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Links to all things Me:

My Personal Blog
Because I occasionally think about things other than games (I know-- for shame!)
Currently doing a 20-year history of Nine Inch Nails, because apparently I don't have enough projects that are HUGE TIME-SUCKING MONSTERS. Anyway, I try to keep anything that's videogames-related on Gaming Goddess, but there's a little bit of inevitable crossover.

My graphic novel, Sterling
There is some videogame-related stuff in Sterling, particularly Final Fantasy, but that's not really the focus. Meant for adults, so don't say I didn't warn you:).

My Twitter I'm very conscious of twitter-spamming, so I try to tweet only when I update one of my blogs or comics. Some people can get away with constantly tweeting charming little witticisms and it's neat, but I think if you have any interest in my twitter at all, it should be useful, never a nuisance.

About the name Gaming Goddess: No, I do not have delusions of grandeur! At least, not about games!
The origin of GG is this: My boyfriend's Mom is REALLY good at Space Invaders and games like that, leading me to dub her the "8-bit Goddess". We decided that 8-bit Goddess would be a really good name for the gaming blog that I wanted to start, except it would be false advertising since I personally suck at 8-bit games. So I changed it to the more general Gaming Goddess-- so I'm good at some type of games, I just don't have to specify which ones:).

Of course, if my boyfriend's awesome mom wants to start a blog, she can be the 8-bit Goddess, and I will bow to her in humble submission.

Favorite Games:
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy Tactics
Azure Dreams
Vagrant Story
Parasite Eve
Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider II
Resident Evil 2
Metal Gear Solid
Izuna: Unemployed Ninja
X-Men Legends
X-Men Legends II
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Tenchu 2: Birth of the Ninja
Diablo II
.hack (the first batch)

Currently Playing:
I have decided to change this section to only what is in my consoles AT THE MOMENT as opposed to every game I'm technically in the middle of. Accuracy FTW.

DSi: Final Fantasy IV (It's amazing! Why did I wait so long?)
DS: ARMY OF MOOGLES, I mean, Final Fantasy VI
PS2: Odin Sphere
PSOne: Azure Dreams, Parasite Eve, Tomb Raider

Latest Fan Art:

Yeah, something new! Rydia's cool, people complain about the graphics in the new DS version of FFIV but I love the way the characters look...well, except for Rosa. The girl could use pants.

About Me:
I'm a starving artist/freelance writer/comic book artist/insert other vocation that makes very little money. If you're on Destructoid, chances are I am older than you. That kind of pisses me off.

Anyway, I'm working on some projects that I think might be of interest to some Dtoid readers, but I think I'll keep most of that stuff in my profile section, so the Cblogs won't be taken up with self-promotional posts from me. I'll add the info to my profile when I start my new comic and things like that.
Following (13)  

Our plans for this week's podcast got pushed back since our new cast member is having microphone problems-- hopefully by the time we record the next one he'll be ready to go. Anyway, this episode is a bit more rambling then I would have liked, but we're saving the stuff we had planned for when there's three of us.

In this episode, we talk about games for the first segment, then sort of drift off into a bunch of random topics: Twitter, message board hilarity, Jim Sterling's latest Videogame Show What I've Done, etc.

Download this episode (right click and save)

EDIT: Oh, and there's some obvious censoring toward the end for what should be equally obvious reasons.

12:54 PM on 10.13.2009

I don't post most of my Sterling stuff here, but this page just makes me really happy:) :) :).

Some other images from this scene are included.
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5:38 PM on 10.08.2009

This is one part of a larger project, but I haven't posted any new art for a little while so I figured I'd share it.

It's actually kind of scary to use colored pencils these days-- I'm so used to Photoshop that the idea of not being able to immediately fix a mistake makes me nervous. Still, it's fun to have that hands-on experience sometimes, and overall I think she came out pretty well.

Hopefully you can see the full project sooner rather than later.

3:22 PM on 10.07.2009

In this episode, we discuss the fact that I've finally started playing FFVI, then try to avoid talking about Final Fantasy for a brief period until we give up; then we just blab about FF excessively. Which was a lot of fun actually, but next time I'll make an effort to focus on something else.

Games mentioned: Every FF ever (pretty much), Dissidia, Cross-Edge, Chaos Wars, NOT Half-Life 2, Diablo II, Ehrgeiz, Odin Sphere.

I'm still trying to figure out what the best way to host these files is, so if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears. So far my experiments with podcast hosting sites have been very frustrating, so this is a temporary solution.

Also, assuming I can sort out the hosting issue, the GGCast will probably update on Wednesdays from now on-- just what you need to combat those "I have to wait another week for the next episode of Podtoid?" blues. Well, for ME anyway.

Rydia: Still Awesome.

I hadn't planned on playing through FFIV DS again immediately after finishing it; after all, I'm a busy girl. But, after finally beating the game the other day and starting over, I quickly realized that FFIV DS may have the most perfect New Game + system ever. While trying to figure out just what it was about FFIV DS that makes the second playthrough so damned good, I got to thinking about the role of New Game + in general.

New Game +: Your Party with Added Steamrolling Functionality

I've written quite a few times about how much Chrono Trigger blew me away, but most of that awe is reserved for the first playthrough; I've still only completed it once. In theory the fact that you can play through indefinitely and keep getting different endings is fascinating, but in practice it has some limitations. Immediately upon starting NG+, I was bored by the tendency of my party to absolutely annihilate all opposition. Sure, it's fun to steamroll over enemies that gave you some trouble the first time around, but it's fun in the same way that Game Genie was fun for about five minutes after taking it out of the box. You're essentially playing God mode, for hours, until you get to the end of the game again.

In FFIV DS, you lose your levels and stats. Let me repeat that: you lose your levels and stats. You also lose your whole inventory, (barring a few especially rare items, most of which I personally never got in the first place.) In essence, everything that would make the second playthrough too easy is unceremoniously taken away from you. You have to wonder: How can this be a NG+?

FFIV DS: Strategic Magic

You keep two main things for all subsequent playthroughs: augments, and map completion. Augments are bonus abilities that you can give to your characters, and map completion is comprised of two things: map completion percentage, and the actual view of the dungeon maps on the lower DS screen. This means the following:

1. You have different strategies available to you from the start of the game, since whatever strategic decisions you made concerning character customization have carried over.

2. Most of the dungeons on the second playthrough come pre-mapped, meaning you tend to go through them much faster.

For example, though Cecil was set back to level 10 at the beginning of NG+, he still had all of the special abilities he had at the end of the first playthrough-- Counter, Draw Attacks, HP+50%, etc. This meant that while he was a lot stronger right out of the gate, he still had beginning stats and equipment, so he wasn't terribly over-powered. Furthermore, since having the dungeons pre-mapped means that I blow through them at twice the speed, my party is under-leveled. This means that while I have greater strategic resources available, I'm facing the bosses a good 5-10 levels lower than I was initially, if not more.

Another feature added for this version, auto-battle, presents a game-within-a-game in NG+. Originally auto-battle was only good for the easiest random encounters; trying to use it in difficult dungeons was suicide. However, in NG+, it's possible to set up a customized auto-battle system that works fairly reliably for every area. I was able to mostly auto-battle my way through the Tower of Zot, something I absolutely could not have done the first time.

Whyt: Still useless!

The only complaint I have thus far is that Whyt, Rydia's summon whom you can train in several mini-games, doesn't keep his training. Whyt is normally pretty useless, and having the time spent in training carry over would actually make him worth summoning, at least during the earlier parts of NG+. I suppose it would be kind of broken if child-Rydia could summon a fully-trained Whyt (with the ability to cast Flare) an hour into the game, but having nothing carry over makes it seem like the time I spent on those tedious mini-games was wasted. I think the idea of a bonus, trainable summoned creature for the game was a good idea, but this feature could have been designed better. The prohibitively high MP cost of summoning him early in the game would have provided enough of a drawback to keep things from getting too unbalanced; as it stands, he's 50MP's worth of fluffy uselessness.

While I am essentially playing the same game again, it's like playing the game from a different angle as opposed to just playing the game on super-ultra-easy mode. This is true replay value, since I really am replaying the game-- not just holding down the confirm button while my party of demi-gods steamrolls their way through all and sundry. If games are going to continue to offer NG+, this is what I think we all want: an experience that really is new in some way, not just the same thing with added ennui.
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I've always been a fan of the "Your home base is now infested with monsters" event. Familiar territory becomes exciting again, and as an added bonus, for once you know where the hell you're going. When they say "Ben is upstairs", you already know where the upstairs staircase is! Sweet.

Aya and Co. arrive at the station to find the place looking as though it were hit by a hurricane. They speculate that this is probably somehow Eve-related, and Aya suggests going off on her own to check things out. Daniel refuses and runs off, because Ben is in the station. Lucky for him, Eve actually isn't there this time, so no one is spontaneously combusting, otherwise that would have been the last stupid decision he ever made.

Aya heads into the station to investigate, but not before Maeda gives her a useless good luck charm that will sit in your inventory until you dump it into storage. He will do this twice more before the end of the game. There is actually a reason for this-- the charm is meant to keep a space in your inventory open so it can be replaced with Maeda's Gun at the very end of the game. However, the burden on your already strained inventory is unwelcome. Maybe the developers thought that Maeda was just too likable?

Inside, lots of the regular characters are injured but still alive. A few nameless uniformed officers have died, however (redshirts!) But alas, there is an actual death: Torres, the older man who runs the weapons department. A giant, mutated dog from the Kennel burst into the room, and Torres was mauled to death. Apparently Torres was actually armed, but didn't use his gun on the monster because he's hated guns ever since his daughter died from a handgun accidentally going off. According to Wayne, the whole reason Torres took the job in the weapons department in the first place was to try to keep guns OUT of people's hands, which explains his reticence to give Aya a gun early in the game.

It may seem stupid that Torres didn't shoot when his life was in danger, but I've seen so many people demonize guns-- as though the gun itself is somehow sitting in a room, petting a white cat and planning to kill people-- that it rings true for me. At least in America, the whole dialogue involving guns is so messed up that everyone on both sides is made to sound like an idiot about 99% of the time: on the left, they tend to go on and on about the few children each year who die in gun-related accidents (know how many kids die annually in cars? Do you have ANY IDEA?), and on the right they drone on endlessly about the second Amendment-- as if everything we ever do in this country should be dictated by a bunch of dudes who lived 200 years ago, because clearly they were omniscient.

Don't get me wrong, there are real issues there and difficult moral choices to be made, but I can count on the fingers of one hand the times in my life that I've ever heard someone address them directly and not the layer of bullshit surrounding them. It's not my intention to get on a soapbox and try to change anyone's mind from whatever their current opinion on the subject is, the point is that the fact that PE deals with this issue in such a sensible way is like a breath of fresh air-- not because it's brilliant or anything, but because the bar has been set so low for this subject.

Anyway, Torres' body is dealt with off-camera, and Wayne (who is now in charge of the weapons department by default) gives Aya the M9-2, Torres' gun. Now, it would be really cool, and a nice farewell to the character, if Torres' gun was a kick-ass weapon that would cause you to trash Aya's rifle immediately, and take to the hallways of the station eliminating mutant dogs with a vengeance. Unfortunately, the M9-2 kind of sucks. It has more customization slots than any other weapon in the game, but the only time that would matter is late in the EX-game, by which point you've sunk so much time into the game that Aya's nearly invincible anyway. And it's base stats are super- low. Oh well.

Meanwhile, Sheeva, the dog who has been keeping Ben company all this time, is starting to feel the effects of mutation that has already transformed all of the other dogs into hulking monsters. I think the implication is that Sheeva holds off the change longer than all of the other dogs because she's trying to protect Ben for as long as she can. Awwwwwww. Ben has run off after her, and all of the wounded officers implore Aya to go after Ben before he gets himself killed. Awwwwww.

Aya has to fight her way upstairs and through the second floor of the police station, taking down mutated rats, crows, spiders, and giant dogs, in order to get to Ben. Somewhere around this point, something wonderful happens: Aya learns Energy Shot, her first offensive power. This means that she can now channel all of her Parasite Energy into a bullet and shoot it for tons of extra damage, all the while generating a cool glowing effect. To be honest, I'm not sure how useful this really is overall since a properly-leveled Aya with a properly upgraded gun can get along just fine without using any spells, but it looks really cool, and frankly that's all that matters. I then proceed to pummel everything in sight with Energy Shot for no good reason-- pathetically inefficient, but one hell of a good time.

Ben catches up to Sheeva in an unused room on the second floor, and tries to hug her. Police Chief Baker (remember him?) picks Ben up and carries him away, putting himself between Ben and Sheeva. Sheeva then bows to the inevitable and changes into a horrific three-headed beast. Baker tries to hold her off with a handgun, but quickly runs out of ammo. Ben screams; clearly they need some serious rescuing. Aya had better get there as soon as possible!

Except, I now take this time to backtrack through the police station and use the new keys I've found on the second floor to get more guns and things. I mean, sure I care about Ben, but he's a tough little bugger. And Baker's huge, so chances are Shiva will be full for a while after eating him anyway. Besides, Aya has a moral responsibility to upgrade her weapons before facing the boss, I mean what kind of an example would it be setting to get there on time but with a crappy gun? We have to set an example for Ben. Clearly I'm the only one here thinking of the children.

Boss Fight: Kerberos

Thanks Square, the three-heads were kind of a tip-off but your concern is noted.

This is the hardest fight so far, not for me because I'm a Parasite Eve Super-Pimp by this point, but in general. Kerberos has several different attacks, and there just isn't enough space to avoid all of them. No matter what you do in this fight, you're going to be taking a lot of damage. Kerberos has three heads, and I believe disposing of them in a certain order has some effect on her weaknesses, but frankly I've never bothered to experiment with that and just killed her the old-fashioned way.

Oh, you call that an energy attack?

I would love to be able to regale you with interesting anecdotes from this boss fight, but frankly I just shot her in the head(s) a whole bunch of times with Energy Shot while giggling to myself, and then it was over. Sheeva would have wanted it that way, maybe.

BWAH HAH HAHAHA! I'm drunk with power! DRUNK I TELL YOU!!!!

After disposing of Sheeva, Aya learns confuse (the status spells are just there to mock you, I swear), and Daniel bursts in-- quite a gift for avoiding actual combat, that one. It must be a family trait. Daniel thanks Baker for protecting Ben until Aya could get there, and the injured Baker asks Daniel to stop treating him so formally, and reminisces a bit about their past together. I like the fact that they show that Baker is actually a decent guy before all intents and purposes writing him out of the game; Daniel is now the de facto police chief. That will go about as well as you would expect.

Later, Ben asks Aya if she's going to stop the person who hurt Sheeva, and Aya says that she will; it seems like she isn't just answering Ben, but that she's admitting to herself that she's chosen her path. She's done worrying about herself, what she is and what she may or may not be capable of, and is ready to focus all of her energy on taking Eve down.

Next Time: Everyone figures out what Eve was trying to distract them from with the half-assed attack on the police department, and Aya must stop Eve from getting a bunch of frozen sperm. I don't even know where to START with that, everyone make up your own jokes.

Contine to Day Four
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