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About


Front Paged:
E for Effort: Mass Effect 1+2
E3 2010 Recap
Changes: Fatherhood
Technical Difficulties: What A Difference Time Makes
A True Opponent Stands Before Me
P2 Press Start: Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers
10 Games Captain America Would Play
Looking Out for the Little Guy

Front Paged on Flixist:
The Dichotomy of a Dark Knight
Not Understanding Your Audience
A True Classic: Superman Returns

Articles I wrote that I liked:
That One Mook: Gafgarion
My first playthrough of Resident Evil 2
Love/Hate: Operation Darkness
EVO 2010
Recettear Preview
Teh Bias: Nippon Ichi Software, Dood!
More Than Just Noise: Haunted by Final Fantasy
2010: Year in review and some other musings
Obligatory Destructoid Community Rocks Post
Groundhog Day: Stuck in a Book
A story from the Wasteland
PowerUp 2011
E3 2011: MS, Sony, Ninty, and AWARDS
Freedom: Jetpacks
Handhelds: East vs West
Labor Day: Player 2
Online Passes: Nickles and Dimes
2011: Year in Review and Top 10 XBL Indies



Twinfinite stuff I wrote that I liked:
Comics:
Before Watchmen: It's Not the End of the World
Retrospection: The X-Men vs The Avengers
DC Kills Again
Lists:
10 Reliable XBLIG Devs You Should Know
10 Disney Classics that Need Remastering
5 Best Moments from EVO 2013
5 Reasons Why the PS2 Was So Successful
5 Ways to Add Flavor to PS Allstars
Editorials:
Did We Really Need to Break Lara Croft?
Father's Day: Bass Armstrong
Why Do We Need Final Fantasy 7 HD?
Wormlight: A Group of No Name Losers
You Can't Fix Bad Parenting
You Don't Deserve Forgiveness
A Forgotten Hero
Future Diary: The Trial of the Father
Silver Haired Devils: Sephiroth, Magneto, Griffith
Sony Made Art Out of Ads
Celebrate the Ridiculousness of Games
The Graying of Gaming
What is Your Deserted Island Game?
An Opinion on How Value is Underappreciated in Gaming
Lazy Brain Games Legacy
Arkham Knight's Knightfall
Next-Gen Gamers: Kinect Party
Interviews:
An Interview with Adam Spragg
An Interview with Miguel Sternberg
An Interview with Nekros Lead Designer
An Interview with Divekick's Adam Heart
An Interview with The Behemoth's Ian Moreno
An Interview with Firebase Studios
An Interview with Lazy Brain Games: Part 1 / Part 2
An Interview with Fun Infused Games
Nonsense:
Should I Be Happy Sonic is Selling Me Insurance
Is the $99 Xbox Worth It?
These Games Don't Belong on Steam?
Quest for Sexy Seaside Beachball: Part 1 / Part 2


Comics in Games
Comics in Games: Games in Comics
Comics in Games: The Original Batman
Comics in Games: Fantastic Four
Comics in Games: Fantastic Four Deleted Scenes
Comics in Games: Superman
Comics in Games: The Best of Marvel 1994

Comics in Crossover Games
- Spider-man and Captain America in Dr. Doom's Revenge!
- Spider-man the Video Game
- Spider-man and the X-men in Arcade's Revenge
- Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems
- Iron Man and X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal
- Marvel Brothel
- Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold


It Came From The Quarter Bin

- 1st Edition
- Promised Vengeance
- Sarah's Story Remembered
- First Strike! Extra!
- Fluffie Kiss
- 2112
- The Holiday Spirit
- Days of GLX-Mas Past



Games Created:
Dariaia
Twinfinite Pirate Kart


I was on a podcast! Listen to me!
NJ EP 01: Neo Geo Pocket Color
NJ EP 04: Mega Man Legends


Episode 92: E3 09
Episode 73: Intro
Episode 71: Intro
Episode 70: Intro
Episode 68: Sonic the Hedgehog
Episode 67: Intro
Episode 66: Intro
Episode 65: Reader Questions
Episode 64: Intro
Episode 63: Neo Geo
Episode 62: Intro
Episode 61: Beat 'em Ups
Episode 60: Rhythm Games
Episode 36: Couples
Episode 34: TurboGrafx 16
Episode 32: SHMUPS
Episode 27: SNES



My Greatest Failure

"We constantly have to revisit 'Why would Donkey Kong do this?' or 'Why would this environment be like this?' And then we start thinking: 'We're making a game about a gorilla wearing a tie.'"
-Michael Kelbaugh of Retro Studios on Donkey Kong Country Returns



"I have to say it's kinda scary how much you know about this game."
-Nicolau Chaud creator of Marvel Brothel
Player Profile
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I have a terrible reading memory, which is probably why I've stuck to blogging like I have. When I read at length, I tend to prioritize some fact points and disregard others. I romanticize some moments and even create some points that just didn't happen like they were supposed to. I suppose that's why I've always loved comic books and video games as it restrains my thoughts in to a medium that requires both imagination and actualization of imagery to push the ideas across.

I'm not referring to this as something that's debilitating like reading comprehension issues which removes understanding of the materials, just something that I have done on a few occasions to tweak a story in to how I would tell it. From what I've noticed, it's changed a key scene in the Watchmen, parts of Final Fantasy VII and even bits of Gatsby as well for me. There are lots of games I know that have gripping stories that I could go on and on about, but because of where my mind wanders to, it might not be the exact experience you all remember. Thing is, I know my version of the story is better.

I say this because my favorite video games have based their entire franchise around books. Well more to the point, based on what the characters in said games have found in books. Final Fantasy Tactics in its many iterations defines what I look for in games. I have hundreds of hours invested in to each iteration in the series and I could invest another 100 easily. It is a series that many feel gets progressively worse as the teams responsible begin to focus less and less on the depth of story that the original nailed perfectly. I disagree.



Honestly, the first thing I can think of that makes a game in to something that you have to revisit over and over is gameplay. I've never been one of those types that can listen to records like Dark Side of the Moon over and over again. Eventually I grow tired of it. Likewise with movies, I just can't be expected to react to a movie the same way after watching it 12 times. A story can only be so good before you just feel a lackluster need to stop replaying it. This effect is essentially delayed when playing most video games and Tactics is an expert in replicating this.

Final Fantasy Tactics holds you to a job system that is for all extents and purposes, perfect. There are crappy jobs, overpowered special characters and exploits abound for the game, but the idea of marching through these battles as an ever evolving militia is brilliant. Taking it's cue from Final Fantasy III and V, Tactics allows you to have 19 primary jobs with another job acting as a secondary attribute. That's over 300 variables applied with each unit you fight with. This doesn't factor in monsters or special units as well.



Final Fantasy Tactics Advance breaks the complexity of this system by creating creature classes. So now Moogles and Humans each have a different set of abilities with some jobs interweaving between the races. While it waters down the beauty of Final Fantasy Tactics' depth, it still creates a focus on what your characters should be building themselves up as. Pair this with a world that you create for yourself and you've got a system of customization that is different every time you restart the game.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2 expands upon the previous job classes with two new races and proceeds to tweak them all so that they have a better execution. The pub system that has been utilized for modest side missions up until now is greatly improved upon. This is actually where the game really happens as the main storyline is beyond simple. Twists on simple events like finding a cure for the pink zombie Frimelda, showcase why this system is so much more than just the average tactics based gameplay. It's depth in different events practically forces you to explore the many different side missions in game.



The original Final Fantasy Tactics has been constantly called on for its complex story. I've always been stuck wondering why it's been considered this way. For all extents and purposes the games central plot line is typical of Mario and Sonic. Save princesses and collect jewels. Sure the characters in game talk about political events that shape the world into a rich landscape to understand, but there isn't anything complicated about what the game wants you to do.

You as Ramza Beoulve must run through the game stopping the corrupt at every turn as they pervert the Germonik Scriptures to their own will. The first chapter sets up the reason why you are doing this, and the rest is about how you have to fight corrupt official after corrupt official while trying to do the best you can to stop these people from ripping the world apart.

Everything else in the story is a delicious icing on top of an already wonderful cake. This is punctuated with the job system that allows the runt of the litter that is Ramza to build the strength of his army against infinitely more powerful men. Like many Squaresoft titles around this period, this lends a replayability on two fronts. Tactics is replayable both on its gameplay and strong story telling elements.



When Final Fantasy Tactics Advance came out, it had a hard time living up to its predecessor. It was built for handheld play and its complex story was streamlined for an all ages audience. This however does not mean it was just some casual tale. As the new kid in town, you and a group of new friends pick up a book that sends the four of you to a fantastic new world. Each of your new friends has their own personal demons that they face in the real world and the fantasy realm gives them all a place that they can overcome these issues.

That is until you come in and force them all out of this paradise. A plotline like this is deep enough to lend a great deal of thought, but it's too subtle in the way it comes forward. It unfortunately just sits on the sideline. A good story to come back to, but not as gripping as the first. Though, it is interesting to see a world built by your own imagination be subsequently destroyed by your actions.

Grimoire of the Rift, the final game in the series, lends you its world as a playground. You have a large number of missions set around a simplistic story in which you stumble across a clan and in turn, lead them through an adventure that eventually gets you out of the storybook world. If the Gameboy Advance story was considered simple for some, this one takes the cake.

You are just a boy stuck in a world that is a lot of fun to play with. That's all. The gameplay is tweaked for better and worse, however the numerous missions of different varieties is what gives you plenty of room to build your characters up. Paired with an item synthesis and item learning system, the game forces you to grind to get to where you would want your characters to be.



Tactics for me represents a world I can always come back to. The story, the characters and the rich system will always be there for me. It will always be there and I will always return to it. Alazlam Durai's historic recount of his ancestor is brilliant and addictive. I only spend about 40 hours each go around, but the hundreds of hours I've spent on this game is through constant visitations. I will keep rereading this story over and over for as long as I can simply because I get something new that I didn't quite get each time I visit it.

Tactics Advance represents a game I can never leave. The story doesn't propel me to send a boy back to his wheelchair, nor another to his disappointment of a father. So I grind. At 110 hours, I have no idea where the story wants to take me anymore and I'm okay with that. It's a game that I'm mastering instead of simply finishing. I keep coming back to this world a few hours at a time with no real accomplishment in game. Like a textbook, I have no problem with learning the ins and outs of this and furthering my experience beyond where I could stop.

Grimoire of the Rift is an entire beast in itself. It has hours upon hours of customization and a long list of things to distract me from the real quest. However, its story is one that leads me to a conclusion just based upon the fact that I have to play the main story to get more side quests. I build and build upon this game for hours of my life until I beat it. I don't have to do the grind. The game isn't hard enough to merit this, but it's just a system I can't escape from. It's a book I read until I know all of its information. Then I reread it just to see how I can approach it differently.



No, I'm not finished with Final Fantasy. Not yet.

Final Fantasy Tactics in all of its iterations are games that I can't let go of. They are games that mean something to me as moments in my life. Each iteration is different and unique enough in what it takes from me. I could never put these down and I don't think I'll ever not want to revisit their worlds.






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