I’ve been on a real Cassette tape kick lately. Mainly due to repair videos on Youtube of really wild old cassette decks, like this rotating one, or this crazy one. When my dad checked out a couple years ago, I dug around his old collection of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Billy Idol tapes, and pulled some fun stuff out to keep. I’ve been listening to them a lot lately, while hunting down a deck at thrift stores.
Not to sound like an old man, since I’m only 25. But I feel like this music sounds way different played through my Dad’s old cassettes than it does on Spotify or whatever. It has a link, a meaning. A bit of soul that won’t leave any time soon. I physically grab these chunks of plastic, and I spin them around and pop them in. I click the button with my finger, and my truck’s old radio sings.
Grabbing a tape and using it for its exact purpose is tactile, mechanical, and almost mesmerizing. It’s noises and feelings become familiar and you learn to love the little fidgety moments.
I’ve found that all cartridge-based physical media is like this, and you’re talking to a guy who swears by digital media. My Nintendo 3DS has dozens of games on it, and I love playing them. But sometimes cracking out the old Gameboy and slapping in my glittery brick of Pokemon Silver is just a tiny bit more meaningful.
Like all of these articles lately, It comes back around to the GLOG. Cassette tapes and mixing together your favorite songs is just what we do when we create new classes or hacks. We find a topic we love, on a discord or in our lives, and we’re inspired to mix and match until the product of it all resembles the feeling we had with that topic.
So with that, I’d like to discuss a new mechanic that Cassette tapes inspired in me.
Flip Templates. Every Template is like a bespoke cartridge that you plug into an A, B, C, or D slot. It has two abilities, one for each side. When you use the 1st ability, it flips the template to the next one. Now you have to use that ability before you can flip it again.
It’s a timer on the ability’s use in-game, so the two should be ones that would be too much to have access to at once. But also, it lets you tie these abilities together like a duet. One triggers, then the other comes into play. It should play off of the prior one, and maybe feel like a reaction to it. Like a flow.
Every single template has an A side, and a B side. But since templates already use the letters, we’ll say it’s the 1st side and the 2nd side.
In order to properly express how I think this should work in-practice, I’ve developed a little class that is inspired by CyberChronometer’s Lo-Fi Paladin, and inspired by Jet-Set Radio, Tony Hawk games, and Kung Fu movies. It fucking shreds, and every template is a flip template. But not all of them have to be. Might be too much that way.
Fun Fact: I wrote this class while listening to cassette ASMR.
A: Martial Artiste // Paint Can Piper
B: City Speaker // Unflappable Mixtape
C: Rebel Yell // Shredding In the Name
D: Have Mercy // Anarchy Reigns
Starting Gear: Three Cans of Spray Paint, Battered Rollerblades, Disposable Camera with 2d8 shots left, Headphones that barely work.
(A1) Martial Artiste: You’re a stylin punk who can use any limb or gear attached to that limb to kick ass and take names. When you fight someone for a reason you believe in, you can add +1 to all your attacks and damage for every template you’ve got. If you’ve done so, flip this template after the fight.
(A2) Paint Can Piper: Paint is the seasoning and this city is the meal baby. Time to spice things up. Spend a whole night tagging the city with your marks and ideas. The next day, if you roam the city and take in who believes in your message, you can consider them close contacts, then flip this template.
(B1) City Speaker: You fly through the streets on wheels. You zig through cars and zag around people, reading them like notes on sheet music. You feel the neon on your arms, and breeze in your hair. Ask the city a question, and it will speak the truth. Then, flip this template.
(B2) Unflappable Mixtape: Your music thumps and shakes your tinny cheap headphones. Your cassette tosses and turns in it’s plastic bed, it’s dreams your atmosphere. You fear no creature, you move unimpeded, your mind is your own, so long as the music stays in your ears. When the music stops, flip this template.
(C1) Rebel Yell: Upon defeating an opponent, and thus proving your ideals through determination, you let out an absolute belter of inspiration. All allies who hear it and join in may move or act once for free. All enemies who hear it save vs fear. Flip this template.
(C2) Shredding In the Name: While moving, if you move past an enemy, you may melee or maneuver once for free. When you’ve done this three times, flip this template.
(D1) Have Mercy: When an ally or innocent would be harmed by an attack, and you are within movement range of that ally or innocent, you may move to them, and save vs them being harmed. Flip this template.
(D2) Anarchy Reigns: Everything is a weapon, and you’re mad as hell. Melee attacks or maneuvers that use your environment have advantage, and the objects used are broken after use. After the fighting is done, flip this template.