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Lofi Chill Beats 24/7 Livestream

  • Frogge
  • 03/22/2019 06:56 PM

1998 by averageavacado
Length: ~20 minutes

I'd been meaning to play 1998 for a while. The art shown on the gamepage is really pretty, and the entire thing has that lofi chill ambience aesthetic to it. That's what finally pushed me to playing it, actually. I found some really good chill music recently, got a very vaporwave lamp for myself today (and I won't shut up about it, but hey, it's a cool damn lamp okay!) and have spent the day watching emotional wholesome videos, so I guess you'd call me "emotional" right now. So I figured since I'm doing a lot of aesthetic focus today, I might aswell play one of RMN's few lofi aesthetic looking games.

While the art is great, sadly I'm not a particularly huge fan of the rest of 1998's visuals. This might just be due to my bias towards pixel art games that use larger tile sizes, in this case 32x32, but I really didn't find the environments to be anywhere near as pretty as the rest of the artwork. Mapping is generally kind of bland and some areas in particular look very subpar. It's not an ugly game by any means, but it's not really pretty enough to be that sort of total aesthetic game it's trying to be. However, I do appreciate the effort that went into making the custom graphics and everything, and beauty is very subjective. I can give the tilesets themselves a pass, but I do wish some of the mapping was a bit more picteresque. I'll give praise to the soundtrack, though. I have no idea if it's a fully original one, but it's definetly catching the lofi mood this game's going for. If I may voice one complaint here it's that some of the audio transitions are a bit off, as in, one scene has a song that's playing and then the song lingers for a few seconds even after you get to the next scene and then just kind of disappears. I think some slow screen fades in between and music fades to accompany may have made the game drag a bit more, but it would have also made the music feel much more organic.

If only real libraries were like this.

As for the writing, I'll say that it's got a good message and the butterfly allegory thing is pretty neat, but outside of that, sadly it feels very rushed. I don't mean rushed as in the story was written in a week, I mean it moreso in that the pacing within the game is very off. There's hardly any time for character development and it feels weird to watch the characters bond so quickly, and it mostly boils down to how really short this game is. It feels more like the first act to a larger story due to how many areas and characters it introduces, but it just sort of forgets about all of them and moves on. You only see your mom twice in the game, once in the intro and once later on after your shift at the library. You see that other gal Jun was sitting with at the park only once the entire game. Aubrey's friends are mentioned a couple times, but you only ever actually see them in person once. This plus the chinese restaurant and florist never really get much chance to shine, if we're adding in locations too. Jun and Aubrey aren't particularly badly written characters, but it's also hard to see any real chemistry between the two. I suppose this makes sense if you take into account what Jun reveals about Aubrey at the end, but it's still hard to care for them when their relationship feels so bland. 1998 is a game that feels like a poorly written summary of a much greater story, and while it's not horrible, it easily has the potential to be a ton better. Like I said, there's definetly good things here. The potential is there for sure, and the butterfly thing and the general concept's pretty neat, I just hope we might see an extended remaster someday in the future that properly fleshes out all the individual aspects of it.

As for the gameplay, there's not much to talk about here. It's largely a game about walking from point A to point B, maybe talking to a few people along the way if you feel like it. There's no puzzles or anything, but it's not really much of an issue. I'll honestly take this minimalist approach over countless needless puzzles and forced backtracking any day. I suppose the only thing here worth mentioning would be that the game has three seperate endings based on your choices. The way it works is that you have a sort of personality meter and your decisions define if you're good or bad. I do like this system, it definetly adds more weight to your choices, even if the story doesn't particularly branch out. The only real consequence of your choices is just the ending you get, though you also get a secret ending for finding all scrapbook pages, which I believe only adds an epilogue. I'm not super sure because I actually only played endings 1 and 3 because I assumed ending 2 was just the same as ending 3 without the epilogue and didn't bother to test it out.

1998 suffers from being a bit too short for its own good. It has good ideas sprinkled throughout, but it's much more reminiscent to shattered fragments of a good game than it is to an experience that's gonna stick with you. Still, it's worth a go if only for being a rare breed of the sort of lofi aesthetic rpg maker games I've mentioned a couple times in this review. You don't really have many better options for that sort of game than 1998, but it does sort of leave you wishing there were. And now, for the first time in a frogge review, an //aesthetic// review score.

Oh my fucking god she fucking dead