It's been hard to get going each day waking up at five in the morning, constantly feeling terrible and not getting quality sleep, as well as working over 40 hours per week (typically 50 hours, 7 AM to 5 PM each weekday), and coming in a few weekends here and there this year. I never recover as much over the weekends and I've gone stretches where I'm just out of my element emotionally.
Despite getting some assistance from hiring an intern and transitioning some of my workload to another employee, the work never ceases to slow down at all. I have noticed that my group of project managers are winning and working on more projects at once this year, which has caused me to feel constantly behind on maintaining what I need to do for them. It also doesn't help that the work isn't as mind-engaging as it once was, which is making it tougher for me to get through my constant workload.
Bombardment from All Sides: Co-Workers, Supervisors, Vendors, Clients
I'm constantly concerned with my parent's business and future. Their business hasn't recovered since the big economic depression from 2008. I've been constantly giving my parents money in their most pressing times to help them pay their vendors for business to continue running, but the business continues to run in the red. It's distressing to hear my dad constantly saying that business is extremely slow and bugging me for money here and there. I'm not sure if they have much going if they decide to retire from the business, with the only thing that have stored is social security. (Unless they have some other retirement fund somewhere that they haven't told me, but I worry that's still not enough to support them.)
My brother's been acting weird since he was laid off from work two months ago. He's starting to creep me out a bit with her odd behavior. Before then, he seemed to be pretty happy and I was grateful for him in dragging me out to various events this year, especially to Otakon. He did have a job interview a few days ago and I hope he's going in hard on his job search, though he is also contemplating of going back to school.
It hasn't been TERRIBLE, but I've been feeling pretty rough this year. Mostly feeling depressed in a spurt of days from the stress of work and other things. I will look to recover as much as possible over my Christmas/New Years break. (I had accumulated over 250 hours of vacation time... >_<)
It's been hard for me to stay even-keel, to keep telling myself that whatever negative thoughts I conjure up is stupid and I need to keep going not only for others, but for myself.
I was doing okay with eating and exercise over the spring and summer, but fell off pretty hard once fall came around. Ugh.
Despite working a ton and not exactly in the best of emotions, I managed to complete 27 games at this point. Especially the 3DS JRPGs. I mostly played on the 3DS and PS3 this year, rarely played on the 360. I recently purchased a Wii U and Vita.
I plan to publish my GOTY 2013 list on 30 December, as I hope to finish a few more games.
Games I hope to complete and evaluate before year end: The Last of Us; Super Mario 3D World; Tearaway.
Games that I feel are locks in my Top 10: Etrian Odyssey IV; Fire Emblem: Awakening; Puppeteer; Rayman Legends; Shin Megami Tensei IV.
I created a Youtube music playlist that represents my constant feelings of frustration this year. Feel free to listen to it on the link.
Personal Favorite 2013 Albums
Baths - Obsidian
Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark
Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
Chelsea Wolfe - Pain is Beauty
David Lang - Death Speaks
Deafheaven - Sunbather
Eluvium - Nightmare Ending
Friendzone - DX
Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
Grant Hart - The Argument
Julia Brown - To Be Close to You
Julia Holter - Loud City Song
Julianna Barwick - Nepenthe
Majical Cloudz - Impersonator
My Bloody Valentine - mbv
Oneothtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven
Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold
Polvo - Siberia
Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels
Savages - Silence Yourself
Sigur Ros - Kveikur
Smith Westerns - Soft Will
Yo La Tengo - Fade
I'll have to hammer in my head to do more job searching. I appreciate what my current employer is doing and I have been awarded with good reviews, salary raises, and bonus checks, but the item that the workload isn't as engaging as it once was along with the firm's aggressive pace is not doing it for me anymore.
I'll also have to get back into getting better shape, more walking and less eating. Maybe buy some small weights?
The biggest goal is to not get frustrated easily, especially over items that do not seem it's worth getting so worked up over, which includes gaming. Of course, easier said than done.
The biggest item that I want to accomplish in 2014 is to really enjoy my time playing games. I made the same resolution last year and at times, playing games was really refreshing and enjoyable. However, at other times, I was just pushing through just for the sake of it. If the game has some serious flaws that prevent the game from being truly enjoyable, then folks have the right to be less than thrilled about it. There are numerous times where I realize that the game I'm playing is very good, but I'm not in the right state of mind to really enjoy the game I'm playing.
The genre that kind of screws my mindset a lot are fighting games. I know deep down that I'm not going to be a godlike player like the pro fighting game players, and my time at work and my passion for other games limits my time from "hitting the lab" in these games where I can hone in on my skills, but I still get salty over for not being able to pose much of a challenge against whoever I'm fighting against. I wish I had the big enthusiasm the folks in both chat rooms I hang out in with whatever fighting games they're interested in. I just want to have the same mindset for all games, I'm playing this for fun. Just give me a few (like two) combo strings, a few line items on what I should do with my main character, brawl, and smile after getting beaten and bruised all over.
There isn't too many games early in 2014 that I'm interested in, so I'll do my best to use Q1 2014 to knock out some of my insane gaming backlog. After that, it's whatever.
I wouldn't be surprised if I got myself a PS4 in 2014.
I'm debating on opening a WordPress (or something similar) to post random stuff, as I do have a lot of thoughts flow through my head and this would be a nice avenue to spill them out to. I used to do a lot of free-writing in high school and in college as a nice hobby and had the itch to return to that recently.
Though I'm awful in fighting games, I'm still interested in competing in a fighting game tournament, preferably a local one since I feel like I'll get too nervous and overwhelmed in a major. We'll see.
I wouldn't mind going to Otakon again.
And to reiterate again... to not get so worked up and enjoy things more.
With Thanksgiving around the corner in the United States, I wanted to share a couple of things I have much appreciation for this year. Many of the items I'll discuss upon have helped me get through some of the tough times I'm going through this year, particularly my constant battles against myself (unhappiness/depression?) and the stress stemming from working longer hours at my job this year. So thanks to the following...
Giant Bomb Staff and Community
Giant Bomb lost a great person with Ryan Davis' passing over the summer. Though he many no longer be with us, his immense presence still resonates over us to this day. In the wake of the tragic news, the rest of the crew has definitely stepped up and continues to provide awesome content for the community with a steady stream of Quick Looks, Bombcasts, Bombin' in the Morning, and Unprofressional Fridays, along with Load Our Last Souls, the 49-hour Extra Life marathon stream, and the recent new console Launch Day streams. I'm not an avid consumer of all things Giant Bomb (I catch what I can), but their resiliency on continuing to produce globs of content for us is pretty awesome to witness. Continue being awesome Jeff, Vinny, Drew, Brad, Rorie, Patrick, and Alex!
The Giant Bomb community is also pretty awesome for the most part. Yes, there'll always be a couple of bad apples that have make us look bad here and there, but for the most part the community's been pretty positive and supportive. What I love most from the community is the content produced and the events organized in the site. Most blogs written by the Giant Bomb community are well-written and thought-out, which are a pleasure to read what a member has to say what they are saying. Other members has showcased their artistic skills by producing some incredible looking Giant Bomb art, which the Giant Bomb staff has definitely embraced in some way. Along with the blogs and art, there are events and lists to participate and enjoy gaming with fellow duders. I had a great time participating in FluxWaveZ's Persona 4 Arena tournaments and MikeFightNight's Casual Fight Nights even though I'm terrible in fighting games. Thanks for allowing me to play despite not posing much of a challenge.
The GB P4A IRC Room and MFN Skype Groups
In part of participating in both the Persona 4 Arena tournaments and the Casual Fight Nights, I befriended a bunch of duders and ending up hanging out with their in their respective internet chat rooms. It's nice to read the various banter that both groups have. I don't get involved in conversation too much because I don't have much to discuss/share with the folks in both groups, but I'm glad that they've allowed me to stick around despite my non-presence in both groups for days.
I haven't completed many games that were released this year, but out of the few that I did play to its finale, were three platformers that I really enjoyed with my time with them.
Bit Trip Runner 2: I was a fan of the first runner game, with the music syncing with the obstacles to either jump over, slide under, or block. Runner 2 smooths over the Runner 1's difficulty by providing three difficulty levels and easing some of the really tricky obstacle/jumping sections that were very frustrating to navigate numerous times over in the first game. The checkpoint system is a welcome and needed addition, the new moves and obstacles are fun to navigate, a lot of stages to play, and a nice slew of secrets to discover (different paths, retro) to add some replay value to a fun platformer.
Puppeteer: This game surprised me not by its gameplay, which is pretty fun in its own right, but by the slightly dark and humorous take on a typical fairy tale along with strong voice acting by all major characters involved. You have the witch, pirate, bratty girl teenager, villain, and other tropes, but they are all well written into the story and executed wonderfully by the writers and the voice actors. The gameplay is fun with solid platforming, creative level design, and many surprises with the head usage at many points of the game.
Rayman Legends: But the platformer that I have enjoyed the most so far goes to Rayman Legends. I was a big fan of Origins, but was a bit skeptical on how Ubisoft can improve upon it. Turns out, they can still do much more. The levels scream with more personality with specific themes played in the game's five worlds. The music stage at the end of each world are my favorite stages in the game on how the level syncs with the music. The invasion levels provide a nice challenge on already finished levels along with the daily and weekly randomly generated levels. Plus many of the Origin levels are revisited here with the Legends additions. The inclusion of Murray adds some new spice, revisiting levels to rescue all teensies and earning lucky tickets and creatures just add more to an already impressive package.
Arc System Works
Thanks to MikeFightNight's casual fight night sessions, I've gained a much better appreciation of all fighting games. Now I'm eager to play any type of fighting game, even though I'm terrible at all of them. However, there are a group of games from one developer that stands out to me from the rest. Their games are wonderfully produced with beautiful art, characters with personality and unique fighting styles, and gameplay that is slightly more accessible to get into (in my opinion) compared to the others out there. The bottom line for me, is that I'm having the most fun and attaining the most "success" with Arc System Work's fighting games than the rest of fighting game crop. Here's a quick run-through of Arc's three fighting game franchises that I really like from them.
Persona 4 Arena: Rekindled interest and gained better appreciation of fighting games. Accessible fighting gameplay with simplified special and super moves and easy to link combos/strings. I was able to slowly build upon my skillset with new strings/slightly more difficult combos/properly learning character's playstyle. Solid netcode.
BlazBlue (Continuum Shift Extend/Chrono Phantasma): Beautiful background stages. Character "drive" mechanic. Slower, but more chess-match like fighting in knowing strings/overheads and expecting throws. Most comfortable out of the three playing on a fight stick. CP seems like it has balanced the roster, until Kokonoe was released and UNLEASHED HELL UPON ALL OF BLAZBLUE.
Guilty Gear (XX Accent Core Plus): Awesome soundtrack. An eccentric cast of characters with tons of personality. Pool stick with cue balls, anchor and dolphins and whales, a lighter sword, yo-yo, scalpel, ghosts and dogs, a huge key, guitars, etc. Fast, furious, in-your-face fighting. Sort of getting proficient on playing on a fight stick in Guilty Gear.
My ASW Femme Fatales: Chie / Litchi / Jam
I never thought that the platform I would play the most on would be with the Nintendo 3DS. After its known slow start, the 3DS has definitely stepped it up and now has a great batch of games under its belt. One of the strengths the 3DS has is its batch of JRPGs. I spent a ton of time grinding away Fire Emblem: Awakening, Etrian Odyssey IV, and just wrapped up Shin Megami Tensei IV. I still got Etrian Odyssey Untold, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Rune Factory 4, and SMT Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers to get through. I doubt I'll get to all of them, but I think I'll have fun with them (hopefully) if I get to them.
The 3DS has also been the platform where I've been getting my puzzle fill. I played a completed all the puzzles on Picross e to Picross e3, and got through most of the puzzles in Pushmo but I stalled/got frustrated over the last set of puzzles. I still got Crashmo and Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask on my backlog, and they'll probably still take a backseat to the JRPG games, but it's nice to have something else there for me to tackle.
My first Vertical manga, Sakuran, really shocked me on its mature and gritty story revolving around a geisha who is trying to escape the business. I wasn't surprised by the nudity, but highly surprised with its few strong violent scenes and its sad ending. But I didn't think much of Vertical until I purchased my second manga from them, Utsubora. Utsubora centers around a mysterious death of one girl who committed suicide, another girl who looks exactly like her and the protagonist that she somehow has a connection to. The mystery unfolds at a brisk pace, revealing key information at the right times, until it comes to an amazing conclusion on which girl did which and how much she affected the protagonist and those close to him. The manga's ending shocked me as well, as I didn't think the protagonist would take that path after the truth unfolded. After attending their panel at Otakon, I've been checking up on their catalog and reading their Tumblr page to see what they have in store as well as answering questions mostly regarding if its possible for them to license a certain manga.
Since then, I have purchased Helter Skelter, Tropic of the Sea, their three volumes of Paradise Kiss, and the first volume of Summer Wars. I plan on getting the second volume of Sakura Wars, along with Pink, and all six volumes of Limit. I'm looking forward to Insufficient Direction, Prophecy, and In the Clothes Named Fat next year, and looking into 7 Billion Needles from their back catalog. There's something about their manga licenses that feels like they are mostly going for manga that have strong, gritty stories with lively characters, though they do have a few oddball titles like Chi's Sweet Home and their recent license of Cardfight Vanguard. There are other publishers that I have enjoyed the manga that they bring over (Seven Seas and Yen Press in particular), but there's something out of from what I read in Vertical's catalog so far that just stick with me much more that what others have brought forward.
I'd probably wouldn't have enjoy some of the better moments I've experienced this year without my brother being his insistent self. The last year or so, we haven't done anything interesting, as he was busy searching for a job and studying for exams while my workload was starting to ramp up at my job. All we ever did over the weekends and holidays was chill out at home. But this year, my brother finally took the initiative and proclaimed, "LET'S DO SOMETHING DAMNIT!" And did something we did.
This year was the first time I went to multiple music concerts since I left college, and pretty much all of the concerts we went to were pretty entertaining. We also attended our first fighting game tournament in Summer Jam 7. But the best thing we ever done was go to Otakon this year. Despite the Baltimore Convention Center being packed like sardines in a crushed tin box, it was amazing to take in the entire convention over that weekend. I'd love to go next year if we're able.
My brother also surprised me in giving me a couple of birthday gifts this year. It was the first time I received any gifts on my birthday from anyone in quite some time. I tell my family not to bother me with anything and I usually just buy some items for myself. [This year, I purchased myself all manga volumes released so far for Black Lagoon and A Certain Scientific Railgun.] My brother got me The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Mario Kart 7, and Mario Tennis Open for the 3DS. [I recall those games being on sale at Best Buy that week, so it wasn't too bad on his wallet.] Those were nice. But the real surprise is when he bought me my PS3 fight stick! Sure, it's Hello Kitty, but it was nice of him to get one for me. He used the promotional code advertised during East Coast Throwdown to buy the stick at a nice price ($100 + S&H). I've been mashing on the stick on almost all of the fighting games I play now and do see some advantages of using the stick over a controller pad.
I definitely envy and admire my brother. We had our fair share of scuffles in our lives, but it's been a lot better as of late and it's cool that he took the initiative to drag me out and do all these things for me.
If you've gone this far, thank you for taking some of your time to read this blog!
He won, but he also lost. Rock may have kept Roberta, Garcia, Fabiola, and even Caxton alive. But, they're also dead. The lives they once knew, the nightmares they thought were put behind, has now arisen and now that stench is permanently attached to their souls. Rock thought he won for everyone's best interests. No, he won for his own hide. He thought his intellect, strong will, and high morale will be the end-all salvation for all parties. Instead, everyone is more fucked up than ever before.
For Roberta, Garcia, and Fabiola, they will return back to Venezuela with heavy hearts. The once comfortable life they had is now gone. They saw the terrible truths with their own eyes, owned up to it, and return home with heavier hearts than ever. Roberta is still a threat, and now Garcia and Fabiola will live a new life under scrutiny. At least for them, they never got their hands dirty. They played their own cards and came away with what they ultimately got, Roberta. However, it was a game in which they were pieces on the chessboard, played by a puppeteer who toyed with their lives with a gameplay that could have easily backfired. They may have not killed anyone, but knew that a lot of pieces were sacrificed around them to attain their goal.
Rock got shot by a blank from Fabiola. He thought he won. But when she shot him with a blank, and told him that he was still playing with the dead, the truth hit him. He's no better than the crazed assholes in Roanapur. He thought his intentions were noble. He thought he could play the game and come away unscathed. He won, but he also lost. What he actually won is that he's no better than his opponent, a Triad leader. He used the trust of the Black Lagoon crew and others in huge gamble that could have easily backfired. Rock was losing early. To his credit, he stood still and adjusted his gameplan, but it took many more maneuvers and the extreme temperament of the pieces that he played to win. He won the battle, but the war got more murkier than ever.
So there he stands, sitting on the dock of the bay, reflecting on the nasty game he played. Mr. Chang hands Rock his reward, a bunch of money for the Black Lagoon.
Garcia and Fabiola proved that they can withdrawal the temptation of pulling the trigger at the most opportune moment. Rock proved that he has the ability to pull the trigger.
Let me take back that Rock won all along. No. He was the biggest loser.
Why? Everyone around him got more fucked up than ever before.
[Happy endings? Fuck that too.]
Note: I believe Rei Hiroe has resume writing more Black Lagoon earlier this year after he took a break from ending that depressing and gut-wrenching Roberta arc. At this time, I'm unsure if I want to read more Black Lagoon. I sure as hell not re-reading what's already released (nine volumes). After I cool off, I could go back to see what Rei has in store. But man, after a week (10/14 to 10/19) where work was hectic, my brother getting laid off, and handing my parents $1,500 to assist with the ever-struggling business, this dark [initial] ending was just icing on the cake. FFFUUUCCCKKK.
Hello. This is my second blog this month detailing my experience on going to an event for the first time. (I hope my writing is better this entry, my Otakon blog ended up being really messy.) This weekend, I attended my first fighting game tournament, Summer Jam 7, held at the Sheraton Suites Hotel in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, August 17. Summer Jam was a two-day affair, but after a few circumstances fell through, my brother and I decided to not attend the second day of the event. Unlike my time at Otakon last weekend, I felt much more underwhelmed with the experience I had at Summer Jam, which was disappointing as this was my first attendance at a fighting game tournament. I do blame myself for failing to bring some items that would alleviate some of the mundane-ness that I had at the event, but there simply wasn't a lot to do to keep me interested at Summer Jam 7.
[Sorry, this is the only picture I have for Summer Jam. I didn't want to bother anyone else with pictures at the event.]
Summer Jam 7 Day 1 Impressions
I attended Summer Jam with my brother and one of his friends, who goes by the nickname "Mr. Foo". My brother and I were only spectating the event, while Foo had pre-registered to play Injustice. Foo was hoping to go pretty far in Injustice, as he finished first at a tournament held at small anime event about a month ago and finished second at a bar battle held at Copabanana this past Tuesday, August 13. I was expecting to see a large line for pre-registrants to confirm their attendance, but by the time we got there at around noon, it looked like they already got most of the folks who pre-registered checked out. So at least on this point, that was good.
I first entered the main room after receiving my wristband, where they were already running SFIV AE 2012 and UMvC3 team tournaments. The first thing I noticed when I entered the room was Spooky with his set up hugged toward the back center of the main room. I was very tempted to take a picture of him, but refrained. It was kind of surreal going into the room and some of the biggest fighting game tournament players in person. At one time, ChrisG and KnuckleDu were standing right beside me, discussing the recent team tournament match they completed and some other non-sense. I didn't spend too much time in the main room, as I only went there to see a little bit of the team tournaments as well as watch one of Foo's friend play his Marvel pool match.
I next went into the MK/Injustice room. I wasn't sure if this was the best room the organizers could get for MK/Injustice, but the room was small and constantly packed the times I visited the room. I missed out on watching Foo play his first pool match in Injustice. Unfortunately, his first match came against KDZ, the EVO Injustice champion. He said that he only took a round from the EVO champ, and was quickly knocked down to the losers. He was eliminated in his next match against a Killer Frost player, where he admitted he had little match-up experience against. Foo was disappointed that he got knocked out so quickly, after he found some success in recent locals. Foo also played a team Injustice tournament with SonicFox (young MK/Injustice player who's won some tournaments himself) and another player. He was approached by SonicFox on needing one more person to fill out their team and he agreed. They won one match before they got eliminated.
I only visited the 3D room twice, where they held DOA5, TTT2, SCV, and VF5FS. There weren't a lot of folks in the room playing the 3D games.
I spent a majority of my time in the anime room. There were three organizers crammed into the anime room running various games there. One group was running KOF XIII only, another group had Arcana Heart 3 and Chaos Code, while the third group ran P4A, GGXXAC+R, and BBCSE. The room wasn't too packed and I was able to make my way through the room. I watched some P4A pool play, the entire BBCSE tournament, and a little bit of GGXXAC+R. While watching some of the BB matches, I struck a conversation with Jonathon, who went by the name "Steel Coil." I told him about my troubles of staying dedicated and getting better at fighting games, playing netplay casuals with some of the Giant Bomb folks, and a few other things. Jon came in from New Jersey and participated in P4A and BBCSE. He's befriended a few other participants playing some locals at the 8 on the Break Arcade held in Dunellen, NJ. I asked him if he met one of my brother's friends the times he was there, and he said no. He also stated that I should've played in the tournament just for the experience despite my nervousness of not being in the same level as the folks in the room. I believe he might make it to the next Philadelphia major tournament coming in December and that I would participate in P4A if I was up for it by then.
Unfortunately, P4A didn't have a great turnout. Only 28 folks signed up for P4A. The tournament did not have the benefit of the sudden announcement of P4A: Climax just a few days ago. Whether or not this will help increase numbers for P4A for upcoming tournaments remains to be seen. There were a few heavy hitters that were in the P4A tournament at Summer Jam: Matt Coma, Colpevole, Grover, and Lord Knight. I left before they ran the Top 8 of P4A (Colpevole defeated Lord Knight to win). Jonathon said that this was a drastic change from last year, where P4A just came out and had 96 entrants. BBCSE got 14 entrants and GGXXAC+R got 19. The organizers were running a tight schedule, so there wasn't a lot of time for casuals in the afternoon. There was a small window for casuals when they wrapped up P4A pools and I was kicking myself for not bringing in my fight pad/fight stick to Summer Jam.
I think the biggest issue I had with Summer Jam is that there wasn't anything else to do aside from playing fighting games. Although it's nice that everyone can play numerous fighting games as much as they want, that's all you'll be doing at an event like this. I should have brought my 3DS to help occupy the downtime I was away from the rooms. The hotel's location was also a negative, as it's located OUTSIDE of Philadelphia. So you can't exit the hotel and wander off to experience Philadelphia. All of the visitors I saw who left the hotel grounds just drove off to the closest Wawa to fetch food there. There were only a few vendors selling a few items: Summer Jam 7 t-shirts, Brokentier t-shirts, and two folks constructing and selling 8-bit sprites beads of fighting game characters. (Foo is friends with one of them, and had a Potemkin made for him.) There were also two people willing to modify fight sticks for a fee.
I'm hoping that Northeast Championships will be a much better fighting game tournament experience, as it should be back at the Holiday Inn with the big ballroom and spacier rooms, and actually located in Philadelphia. I'm hoping to see a bump in participants for P4A after the P4A: Climax announcement, and BBCP will probably be there as a side tournament. Maybe I'll actually compete in P4A at NEC just for the hell out it, though I'm not sure how much time I'll be putting into P4A as I'm doing my best to deal with the stress from working so much (waking up 5AM, working some weekends) and wanting to complete other games from my backlog.
Thanks for reading my blog nonetheless.
There was another player who went with the name "Mr. Foo" at Summer Jam, causing a bunch of confusion with Foo's friends at Summer Jam. Apparently, Foo's friends was giving the other Foo a bit of a hard time. They did meet each other briefly before we left the venue.
You can see me briefly on Bibiquadium's stream during the BlazBlue tournament. I am shown at the 1:57 mark of the stream archive, the guy on the far right with the long hair. LINK
Hello. This is my first blog/thread posted onto the Giant Bomb forums. I apologize in advance for any typos or grammatical errors written in this blog, which I'll summarize my experience in attending this year's Otakon (Otaku Convention) held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland on August 10 & 11. I thought it might be interesting to share since there's a group of anime fans here in Giant Bomb.
Overall, I had an enjoyable experience at Otakon, even if I have not watched an anime nor read much manga the past couple of years. Though my brother and I missed out on the first day of the convention due to work, going through the entire day on Saturday was pretty overwhelming and exhausting. Here's a quick list on what I liked and didn't like at Otakon 2013.
Lots of Activities: There were plenty of events offered at Otakon, whether it's watching anime, attending panels, getting autographs from special guests, participating in workshops, playing video games, or browsing and buying stuff from artists/vendors, there's always something going on around the clock.
Energetic Atmosphere: There was a constant aurora of enthusiasm with I felt emitting from the Otakon attendees. A lot of them walking around with a smile, offering random high-fives and fist-bumps, and chatting with each other. All of the cosplayers that I asked to take picture for were friendly and didn't hesitate to stick around and pose for me.
Quality Cosplay: I was bracing myself to see some terrible cosplay, but that didn't occur at all. In fact, I came away impressed with the high quality of cosplay I came across at Otakon.
Lot of Non-Anime Cosplay: There were plenty of video game cosplay on display at Otakon, which makes sense on how much anime and video games blend in with each other. The majority of cosplay pictures I took were from video games, as I recognized those characters quickly. There was plenty of comic book (a lot of Deadpools) and other random cosplay on display.
Hard to Navigate Halls: I feel for the organizers overseeing this event as they were doing the best the can with the allotted space of the Baltimore Convention Center. Terrible logjams on the hallways and generally not a lot of open space to breathe. At the closing ceremonies, the organizers recognized the lack of space from the large amount of attendees and announced that Otakon will be moving to a much bigger center at Washington DC in 2017, after their current contract with Baltimore ends.
Volunteer Staff: I was in agreement with Zac from Anime News Network that the majority of the volunteer staff... was a bit "high on themselves." Some of them acted pretty crude while they could have handled some petty matters more politely.
Baltimore?: I apologize to those who live and love Baltimore, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of other options for those who want to see what else Baltimore offers. The inner harbor is beautiful, Camden Yards is right by the convention center, and there's a visitor nearby too. But... that's all I found from what I gathered from the Otakon guidebook on Baltimore. [Luckily, my brother did a bit of research and found some neat food places in Baltimore, though they were quite the distance away from the Convention Center.]
NOT TAKING MORE PICTURES!: I probably should have took pictures of the panelists, Artist's Alley, Dealer's Room, and Video Game Room to at least show something about them. I also wanted to take more pictures of some cosplayers, but either they were heading the other way or were occupied with something and didn't want to bother them from what they were doing at the moment.
Would I Attend Again?
I don't mind attending again, knowing what I know now. It was fun walking through the halls and looking at all the cosplay. The panels I attended were interesting and the Dealer's Room was tempting me to spend more. If I do go next time, I'll do my best to catch more of the anime viewings and industry panels. However, dealing with the overcrowding of the narrow halls and the lack of other areas to visit in Baltimore are definitely drawbacks that would make me second guess on going again.
Funimation acquired a majority of the Sunrise anime titles from Bandai and will plan to reprint and distribute in North America.
World Premieres of the final three episodes of Oreimo 2 and the English dub to Wolf's Children.
I attended the Vertical, Inc. panel because I really loved the two manga I purchased from them (Sakuran and Utsubora) and love the more mature and out of the ordinary offering from their manga catalog. The panel was ran by Vertical's marketing direct Ed Chavez. He allowed some fellow Gundam cosplayers pose with him and I took a picture of the group. Ed also regretted that he didn't have a lot of time to talk about what he wanted to discuss, so he primarily focused on the current and upcoming releases and then provided a quick run through on how a manga gets from Japan to North America.
Ed gushed over two Vertical licenses that have been their highlights as of late, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (hence Ed cosplaying as a Gundam character) and Chi's Sweet Home. He discussed the struggle on how Vertical's plan on publishing MSG: The Origin manga against Sunrise's demands. He notes that Sunrise liked every volume to show a character, but Vertical somehow convinced Sunrise in using alternative covers for the North American release. In regards to Chi's Sweet Home, the tenth volume, which is going to be released this month, was going to be the final volume for the manga. However, when Konata heard how successful her manga has been doing in North America, she decided to write three more volumes of the mange before officially ending it.
One of Vertical's upcoming releases that I look forward to is Insufficient Direction, a silly autobiographical story of how Moyocco Anno fell in love with her husband, Hidaeki Anno. If Hidaeki Anno's name sounds familiar, he's the guy who directed the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime. Ed also revealed that Hidaeki is a huge sci-fi geek and is a vegan. It'll be interesting to see Moyocco's side on how she fell in love with Hidaeki and whatever personal peeves that have.
Another upcoming Vertical release that got me excited was Tropic of the Sea. I was excited to hear this release because this manga was written by the late Satoshi Kon, the famed director of many noteworthy anime such as Perfect Blue, Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, Paranoia Agent, and Paprika. Before he went full time as an anime director, he was a manga author. Ed did say that his trademark psychology is prevalent here in this manga, and showed a page of how well he can draw.
I was intrigued and applauded Vertial's lone new acquisition revealed to the panel, What Did You Eat Yesterday? The manga is a story of a gay couple, one of the a lawyer, the other a hairdresser, as they discuss how their days are going over dinner. Ed stated that this story revolves around a true gay couple and touches on the challenges each face concerning their relationship. They are scheduled to release the first volume in March 2014 and spans through ten volumes.
In the second half of the panel, Ed quickly ran through the process on how a manga gets from Japan to North America. He didn't have time to go through the details, but listening to him explain the process, I certainly had much respect for all companies, especially the smaller ones, on how tough it is to license a title to here. One interesting fact that was first touch on was royalty payments. In the western territories, the amount of the royalty payment results on how many copies of the manga were sold. In Japan, royalty payments are dependent on how many copies of the manga were printed. There was also a distinct difference on how much of a cut of the sales the different parties make with printed copies versus digital copies.
How to Build an Arcade Stick 201
This panel was presented by a group called Destruction XIII, led by Shoryuken editor MyLifeIsAnRPG. This is a continuation of their panel from last year. This year, they primarily focused on crafting a new stick called the "Stick-Box", dual-modding, and touched on a few other aspects of stick building. It was interesting to see a fight stick that has both a joystick and hitbox buttons on a box. It looks weird, but the panel explain on the many advantages and shortcuts that players can use with a combination of the joystick and hitbox in a fighting game. One example on how this stick-box is advantageous over conventional fight sticks is the use of charge characters. Stick-box users can simply hold back on the stick, then press the forward hitbox button to perform the charge special attack, instead of having to hold back the stick, then pushing the stick. It was also interesting to note how folks figured out how to use the PCP wiring with the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3 controllers and a whole bunch of other jazz to construct an arcade stick. Though only a small group of people attended the panel, the folks who did attend seemed to have some experience in modifying joysticks, asked some technical questions, and were interested for a third panel in next year's Otakon.
I regret not taking a picture of the "stick-box" before leaving the room. Shame on me.
The Weirdest Video Games 3
A panel ran by some internet gaming group that I cannot recall where they discuss a number of weird games. This is their third year at Otakon and it seemed like they had a big following from their first two panels. The group wanted to showcase a lot of games, but due to time constraints, they quickly buzzed through the games they wanted to discuss. Though the majority of the crowd seemed to enjoy the panel, I came away from it less than impressed. I was hoping they were going to pull some deep weird games that no one's heard of, but most of the crowd and I recognized the majority of the titles the group discussed. Some titles that I can recall that were mentioned were Octodad, I Want to Be the Guy Gaiden, SD Snatcher, Street Fighter II: Koryu Edition, and Arm Joe.
ANNCast (Anime News Network's Podcast)
I was getting pretty tired and was hesitant on attending the Anime News Network panel, but I was interested in seeing the ANN personnel in person. I didn't know that they were recording the panel as a podcast. Unfortunately, the panel was not recorded, so those who attended the panel got themselves into a "lost episode" of the ANN podcast. They started off with the cast briefly giving their impressions of Otakon, as this was their first time attending this anime convention. All four (Zac, Justin, Bamboo, and Hope) were generally pretty impressed with Otakon, especially Bamboo. She summarized the atmosphere at Otakon to be passionate and energetic, while Anime Expo's (held in Los Angeles) attendees were more tame and lax. I was surprised to hear her flat out saying that she's enjoyed Otakon much more based on her lone attendance here over Anime Expo.
The majority of the panel consisted of the ANNCast fielding questions from the fans. They had some guests from the industry join in and they took a few questions as well. Zac and Justin answered most the questions while Bamboo, Hope, and the guests pitched in when they can. There was a funny moment regarding a fan asking a question to one of the guests, and the guest promptly danced off the stage. Some other highlight moments was Zac calling out on Vic Mignogna (voice actor), Sentai's English dubs (shitty), and the Otakon staff, and Justin defending Wolf's Rain and providing some anime industry insight.
Dealer's Room / Artist's Alley / Video Game Hall
My brother and I spent a good chunk at Otakon roaming through the Dealer's Room. He was focusing on purchasing some items for his friends for the occasion, since no one that he asked was willing to go. I went after the items that interested me. I was tempted to buy some more items, but I kept my expenditures to a modest amount. The lines leading up to the opening of the Dealer's Room was long on Saturday and Sunday and it was a pain walking through the crowded narrow halls in between where all the vendors are settled. I accidentally bumped into a lot of people in the hall. There were a ton on vendors in the hall selling a variety of items: manga, anime DVDs, figurines, plushies, wall scrolls, wigs, video games, etc. It was pretty overwhelming. Here's my haul.
Valkyria Chronicles Art Book $50
Chie Persona 4 Arena Figurine $42
Naoto Persona 4 Arena Figurine $42
Madoka Magica Wall Scroll $17
Mitsuru Persona 4 Arena Keychain $12
We only spend a short time walking around Artist's Alley. I was admiring all of the work the artist were providing, but was not intent on purchasing any of their works. The video game hall had plenty of games and stations, but neither my brother or I played a lot of games in the hall. In fact, I didn't play any games at all! My brother resorted to playing a few sessions of Beatmania and Pop 'n Music. They were running tournaments for the bigger fighting games (SF IV AE 2012, UMvC3, TTT2, and Injustice). Otherwise, it was a casual place where folks can go in and play. There was also a section for trading card fans with tables setup to play card games. Unlike the Dealer's Room, not a lot of folks ventured into Artist's Alley and the Video Game Hall, so it was nice to walk around, enjoy the sights, and rest up the legs.
Yoko Kanno Concert
Yoko Kanno closed out Otakon with a wonderful concert. I couldn't get tickets to see her with my own eyes as there was already a long line to get Yoko Kanno tickets when we arrived at Otakon Saturday morning. So my brother and I had to settle in watching her performance through a simulcast broadcasted to of the video rooms. She played a mixture of anime songs and jazzy originals. Kanno requested that no shots or camera recordings as she had a visuals complimenting her performance. Her piano was covered in some sort of foam so that it can capture the projection of the visuals on the piano. I recognized the three Cowboy Bebop songs she played ("Tank" [twice!], "See You Space Cowboy", and "Wo Qui Non Coin." She was pretty energetic herself throughout the set, bopping constantly on her seat as she played and constantly thanking the audience. One interesting song she played in her set was the United States national anthem. Once folks figured out that she was playing the US anthem, the entire audience sang the lyrics.
Alright, probably what folks are looking forward to. Here are the pictures I took of the cosplayers I asked to take a picture of. I'm sure most of you will know what character each person is cosplaying as. [I apologize for a few blurry pictures.]
I apologize for the rush of blog activity as of late, hope you guys do not mind. I'm venting out my frustrations.
This year sucks so far from my own vantage point. I was hoping for some breaks at work that would translate into getting more enjoyment from my hobbies. Instead, my job has been more chaotic and stressful. It has gone so bad that I am forcing myself to go to work on the weekends, which I have never done before in years past. I have also shifted my hours from 8-6 to 7-5, so I am waking up earlier as a consequence. Add to that my stubborn insistence of playing games late into the night and lack of sufficient sleep during the week has only added to my misery. I still enjoy playing video games, reading books and manga, and listening to hours of music, but it has not come with the same shot of exuberance that I used to have.
Lately, I have fallen into episodes depression/frustration. I bookmarked a web-comic site called "Depression Comix", a comic where the author draws a four-panel strip on how a depressed person would act in many situations. Though I have not gone as far to inflict self-harm on myself, I am replicating some of those actions with what happens in many strips. I have a terrible tendency of always beating myself up. I never really look at the good side of myself and always highlighted more of my bad actions. The strip that I have posted on the right is a perfect example. Not everything I do at work is done right the first time around, and I feel terrible about it. I go back, make the edits and resubmit. My co-workers/superiors are happy with it, though there's still a bit more work to be done. However, I view it as a negative because I could not do it right two times, and it has taken me a lot longer to get this task done, making me feel terrible.
Here are a few other strips that really resonated with me.
My lowest point this year is when I completely broke down and cried in from of one of my superiors (a project manager) in his office. He was forced to close the door as it took me over thirty minutes before I was able to calm down. I know I should not be so upset over work, but I had it with a particular issue that I broke. I threw some subtle hints that I was getting frustrated with the workload to the higher superior. I was able to hire a temporary employee to delegate some of our (my PAC co-worker and I) administrative tasks. She has helped out a ton and keeping me on my toes on giving her as much work to keep her busy during her time in the office. I noted my frustrations on the memorandum letter I had to write as part of my self-evaluation toward my employee review. The three superiors who reviewed me recognized how hard I am working and vow to find ways to help ease my workload and rewarded me with salary raise this year on my efforts this past year. Even with the assistance and the salary raise, the work remains hectic and frustrating to deal with.
I am doing my best in looking for a new job, but I get so exhausted from work that it is the last thing I think about coming home. I have done a little bit of job searching here and there, but end up getting no good results. I asked a good friend if he can assist me in looking up potential jobs, as he has a bit more open time to look up jobs than I do. Unfortunately, Philadelphia does not seem like it has a lot of openings overall. The city's economy is not well. Considering that they've constantly cut education funding (they laid off over 3,800 school district employees two months ago!), I'm not sure how strong the job prospects are in Philadelphia in both public and private.
Work is the major source of my anger and frustration, but it is not the only source. I also get frustrated on what's going on with the world at large. I do not follow the news as much as I used to, which is good because whenever I do hear something, it usually is not good. It can stem from something serious and not reported as much (Bradley Manning) to something completely stupid (Royal Baby?). It also saddening and disturbing that I feel sort of numb to all the crime being reported constantly. I am also a huge sports fan, but I do feel silly that I sometimes fall into the sport media shenanigans over particular sports news. And... (I'll refrain from going onward.)
I feel for those who are struggling right now. I can not imagine a position where I am not working and earning an income. It stinks that there is not a lot of job openings available. The fierce competition over those few job openings does not help either. A lot of people who are either unemployed or under-employed would like to get themselves a full-time position right now. I can empathize with those who are going through YEARS in hopes of landing a job.
Lest we forgot about all of those who are living under more terrible circumstances around the world.
What's frustrating to me is that I lash out on myself on why I feel sad so often. I can see that I have a supportive family, currently occupied and earning a decent income, and have access to many "luxuries" that millions of others can not get close to. I just keep kicking myself that I should not feel sad, which then compounds the problem. (The strip on the left pretty much replicates how I feel on some days.)
I realize that I am doing so much for others that I have not taken care of myself. I worked countless hours for my job, support my parents with their business troubles, and do a lot of small things in hopes that other people are happy at that moment. I guess I'm so wired about looking after others, then whenever I have a moment to myself, I always yearn for something to turn the tide for my own happiness.
I am amazed that I have been able to stay afloat against the stress, even if the stress that I experience is insignificant compared to what others are dealing with. It's always takes a lot of energy just to say to myself that I am doing the best that I can under my own circumstances. I am strong in a way. But I do not possess a steel will, and the challenges to maintain an open mind continue to be draining.
At last, there's that source of frustration that arises from the same activities I participate to distract myself from those same frustrations in the first place. It's never fun to get into an activity you love, only to find that it's adding more fuel to the (frustrating) fire. I have enjoyed a majority of music that I have acquired and listened to this year, the books that I read are pretty good, and the manga that I picked up have been good reads as well. Video games have been a mixed bag. I enjoyed most of the games that I played and completed so far this year, but there were many moments that just made me want to flip shit. My favorite game so far this year that I played and beat, Etrian Odyssey IV, had its fair share of moments where I wanted to chuck my 3DS out the window. Still, the games provide a solid amount of good vibes that mitigates some of the stress I am dealing with, though I wish I could enjoy these games more than a simple smile and saying the game was fun with a short explanation.
There is one certain gaming genre that always conjures up a never-ending mixture of joy and frustration. I am hopeful that I can write a mini blog series on my numerous thoughts on this genre. It's always been in the back on my mind and something that I want to simply get off my head and share. I may get some interesting reactions...
I'll end my venting here. To those who read this blog entry in its entirety, thank you. You are a very kind person who spent some of your time reading my thoughts. I wish you the best in your current endeavors. I will do my best to stay strong and work toward bettering myself, slowly and surely. It will not be easy.
I'm late to the party with the Ryan Davis tributes, I've been meaning to write my own tribute to him since the news of his passing broke last week. Many Giant Bomb users have already written wonderful tributes to Ryan, along with numerous users reminiscing favorite Ryan moments and organizing meetups to celebrate what Ryan has provided not only to Giant Bomb, but to the entire video game industry. The reaction to Ryan's passing has been incredible. A lot of us have never met Ryan in person, but the way he condones himself in the various content he has produced in Giant Bomb really connected with the community. Many people have wrote that Ryan helped them out in many ways. He helped a lot of the community get over their struggles, whether it's a rough day of school or work, or battling some demons, Ryan pulled us out of that rut many times. To see someone to provide that jolt of happiness through the fog of unhappiness is an amazing. I wish I was as great of a man as Ryan, to always make folks around him smile. The 9 July 2013 Bombcast and the numerous tributes from fellow gaming personalities and websites just reinforces how much he means to the rest of the Giant Bomb staff and the video game industry.
Unlike many of the users here in Giant Bomb, I'm still relatively new to the site. I first learned of the site from my brother in late 2011. I lurked around the site for a bit before registering as a Giant Bomb member in February 2012. I enjoyed what the site provided and initially paid for a silver membership the following month. Despite the nerves when Giant Bomb was sold to CBS Interactive that month, I held firm and bumped up my support for the Giant Bomb staff the next month with a gold membership and renewed recently. I am very happy to be a part of Giant Bomb and to support the staff with my subscription, though I don't feel like I am a true Giant Bomb fan. I haven't watched a lot of the Quick Looks, listened to only a few Bombcasts, and occasionally catch a live TNT or other live streaming event. There is so much content to sort through and if I had the time, would like to revisit some of the past material that the community has heralded. Looking through the Ryan tribute thread, I haven't watched a majority of events that the users have posted as their favorite Ryan moment. There are a few Ryan moments that I have caught that were very memorable, which are the young Brad Muir reaction and the Found Me the Bomb reveal. Those were pretty awesome. I'm sure I'll have the same reaction if I watch the numerous other memorable moments on that thread.
I hope no one frowns upon me for my lack of "Giant Bomb-ness", but I wanted to share my thoughts on how wonder this site is as well as give my respects to Ryan for all of the wonderful content he has provided not only here in Giant Bomb and at his time in Gamespot. My condolences to Ryan's family and friends. Take as much time as you guys need and I'm sure the Giant Bomb community will do everything to help them get through what they need. I have made a $10 donation at Child's Play that was created in Ryan's honor, and at this time, currently contemplating purchasing the "Fuck, Ryan Davis" t-shirt to help support his family.
I will do my best to be a good person to those who I've come across. I am honored to be followed by 14 Giant Bomb members and to have communicated with many more. I had a ton of fun being a participant of the Giant Bomb Persona 4 Arena tournaments organized by FluxWaveZ. My PSN's friends list was empty before P4A came in. Since then, it has populated to close to 30. I also enjoyed putting some time in contributing to the GB wikipedia for a couple of games. I hope the work I have put in is satisfactory. I hope to do more wikipedia work down the road, though my job eating up more of my time and energy isn't helping. I will also do my best to enjoy playing video games, just as much as Ryan did.
Ryan may have passed from this world, but he lives on forever in our hearts. Many thanks Ryan Davis.
“To work on something – even on a video game – for 12 to 15 hours a day for a year is not enjoyable or fulfilling. I have no doubt that to make this game, hair was grayed, health was ravaged, friendships were tested, and marriages were strained.
What I’m saying is that these glorious games are, in real and measurable ways, born of human misery.”
I took that quote from Tom Bissell’s 14 June article on The Last of Us. While you can question whether this applies to all video game development studios, you can’t question that developing these games on tight budgets and schedules puts an enormous amount of strain to everyone involved. In the end, these studios hope that their product sells enough units to make profit. It’s disheartening to see many development studios and publishers close doors due to their games not making profit. Of course, if a bad game is developed and published, then shame on them. However, to read stories such as Tomb Raider not successful despite selling over three million units, something’s not right with the industry. The ones really get hurt are those the thousands of hard working people that get the passing name credit in the game, whether they’re a tester, coder, programmer, animator, marketer, etc. While we may react to those who are more visible in the industry, lest we forget that there’s hundreds of thousands of people that are continuing to ride the video game industry to where it is today. Without all of them, we won’t be able to experience and discuss numerous games that they have worked on for years for our enjoyment.
My job has been pretty hard on me in the last few years or so. The president and CEO of the company visited the Philadelphia office on 18 June to talk about the health of the company. His “town hall meeting” was positive, where he showed numerous figures and graphs on how quickly the company has rebounded from the 2008 economic breakdown. In 2011, the company has posted a modest rebound in profit margin. The profit margin grown last year and he expects the margin to become better this year. He also noted that he expects record setting revenues this year, based on how much the company has already recognized as revenue from the first five months of the year. This may sound like its good news, but how much of that increase in profit margin has come at the expense of an employee’s health. While I may not log as many hours compared to folks in the video game industry, I’m still logging over forty hours per week and not seeing the benefits of the fruits of my labor. It doesn’t help that I’m not enjoying what I’m doing here, compared to some others who can deal with the hours just because they enjoy what they’re doing. Funny enough, I do envy the work that my fellow employees are doing here. I work in an engineering consulting company, and I’m always fascinated with the schematic plans my company produces on numerous projects held all around the world.
It’s been hard for me to enjoy my hobbies when I’m spending more of my time every week dedicated to work. I still enjoy reading a great book, playing a great game, or listening to great music, but I have not expressed as much excitement over those things as much as I used to. At this point of the year, there are two games released this year in North America that I have really enjoyed my time with, Fire Emblem: Awakening and Etrian Odyssey IV: Legend of the Titan. I’ve completed the story and logged in close to 95 hours in Fire Emblem, while I’m still going 110 plus hours in EO4. Both games are awesome in my eyes, but I don’t feel the overwhelming joy that I used to have. I fault that to my hardened perspective from working so much, seeing my family and some friends struggling with whatever endeavors that have on their hands, and my continued stubbornness and carelessness of beating myself up.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to do whatever it takes to keep going. I hope to all the tireless workers out there, doing whatever you’re doing, I sincerely hope all of you are doing well. I still don’t know how hard all of you have it out there, and I still have a lot to learn myself, but you have my thoughts. I wish I can provide some more comfort to my parents aside from giving them numerous amounts of money from my own pocket to help fund their struggling grocery store business.
Leaves Eclipse the Light
“He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.”
I believe that quote is taken from a Chinese proverb. The meaning is obvious, but I don’t entirely agree with it. Obviously, there are some people who should be better off not speaking out their thoughts, but there are many others who I feel like they make compelling arguments that others should read and take note of. I envy those who are able to provide great reasoning as I always fall short of providing such on numerous topics. I’ll heed to the fellow users who are still hanging out in the IRC GB_P4A channel as such folks. (You guys know who you are, you guys are awesome!) The majority of topics revolve around video games, but there’s also a bit of television, movies, music, and other topics that get discussed in the room. I don’t delve myself into too many of their conversations because simply I haven’t played as many games as they have, nor know as many other things in video games. I’m amazed every time I return from work each weekday to see the users there discuss whatever they’re discussing. I do have my own thoughts regarding some topics, but I always fail to articulate why and therefore I refrain for the most part. There are many times where I’ll speak upon a topic, only to not see the other side of the argument numerous times. I’m doing my best to see both sides of the court, but still have trouble doing so.
I don’t know much about the well-known voice actors, the visible personalities in the video game industry (the executives, studio directors, journalists, etc.), the latest gaming news, or Giant Bomb in general. I haven’t watched many movies in the last six years or so, and everyone has their own musical tastes. I’m content in being an observer and gaining a bigger perspective of stuff in general.
I realize writing this journal entry puts me in line with that proverb, but I hope my writing and commentary are a decent read to anyone who reads this entry.
Looking for Astronauts
“Something to cry for, and something to hunt.”
Looking back at my video game library for the 3DS, PS3, and X-Box 360, there are some trends. One noticeable trait with my gaming library on those platforms are the lack of high profile games. No Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield, BioShock, Call of Duty, Elder Scrolls, Gears of War, God of War, Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, and whatever big title games are out there. That’s not to say I’ve avoided all high profile games. I do own and enjoyed the few that I did play, such as Red Dead Redemption and Uncharted 2. It’s just that these high profile games don’t interest me as much compared to some other games that I have much more interest in. I wouldn’t mind trying out some of these games down the road, though I already have an enormous backlog with my current library.
A majority of gaming library also fall under the following genres: fighting, Japanese role-playing, platformers, puzzles, racing, and rhythm games. Many of my favorite games from previous generations fall under these genres, so it’s no surprise that I’ve carried that over to the current generation. But unlike my progress with music, where I expanded my music library with an eclectic mix of genres in the past couple of years (ambient, classical, compositional, electronica, jazz, metal, etc.), I haven’t done so much with that with my gaming tastes. The only other genre that has some presence in my library is action. I enjoyed some of the games under this genre, such as the games I mentioned in the first paragraph (Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted 2), along with two Platinum games (Anarchy Reigns and Vanquish) and a few others. There are other action games that I haven’t started or barely played that I’d like to get, though my track record of clearing my backlog isn’t great. I’m not sure what other genres off the top of my head that I’d like to delve into, but I would like to expand my horizons.
Though it seems unlikely, maybe I’ll find the time to start playing games outside of my comfort zone. Platinum has peaked my interest and I’m hoping that The Wonderful 101’s finished product is as good as what they have revealed so far. I may also try out Bayonetta, though I’m still a bit hesitant since that game looks all kinds of crazy. But if I was able to get through Vanquish, I guess I should be okay for Bayonetta? I also got action games like Dead Space, The Last of Us, Uncharted 3, and a few other action games to still go though. It’s not a priority for me as I have my focus on other games, but it’d be nice to tackle something different once in a while.
Sorry for the recent blogging. (I know it's only once a month so far in the last four months, but I didn't intend to blog this much.) Here's my Q1 2013 blog, rounding up some things that's been happening to me so far in the first quarter of this year. I was doing this roundup blogging back in Gamespot and had the urge to run it here on Giant Bomb. Instead of overwhelming you of paragraphs of text, I'll break things down into bullet points, though this blog is still relatively long. :/
Q1 2013 Goings On
Crazy hours poured into work: extra hour or two on the weekdays, came into the office some Saturdays, worked from home on some instances.
Uneven billing schedule caused continuous workload from one month to next without a breather. (I finally got a little bit of a breather now.)
Conducted my first interviews for a temporary accounting position to help out my PAC co-worker and myself. Interviewed three folks. Sent an offer to the guy I interviewed in February, but he declined. A woman I interviewed last week accepted our offer, she'll start Wednesday for us. I don't think she'll help out tremendously, but I'll take whatever help I can get.
Just shifted working hours from 8 AM to 5:30 PM(-ish) to 7 AM to 4:30 PM (-ish). Now I'm waking up at 5 AM!
Concern for my parents: my mom has a streak of gray hairs growing; my dad's been battling boredom and the urge to drink alcohol; both have been asking me for money to pay for their business expenses.
I've been battling myself a lot to keep a clear head. There are some days where I fall getting into some mood swings and self-loathing. It's been affecting my enjoyment of playing games (and my other hobbies) at times.
Q1 2013 Gaming
I am surprised that I completed nine games up to this point. None of the nine games blew me away, but some games impressed me more than others. Five out of the nine games I completed are platformers. I expect my completion rate to slow as I'm currently focusing on two JRPG games and not jump around playing too many different games.
I'm still hanging out with a few other folks at the Giant Bomb IRC Chat Room, through I haven't been chatting a lot with the folks there. I haven't played as many games compared to the guys there, don't know a lot of the big personalities in the video game industry, and not too keen with everything Giant Bomb.
I continue to buy too many games for my own good.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Mark of the Ninja
Super Mario 3D Land
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
BIT.TRIP Presents: Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
Keeping a running list of games completed on my profile here. Wrote some thoughts on the games I beat on DPADD.
Current Active Games
Persona 4 Arena - Yeah, I'm still playing this game, though not as actively as before. I'm still enjoying playing this game despite getting my butt whooped for the most part. I guess it's an accomplishment that I rose my overall win percentage from the low 30% range up to 37.5% currently. I managed to get to a B+ rank briefly in January before falling back down to a C rank. Sometimes I get disheartened by watching high-level Chie play from local and major tournament streams. I won't get close to playing my Chie up to their level ever, but I'll still do my best to put up a good fight.
Fire Emblem: Awakening - I got the game at the date of release (Feb 4th), but didn't start the game until two weeks ago. I've playing this game slowly, been grinding and figuring out who to pair up with who using the DLC map packs. I've had a terrible track record with JRPGs as of late (particularly not grinding enough), so I'm being more methodical with this game. Loving the gameplay as I am a fan of strategy RPGs (Advance Wars, Devil Survivor). This is my first game into this franchise.
Atelier Meruru - Finally got around to start this game. I've only play the game briefly, but from what I was able to judge from the brief time I played it, it's Atelier Totori refined. Slight changes to the battle system, task assignments, and other things here and there. I feel obligated to get through this game since I am the top wiki editor for Atelier Rorona and Atelier Totori. I hope to both complete this game if possible (I failed to complete Atelier Totori) and flesh out the wiki page as much as I can.
Dirt 3 - I'm returning to this game to fill in my racing thirst after I completed Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Forza Horizon. I dropped this game quickly when I first got it at around launch because I got frustrated over the Gymkhana tutorials, but I sort of got it this time around. I don't like doing the Gymkhana events though. The racing events on the other hand, still pretty fun. I'll see if I can at least finish the single player events here.
Bit.Trip Runner 2 - Yeah, I already beat this game, but I found this game to be pretty calming in a weird way and been playing it as my "cool down" game as of late. I may go for an S-rank of this game.
Q1 Non-Gaming Notables
Neurosis/Baroness Concert at Union Transfer in Philadelphia
Read two books! [The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail, But Some Don't by Nate Silver; The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker]
Searching for Sugar Man [Won Best Documentary Film in this year's Academy Awards, fabulous film about searching for the elusive musician Rodriguez and his strange big influence his music had in South Africa.]
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind LP [I've been listening to this album a lot this quarter and helped me get through some of my unhappiness after reading an interview with the singer on some of the song's messages in this album.]
Definite: The Last of Us; Pandora's Tower (to complete the Operation Rainfall library)
High - HAVE FUN!
High - Not to buy too many games.
High - Finish Fire Emblem: Awakening.
Mid - Finish Atelier Meruru and work on game wiki page.
Low - Finish Dirt 3.
Backlog Attack? (Per Platform)
PS3 - Atelier Meruru --> another JRPG (not sure which game)
3DS - Fire Emblem: Awakening --> Etrian Odyssey IV --> Code of Princess
X360 - *groans* Borderlands 2?
Wii - *groans* I don't think I'll get going on the Operation Rainfall games...
Q1 Additions [AKA: Where I Burn My Money]
Anarchy Reigns [PS3]
BIT.TRIP Presents: Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien [PSN]
Darkstalkers Resurrection [PSN]
Earthworm Jim HD [PSN]
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron [XBL]
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan [3DS]
Fire Emblem: Awakening [3DS]
Final Fantasy Tactics [PSN]
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch [PS3]
Paper Mario: Sticker Star [3DS]
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time [PS3]
Asian X-Games Track Pack
Monte Carlo Track Pack
Fire Emblem: Awakening
Rock Band 3/Blitz
Aerosmith - Aerosmith Pack
Buckner & Garcia - "Found Me the Bomb"
Duran Duran - "Girls on Film"
EMF - "Unbelieveable"
Jackson 5 - "ABC"
Magnus "Souleye" Palsson - "Positive Force"; "Potential for Anything"
R.E.M. - R.E.M. Pack
Soft Cell - "Tainted Love"
The Zombies - "She's Not There"
A majority of music albums I buy are on vinyl format. There are a few that are CD format and a couple that are in digital format. Yes, I buy way too many music albums.
Action Bronson - Blue Chips
Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
Arms & Sleepers - Bliss was it in that Dawn to be Alive
Arms & Sleepers - Matador
Brian Eno - Here Comes the Warm Jets
Chelsea Wolfe - Apokalypsis
Clutch - Earth Rocker
Codine - When I See the Sun (Box Set)
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind
Divine Fits - A Thing Called the Divine Fits
Grouper - Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
The Evens - The Odds
Genius/GZA - Liquid Swords
Iceage - You're Nothing
Jawbreaker - Bivouac
The Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law
The Kinks - The Village Green Preservation Society
Kool A.D. - 19
Kool A.D. - 63
Lee Hazlewood - Trouble is a Lonesome Town
Lone Doe - Marion EP
Low - The Invisible Way
L.W.H. - CIA TV
The Men - New Moon
Minot - The Ringing is Silence Between Your Ears (7-inch)
My Bloody Valentine - mbv
Nas - Illmatic
Neuorsis - Honor Found in Decay
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away
Ol' Dirty Bastard - Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version
Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction
Parquet Courts - Light Up Gold
Pig Destroyer - Book Burner
Rodriguez - Coming from Reality
Roky Erickson (w/ Okkervil River) - True Love Cast Out All Evil
Scott Walker - Bish Bosch
Shin Joong Hyun - Beautiful Rivers and Mountains: The Psychedelic Rock Sound of South Korea's Shin Joong Hyun 1958-1974
Shin Joong Hyun - Shin Joong Hyun & The Yup Juns
Sleep - Dopesmoker
Stars of the Lid - The Ballasted Orchestra
Ty Segall - Slaughterhouse
Ty Segall - Twins
Veronica Falls - Waiting for Something to Happen
Yo La Tengo - Elect-O-Pura
The Age of Miracles [fiction]
Girl Friends Complete Collections #1 & #2 [manga]
Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends Vol #2 [manga]
Searching for Sugar Man [documentary]
Shots of my turntable, vinyl collection, and a cool looking vinyl.
[I'm writing this blog to not only pour some thoughts off from my head, but to see how the blog works under the new Giant Bomb site.]
It’s only February and I feel like my body’s already been through more than a year’s worth of work. It hasn’t been easy for me as I force myself to go to the office on some Saturday afternoons and even do some work from home. My company is known to be pretty aggressive in getting projects in the door and during the job. I’m having a hard time keeping track of the numerous projects the project managers are managing over. I try my best to keep track of the tight budgets from about fifty projects, as well as contracts if we actually got one from the client we got the job from. That’s only part of my workload. I’m also responsible for contacting clients who don’t pay, dealing with vendors who don’t like out paid when paid policy, co-workers requests, and do a bunch of administrative tasks such as copying, filing, and mailing.
It doesn’t help that I haven’t been sleeping well as of late in concurrence of work ramping up in the last couple of months. Part of it is my fault, staying up past the time I should be sleeping by playing games (primarily Persona 4 Arena at the end of 2012), or speaking with the few folks still hanging around in the Giant Bomb IRC P4A channel. [I apologize to those in the chat room since I haven’t been speaking much as of late.] It’s taken me longer to fall asleep and been hard for me to stay asleep. I always wake up before the alarm goes off at six in the morning. I try my best to catch up a bit by taking naps on the train commutes going to and coming from work, but it’s not enough. The weekends help a bit, but I never feel like I’m fully recharged in a long time.
I wish I could take a vacation. I’ve got plenty of vacation hours on hand to use. I just have no one to really back up my work in the office. Plus it doesn't look like my workload is going to subside anytime soon. Ugh.
[I also realize that there are many folks out there that are working even longer hours and have longer commutes just to do what they have to do, and I do feel like I am complaining a bunch lately. I’m doing my best to enjoy things and not get so stressed out from work and other things.]
I’m still surprised that I’m still playing Persona 4 Arena at this point. A majority of folks after the Giant Bomb P4A season moved on from the game. There was a decent showing for gravitypenguin’s King of the Hill tournament a couple of weeks ago, but not sure if the participants there are still playing. However, during my time with the game last week, I’m noticing that some of my inputs are coming out during matches. I don’t mind losing so much as my winning percentage is pretty low anyways, but it’s not fun when you push a button and the action doesn’t come out. I know I’ve put a lot of use on the MadKatz PS3 Street Fighter x Tekken fight pad I play on, but I’m finding it disheartening that it’s worn out to the point that it’s starting to miss inputs. I am looking for a new fight pad, but aside from the typical MadKatz one, I’m not sure what alternatives are out there, and if they’re good too.
Not only have that, but my MadKatz PS3 WWE Brawl fight stick malfunctioned about a month ago and is inoperable at the moment. My brother was using the stick when he noticed that the stick was acting funny. After some inspection, he found the stick to be the culprit. My brother hasn’t bothered me regarding whether to buy the replacement part of buy a new fight stick completely. Personally, I’d spend money on a brand new fight stick. I’m leaning to get the same fight stick that my friend Foo has. I believe he has a Hori fight stick. For now, buying a new fight stick is on the back burner, but I'm still considering getting a new one down to road to see if I can get decent on using one with the fighting games I own.
Back when I had more time to tackle games, I usually try for hours to get through a section of a game myself before resorting to help. I also try to refrain myself from looking up guides for the most part. But since work has taken up more of my energy, I’ve started to break down and go look on a guide whenever I get stuck much sooner and more often. Right now, the game that I’m starting to have this issue is Pushmo. I’ve managed to solve almost all the puzzles up until the second half of puzzles from the third set of Deluxe Murals. I’d give the ones I needed help a good amount of attempts before I get frustrated and then look up the solution. I’m on the final set of puzzles at the first one of the final set is already giving me fits. I want to complete it, but I think I’ll have to put an asterisk next to it when I put it on my games completed list due to the number of puzzles toward the tail end of the game that I had to look up solutions for.
Another game in which I may complete the game by following a walkthrough route is Atelier Totori. I actually tackled Atelier Totori on my own, but reached a game over when I failed to accumulate enough points to move on to the final license rank. The worst thing about it is that I put so much time into playing Totori, only to fail to get to the ending after so long. I still have Atelier Meruru that I haven’t started yet. If I get around to it, I’ll go ahead and play Meruru as I’m determined to fill out the game’s wiki page on Giant Bomb, and then go back to Totori after whatever result I end up getting from Meruru.
I still have a boatload of games that either I haven’t started, or stalled so bad that I’d be best to start over rather than continue from where I left off. The genre that seems to get hit hard from my backlog of games are JRPGs. Here’s my current list of JRPG games where I have not completed.
Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Ni no Kuni
Resonance of Fate
Tales of Graces F
Tales of Vesperia
The Last Story
Pandora’s Tower [on pre-order]
SMT: Strange Journey
The World Ends with You
Fire Emblem: Awakening
Unfortunately, JRPGs require so much time and attention that I’m going to have a hard time even getting through one of those games. I could knock out a couple of other games from my backlog in the time dedicated to complete one JRPG game. I still enjoy JRPGs as some of my favorite games of all time are from that genre (Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, Radiant Historia), and I hope I can get some of those games wrapped up eventually, but the sad truth is that I’ll probably never get around to most of those games.
I hope no one is bothered with these blogs I write about. I think for the future, I plan on doing a quarterly summary of games and some other things and write about certain items that I really enjoyed over the quarter. I also have one silly special blog in mind, though I’m not sure if I want to follow through on that one.
I want to give out my personal good luck to a few of my friends competing in Winter Brawl 7 this weekend. My good friend Foo is participating in three games: King of Fighters XIII, Street Fighter x Tekken 2013, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. You can watch the main big games on Team Spooky, while Team St1ckbug will handle Persona 4 Arena and other anime-like fighting games (BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend and Guilty Gear Accent Core Plus).