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Sophie's Secret LJ

(alias the Roost of the Purple Chicken)

Since people never seem to read userinfos...
happy dragon
This is my personal/fannish journal. For topics I feel require a more serious and moderated approach I have [personal profile] sqbr.

You may also be interested in:

Things I assume you know about me.

Things I like in creative works.

(There is another, crossposted version of this that refuses to stay sticky, so this is the lj only version)

EDIT: Screening comments since this post seems to attract all the spam.

XOXO Droplets: Confession and friendship endings
I like pi!

And now for the final lot of endings.

If MC gets to max platonic points with all the main guys, you can set things up so one of them asks her out just before the end of the game. These were all ADORABLE.

And if she continues on without getting together with any of them, there's a cute friendship ending.

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This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/752840.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.

XOXO Droplets: Side Boyfriends Lucas, Adrian, and Kam
I like pi!

Time for ALL THE OTHER BOYS, who I played simultaneously since none of them have much content.

Lucas Route: Annoying at first but then sweet and funny. Delightfully open about being into dudes.
Adrian and Kam Routes: Dull and underwritten but mildly cute in parts.

Content note: Very vague implication of bad/abusive parenting.
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This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/752615.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.

So I was right about not enjoying the Arcana
I like pi!
The pretty art drew me back into trying Julian's route and...well! I can articulate why I didn't like that, and suspect that freemium dating sims of this sort aren't ever going to work for me. I went in not expecting to like it very much and was still disappointed.

The story is basically linear, choices affect the player's experience and the ending but the optional scenes don't contain any real plot. And the really appealing, fanservicey, romantic moments cost money. A lot of money.

Not only is the basic, free story unsatisfying, but I'm pretty sure that even if I paid the HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS required to see all the paid scenes, the story wouldn't hold together emotionally. I only saw one paid scene, but it feels unavoidable that since they can't affect anything plotwise they are emotionally static, bursts of romantic candy devoid of any further value to the story.

Which is frustrating because I really liked Julian's character. He's a self-hating cursed masochistic bi plague doctor inspired by Jeff Goldblum, and suffers beautifully.

Finally: even though the player character's gender is customisable, and I was playing mine as masculine leaning non binary, the dynamic drew heavily on het romance tropes. Fun tropes, mostly, and nothing contradicted the PC being a guy or non binary. And obviously this is fine for anyone playing a woman. But it made me feel a little weird. (You would think I'd enjoy the female LIs more, but they seemed very...toothless f/f as written by het writers)

Spoilery discussion of Julian's route below the cut. I only played through the first two and a half chapters of fourteen.
Spoilers for Julian's routeCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/752264.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.

The Arcana
I like pi!
For the next few days, phone based freemium dating sim The Arcana allows you to read an arbitrary number of scenes a day for free (normally it's limited unless you pay money)

iOS Android

So I checked it out! And...by the time I got to the end of the prologue decided I didn't like it. But it's not inherently bad, just not my sort of thing.

It's set in a vaguely renaissance Europe-ish fantasy city. It's ethnically diverse with a lot of unremarked queerness. It takes itself pretty seriously and feels like it's trying a bit too hard to be Lush and Evocative without the depth to quite carry it off, but I have a low tolerance for that sort of fantasy. I hate to say "it's very American" like that's an inherent flaw but it's certainly not to my tastes.

Anyway. The protagonist is an apprentice fortune teller and magician, name and pronouns customisable, who finds themselves drawn into a messy situation involving death, romantic angst, political conspiracy etc. The prologue introduces you to six important characters of various genders, and gives some idea of how they're all connected to each other, and then the player chooses whose path to pursue. There's three men, two women, and one he/him using non binary person (who I only found out isn't a cis man from the wiki, which would be fine if he wasn't the only non binary character I've met all game but as it is feels a little lazy)

I had an intense gut feeling that I wouldn't enjoy any of these paths, and looking up spoilers made me go "That's a really interesting and evocative story I have zero interest in reading for some reason". I can't articulate why, unfortunately, but other people seem to enjoy them.

One objective flaw is the payment structure: the story keeps offering interesting/shippy sounding choices that cost "coins" to see, and afaict the only way to get coins is to pay money or do a huge amount of grinding. Note that the sale this weekend does not include coins. I ignored all of the paid choices and the story worked fine, but it was still annoying.

Otherwise the art is nice (including sprites, backgrounds and CGs), the worldbuilding seems mildly interesting, the writing is ok and the music is unobjectionable.

Anyway! This is at best a very qualified rec, but if you want to check it out, now is a good time.

This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/752116.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.

What I can and can't eat
I like pi!
It was time to make an updated version!

If something isn't listed, it's possible I didn't think of it, but it may also be in the fuzzy grey area of "it depends how much and in what context".
WHAT I CAN'T EATCollapse )

WHAT I CAN EATCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/751868.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.

XOXO Droplets: Nate path reactions
I like pi!

An unimpressed Nate, who is black with red dreadlocks and light red eyes, and dressed all in grey, stands in a botanical garden.  MC (called Boo)s ays Sheesh, that is it, as a beautiful vivacious lady I'm gonna dedicate myself to showing stuffy you how to truly live, for no reason. Just like in the movies.
That's it that's the path (Ok not quite)

I feel like they were deliberately writing Nate as autistic, it's never stated outright but was handled fairly well imo. And overall this was pretty cute!

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This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/751366.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.

XOXO Droplets fic in a shiny work skin!
I wrote a fic!

Internal Controls and Cost Analysis (3086 words) by sqbr
Fandom: XOXO Droplets (Video Game)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jeremy King/Main Character | JB (XOXO Droplets)
Characters: Jeremy King
Summary: Post-canon fluff about being miserable and hating everything.

This is theoretically the first chapter in a longer Pran/Jeremy/JB fic, but I don't know if I'll end up writing the rest of it, and I think it works ok as a little stand alone character piece.

Normally I don't post WIPs unless I'm sure they're as done as they're going to be, but I wanted to talk about something new I did in this one: using a work skin! I followed this tutorial on replicating iOS style messages, if you're not interested in reading the fic just scroll down until you hit blocks of colour to see how it looks.

It was pretty straightforward html, so now that I have Tasted The Joy Of CSS I may experiment with some of the other fun looking styles they have tutorials for.

Or maybe I'll redo all my fanart as CSS, at least that way it would be guaranteed not to go down...

This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/751198.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.

Remix Revival!
I got a great remix this year, [Unknown LJ tag] remixed my little Eddie/Venom comic into a really cute fic:

Maybe We're A Strange Love (1009 words) by geckoholic
Fandom: Venom (Movie 2018)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Eddie Brock/Venom Symbiote
Characters: Eddie Brock, Venom Symbiote (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Romance Novel, Fluff, Established Eddie Brock/Venom Symbiote, Developing Relationship, Domestic, Remix, Male Pronouns for Venom Symbiote (Marvel)
Summary: Eddie loves romance novels. Venom gets curious.

And I made three remixes, all illustrations of fic. I can't be bothered making image previews, there's image descriptions at each link.
Read more...Collapse ) This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/751066.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.

XOXO Droplets: Bae path reactions
I like pi!

Time for the prissy, condescending, highly punchable Bae. Who was actually really cute! Also he turned out to be asexual, and that was handled pretty well.

Something I don't discuss in my post but was bothered by in the game: He has very low energy: he walks slowly, avoids exercise, and needs to sit down a lot. This is only ever treated as him being lazy, I would have liked there at least to be a moment where someone checks to make sure he doesn't have any sort of health problem etc but no :/
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This entry was originally posted at https://alias-sqbr.dreamwidth.org/750835.html. There are comment count unavailable comments.