MisterDunlap's forum posts

#1 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

@jking47: Read the second part of my previous blog for my thoughts on Katawa Shoujo.

@rubberluffy: It's on my list of VN's to play. I really enjoy ones that have legitimate gameplay!

@Wraith1: Sounds interesting. All the stuff I've played of Type-Moon has been pretty good!

#2 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

Hey guys, books are real nifty!

I'm an avid reader. I always have been, I always will be. It is extremely rare that I'm not reading at least two books at any given time. It's even rarer that I do not have a book on hand at all times. Consequently, I can burn through a book series in almost no time at all. As an example, I just finished reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series. Admittedly, they were written with young adults in mind, but that doesn't mean they can't be enjoyed by something with a few more years. There are five books in the series, each one about 350 pages on average, or thereabouts. The author's name is Rick Riordan, and his website can be found here. I highly recommend his work. Anyway, there are five in total and I managed to finish the lot of them in five days total. In other words, I read a full size novel in one day for five days straight. I do a lot of reading...

About a week ago I started reading a series of books called the Leviathan Trilogy. It's another series designed for young adults, but again, that doesn't really matter. It's about an alternate take on World War I. Except as opposed to some sort of alternate history, it's Steampunk themed. Also, there are weird mutated animal beasties. It's pretty fucking awesome. All the world powers have been labeled as either Clankers, or Darwinists. The former adhereing pretty strongly to the steampunk influences, while the Darwinists are what would happen if Charles Darwin has found out how to cross breed anything and everything, creating some pretty weird "animals."

An example of a Clanker Walker, and one of my favorites pieces by Mr. Thompson.

All the books are illustrated by Keith Thompson, and it's his art, arguably, that makes the books truly special. I know that I wouldn't have such a high opinion of them if they didn't have his illustrations in them. I can't count the amount of time I've spend staring at his artwork on his website, attempting to soak up eveyr single little detail. It's fantastic. He's also the one who drew my current avatar image. It's one of the main fabricated animals from the books, posing with a false mustache. It's called a Perspicacious Loris. I want one. A lot. Anyway, I read through those puppies in about a week. They are very good. I can't recommend them enough.

As soon as I finished those, I immediately started on a series I'd been recommended by a few friends. Apparently they're something of a big deal, although I'd never heard of them. In fact, just this Christmas, my mother purchased me the first three books in the series. I have no idea how she heard about it. So, they've been sitting on my shelf for awhile, and in my desperation for something to read, I grabbed the first one. Now, this is quite rare. I hardly ever just "grab" a book to read. I almost always have several books lined up, each one awaiting my attentive eye. However, on this occasion, my list had failed me, and I was wondering what to read. After about an hour and half wandering around the local library, I went home slightly dejected by my failure. It was then, as I was poring over my shelves of books, I noticed those. I grabbed the first one out of curiosity, and started reading. These books are in a series called The Tale of the Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock. The one I had picked up out of desperation was the first in a series of compilations called the Omnibus editions, and as far as I can tell, they are simply a series of stories, of varying length, all revolving this weird place that Moorcock has dubbed the Multiverse. In it, universe upon universe is layered upon one another, creating an infinite amount of worlds, and plenty excuses for any sort of story the author may wish to write.

I haven't read enough to find out whether this is merely an interesting little contrivance, or whether this will have some integral part of the story all together. So far though, I have come across no major continuity between the various stories. Aside from the fact that apparently every single protagonist is the same person. Sort of. I haven't quite figured it out myself. Apparently he is infinite in his existence, and lives life after life, somewhere in this Multiverse, essentially making him immortal. It's as yet unclear whether he retains all the memories of his past life in each new reincarnation. It's a little convoluted, although I'm hoping that I'll be able to sort it all out in time.

Well, regardless of the peculiarities of the storytelling, there can be no denying the skillfulness that the author uses to weave all these stories together, and make you care about every single protagonist, even if it is the person after all. The first story in volume one is something of a whopper, all by it's lonesome. I would have been content just with that, but I can't explain just how happy I am that there are so many more stories for me to read. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to it.

Visual novels are slowly consuming my soul and my sleep...

As stated in my previous blog, I started reading visual novels. A lot... I've read almost fifteen since I last posted my other blog. And not short ones. I'm talking about stuff like Fate/Stay Night, Clannad, and Ever17. Loooong stuff... It's fantastic. I'm completely addicted. Let me put it this way. During the day time during my spare time I read physical books. However, as soon as I get home I boot up my computer, feed my cats, check GB, then boot up whatever VN I happen to be working on at the time. I then proceed to play/read it until about two or three in the morning, at which point I head to bed. Oh, did I mention I have to get up at six the next morning? So yeah, there's that too.

Despite this fact, I persist in my reading. They are simply too good not to read. I can barely believe that I haven't gotten into them before now. So far, the stories, (and on occasion, the gameplay) have not disappointed me, making me very glad that I stay up all night reading them. Currently, I'm working on my first play-through of Sengoku Rance. It's pretty fucking good. Go play it. Do it, right now. It's like all my favorite games rolled up into one awesome bundle! It's got the dialogue and item management of Fire Emblem, the game board of Risk and Civilization, as well as the "gotta catch 'em all" feeling of Pokemon when it comes to the commanders and the battles. It's so good... The funny thing is, I don't even completely understand the damn game yet! I still have to rely heavily on the wiki. That thing is my crutch, and without it, I would have given up a long time ago.

Also, as I write this, I have Edelweiss downloading in the background, and I'm about to hop into that as soon as I'm done with Rance. I've heard lots of good things about it, and I'm eagerly awaiting my chance to play it. Actually, I've had something of a time finding good downloads for most of the VN's I've read. In fact, I spent almost an hour this afternoon just trying to find a good torrent for Edelweiss. Apparently, there's a very popular song by the same name, so I had to worm my way through all that nonsense before I could get to what I actually wanted. I think that doing all that work has helped me learn how to better navigate the internet, and make Google pull up what I actually want from it...

So, in conclusion, I read a lot, I've learned a bit about finding obscure shit on the internet, and Perspicacious Lorises are fucking awesome. Yeah. That seems right. Oh, and Rance is awesome. Can't forget that.

#3 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

@Galiant: Happy to help. I'm glad someone found it for you!

#4 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

@BlatantNinja23: I'm not trying to deny that I'm an asshole, just that I'm not as bad as some.

#5 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

I just looked through a good twenty or so Google pages looking for something that seemed remotely like that you're describing. It sounds interesting and I'd like to know more about it myself, but I didn't have much luck. I might try my luck at another point, but for now I wish you luck in your search.

#6 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

@Animasta: @Cloudenvy: Would you be willing to recommend some for me? I'd like to compare them for myself.

#7 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

The Part About Piracy

It's incredibly ironic that almost as soon as SOPA and PIPA are shot down I start pirating. Now, I'm not some sort of asshole who never pays for anything online. I have too much respect for developers to do that. So far the only thing that I've actually pirated are Microsoft Office Suite and Photoshop, and only that because I'm poor. I have no qualms about actually paying for software, it's just that my cash influx leaves me little room for expensive shit like that. Also, I needed to use those programs really badly at the time, and pirating them was my only truly viable option.

I've tried pirating before in the past actually, when I was younger and didn't understand the internet and computers as well as I do now. When I think back on it I realize that the only reason I didn't become a chronic pirate is that I didn't understand how torrents worked and I was too lazy to figure it out. It was easier just to pay for whatever it is that I want. And so the internet was saved from the greatest pirate the world had ever known because he was a lazy teenage prick. At least, that's how I like to think about it. Obviously that's something of a massive exaggeration, but still. In my zeal for pirating I would destroyed my computer a hundred times over from viruses I would have unwittingly downloaded, and my mother would have flayed me for it...

Actually, the more and more I think about it, I'm really glad I was a lazy asshole. As I've gotten older I've become far more appreciative of the work that developers do to get their product out there, primarily in the video game field, although of course that's not restricted to that only. Actually, about a year ago I pirated Plants vs. Zombeis. It left a horrible taste in my mouth. I deleted it from my hard drive the next day, and promptly bought it myself. It made me feel better, but I've never forgotten who guilty it made me feel, and since then I try not to let myself pirate, unless, in this case, my school career is on the line. Also, it makes me feel better knowing that had I actually bought the software, it would have set me back about the amount of money I make in an entire year.

Well, when I sat down to write about pirating, in my mind I saw page after page about my experiences with pirating, but that has yet to materialize. I doubt it ever will. Still, it feels good to get my thoughts down in writing (okay, fine, typing). Anyway, that's my own personal battle with piracy. I'm not trying to influence anyone, but if I do, I won't count it as a loss.

The Real Reason I'm Writing This

I just finished Katawa Shoujo. It was possibly the most powerful thing I've ever read before in my life. Let me put that in a bit of perspective. I have been reading since I was old enough to comprehend language. I have no clue how many books I've read in total, but I'm never far from something to read, and I constantly have as least three books sitting on my desk waiting to be read. So, for a Japanese visual novel written by a group of (supposed) twenty-somethings to affect me so profoundly, it has to be pretty fucking fantastic.

I had never heard about it until a few days ago, and that was caused by my own boredom as I waited for my Photoshop torrent to finish downloading (see first section). I had been puttering around on GB for a few minutes before I stumbled upon the main page for the Katawa Shoujo. I'm not going to lie, when I saw the word eroge in the description I became somewhat excited, and promptly started downloading it. I'm not ashamed to say that the reason I started reading this masterpiece was because I was horny. I had not read any of the blog or forum posts about it, and had no prior knowledge of how good it was, and I maintain that it was thanks to this that it had such an effect on me.

I started reading, and was impressed by the artwork and the music, but only half payed attention to the actually dialogue, expecting the already mentioned eroge elements to kick in immediately. I was quickly disappointed, but as I became bored, I started to actually pay attention to the writing itself. As I slowly realized what I had been missing I jumped out of that game, and started again fresh, not wanting to deprive myself of any of the skillfully written dialogue. The more and more I read, the more I wanted to see. I spent a approximately four hours reading before my hubris got the better of me. I was so confident in my computer (or something), I had been neglecting to save regularly, and because I have my computer set to restart on that night, it shut off on me. For a few seconds I stared at the blank monitor that had held my attention so raptly not a moment before. It was then that I screamed. It was a sound of anguish and misery, one which I had never heard issued from my throat before. It took every ounce of my not inconsiderable willpower to keep myself from putting my head through the screen.

As I waited for my PC to reboot I realized how invested I had become in the story. I was shocked that something I had picked up for a very different reason had come to mean so much to me that the loss of it had caused me to scream out in anguish. When my computer started back up and I was looking at the main menu for the game that realized my true folly. It wasn't until then that I had realized I had completely neglected to save my game. It was with immense frustration and sadness that I clicked on New Game, and hit the Auto Skip option on the pause menu. Now, it really only took me about ten minutes to get back to the part at which I was at, but simply the fact that I was interrupted while reading this beautiful story bothered me greatly. It was with difficulty that I forced myself back into the story, but it wasn't long before I had completely blocked out the world around me once again. With renewed fervor I dove into the story.

Now, before reading on, keep this in mind: I do not cry. I have not truly broken down and cried in years. I am an extremely stoic person (or so I like to think). I have always thought that crying about something was pointless, and not worth the loss of liquid. I'm something of a heartless asshole in some respects. Anyway, I don't cry. Keep that in mind.

On my first play through of the game I had been going with Lilly's story-line, since her character appealed to me much more than any of the others, except for maybe Hanako. Also, I have a thing for blondes. So, I was pretty far along in her story, and it had been very touching, and I had long since started to really care about the characters. However, the most poignant moment in the game, emotionally at least, was when she is about to go home. It was then that I, confronted with the loss of a character I had come to care about, and almost love, began to sob. I was so invested in the story that I began to cry as the scene played out. As it concluded I felt like I had lost a piece of my heart. I realized I had stepped into the shoes of the main character so completely that I too felt his plight, and I daresay it affected me even more than it had affected him.

Although despite this shocking development I continued along in the game, refusing to accept that ending, hoping against hope that it was all a big trick, and the bliss that had been would be restored. As the main character chased her, I could feel my own heart beating in anticipation of what was to come, and when it did, I almost screamed aloud again. However, when the real resolution was finally achieved I once again began to cry, although this time not out of sadness, but a powerful sense of happiness, knowing that the choices I had made had led to what I had been hoping for. I'd gotten a truly happy ending.

#8 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

@TooWalrus said:

Sterling Archer (who happens to be fictional, but still).

Yes! Sterling Archer is amazing.

#9 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

I am currently unable to watch HD videos. I can bring them up and they work, but every time there is significant movement in the video is becomes extremely pixelated and completely unwatchable. This doesn't happen with HTML5, but on some videos that just shows a black screen and doesn't load. As far as I've seen it doesn't happen with High or Low quality.

I have seen this problem on Chrome as well as Internet Explorer.

I'm using Windows 7 64bit.

This has been happening with all the videos since I upgraded to a Silver membership.

#10 Posted by MisterDunlap (274 posts) -

That spooked me...