NB: This graph covers 8-14th of March.

Ranneko Plays Dumb Mistakes – Channel Update 2017-03-16


I made an embarrassing mistake this week, the original upload for my Heat Signature Hot Tip was just the 6 second animated title screen and nothing else. I have made that mistake a disappointingly high number of times, but I usually catch it before the video goes live. There are a fair number of warning signs along the way. The video exports much faster from my editor, the file uploads faster, the automatically generated thumbnails are all of the intro rather than being spread through the intended footage, but this time I missed all the signs.

Obviously that mistake was unfortunate, but one thing I find reassuring about it was the comments I received that were either teasing or confused about the unusual video. Had I made the same mistake a couple of years ago I would have heard nothing, heck had this happened with one of my Let’s Play series today I doubt I would have had anyone ask. It is a reassuring signal that people are watching and are interested.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday, Thursday: Pillars of Ranternity
Sunday: Heat Signature Challenge Run
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: ShadowRan: Hong Kong
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Indie Wonderland: Into The Breach

Here’s what I know about Into The Breach: It’s made by the same people who made FTL (i.e. Subset Games). You can hardly blame me for knowing that and only that, though: ‘From the makers of FTL’ is such a part of Into The Breach‘s marketing push that it’s literally a byline on the game’s main Steam header.

Beyond that, what I can divine from looking at other promotional materials is that Into The Breach is going to feature… let’s see, giant mechs? And ruined buildings? Hopefully the building don’t get ruined by the giant mechs, but then again, maybe they do. A mech-focused reboot of Rampage World Tour could be interesting.

Assuming it’s not that, though… what did I just sign myself up for.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, high-ish. Mechanical, relatively low, only in the general sense.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the breach: Giant robots, and giant bugs, and presumably giant insurance liabilities.

Slightly fewer views than the week before!

Ranneko Plays Channel Update – 2017-03-09


When I plan out my weekly schedule, I envisage it as a Monday to Sunday timetable. However, astute readers may have noticed that these posts are at least theoretically dated for Fridays. I do this because I don’t want to have both of Ninja-Blues regular posts take place on the same day. I assume that Monday/Friday is better than Monday/Monday, though I haven’t ever tried to back this assumption up with quantitative research.

This is why you often see smaller series split over two weeks. If something takes the Thursday/Saturday slot in my schedule, like Into the Breach, then while it fills only one week in my schedule it pops up twice in these posts.

I think of this week as a return to the pre-barcelona schedule, because from Monday we went back to the old schedule. Of course from the perspective of these posts the full return will not take place until next week.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday: I Ran Into the Breach
Sunday: Heat Signature Challenge Run
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: ShadowRan: Hong Kong
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips
Thursday: Pillars of Ranternity

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Ranneko Plays – 2017 YouTube Analytics Review

2017 has been over for quite a while now, so how did Ranneko Plays do? YouTube provides analytics to creators to give them a sense of what is popular on their channel, what demographics they appeal to, how long people are watching, etc. In theory, this should allow me to get meaningful information about my channel and help me find ways to improve my videos and grow my channel.

What did I release in 2017?

YouTube makes this information surprisingly difficult to collect, which means no pretty graphs, just text for this one.

During 2017, I published 334 videos, 331 of them following a fixed schedule, and 3 extras near the end of the year.

At the start of the year I released videos every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On April 10th I shifted to a daily release schedule and I am extremely pleased to have not missed a single update during that time even with an extensive travel schedule. It seemed that I was always building up and running down the buffer in response to an upcoming trip or time away during 2017.

During that time, I covered:

That is a total of 17 different games, 15 if you exclude DLC and game jams games

On April 10th 2017, Ranneko Plays started to release videos every single day. I am quite proud of the fact I have not missed a single day since, but was it worth it?

Not really, but let’s quantify, using graphs!

Much Punch-Do About Nothing

Hey readers. Jarenth here.

You know how all reviews are inherently subjective, because all reviewers are their own people with their own views and biases describing their own experiences with a game, each played in unique and irreproducible circumstances? Everyone’s different, everyone likes different things and experiences things differently — that sort of thing. There’s an argument that more skilled and practiced reviewers can step over that subjectivity to try and address game on a more ideally objective level, and it’s an argument I subscribe to, but still: There’s only so much you can do to step away from your intrinsic self.

I learned the hard way this week that I don’t really have a lot to say about fighting games.

‘I enjoy playing terrible characters that nobody likes for comedy value’ isn’t really a cutting observation.

My idea for this week was to say some interesting things about DRAGON BALL FighterZ, Bando Namcai’s long-awaited ‘it’s pretty much the cartoon distilled to only the cool fighting’ game. And, sure, here’s a thing I’ll say about it: They definitely nailed that aesthetic right on the goddamn head.

Down to the smallest details.

More to the actual point, I can see how a reviewer with more subject matter expertise could place DRAGON BALL FighterZ in the ecosystem of its peers. It’s a team-fighting game, which seems to invite comparison to games like Marvel vs. Capcom. It focuses on simple, quarter-circle-based special moves, making it more Street Fighter and less Mortal Kombat. And a significant distinction between novices and masters lies in the ability to string together long manual combos, something I also remember doing myself in Tekken (Tag Tournament, if we want to be specific).

It also allows you to play out wildly improbably scenarios, which I remember from Soul Caliber.

And that’s it. That’s the extent of my fighting game knowledge. What’s a BlazBlue? I don’t even know.

So yeah. Let’s call this week’s theme a lesson: Good idea, poor execution, highlighting the importance of recognizing your own limits. We’ll be back to normal next week with a game I can talk a bunch about, since it involves convoluted puzzles, giant robots, and messing up timelines beyond recognition for fun and profit.

Which, again, is *also* something you do in this game.

Ranneko Plays Stream First – Channel Update 2018-03-02


At least through April, I am trying to mix a combination of new and old approaches to my recording schedule. I used to record and stream very irregularly. Basically stealing time where I could, ideally when I knew my partner would not be home. I have now started streaming regularly on Tuesdays (starting at 6PM CET [GMT +1] at https://twitch.tv/ranneko) but this individual stream doesn’t quite let me cover my old streaming schedule meaning I need to combine both approaches and I have been a little less successful at rebuilding my buffer than I would like.

This is why we have such a strange bundle of episodes this week. Well, that and I was really excited to finally get to play Into the Breach and played that on my stream instead of Shadowrun: Hong Kong, a desire to finish uploading the rest of SteamWorld Dig 2 and my partner wanting to use the Switch during one of the opportunities I had to record.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday: Pillars of Ranternity
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: RanWorld Dig 2
Sunday: Heat Signature Challenge Run
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips
Thursday: I Ran Into the Breach

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Indie Wonderland: Iconoclasts

You know how culture and history are fun? When I first read the name of Bifrost Entertainment‘s latest work, Iconoclasts, it put into my mind the very specific image of a period of Dutch history called the beeldenstorm, or ‘statue storm’. This was part of the larger Protestant Reformation uprising against Catholic excesses, but in the Netherlands specifically took on the shape of a wave of vandalistic attacks against church buildings and relics, targeted at destroying Catholic art and iconography — like statues. In Dutch, ‘iconoclast’ still literally translate to ‘statue stormer’: Not someone who attacks religious institutions in general, but very specifically someone who busts up statues.

Anyway, I’m not saying I expect Iconoclasts to have ‘breaking religious statues’ as a major gameplay mechanic. But a man can daydream, can’t he?

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, medium.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: No statues, that’s for sure. Because… because of the whole with ‘break’, and… Listen, it’s the Iconoclasts review.

Ranneko Plays Returns to Heat Signature – Channel Update 2018-02-23


I’ve been back in Sweden long enough to start recording again, but I want to run through all of SteamWorld Dig 2 before I return to the old schedule. I both want to build up my buffer and change my recording schedule and model. These things unfortunately take time. In the meantime, if you are interested in being part of some of the recording, I am now streaming regularly. Every Tuesday evening from 6pm CET over on my twitch channel.

The first part of my schedule to return is Heat Signature, as you can see in the release summary below. There are 2 pretty simple reasons why:

  1. I still really enjoy playing the game. I am good at it and I enjoy trying new play styles in it for some reason.
  2. Heat Signature was updated last week, introducing 2 new items and going on sale. As a result way more people are looking up Heat Signature on Youtube right now.

Quite a jump

That sale has significantly boosted the number of eyeballs on my channel for now, both directly from YouTube searches and indirectly via my posts on the Heat Signature Subreddit. Things will inevitably return to normal, but in the meantime I am enjoying the boost to engagement. I am even getting comments right now!

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday, Monday, Wednesday – Friday: RanWorld Dig 2
Sunday: Heat Signature Challenge Run
Tuesday: Heat Signature Hot Tips After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Indie Shortieland: The Novelist

Take a moment to imagine: What’s the most self-indulgent thing I could possibly do on this website? Apart from letting it all burn down, or using the site’s database as my personal torrented game storage. The best answer I came up with is: Write about a video game about writing. It’s the perfect overlap of the real and the imagined! No, wait, I actually have an even better one: Imagine if I wrote about a video that was about a middle-aged white man struggling to write! His most important work!. Oh god, can you imagine, it’s like I’d be staring into a mirror. I can’t say for sure that the whole piece would be introspective navel-gazing, but one can only imagine.

Anyway, in unrelated news, I played Orthogonal GamesThe Novelist this week. ‘A game about life, family, and the choices we make’. And also pointedly about a struggling middle-aged white dude writer. You’ll understand why I figured I should keep this review short. Unless you want to hear all about my own troubled upbringing, possibly in tortured metaphor form.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium. Mechanical, comprehensive.)

(Game source: Gift from a friend.)

After the break: It all started when I was declared to be a ‘gifted child’…

Ranneko Plays SteamWorld Dig 2 – Channel Update 2017-02-16


YouTube Link

Having run through all of my pre-trip footage previously, this week was almost entirely footage captured while I was in Barcelona. I simply didn’t have the time to hold another recording session and return to anything resembling the old schedule. It is amazing how much trips can distort things because you need to cover not just the trip itself, but also through to the next recording timeslot.

As things stand I only have 1-2 times a week where I can record, so those slots are pretty precious plus I want to give this newer model of a single game running every day a slightly longer chance to help answer those questions from last week.