NEWEST TRACK!

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Status QuOwO Sunday

 BACK FROM MEGAPLEX Y'ALL!!!











 

 

Last weekend, I went to Megaplex, Florida's one and only furry convention, and it was a BLAST! 

FRIDAY
 Since I'm still new to my current job, I'm scant on PTO, so I had to work longer days Monday thru Thursday, then leave Friday morning.

Check-in didn't take long when I got there (maybe about 11:30 AM?) but parking at the Caribe Royale is a gamble where the  BEST you can hope for is to break even. Every was set up in enough time for me to go audition for Furry Jeopardy. Got the perfect score on the quiz, and made it to the MAIN SHOW!

 The biggest project I had to worry about was of course, Megaplex Megafest. I noticed they put me in Main Events, as well as three smaller artists (going solely by Twitter numbers) all afternoon, and Cassidy The Civet, a pop singer who's actually been on Canada's Got Talent (fuck you Howie Mandell) on Saturday.

I've been down this road before, and it would have sucked for each of us to beg for people to show up. So, I thought why not just present us all as a unified front? We're all going on one right after the other, so this is our opportunity to make our own festival!


The moment I struck gold.

Plus the line up we had was diverse:
Jane Drolf: Metal
Me: Punk
Atlas Coyote: Singer/Songwriter
ZandZ: Filk
Cassidy: Pop

It didn't take a whole lot to organize everyone and they were down from the word GO. I also suggested Zack Loup of Psychopomp to do the poster art, since I love his work, but never got to commission him yet. 

I kind of envisioned it like a Warped Tour parking lot, with people coming and going, with plenty to do, but the logistics weren't possible and mine and Jane's shows were age-gated. 

Everyone had a good show, especially considering it was the first live performance for Jane and Atlas. "Run Over Ronnie" continues to go over big, and my covers of "Hungry Like The Wolf" and "Mexican Radio" went so well, I can add them to my repitoire. 

At the end of ZandZ's show on Friday, everyone got up for a rendition of "Don't You (Forget About Me)", a nice little cap to everything! 

And it felt GOOD to elevate other people! It felt GOOD to be part of something bigger and it felt GOOD to not have to feel like we were in competition!

even though I won. I'm the best at everything.

SATURDAY

Well... uh... Still had fun.

I did INCREDIBLE on merch this weekend! I'm almost out of Swoletariat T-shirts, and the new CDs, Hardcore Nerdcore Punk Rock did incredible!

It's like everything I've learned over the past 10+ years of doing cons has finally come to fruition!

SUNDAY

Started the morning at the Fitness Furries panel where I began the day with a nice sweat! Cassisy had her concert the day before, and over the weekend everyone's been signing the poster. We donated it to the charity auction where it netted over almost $400 for the C.A.R.E. Foundation!

I got home in PLENTY of time to unwind, and overall, a kick ass weekend! 

JAM OF THE WEEK: "Song For A Beer"

Z n' Z use this as the "summary" song, where they also include lyrics from other songs, and they had us come on stage and sing a little bit from ours. It's a fun little acoustic jam that gets stuck in your head SO bad.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Status Quo Coverage

Hey did you know I have an album out now HARDCORE NERDCORE PUNK ROCK?

In the lead up I was interviewed by a couple places, and let me show you them!

6/21/2022
Dogpatch Press
Rhythm Bastard and His Music: Support Your Local Swole Punk Rock Furry!

This was done over text with DogPatch Press, furry online periodical of record. They've done good interviews and features before, especially when it comes to the fandom within larger societal issues, such as queer pride and "furry panic" in schools.

Patch was very easy to talk to and VERY complimentary with my whole ouvre, so it was really fun to do!

ALSO I JUST REMEMBERED DP ALSO INTERVIEWED JELLO BIAFRA!

*flex*

6/30/2022
Ongaku Overdrive
Nerd Music Meltdown #98: Rhythm BastardMania

This one was good to update some stuff I had in the previous podcast, 3 years ago. Most of the conversation was focused on making sure everything WORKS when you have a convention setting. It was just nice talking with Kent who knows the scene and knows my career where we can focus on putting myself in front of people and making me look good. 

Either way, both interviews had me indulging in my furry side, so with

JAM OF THE WEEK: "Cool Patrol" by Ninja Sex Party

Ninja Sex Party's been hitting different since Game Grumps Dan a much wider audience and a bigger budget, but they manage to make the song SOLID first and foremost. The verse are the setups, the choruses are the punchline and they evolve as the song continues, and the Cool Break is just... so cool.Very reminiscent of 70's pop-funk, which makes sense considering the music video takes place in a roller rink.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Status Quo Is Bullshit, Travel More

DUMPING GROUND FOR SAD NEWS ARTICLES
Shit, this was where I'd put links to all the news coverage of people protesting pride parades, that one where that far right militia got caught, anything that idiot Ron DeSantis has done, and drag events interrupted everywhere because neanderthals are more concerned with the children they both live vicariously through AND treat as property are going to be "traumatized" when we all know damn well that their WASP Mom and Dad are showing up to every school board meeting to bitch about "CTR" or whatever they heard from Newsmax or some shit.

Anyway my fellow queers, get a gun.

N.B. I didn't release this last week, since I was waiting on getting back from AFO, but reading the Roe V. Wade shit, castrate any and all Pro-Forced Birth Man, knock up their daughters, mothers and wives, and then set them on fire at the 4th of July party and say it was a Fireworks Accident.

PRE-ORDER HARDCORE NERDCORE PUNK ROCK!
COMING OUT JULY 1st!

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The link will let you preorder it on my Bandcamp, Spotify and Apple Music pages! I'll also put out a pre-order page for CDs when I have a better idea of when those come in.

1. Future Endeavor
2. Status Quo Radio
3. Pass The Class
4. Cliffhanger
5. Radio Days Pt. 1
6. Thrash Panda
7. Force Of Nature
8. Space Tambourine
9. Hunting Bigger Game
10. Imminent Doom
11. Fire In The Hole
12. High Noon
13. Fuck Terfs (But Don't Have Sex With Them)
14. Hell Yeah
15. Take The Oath
16. Bastard's Reunion
17. Imminent Doom (AKI Version)
18. Fire In The Hole (AKI Version)

FWA RECAP

My show was at 8:30 PM in one of the panel rooms, which wasn't NECESSARILY the worst thing, but uh...

i wasn't sure i'd have a mic until 20 minutes before the show

and i didn't have a mic stand

So, I had to have one of my friends hold the mic while I played, and it WORKED. It gave the show more of a punk rock feel, and people even VOLUNTEERED to hold it! Still not ideal, but it just goes to show that my strength as a performer is to be able to improvise with what I've got, and NEVER give up. I put on a DAMN GOOD show regardless!

I just hope next year everything's sorted out, and I can get me some MAIN STAGE time!

Also I met up with a couple artists I've only contacted with through Twitter!

OTHER PANELS I WENT TO!
STEM Meetup- Now, this is a type of panel I don't normally see at other cons I usually play at, and it was nice to have something that's more or less for ADULTS. Not an 18+ up panel, but just a panel that doesn't make me feel like an old man. Met a lot of cool people there, and did get to learn from others who are in varying specializations and points in their careers

Cassidy The Civet's Concert- She's been doing a lot of cons, and I finally managed to catch one of her shows. She has great voice, but her set was mostly did Eurovision covers, so I couldn't quite get a good idea of her sound.

Survifur: FWA- Yes, it's a dumb pun, but it was an interesting competition, even if the stakes aren't a million dollar cash prize. It was also run by Cassidy the Civet!

Cut Content Panel- This one was run by one of HELLBREAKFAST's Friends and it was about cut content and the like in retro games. It covered a lot of ground in mostly NES-era games, but I can see how someone can get LOST datamining these older titles and how it helps us all better understand how they're put together. They're hard to make, even back then.

Anyway, 10/10 would go again if I had a mic stand. Between this and MAGFest, I'm starting to shy away from the smaller anime cons in my area and am trying to aim higher, or at least more specific. The crowd there are more passionate, and are more eager to share and create, rather than consume. It's cynical at my age, but I found a con that I 100% vibe with.

Furry cons are Ren Faires mixed with Pride Parades. That was my go to shorthand anytime any one asked what was going on, so take that nugget of wisdom with you! 

 ANIME FESTIVAL ORLANDO RECAP!

 This one I was 1000% better prepared for, since I... could bring stuff. I also debuted "Run Over Ronnie", and given that my show was on the same day a bunch of old crackers decided they were the coochie boss, the crowd was 100000% behind it.

It's a live staple alongside Fuck Terfs!

Also I had a merch set up, and even though it was out of the way, A LOT of people came through and picked up a shirt!

NEW MERCH: FUCK TERFS SHIRT


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Given section 1, you all deserve something for Pride month going into Wrath month.

Honestly it was about time, and I FINALLY decided to it. I do have a copy of this shirt myself, and have worn it to the gym several times. 

RPG PALS CLUB ON ITCH.IO

This is the PUBLIC release of the RPG Pals Club Visual Novel I've been working on! Currently it's in Godot, but eventually I might transport it over to something where I have a little more freedom to do whatever.

Right now this is the first 3 "Acts" of Episode 1. Each episode will have 5 "Acts", and I'm writing the fifth one right now. When? I dunno. 

JAM OF THE WEEK: "Stop, Drop, Roll" by Can't Stop Won't Stop


So "The Bad Guys", the Furry Movie Of The Moment, came out on DVD on 6/21. 

They fucking knew.

Regardless, the movie itself was an enjoyable watch. The plot, although predictable, was charming enough so that I was along for the ride, the animation style was slick, and the voice acting was done, not by big name celebrities, but character actors!

What kicked off the movie, was this big car chase set to this song, "Stop Drop Roll" by Can't Stop Won't Stop. It's not an easily recognizable pop song, it's funky and the action syncs up to the beats well. Even in small moments like a sharp turn, or when the crew buckles their seatbelts.

Funk is one of those genres I've never sought out, but I always enjoyed when it's on, because musically it's so interesting. Layers on layers on layers, AND there's rapping. Nothing concrete thematically, more like "Scenario" by Tribe Called Quest where it's rappers flexing. Again, nothing terrible impressive, and it all flows the same, but fuck it, I still had fun.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Status Quo Sunday TRAVELS?

*blows dust off this place*

All right then!

NEW MERCH DROPPED!

First up, the Hardcore Nerdcore Punk Rock shirt!












 

Featuring the INCREDIBLE cover art by Hellbreakfast, this shirt comes in red and black, and all kinds of fabrics.

Next up, Kick Drum Vans!



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enbiety helped design these, and WOW they look nice! Also pairs well with the Rhythm Bastard skateboard...

BASTARDTHON UPDATE!

 

You can see ALL of the segments on Youtube, save for the concert and the freeplay stuff at the end. Like I said at the outset, even though I didn't raise much, it still was a fun day! It was a chance to reconnect with people I haven't spoken to in a while, and I got to dip my toe into games I either haven't played in a while, or have always wanted to try

This ran A LOT smoother than the last Bastardthon I ran, since I now know what I'm doing, and I figured out a pretty good flow to how to run things.

What I'd do for next time?
-LONGER SEGMENTS-  Even when segments were feeling long in the tooth, some of the stuff we wanted to do was cut off RIGHT THERE, and it was like "OH, OK NEXT ONE!" Maybe an hour and a half slotted out instead of just an hour.
-Test the sound levels for my concert before hand and then MARK EVERYTHING FOR LATER
-Wider green screen. My current Green Screen is just two pieces of green fabric clamped together. Please give me money so I can afford a third.
-More crossover opportunity! I did have someone want to do Left 4 Dead 2, and others can join in, but the weekend I rescheduled it for didn't work out.

UPCOMING CONS!

Not ALL of these dates are set in stone YET, but I am working on the logistics SO:

Furry Weekend Atlanta- May 5th to May 8th
Mizucon- May 28th to May 30th
Biggest Little Fur Con- June 2nd to June 5th
Anime Festival Orlando- June 24th to June 26th

Mizucon's an annual mainstay and AFO I've played a few times, and am happy to go back to, but FWA and BLFC are brand new to me! I just hope I can be able to afford them, and at least get some decent buzz going. There's still A LOT to be sorted out, but I just hope I can make it worth the trip!

JAM OF THE... TIME I'M WRITING THIS: "Fancy" by Orville Peck

I've said for a while now that all the good country is being made by weirdos, like Trixie Mattel (drag queen that can put out fun pop-rock jams), Sturgill Simpson (MY ALBUMS AN ANIME, FUCK YOU) and Orville Peck (deep voice, cool mask, all atmosphere) because most of the mainstream stuff is either:
1. Trying to get a commercial crossover hit by being LITERALLY in a commercial
2. Boyfriend Country, which isn't BAD perse, but it's Pop or Adult Alternative but twangy
3. Facebook Grievance Country, aka "I'm a Boomer Dissapoointed in My Country (aka my kids are different entities than I am)

Orville Peck has this bassy voice that is just haunting. Not deep in the way Anthony Fantano would make fun of singers who ape grunge rock, but legitimately otherworldly, and he uses that to great effect in his songs.

"Fancy" is a cover of a Bobbie Gentry song that was made famous by Reba McIntire in the 1990s about a girl who gets sent away to whore herself out to escape poverty. It's a compelling story, which is at the center my favorite country songs, and Orville Peck by just changing one word, ("There stood a woman where a half grown kid had stood", replace kid with "boy") makes it sound more desperate. When it's all backed by a sparse, but well utilized instrumentation adds this gothic layer to it all.

Orville Peck is good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

STATE OF THE BASTARD 2022

Well, I Guess We're Back Now? Something Something 34...

Yeah, 2021 has had a LOT of ups and downs and while it was a "Back To Normal" year, that came with a big fucking asterisk. I started to play live shows again which is always a treat, but the year was basically 2020 Take II. 

We're still not handling the pandemic (at least only enough to go "BACK TO WORK") and it's boiled down to "We've learned nothing, and we're not taking any new precautions to prevent something like this screwing up everything again"

Since we're in "The Show Must Go On" mode, I played Megaplex, Mizucon and Anime Iwai, and played the opening set for All Hail The Mustache's EP release.

Let's see... I also got kicked off a huge project that could have been my big break and then have my podcast friends try to have an intervention over podcast which left me an emotional wreck the next day. Then again, it was an ultimately mediocre affair that was met with a resounding "meh".

"Fuck Danimal Sweepstakes With Zach and Cannon" is an inside joke within my friend group. 

AT LEAST I GOT AN ALBUM OUT OF IT!

   

I took all of that into BastardMania, an album of all my instrumental work and a new single "Future Endeavor" (more on that later!).

GOD I love
HellBreakfast. He KILLED it on this! I look like a badass Jojo character, Thrash looks beefy as hell, and Jonesy Spenserson looks like a proper grappleman!

SPEAKING OF ALBUMS, HARDCORE NERDCORE PUNK ROCK WILL RELEASE THIS YEAR FOR REAL THIS TIME!


When this post is posted, I'll have been back from MAGFest where I gave out Test Burns for feedback, since I HAVE finished all the car mixes. It'll have a lot of songs I play live, a lot of songs based on Fandoms, and with proper funding, it'll be a sweet package. I will be holding another Bastardthon to fund aforementioned sweet package, since Kickstarter is going down the NFT route. I'll probably host it somewhere else:

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MY PATREON IS GOING MONTHLY

I'm part of SO MANY GODDAMN THINGS: podcasts, music making, costume making, game development all of which fall under my, for lack of a better term, brand or nerdy DIY shit.

I don't want to feel "pressured" by the notion of "Shit! I gotta come up with song this month!" or ONLY posting to it when I have a song to do.

At least with a monthly schedule, I'm still DOING stuff, and I can post my project board to the Patreon so you can see all the balls I have in the air. 

All right, that's all the major headlines, TIME FOR THE SUPERLATIVES!

MOST RECENT SONG THAT WASN'T A REWORK OF AN OLDER SONG: "Run Over Ronnie"


Hi. do you like all the shitty fascist vice signaling of Trump, but NONE OF THE PRETENSE OF SUCCESS? Ron DeSantis is your guy! At least Trump (fuck that's an awkward phrase to say) is like "Yeah, I got the vaccine because I'm a special boy" to Token Black Female Conservative Candace Owens and when she tried to push the CHINA BAD RIGHT? line, he was like "China's like. blowing our asses out".

Ron legalized running over protestors, and fucked up COVID response because he was looking out for Trump's brand. So this song I went all Dead Kennedys on it and got gruesome.

The only people who LIKE DeSantis fall into one of two categories:
SOUTHERN FL = Is 1/16th Cuban (and their relatives immigrated before WWII) so they can justify hating "Communism" (which is defined as anything that inconveniences them, not public control of the means of production), and failed as either a lawyer or a realtor. 

If they're male, they work for a cheap contractor that ends up pissing off the clients of the people that also hire the geotech labs I work for and have a beard made of pubic hair. If they're female, they run a business that can boil down to "Psychic Yoga For Dogs" and takes pics of her fake tits whoring it up on Instagram, but call for a "Retrun To Tradition" on the same page. You can dox them if you type "(THEIR NAME) LLC" into google.

NORTHERN FL = They're a veteran who immediately enrolled in the officer program and sat behind a desk for the minimum enrollment period. They call themselves a "Hard Working Small Business Owner" and that Damn Biden is fucking it all up, and how THEY don't benefit from White Privledge.

Also their small business is selling yachts. 

FAVORITE SONG I MADE THIS YEAR: "Future Endeavor"


Every once in a while, when I'm feeling bad about my songwriting, I turn out a song that proves I still got it. I wrote this after I got booted off Retromania Wrestling to be replaced after working with them for ALMOST TWO YEARS.

Writing this came natural because in addition to having a lot of jargon to jog my writing, wrestling also has a lot of EMOTION in its storytelling. Betrayal stories are VERY common, and to mold that on a breakup song is a natural fit. 

PODCASTS I'M A PART OF!
I'd Rather Not- These are still good for a laugh every couple weeks, and we've gone.... places.

RPG Pals Club- We've hit a LOT of milestones, with us FINALLY making it to the Battle Of The Bands, the party splitting up, and having plenty of fun asides. If you're a fan of RPGs at ALL, give us a listen!

OTHER COOL SHIT I DID
Was Part Of Two Tribute Albums
Thanks to the cool dudes at GameGrooves, I was part of:
Link-182: A Pop Punk Tribute to The Ocarina of Time (covering "Water Temple")
and
Subliminal Verse: A Tribute to Joey Jordison (as vocals on SaiyaSounds's cover of "Psychosocial")

Both incredible for helping to get me out of my comfort zone. I also tried an acoustic version of "Live and Learn" for their Sonic Adventure 2 album, but it ended up not working out.

SaiyaSounds did wonders on his cover and took it from aggresive to symphonic, and I'm relieved it worked out as well as I did. 

Interviewed on Furry Radio


So as I've been getting into the Furry Scene, these guys guys were smart enough to make notice of my genius and try to fit me in!

It's probably the MOST in-depth interview I've done. 

 Started A Wrestling League


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was supposed to be a celebration of Retromania releasing, became probably a spark in my week? Me and my friend from the 3000 Brigade started with a Battle Royale that ended up with Would You Rather Bot winning and taking on Thrash Panda for the belt.

Then we kinda kept doing it, with my friend Ernie and the RNG took us to some very strange places. Fire Pro throws some stuff at us that is VERY conducive to some interesting booking, and even on more bespoke weeks, it's still hype.

Built A Fursuit



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND I'm working on the full suit, but this was the year I finally caved and said, OH WHY NOT? This whole process has been more of an engineering project than anything else. I've learned how to work with fur, how to carve foam, and I've even learned how to properly sew by hand!

I am planning on making a full video on it, but even if I never did anything instructional, there's a wide community of people out there eager to answer questions and make tutorials themselves. It feels like I have a project car I'm working on, only which make sense, since as I've said before:

FURRIES ARE NERDS THAT HAVE SEIZED THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION

Is Thrash my fursona? For lack of a better term yes, but there's a lot of BIGGER thoughts I've had that I don't want to type out right now because it's 3 AM and I'm writing this RIGHT after Magfest.

I Went To MAGFest

Technically this is supposed to be 2021, but fuck it, I'll include that here. 

Most of my time was spent helping staff the Rock Band booth, but I still got to get around and meet friends I've only talked to online, catch up with old friends, and try out some new games. Unbeatable and Crescendo are my highlights from the indie game section, 

Also there were little game challenges you can try out in the console area for reward points! Perfect idea for when I'M clinically insane enough to want to do a con!

TREND I LIKED THE LEAST: Fascism By Karens

Hey, did you know that if you know jack shit but bitch loud enough you can upset reality? Just a couple months ago, a bunch of members of the neo-nazi group the Proud Boys and their enablers raided a school board meeting in Miami to whine about shit like mask mandates and "Critical Race Theory", things predicated entirely on an extreme conservative media sphere that emphasizes that inconveniences and "wokeness" are the greatest threat to the children they don't have.

These Karens, backed by violent Neo-Nazi thugs who are in turn backed by the police, get to waste everyone's time by sqwaking to someone who has to deal with budget cuts to their department because all the funding is going into supporting an already over-militarized police and backing corporate bailouts. Some even run for the school board, entrenching their whining, hoping that Daddy FacebookPageNewsmax will give them little pats on the head as Karen gets told she's a good girl, while a billionaire fucks over every other aspect of her life. 

MIAAgainstFash on Twitter has been a really good look into how this shit works on a local level.

Hence why we should bring Chanology back.

TREND I LIKED THE MOST: Worker Solidarity

HEY, TURNS OUT STRIKES KINDA WORK, HUH? 

ALMOST LIKE THEY SHOULD BE CONTROLLING THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION AND NOT BEING FORCED TO WORK LONG HOURS FOR LITTLE PAY WHILE THE CEOs MAKE BILLIONS?

Also Titmouse NY Unionized as I typed this.

WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS SOONER? AWARD: Scott The Woz/RuPaul's Drag Race

Hey all, hey all, hey all, Rhythm Bastard here!

This year I discovered TWO things that have had an impact on fucking up my vocabulary, not seen since Homestar Runner.

Scott The Woz is a gaming YouTube who makes informational videos on various topics in gaming, usually wasting a fuckton of money in the process. What takes his videos to the next level though is his very snappy sense of humor, very aware that the YT gaming space is filled with a lot of people who straight up have no idea what they're doing, no interest in being educational, and no idea of what's actually funny. Scott Wozniak saw the "Mickey Mousecapade" Game Grumps Episode and went "How bout I do NOT THAT?"

Plus the guy gets his friends in on the dumb bullshit, so it looks less pathetic and more like "Me and my friends doing funny bits".

RuPaul's Drag Race was introduced to me by UB, lovely partner in crime, and even when it's bad, I'm still amazed by the basic facet of it all: People doing what they're good at, and encouraged to be creative in strange and unique ways.

I pretty much do everything everything a drag queen does (lipsync, sing, tell jokes, make costumes, etc.) except do make up and present a woman.

FAVORITE SONG OF 2021: "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" by Lil Nas X


Every phase of this song hits at just the right time, and that lovely acoustic guitar work makes this song a pleasure to listen to. Looking at a video he did on Genius, he goes in depth about every line of the song, just to show how well thought out this is. Lil Nas X has proven himself worthy in his own right, not just a one-hit wonder who did a silly hip hop cowboy song.

Plus the music pissed off a lot of people and features him twerking on the devil, so fuck yeah, that's punk rock.

TOP 40 SONG I HATED THE LEAST IN 2021: "good 4 u"

 

 

Despite the alleged controversy that it's too close to "Misery Business" by Paramore (what), I'm glad to see Pop Punk fluke it's way on to the charts at least once a year.

It's also a good example of Song Writing 101:
Chorus: Main thesis (You're doing BETTER without me? WOW SOUNDS GREAT *through gritted teeth*)
Verses: Supporting the chorus, where Verse 1 is how short term her ex benefits, and Verse 2 provides a longer view of them post relationship.
Bridge: A counterpoint to the song (hey, maybe I do suck and you're better off)

Not a whole lot to say about it, it was just a fun song for me to listen to and lipsync to. 

OLD GAME OF 2021 RUNNERS UP:

5. Resident Evil Revelations 2 (Xbox One) - More fun than RE:Rev, and the character switching makes more since, especially since we get more screen time for Claire Redfield and the Burtons (Barry from RE:1 and his daughter Moira)

4. Steamworld Dig (Switch) - Purely a bathroom break game which gives me enough time to go through a couple digs and come back up, and while the story isn't that much, it's a satisfying game to go through. 

3. The Hayseed Knight (PC) - A bollywood movie in a visual novel, wonderfully voice acted all around, with my good friend Stanpai being the voice of the titular Hayseed Knight, and pushing the limits of Ren'Py to give a presentation BEYOND what's capable for most.

2. Full Throttle: Remastered (Xbox One) - Rock N' Roll motorcycle point and click adventure game that has incredible worldbuilding, incredible VA (main antagonist played by Mark Hammil? YAAAAS) and the fucking opening song "Legacy" by The Lone Jackals that sets the mood just right make it on this list as an old game worth revisiting.

#1 OLD GAME OF 2021: Arcade Spirits
https://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/910630/header.jpg?t=1607361049

Visual Novels were big for me this year, since it's something I can just zone out to and read along with in tiny parts, and not have to really interact with. It's easy progression, as I've been finding myself sinking more and more time into "battle pass" style games like Fortnite and MTG Arena, and want to actually finish a story.

Arcade Spirits tells the story of a 20-something in their quarter life crisis looking for a change in life, and they find it by working for an arcade where they can eventually find romance.

I'm friends with Stefen Gagne, the primary writer of this game through the Rock Band community, and I was excited to see so much buzz around a game that he made with a small group of people. To support him, I bought it Day One!

Then I never touched it. What prompted me to finish Arcade Spirits was this video by Laura Crone. She discussed the benefits of the VN being more accesible for people who don't play video games, since it provides a good story in a striaghtforward method that most people are familiar with (reading words), and presents it in a manner that is unique to gaming (interactivity and determining the outcomes of a decision) without anything that might throw someone off (reaction time, mastering a control scheme, the question of "Where Do I Go?")

The story is striahgt out of the 80's with your best friend character, a corporate asshole rival, and (for the most part), an ending where you find one your true love.

Like Hayseed Knight, this game pushes Ren'Py to its limits, but where Hayseed Knight's focus was on presenting elements that make the presentation of the VN easier to digest for someone not a fan of the genre, Arcade Spirits gamifies the interactions, giving you different "moods" of responses and setting each romanceable character with their own relationship meter, making the VN more digestible to someone looking to play a proper game with numbers to min/max, but provide enough enticing options to give them an emotional vector to start from. 

What I liked most about was that it was just a fluffy game that didn't have high stakes, but still made me care about everyone. EVERY choice is seen as valid and meaningful, since you can romance any character regardless of your gender, or romance nobody! The game still goes on, and your character can still find fulfilment! As someone who has trouble with relationships and intimacy, it's refreshing, and makes me still feel valid.

Though I hooked up with QueenBee, the correct choice, I mean, c'mon.

NEW GAME OF 2021 RUNNERS UP:

5. Backbone (PC) - A game where you play a bisexual raccoon detective out to destroy the bourgoises that oozes style and reminds me of the Harebrained Shadowrun games with how diverse your approaches can be. 

4. Echo (PC) - This game is on the OTHER end of the Ren'Py spectrum, where the presentation is as basic "Ren'Py VN" as you can get, but the writing is so solid, that I IMMEDIATELY went to replay through the other routes, because this isn't a romance, it's a psychological horror VN where you choose who you're spending the horror with, and each of the character routes are playable short stories that explore different genres and tropes of horror under the umbrella of a very real dread of being stuck forever in a town that fell apart.

3. Resident Evil Village (Xbox One) - It doesn't do the horror genre tour as well as Echo does, and isn't as well written, but it's a fun game that puts a more action oriented spin on the mental moments I loved about REmake and Resident Evil 2 (including Mercenaries Mode from RE4), while making Ethan Winters kind of developed as a character?

2. Everhood (PC) - On the surface, the game acts as another game trying to munch on Undertale's flav, but the battles are absolute trips to behold with each fight being a synesthetic experience that incorporates its music BETTER than Undertale, and also acts as its philisophical counterpoint.
 

#1 NEW GAME OF 2021: Inscryption

https://cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com/steam/apps/1092790/header.jpg?t=1641581499
Inscryption combines a solid rougelike deckbuilder, an escape room, and the most hardcore DM you've ever experienced that takes a story I should in should in theory hate, but makes for the best game that came out in 2021.The game's first act sets such a strong groundwork for how good the game of Inscryption itself is, that when the game pulls a "THE PRESTIGE!" on you not once, but twice, you're still along for the ride.

When it comes to Magic The Gathering and the like, I'm what you'd call a "Vorthos", someone who's interested in the lore of the game and how the card interactions work in "kayfabe", or the proposed reality of the game itself. For example, in Magic The Gathering, a Planeswalker card is an ally you're summoning from another plane of existence to aid you in battle, and will "planeswalk" away once they've taken enough damage. "Instant" spells require less preparation than "Sorcery" spells, etc. Inscryption's presentation makes these little interactions much more intense when you could just be playing a regular old card game. I did NOT get this level of attachment to... any mechanics really in Slay The Spire.

I'm considering looking into Kaycee's Mod, which allows you to JUST do the roguelike deckbuilding and can even contain more lore!

Also, kudos to the devs for finding an actor who looks like all MTG influencers simultaneously. 

ANNUAL REMINDER I SHARE A BIRTHDAY WITH MC BAT COMMANDER: