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SINoALICE Global Odds and Ends

Dawn of the Final Day
Dawn of the Final Day
It’s been a little over a week since SINoALICE Global shut down. I had originally planned to play the final chapter on the 13th, but had to punt it to the very last full day, the 14th. I had been using Global’s in-game archive of story content as translations while playing through Act of Elimination in JP, and wasn’t able to finish on the 13th. I did so on the following day, and then, it was time for the ending.

During those past few days, I sent some goodbye messages to a handful of co-op buddies who were still around, thanked my wonderful guildmates, and continued saving what I could for posterity. The final chapter was a straightforward affair, with Alice being the only possible playable character, and wrapped up the story in a very Yoko Taro fashion. In the JellicleCats Discord, microtea wondered if JP will get the same ending; after playing it, I could see where he was coming from.

Anyway, I promised odds and ends in the title of this post, so here they are. Spoiler warnings for everything:

Memories of the Library

SINoALICE Global launched in July 2020 with its first collaboration event, with NieR:Automata. This included a special conquest against a Disembodied Emil Nightmare.

After a stage ends, you can befriend any of the CPU or co-op players... if they aren't bots. Lammy was a special bot for the event "An End to Summer Dreams", and this is what popped up when trying to follow her.

The ending of "An End to Summer Dreams", with Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty looking upon Lammy and a mountain of Twilight Crystals.

Guild medal events typically came with pages like this, which tallied the total amount of medals earned by the guild.

The Space Invaders collab event is where SINoALICE truly begins its decent into weirdness.

The first and only character popularity contest in Global was held in October 2020. Most of my votes went to Sleeping Beauty.

Global's first Christmas event came with a special purification screen... well as a special home screen background.

As with all gacha games, the playerbase dropped a bit after the initial launch period. Guilds with only a few people, or even just one person, started to become more common.

My profile, from February 7, 2021, shortly after joining Jellicle.

As far as I can tell, this is the very first time that Jellicle slimed: March 26, 2021

Commemorating our sliming with a bad pun.

The incredible "Campout Cuisine" event, starring Alice, Sleeping Beauty, Dorothy, a racoon, and a whole lot of stock photography.

Oh, and the curry that is actually apple pie, really!

April Fools' Day 2021 involved a very strange scavenger hunt.

Schiroh tallies the number of guildships we take down during a Colosseum match.

Our crowning achievement in Gran Colosseum was reaching (and winning in) the League 2 finals in May 2021.

One of the weirder collabs was with the Fishing Star franchise. One of the story battle attacks involved a whole school of fish swarming at you.

NEVER FORGET (I'm sorry, aliciaLX!)

First Anniversary time! Lammy joins us in counting down the players' favorite Nightmares, while fighting... the dev team.

I finally got Sleeping Beauty/Poacher thanks to a special catch-up grimoire that ran during the First Anniversary event.

We're having fun! We're having fun!

The event "End of Summer Shadow" was one of a few that we got that were held at or near the same time as in Japan.

My profile on September 21, 2021, featuring a hard-won Snow White/Mage.

During the first Colosseum Sin, we prepared for a losing battle with a team of Kaguyas.

We had, of course, built up a reputation for using a certain other class during similar situations.

The crossover event with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius was pure fanservice.

A lovely progression screen for the second Christmas event, in 2021.

One of my all-time best pulls.

"Divine Mechanism of Rebellion" was an event that paid homage to giant robot shows, complete with "Next Episode" teasers.

During Valentine's Day, players would receive chocolate versions of familiar upgrade materials.

My home screen on March 10, 2022. The Dorothy's Workshop classes had recently debuted, with one of them being Pinocchio/Corrective Measures, as seen here.

Even the Nightmares suffered from allergies during the pollen and idol themed "Ode to Sakura". test caption

Shooting Gallery events were rare, but often had the best prizes.

From the introduction of "Sanctuary of Children's Song", a Children's Day-themed event whose scenario was rerun in May 2022.

"Mystery in the Limelight" came complete with the option of deducing a culprit for the event story's crime scene.

One of the stranger in-game conversations for JellicleCats.

JellicleCats continued to climb the ranks, eventually cracking into the overall top 500, which was, of course, quite... nice.

Okay, maybe THIS was my best pull. Note the special 2nd Anniversary outfits for Parrah and Noya.

We once got into the semi-finals for Colosseum Sin!

And we wound up in second place!

World Gran Colosseum was an extravagant, though imperfect, event, which pit the JP players against Global. During the second and final WGC, MilkVoid made us Global players proud by climbing the ranks.

Non-participants could watch the matches live in-game, though they were plagued by lag.

"Autumnal Ardor" was themed around photography, and included a feature where players could arrange the event characters for snapshots.

In the winter of 2022/23, we all wished each other Merry Christmas via the in-game chat, and then we all did it again for the New Year.

An example of the ridiculously detailed stats for a single attack done in Colosseum.

From Nutcracker's exposition-heavy Act of Fusion arc, which also featured unique backgrounds and combinations of Nightmares.

The finale of the Fullmetal Alchemist collaboration, the very last collab that Global would receive.

The White Day event "My Fair Beau" saw Snow White, Dorothy, Gretel, and Cinderella become male idols. Players could attend special meet and greet sessions with each one to gain their affections.

Gretel's brother had quite an unexpectedly large role in this event.

As Act of Fusion moved into Act of Elimination, things started to get a little weird during Colo...

...and then a lot weird.

Act of Elimination took its name seriously.

An image from a preview video for an Act of Elimination arc.

Alice vs. Cinderella was a match for the ages.

"Sanctuary of Children's Song II" came about, and with this sequel, the return of the phrase "Lolisho".

Amongst the final new class types that Global received were the Demon series, inspired by the Demons summoned during Colosseum.

From the "SINoZOMBIE" event in June 2023. Of course, the August event would feature sharks...

Sharkshooter, aka Shark Gun, was a featured weapon that many of us received in a certain banner instead of whatever class we had wanted. It was indeed a curse.

Third Anniversary arrives with tripled rates for the daily free 11x banner.

Here are Parrah and Noya in their Third Anniversary finery.

Alice and Dorothy face off against each other as Act of Elimination continues.

"Jaws of Terror" ended with a giant Little Mermaid taking on Jawzilla.

The Big Little Mermaid made for an amusing clear screen.

Our team, buffed out to the max.

Yoko Taro: don't say he didn't warn you...

Chatting with Dainsleif, one of my co-op buddies, after the End of Service announcement drops.

"Autumnal Ardor" and its photo booth return, this time with more character options.

Goofing off in Conquest co-op, knowing that this would be one of the last times we could do so.

Grinding with ecilaOnis.

SINoALICE is a predatory gacha game. Heavily built around drop-in co-op and guild vs. guild PVP, it is laden with power creep, with many of the strongest units and summons paywalled. If you wanted to be the best, you had to pay up, to the potential tune of thousands of dollars over the course of the game’s lifetime.

However, for those who were a bit more casual—in other words, the vast majority of the playerbase—SINoALICE could be a good, even great time. The story was decent, the characters were varying degrees of fun, the music wonderful, and the in-game community reasonably friendly. I loved it. I did dump somewhere north of $500, including gift card funds, into the Global version of the game these past three years, but it was out of love for the game and its characters. Even though I wish I could have spent more time with them, I don’t regret my purchases.

That’s right, SINoALICE is shutting down. Starting from today, the final chapter is available, and the game’s servers close for good in the wee hours of November 15th. We first heard about the impending closure two months ago, when crystal sales abruptly ended and a final roadmap was posted. We were shocked and saddened, but made peace with Pokelabo’s decision, being well aware of the dire straits the game had been in over the past year. Unfortunately, our story is ending with the fifth act, Act of Elimination; Japan was able to get the three which followed, and many more timed events and collaborations to boot.

The in-game world of the Library is one in which fairy tale characters come to life, battling and eliminate Nightmares and, eventually, each other. There are a ton of stories for all the characters and many Nightmares, and even more weapon tales, those being a tradition in Yoko Taro’s games. That said, here are some of my own stories of playing SINoALICE. Some of these memories are imperfect, but they are all things I hope stay with me as this game fades away into obscurity.

(And while you’re here, click on the image at the top to scroll through a gallery of three years’ worth of SINoALICE Global screenshots! )

A New Start

I’ve been largely neglecting this blog for some time now, as you all well know. Part of the issue has been finding the time and energy to crank out the long, formal posts that I’d become accustomed to posting on Brainscraps. Given that I wasn’t enjoying this anymore, I decided it was time for a change.

Brainscraps is now, 100%, my personal blog, as opposed to being a gaming-focused one. I haven’t had such a blog since abandoning my LiveJournal in favor of splitting my time between Twitter and here. Nowadays, I’m no longer on Twitter, but on Cohost, but even still, I wanted my own personal space that I could completely control. The last time I had something like that was on the old, now shuttered, Blue Shinra Project.

So, that’s here! New design, all the old posts shuttled off onto a new Old Stuff page, and a less stuffy tone. Hopefully I’ll be talking about more than just games and manga here, but we’ll leave all that for the future. I’m also considering opening up comments again; please let me know if you have any opinions about that.

In any case, welcome, once again, to Brainscraps!

Bulldozing the Backlog

Titanfall 2's protagonist looks ahead to where his mech partner, BT, awaits.Yes, it has been too long since I last posted, but I have a perfectly valid reason for that: much of my free time has been spent playing, and finishing, games. At the beginning of the year, I committed myself to playing through a short game every weekend and, for the most part, I’ve stuck to this plan. There was one rather bad game I couldn’t bring myself to power through (the brutal puzzle adventure htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary), but the rest of these short games have been decent to great.

2022 Manga Selections

There continues to be some great manga making its way into English translation, from the latest award-winning hits to classics either being reprinted in lovely new editions, or coming out for the first time. I apologize for the lateness of this biannual installment, but I hope you enjoy it, and that it helps guide your own manga reading for the next couple of years.

This ranking is done in much the same way as with my Gaming Selections, with honorable mentions and a top three. After each manga’s title is the author(s), the North American publisher, the first year of Japanese serialization, and the number of volumes I’d read roughly up until the end of December 2022 (followed, in parentheses, by the total number of Japanese volumes). Series printed in omnibus, kanzenban, or similar editions are denoted with an asterisk (*), but the numbers reflect the original volumes as they were first printed in Japan. All of the cover images used here came from Right Stuf or the publisher’s website. Finally, there are no repeats from previous years’ lists in either the honorable mentions or the top ten, even if I was still reading (and loving) a particular series.

2022 Gaming Selections

I don’t have much to say about this past year other than it was busy and stressful, and I didn’t get through as many games as I wanted to. There were a handful of gems in the ones I did play, though, especially the Game of the Year. I also didn’t blog as much here in 2022 as I had hoped to do, and to be honest, I’m not sure I can pick up the pace in 2023. More than anything else, 2022 has left me tired. Here’s hoping for a more energetic 2023, whether or not that means I post here on a more regular basis.

As usual, every game here is one I’ve beaten (or played extensively, in the case of “endless” titles) during the past year, regardless of release date. For each game in the top ten, the title, developer/author, platform(s) I played it on, and the release year for said platform in my region has been included, along with a little bit about why I found this game so memorable.