“Don’t buy it. …I’m buying it, though.”

Note: This post starts with a story, but there’s a question at the end – so skip to the end of this post if you just want to take part in what the thread is really about!

In the late ’90s, Idea Factory (today perhaps best known for Hyperdimension Neptunia, Mary Skelter, and Chaos Wars[1]) was finding its footing – and its fans were already self-aware.

Idea Factory had spun out of Data East, and as Data East had been, Idea Factory quickly established themselves as a real Vegemite-esque software house. They first hit the scene with two notable PlayStation releases in 1996 – notable for different but similar reasons. The first was the the visual novel[2] Yaku: Yūjō Dangi (the sequel of which would incidentally be an early example of a “creepypasta game”), which is in one of my personal favorite cultural positions: “Not even really a cult classic.”

Rather than being remembered fondly, it’s a game whose cultural position in the collective cultural consciousness might best be described as “remembered involuntarily”. They followed with Spectral Tower, which in the West might be best known for… a recent YouTube video with a telling title.

These two were promptly stamped as a kigē (lit. “uncanny game”) and a kusoge[3] respectively. One can only conclude that they were labeled as such with love, however – because somewhere along the way, the dedicated fans that Idea Factory had rolled up along the way into their ambivalence-inducing katamari started to call themselves Meikai Jūnin (lit. “Hell-Dwellers”); a term from Spectral Tower.

What’s particularly interesting, however, is that they went a step further than your average kusoge connoisseurs: They invented a motto for themselves.

Kau na. Ore wa kau ga.

Or, in English…

Don’t buy it. …I’m buying it, though.[4]

There’s something eminently… human about that sentiment, isn’t there. I relate to it on a deep level, at least. Which brings me to my question, and what I figured this thread should be about…

:left_speech_bubble::question: What game do you love, but don’t feel like you could recommend to anyone else? And how come?


  1. Or perhaps Hakuōki, if you’re of a certain persuasion. ↩︎

  2. Some would argue that it’s a “sound novel” – I would argue that it’s okay for genre names to differ between cultures. It’s better to root them in the context people have. …Plus, Spike Chunsoft have a trademark on the phrase “sound novel”. ↩︎

  3. I don’t need to link to the Wikipedia article for kusoge – since you’re here, you probably know what a kusoge is – but I did write this Wikipedia article, so why not. ↩︎

  4. Alternatively, “Don’t buy ’em. …I say, even though I do.” ↩︎

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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is the first thing that comes to mind for me (though perhaps that’s partly because I have it open on the character creator as I type this). As far as CRPGs go, it’s an all-timer for me (rivaling and sometimes even surpassing Baldur’s Gate II) and much more to my taste than Baldur’s Gate 3 was

But the game is quite difficult to recommend to anyone not already familiar with Pathfinder 1st Edition (or at least Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition). The ruleset is complex, and those without familiarity can easily find countless things to be frustrated by. Even CRPG veterans can struggle with the depth the system offers since there’s really nothing like this one out there (aside from its predecessor, Kingmaker, I suppose)

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I bought Kingmaker a while back and I really really really want to like the game but I feel like I should definitely watch a guide before I play.

The combination of being a perfectionist and not knowing the ins and outs of the ruleset can be definitely frustrating. I started playing twice and while I don’t remember what stopped me the first time around the second time I failed to defeat a swarm of insects because none of my party members could hit it. It’s due to be re-attempted eventually but next time I’ll watch some guides.

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Those swarms in that cave are notorious for just the problem you describe—one of those things it’s hard to know how to approach if you don’t already know Pathfinder’s swarm rules. Typically you want magic damage for swarms or other forms of area of effect damage (like alchemist’s fire). Torches also work as weapons, if I remember right, but it’s been awhile

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Dude… I’m kinda glad to hear someone else talk about this game!! I loaded it up on an emulator once completely randomly, didn’t see the box art or anything, and it’s probably the single freakiest surprise I’ve ever gotten by doing that. You mention its sequel could be called a “creepypasta game” … but this experience already felt enough like one!! Heck of a thing to suddenly be thrust into without any warning. I, too, think it’s kinda cool it hasn’t had any Planet Laika (etc.) moment where people with taste (perfectly genuine sentiment, not being sarcastic) suddenly decide it’s one of their favorite things. “Not even really a cult classic.” That’s perfect.

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Destiny lmao. i mean, i would say play through the D1 campaigns and then jump into New Light stuff on 2 without that being too big of an ask. but, like, hey play 10 hours of something so you can be a little less confused about everything going on is probably a bit much for a casual rec.

you should do that while you can, though.

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I would love to hear what makes Wrath of the Righteous more of a jam in your jar than Baldur’s Gate 3. People keep telling me to play Baldur’s Gate 3, but the only reason they ever cite is that it’s full of lubricious and beddable characters to ogle, which… isn’t really something that attracts me to a v’game? (I’d probably enjoy it – Matt Colville’s video on it significantly enticed me – but I’m dying to hear about Pathfinder’s equivalent!)

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You know, you’re totally right in that Yūjō Dangi is a creepypasta game in the sense that it’s a game about which creepypasta could be written, hahah. The sequel is quite literally a creepypasta game, though: It’s called Yaku Tsū: Noroi no Gēmu,[1] the subtitle of which translates to “The Cursed Game”, which is… the creepypasta thing, innit.

An incidental cool fact about Yaku 2 is that it was produced by (and had its monsters designed by) Hideshi Hino, the… I’d say third horror short story mangaka one should be familiar with, after Junji Ito and Kazuo Umezu (or “Umezz”, as I guess he insists on spelling it). I haven’t read much (any?) Hino myself, but Yaku 2 could be a great if kind of ridiculous way in to his work, hahah. I’d argue you can see his influence on the first game, already – I’d imagine Idea Factory were excited to get to work with the man, the myth, the legend himself.

It is interesting that it really hasn’t made it big in any sense of the phrase… When I first found out about it, the only English-speaking person I found talking about it was a Tumblr user whose “thing” it was. They’d made oodles of fanart and everything. I can’t tell you how much I respect that – surely it has to be a lonely existence, right? It’s clear that their motivation is entirely internal. Love of the game, literally.

I haven’t played Yaku yet, but I would love to do so… Apparently, it’s fairly short. Perhaps it could be a good candidate to do a live translation stream of sometime…


  1. Tsū is a certified funny joke – it’s pronounced like “two” is, but it’s written with the kanji for “pain”, meaning that the title could be understood as, roughly, “CURSE PAIN”. ↩︎

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Star Wars Rebellion is not what I’d call a good game, but I find something compelling in the patterns of play: moving Rebel or Imperial characters between systems to do missions, building up infrastructure, sending fleets to cover or blockade systems, scouting the Outer Rim. I have only gotten one other person into the game (my brother). Its principal limitation (basically one scenario from two sides with a patina of randomization) is what makes it compelling for me to periodically replay. It’s a routine game, one that only works because I know the routine. If you want Star Wars games, I’ll suggest so many other games before Rebellion (TIE Fighter, X-Wing Alliance, Battlefront, Squadrons, even the board game version of Rebellion). But I like it.

Ultimate Domain fits a similar niche. I’ve recommended the game almost zero times, and this is not a recommendation. Think medieval season/turn-based strategy game. The game has a large research system that is respectably intricate but in practice tedious (there are 7 or so diseases to research separately, and researching the disease and the vaccine is a separate task; meanwhile, there are 20 other things you probably want to prioritize first, like cannons or the loom). It’s very easy to lose in the first 20 minutes if all your villagers catch sick. There is some gaming the job assignment system, like switching every villager to inventor in the winter to churn out some inventions, only to reassign them back to farming or carpentry at the end of winter but not the start of spring because farming, carpentry, and a few other jobs don’t start mid-season.

So why do I like it? Again, it’s routine. I can wade through all the chunkiness and, in a couple of hours, have a thriving colony and be well on my way searching for the game’s macguffins, the seven crystals. And there is some charm to the CG cutscenes that play every time I access the inventor’s/crafter’s workshop. “Oi’m buildin’ a wagon.”

@sapphicvalkyrja Pathfinder is a really good example too. I have some people I would recommend it to (namely, all the people I play Pathfinder with!), but yes, the ruleset is more complex compared to Baldur’s Gate 3 or even the older-school Neverwinter Nights. Having six characters in a party also adds to the complexity; it’s not trivial to try to keep everyone leveled effectively and balanced in their roles. But I’m down for that. Kingmaker was a wild, fun ride; Wrath of the Righteous’s crusader mechanics wore me down, but the mythic rules were fun to mess around with. (For those who don’t know, your main character is basically supernaturally empowered, with lots of options and story implications.)

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Every day from its launch in 2016 until it shut down in 2023, I played a bad mobile gacha game called DC Legends. Why? Because I developed a metagame around it where I could only work on leveling up a particular character if I read, watched, or wrote something they were featured in right before. It was through this that I have been able to maintain my comic book universe expertise. I continue the practice today with an even worse Match 3 gacha game, DC Heroes & Villains.

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It came up here ages past, but Balan Wonderworld. It’s janky, obtuse, stuggles on most consoles, throws out decades of good game design. But if IF you can get into the very Sega on Saturn (because Naka) aesthetics of the thing. Its the only game you’ll get like that in HD.

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I’ve thought long and hard on this question (like 13 mins maybe) and I’ve concluded that actually I have perfect taste and everything I like is objectively good

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I have a laundry list of things I dislike about Baldur’s Gate 3, which I will try to refrain from diving into here except where necessary, as not all of them are particularly relevant to Wrath of the Righteous. The relevant ones are probably these:

  • The rules system: I am, on the whole, not a huge fan of D&D 5th Edition, which removes much of the mechanical depth in terms of character building from 3rd Edition that I prefer, which means that Baldur’s Gate 3 also lacks this, especially compared to Wrath of the Righteous (which is running on an even deeper version of 3rd Edition, more or less)
  • The encounter design: When I play CRPGs, a huge part of my enjoyment comes from “buildcraft.” I like putting together a character build and seeing it succeed in the game. Larian, to their credit, recognized the relatively shallowness of 5th Edition, opting to introduce complexity to replace it. Unfortunately for me, they added most of that complexity not in the area of builds and character customization, but in environments and hazards, which don’t interest me much as vehicles for depth. Wrath of the Righteous, though, is much more about mastering its character creation systems, knowledge of the enemy types at play, and how to use the tools you have given yourself through character build, items, and the like, to win
  • Narrative/quest design: Bioware devotee that I am, I like a game with a directed, central narrative, and for that central narrative to be the main thrust of the experience. Wrath of the Righteous works much the same way. You may not have the staggering amount of player freedom and NPC reactivity on hand in Baldur’s Gate 3, but you do still have side quests and room to explore, and the tighter focus means a stronger central narrative (as well as thematic through-lines)
  • Roleplaying: There’s a lot of good roleplaying stuff in Baldur’s Gate 3, but one thing it doesn’t particularly handle well is the “evil playthrough.” There aren’t enough suitable party members for it, and the “evil route” is far less baked than the standard/hero route. Wrath of the Righteous has a larger cast, meaning a more balanced distribution in terms of possible companions for the multiple evil routes (not just one!), and the evil routes on offer are more tightly woven into the game’s central story. Plus, you’ve also got some paths that aren’t really good or evil, and a few different types of good runs just like there are a few different evil ones (this mostly comes down to the game’s 10 Mythic Paths, each of which is associated with one of the traditional nine D&D alignments)
  • Romances: Owlcat’s games (so far at least) have all had romances with defined sexualities. Some characters are straight, some are gay, some are bi/pan. This creates a feeling of agency for the companion in the romance story that I often find lacking in games with “playersexual” romances like Baldur’s Gate 3 or Dragon Age II. This also extends to the way the companions interact with the player—some of them may pursue the player character, while others want the player character to take the lead. This sense of character agency makes for a much more believable experience for me (I also prefer defined sexualities in terms of “representation,” too, but that’s sort of a different topic)
  • Companions: This one comes down a lot to personal taste, but I just didn’t like any of the Baldur’s Gate 3 companions all that much aside from Karlach, whereas I love the cast in Wrath of the Righteous. A lot of this comes down to Larian’s general writing style, which is also a personal taste thing, though

I think that covers all of the main things. It’s not that Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t do a number of things unbelievably well, but more that all the things it’s doing so well aren’t particularly my cup of tea, whereas Wrath of the Righteous is very much my shot of whiskey

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I gotcha! I’m not much of a “power gamer” myself – I recently fell off The Elder Scrolls Ⅱ: Daggerfall, partly because so much of the enjoyment in it popularly lies in the character building – but I’m mad enticed by the points about the game’s writing… Thanks a bundle for taking the time to type that out – I’m officially edified :blush:

This is a great point – you articulated something I’ve felt for a long time! I think I feel that when every character is “playersexual”, the game feels like so much more of a theme park. It’s in the same category as a door to a regular house that can only be opened with the legendary Key Arrows, a shop that only sells one sword, or enemies that hate you and only you: It’s a palpable concession that this world is built for, and entirely revolves around, the player character.

(I’m with you on the “representation” bit as well. What’s more, a character just feels all the more well-defined when its initial personality traits – including sexuality – aren’t arbitrarily variable, innit.)

That’s not to say that it’s an invalid design choice – I’ve been known to enjoy a straight-up smut game from time to time, and when the point of the game is to caress every Tom, Dick, and Harry, it only makes sense – but I don’t think it’s nearly recognized enough that it isn’t one without narrative consequence!

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Rescue 24 Hours

My experience buying this was as close to the spirit of the quote as I can imagine. Cover art and screenshots that attract a certain weirdo.
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Ultimately it is is pretty unique take on something akin to Crazy Taxi but it controls like garbage. But it’s kinda interesting garbage? Looks like garbage, but it’s like what all those fake-o ps1 rendering systems wish they could be? The opening cut scene is some prerendered thing, but the stuff being rendered are still just frickin boxes? And the developer’s name is just the most miserably anti SEO thing - Central Systems. But this is the like only driving game I’ve ever played where the incentive to avoid running into other cars/driving wrong way/running reds is enough to actually shape my behavior, so that’s something right?

Looks like someone recently played through it so you don’t have to. Idk maybe I recommend it cuz it rules. But man it’s so bad. But it’s kinda neat. You later get multiple bases set up in different zones in the city. The music is pretty rad.

What does it even mean to recommend something, really? lol. No recommendation from me comes without some form of hedging, at least. This one is basically all hedge.

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glad to have indirectly inspired this thread haha

I’m sure there are a bunch, but the first title that comes to mind is Skylight Freerange.

It’s a grandiose, open world RPG entirely made by one guy (I can’t remember if he does the music or not). The series started on PC as an RPG Maker game; the one I played on the PS4 is an expanded version of a later PC release. The series has been quietly chugging along for years; this one is the fourth game in the series, and there’s even two more after this. He even made a Smash clone spin-off with all the main characters!


Aesthetically, it’s easy to see why this is hard to recommend.


The story is not great. The lore is needlessly “mature” and convoluted (I can’t remember exactly, but it all takes place in some alt-future Canada?). But the battle system is so close to being really interesting. It’s a mix of turn based and 3rd person action that’s similar to MMO combat in theory but manages to play nothing like that. It’s not punchy enough to be fun to anyone sane, but I definitely think it could inspire someone to make something really cool if they actually played it.


I now have all the other titles and want to play through them all eventually. I knew so much about the lore after finishing the game that I almost started a fan wiki for the series. (I really wish I did because I remember absolutely nothing now). Maybe the combat eventually gets good! (I doubt it.)

I admire the sheer ambition of someone punching above their weight like this. I get why this wouldn’t appeal to most people, but I wish we had more developers/games like this. It’s true outsider art of video games.

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Freerange and Freerange 2 also on vita :eyes:

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Coincidentally, this is the exact topic of a zine I’m currently contributing to!

Here’s the very short version of what I have to say about Cameltry (known as On The Ball in some places).

Cameltry is a simple game about navigating a marble through a maze, a la Sonic 1 special stages.

As a game, I have nothing to say but good things. The aesthetic is both extremely dated and extremely distinct. The trappings around the dead simple core acknowledge the absurdity of themselves in ways that are funny but not elbowing you and waggling its eyebrows. It’s an arcade game with an honest to God tutorial! It’s short and fun and wonderful. So why not recommend it?

Well Cameltry is played with a spinner controller.
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And it is very much about the spinner as much as Katamari is about the analogue sticks. Maybe even more so! And buying a spinner is something I wouldn’t recommend for 99% of people. Mind you members of this exact forum are more likely to be in the 1%, but even not them necessarily. Chances are you just aren’t going to delve that deeply into other spinner games, so having yet another specialized piece of plastic in your house probably isn’t that appealing to you.

This is also why I can’t really recommend playing it using some other control scheme. You might still have some fun with it, but it’s not really the experience it was designed around. I only played this game cuz I got an Egret Mini 2 and that goofball controller add on

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This is such a different take on the question; I love it – what game would you recommend to most anyone given the right circumstances, but almost no one has those circumstances? Makes me think of feature phone games, for example, which are usually not at all digitally preserved, and even when they are, you really should play on a real phone, because otherwise, the impression the game makes is wildly different. Goes for oh-so-many arcade games as well – not only because of the hardware, but because their experience can only truly be had when every life costs a coin, or only when you’re a Japanese child in the '80s with access to a communal notebook…

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god, mine is… drakengard 3

it’s stuck on the ps3 where it runs absolutely terribly, which is real bad for an action game. like sub-20fps sometimes. the action itself is mostly mindless muso style fighting and doesn’t really have the depth to carry it through the whole game. the plot kinda ties in to the whole nier/drakengard universe but mostly in an obscure way that raises more questions than it answers. it’s also pretty horny in a way that could be real offputting to people. the final boss is infamously difficult and a big middle finger to the player in that special yoko taro way.

it reaches for a few things and doesn’t really succeed most of the time. not even the 7/10 game that would appeal to people on this forum, it’s just kinda mid all over. even the soundtrack is just kinda …there, which is a huge outlier for the rest of the yoko taro stuff. despite all that it’s still a game i enjoy somehow, and i can’t really explain why

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