floor. The chilling breeze that followed shocked me awake, sending shivers through my body and causing me to sit up rapidly in search for a layer of protection against the frigid air but as I leaned over and reached forward there was nothing there. The sheet was gone – as if passed into the nether. And yet persisted the ringing.

I pushed myself upright, pressing my back against the wall, and peered out toward the darkness of my quaint dorm. My hand flew to my ear, tapping at the button to activate my hearing aids; there came a shrill electronic screech followed by quiet – the distant humming air filtration units, the rhythmic thumping of subwoofers across the way. But no ringing.

I shifted and pulled my legs out and over the edge of the cot, my feet pressing down on warmed synthetic cotton; my sheets had been there the whole time. I must have missed them…

Cautiously I reached down and pulled the sheets over my bare legs and tucked the ends underneath my thighs. I spent moments sitting still in the darkness, my eyes searching the void for something, anything, that might have been the ringing I had heard. Eventually I lifted my arm and pounded at the underside of the bed above me.

A low grumble followed my actions. Some shifting and a murmur. I pounded again.

“Gebblen,” a hushed cry.

More shifting and this time his low mumble, “what?”

“I-I heard something. Bells – did you hear bells?” My voice frantic.

“No,” he sat up in his bed and for a moment I only heard ambient noise. I quickly reached over to my bedside and switched on the hand lamp laying there. The warm yellow light burst throughout the room and shocked my eyes. I waited for them to adjust and sat frozen. Searching.

“I don’t see anything, Mel. And no bells – just that fraggin’ club,” He grumbled and turned over in his bed once more.

I remained still for a few more moments, my eyes tearing over every object in the room. Our clustered desks. Trophies on the wall. Jackets hanging on hooks mounted on the closed door. Gebblen’s recent contraption scattered, wires and bolts, in the middle of the floor.

I sighed and laid back down. I left the hand lamp on and closed my eyes. It was probably nothing. I had just had a weird dream and was freaking out. My damaged ears were playing tricks on me. It was nothing.

It was nothing. I pulled my sheets over my thin form again and reached a hand up to click off my hearing aids. All sound left me. The humming. The thumping. But the ringing came back.

My eyes flew open and  I turned my head, scanning the room. Nothing had changed. All was still. I shifted again and placed my feet on the floor before standing and turning to look at Gebblen on his top bunk. He rolled over, his tired brown eyes resting on me and his thin lips mouthing: he wanted me to turn the light off and stop spazzing out. He couldn’t hear it.

I switched on my aids again, “…probably just hearing something from above.” He rolled over in his cot and curled up for slumber, “maybe you should get your aids checked out. There’re no bells. Just turn them off.”

He couldn’t hear it…

I turned off my aids and the ringing came back to me. Why? Why could I hear it. The rest of the world was silent but the chiming wouldn’t stop. I turned my back to him and faced the door. I stepped away from the bed, making my way across and avoiding the mess on the floor. The cold of my bare feet against the freezing stone sent chills up my legs and through my body. I wrapped my arms around myself and let curiosity drive me. And with every passing step the bells grew ever louder.

I passed through the door and into the hall, slowly following the sound toward the light of the Doctor’s study. A wispy haze crept through the air toward me His back was facing the open door and his long grey braid danced following his movements to and fro as he worked. A bright ebbing green haloed his slender, hunched form; a myriad of burning incense, flickering tablets, and loose codexes strewn about on every surface.

“Doctor,” I switched on my aids once more and stood in the door frame, “what’re you working on?”

“Meliana,” his head shot around, his braid flailing, and he motioned for me. “Come, come. Quickly.” His hazy blue eyes held wonder, his face alight with a smile. “Tell me what you see. Tell me what you feel.” I approached cautiously and as I drew closer to see I laid my eyes on a shining rock,  an Abanin Cystal unlike any I had seen before. This one was green, unlike its amber kin, and its surface shifted in the Doctor’s hands.

“Come on then,” he took my hands and force the crystal into my palms. It was incredibly warm, “it’s completely safe.” With that he reached over to his desk and took an incense, waving it under my nose. I was breathing it before I recognized what was happening, lost in the allure of the living ore. I could feel something pulling at, at my mind, not unlike the voice I had heard in my slumber. A weightless feeling came over me; I could feel sensation leaving me as the world blurred in my peripherals, only the the shifting light inside the crystal remaining clear. And then bells in the distance.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Vanish (12\5\16)

Word of the Day: campanology (12\5\16)

Legendary Item: The Book of They

Widely considered by modern Abanians to be nothing more than a sort of urban legend, The Book of They – a grimoire originally crafted by the Harbingers – is rumoured to be an artifact predating modern life on Abanancie. The text is said to include thourogh instructions regarding the manipulation of alterplanar energies in order to perform feats of magick. To date no physical representation of this book as been confirmed.

Regarded by many as drug-culture folklore, The Book of They is ultimately a collection of experiences, memories handwritten by thousands of individuals over countless generations recounting the events of their lives and their encounters with alterplanar phenomena such as ‘planar spirits’ or fleeting moments of supernatural talent.

Time and time again modern Abanians have claimed to stumble upon passages from the book. Some claim to have been touched by the alterplanar and have written down their experiences in attempts to pawn them off as legitimate recollections or additions to the book. One particularly distinctive trait of these passages is that they are all written in a mysterious language that has come to be recognized simply as ‘Feyspeak’.

Such passages are translated to the common tongue (Planar) but appear to be little more than ramblings:

Veins picked fresh of gems crush pre melting, chilled to glaze symbols over stabilized and timid grounds. Perfected unity; soul and body seperately combined through blood traded across The Endless Cavity. Consumed by light, the gem saited until starvation sets the field; the body withers. A seed takes its place amongst eternity.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Sacred

Word of the Day: bruit

Beyond The Call

6th Cycle/147th Hour/112 Hybrid-Era

I remember one distinctive part of my natural cognition: the last smell I ever had, the smell of  that god forsaken incense. The odor was altogether intrusive; it was like that of tar and twice over molded cheese. And no matter how much you tried to force it away, to exhale so strongly what might deter the lingering particles, it clung to you – your hair, your skin…

I could feel the frown carved into my face, my nose wrinkled and my brow furrowed deep, shadowing my coarse brown eyes. The whole process started with me being derobed, completely nude, before I was bid to sit still, my legs crossed underneath me and my palms up turned. Then I was made to endure the half-hinged ramblings of a maddened alchemist, prancing around me waving an incense to and fro about my naked skin. And so I sat silently, but watched carefully, as he graced around me, his shaved head and metallic arms reflecting the flickering green of slow burning tapestry.

And the longer I watched him the more I wanted to scream. To lash out and and take away his glee. I beleived it foolishness, every ounce of it, some ploy against me – against my people.

I had signed up for power. Something to make my people great, something to win this war. I had volunteered to be the first subject of a protoype treatment, forfieted my life to my people’s cause and put my trust in our scientists. But that? Ritualism? Spirit revering magicks? To the nether with that!

But it was too late…

No sooner had I made up my mind to rise to my feet and speak my opinion did a crippling pain take my entrails. My stomache burned and twisted within me with such intensity what caused me to bend inward upon myself, my forehead pressing to the smoothed cold flooring and my dusty brown hair collapsing around me.

The pain only became worse from there, eventually drawing me to reel back as if strecthing a cramp long overdue. When I opened my eyes I noticed a bucket before me…yet I had no reculection of anyone approaching.  I could hear no chanting. I turned my eyes to my concerned comraders swarming me and I could hear no plea only their mouths moving: was I alright? My hearing had gone.

One or the other pushed me too far. I snatched the bucket from the ground and held it up to my face just in time to capture the dragging moments of my body purging every fragment of what I held inside of my form. Even my insides felt like they were being torn from within me, made fodder which I no longer required. I blacked out before it all ended.

My screams woke me. My arms, my legs, my chest and my head; everything screamed as though I was swimming in acid. I thrashed, begging, fighting, but the world would not give; my body would not move. I knew not if I was laying flat or standing, or simply floating listlessely in an indefinite space. Yet, something stood out before me, straight ahead mimicking me. A massive suit of armor, human in its shape. Plate upon plate of rough crystalline shards glowing in flux, segmented, with the struggles of my mind. A new form to control. Far greater than any trapping of our known world.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Construct

Word of the Day: faustian