Phoenix Wright 3 - My Birthday Present

I found it very hard to think of things my girlfriend and family could get me for my birthday this year. One of the few things I thought of was the 3rd Phoenix Wright game, which my girlfriend got for me. I even helped her practice the Japanese pronunciation in the store so she could ask for it.

I just finished the first case, and the game is still as fun and unique as I remember it. However, I was reminded of how the Phoenix Wright games are sometimes a little illogical and frustrating. For example, in the case I just finished, the soon to be exposed killer, Dahlia, is being cross-examined. She lies about being at the courthouse 8 months previously, saying she was doing research, rather than being interviewed about another case by an attorney. So I have to expose her lie and prove that she was there about another case. What's annoying is that something like this would definitely be common knowledge in the actual, current case. You couldn't hide that. I know that the Phoenix Wright games are hardly realistic or believable, but this is stretching things just a bit too far. I like having all the witnesses lie and try to cover things up, but I don't think they should be lying about something that would be in the court record already. It just makes everyone in the game seem extremely stupid.

But I still love the series. Can't wait to start case number 2!


Yay! It's My Birthday!

Today's my birthday! I'm all of 25 years old. It's hard to believe I've really been around for 25 years. I don't feel like an adult at all. I still feel very much like a college student. And this is my second (and possibly last) birthday celebrated in Japan away from home. But it's ok. Cause my girlfriend's here! I've had a great birthday. I had a great Italian dinner, and some wine, and cake. And I got some great presents, including Phoenix Wright 3 on the DS, and several books I'm really excited about. The books include two by Michael Chabon, who is my current favorite write. They are The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (which I'm wet-my-pants excited about) and a collection of short stories called Werewolves in Their Youth. Also, whenever Amazon Japan gets their act together, I'll be receiving some short stories by Dan Chaon, and a collection of western stories by Elmore Leonard. I can't wait! In case you can't tell, I'm a huge nerd when it comes to books and reading. I've got to start my first Phoenix Wright case...


Reviews Part 2 - Are Numbers Important?

One of the central arguments about game reviews seems to be about the importance of review scores. An actual number. My opinion relates to my previous post. I don't think scores should be eliminated, but they also shouldn't be the centerpiece of a review, as they usually are. A number by itself isn't able to tell you whether or not you'll enjoy a given game. For example, Halo 3 is getting many 9.5s and 10s. Reviewers, for the most part, seem to love it. If all I see is that Halo 3 has gotten a perfect 10, does that mean I'll like the game? Not necessarily. What if I don't like FPS games? Or what if I just don't like any games that have lots of fast-paced action? But this doesn't mean the game can't be appreciated. I don't particularly like FPS games myself, but I do believe Halo 3 is probably one of the best shooters around, and I'd definitely play it if I had the chance.

And no, I'm not picking on Halo 3. A good score for a Final Fantasy game doesn't mean much if you don't like RPGs, just like a good score for the latest Madden iteration doesn't mean much if you don't enjoy football games. The same can be said of almost any big, high-profile, well-received game. Very few games are so good that almost anyone enjoy them.

The number only makes sense in the context of the written article. After reading a review, you should then understand the score and how that particular reviewer feels about the game. If the reviewer's beliefs and ideas match up with yours, then you'll probably agree with them. If not, well, you can always complain about it on any number of forums like everyone else. The actual score is just a handy way for the reviewer to summarize his/her thoughts. It's also convenient for the reader to quickly look at a score to get a feel for how the game was received. BUT, this is only useful if the reader also reads the entire review. The words and sentences provide the score with actual meaning, rather than arbitrariness.


The Importance of Reviewing - Part 1

Recently, I have read several articles about the importance of video game reviews. They all seem to have popped up at the same time, with vastly differing opinions. For example, these two articles at Infendo and Intendo. Basically, the Infendo article argues that numerical scores for games should be more marginalized, and the Intendo article is a rant against the writer of the first article, saying he's just a Nintendo fanboy. I thought I'd add a new angle that hasn't been touched on yet.

Specifically, I want to mention the importance of the specific reviewer. It's vital that you know a reviewer's general philosophy and outlook towards games before reading their latest review. Reviewers, no matter how objective and unbiased they're supposed to be, are inevitably inclined to like and enjoy some games better than others. For example, shooters over RPGs, or strategy games over sports games. I personally enjoy RPGs and platformers the best, and absolutely hate sports games.

As one related, but different, example, my favorite movie review website is Reelviews. For the most part, the reviewer, James Berardinelli, and I share similar tastes in movies. So maybe around 85% of the time I trust and agree with his review. But there are some problems with this comparison of movie and game reviews. First, very few game websites can have just one reviewer to provide some continuity to the reviews. Games are always significantly longer than movies and several reviewers are required just to keep up with all the new, lengthy games that come out every week.

Second, I find that individual game reviewers rarely state their background, personal game interests, or reviewing philosophy. This kind of information is important to know where the reviewer is coming from. For example, what constitutes a perfect game for a particular reviewer? Sure, some websites post standards by which their reviewers are supposed to operate, but you can't expect those to be accurately followed by every reviewer in every review.

What's the point here? Try to find out a reviewer's background before getting too involved in their review. It's necessary to understand where they're coming from. Next time - do numerical scores actually matter for reviews?


Unforgiven: A Slightly Different Western

In all my current Western film/fiction fervor, I nearly forgot to post my impressions of Unforgiven, the 1992 western directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. It also features Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman, among many other fine actors. It was simply awe-inspiring. Some people call it one of the last western movies. But with recent releases such as the remake of 3:10 to Yuma and No Country For Old Men, I don't think the western genre is quite dead yet.

Eastwaood, as always, was unforgettable as Bill Munny, the former killer and bandit who now just wants to lead a quiet life on a desolate farm with his two kids. But of course, that simple life is not meant to be. The most interesting thing about this film for me was how Eastwood subtly altered many of the common elements of the western. For example, Munny is ostensibly the 'hero' of the film, despite his storied past. But he's definitely a non-traditional hero. In the beginning, as he leaves his kids, he can't mount his horse without falling down. It takes three attempts. As Munny goes after the reward for killing two whore-abusers, Eastwood raises the question of what is justice? Did these men deserve to die? For Munny, he just needs some more cash.

More importantly, when confronting Little Bill Daggett (Hackman) at the end, Munny completely reverts to his old, tough, heartless self. After killing the 'bad guys' (who aren't really all that evil), Munny has to sneak out of the town like a villian himself, in case someone else tries to take him out. That's hardly the romantic image of the hero we're used to in westerns.

One of the main reasons I love this film is how scary Munny becomes after he reverts to his old self. I rarely remember quotes from movies, but one line near the end has stuck with me since I watched Unforgiven.

As Munny stands over a defeated Little Bill:
Little Bill: I don't deserve this.
Munny: Deserved ain't got nothing to do with it.
And Munny shoots him in the face.
It's incredibly intense, cold, and ruthless. I still vividly remember that scene, and that rarely happens with movies these days. Unforgiven is not just a great western, but a great movie. It deserves to be in anyone's collection. I can't wait to watch it again.

The Magnificent Seven

As part of my Western kick, I watched The Magnificent Seven today. My overall impression is that it simply pales in comparison to Kurosawa's original Seven Samurai. I think by watching these two movies one after the other, you could easily see the difference between a typical Hollywood film, and the more stylish, intelligent source material for that film. On the other hand, I did enjoy it, just not as much as I expected to. I was also pleasantly surprised by a nice little deviation at the end from Kurosawa's version. It was rather nice not seeing the exact same film, just set in Mexico/Texas, instead of Japan.

Several things detracted from this film. First was some terrible, horrible acting by the actors playing the Mexican villagers. I know that acting styles were different in 1960, but this was just a pitiful attempt at acting. It was just completely dead and boring. I suppose overall it just didn't feel as epic as Kurosawa's. Despite the ideas of fighting for money, honor, or the freedom of others, the music and tone remains consistently upbeat. The happy score, even at the end, often seemed really out of place.

The Magnificent Seven was just ok. I was disappointed, probably just because I had set my expectations too high. Now I'll just wait until I can go back to the video store and rent my next western. And, hopefully I'll start Deadwood soon. Exciting!



On the way to and from the nearby city of Sendai, I passed the time by going back to New Super Mario Bros. on the DS. I had forgotten what a great game that is. It's amazing how Nintendo took everything that's great about Mario, added a couple things, and made an awesome, classic game. I had previously beaten it. Well, sort of. I had made it through and beaten the last level, but in my casual initial playthrough, I missed many secrets. I totally didn't find the 2 entire levels that are hidden. That's probably about 16 or 17 stages that I've never even played yet. Plus, I missed many other secret stages, star coins, etc.

What really struck me was how hidden some of these things are. Today, I only managed to add a few more star coins to my cleared save file. I still don't know where the hidden worlds are, or how to access any of the warp cannons. After this second taste of Mario, I'm ready to get back into it and find some of those secrets. Plus it's a nice change of pace from the RPG-goodness that is Final Fantasy VI.


What I'm Up To

First of all, I got back from sumo last weekend, and it was AWESOME! It's an incredibly fun, interesting sport. I'm trying to learn more about it now, but I hope I get a chance to go back before I leave Japan.

Otherwise, I'm really into westerns right now. That includes both fiction and films. I'm an enormous fan of Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove." (yes, we're somehow distantly related) It's an amazing western, both the novel and the TV miniseries, with Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall. I highly recommend. I want to find the time to read it again soon, but I've got about a million other books to read. What ignited my interest in Westerns was a short western story by Elmore Leonard in a collection of genre fiction. To help my current infatuation with westerns, I've watched Unforgiven, ordered Leonard's complete collection of western stories, rented The Magnificent Seven, and am seeking out as much information about the genre as I can.

As far as games, I've actually been playing a lot of Picross lately. I finally finished up the normal puzzles. The last set were all Mario themed, and were easily the best of the bunch. Now I'm on to the 'free' puzzles, which are much harder because it doesn't tell you when you've made a mistake. Super Metroid finally came out on the Virtual Console here in Japan. So with enough time, I can knock that great game off my list of games to play. And I'm trying to get back into playing Final Fantasy VI, because I want to finish it so I can move on to other games.

Lastly, I want to recommend a website. Check out Eyezmaze.com. It's a series of 'grow' games. They're real simple, but very charming and entertaining. You basically see a small world of some sort. Below this world are 8 or so buttons to press. You have to figure out the correct order to press the buttons to fully level up everything. Each button may have some sort of influence on the others. It's easier to just see for yourself. I especially like the RPG grow. Loads of fun.


Off to the Land of Giants

I'm leaving tomorrow for the sumo tournament in Tokyo. We've been watching it on tv every day after school. It looks like it'll be a lot of fun to actually see in person. Can't wait. And, I get to go to used bookstores! In English. And, go to Akihabara and buy some electronics. Well, really just buy some new iPod earbuds and a bigger flashdrive. My puny 128 mb one is just way too small. Anyway, until next week.


Oh, Japan. You're so difficult sometimes.

A brief story of frustration and incomprehension. I'm trying to take some time off from my job around Christmas to head back to America. By that time, it will have been almost 1.5 years since I've seen any of my family or friends. However, I am completely unable to understand my school's attitude. The time I want to take off coincides with the last of week of classes for this time. But, it's so early that I don't have any classes scheduled. So I feel like it's early enough that I won't be missing anything.

However, upon asking, I was told that while it's probably ok, they would 'prefer' if I don't take vacation days on days when school is in session. I just don't understand. This is the first time I've ever asked for days off before the term ends, and it's to see my family for the first time in forever. Why does it matter? No classes have been scheduled for me. I never even know my schedule until, at most, a week before the actual class. As far as I can see, I'm not missing anything that week.

What really bothers me is that this rule is so informal and unofficial. I'm not forbidden to take time off, but they encourage me not to. For a Japanese person, that's as good as including a prohibition in their contract. But for an American such as myself, I see it as a preference that doesn't necessarily have to be followed if, say, I want to go home. Furthermore, this type of informal suggestion just makes me feel like a small child when I have to go ask if I'm 'allowed' to take time off. I'm almost 25, and working in a full-time job. I don't think I should feel so stressed and embarrassed to use my allotted vacation time. This informal suggestion is just so frustrating, and I can't understand why it matters when I try to take time off. At this point in time, it's so early that I'm not missing anything. I should be able to ask for time off in advance, and then teachers can schedule classes around that since I scheduled the vacation first. First come, first served.

At the same time, I really like most of my teachers, and I'm not mad or upset at anyone. It's just a frustrating situation that I find difficult to understand.


Games I'm Waiting For

A gamer inevitably has a list, whether on paper or in their head, of games they're excited about and can't wait to get. My list is way too long, and probably includes more games than I'd ever have time to play at this point in my life. On top of that, my list includes a significant number of old games, far more than yet-to-be-released titles. Further, I don't even bother listing games prior to the Gamecube/PS2 era. Those just sort of stay floating in my head, waiting for a good, incredibly cheap opportunity to pick them up. So, here's my list:

  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones - I love the first FE GBA release, but I have yet to beat it, and I've had it for a couple of years.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land - Just downloaded this. It's very non-traditional, but great fun and strategic. Will still buy it.
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin - Loved Dawn of Sorrow. This one looks equally awesome.
  • Hotel Dusk - Has a great noir-vibe going for it. And I've always loved a good graphic adventure.
  • Zelda: Phantom Hourglass - From the many movies I've seen of this, I truly believe the importers who say this is the best Zelda game ever. It looks amazing, with a new set of touch-only controls.
  • Final Fantasy III - What can I say? The FF series is great, and this is the last of the early games I need to acquire.
  • Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! - A rhythm-based game of Japanese insanity! A must-get as long as I'm in the country.
PS2 - A huge list of games, quickly.
  • Shadow of the Colossus - Most wanted PS2 title at this point.
  • ICO
  • God of War 2
  • Okami
  • Final Fantasy XII
  • Dragon Quest VIII (and VII on PS1) - I've started playing through the Dragon Quest series for the first time ever. Can't believe I've never touched them before.
  • Psychonauts
  • Indigo Prophecy - Like Hotel Dusk, a graphic adventure that's very rare these days.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 - Pure awesome sauce!
Gamecube - I was a late adopter, and missed many good games.
  • Fire Emblem - Great strategy series. Like it much better than gathering resources and building units.
  • Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door
  • Skies of Arcadia Legends - RPGs may be my favorite genre.
  • X-Men Legends 1 and 2
  • Prince of Persia
  • Baten Kaitos - Not too sure on this one. Probably will never get it since I don't feel too strongly about it.
  • Killer 7
  • Super Mario Sunshine - Used to own it, but for some reason I sold or lost it. Don't know why/how.
  • Mario Tennis
  • Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Super Paper Mario
  • Metroid Prime 3
  • Mario Galaxy and Smash Bros. Brawl (when released)
Damn! That's a pretty big list. Although I'm sure it pales in comparison to some people's lists. Plus, these are just the games I really, really want, and feel are mostly the best of the best. There's about a million more games that look really good, but I just missed out on, and don't have the time or money to go back and play. Further, there are a number of PS1 and N64 games I'd like to eventually get (or even finish the ones I have). Any games prior to that generation (I'm looking at you, Super Nintendo), I'm planning to pick up on the Virtual Console. So hopefully, many great games I missed out on as a kid will be released.

The biggest problem is I don't have the time to play half the games on this list. Once college is over, real life and responsibilities have a way of sneaking up on you pretty quickly. I'm just trying to finish a lot of the games I've already bought. And highest on that list is Final Fantasy VI Advance. Nearly done with my first playthrough. Maybe soon I can knock a few games off this list. But only if I also buy a time machine.


Do DVD Pirates Say "Arrrrrrrgh!!!!"

In perusing Time this week, I ran across a short article about two dogs who had been trained to sniff and search for DVDs. That in itself is amazing. Congratulations, dogs! But what really got me thinking was how these dogs were searching for pirated DVDs in Malaysia. While the amount they found was pretty insignificant, and more of a media/political statement than anything, I think it raises important issues.

Specifically, I would like to know how much movie piracy actually hurts the movie industry, especially financially. My instinct tells me that the big movie studios are trying to cause a big scare that DVD pirates and illegal downloaders are ruining the industry and taking away millions from their warehouses of money. That type of rhetoric seems a bit silly and overblown to me. But then again, I have no proof. It's all opinion. Or instinct.

From personal experience of downloading movies, I don't think I cost the movie companies much money. I pretty much only watch movies online that I had no intention of ever, ever seeing in the theater anyway. The worst case scenario is I confirm that it was a crappy movie, and the company doesn't get the $10 I was never going to spend anyway. The best case scenario is that I find the movie is actually quite good, and maybe buy the DVD at a future date. As far as I can see, that sounds like a win-win for the studio, including a bit of free advertising. But again, this is just my personal experience.

I feel like this would be a brilliant topic for a master's thesis, or any sort of professional research paper. Do movie studios actually lose money to pirates? How does downloading/viewing illegal copies of movies affect individual consumption of other movies through legal means? What do average people think is important about downloading movies? As you can see from my questions, I'm actually more interested in the downloading of movies, rather than just purely copying them.

I think this would be a golden opportunity for the movie industry to learn from the mistakes of the music industry. Don't go crazy trying to prosecute every single little violation. Yes, it's technically illegal. But how much is it hurting you? Think about the future, when downloading movies will become more and more prevalent as broadband Internet becomes more advanced and accessible than ever. Maybe the studios should listen to the consumers for once.


Japan: Worthy F*cking Adversary

Attack of the 100-ft. (meter???) Typhoon (Hurricane???)

Japan, particularly around this time of year, is highly susceptible to typhoons. What is a typhoon? I'm not completely sure, but I think it's pretty much the same thing as a hurricane. (Just checked: according to Wikipedia, they're mostly the same, depending on the location and strength of the storm system.) Anyway, a big one came through a few days ago. Up in my part of northern Japan, the typhoon affected me most strongly on Friday morning.

I thought it was like any other rainy Friday morning. I was already not looking forward to going into work, and of course the rain made it even more miserable. So I head off, trying to protect myself as much as possible from the rain with my umbrella. About 7 minutes into my 30 minute walk to school, all hell breaks loose. The wind picks up. I can barely see. And I have to hold the umbrella in front of me like a shield, blocking the Japanese hurricane-demon-monster from attacking me. Unfortunately, one 500 Yen umbrella is not strong enough to withstand typhoon-strength winds. My umbrella was quickly broken. Luckily I held onto it. I think I fared better than some other fellow walkers, whose umbrellas completely blew away. I even dropped the umbrella completely and ran at one point.

Suffice to say, on this rainy, typhoon-morning from hell, Japan easily defeated me. The sensible thing would've been to stay home. But that's not allowed. Congratulations, Japan. Until next time...


This Isn't Donkey Kong

In my last post I talked about Lev Grossman's article in Time about Halo, and how he has a completely skewed perspective on the video game industry. Nintendo is barely mentioned, and only indirectly, and not as one of 3 competitors in the console market. Here's the reference:
It's difficult to explain the story of Halo, but that difficulty is in itself worthy of note. This isn't Donkey Kong. The Master Chief is not an Italian plumber whose girlfriend has been kidnapped by a gorilla. His story is rich and complicated in ways that we're not used to in video games.
Yeah. If you haven't played a single game in the 20+ years since Donkey Kong, I'm sure Halo's story seems like fucking Shakespeare or something. It's completely unfair and ridiculous to even think of comparing a current video game with a game that is more than two decades old. Of course plots and character development have gotten more rich and complex since arcades dominated. That's common knowledge. Halo should be compared to current-gen games, and by that standard, I'd have to say it's story is pretty standard. It's not that complicated, difficult to understand, or even that original. In fact, despite his wad-shooting love for Halo's 'complicated' story, Grossman manages to completely explain it in about a paragraph.

This article is completely ridiculous. And don't get me wrong. I loved the first Halo. I bought an XBox at launch just for that game. (Although I soon got rid of it for a Gamecube.) But to discretely disregard Nintendo from a look at the console market is just ignorant and a waste of three pages of a magazine.

In journalism as in life, people should write what they know. And Grossman clearly knows fuck-all about the video game industry.


Video Games in the Media: Where's Nintendo?

A great birthday gift from my mom last year was a subscription to Time magazine. It's nice to be able to catch up on world events, even if the magazine's a little behind the 'times' compared to the Internet. (see what I did there?) But today, I was reading an article about the success of Halo, called "The Man in the Mask," and was inspired to write a new blog post. And I just saw they have the complete article up on Time.com. As you can see from the title of this post, there's no mention at all to Nintendo in this article. (Well, one indirect reference, but I'll get to that later.) I think this article is indicative of the general attitude of mainstream media outlets, and many video game news sources, concerning Nintendo and the Wii.

The article is by Lev Grossman, who is a book critic for Time, and also occasionally writes about technology and other topics for Time. Here's his website. From perusing Grossman's blog, it seems he knows a bit more about technology, and maybe games, than I thought at first. With regard to games, all that's clear is that he spends quality time with a 360. Has he ever played a Wii or PS3? I have no idea. At any rate, on to his article.

My main problem with the article is that Nintendo is completely left out of the picture. Grossman writes that Halo 2 is "Microsoft's weapon of choice in its struggle with Sony for supremacy in the multi-billion dollar game console market." Really? While they are fighting each other fiercely, I think I remember reading that Nintendo has been selling Wiis about as fast as they can make them. In fact, Nintendo recently stripped the title of market share leader from Microsoft. (Here's VGChartz. They might not be perfectly accurate, but I think they give a pretty good estimate of sales data.) I suppose an important question is how to define 'supremacy.' One definition could be market share, which would make Nintendo the current leader. Another definition could be the platform that has the largest number of outstanding, highly ranked games. That would possibly point to Microsoft, largely because it's been available longer. Or perhaps supremacy is originality, and innovation (which would be Nintendo, again)? Or maybe supremacy is the company with the most obsessive fanboys, in which case there would be a 3-way tie. At any rate, the game-console market is not a duel between two companies. The battle is full of hot and heavy 3-way action.

Here's a final quote exemplifying Grossman's ignorance about the current state of the video game market.
At launch, Halo 3 will run only on Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console, lending the Xbox, into which Microsoft has sunk billions, huge credibility in its costly deathmatch with Sony's Playstation 3.
I ask again, Where's Nintendo? What is supremacy? Is it making money on your product? Nintendo is the only one of the big 3 to make a profit on hardware sales. Combined with having the largest market share at the moment, that sounds pretty good.

This has been a pretty long post, so tune in next time for my more general thoughts on Grossman's article, where exactly he made an oblique reference to Nintendo, and possibly, media bias towards games.


Cave Story: Where do all these indie games come from?

As you can tell from the title, I just discovered another indie game today, Cave Story. I ran into the name several months ago, as its popularity was setting fire to the Internet. But I disregarded it. It was created solely by a Japanese guy named Pixel, over the course of about 5 years, I think. I downloaded it, as well as an English patch that was actually authorized by Pixel, and finally checked it out. There are many sites you can download it from, but I got it from this fansite.

I've only played the first little prologue bit, but it's already both charming and addicting. Plus, it brings back fond memories of early Nintendo games, as Pixel's favorite games seem to have been games like Metroid, Castlevania, Zelda, and Mega Man. Cave Story looks amazing for solo indie production, and I can't wait to get further into it.

After Knytt Stories, and now Cave Story, I'm really starting to wonder if things actually come in threes. If so, I might be due for another independent game soon, possibly with the word "Story" in the title. Maybe tomorrow. Who knows? I'm off to the Cave, for now.


Knytt Stories

From the many video game blogs I keep up with, I occasionally see points of convergence, beyond reporting on exactly the same news stories and big events. Recently, I saw several blogs professing their undying love for a little indie game called Knytt Stories, which was recently released. Created by Nifflas, Knytt Stories is quite unique, at least in my experience.

How to describe it...Knytt Stories comes with 1 main story, 4 additional official stories, and several 3rd party stories that have already been created. How have they been created? By the included level editor, of course! The gameplay is very simple. You basically can only run and jump. There are some enemies, but all you can do is avoid them. Knytt Stories is much more focused on exploration, atmosphere, and style, rather than combat or action. Throughout each adventure, you'll run across several power ups, including a double jump, an umbrella to slow your falls, and a holographic projector to distract enemies. Despite the apparent lack of action, this game is extremely addicting. It's very simple, and I think the simplicity really works well with its pick-up-and-play sensibilities. It's too easy to keep wanting to explore just 1 more screen, 1 more screen. And suddenly, an hour has passed, and you forgot to get up and go to the bathroom...

Knytt Stories is quirky, entertaining, and mostly unique. It's well worth the price of admission: FREE. Check it out now. I've finished the first story, and am well into the 2nd. I can't recommend this game highly enough. Just be prepared for a different kind of game experience.