“That’s that, then,” said the squad leader, as he scrolled around the map screen, “We’ve lost this fight.”

The words crackled in my ears as I stood opposite my commanding officer’s stationary avatar, watching it jostle the weighty minigun to get a better grip. We’d been on this continent for five hours already, observing the front line of battle sweep one way, and then the other. PlanetSide can be cruel with your fortunes, as a convincing advance can turn into a frustrating back pedal and leave you wondering when the hell it all suddenly changed. Maybe a few squads-worth of soldiers decided to abandon the fray and find another continent to get their simulated future war kicks, or maybe they just decided to log off and do better things. Either way, for those left it’s a slow, painful death through attrition.

At some point the majority of the remaining task force retreats from the battle altogether and goes to fight somewhere it can win. It’s not a shameful admission to say that my outfit’s normally part of that majority. We spawn in the safety of our sanctuary and take ten minutes to re-tool, get some vehicles, maybe take a piss and then wind up the war machine once again, putting it down at the entry-point to a new continent and letting it thunder off across the map.

Day 3, 0029HRS

Reload, the magazine’s empty. Take out guard from above, bam! Head explodes like a coconut with sticks of dynamite shoved in those three holes at the top. Zip like a mad man and run forward, firing as I go. The patrolling sentry slumps to the floor, daddy, why won’t you wake up?

Line up the dug-in Alabama tick with my assault rifle.

Day 2, 2304HRS
Still somewhere in the desert

Of course, nobody said it would be easy. I’d be insulted at the suggestion. Reload, try again. This time you won’t be so lucky, villain.

This is something I wrote several years ago reviewing a trilogy of Japanese dating sims called 'X-Change'. Considering the forum thread it was posted in is now gone I've re-posted it here, with some edits here and there.

These games contain some disturbing content and I've included several sexually graphic screenshots in the review, but they're pretty far down to make it hard to see them by accident, so you have to promise you're going to be cool or you can't look.

After exploring the relatively innocent and Western-friendly world of mainstream anime, I looked for other sources to exploit my temporary newfound Japanophilia. On an import site looking for Japanese RPGs I discovered a section for those dating sims I’ve sometimes heard about. Alright, there’s some questionable screenshots there, but Japan is a country full of shy, repressed tiny people, so it’s all probably mostly harmless, right?




Day 1, 1643HRS
Somewhere in Virginia

Blip blip. My computer interrupted my meditative exercises to announce the arrival of a fresh email. As a new agent in the field, I didn’t know what to expect when I opened my inbox. The message was from an anonymous party. It contained only one sentence, but it said a lot.

A trace program fails to find the source, but manages to intercept a signature, a code-name of the sender, ‘Obsidian’. Whoever this mysterious Obsidian is, and whatever his motives, he’s got my attention. I am Agent Michael Thorton, master spy.