Announcing Spooktober on SirTapTap’s Youtube Channel!

It’s that Spooky time of the year again, so I hope you’ll join me on YouTube for a series of surreal RPG Maker Horror games this month!

Edit: 2018-10-15: Final half of Spooktober is finalized below!

The streams will feature more atmospheric, psychological horror and less of the jumpscare nonsense, so if you’re usually squeamish, it should still be pretty accessible!

Included are permalinks to each stream, press the Play button to see an option to get a reminder of when the stream goes live on YouTube!

Week 1 (October 6&7th)

Yume Nikki

Yume Nikki is a surreal classic of RPG Maker fame, more of a Walking Sim/Horror game than RPG. I played it before, along with it’s remake/sequel/something, Yume Nikki Dream Diary, but it’s fantastic and will be framing the rest of the games for the month! 

Dream Diary Jam (Yume Nikki Fan Games)

Dream Diary Jam is an annual game jam on itchio where creators make Yume Nikki style games investigating dreams! They’re usually short, being game jam games, so I’ll play through a bunch!

Week 2 (October 13-14th)

The Crooked Man

The Crooked Man is an RPG Maker horror game, part of the Strange Man series. These are fairly long and I have limited streaming time, so just this one this year.

Week 3 (October 20-21st)

Ao Oni, Mouth Sweet

Ao Oni and Mouth Sweet are RPG Maker horror games much like Yume Nikki itself. If they prove too short for a stream, we’ll find another to add to the stream!

.Flow

.Flow is one of the most famous Yume Nikki fan games, and a pretty big one I’m told, so it should fill it’s own stream.

Week 4 (October 27-28th)

PT Demo & something Yume Nikki

PT was an amazing game that never became a full title, but it’s still 1-2 hours of fantastic horror. We’ll fill the remaining time with some more Yume Nikki fan stuff.

Yume Graffiti

Another high quality, long Yume Nikki fan game to cap off the month!

Fan Art Update: Art from CremexButter, Scott Ramsoomair, Yasmin Rawlings, and Amnesia Moons

It’s been too long since a fanart post, so here’s a five for one!

Here’s a beautiful avatar commission, drawn by Scott Ramsoomair (Yep, the VGCats one)!

Next is a simple but super-adorable one of me and Parker by @CremexButter! You might know Creme from instagram or this cute earlier fan art!

And another doodle from Creamxbutter, from our Patron Board Game Night stream:

Cremexbutter's Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival fan art of SirTapTap's patreon stream
It’s a long story and I promise we’re not brazen criminals

Less criminally, here’s one more from Yasmin Rawlings! Drawn from the same stream as the Cremexbutter Parker/TapTap one, a bit embarrassingly long ago at this point.

Another sketch, this one is a Grumpy Boi by Amnesia Moons (also a regular in Fan Art around here!). This one’s referring to the rather disastrous AbyssRium Valentine’s day event.

Thanks so much to everyone! You can see all fanart & sources collected in the Fan Art Gallery.

Please Stop Spamming Reviewers’ Inboxes With GDPR Notices, They Mean Nothing

So tomorrow the GDPR privacy protections go into effect in the EU. In reality, this means you need to change your data retention policies and ask for consent, notify people of data breaches and some other stuff. But in most people’s minds, this seems to mean “spam everyone with emails and hope it all works out”.

Now, I’m not in the EU nor a policy maker, so don’t trust me: Go trust The Guardian and their policy experts:

The vast majority of emails flooding inboxes across Europe from companies asking for consent to keep recipients on their mailing list are unnecessary and some may be illegal, privacy experts have said…

(Also almost no one is limiting their spam to Europeans, despite the Guardian’s wording here.)

As a reviewer on dozens of PR listings, I’ve gotten over 100 emails about new privacy policies, “please sign up again”, blah blah blah. I just cleaned out a dozen from my inbox before writing this article.

Odds are, at most 1 in 10 of these emails are even meaningful and less than that were actually necessary. If I opted into your review list, you do not have to email me. If you’re just going to be following the policies you’re…required to follow anyway, you don’t have to email me. Save the emails for PR. That is why I consented to be on your list, not spam about whether I consented to be on your list (goodness the irony).

If you already gathered my consent, there’s almost certainly no need to spam my inbox. Even if you didn’t, there’s various clauses in the policy that allow collection without consent provided it follows the GDPR’s retention/etc policies.

In short, stop emailing me and make sure your actual data policies met GDPR, because that is the only part that ever mattered. This was not supposed to be another EU Cookie Law where no one changes anything but all burdens are passed on to the consumer with a bunch of annoying crap no one reads.

In fact, reading a bit of it, it seems this consumer-side burden was specifically intended to be avoided in the GDPR. What initially appeared to be another Dumb EU Overreaching Law seems to largely be a case of poorly informed people doing basically random things hoping they’ll accidentally comply with it.

What’s New On Sir TapTap.com? (March Updates)

Been a lot of changes on SirTapTap.com lately, but mostly stuff you might not have noticed without looking. So let’s list ’em all up in a big ol’ post!

New Content

I’ve had several “series” in mind for this site for a long time and hadn’t really gotten started on them until recently. As of today, three of them have gotten started and I’m proud of them. They’ve all been added into the header menu for ease of navigation.

Free Points

Free Points is a new series of weekly (actually) free game recommendations, ranging from flash games to games on Steam, from traditional platformers to surreal Alt Games. I’m slightly behind on them as I write this, but they’ll be back soon!

Finer Points

I’m allowed to use the same spikeball-related pun once more than once, right? Ahem. Anyway, Finer Points is a series of UX-focused articles on game design and design in general, particularly the little touches that have a big effect (positive or negative) on the whole experience.

Tap Into YouTube

I’m a YouTuber as well as a writer and developer, so Tap Into YouTube is my series for discussing gaming-related YouTube stuff. It’s both for YouTubers to learn the ins-and-outs of YouTube’s workings (both technical and social), and also for game developers/PR people to learn about how to get the most out of their interactions with YouTubers.

I noticed a lot of devs make some common mistakes in reaching out, so I hope Tap Into YouTube will help make it at least a bit easier.

Patron Benefits (Beta)

A major feature that was added was the Patreon Login Page where my patrons can log in with their Patreon accounts to get the following benefits based on their monthly pledge:

  • $1 – Current Month’s Parker Pictures
  • $2 – No ads on SirTapTap.com
  • $5 – Early Access videos & full archive of past Parker pictures

The feature is only in “Beta” because of an odd conflict with my Progressive Web App caching; the caching makes the site crazy-fast, but it unfortunately sometimes caches the “logged out” copy of a page, so logged in users may occasionally see ads or be initially refused from Patron-only pages; these issues are cleared on a page refresh.

It’s not the biggest issue in the world but I’d really like to stamp out that last bug before rolling it out of Beta.

AbyssRium

Disclaimer: To get this out of the way, I’m not affiliated with the AbyssRium devs in any way…they don’t even reply to my support requests! And nope, “Sir Tap Tap” has nothing to do with “Tap Tap Fish”—it’s been my name for 9 years, and it’s based on enemies called Tap-Taps in Yoshi’s Island for SNES!

So AbyssRium’s been a bit of a contentious issue lately; the developers have made some major changes to the game and players aren’t very happy. I talked of leaving the whole thing and no longer updating my guide (though I would always leave it up for players to use as I do with all my guides).

The more recent update shows some signs of improvements, though not quite a full return to quality. For now I’ll still be making guides, but I’m very unhappy with the game’s direction and if players continue to abandon the game due to its hostility to players I may leave. But not yet.

New Features

Lots of new little features were added as well!

Better Progressive Web App Functionality

I kinda broke offline caching for a bit in my Progressive Web App, and in the process of fixing it I made it better than ever!

If you don’t know what a PWA is, going to “add to Homescreen” from most Mobile Browsers will add a shortcut to your mobile device’s Homescreen. On supported browsers and devices, these pages will actually act similar to full-blown “native” apps with (opt-in) push notifications, offline caching, special UI, and if you use Chrome on modern Android versions the app can even be put in your App drawer. 

The SirTapTap.com PWA has the following features:

  • An adorable TapTap (spikeball) icon for your homescreen
  • Instant access to the Guide Index, one tap away from any major part of my site
  • Offline caching for fast page speed and offline access of previously visited pages
    • Also a more pleasant “offline” page that still features full UI!
  • Ad-free guides supported for logged-in Patreon supporters
  • A minimal  browser UI will now be shown, so “Find On Page” functionality is available
  • Interest-based Push Notifications (optional)
  • Firefox & Mobile Safari now support PWAs, including SirTapTap.com!

Better Search

Continue reading “What’s New On Sir TapTap.com? (March Updates)”

Tap Into YouTube: Launch Day Is Too Late For PR

As a reviewer if there’s one mistake I see in my inbox more often than any other, it’s developers reaching out to press on their game’s launch day. Sometimes, even up to a week after release.

I’m not entirely sure the general reason for this; whether it’s seen as not necessary to reach out first, or perhaps it’s some attempt at avoiding “embargo breakers”, but it’s probably the most easily corrected major mistake you can make in your game marketing.

Don’t break your game’s sales just because you didn’t want to send out some emails before launch.

Tap Into YouTube is a series on YouTube and Games PR, written from the perspective of a YouTube Content creator. That’s me!

It’s meant to help both devs and YouTubers serve their audience the best and work with each other productively.

What’s the big deal? Well…

Reviews Take Time

The biggest factor here is that if it takes me a week to write a review (not uncommon, especially for smaller shops or larger games), and you send me your game the day of release, you’re logically going to get reviews a week after release. And that’s at the earliest; you’re probably not at the top of my queue. Especially since you emailed me the day you launched your game!

“The amount of time it takes to review your game is significantly higher than the time it takes to play your game”

Gaming reviewers are infamously crunched for time and often forced to rush out reviews for games they haven’t finished, spend crazy hours to finish a game in time, or take other unfortunate steps that pretty universally result in both worse working conditions for the reviewer and a lower quality review.

To write a thorough review ideally the player will have to complete the game, or in some cases like Multiplayer or Roguelike titles, at least play far enough to feel a sense of reasonably complete understanding of the game. 

In addition to the game itself, budget in the time for writing, editing, replaying to verify certain details, checking out additional modes, and other features. After all that, the time it takes to review your game is significantly higher than the time it takes to play your game. Always keep this in mind.

If there’s one person you don’t want to rush, it’s your reviewer. When you’re rushed, every flaw is that much more grating. Every complexity is that much more unwelcome. Every high is that much more fleeting. By rushing reviewers it’s quite possible you’re harming your own review scores, let alone the number and timing of those reviews.

Scheduling Issues

Sort of a sub-point of point number one, but even if I can respond to your game in a snap as, say, a Livestreamer who plays through games blind for first-impressions streams, I still may be unable to play your game until a few days after launch. I might have previously announced plans, things I’ve been waiting months to do, I might be on vacation, heck, you might just happen to release on the day I’m not at work!

Your game is probably the only thing on your mind. It is not the only thing on the mind of everyone you’re emailing about your game. That’s one of the biggest things to realize when handling your PR and working with press; you know your game, we do not (yet). But meanwhile, we’re also juggling up to dozens of games, upcoming releases, sheduled content. The less time you give us, the less possibility there is for us to fit your game in with the rest. 

By giving reviewers a reasonable length of time they’ll not only be able to write a better review, but they’ll be able to work things into their schedule more easily. For example, I work a day job so if your game releases on Tuesday even if I have nothing to play but your game (this is never the case), the earliest you’re likely to see a video from me is the following weekend.

But Isn’t YouTube Different?

Continue reading “Tap Into YouTube: Launch Day Is Too Late For PR”

Free Points: Drop Alive – Short Classic-Style Platformer

So far Free Points has largely focused on surreal, more conceptual and less gameplay-focused games. They’re a favorite of mine, but not all we’ll be covering here. So without further adieu, here is Drop Alive, a retro-style platformer (with a non-retro aesthetic)!

Free Points is a series of weekly free game recommendations. The games may range from the most surreal of Alt Games to the most traditional of platformers; the only requirements for a Free Points game is that they’re free (real free, not free to play!) and very much worth your time.

What Is Drop Alive?

Title: Drop Alive
Release Date: 2016-12-06
Price: Free!
Developer: Invi Games
Languages: English
Length: ~1 Hour
Platform: PC  (Steam)
Genre: Platformer
Themes: Hand-drawn, Cute, Challenging
Supplemental: You can watch me play about half the game on YouTube

Drop Alive is an adorable platformer featuring a water droplet that must escape seemingly mundane environments that become quite intimidating when you’re the size of a water droplet!

The majestic cookie sea.

With a lot of charm it’s easy to underestimate Drop Alive’s difficulty; the game won’t go easy on you, but it’s not an incredibly demanding game either, especially due to it’s length.

Why Play Drop Alive?

Drop Alive is a good ol’ platformer with a fair amount of challenge. It’s short length keeps it from being frustrating or getting old, since you’ll probably be done with it within an hour.

The water droplet isn’t purely for style either; properties of water are used for gameplay purposes as you change state and avoid being absorbed into other materials.

As a water drop you can change into a liquid, gaseous, or solid state with ease.

Drop Alive reminds me of many Flash platformers from the glory days of Newgrounds.com (who is still very much still around, by the by). It’s just long enough to be worth playing but not long enough that it wears out it’s welcome. The short-form game format is a favorite of mine, and it’s great to see games still get made.

There is a paid option for Drop Alive, but as it only contains cosmetic items and does not affect gameplay, I don’t consider it a disqualifier for Free Points. And, of course, if you think the game was worth the “asking” price of the DLC, make sure to support the developer! I’m a big fan of games that offer that sort of option.

Need More To Play?

Check out the Free Points archives for more worthwhile free games.

Free Points: Space Funeral – Surreal Comedy/Horror RPG

Space Funeral by thecatamites is a fairly vintage game in the set of surreal RPG maker games that have popped up over the years. As you might have noticed, this peculiar subgenre is a favorite of mine! Due to it’s short length, relative popularity, and good sense of humor, it’s hard not to recommend Space Funeral among other surreal RPG Maker games.

Free Points is a series of weekly free game recommendations. The games may range from the most surreal of Alt Games to the most traditional of platformers; the only requirements for a Free Points game is that they’re free (real free, not free to play!) and very much worth your time.
I get paid $10 every time I say BLOOD in all caps.

What Is Space Funeral?

Title: Space Funeral
Release Date: 2010-09-17
Price: Free!
Developer: thecatamites
Languages: English
Fan Translations: Russian
Length: ~1.5 hours
Platform: PC (Gamejolt, DRM Free)
Genre: RPG
Themes: Horror, Pixel Art, RPG Maker, Surreal
Content Warnings: Mild horror/blood
Supplemental: I streamed a full playthrough of Space Funeral you can watch here

Space Funeral follows the story of Phillip who seeks the legendary City of Forms to restore the world, and his pal Leg Horse who is a Leg Horse. There will be BLOOD SWAMPS, BLOOD CAVERNS, and many other sources of BLOOD.

Explore a rather miserable world and beat up pretty much anyone who gets in your way, and don’t forget to say hi to Dracula. Cry at enemies until they die!

I think he’s some sort of crime man.

Why Play Space Funeral?

Continue reading “Free Points: Space Funeral – Surreal Comedy/Horror RPG”

Free Points: OFF by Mortis Ghost

OFF is actually the game that originally inspired me to have a “cool free games” sort of section on this site, so it’s no surprised I’m posting it early! This one’s a real treat for fans of more existential games like OneShot and Undertale, and just a really interesting gem of a free game.

Free Points is a series of weekly free game recommendations. The games may range from the most surreal of Alt Games to the most traditional of platformers; the only requirements for a Free Points game is that they’re free (real free, not free to play!) and very much worth your time.

What Is OFF?

Title: OFF
Release Date: 2008
Price: Free!
Developer: Mortis Ghost
Languages: French
Fan Translations: English, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish
Length: ~5 Hours
Platform: PC (DRM free)
Genre: RPG
Themes: Horror, Pixel Art, RPG Maker, Surreal
Content Warnings: Mild horror/blood, disturbing themes, existential crises
Supplemental: A YouTube Playlist of my playthrough of OFF, and an incomplete video walkthrough of mine

OFF is a mildly horror-themed RPG (tending more to the surreal and intellectual horror, rather than visceral gore and jumpscares) created by Mortis Ghost. It’s a game that makes a very strong and layered impression with its distinct and occasionally discordant visual and musical themes.

In the English-speaking world OFF first gained popularity through Starman.net, an Earthbound fan site due to its similarity to that series. The Batter’s choice of weapons and the game’s propensity toward getting Meta (and even letting the player name themselves) evokes some strong Earthbound vibes.

OFF gameplay clip
Combat in OFF

Why Play OFF?

Continue reading “Free Points: OFF by Mortis Ghost”

Free Points: Yume Nikki

Yume Nikki is a game you’ve probably at least heard of, and quite possibly even played a game at least in part inspired by it. In fact I debated on whether this was “too mainstream” to kick off my series of free game recommendations, but it’s hard to talk free games without acknowledging Yume Nikki, so let’s start with one of the best.

Free Points is a series of weekly free game recommendations. The games may range from the most surreal of Alt Games to the most traditional of platformers; the only requirements for a Free Points game is that they’re free (real free, not free to play!) and very much worth your time.

What Is Yume Nikki?

Title: Yume Nikki
Release Date: June 26, 2004
Price: Free!
Developer: Kikiyama
Languages: Japanese, English
Length: ~6 Hours
Platform: PC (Steam, DRM free via Uboachan (sorry, it’s a .RAR))
Genre: Exploration
Themes: Horror, Pixel Art, Walking Sim, RPG Maker, Surreal
Content Warnings: Horror, pixel depictions of death & suicide
Supplemental: A YouTube Playlist of my explorations in Yume Nikki

Yume Nikki is an RPG Maker game, but it’s certainly not an RPG. Rather, the engine was used (quite effectively) to make a series of dream worlds that the protagonist, Madotsuki (窓付き), will explore.  Worlds vary from the macabre to the beautiful, from the dingy to the stunningly surreal.

Kyukyu, rubbing the banister as always

Continue reading “Free Points: Yume Nikki”

Free Points: Weekly Free Games Worth Playing

Free Points is a new weekly (ish) series of articles showcasing free games that are worth a play. They can be from any genre from surreal Alt Games to traditional Platformers, and distributed in any format from HTML5 to Flash, and from Homebrew to downloadable games to Steam. The only requirement is that they’re free and worth your time.

Free Points is intended to raise awareness of the treasure trove of gaming that can be experienced by anyone (platform permitting) with absolutely no budget restrictions. From Newgrounds to Itch.io, these games are extremely accessible and open in a way that just warms your heart.

Free Points games are really free: no F2P/Freemium. In rare cases, games with ads but no In App Purchases may be showcased if their ads are not obtrusive to gameplay; such games will be clearly labeled. In other cases a game will not have ads but the host’s site may (such as Newgrounds and other Flash game sites).

You can subscribe to keep up to date on Free Points, or leaf through the covered games below.

Format

Free Points is a condensed micro-review that’s mostly informational in nature. Posts are focused on why you should play it and how to do so rather than going into intricate detail to critique. (For critique, we’ve got Finer Points and Reviews).

Feel free to share your thoughts on the game in the Comments section after every post! Recommendations for future games to cover are also always welcome.

Free Points Archives

Yume Nikki

Nested

Free Games Showcased on YouTube

Free Points is a sort of offshoot of my YouTube channel, on which I frequently showcase free games. I’ve created a playlist of all the free games I’ve covered there. I cover a crazy amount of games on YouTube, so it’s got quite a few more games than the website does for now.

You can also see my Steam Curator list.