By JJWeatherman 17 Comments
I’ve recently been catching up with season two of “Louie,” Louis C.K.’s self-produced television show. It’s a great show, and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Seasons one and two are both on Netflix. Anyway, there was a scene with Louie in the car with his daughters and one of them says that she’s bored. As you’d expect from a five year old, she keeps repeating that she’s bored even though no one’s responding. Finally, after asking her dad why he won’t answer her, Louie replies.
“Because ‘I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none-percent of. And even the inside of your own mind is endless. It goes on forever, inwardly. Do you understand? Being--the fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to be bored.”
I don’t get to be bored, either. Thankfully, I can always write.
I recently decided it was a good idea to buy a Nintendo 64. It probably wasn’t. Certainly not financially speaking.
Nostalgia is a fickle mistress. Memories of the past--even the fondest of which--can have their very foundations crumbled to pieces when met with the cutting perspective brought about intrinsically by the present. Even with this knowledge neatly tagged and filed away in the section of my mind labeled “Recall Before Spending Money,” it was nowhere to be found one fateful afternoon, and thus I now own a Nintendo 64.
Do I actually regret buying a Nintendo 64? Was it really that bad of an idea? No, not really. It’s actually kind of awesome! Not for my wallet, but you know. I decided to hit eBay for some more excessive spending and have thus far come away with both Zelda games, as well as Goldeneye 007. Add the three games I picked up alongside the system (Superman, Episode I Racer, and Tony Hawk) and I’ve got a nice little collection going. Ideally I’d still love to own Paper Mario and Donkey Kong 64 as well as Super Smash Bros., but I’ve managed to contain my excessive spending for the time being.
Speaking of excessive spending, I recently bought a new TV. It’s a 40” LED LCD--not top of the line, but it gets the job done. The only reason I mention this is because my newly purchased Nintendo 64 looks horrific on the thing. I thought it looked grimey on my old 26” TV, but stretching that out to 40” makes it, as you could imagine, even worse. My only hope is to look for an S-video cable, but I’m not sure how much good that’ll realistically do.
Not that the picture is holding me back from enjoying the system. I’ve already saved the Great Deku Tree, ransacked a bunker equipped with dual golden guns sporting infinite ammo, and flown through an ungodly amount of rings in my quest to foil Lex Luthor. I’m having a lot of fun reliving these products of my childhood.
I think most of all, though, I’m enjoying just the simple act of owning this system and these games once again. And maybe that’s weird, or sad, I’m not sure. All I know is that looking down at the floor in front of my television and seeing a nintendo 64 sitting there with the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time peeking its head out of the top, I just can’t help but to feel a slight sense of comfort and happiness. Yep, definitely weird.
I’ve also been playing Persona 4. So, once again maybe this is weird, but I believe the Persona 4 Endurance Run produced by Jeff, Vinny, and Drew to be the single best piece of Giant Bomb content to date. The weird part is that I’ll still go back and watch select episodes occasionally. I do this more often than you may think. If, for example, I’m eating something and sitting in bed, I’ll flip on a random episode of the ER. Episode 50 is actually one I go back to often. Anyway, I’ve grown to absolutely adore a game that I’d previously never even touched for myself. I’d never played even one minute of this game, and yet I’d have likely called it my favorite JRPG ever (I don’t play a ton of them). Anyway, I finally decided that I had to play it. Well, I bought it, and now I am.
It’s strange playing a game that you’ve already seen a couple hundred hours of, for the first time. It’s almost like watching one of those movie trailers that spoils seemingly every aspect of the plot, except you know, more so.
Knowing where things go in advance isn’t limiting my enjoyment, though! In a parallel universe Inaba, James(!) Tunoku has transferred schools and has found himself in the middle of an investigation that can only be solved by some sort of... team. Anyway, I’ve been enjoying getting to hear the voice acting at a reasonable volume. Chie actually sounds different to me coming through my speakers. Weird.
Last I left off, my entire party was wiped out by Yukiko’s shadow boss. I’m so ashamed. I was clearly ill prepared for that battle. I’ll jump back in soon and show that giant creepy bird thing who’s boss.
With the Quick Look of the third episode of the Penny Arcade games, I took to buying the first two via Steam and getting into a series that I really wish I’d gotten into a lot sooner. Those games are pretty awesome!
If I were to pin one negative on the first game, though, it would be the excessive need to backtrack through environments. The first episode relies too much on that, and the environments become tiring as a result. It would help if there were a faster means of travel, but the character’s legs only move at one speed: not fast enough.
I really am loving the humor. I’m not at all what one would call a Penny Arcade fan, but even so, these games are funny. So much so that I’ve gone and read a few Penny Arcade comics as a result. I don’t know, I still think the comics are only so-so.
The Gabe and Tycho characters in game are just fantastic, though. Gabe in particular. Terrific facial expressions paired with perfectly fitting, witty dialog is commonplace, and it’s always hilarious. Tycho’s relationship with his niece is also a great source of humor. This is very much worth playing for the laughs alone.
But that’s not all there is! No, there’s actually a fairly involved battle system that requires some quick reflexes paired with a healthy dose of strategy; I did not at all expect this. You’d think a game like this would hinge on its story and humor, but really, the battle system made combat something that I, honest to god, always looked forward to.
Whether you’re reading the outstanding dialog or beating mimes to a pulp, these games are totally fun throughout, and that was a very pleasant surprise. As I mentioned earlier, the only downside is the trek between these points, but that’s something easily overlooked at the end of the day.
I’m a bit into episode two now, and there seem to be more environments this time from what I can infer, but I’m not sure. That alone could make this second episode perfect if the rest holds up as well as it did in episode one.
Episode three is of course a complete departure from this style of game, which on one hand is sad since I’m enjoying these games so much, but on the other hand is awesome because it’s a game by the creators of Breath of Death and Cthulhu Saves the World. Those roots definitely show, too. I’m super excited to play episode three, but I’ve got number two to finish up first!
The other game I've been playing a bit of is one called Crusader Kings II. This is the game formerly known to me as "That impenetrable game that Dave did a Quick Look of that one time."
I picked this game up on Amazon probably a good couple of weeks ago now, and have finally started to dig in. I decided to watch the Quick Look over again before I jumped in, because you know, I had no idea how to play. Little did I know, that was but the start of the deep, dark hole that is my trying to learn this game.
After watching that hour and a half long Quick Look, I still didn't understand enough to get started, and so I turned to YouTube. There are actually several great video series that have been put together informing new players such as myself of the finer details of the game. These are extremely helpful. If you're thinking of getting into this game, I'd highly advise you to set aside at least a couple of hours and search "Crusader Kings II tutorial" on YouTube. Invaluable.
After watching a couple hours of videos, I went off yet again in an attempt to conquer some damn land. I ran into a bit of a road bump.
So I start up this game as the Earl of Dublin. I was trying to follow the path of this guy in the tutorial, at least to start off. I'm sending my council off to do what they need to do, managing my vassals, granting people honorary titles so that they like me more--you know, Earl-type stuff.
I then notice that my eldest son and heir to my land is unmarried. Naturally I declare that he'll marry this 15 year old girl. But of course not for another year, as 16 is the minimum age for marriage. Being that the county of Dublin is so small, my son and heir also happens to be my Marshal. So this guy's got it made. He's the heir to Dublin, Marshal, and he's got a smokin' hot 16 year old wife now.
How does he repay me? The little prick plots to kill me! Luckily I had one of my council members uncover plots and thus discover this, or who knows what would have happened. So I discover that my own son wants to kill me. I decide that I'll try to talk him down and convince him that killing me is the wrong move. I could have arrested him with a good success rate, as after you discover a plot, that becomes very easy to do. But nay! This is my son, god damn it! He eventually did accept my request to end his plot, but not before breaking my heart. As it stands, I'm not sure whether to let him remain heir, or to make some changes in my succession laws. Or maybe I should just kill him. Would that be evil, or just fair?
Whatever I end up doing, or how this plays out, I think this game's kind of amazing. I've only been playing for a bit, and I still don't know a lot of the basics, but I've been able to have these legitimately heart-breaking moments that have really taken me aback. For a game so rooted in menus and text as opposed to action, the emotions that can come out of this game are pretty amazing.
If anyone has a great Crusader Kings story, I’d be interested to hear it. There seems to be an endless potential for crazy, random fun. I guess I'll attach this to the forums in hopes that some fellow Crusaders see it.
Anyway, I think that’s about enough waffling from me. I’m about to hit 2,000 words, and that’s no good for holding people’s attentions.
So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Do with this information what you will.