Thursday 20 September 2018

Pure / Electric Love "What do you want?" - Eri Kitami - review

It was a couple of months ago while perusing the eShop that I stumbled on the face of an attractive Japanese woman pouting in a cat costume. Upon clicking the game description, I was treated to some of the finest nonsense I’ve ever readPure / Electric Love "What do you want?" - Eri Kitami -, it said, is a “love-likeness pseudo-talk game”. Okay. “A little embarrassing, in a conversation that pounding, romance skill UP! !” Riiiiight. The European eShop classifies it as a ‘Simulation/Communication/Strategy/Training’ game and it carries an ominous 18 rating from PEGI – contains ‘Sex’ and ‘Digital Purchases’. Saucy! I’ll include a few more choice quotes from the blurb:

  • Romance pseudo-talk game
  • In this work, fetish cosplayer ‘Eri Kitami’ is a welcome otiyuki blog, please tell her with hyper deadly tension! What?
  • Rotation in a good sense! While being healed, make the brain gear turn at super speed with maid, bondage etc, gallery image, movie!
  • Please please her, sometimes a little annoying. Kakehike is important for love affair!

So, it’s one of those games where you rub giggling girls via the touchscreen, right? Questionable content aside, it’s a luridly fascinating genre. How do they work? Do you go through flirty dialogue trees to initiate an ‘innocent’ shoulder massage? Do you need to beat a tricky minigame to undo a bra? Are there lots of timers? It can’t literally just be rubbing naked breasts… can it?

Having never played one of those – and after the dynamite sales pitch from the blurb – the 3.99 asking price was low enough to investigate. I’ve selflessly taken this one for the team to bring the English-speaking world some info on this “impenetrable Japanese girlfriend simulator*”!

It turns out there’s very little simulation (or stimulation) going on here. On firing up the game (loosest sense of the word, mind), you’re taken to a menu offering three options: ‘Tell’, ‘Gallery’ and ‘Mail’. ‘Tell’ takes you to the conversation screen. Imagine a Skype call but with video disabled and you’re more-or-less there. The left side of the screen has a green phone icon which shakes until you answer it, while the right side is occupied with a photo of Eri, a ‘free model’ with a penchant for latex. Other vital statistics (according to the eShop) include:

  •       Birthday November 26
  •       Blood type O type
  •       Hobby survival game, shooting
  •       Fighter horn blowing

Eri says hi and begins chatting. Of the three ‘scenarios’ or conversations included in the package, you can respond positively or negatively three times per call (only twice in the first scenario) and your responses seem to dictate the photos she emails you at the end of the call. You can use the touchscreen if you like.

Now, not speaking Japanese will naturally impede one’s enjoyment, but the language of love is universal, right? I would like to think she’s complimenting my impressive physique or detailing her kinky evening plans for us both. She doesn’t sound particularly coquettish or sultry, though – she sounds like she’s ringing to remind me to pick up a pint of semi-skimmed on the way home.

After a few questions, she finishes up with a cheery “Bye-byeee” and you’re returned to the main menu. A little red notification signals that you’ve got mail and you’ll find some photos unlocked in the gallery. Zooming would require some sort of scaling algorithm, so there’s none of that – they simply occupy the left side of the screen, with the collection on the right. In this particular package, Eri is dressed in a shiny skin-tight catsuit with a tail, topped off with some of those headphones that have cat ears with speakers, plus some sexy specs. It’s all in the accessories, darling.

For teenage boys in the nineties, this might have been utterly scintillating, but so was the lingerie page in the Marks & Spencer catalogue. Nowadays we get this sort of stuff on the side of a bus. If you’re expecting nakedness, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re expecting any sort of ‘gameplay’…well, there isn’t any. None.

And that’s it; that’s the game. You can return to the ‘Tell’ section and change your answers a bit and she’ll send a few more pics, or (if you’re lucky) a mightily compressed 20-second video clip. The gallery fills with photos but unless you buy the add-on packs you’re going to have lots of blank spaces.

Of all the criticisms, the most damning is that it just isn’t sexy. It’s tough to say with zero experience in the genre – and I’m sure there’s a whole world of sexy sub-genres I’m oblivious of – but this is surely an abysmal example. The Fetish-o-meter barely flickers and you can get the same level of eroticism from a quick image search (or go to the dark side with SafeSearch off). With that in mind, I wonder who buys this stuff, and why? Maybe if you’re obsessed with a particular idol and need to add every piece of media to your collection? Creepy, but each to their own.

There’s nothing to comment on regarding icky mechanics because there aren’t any – it’s literally a photo album which you slowly unlock after listening to a voice and clicking green or red. Perhaps it’s all in the words and they’re simply lost in translation. Perhaps Eri is whispering delightfully filthy nothings down the line and I’m simply missing the main event. I don’t think so, though. She sounds more like her gran’s just called and wants me to head round there on my way home to fix the flush on her downstairs loo.


*Copyright N64 Magazine, Get A Love: Panda Love Unit review.

Sunday 9 September 2018

Boldly Modding the Enterprise D (Diamond Select) - Part 3 - Paint Tests

Having stripped the model down without completely destroying it, it’s time to address the windows. From a distance, the painted lines do a decent job, but close-up they’re noticeably wonky. They’ll look terrible once drilled so I need to mark them all out accurately using a combination of reference photos and blueprints.

Marking new windows over the old ones would be messy and difficult to follow. I think about using the base grey plastic to represent part of the hull patterning, perhaps using green-grey for some highlights, so I experiment on a concealed part of the neck before testing a few sections of the saucer. I’ve bought two model paints – Vallejo 153 Pale Grey Blue and 106 Green Grey – that should reflect the colour of the original studio model (rather than the more complex, bluer aztec effect of the Generations refurb).

Turns out that the contrast between the base plastic and the blue-grey is too great. Also, I’d still need to strip off the black paint of the remaining windows anyway – better to paint the entire thing and start from scratch. This will make painting around the decals more fiddly, but should work fine.

After consulting some reference pictures, I decide the green needs to be on the panels I’ve test-painted. With some kitchen roll, a dab of water and a firm rub, the acrylic-based paints come off easily, giving me confidence to experiment further.

I like the look of the test, although it’s very light compared to the base plastic. I press ahead – worst-case-scenario, I need to completely repaint afterwards, but I still get a blank slate for marking and drilling the windows.

It takes a while but eventually the whole saucer is covered (I left the rim and the area around the bridge unpainted so it’s easier to handle) and I like the result a lot. The phaser strip comparatively looks a lot darker now – I may paint it olive green to more closely match the studio model, but we’ll see. It’s a balancing act between copying the original colours and reflecting the onscreen ship after multiple lighting passes, etc. Right now, I’m considering sealing the model at the end with some sort of ‘pearlescent’ varnish spray to give it a slight metallic sheen, but that needs research.

For now, it’s patchy and needs another coat (especially in the grooves), but I’m satisfied with the overall effect. Painting around the decals isn’t ideal but it’s doable and the result from two standard colours looks much better than I was expecting.

The next stage really is to mark all those windows!

N.B. The diameter of the saucer from left to right is approx. 320mm. The AMT saucer (1:1400 scale) is around 340mm, so some rudimentary maths tells me that the Diamond Select version is er…, just a minute…, hmm… *carry the one…, *check with the wife…, *edit incorrect answer from blog post..., yes = 1:1487.5!

Monday 3 September 2018

Boldly Modding the Enterprise D (Diamond Select) - Part 2 - Stripping down the Stardrive section

After the nightmare of dismantling the saucer section, I was prepared for a difficult time with the rear. However, the plastic around the main impulse engine was lifting before I began, so I decided to plough ahead and get the whole ship ripped down.

A small cover under the neck reveals a screw and some helpful soul at the factory squirted some glue in when they tightened it. I’ve got a good sized phillips screwdriver but it’s in there tight and I start stripping the head after a few tries.

The two parts that make up the neck creak a lot, but I manage to twist the top part around so I can get a look at the electronics. Using pliers, I grip the impulse engine LED and pull. It cracks in the middle, but it comes away giving me better access.

I can now twist the entire top part around counter clockwise, and undo the screw. I do my best to avoid snagging the delicate wires on interior plastic tabs and eventually it comes free.

I then push the glued screw from its housing by pressing it to the table and applying pressure. Beyond a few cracked tabs and the broken impulse LED, the two parts have come apart cleanly.

Turning the ship over, I bar off the four tabs surrounding the battery cover and remove the screws – this enables me to separate the two sections around the deflector but the backside is still secure. The nacelles have to come off next.

The four round tabs on the underside of the nacelles are a nightmare, but they eventually come off. All are glued and secured tightly via a tab at the back.

One of them snaps a little but it’ll go back on fine. I remove the screws and am able to take out the clear blue covers.

Small tabs and glue hold the nacelle housings together around the yellow parts at the front. A little prying and snapping later and they come apart. With the tops off I can now access the screws attaching the lower half to the main hull. I decide to leave the circuit boards screwed into the nacelles for now.

With the nacelles removed, the two halves of the main hull separate easily. I unscrew the battery compartment which lets me get at the deflector dish and the main PCB.

Once separated, I peel the sellotape from the nacelle wires and remove the connector and its wires from the cobra head. The electronics are now completely separated from the main hull and the only notable damage to them is the broken impulse LED – looks like a little bit of soldering might be required yet.

I then return to the saucer and carefully remove the impulse engines from their housing. The entire lower section is now free.

The upper part is trickier, with cables and silicone to negotiate, but eventually I get everything stripped away, including the reset button. For the moment I leave the bridge module attached to its LED.

With the ship now stripped, it’s time to begin looking at the windows. I’ve found some tiny drill bits online and will experiment when they arrive. Before that, I’ve decided to remove all the windows and redraw them more accurately. Misaligned ones will be much more noticeable when they’re physical holes in the plastic.

This next bit is going to take a while…