The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, October 21, 2022 – Things to Say

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

Good afternoon everyone! It’s been a while since we did a Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, primarily because everyone’s been a bit quiet of late. We’ve had a few letters over the last couple of weeks, but I wanted to wait until we had a few in the can so there were several things to reply to. Now we’re at that point, so here we go!

As a reminder, you can contribute to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page at any time during the week by using the contact form at the bottom of this article, or going to the Letters page on the site and penning us a note. We don’t mind what you write to us about — as long as you’re not a dick, in which instance we reserve every right to mock you publicly — so if you have something interesting to say about the games, anime, manga and movies you’ve been enjoying of late, do feel free to chip in!

Let’s jump right in with the recent contributions, then.

Original art by Hominotsu. Original source here.

Stardew Valley’s marriage candidates

Dear Rice,

I saw you did a ranking of candidates for marriage in Stardew Valley, and I would like to ask why Krobus wasn’t included on the list. I find it’s my favourite marriage after Shane (’cause of blue chickens), and I find that basic interactions with Krobus are very cute. Taking him to the movies is one of my favourite things in my day.

I just found it interesting is all. Also on a personal note, I hate Haley’s guts in general and I understand the growth is good, but I just find it to be grinding trying to marry her when she is so mean. Anyways, have a great day/night!

A Crazy Lady

Hello, A Crazy Lady! I suspect it’s probably best to defer to Lilia, the author of that piece on this one, so give me a moment to find her and get The Truth!

(Time passes…)

Okay, we both looked into it, and it looks like outside of mods (which Lilia didn’t have access to because she played on PS4) you technically can’t “marry” Krobus; rather he’s considered to be a “roommate” that just happens to have a lot of the same features and mechanics as a marriage partner. You can hug him but not kiss him, for example, and he doesn’t do chores in the same way a spouse does. He was left off the list purely for this reason, not for any slight against him!

Krobus from Stardew Valley, as mentioned in a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page.

Lilia also notes that “if I did include Krobus on the list, he would’ve ranked higher than Haley” and that she’s “never seen a Krobus stan before, so that was delightful; it’s the same energy as those who are all about the kappa character from Harvest Moon.”

So there you go. Krobus is still very much appreciated around here, and Haley, it seems, can go suck a fat one. And so say all of us!

Niche indie soundtracks

Dear Rice,

I was wondering what any of your favourite soundtracks are from any relatively unpopular indie titles you’ve covered recently; let’s say in the past two months. That’s all!


Hi Kikoman589, and thanks for writing to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page! That’s a good question. There’s a lot of great games out there — and a lot with some seriously underappreciated soundtracks.

I know that in the indie space, Lilia particularly highlighted Cut to the Core as having a soundtrack that contributed well to its macabre atmosphere, and while she had mixed feelings on the longevity of I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, she noted that the music was a particularly effective part of the experience. It’s a little outside the time range you’re talking about, but Club Suicide was also particularly striking for her — particularly as the game was such a labour of love for pretty much one person.

Club Suicide - Letters Page
Club Suicide

Trent, meanwhile, wanted to give some love to Dream Daddy for its punk song by PUP, which got him into exploring the band more generally. He also acknowledges that this was a few years back. More recently, he picks out Chaos;Child for having incredible use of music and sound to up the creepy factor. He notes that some of it is very subtle, but it’s perfectly implemented.

For me, I haven’t been playing that many games that I’d necessarily describe as “indie” of late, though I’ve certainly been playing a fair few that fall under the “relatively unpopular” category, so I’ll cheat a bit and include those. Destiny Connect, for one, has one of the most astonishingly beautiful soundtracks I think I’ve ever heard in a video game, and it’s the work of a talented Japanese musician who doesn’t seem to have had nearly as much attention as he deserves!

Suda51’s debut game with Grasshopper Manufacture, The Silver Case, also has an excellent soundtrack that complemented the game’s distinctly ’90s feel extremely well.

On the specifically indie front, I’d point to the work of Morphcat Games on NES and Evercade, with works such as Spacegulls and Micro Mages all standing out as being great games with fantastic chiptune soundtracks. A lot of the games on the indie horror games list we put together also have strong soundtracks — I’d probably pick out Lily’s Well and At Home Alone Final as the most memorable.

Oh, and I always forget that Brok The InvestiGator is actually an “indie” game because it’s produced to such a high quality, but yes, Brok also has some great music — as well as top-notch voice acting, excellent visuals and a well-crafted story.

That should keep you busy for a bit! Feel free to get back to us with some of your favourites, too!

A counterpoint

Dear Rice,

I offer you a counterpoint: pre-seventh gen gaming sucked.

It didn’t suck uniformly, and there are a lot of games I had fun with, but by and large everything that came out before 2010 is dead to me.

Why? Because that’s around when Hyperdimension Neptunia and the modern Atelier titles came out, and showed me that games can be all about yuri and anime girls. Some games like that existed before then, but almost none of them were localised.

I’m looking forward to the modern rerelease and translation of Akai Ito and Aoi Shiro, which I seriously considered collecting after a Japanese friend told me they were some of her favourite yuri VNs. But at the time, I was largely playing… Final Fantasy XI Online, with my laptop open beside the PS2. It was a consistent escape from the world I was trapped in, and showed me that not all people are terrible.

So for me, back then was net gaming every day, and it’s only nowadays that I’ve started to collect single-player experiences. And while I used to feel like it was pointless to play something that didn’t make my Tarutaru’s numbers go up, nowadays I feel like it’s pointless to play something that’ll get cancelled and become locked away forever in less than a year.

Maybe I’ll go back to FFXI sometime. It’s not likely, though. They don’t have gay marriage.


PS. anime girls are real.

Hi Tama, and welcome once again to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. Thanks for sharing your perspective, because everyone doubtless feels differently about this sort of thing — and our own backgrounds and characteristics can play a big part in determining the things we have the fondest memories of.

In your case, it’s great to hear that you finally feel like you found some sort of representation in the early 2010s, because as much as people mock overly performative displays of corporate diversity in the triple-A space, it is important for people to feel valid and seen while enjoying the hobbies that they love.

Interestingly, while I know what I said in that article, my point there was simply about the overall atmosphere surrounding games rather than the games themselves — i.e. the peace and quiet you get from being able to enjoy those experiences alone without interruption. I also agree that around 2010 or so was a time where I also really feel like I started to feel “seen” by the games that I was enjoying — many of the same games you highlight, in fact.


In my instance, it wasn’t necessarily anything about representation — I am not a cute gay anime girl, more’s the pity — but rather I felt like the simple subject matter, tone and overall feel of games from then really “got” the sort of experience I enjoyed. I recall playing Hyperdimension Neptunia, feeling absolutely enraptured by the characters despite the clunky gameplay elements, and feeling thoroughly confused. I’d just spent a significant number of hours playing a game that Metacritic pretty universally regarded as “bad”, and that felt like a bit of a milestone in my own gaming career.

It was a milestone, too. That was the point where I stopped paying attention to scored reviews, because in most cases the people writing those reviews did not align with or understand the things that I was looking for in gaming. That’s caused me plenty of clashes with people over the years when I was willing to stand up for stuff like Neptunia and Senran Kagura while prissy western journalists were losing their minds over the slightest acknowledgement that breasts exist; it’s even cost me a fair few friendships. But it also, ultimately, got me this job.

I absolutely hear you on the shift towards single-player as something more “permanent”, though. I take very little interest in most mobile gacha games because I know that at least 80% of them are going to go down the tubes within a year, even those from high-profile studios. And on the few instances where I have found myself enjoying a gacha title, it was inevitably one of the ones that shut down before long. Farewell, Dragalia Lost, we barely knew ya. (Also I maintain that they should have ported that to Switch.)

When I choose gaming experiences to engage with these days, it’s ones that I want to be able to remember over the long term, and return to at will if I feel like doing so. That’s why I make such a point of collecting physical versions — and often limited-run releases that make a point of including all updates and DLC on the cart or disc — because it means that if I want to go back and play, say, Destiny Connect in 20 years’ time, I can do so. Assuming my Switch still works.

It’s interesting that you mention FFXI, mind; despite being an online experience that could technically shut down at any time, that game just keeps going and going and going. I’m genuinely impressed it’s survived as long as it has. I wonder if FFXIV will end up the same?

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