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Animated Toupee avatar 12:08 AM on 04.09.2010  (server time)
No fanfare for Mega Man 10 DLC?

I'm not normally one to post a meandering post about goings-on in my gaming diet and otherwise, but I'm trying to stay awake in case my Sleep is Death preorder arrives some time before 4 AM. But I've just poured the remnants of the coffee I brewed at 6:30 this morning into my cup and we'll see where the night takes me.

Admittedly, I haven't put a whole lot of time into the new Mega Man 10 content. I had four dollars hanging out in my Wii account, so it was a no-brainer; I easily put a dozen hours into the game the week it was released. I actually like the DLC schedule for it - Mega Man 9's seemed to be released in about a month's time, but now MM10 has been out over a month and I'm still playing it.

Of course, Bass is rad. I've never actually played as him in any other game, so using Treble to fly around and messing about with the multi-directional shot is pretty darn fun. It certainly opens up some new possibilities for traversing the levels! I started a new Normal game, but didn't put too much effort into foraging ahead - I definitely want to complete a Hard file, but I don't know if I should just do it with the ol' Rockman or just try with Bass.

Special Stage 1 is hard. I like it. There are some dickish spike placements, but nothing a little trial-and-error can't solve. However, Enker is tough bones! Only the Mega Buster does damage (when he isn't absorbing it!) and he's a bit tough to avoid taking damage from. It also doesn't help that since you can only play Special Stage thru Time Trial mode, you don't get to retry directly from his antechamber, and of course there are no E-Tanks to be had. Still, a fun challenge.

My sleep schedule has been way crazy. Last week I was camp counseling for fifth graders for the first time in my life (we all have nature name pseudonyms - mine is "Rutabaga") and I apparently got into a rhythm of waking up at 7 and going to bed at 10 that carried over after camp. It's been years since I've got to bed at 10 PM, let alone any hour before 2 AM! It's a strange thing.

And the weather has been so outrageously nice for Pennsylvania's standards this time of year - most Aprils we're still coping with leftover snow and chilly weather, but it has been consistently in the 70's and even 80's for several weeks now. It's bizarre. But it's also given me a chance to spend a great deal of time outdoors (thusly not putting my Mega Man skills in high gear) - paying strict attention to the budding flowers and newly budding leaves, identifying a great deal of birds ... ah, the natural world is so wonderful.

Anyhoo, before I left for camp I was putting some solid work into Final Fantasy 12, a game that I never played previously. Watching a housemate play through the rather questionable FF 13 gave me a hankering for a solid RPG, and FF12 really suits me. Normally the slow, random battles of Final Fantasy give me a headache after a half dozen hours, but I'm really digging the semi-real-time battles of 12, especially as new mechanics are explored, like the gambits. It reminds me of the fun I had first playing Secret of Mana, adjusting the AI behavior of my party and the seamless transitions from exploration to battle. It's ... really a pretty fucking good game.

Of note might be the fact that I am emulating it! I have never tried emulating PS2 games before, assuming they would either be too glitchy or only high-end hardware would have a chance of running it. I totally underestimated the state of PS2 emulation! While it was quite clearly unplayable on my buddy's aging Radeon X800 + single-core CPU machine, it runs really damn well with my 8800GT and Core 2 Duo. Not exactly top of the line, but enough power that I haven't had any issues at all. There is very, very minor slowdown at times, but never to the point of frames being noticeably choppy - mostly the music just slows down in a strange way. It's almost unnoticeable without paying attention to audio. I'm not sure if I would trust it to play an action game like a Devil May Cry, but I'm still really, really impressed. And, of course, what better controller to use than a wireless Dual Shock 3?

(Disclaimer: I actually have a PS2, and I'll probably purchase a used copy of the game in the near future; it's just one more piece of hardware I don't feel like hooking up to play one game.)

Other quickie thoughts:

-Worms on the PS3 downloadable service is a pretty serviceable version of the game. It doesn't have as many weapons as "Worms 2 Armageddon" but it has a pretty balanced selection, complete with Holy Hand Grenade. It uses what appears to be the same engine as the Xbox games, but with some nifty graphical effects like lazily blowing leaves to subtly represent wind direction. I'm most impressed with the level generator - we keep encountering really interesting maps that are a lot of fun to play on. It's a totally worthwhile purchase.

-Where's Waldo for the iPhone is probably about as good as Wheres Waldo can get as a video game, especially for the price, and I never imagined I would find myself saying such things. It's nostalgic in a way. Fun to pass around.

-I'm really pumped to try Sleep is Death, especially after Anthony's "Doctor Who" storyline demo. Speaking of Doctor Who, I'm quite pleased with the new Doctor so far - and the new companion is awesome. Mr. Moffat's genius in storytelling is already apparent with her and the Doctor having a profoundly different relationship than any companions past. I can't wait for more. (I miss Tennant, of course - change is scary!)

-It really sucks that you can't purchase any increment of credit on the Wii downloadable service. I was very nearly about to purchase Cave Story - and I will, if only to support the developer, it's a fantastic game that I played thoroughly on the PC - but it costs $12, and I only had one dollar left in my account. $10 credit isn't enough to cover the bill, and I really can't afford to spend an extra nine bucks to add $20 to the account. I even scoured the emulated games to see if there was anything really worthwhile. I just find it really hard to bring myself to pay $5 for NES ROMs, especially when Steam always has fantastic deals on older games. Like, if I can get LOOM for $2 on Steam, why the fuck is Nintendo charging $5 for fucking Commodore 64 games? Why is there fixed pricing for every game on a system? Why are there never sales? WHY CAN'T I PUT $11 IN MY ACCOUNT TO BUY CAVE STORY AND NOT WASTE NINE BUCKS???

I think I feel sufficiently awake now to end this post.

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