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!
I'm always puzzled as to why many of my dreams are zombie-related. I can't even rank them as nightmares much of the time. In fact, I don't really even have nightmares that often. I had a roommate that had a lot of them, but my dreams are mostly constant non-sequiturs with zombies and obscure celebrity cameos.
And again, the celebrities are something I rarely think about. I don't watch a lot of TV, hardly go to movies and they're never the celebrities I'm motivated to see these things for. I never get Zoe Saldana. Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson to shoot zombies with or romance, its more like I'll get an incidental meeting with 80's Sigourney Weaver: Zool Edition at a drug store before a xenomorph rings up my purchases and the zombies bust in to eat the pharmacist.
Then I step outside and I'm on a boat docking at Disneyland. Belle, Beast and Jessica Rabbit are there to greet me, Jessica give me a shotgun (she was keeping one in her cleavage, of course) and we hop into Benny the Cab to shoot zombies in Duckburg.
Sometimes I do get the creeps, though. I'm not someone that would Netflix Paranormal Activity or Evil Dead before going to bed. By the same token, there are just some games I can't play or game encounters I can't end with before going to bed otherwise I will be lying there awake all night.These things are more like things that prevent me from sleeping than they are nightmare fuel, but I'm certain if my brain was wired for nightmares they'd find their way in. Instead, they're insomnia fuel.
Redeads, Crimson Heads and Banshees - Zelda, Resident Evil and Mass Effect
I'm going to group these three together despite the differences between the Zelda, Resident Evil and Mass Effect series. They're all basically zombies, but they never get in my dreams - I just get the generic shambling undead.
My first problem is they all are far from your generic undead. Rather than silence, growling or moaning - they all scream. Screaming is unsettling and its all they ever do.
Redeads are like the opposite of Mario's Boos. With Boos, you look at them and they stop in their tracks. If Link makes eye contact with a redead they scream, he's frozen in place and they try to molest him. Despite likely knowing that last part by now, Nintendo still lets them do it - now in HD.
Crimson Heads are slightly mutated versions of your rank-and-file zombie, except they scream and run at you the second they see you rather than moan and shamble. They've also lost most of the skin on their heads and grown claws, too, making them about as nasty as Hunters. Even if you manage to torch a number of the zombie corpses in the GameCube and Wii versions of RE, you're going to eventually run out of lighter fluid and be bumrushed by one of these wailers - all because you didn't dispose of the body by burning it.
Banshees may be the worst. You take Mass Effect's sexy, matriarchal race of the Asari, infuse them with Reaper tech and mutate them into topless preggo beasts. They always scream, absorb tons of damage and can teleport to-and-fro. Nothing seems to take them down quickly, either, because like the less-scary Brutes they're just tank monsters. I'd rather deal with hordes of flaming, exploding Husks.
Grey Children - Various Silent Hill games
I haven't finished many Silent Hill games, but they have monsters that are certainly the stuff of nightmares. Its not the Pyramid Heads or freaky nurses that bother me, though, its the ones you find in the elementary school - the pint-sized terrors known as Grey Children.
Goopy little sacks of flesh wandering around school hallways with knives. Children with knives are scary enough on their own, Children of the Corn confirmed that, knowing there is a hallway full of the little monsters with knives is even worse when you know you don't have the bullets to deal with them.
Omega Metroid - Metroid II: Return of Samus
8-bit and spinach green it might be, but I never enjoyed encountering these things in Metroid II: Return of Samus. It was bad enough the Game Boy's screen and very low resolution made this the most claustrophobic entry in the franchise, this final stage of Metroid evolution is just a bundle of vaguely humanoid WTF.
And they rush you. So they're like half Crimson Head and half Grey Child. Ugh.
Mara - Various Shin Megami Tensei games
Given the right context, Mara can come off as a joke and this is often the case in main series Shin Megami Tensei games as well as the Devil Summoner series. So in that respect, he's just funny and a little embarrassing to have in your party if you're gaming on your 3DS in public.
Without context, however, Mara just comes off as a giant green penis with tentacles riding a gold chariot. The Persona series, as much as I love it, always fails to give any context to his appearance.
Thou art I. I art thou. From the sea of thy soul I emerge -
A giant green tentacled dick on wheels.
That no one in the protagonist's party is ever bothered by that is beyond me.
And to think that's not the only phallic demon to spring from the mind of Kazuma Kaneko or the only one to appear in SMT IV this year. Mara also as a friend that is more or less a razor-toothed, blistered vagina angel. So no matter your sexual orientation, Kaneko has drawn something to mess with you.
The Happy Mask Salesman- The Legend of Zelda series
Of all the things that can terrify me me in a game, I think the Happy Mask Salesman comes the closest. Not only does he manage to rope Link into doing his bidding for two games, the second time I'm pretty sure it was outright blackmail. Link was made to stalk other people on a day-to-day basis, he had to deal with a map maker I'm pretty sure is a pedo and then there's that hand that emerged from the toilet demanding paper. Doing favors for this guy leads to really strange encounters.
I even had to save cows from UFO abductions because of this guy. What other Zelda game even had UFOs?
And this twisted grinning bastard just smiling all the while and you're never quite sure if you can turn your back on him without finding a knife in it the next moment. I never can trust anyone that is that happy. I'm not sure what is in the Happy Mask Shop's backroom in Hyrule Town and I don't want to know.
Well, I'm done with Final Fantasy VIII. Because I chose to do Laguna and Squall's stories on the side in Dissidia Duodecim, I kinda fell into playing other characters and that got me sucked into playing Final Fantasy VI for the first time in a really, really long time. I still remember the key plot twists and all, but I think I may be rather fuzzy about much of the secrets the World of Ruin holds now since I probably forgot most of it.
I just know not to touch any treasure chests until the World of Ruin. And to wait for Shadow at the last second or he dies and can't be recruited again. I don't want to make Relm and Interceptor sad.
I also thought that if i was going to work on Squall as a sort of character study as introverts go, I may as well play through some of FF's most introverted characters. I'll be skipping FFIV for now and you couldn't pay me to finish FFXIII, but I may give FFVII another go after this. I think Terra, Squall and Cloud are the most important ones to cover.
I'm also playing Soul Hackers on the side to have something new in the mix. Well, its almost as old as what I've been playing but I've just not really made time for it since it came out in the US for the first time in April. Its going to by my Halloween game for the ghoulish setting since I've already played SMT IV twice over.
For a moment I did consider playing Parasite Eve since I never played that, but after seeing the Christmas Eve setting I figured maybe later. If you're wondering why I'm looking at so many old games rather than new ones its because I'm broke and have a substantial digital backlog between PSN, eShop and Steam. The focus is on the PSN stuff because I'm stuck with regularly having to load things on the shitty 4GB card on my Vita. On 3DS there is no question of what games I take with me - the answer is "all of them, you have that cheap 16GB SD card to put them on."
Anyway, yeah, its FFVI on the Vita, Soul Hackers on 3DS and not much else for now. I may go for the Zelda Oracle games next since i've never done those either and picked them up with my $30 eShop credit in July.
As for FFVI, I'm also playing it for Kefka - but that goes without saying.
So I've been off the blogging thing again for a bit. More or less life has been stressing me out and I don't like to bring that in to too much of my writing. Its one of those times where I feel pretty alienated even by family because they just can't bring themselves to listen. And I know where they got from. I remember the days as a kid where I watched my grandmother just browbeat my father over every choice he made in life at lunch and dinner,
Well, now its my turn, let's just leave it at that. Add to this that there are other people in my life trying and pushing to "fix" me and it annoys the shit out of me. If people would just give me space and stay out of my way, I could do what needs to be done and things would get bettet - it just seems like no one is willing to budge and choose to get in my way.
Largely because of that, I have turned to Final Fantasy VIII because I am totally there with Squall Leonheart right now in my most introverted state. I need to crawl my way out and find hope in humanity again - even if humanity can still be annoying and stupid at times. It ebbs and flows.
I also needed a massive, grindy collect-a-thon RPG in my life right now.
When you think about it, FFVIII is like a Christopher Nolan RPG. There are Memento and Inception-like elements all over that game. I have to collect summons, spells, cards and items to turn into other spells or items, plug those spells into the summons to boost my own stats and become grossly overpowered in the process. This while still building my ultimate weapons to get limit breaks that take things further over-the-top.
its not as much work as it sounds, actually and there's always something to do. I like that. The payoff is pretty good. It also helps that the card game, Triple Triad, is a nice diversion with great long-term rewards (Tetra Master, on the other hand, can go take a flying leap)
Another reason I was drawn back into playing it was looking at the game from two different fan theories - the Squall Is Dead theory and the "Rinoa is Ultimecia" one, in particular. If everything from Disc 2 onward never made sense to you, then the "Squall is Dead" theory seems to be a reasonable answer. The "Rinoa is Ultimecia" one is a bit more questionable, but it does explain some things Ultimecia does, says and why she's junctioned with a summon named after Squall's pendant.
That aside, it probably has one of my favorite soundtracks and even that has its mysteries. Turns out it took some time, familiarity with Latin etymology and some number-crunching to figure out the lyrics to what was originally just known as "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec." Even that title (alternately known as "Liberi Fatali") was a puzzle - an anagram for "Succession of the Witches" and "love." which were two big themes of the game.
FFVIII is just a rabbit hole and still leaves you wondering how far it actually goes.
Its all helping me get my mind off the crappy stuff, that's for sure and that feels pretty good. I'll probably have some more thoughts about my replay as I get closer to finishing it.
If there's anything that fighting games struggle with providing, its a good single-player experience. This is often because fighters by their very nature are so focused on competitive multiplayer but that's not to say games like Mortal Kombat 9, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Blazblue or Persona 4 Arena haven't offered up good single-player story modes. They totally have proven its not impossible to serve up a great single-player game - but its still one where you don't get to challenge your friends while you do so since that's sectioned off for online multiplayer.
And sometimes you just can't play with your friends offline or online because they're off doing something else, which can suck.
Back when games like Soulcalibur II and Virtual Fighter 4 had their day in the arcade, they came up with their own answer to this - asynchronus multiplayer by way of thier respective Conquest Mode and Kumite modes. More or less, you'd stick your tokens into the machine, enter a login name and password (VF4 just used cards with magnetic strips to get around that) and then you'd challenge a series of AIsrs based on other playe . As you played this mode, an AI would be built around your playstyle and stored on the arcade machine for other people to challenge, so your AI joined the ranks of the AIs you just challenged.
You could still be challenged by other live players, but if none were in the arcade, it still gave you a player to challenge in its own way.
Once you left, someone might come along and play Conquest Mode, too. While doing so they'd possibly challenge your AI.. While the this single-elimination mode chose your opponents somewhat at random, there was a chance your version of your favored character would come out swinging and use your playstyle of that character against your friend.
So it was like you were there, only not.
When you returned to play Conquest mode or Kumite again, the system would be able to strengthen and evolve your AI's playstyle by observing you tactics further. Provided you were growing as a player, your AI grew with you..
I played the hell out of Soulcalibur II back when it was in the arcades and while I made a lot of friends in that arcade and challenged them often in person, they couldn't always be there. It was nice to have the chance to challenge their faction and possibly be pitted against their version of Talim or Astaroth since it was actually decent practice for challenging them in-person later
I also taught my version of Ivy how to buffer Summon Suffering into many different moves and I loved setting up people for Ring Outs in addition to using several of her infuriating keepaway tactics. Ivy is never a good character to get in anyone's face with, so you had to play mind games with people, which is what my AI ended up reflecting. SC II's iteration of Ivy had nearly a dozen ways to put you off-balance before you got near her - and I'm not talking about obnoxious costumes or the breast augmentations that she got later in the series, either.
My Ivy was a classy dominatrix. She was just about seeing you suffer - and to think you only had to pay a quarter for that.
We've seen takes on the idea of asynchronus multiplayer today in games like Dragon's Dogma, the upcoming Forza 5 and more, so I'm a touch disappointed that Namco doesn't seem to be considering Conquest Mode for the HD edition of Soul Calibur II, quite possibly the greatest entry in the series.
I'll be frank, I don't like playing fighters strictly online and you really just can't top local multiplayer in a genre like this. If you could, EVo would be online. I also detest how cowardly people are in online multiplayer with their trash talk, People say shit now that would have had their asses kicked or kicked out of arcades back in the day. The fighting game community has only become more toxic and I'd really just prefer to challenge my friends or play in silence if local multiplayer isn't an option
I could just play with people on my friends list, but sometimes schedules just don't line up. As you get more into your late 20s and 30s organizing local multiplayer matches can be a tad more difficult, because people have annoying things like significant others, kids and dogs now. Or work. SC II was more of a thing back when I had just gotten out of college and no one had any of that going on yet, but even then schedule's didn't always line up.
Now we have games like Dragon's Dogma where you can literally rent out a hired mercenary your friend created for their game and go on quests with them. As you do those quests, that AI mercenary (known as a pawn) learns things about that quest and the world. When they return to their little pawn hiring space online and your friend returns them to their game, that pawn now has new knowledge and has earned money from their adventures to share with your friend, which is awesome in its own way.
So its like you played with your friends and helped them out, even if you aren't really there.
Applying asyncronous multiplayer to fighters is something Soulcalibur II HD could have helped lead the charge on once more. Conquest Mode was difficult to apply on console versions of SC II a generation ago because of how servers were and how PS2 and Gamecube didn't really have robust online support. Now that's mostly changed, particularly with cloud computing in place. All it would really be is a matter of scanning your friend's list, accessing the cloud to determine if they have the game, what faction they lined up with and downloading an updated version of their character's AI to your system to challenge offline.
So you'd be able to enjoy such a game offline, challenge your friends and experience no lag while doing so. Plus if you wanted to be open to an online multiplayer challenge, there would be the option to interrupt that mode, which the arcade version allowed for. If you won and there was no rematch, Conquest Mode would just resume and you go on building your AI further.
For me, this is a more compelling feature than collecting weapon skins in the lame Weapon Master mode or playing lousy gimmick characters like Spawn, but sadly it seems Namco would rather pander with that stuff than reintegrate the feature that would be more relevant today than it was a a decade ago.
I'm not saying Weapons Master Mode or that Link, Spawn and Heihachi aren't things the HD version shouldn't have, but that to prioritize those and not have Conquest Mode at all is a disappointment and misses a huge opportunity to innovate the genre further in the online age, albeit for people that are less about direct online competition. More options and ways to compete are nice, after all.
The arcade version's Conquest Mode was the feature that kept me coming back to the arcade and would have kept me coming back to an online-enabled HD version of SC II. When you think about it, a conquest mode in SC II HD essentially means you're more than a name on a leaderboard, but someone that can be challenged even when you're not playing. On such a stage of history, your legend never dies and your AI learns as your soul still burns,.
I hope I'm wrong here, that Namco plays this smart and integrates Conquest Mode into Soulcallibur II HD, but when they're more eager to announce the formerly console-exclusive characters they pandered to console gamers with a decade ago, I have to question if Namco and Project Soul's heart is really in this HD remaster. They could have giving the old arcade fan something back they loved and console gamers a side of SC II they never experienced previously.
And to me that's part of what an HD remaster is really about - acknowledging your old fans while giving a new generation of gamers a chance to see the best an old game has to offer, especially when said game is the pinnacle of the series. Neglecting a feature that may actually become more prevalent in thie years to come would just be a missed opportunity.
Its been a bad couple of weeks if you are a laptop that belongs to me. To be fair, they were old laptops, but dammit, that other laptop that ran Windows XP ran classic Fallout better than this Compaq Presario A900 does. This laptop's issue is just that it overheats and seems to hate any compatible power supply I plug into it, which swiftly meets some manner of untimely end.
I think its time for me to give up on laptops, embrace the tablet and put my energy toward building a proper desktop PC for gaming. I just need to find a tablet good for Youtube, blogging and Tumblr in the meantime, I suppose.
As i look at the PS4 and Xbox One's launch lineups I'm fairly underwhelmed by them and that gives me time and more reason to build a PC to play the western RPGs that will all show up there anyway. Plus I know whatever Atlus does next its probably between the PS3, 360, Wii U, 3DS or Vita.
More likely the 3DS or Vita, Atlus being Atlus and their recent history consistently skewing toward handheld RPGs. All I know is that if they're announcing PS3 fighters, updates for Persona 4 Arena and have Etrian Odyssey Untold around the corner, Nintendo and Sony surely didn't buy them out and that makes the world safe for Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem. I really hope we hear something about that soon. I was getting a Wii U for Nintendo stuff regardless, but that SMT X FE is icing on the cake.
Despite my previous blog I decided to wait on playing Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey and instead wrap up my run through Persona 4 Golden before moving forward... okay, and I got sucked back into SMT IV again and got the Neutral ending. Its a hard game to resist.
I'm also staring up a fresh run on Digital Devil Saga since I lost my original cleared file, so when I'm not raising Social Links I'm devouring my enemies.
On 3DS, I'm going to start playing the Zelda Oracle games soon for a break from turn based fare on 3DS, soft of as a lead-in to getting Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Wind Waker HD .
Aside from that, there's not much to say aside from I'm tired, going to bed and hoping this laptop doesn't die on me.
So I finished Shin Megami Tensei IV on the Law path. While I initially wanted to argue with the game on the "Law" point since I thought I had remained rather neutral, I had to think back about all the sidequests I just couldn't leave alone. You know, the ones that asked questions that I thought wouldn't count toward my alignment. It turns out those counted toward your alignment after all. Since I got most quests done the first time, that won't be a problem for the other endings now, at least.
I guess I can't leave everyone to sort out their own problems, at least in a video game. While my motive was clearly the rewards for questing, I guess trying to fix too many problems because of Casulry sympathy or samurai camaraderie would make me a bit more of a controlling Law type. My job as a samurai was to protect the people and maybe I did coddle them a bit too much.
Now as I pick up Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey for a run, that might be something to keep in mind if I want Neutral. As I said in another blog, I've never really gotten around to playing through and finishing SJ, but after 80+ hours of running around in Demonica suits in SMT IV (at least when I wasn't dressed as a psychotic biker clown made of nightmare fuel) its time to see how it works from the inside again. And maybe make some super-powered fairies.
Finishing off Nocturne and obsessively playing SMT IV have left me hungry for more, but I also don't want to devour what's left of that game while its still new. I like to have reasons to go back, so I'm shelving it for now and maybe after more of the DLC gets out and I've finished other games I'll go back to SMT IV.
I have plenty else to do anyway. I've been on and off with Persona 4 Golden since I got my PS Vita in February - and I need to do two runs in that and Persona 3 Portable to the special challegenes. My old Digital Devil Saga save was wiped somehow - even though I knew I backed it up on the PS2 HDD - so I have two runs to do through that too for the Demi-Fiend fight. And I still haven't finished the 7th day in Devil Survivor Overclocked on my Chaos route so I still have the whole 8th day scenario ahead, too. Also Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers needs to be started and finished, I'll probably do that after Strange Journey.
Busy, busy, busy.
I'm be set for quite some time, it seems. To prevent total burnout I have tons of things loaded up on my 3DS and Vita like Cave Story, Liberation Maiden, Crimson Shroud, the Zelda Oracle games, Guacamelee, Dissidia Duodecim, Retro City Rampage and the like. So don't worry, I'm not totally JRPGing my brains here. I even have the original Fallout installed on this laptop and I may have a go at that.
As for how much I liked SMT IV compared to other JRPGs I've played this year, I guess I would say It beats out Fire Emblem Awakening by just a few paces. FE:A was a damn good game that hit many of the right notes and stabbed me in the heart a few times when I lost troops.
To say the least, these two games and their greatness are making me even more anxious to hear more about Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem - to the point I'll be very upset if anything happens to that game if/when Atlus goes on sale during Index Corp's bankruptcy proceedings. That game needs to exist now after such a great showing from each series.