Seeing Andy's post, I flew off my chair with inspiration, and rocketed into space. Taking some notes from various interdimensional entities, I calmly re-entered this atmosphere, and decided to make my own contribution to our decidedly quiet community. So! Here's what's been happening in my own life that may or may not involve video games!
To start on a related note, my end-of-year uni exams have finished, which means I've found a large amount of free time to clear out my backlog. Yeah, that demon we all have, and apparently a lot of us are over eager to share their own. Which is great! We all deserve a pat on the back for acknowledging our shared weakness, and actively trying to confront it. Well done, team.
So about a year ago, I bought a PS2 Slim from a garage sale, for $20 (Nice!), and have been scouring 2nd hand shops and the such for some classics. I managed to rack up a decent number of games, including MGS 3, Dragon Quest 8, Rogue Galaxy, Kingdom Hearts, and a few others. Firstly, though, on my cousin's recommendation (he's quite the JRPG enthusiast), I've been smashing through the bulky, titanic mass of Final Fantasy X. And yes, I am aware it is being re-released in HD, but due to my budget and lack of PS3, I'm more than happy with this version.
This scene ranked among one of the more truly horrifying things I have seen in a video game
This entry was quite a step away from the previous FF games, as I'm sure many of you know, and not just in the graphics department. I'm only about 15-20 hours into it so far, but I'm really enjoying it. One new aspect, however, the voice acting, is questionable. Very questionable. It's truly a wondrous thing to find myself able to endure those painfully staccato, awkward Tidus-Yuna interaction scenes. I suppose that's why I, and many others, preferred the silence of previous entries. We could read and enjoy at our own pace without any discomfort. But it does have some high points... right? I mean, Wakka is entertaining for a while, right? Right???????
The game does excel in many other points, however, such as the deceptively simple Sphere Grid. It's a really streamlined approach to levelling, and the use of key spheres really shake things up. It's quite a satisfying feeling to progress further and further, and watch your skill tree really expand into a beautifully complex pattern. And it's really pleasant, albeit somewhat tiring at times, to watch Yuna summon her Aeons. Admittedly I am only at the point where I have 2 unlocked, but both are equally entertaining and exhilarating.
The whole island theme up to this point so far is really nice as well, and the use of Sin as a kind of 'natural disaster' is interesting. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this game progresses. No spoilers pls!
Back to the header pic, and on an unrelated note, I've been delving into the beautiful world of DC Vertigo this past year. Seriously, those who enjoy comics even the slightest amount should look into some of these series. Animal Man, Sandman, Fables, Preacher, Swamp Thing, Transmetropolitan, Doom Patrol... This is a publisher that really goes the extra mile for interesting and innovative new styles. And then there's The Invisibles. I picked up the omnibus a few weeks ago, and it is a truly unique beast. Benny Disco recently discussed what the 'punk rock' of the gaming world is, and I think I can safely say this series is one of the more punk comic books out there, if not the most (sorry Punk Rock Jesus, I haven't read you yet!)
This book is an insane combination of psychedelia, supernatural, super-spy and action, and essentially did The Matrix before the Matrix did. It discusses an anarchical group operating outside of society's awareness called the Invisibles, who are fighting to stop the world from being controlled behind the scenes by huge corporate organisations. It has amazing character development, and some really cool visuals reminiscent of the better side of 90s graphic novel art. Admittedly, it can be quite hard to follow at times, typical of infamous Grant Morrison's writings, but it really rewards you for over-analysis.
It's really great fun to watch the arguably centre character Dane McGowan/Jack Frost develop into a more mature and powerful character from the rebellious, distasteful youth he first appears to be. And it's absolutely incredible exploring the huge mythology behind this story, from Lord Fanny's (yes, that is her name) delightfully crazy origin story, to the sheer appearance of gods like The King-Of-All-Tears. If you have a taste for delightfully crazy and incredible stories, I would definitely advise this as a read. If you have a reasonable amount of money to spare, I'd also advise investing in the huge, wrist-breaking omnibus. Check out it's lovely thickness~!
Aaaaaaaand that's about all I have to talk about today. But I'll try to contribute more to C-Blogs! For science!