I'm 30-something. I play games and sometimes type things. I summon deities and demons, shoot raiders and wish to settle down with another girl for turn-based battles on the beach, chocobo rides and torchlit dinners in ancient Nordic tombs.
When I'm not slaying dragons or saving the galaxy, I'm probably roaming the open world, rolling into a ball to access secret passages and seeing if my Paragon rating is high enough for discounts at the mall.
For other things and stuff about me you can read here, here and here. You will learn of my origins, my trials and tribulations, how I became a superpixie and what games I really, really like!
It has begun. The snow, that is. A journey and brief stay in the snow. A snowjourn?
Here in the American southeast - with the exception of the Appalachian portion of the region - people flip out at the slightest hint of frost, ice, snow and lots of things get canceled. We're supposed to get six to eight of inches of snow where I live today, but then, two inches seems enough to qualify as a blizzard for Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Yes, they really see it that way.
The extremely rare tremor is also a HUGE deal here, too
I was actually in Florida once when a real freak blizzard hit in 1989. They didn't raid the grocery store for milk and bread or just buckle down and continue life as usual. I saw people go to the pool and outdoor hot tubs and party because why not? Snow! How often does that even happen there? Its certainly rare in NC, I don't think we've had a serious snow since the 80s and we still treat each instance like the blizzard of '88. We got three feet of snow then, so at least my childhood got massive loads of wintery fun.
I never saw the big deal about snow, at least as far as canceling things goes or it being "bad weather." Maybe its just I have mountain people in my lineage. Maybe I just like cold weather. I know I liked it for more than school or sometimes work cancelations. Plus I went to college in a mountain town, they didn't cancel anything for snow - and it was fun to see the kids from Charlotte complain and have difficulty adapting. Or slip and drop a bag of groceries.
Snowy levels and areas in games seem to be more rare these days. I'm talking more about other genres besides platformers as the ice levels there are predictable. I guess that's why I get happy when there's a snowy area or large portion of a game's world set in the ice and snow. Sure there may be bears, skeletons, werewolves or sheegoths and ice golems in it, but snow is still pretty.
I loved how Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow had a wintery backdrop and how even the main theme of the game itself feels wintery. The initial outdoor area and occasional looks outside never forget it. The again, Dracula's Castle just shows up wherever it likes, doesn't it? At least the setting helped justify Soma Cruz's odd affinity for fur coats.
Its a game coming up in my rotation soon, but I'm tackling Aria of Sorrow first.
SSX 3 probably remains my favorite game in that series, mostly in how it built its way up in the theme of conquering the mountain. I tend to be averse to trick-based games now because they murder my hands, but the pay-off of riding the mountain from the top to the bottom was worth all of it. I never took well to skiing, snowboarding and the like. I fell down a lot and walking around in the Robocop boots killed my legs. I like the other parts of snow better, but still, rinding the final level of SSX 3 is rather breathtaking. I could never do that kind of thing even without SSX's over-the-top antics.
Skyrim and Metroid Prime are more my speed for snowy adventuring. Then again, I do love exploration and discovering things in a more isolated way. Unless you're a sexy, friendly vampire named Serana and are voiced by Laura Bailey, then you can come with me.
Phendrana Drifts in Metroid Prime is probably my favorite snowy area of all, but I have little to say about it. Its just a beautifully crafted area and the music for that area suits it perfectly. Electric beats and piano, particularly piano, fit snow so well.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (pictured up top) also takes place in a snowy world, at least at first before things get really, really weird. Most main series SMT games take place in and is about Tokyo and her people. Strange Journey drops the focus on Tokyo and Japanese characters and trades it for Antarctica and an international cast in a game that references a lot of western sci-fi and horror flicks/shows like 2001, Aliens, Star Trek, The Thing and more. Shit gets weird fast and you find shopping malls and red light districts where icy tundra should be.
Still, its got the forces of Law and Chaos at work, so it still falls within the main series
Louis Cypher also decides being an old man is boring and becomes Louisa Ferre just to change things up. She cosplays Lewis Carroll's Alice, too. Notice how this "Lucifer" idea just keeps getting reinforced? IT'S SO SUBTLE!
Anyway, I'm okay with some snow and watching the world panic as I just relax and watch it all fall. I'm hoping we get a bit, particularly since we get three inches or less when we get snow at all. This time we're supposed to get six to eight. Still not quite the three feet I saw as a kid, but its something.
I know it won't last or remain unblemished for long, but I'll still be able to romp around in video game snow any time I need to.
I spent part of this last week playing Metroid Zero Mission, mostly to take a break from Fire Emblem Awakening for a bit but also to celebrate the remake's tenth anniversary today. Zero Mission is a game that hit all the right notes when re-envisioning the NES classic, preserving the spirit of it while embracing much of what came after. It was a celebration of the whole series, a proud little game and it has a right to be.
Rather than labor the obvious elephant in the room, feel free to tack on an "except Other M" to anything nice I say about Metroid from here.
I've always been drawn in by the silence, the loneliness and danger the Metroid series evokes. I enjoy that it's often been a series content to trust me to figure things out on my own - that's the reason Metroid will be referenced when people talk about Dark Souls, I might add.
There are nudges but they're often subtle and thankfully not big boxes of text and pictures that explain every nuance of a mechanic or have giant arrows pointing the way. When you get a new item, there's instantly an application laid out near where you got it. Sometimes a rare, friendly or just frightened creature will hint at the application of a technique or a passage you could get to. Maybe those little bugs leeching on your health can be transferred to that irksome organic blob-coccoon thing blocking your path and take it down. That kind of stuff.
What's really awesome is that sometimes that place you thought you needed to use High Jump boots to get to can be reached with a well-placed wall jump or well-timed use of bombs. While it can be fun to explore and discover new abilities, some of your most basic tools are deceptively versatile and the environment more accommodating to many of them than they might first appear. No tool should be taken for granted, even in some boss fights.
This is a series that trusts the player is smart enough to figure out or discover these things on their own. Kind of a rare thing these days.
And the story is handled in much the same way. Metroid is often willing to assume you're smart enough to piece the events of a game and the series on your own. Your feelings about discoveries, triumphs and events are the story. Your feelings are Samus Aran's. Often its the glimmers of her humanity that add enough about her to the experience anyway.
Finding new ways to tackle and conquer the game is a huge reason I keep coming back to the series and the games it inspired. It doesn't hurt that each world is crafted so well that it does feel like it was once lived in and is now but a lonesome, desolate ruin.
And here's a thought - where most franchises want you saving worlds Samus has really only saved one in her whole career. If the world isn't dead, its usually blown up by the end of a Metroid game. Aether got lucky in Metroid Prime 2. Samus might save the galaxy over and over, but your world might very well be fucked if she has to show up on it. I'd consider an immediate move if she did.
She just has this way of triggering self-destruct mechanisms.
While this replay was done on the rather sensitive touch interface of my tablet, I did manage to clock in just over three hours. Not my most remarkable run, but not a bad one either. Now I'm eyeballing Metroid II since it just got Miiverse support last week.
In fact, since I posted the first screenshot after the community went live, I feel kind of obligated to.
Here on the internet we can affirm truths by simply saying "FACT" in all caps. So long as we do this, we can sneer down at our lessers for we are true gamers and they can go play Candyland until King takes legal action against Hasbro for using the word "candy." In FACT, I've just trademarked the word "FACT" so you must pay me each time you use it!
Now only I can have the FACTS and you can't, so you will always be wrong in your wrongness and writhe in your foolingly foolish foolery, you fooly fools! I also trademarked "truth," just to be safe. Bow before my wisdom as you absorb these gaming FACTS and truths!
Simon Belmont is both Trevor Belmont's father and his son. Trevor is also Alucard, Dracula's son, making sworn enemy Dracula Simon's grandpa. This Castlevania FACT makes all Belmont family gatherings really awkward - especially after the Belmonts changed the clan patriarch three times.
This is why the Morris and Belenades families don't visit anymore.
Samus Aran loves strip poker and has a terrible pokerface with her helmet off. This is why she's lucky to have just the morphball ability and her Power Suit in each new Metroid game she appears in.
Mario is a hallucinogen addict. His girlfriend works at Disney World portraying various princesses he refers to as Peach (Aurora), Daisy (Belle) and Rosalina (Cinderella). The other girls he just calls Pauline. Bowser Kupas and Donny Chong are two security guards Mario's girlfriend carpools with to work, but Mario thinks they kidnap her every morning.
Mario believes he can grow by eating mushrooms, wield fire after smoking weed and be invincible by putting a star on his tongue. He then treks across Florida to Disney World and gets past security to try and drag his girlfriend back home. He usually gets stopped by Bowser or Donny before he can.
The only way to play games is to play how I play them or you are wrong and stupid. The FACT that some people don't play Skyrim or Fallout the way I do angers me and keeps me awake at night.
The FACT some people are considering the optional Steam controller for gaming worries me to no end! What will I do without dual analog sticks? If it was good enough for the PSX we just shouldn't change it, ever!
And if you play and enjoy a mobile or indie game of any kind you should put your head in a blender because you are ruining gaming with your Super Meat Hexagons, Banner Crush Sagas and Angry Zombie Plantbirds. Why, back in my day we never played color matching puzzlers and we quit 2D gaming the second we had polygons and 3D!
[Fighting game] is better than [fighting game]!
All your choices in and opinions of games are non-canon unless the creator decides they are. This is what makes George Lucas, Bioware and David Cage peerless visionaries of their craft.
No, no. Commander Shepard is a man. The box art and CG intros to Mass Effect say so. Chrom marries Sumia according to Fire Emblem Awakening's intro, too - if you break from that and have him marry your female tactician a rift in reality will open and consume us all. In FACT, damn anyone who ships that to add more intimacy to the plot for their own character! I will stalk them on Tumblr to tell them how wrong that is!
No, it doesn't matter that there's a gate to the multiverse or wibbly-wobbly time stuff in that game. Player choice and the theme of changing your destiny are secondary to the creator's vision, always! Just ask the people that made Terminator 3 and Salvation! They are brilliant!
I hope you enjoyed these FACTS, you plebeians! You should thank me for imparting my geniusness unto thine eyes. Now, steal my words so I may sue you, you fooly fools!
Hey, Nintendo. I'm sure you're really busy right now with restructuring plans and excited to read all the advice people have been recycling for the last 15 years, but there's an important date coming up. An anniversary date with a very special lady.
She's tall and she's blonde, but she's not a Princess Peach or Rosalina. She has no squatty plumbers in her life. She's a bit of a loner, in fact, but that doesn't mean she doesn't like a little attention from time to time. She's the kind of girl that will take a detour to blast Space Pirates, discover ancient artifacts and has detonated three planets over the course of her career. She is also still a little upset you missed her 25th anniversary but there's a 20th anniversary coming up for a pivotal game in her career and it would be a good time to celebrate her greatest adventure.
March 19th, 2014 is the 20th anniversary of Super Metroid. It's time to end the Year of Luigi and bring on the Year of Samus Aran.
You've been giving a lot of love to Peach, Rosalina, Dixie Kong and Brittany debuted in Pikmin 3 but Samus has been sitting it out for four years now. She's had longer absences, the last big one was eight years and we all know how Metroid Other M went down but people love the hell out of most of the other games. People play them, replay them, speedrun them and even play them for charity.
Super Metroid and Metroid Prime are very influential games. It is fair to say that Batman may have never found his groove in video games were it not for Samus. Castlevania has been so close to Metroid in the past two decades that it has to share a genre's pet name with it. Indie developers often make games that emulate the design of Super Metroid, too. These games are loved immensely by fans.
I'm not saying remake Super Metroid, in fact, I think its fine as it is. It's already out there on Wii U Virtual Console and the Wii Virtual Console. The game has aged as gracefully as a 20 year old game can. There are ways you can still celebrate this game, though.
You could, for example, have some digital sales. Sell 3DS gamers Super Metroid, Metroid Zero Mission and Metroid Fusion on the eShop. An announcement for an HD remaster of Metroid Prime Trilogy would be fantastic. Announcements for new Metroid games in either 2D or first-person would also work. Maybe even throw in some Club Nintendo rewards.
Just don't make another game like Other M. Keep Yoshio Sakamoto busy with a new WarioWare game or something. I'm sure either Intelligent Systems or Retro Studios would do just fine left to their own devices anyway. God knows IS can actually write a good story.
Just remember the date, make sure it doesn't take you by surprise. Let Luigi down easy about his year being over and move on to the Year of Samus. She's worth it.
Well, it's a new year and the first thing I'm doing is beating the crap out of Fire Emblem: Awakening and Shin Megami Tensei IV a couple more times. I bought up all the DLC for SMT IV that mattered while it was on sale last week and I'm going to hold off on FE:A's DLC for later as it is a bit more pricey.
With my return to FE:A I've finally started making use of the Miiverse on 3DS. I don't have a Wii U, so I've not had the pleasure of experiencing the Miiverse before. More or less it feels like Tumblr mashed up with Twitter. It's really just people posting anecdotes, pictures and doodles related to the game they're playing. It's kind of fun.
Plus it's Tumblr-like format allows me to actually do something with my Tumblr page for a change, which is spam pictures and anecdotes about Fire Emblem. I just screencap my Miiverse posts from my Miiverse page on my tablet, crop the images and post them wherever I like later.
All in all, I like the idea of it. It allows me to instantly catalog little moments or triumphs I have in my games that I want to remember or say silly things about.
I just wish that more of the 3DS games I have were able to utilize Miiverse. Out of the nearly 50 games I have loaded up on my 3ds its only my Fire Emblem: Awakening cart that works. I just want to have this fun with my other games. I suppose I should have held onto a few older titles because many of the first party Nintendo games work. Sadly, my Atlus games don't.
Though to be fair, most people's first inclination with Shin Megami Tensei IV would be to show off their Mara moments.
Still, I want my Devil Survivor, Soul Hackers and SMT IV communities. I know they're probably coming in time, along with loads of other games, but I just think playing through them would be even more fun if the option to share images was there. Nintendo has a great idea in Miiverse and I'm glad its on 3DS now... Its just too tempting to rush out and get another game it will work with.
Well, this is a bit of a last minute blog. This isn't really an "of the year" blog or anything. This is more of an assessment of the games that I set out to play, the ones I didn't get around to or finish and other things.
I said I would play and finish all four Etrian Odyssey games to completion and... I didn't. Guess that leaves me with a starting place for 2014 so one of my first goals will be to, at the very least, finish Etrian Odyssey Untold. I will worry about the other ones later. I think saying I was going to finish all of them in 2013 was a little bold so I'm not going to overestimate myself this time.
I did finish a Fire Emblem game, so that's good. I've finished Fire Emblem: Awakening, but I've yet to get around to the DLC so that's something else I can start on soon. Or maybe I'll grab that copy of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon that caught my eye the other day. I also have the Sacred Stones as a 3DS Ambassador and Rekka no Ken (which was just "Fire Emblem" on Western GBAs) on my GBA emulator, so I could do any of those as well! We'll see!
Speaking of emulators, now that I found a good SNES emulator for my tablet with no issues, so I can get around to playing the fan-translated versions of Shin Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei II. With Nocturne at 100 percent completion and Shin Megami Tensei IV still in need of some completion on the compendium, DLC and other endings I've got some work to do on the latter.
There was never really a fixed deadline for finishing all Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem games as we have no idea when the crossover hits, if at all in 2014, but I would still like to finish as many as possible before it happens. Shin Megami Tensei if... is the only real obstacle as it does not have a fan translation yet.
One big goal I do have for 2014 is having completed a lot of Shin Megami Tensei games so they are ready to be taken through New Game Plus on live streams and LPs later in the year. So far Nocturne, Shin Megami Tensei IV and Persona 4 Golden are there and the saves are backed up, which makes my plans for them a lot easier. It's a pity Final Fantasy X doesn't have the feature (unless it found its way into the HD international version) but I know that Final Fantasy X-2 originally did.
So yeah, a lot of old RPG stuff behind and ahead of me. Fret not, though, because I'm going to have plenty of healthy variety, too. I probably would go insane if it was only RPGs. That Wii U isn't just going to be for Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem. I don't go insane if I didn't get around to Mario, Donkey Kong, Super Smash Bros. and others. I'm even eyeballing a PS4 for some games already.
That aside there was Guacamelee, Thomas Was Alone, Jet Set Radio HD, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Persona 4 Golden, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Pokemon X and Final Fantasy VIII that I also finished in 2013. I may be missing a few others, but I think that's most of them.
Video game stuff aside, I'm pretty proud of my progress on this blog. I didn't post as much as I'd like but I did post more than I thought I would. Now that I have this tablet and it can do speech to text, that does make things a bit easier until I have shiny new PC. So hopefully this means there will be more blogging!
I'm also glad that I came out to the Destructoid community this year. Where I live, the places I work - what I've talked about here at times isn't something I can always talk about in public. At least not without people starting to gossip, point or act like I shoved my crotch in their face. The social consequences can be dire for being that open where I live so I have to pick and choose who I tell, which can be a gamble.
And given that some gay and trans* support forums can easily dwell in negativity and misery, they're not places I can always rely on for community. This is also partly because I refuse to live like who I am is some curse even if I do have to use discretion in my day-to-day life. I'm not going to be miserable on my own free time.
So yeah, my demons are a bit different (see what i did there?), but its good to know where I can go, be more open about myself and talk about games. Destructoid has been a great place to see others being open and honest about their lives as well. We're all here to talk about games at the end of the day but I've also gotten to see some of the lives and experiences beyond that common ground and that's not something you can just get anywhere.