New Year Forward, or What I'm looking forward to this year

The long, winding road of some philosophical life ramblings. And 2012.

I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions, so I haven't made an exception of this year. You know something? I'm sure you do! But what I mean is, I'm into thinking about what I'll probably do this new year and what I'm looking forward to, you know (you know!), instead of making promises that are easy to break.They're more simple, cleaner, and a week late.

So, without further ado and cliché...

LIFE!

I'll keep this brief.

This is what makes a fun time: a suicide king.

Just graduated college, so I'm looking forward to getting a new job. I know, I know! The job market isn't exactly the friendliest right now, but I'm confident that I'll be able to find something with the experience that I have. Anything is better than the minimum wage jobs I've worked in the past...probably.

To coincide with this, I'm looking forward to moving out again. As much as I love my family, I will be a lot saner in a living facility that does not accompany them. And more free. Gotta love free stuff! Except...well, when you have to pay for it :(

Last in life itself, new friends! Sort of! I reunited with some of my high school/previous college's friends and have found excellent game compatriots in them, so I'm looking forward to spending more time wasting my free time on Apples to Apples, Catan, Egyptian Ratscrew (champion), and all sorts of other games with them this year.

Now, onto the part everyone loves

GAMES!

Clearly, not something expected to be written about on this site. Ever.

This past year, I haven't been keeping as close an eye on the gaming world as I would have liked to, and that's an awful shame. I know more about what's going on in the real world than the gaming world. I'm sure there's a good chunk of you ashamed of me right now, and for that, there's no apology big enough to give, so I'll just say you're welcome. You need someone to be ashamed of, and that someone might as well be stuffy ol' me.

End of digression.

2012 games that I'm looking forward to include:

  • Utopia 2.0: acrophobia edition
    BioShock Infinite

The original BioShock is what prompted me to jump into an Xbox. That, and Sneak King (If you think I'm joking, you clearly do not know me very well). Both of the games are unique and give perspectives that I generally try to avoid: one of a drug enhanced deviant, and another of drug enhanced advertiser. With their powers combined, they give birth to BioShock Infinite! Or not really. That would be an interesting game wouldn't it?

So what was I talking about again? Oh right, Infinite.

I skipped out on the second one for the time being as while the multiplayer looks compelling, the story does not. And that's what's got me hooked onto this new one: story. The story, visuals, sound, and new home to similar, inevitable disaster. It's like the cake I've always dreamed of, or, you know (know), a good game. Probably.

  • My favorite screen of the game so far.
    Mass Effect 3

I love the Mass Effect universe. There's no other reason I'd have bought all the DLC of the first game and gotten every last achievement had I not. Well, that's not entirely true, but I certainly would have never gone back to Antibaar with my Adept (no sniper from previous play either) on insanity for hours and hours had I not cared. I loved my renegade Shepard too much to just drop her at that point and made due, then went through the game a few additional times to see what else I missed. While I still haven't finished going through the entire second game yet, it's going to happen. And it will happen to the third one, as long as it takes after its brother and sister...and not their distant cousin.

  • (Inevitable) Skyrim DLC
    No Keeper simulation DLC, please. That's my one plea.

I am still playing this game weeks after I got it. Normally that'd just say that I'm busy and playing a few hours a week, but balls to that. I think most people understand the depth of Skyrim even better than I have come to learn. The closest games to Skyrim I've played previously are the Might and Magic games. Seriously. I borrowed Oblivion from the library once, but due to compute compatibility/fire issues, the depth was not meant to be. That's not to say I didn't love any of the Might and Magic games, oh that couldn't be less the case. But the customization of things to do is just not comparable at all. Back when Might and Magic VII and VIII were out, I was amazed of course, but the ability to switch warrior, mage, and thief skills on the fly is not something most games can or could do. That is what makes Skyrim so glorious (duh).

So continuing on DLC, I will soon need more excuses to keep playing it. Soon probably means another two weeks. In the next two weeks, I demand instant gratifying DLC. Make it so, Bethesda. I know you're working on it.

  • Racecar driving, cute? Only Kairosoft and Nintendo can do it.
    New Kairosoft games

I am a sucker for cute, isometric, pixelated graphics attached to Japanese things. So I'm a sucker for Kairosoft games. I must be as I own all their English releases. I even got Grand Prix Story, something I didn't think I'd do since I'm rather opposed to things that make me think of NASCAR, but it happened. Chibi NASCAR minus scary rednecks chugging beer and wasting gasoline. That, is the NASCAR that is huggable, squeezable, and all around lovable. And complex apparently since I still haven't unlocked everything.

This year, I need more of the good five dollar addictions Kairosoft has been dishing out. More Game Dev Story, more Mall Story, more heartbreak.

  • Absurd games, good or not; they shall arrive and I shall love they
    Stupid, goofy games

Take a quick look at my wishlist. I'm not showing this off to get anyone ideas, but show what it is I truly appreciate in games: unique, quirky experiences. Good is almost a secondary factor in my decision of what to play. Almost. Let's take Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper for example. While certainly not a great game by any means, how many other games have you slit the throat of pigs heads? Or depict Dr. Watson as a deceased hooker for research purposes? Not as many as there should be, and while these factors do not make a game great, they do make them worth playing if just for those WTF moments. They're worth playing to me, at least. It's what makes games so wonderful at times. I look forward to more WTFery this year.

And that's it! Disappointed? Too fucking bad! Here's a video of a cat riding a turtle. Have a happy 2012!

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The Gaming Tortoise: Fallout 3, Bully, and more procrastination

Gaming Tortoise: n. One who takes a fucking long time to finish a game that came out years ago.

I'm trying to remember a time when I didn't have a backlog of games at my disposal. Maybe when I was ten or so, but even then I'd still have arcade games to fall back on when I didn't quite feel like moving that one step further towards getting the next star in SMRPG, got frustrated trying to get yet another jiggy piece, or maybe just needed a breather between hoing my land and milking my cows. No matter the reason, I somehow got sidetracked into doing something else while the games eagerly awaited my return.

Nothing has changed except my ability to (finally) accept my gaming pace. Unfortunately, with how much I do love games, I have come to accumulate a fairly large collection of games that have either barely or never been touched because of other obligations or guilt at not finishing another game I started months earlier, which leads to even more procrastination.

No. Fucking. More.

Baby, if I went and bought the game, I damn well am going to finish what I started.

Most Recent Finish

My most recent game purchase seems to also be my most recent finish: Fallout 3. Oh yes, I know. I'm such a big person now for accomplishing what others finished many eons ago in the year of 2008 and so forth. I shall forever be praised for being the pioneer of the Capitol Wasteland.

Fuck that. It feels good! This shit is finished!

Well, not quite finished. Part of my gaming coping issues stem from my desire to get all of the achievements in a game (if you saw the hours I pumped into the first Mass Effect, you'd see the issue immediately), or all the collectibles (led me to many hours on Final Fantasy games and Secret of Mana finding the last orbs at the final fortress). While there doesn't seem to be an inherent point to do this other than to say, "Mother fuckers, I have achieved what the world only wishes it had; points!", there are certain games where it just feels wrong to leave at one playthrough and Fallout 3 is certainly one of these games.

Seeing as I played the game as a complete goody goody, sacrificing my strong desire to see what hellish fury may be unleashed by picking one choice and not another, there was no way that I wasn't going to start another game. I spent half of my Sunday killing pretty much all of Vault 101 and running over to Tenpenny Tower as soon as I set that there bomb up. And I stood there, watching the moment where Megaton disappeared into the mushroom of the sky, looking on in an awe that I had been waiting for since I heard about it existing.

I recalled something that my brother brought up when I visited my family the day before:

"The thing about blowing up Megaton, I just did not get it. When you ask Tenpenny about it, he just says it's in the way of the sun or something. There's no reason to blow it up."

I waited around a bit, wandered a little bit more, still looking at the thick dust covering the once lively town. It was then that I decided that I had seen enough for now and needed a break.

Current Progress

I'm not really sure it's the right break, but I'm currently back onto Bully. I find it really hard to believe that I was able to play this game with the controls it has and not remember that the controls were as difficult as they are, but apparently it happens.

I must've bought this game a year and a half ago, leaving me pretty much at the half-way point. Considering how little I'm caring about the story at this point, I will not be going for all of the achievements. It may be painful to look back later on, but it's just not something I'm willing to put myself through. Like hell that I'm going out of my way to collect every last card or rubberband, or doing those mowing the lawn side activities. I hate to break it to Rockstar, but that's not what I consider to be a good use of my time.

I also find it very weird to pause now to complete silence as opposed to when I'd just go to the Pipboy with the radio or whatever environmental sound plays in Fallout. While I'm aware there the pause menu for Fallout also goes to silence, Bully doesn't have an option for this game integration tool. It juts the game out of the element so I can look at objectives, inventory, and most anything else game related, and that's not something I'm happy having now. Still, I shouldn't expect any game to emulate a pause-like menu just for the sake of trying to emulate a fun game. Still still, please avoid breaking the fourth wall.

That is pretty much going to do it for this blog. And because I don't like feeling people left out, here's a video of a tortoise chasing a tomato for those expecting more tortoise in this blog. Enjoy!

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This is the tale of Captain Jack(i) Sparrow

I hate to write a clichéd "I'm back!" post, but I figured someone might be wondering what in the hell I've been doing for the past year due to not participating nearly as much as I use to.



I have been busy with a full work load at college for the past year in addition to working two jobs to make rent (now down to just the one again, thank goodness). I was also doing an internship at the Poughkeepsie Journal for a bit in investigative journalism, but needed to stop due to it not fitting my time, financial, or health schedule, as unfortunate as that may be. Still, I managed to get an award for helping on a solitary confinement investigation, which is pretty cool. What's even better is that as of tomorrow, I'll be done with my internship with NPR under one of their substation's bureau chiefs. Its been quite a fun internship and I hope I'll be able to continue to be just as beautifully diligent a pain in the ass to someone else in the near future ^^



Now, I'm at a loss of what to do with my time. This coming semester, I'll have only seven credits worth of classes to do since that's all I need in order to graduate. Save occupation changes, I'll be working about 35 hours a week. Other than work and class, I'll have quite a lot of free time, especially in mornings. While I will certainly put plenty of that free time towards sleeping, I am having trouble deciding what to do with the rest of it. Well...since one of the classes I'm taking is a video class, perhaps it'll be to work on that, or to study Japanese on the side, or maybe I'll start up a gaming podcast as a few of my friends have been prodding me to do since the stop of the last one I was on. We'll see.


The semester after this I have a slightly better idea of what I'll be doing. Most of the money from work will be going in my savings since I now qualify for aid, and so I'll be looking for a better place to live. Not that I don't like the town that I live in, but I have other plans in mind. That, and I'd rather not live in a communal home post graduation. Hopefully, I can at least find a paying internship that's in my field of interests.


Game wise, this summer hasn't been spectacular for me as I've succumbed to the social game demon. Don't worry too much about that as I'm currently weaning myself off of that, though i hate to say it, i think I'm opening another can of worms by getting into anime for the first time since middle school.

Downfalls aside, I did finally get around to beating Earthbound and opening up Devil Summoner 2 (the plushie inside the collector's box isn't nearly as soft as I had imagined it to be). I've also finally introduced myself to Fallout 3, about a decade after everyone else has beaten it. It's quite lovely so far, so I'm looking forward to exploring more of the wasteland and going through it a second time just so that I can blow up Megaton without remorse. I'm sure I'm not the only person to restart it for this reason alone.

I'll probably be on here more often than I have been this year, but don't expect a lot of blog posts from me unless a meteorite falls on a nearby summit or some otherwise bizarre incident occurs. Here's to another good year, but with more of you guys! カンパイ

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Twitter and irc reactions to the end of Ubisoft Presentation

<WallacetheGreat> dshadhdashg;sdga
<Lamah> wtf
Coltonio: WHAT THE FUCK!?     
Disgaeamad: UBISOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOFT     
TheGamerGeek: No.     
Halveraptor: THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: MOONWALALALALALAKER     
jeffgertmann: What?     
atheistium: People dance fighting... ... ok? /confused     
fiddlecub: Um.     
PenguinZell: ...     
nicholsonb: Uh.     
JackiJinx: Er...    

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How to Enjoy a Deaf Computer

First order of business, if you haven't seen my latest review on Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, give that a look, a comment, and a yay or nay, and then hit up the No New Games Podcast for the latest craziness of myself and the rest of the NNG team. Now back to our regularly scheduled blog post. 
 
As some already know, my sound card decided to die yesterday. While I mourned it's loss and ordering a USB headset, I was scrambling to find ways to entertain myself online without utilizing sound. Easier said than done, babes. So here's what I found out. 
 

Youtube: Captioned 

Youtube is largely audio based, but thanks to the new captioning feature, I never have to listen again. Sort of. We know how well this feature has been implemented so far, so sometimes, old-fashioned large lettering is best. Best example of this? The How Not to Play Hitman series. Not the best thing on the net, but given my circumstances, it certainly has become close to it.
   
Another good thing for me to get back into now would be captioned JDramas and other obscure shows. Although I won't be able to hear the native words like I really want to, at least I'll be able to understand what's going on. Example from one of my favorite shows that happens to both not suck and be anime, Gyuagu Manga Biyori (Good Day for Gag Manga): 
 

Reading: The Final Frontier

To preface this, I am by no means a hater of words. Just with so many other auditory ways to enjoy myself online, reading seems to take a backseat. So I've been going through old reviews, stories, and blogs to entertain myself. It's like the old days when people used their computers by candlelight. Specifically, I'm playing catch-up on Godzilla Haiku and re-reading some of my favorite Chokochoko articles (if queasy, don't click this).
 
     

Writing: It's Something

As already plugged, I finally got to finishing writing my review due to having so much less to distract me. Two days to write that sucker. Two. Days. That's a record for me, and I am proud to hold it. I've also started writing this lovely blog, though if you don't really know me or the people I'm writing to, it probably doesn't make too much sense. So I wrote a letter to you just to show my love. Also, you know, this blog that I just finished (the one you're reading). 
 

Life Outside of Sound 

So that seems to be it for me right now. Not sure when I'll be able to hear anything on my computer again. Maybe in three days (plus shipping and handling), which puts a serious damper on my Japanese learning schedule (which, by the way, going super smooth with over 40 kanji already/in the process of being learned in the last week and a half) and any possible Japanese online teaching I may do via the ears. In the meantime, I shall be continuing my summer backlog journey by venturing into Final Fantasy XII. Hopefully, I'll take less than a week this time.
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Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits Day Two

The journey continues with Arc the Lad. This time, I've gotten up to finishing the second chapter for Kharg, which lasted about five hours...three of which where I was out of bounds from a save point. Luckily, no death yet. It's hard to die in this game. 
 
In today's venture, I dwell on names. What's in a name? Letters? Numbers? An obnoxious number of x's? Maybe so, but names are so much more than that. There's an art to them, a coordination that people usually abide to.  
 

 Guy with the wings? Keeper of the wind? Windalf.
For instance, take the name Kharg. That'd be a damn strange name for anyone that actually exists, but in a JRPG? Totally kosher and expected. Darc? Stupid, descriptive, but again, alright for the game. But then there's a Paulette, Lloyd, Banjo (who is sadly, not a bear), Ganz, and Darkham Ekid na Bard. Not a joke, that's a character's name, and all of those names are in the same game. This is such an issue for me since there's no rhyme or reason for most of these names. They're just there.  
 
That's not even to say I hate the names. Just the people's names. Some of the items are the best names I've seen, with my favorite being Painful Needle, used for curing silence. Why hasn't anyone come up with that sooner? So much better echo screen
 
Speaking of things I like, Arc the Lad has the best swing motion for all doors. Best of all, you only has to step mere inches away from said doors in order for them to automatically open. No button pressing, no running up against doors for time consuming animations, just good ol' self-sufficient slave doors. If you want a really good example of a swing, go to the game's first bar and fool with the bartender's saloon styled door. Should keep you occupied for a good ten minutes or so
 
Alright, it's back to the old sawmill. I need to play catch up if I want to finish by Friday.
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Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits Day One

 To kick off My Summer Challenge (see previous blog), I popped in Arc the Lad last night and started there.  
 
Despite working all most of the day today on a PPT, I've managed to get the first two sections of the game done as of last night, which is not too shabby, but it felt like like the sections were rather short. This is probably due to the very short battles and lack of story progression, or maybe just the progression of a story I've heard hundreds of times before. That's not to say that I knew anything about this game before opening. I had not a clue, but many assumptions in mind: 

  1. RPG stereotypes up the wazoo
  2. Probably not good being it was $5
  3. Standard RPG mechanics
So far, only number one is correct. We have a young, royal hero named Kharu in a small town who clearly has a lineage that he's completely oblivious of, some Deimos (humanistic monsters) attack their peaceful way of life, an important figure dies, and hatred ensues.  
 
BONER. 
But wait! As soon as Kharu declares his revenge on the horrible Deimos, the next chapter begins from the point of view of Darc (superb name) with the start of a cut scene that essentially shows Darc's mother is the same as Kharu's, meaning that they're brothers. Scandalous since Darc is not only a slave, but half Deimos himself! The story goes on to show that Darc's father died when he was young and that he was raised by a bonerific frog lady (see picture) who really doesn't care for him at all. No one does, which I can't blame them considering the voice he was given. He seriously sounds like someone pretending to be a manly man with an incredibly raspy voice(go to 19:19 on this), which makes it all the more funny to see him defend his manhood with, "I AM a Deimos!" Not surprisingly, Darc is also the chosen one, but to save the Deimos from self-destruction. By the end of the chapter, he is rightfully angry, murderous, and out to kill humans and any Deimos that stands in his way.  
 
By far, I'm enjoying Darc's story more than Kharu's.

 GauLight in 2003
Enough of the story, what of game quality? Aesthetically, it looks surprisingly good. Kharu and Paulette (Kharu's best friend, protector, and eventual love interest, I assume) aren't anything interesting to look at (their outfits are reminiscent of FFX and FFVIII, respectively), but as soon as I reached the first battle, there was the sight of Maru's bright green mask and this dopey looking white furball of an enemy's facial expression that animated so fluidly. I was pleasantly surprised as it's been awhile since I've seen enemies that weren't so unidimensional created. AtL: TotS has been trying to capture such emotion in most every character with vivid use of facial expressions, and it mostly works. Mostly. Other times, it's hard not to laugh at how absurdly radical a surprised look comes off (think of the Deadly Premonition faces on a less creepy scale), but I'd rather see the failed attempts over dialog that consists of nothing more than an exclamation point or a few ellipses as it enhances the personalization of the characters.  
 
I HATE THE WORLD 
Then there's the voice acting. The voice acting is one of the few things I'm taking issue with this game thus far, which really only becomes an issue during battles, if you so choose...but I'm one to think that turning off voices is a form of cheating. That said, many of the voices do make me want to cheat so, so badly. For the most part, the voice style suits the characters, except for the overly masculine Darc, saying things like "Must I fight?" every other turn, which wouldn't be so bad if turns didn't go by so fast. So yeah, the voice acting is bad, but since it's used so few and far between, it's forgivable. 
 
 
   
 BO. NER.
Last bit before wrapping up, mechanics. I'm not sure what sort of game this looks to other people, but when I looked at the box, I immediately assumed it was an ATB styled game. Wrong again. This is a turn-based strategy RPG, except with some key differences. First, there is no battlefield grid. Instead, each character has a highlighted circular area surrounding himself designating the distance he can go (even bypassing friendly units planted firmly on the field), and unlike most games of this genre, you can move all around this area as much as you like without having to worry about using up any action points as they don't exist. The battles are very simplistic like that with very minimal information shown on the battlefield, cutting down enemy information to it's name, level, and HP. You can still look at your full stats during your turn, but there's not really a need to confuse yourself with that. There's the basic XP, DEF and what not, but then everything else is unnecessarily renamed or is just plain odd, such as MNT for mental AKA magic or CNT for counterattack probability. In other words, the CNT number says that my character will decide to pull out his sword on a dude X number of times because his stat says so, and he defends in the same manner. I understand trying to be different, but this stat thing is just silly. Then there's this whole with the magic point usage, but I'll get into that and other omissions next time. 
 
So yes, an interesting play so far with so much more to go, but no one named Arc yet! Will this lad ever make his appearance? Stay tuned for more coverage as My Summer Challenge continues to find out!
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My Summer Challenge

Alright folks, here's the deal. I have a mess of games that have been sitting on my backlog for well over a year now, and I currently have a decent amount of time on my hands. While I have this incredible opportunity, I'm going to milk the crud out of it by not only finishing a good chunk of it, but also to review it as well. 
 
So here's how I'll be working: as soon as I'm done typing this blog, I'm going to boot up one of my games from my backlog list that's listed below. I'm going to finish that game within a week (an extra week will be granted as soon as employment is found for the sound, making it a two week struggle per game) and post that game within the next two days of completion. Simple for most games, but once you look at my list, you'll see that I'm working towards the impossible. 
 
Here's the selection of my backlog that I will be working on (in no particular order):  

  
And if time permits: 
    
In addition to this, I shall be continuing to work on my Japanese skills every day, including teaching some online classes and (hopefully) tutoring. This will be a daily thing as well with me going through sections of Japanese readings and translating them, including some video game snapshots.  
 
So really, I'm walking on a very thin string here in terms of time alloted. I'm very determined to get going on this goal and will be updating my blog frequently enough to make note of my progress, so keep an eye out for those. 
 
Time to get started!
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165 Bottles of People on the Wall...

Last week, I sat in my car watching people at one of my college's parking lots to do some research for my Nonverbal Communication's class. I recorded pretty indepth information about walking pace, facial movement, objects being carried, interaction/reaction to others' presences, and more about 165 people. Come class today when the paper's due, I find out that I only needed to do an observation of one interaction. 
 
=| 
 
GB, Why me?

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