Final Fantasy VI: My Quest to Finish a Lengthy RPG

Exhibit A: One of the many games I enjoyed, but have been unable to complete

It's not much of a secret that I am terrible at beating games. I wouldn't say I have a short attention span, but longer games usually get somewhat formulaic and repetitive, so I'll stop playing for a while and play something else. That new game quickly becomes my main focus and I forget the former game even exists. Case in point: I have started the original Mass Effect three times. I love everything I've seen and heard about the Mass Effect universe. I love sci-fi and Mass Effect seems like a wonderful world filled with a colourful and vibrant backstory. The first time I played it I got to the first driving section and absolutely hated it, put the controller down and just never picked it up again. The second time I powered on though that part, but ended up getting distracted by another game not too long after. The third time I gave up half way though the citadel stuff because I was doing the same shit I had already done 2 times before.

OK, maybe I do have a short attention span.

Right now, I'm trying to play through Final Fantasy VI. 16-bit (and earlier) console games are a bit of a blank spot in my gaming knowledge. Prior to getting a PlayStation, most of my gaming was confined to the Amiga (and the Philips CDi, but the less said about that the better) so I missed out on a ton of great SNES and Mega Drive games. Apart from the obvious games that have been re-released a million times on a million different platforms (e.g.Mario, Sonic etc.) I've played very few console games from prior to the Playstation. That is something I want to rectify, and what better way to start than with Final Fantasy VI, a game that many consider to be one of the greatest RPG's of all time.

So, fully aware of my attention span issues, I set off on my adventure. It was going along swimmingly. I was loving the story, the characters and the world. The plot was fantastic. It was keeping enough suspense to make it intriguing, but bringing in new plot developments regularly enough to keep things moving forward at a good pace. The story behind the Espers and the War of the Magi was really appealing, and the current war with the Returners fighting Kefka and the Empire was engaging. The characters were varied and interesting, with the world itself being just as diverse.

10 hours in I was feeling great. This was finally going to be the game that breaks my long string of unfinished games. But I always feel like that when I'm playing through the early parts of a lengthy game. Going back to an earlier example, I felt the exact same way about Mass Effect while I was playing through the Citadel sections for the first time. And we all know how that ended.

As I continued, the game started to take it's toll. It became more repetitive. I had to spend time grinding enemies on the Veldt to teach Gau new rages, and to learn new spells from the Magicite. I powered on through this for a while and made my way through Zozo (what the fuck is up with that town?) and on to the Magitek Research Facility. Just over a week ago I reached my breaking point. With the game clock at 17 hours and 51 minutes, I couldn't play any more. Having just infiltrated the research facility, fought a bunch of difficult enemies and gained 7 new types of Magicite, it would time to do some more grinding. I need to learn some new spells and teach Gau more rages. I would be crazy to just plough through the story without learning new stuff first, but I just didn't feel any desire to engage in more repetitive battles.

Frozen Synapse. The perfect game to play on my break from FFVI

But, my story isn't over yet. After giving it a break of just over a week I think I'm ready to jump back into it. I want to further the story, I'm happy to do a certain amount of grinding to achieve that. I think I've figured out how to play lengthy games. I just need to take a break for a while in the middle. Normally within a week of putting down the controller on a lengthy experience I would have found another game to occupy my time and I wouldn't touch the game I stopped playing. But I have stopped myself from doing that. I have played some games, namely Frozen Synapse (which is awesome) and the original Rayman (which I haven't played since childhood and is full of nostalgia) but nothing super in depth. And that has kept my desire to continue the story in FF VI alive.

So, will I complete the game? I certainly hope so. It might take another break after a further 10-15 hours, but hopefully I'll be able to remain undistracted and keep on going to the end. I'll be sure to keep you updated on how it's going.


Job interview tips

UPDATE 2: Heard back. I was unsucessfull. I'm absolutely gutted.

UPDATE: Had the interview yesterday. I think it went well. I don't want to get my hopes up though. I should hear if I got the job today.

Hey guys. I normally don't like to talk about my personal life on Giant Bomb, but I want some advice and I thought I might as well give you guys a shot. So there is this girl I like... OK, that was a bad attempt at a joke about girl advice threads... Moving on...

As any of you following my twitter account will probably be aware of, I had a telephone interview for a job today. It's just for a call centre job (outbound sales), but I need a job. The phone interview was successful but only just. I thought I was confident, but as soon as that phone rang I turned into a nervous jittery idiot. At the start of the role play I totally messed up and stuttered and asked if I could start again. I think I managed to show some potential, which is why they've given me a proper interview tomorrow, but if I can't improve tomorrow I'm never going to get the job. And since the telephone interview went relatively badly, now I'm super nervous about tomorrow.

As I understand it, the interview tomorrow consists of some in depth questions followed by a role play in which I'm given some details about a product/service they sell and I have to act as if I'm the salesperson and sell this product to the interviewer. I think I can do it, but I'm worried about getting nervous and making some big mistakes and screwing up.

Now, I'm basically looking for any interview tips you guys have. Particularly about calming your nerves prior to an interview, but anything you think might come in vaguely useful would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys.

EDIT: OK, one of the other problems I have at interviews is the part when they say "do you have any questions for us?". Apparently it's just as important to come up with some questions to ask them as it is to answer the questions in the interview properly. I always prepare a few questions prior to the interview, but they always answer them in their introduction talking about the company so by the time they ask me for questions, I have nothing to say and I'm forced to give a cop out answer of "No, you've explained everything really well". What are some good questions to ask them?


Game TV Advertising 6 Months From Release - What's The Point?

So I'm sitting here watching the Champion's League final between Barcelona and Manchester Utd. It's the biggest club football match in Europe and millions of people tune in to watch it on TV. The half-time whistle blows and the inevitable irony occurs when the presenter says "It's been an action packed half and we have plenty of stuff to talk about with our pundits. So instead of talking about it, we're going to watch some adverts". OK, maybe it wasn't those exact words, but it might as well have been. Either way, the ironic things TV presenters say isn't the point of this blog, it's the content of the adverts.

After an advert for the newest Ford Focus (an advert which claims the car can park itself in a tight space, and proceeds to show the car parking itself in a space big enough for a bus) an advert for Modern Warfare 3 comes on. A game not due out until November. That's 6 months away. Soon after, an advert for Battlefield 3 is shown. A game that is yet to have a solid release date, but is certainly still many months away from release. It got me thinking, who are these adverts aimed at? Are they actually going to do anything to increase sales? And how much does such a prime advertising slot cost?

For some bizarre reason, I'll answer my third question first. After a little bit of googling I found an article from claiming that a 30 second ad slot during ITV's coverage of the match is estimated to cost £200,000 (that's about $330,000). That's actually less than I was expecting, but remember ITV is only broadcasting to the UK, and I'm willing to bet that Activision and EA would have also had these adverts running on other European stations. It's all going to add up and will end up costing a whole lot of money. And even if it is just a drop in the ocean for a company the size of Activision or EA, what is the benefit? Is an advert this far out really going to help generate sales? If not, the advert is completely pointless, isn't it?

This is how I see it - People like you and I, people who frequent video game websites obviously aren't the target audience. We've already seen the trailers, we've already read about the two levels the press have seen and someone has even put one of the trailers to a fitting new soundtrack. It's pretty safe to say that you're either already hyped for the game, or nothing is going to get you hyped for it. A television advert isn't going to make any difference. So who is it aimed at? It must be the more general game playing public. The type of guy who picks up the latest FIFA, CoD & Need For Speed games, and maybe other games they've seen advertised that look cool. They don't visit Giant Bomb, they don't care about game announcements and they don't watch trailers online.

But do these people care about a game coming out in November? That's so far away, I can just imagine the thought process of one of these guys going from "Sweet, a new CoD game. Can't wait to play that" to "November? Fuck that. Why would I care about this now?" through the course of the advert. And even if it did appeal to them and get them hyped for the game, is it really going to have more of an impact than them seeing an advert for it a week before release? I don't think it will. I certainly can't see the early adverts generating enough sales to offset the cost of them.

That's my two cents on it. It seems mostly common sense. Maybe I'm missing something obvious that the business executives in Activision & EA are aware of.


War of the mods.

So in a random PM reporting a thread that needed to be locked, a war has erupted between the British mods and the American mods over the word "revision" and the differences between British English and the dumb American English in general. I thought that I'd create a blog on it for two reasons. Firstly, I'm sure some of the community may be interested in the argument, and secondly, so we can stop annoying the chap who created the PM by constantly replying to it and reply here instead.

It's also worth noting that the debate has spilled over onto twitter:

And Formspring:


ZombiePie's Giant Bomb Modsquad Zombie Team!!!

You may or may not know this, but there is a small section of the Giant Bomb community who have pages. Formspring is a social networking type thing which allows you to ask people random questions. Think of it as twitter, but solely for asking & answering questions, and without an annoying character limit. Both myself and ZombiePie have formspring accounts.  
Yesterday I decided to ask him the super important question "Who from the Giant Bomb mod team would you have on your zombie team?". I was expecting a quick response listing a couple of names and reasons. I was wrong. ZP went to a huge amount of detail about roles for each of the majority of the moderators. He even wrote on my wall afterwards "I spent more time writing and thinking about your Giant Bomb mod Zombie Team question on formspring than I should have". It seems like a real waste leaving this on formspring where few people will read it (and also, I want to see Hamz decapitate ZP), so here it is:

"I can't decide so I'm gonna just put roles on the majority of the mod team:

Lordofultima would be the heavy lifter and heavy guns experts. He sounds like tough guy so I expect that they can be the main gunner carrying like a Gatling gun or a chainsaw. The reason for this is that everytime I check his twitter he talks about his exercise routine. 

Joseppie would be the quiet type that's a sprinter and ninja like. Not one to be underestimated and good with his hands. He would be the guy that randomly saves your life when you are expecting to die and his importance despite being the "Mr. Blue" type character is highlighted. 

CitizenKane would be the equivalent to Frank West. A brash an energetic go getter that views the Zombie Invasion as something that can promote his career. He's covered wars you know. Sometimes gets into more trouble than he should.

Marino would be the brains with his encyclopedic knowledge. A multifaceted polymath that may not look imposing but can do more than you think. His encyclopedic knowledge can come up with numerous solutions to the trials we face.

TheBeast with his expertise in web design and development would make him the best techie. A hacker or computers/electronics expert could prove an important role when we need to get into buildings for supplies and stuff. He could also fashion tools and items to use.

erinfizz would be the medic/nurse because she literally likes anyone she meets and only wants to help people. She also likes animals especially kitties.

Matty you would be the comic relief that every now and then comes up with a miraculous solution to even the most perplexing and dire situation. Kind of like Ellis from Left 4 Dead 2. You would also be the driver for any vehicles we come across with. You prefer to use shotguns and enjoy the up close and personal technique. 

mracoon is kind of good at Team Fortress 2 so I'm think he has good hand eye coordination so he would be like a sniper or a scout. I lean towards scout because having someone who can map out the area would be very useful 

MB and Hamz would be the dueling leaders. Not to suggest that they would be at each others throats, but they would be more like Spock and Kirk. They wouldn't be like Gene Hackman and Ernest Borgnine from The Poseidon Adventure there would be no feuding. They would each provide leadership and advice that while not similar would always work cohesively to make our group stronger and capable of dealing with any situation possible. 

And me? Well ZombiePie would be the fish out of water character. You know the guy that;s always delusional does stupid shit like bump into a car signaling the car alarm thereby attracting the attention of a zombie horde. I would also complain a lot and ask where we can find amenities that no longer exist like television or strip clubs. Why do you keep me because none of you want to feel responsible for leaving someone behind.

SO there's my Giant Bomb Mod zombie survival team. Pretty impressive isn't it?

P.S. If you post this on the forums I'm pretty sure Hamz would have my head. So go right ahead."  
For what it's worth, I would probably reverse mine and ZP's roles, but aside from that, I really can't argue with anything on there. 
EDIT: And after ZP asked me the same question I responded slightly psychophysically (OK, very psychophysically).




Better Late Than Never: My Own Persona 4 Endurance Run - Part 1

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs I call "Better Late Than Never" in which I will document my playthrough of a game that so many Giant Bombers hold close to their heart - Persona 4. Prior to the Endurance Run I had very little knowledge of the Persona series, yet the Endurance Run had intrigued me, and after watching about a dozen or so episodes, I had decided I wanted to play it for myself, so I stopped watching the ER to avoid spoiling the game for me, and purchased a copy of the game (well, I actually purchased two copies of it accidentally, but I'll go into that another time). However, I'm easily distracted, and never even put the disk into my trusty PS2. 

So here I am, nearly a year later, and I've finally got around to playing some Persona 4. The first hour and a half or so seemed extremely boring. It was probably just because I had already seen it when watching the Endurance Run. It's just setting up the story, and has virtually no gameplay, and I already knew what happened. I just wanted to get to playing the goddamn game. But it did refresh my memory and set up the story quite well, so I can't really complain. One of the main things I was reminded of is how insanely Japanese the game is. Everything from the anime cut scenes to the storyline itself just screams out "DUDE!!!! JAPAN!!!". From the constant usage of Japanese honorifics like -san and -senpai to going to school on a Saturday, it's all mad Japanese. And that's really awesome.
So, after the first hour and a half or so the actual game started with a few fights against shadows and Youske's persona. The fighting system already seems really cool. Most of my experience with Japanese RPG's comes from the Final Fantasy series. The FF ATB system always seems to rely on me constantly pressing the X button in order to issue an attack command, mixed with an occasional cure spell, or an attack spell for the bosses. There was a bit more to it than that, but that summarizes it pretty well. Already the Persona 4 battle scheme seems so much more in-depth, with specific enemies being weak to specific attacks, and defending seeming to play more of a significant role. Overall it just seems more strategy based. 
Not long after, we ended up in the first dungeon, which just seems extremely bland and uninteresting. It doesn't stand out, it just seems like a generic video game hallway. But ultimately it's fine as a location for the shadows to reside and to have some battles. All went well and I rescued Chie with little trouble. 
Next though we return to the real world, and I actually get to explore the world on my own. And now I'm feeling completely overwhelmed. In a way, it seems weird that a game hold your hand through the first couple of ours of a game, and then throw you into the deep end with no warning. It does make sense, since the hand holding was for storytelling purposes, but still, at the moment I haven't got a clue what to do. The whole time management, persona fusion and everything else just seems so crazy. I'm not used to be given this much freedom in a JRPG. So far I've played a few days and I've joined the soccer team, spent some time with Youske and spent some time studying in the library. I have no idea when I should be venturing back into the dungeon to rescue Yukiko, or how much time I should be spending with other people, or anything like that.
Anyways, that's where I am at the moment, about 4 hours in. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it after playing for a while longer. I don't know how often I'll do one of these blogs - it depends how often I have something to say about the game. I'm not going to rush through it - I think if I pace myself I'll have more chance of actually getting through the whole game. And I have other stuff to do, I can't dedicate too much time to playing the game, so I'll be taking it slow and steady.

A drunklen rant

Heys's st patrocks day and ive had a lot of guinness. I think im at the stage where: 

  • I can talk and type legibly
  • I am tallkign bullshite
but if this is complete crap and is undreadable, then i am sorry.
Anyways, here are a few random thoughts that pop into the head of t adrunk person: 
  1. Why did i drink this much?
  4. why, in a shoping senter with one automatic door and lots of manule doors does everione go in and out in the auotomatic foor and no one used any of the the manyual doors?
  5. what does the user name mracoon mean? is it mr racoon, m racoon or just one thing mracoon?
  6. why do i want to constantly tipe the word awesomeness?
  7.  awesomeness awesomeness awesomeness awesomeness awesomeness awesomeness awesomeness awesomeness  awesomeness   
  8. drinking = awesomeness  
  9. jesus, how am i already up to 9
  10. why did i think posting this woudl be a good idea
  11. dont drink its bad for you. trust me kids, dont do it
  12. y0u twittr people are bad for encouraging me.e
  13. i'm about to listen to the laTEST BOMBCAST. WILL IT BE BETTER now WHEN DRUNK OR tomorrow when SOBER?
  15. sex = awesomeness
  16. why the hell am i so fat. someone needs to kick me into shape
  17. how the hell have i vome up wiuth so many dumb and stupid points
  18. why do i find this joke i jiust mad up about my mates recent ex girdlfriend so funny "why did web cross the road? because she was a dumb fuck and you need stop thinking about her!!!"
  19. why did i tell that joke to my friend
  20. why am is uch a terrible friendd?
  21. why am i still typing nonsens when i cood be in bed
  22. i've jus read over this blog gain. i couldn't stop laughting. it's hilarious.
  23. i;m sure it isne actually that funny, buyt its booom funny to me.
Rite, i'm sure thats it. goodnight.


This is a true story!!!!

Once upon a time on a fine November evening, a bear with a green hat and red bow tie is taking a gentle stroll through the Giant Bomb Forums. He is stopping to converse with people. Talking about his favourite video games with some random humour mixed in. Suddenly out of no where, he spots a forum thread titled "is that time again, GB". He is intrigued by such a vague premise. "What is it time for again?" he wonders aloud as his curiosity gets the better of him, and he enters the thread to investigate further. Upon entering the thread, he discovers a horror, an injustice that he could barely comprehend...
IT WAS A USER REQUESTING THAT PEOPLE PUT SANTA HATS ON THEIR AVATAR'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT WAS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To understand the full horror of this atrocity, we must revisit the start of this sad tale. "Once upon a time on a fine NOVEMBER evening". The bear was shocked that this could happen so early. He had to do something about it...
The bear quickly rushed to his secret lair, where he hatched a plan. He quickly drew up a shopping list and headed out the door to the supermarket: 

Tin Foil
Wire Coat Hangers
Red Dye No.2
A Sony Walkman
Elastic Bands
A Car Battery 
KY Jelly
Frozen Pizza
Yellow Paint
Fork Handles
An Audi A4 
A Hamster & Hamster Wheel

He returned with his shopping and entered his tool shed. For days bizarre noises came out of the shed, until finally the door opened, and what should exit...
A Robot Communist exited the shed. "SAY NO TO SANTA HATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" it shouted "SAY YES TO COMMUNISM AND ROBOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". The bear had created an anti-christmas pro-communism robot that will forever be known as "Robot Communist". As he walked down the street into the distance on his quest to rid the world of Christmas Hats, the screams of children could be heard. For all fear Robot Communist, and all will fear him for the rest of eternity.
And the moral of this story?
SAY NO TO SANTA HATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SAY YES TO COMMUNISM AND ROBOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Addicted to Steam

I am addicted to buying downloadable games off steam. I have 130 games on steam, and over half of those I haven't even installed, let alone played. I really need to resist the urge to buy games, and actually play them for a change. Yet when the next steam weekend deal comes along, and it's a game that looks decent, I'll buy it. And I probably won't play it, at least for a while.
I need therapy. I have all these great games just sitting there, shouting "Play Me" at me, and yet rather than playing them, I decide to go onto the steam store, and buy buy buy. It drives me crazy. I just can't resist the urge to buy a game when it's staring at me on steam, saying "Buy Me".
I'm also somewhat addicted to steam achievements. Ever since Giant Bomb got achievement support, I've wanted more achievements. And this worsens my buying spree because I'll see a game that has steam achievements, and buy it, mostly for the achievements. GODDAMN YOU GIANT BOMB!!! YOU'VE MADE ME AN ACHIEVEMENT WHORE!!!!!!!!!!!
So, if anyone knows of a good psychologist in the north east of England, let me know. Oh, and he's got to be cheap, because I haven't got a lot of money after spending it all on steam games.