Side-trip

Feb. 17th, 2017 10:21 pm
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Moogle)
I haven't been posting much here because I've been busy with stuff, but a friend of mine and I took a long meandering trip through the FF7 Expanded Universe Canon and decided to write Reeve as a giant-ass furry.

As one does.

So this is... useless to anyone who doesn't know who Reeve is, and therefore isn't versed in all the Final Fantasy 7 SpoilerLore.
It's also useless to anyone who doesn't want to see two furry doofs NERDING AT EACH OTHER HAND OVER FIST because we do that. So hard.

You can check that out here, if you're inclined. It starts with me posting a very old logged conversation between us (names are complicated things) and proceeds onward.
xyzzysqrl: (Ducks)
The Playstation 2 remake of the original Phantasy Star. I never did finish the 80s-released Master System version of this game, so revisiting in a Good Graphics style was nice. This was a major overhaul that kept the same general concepts but rebalanced and re-executed them.

Not a lot to say about it, though!
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Monster World IV stars a green-haired fantasy-Arabian girl in parachute pants named Asha, and I'm about 90% sure she was the eventual ancestor (in a spiritual sense) of Shantae the half-genie and HER series of platformers.

This was a lengthy one, the dungeon-mazes kept stretching on longer and longer each new world you visit, and the platforming challenges got TOUGH as the game stretched on. At one point I actually resorted to mid-game save-states, which I haven't done since last year's Mega Man X. Fortunately the PS3 port incorporates save-states natively, which... y'know, it's a nice touch! Thank you, porting team.

The sheer personality and bright colorful character art really carried this one. At the end, the genie you've been using as a taxi service all throughout pops up to lean on the fourth wall and explain this is the end of the Monster World series, unless "you all make a wish for a Monster World V, someday..."

With the Wonder Boy 3: Dragon's Trap remake and "Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom" coming out, we'll be getting that in spirit if not actually name. And if I want more of Asha... and I do, well, there's always Shantae.

Still I'm gonna MISS this game. What a great conclusion.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Oh my god I don't even know where to start with this thing. As I was playing it I went through kind of a gambit of feelings, from "What?" to "I think I get it" to "I TOTALLY GET THIS" and it was just a revelation to me.

Square-Enix tried to make a minigame collection, an open-world RPG, and a sequel to one of their spinoff subseries all at the same time. In 2009. So this Final Fantasy has EVERYTHING they could pack in: A small but still gradually opening world where you can roam around fighting monsters at your leisure. Timed monster fights. The main character uses gravity magic, so you fight by throwing monsters at each other. Chocobo races. Soccer matches. A stealth minigame. A dancing minigame. Platforming. The laziest competitive fishing minigame in the known world. A daring prison escape. Farming. Topiary arrangement. That thing where two girls stand on a floating pool platform and bump their butts together. Rail shooting. An unexpected genre change into basically a space shooter for a final boss.

And when you finish the game, it unlocks the ability to just pick ANY AREA or ANY MINIGAME off a menu and go there any time you want so you can play it for more achievement medals.

Oh yeah there's also a storyline and it is... well, it involves people doing things with crystals for nebulous moral reasons and a big hulking dude who is obviously the end boss brooding around in the background while our snarky hero and his plucky sidekick run around making dorks of themselves, so this too is 150% Final Fantasy.

You can't get more Final Fantasy than nebulous morals, crystals, brooding, and dorks.

It's like... they gave the character artist for the series free run as a director and he decided "EVERYTHING in this game I'm making will be Final Fantasy... so I will make EVERYTHING I CAN THINK OF Final Fantasy, and all shall love it."

Was he right? Well... yes and no. Yes, this is a Final Fantasy. But no one seemed to like it much, and it kind of killed the Crystal Chronicles sub-series stone dead.

That said, one of my mottos is "It doesn't need to be a GOOD game to be an AWESOME game", and man this was awesome even if it wasn't good. I'd be playing it like "Eh this combat system is kinda bland BUT I JUST GOT A MEDAL FOR THROWING GASOLINE ON A BOMB YEAHHHHH."

I can't say I really ever want to play it again, but... crystal shine on you, Toshiyuki. Whatever else it was, what you made certainly was a Final Fantasy.

Also, if nothing else, I now know from a very-oft repeated catchphrase that SELKIES CAN HANDLE IT SOLO, so I know which race to pick in the other Crystal Chronicles games. Thanks, Crystal Bearers! You were educational!
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Well, there's always a false start or two early in the year as I aimlessly flail and try to figure out what I want to be doing. TRI is this year's false start, and to be fair it was REALLY GOOD. Like, I was enjoying the heck out of this one.

The idea is that a magical cult that worships foxes takes you to the extradimensional playground of foxkind to look for one particular divine vulpine. Armed with a mystical object called the TRI, you can make triangles of light appear in mid-air, wherever you can connect them to a flat surface. At first they're for platforming purposes, but soon enough you're using them to walk up the walls like ramps and stick there...

...supposedly later it gets to light-beam manipulation and such, but I'll be honest: This game made me DIZZY. Loopy and wobbly and... There are huge floating structures you have to stroll up the side of, with one misstep sending you plunging... I don't want to think about this game in VR, you guys! This game would make me throw up!

Alas, I was having a FANTASTIC time trying to find all the secret collectables, like "spending two or more hours per level" fun, but I just don't think I can handle this thing any further. In the battle of Foxes vs. Moogle, Foxes have won.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Well, this was a fun, uh, 11 hours. To be fair, six of those were beating the game the first time and six of them were playing it through a second time looking for the key I needed to get into the final 2% of the map.

So it's safe to say I enjoyed this, given I dedicated extra time to straight-up cartography.

The plot's pretty straight ahead. Kaho, a priestess from a far-off land, comes to the shores of a strange forest to investigate a dark curse that's been leaking out. Wielding her maple leaf of purification, she proceeds to slap seven kinds of hell out of everything between her and the source of the curse so she can make it go away.

I did say 'maple leaf' there. Oddly enough it's one of my favorite gaming weapons of the last while. Kaho's swinging animations are strong and she gets this two-handed spinning strike to finish her basic combo that just LOOKS powerful, the impact sounds are meaty and thwacky, it does the "impact" thing when you beat an enemy where the screen shakes and all animation stops for a moment... The Maple Leaf of Purity feels like a POWERFUL weapon, and I think that may make Kaho Canada's greatest superheroine.

(Sorry, Canadian friends.)

The atmosphere of the game however is pretty bleak, and now that I've had some time to digest the finale, I can say that in a lot of ways this is not a terribly happy game. It's certainly full of secrets and it made a very lasting impression, but the music I'll hear in my head when I think of Momodora RUTM is from the ruined park that's become a graveyard for flowers and people alike.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Well THIS was both fun and a nightmare. I hadn't realized just how much 2D Sonic DNA is in this one, and I am absolutely ridiculously hilariously TERRIBLE at 2D Sonic games. So for like... two thirds of the levels in this game the camera was straight sideways and I was struggling to do basic Sonic game stuff like Go Fast and Not Die In Spikes.

The rest of it was fun, with some really good boss battles and a fair number of stages I had fun in. Also, the between-mission writing was hilarious and PROUD OF ITSELF for being hilarious. They wrote the HECK out of this game and they knew it. It wasn't always good but it was always awesome.

Plus this continues the briefly-forgotten tradition of starting the new year with a Sonic game. Way to go, me!
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
You know, at one point I thought I was gonna blog this and I'm glad I didn't. It is at once too narratively WEIRD and too mechanically straightforward to make for good posting-while-playing material. A playblog would've been plot-heavy with intrusive gameplay elements, and that is NOT how I thought of this game at all.

Narrative: Chocobo and his mentor Cid journey to a spiral tower in the desert to look for a stone that can make airships fly, because we haven't referenced Final Fantasy 1 enough this decade. Inside they find that it is a MYSTERIOUS DUNGEON.

(It will honestly never ever get old for me, watching people walk into a place they've never been before and declare at the top of their lungs that THIS is one of those ever-changing, room-shifting mystery dungeons. Dude you don't even go here. You've never been here.)

Anyway, they and a rival treasure hunting team touch a magic artifact and by Gygaxian logic get dumped into a strange town called Lostime, where the people forget things whenever the bell at the center of town tolls. Happily, an egg falls from the sky and a magical baby comes out. This baby helps Chocobo enter the foggy minds of the townspeople and crawl through the labyrinths of their memories, fighting esurient monsters and collecting treasure.

Also Mog is there, but he's wearing a mask and calling himself Dungeon Hero X.
Also every time you beat a major plot dungeon, the baby goes into a cocoon and comes out older.
Also THIS GAME IS WEIRD Y'ALL but so great.

I swear I'm not making any of this up.

Mechanics: This is a mystery dungeon, but it's not one huge dungeon or a series of really big dungeons. The deepest it gets in story mode is the 50-floor that's the endgame. It's a very gentle mystery dungeon, as you get to keep whatever you have equipped and only lose loose inventory, but that still bit me once as I ran a "No Items" dungeon, went and got my stuff out of storage afterward, forgot to put it on, and promptly died and lost it all.

Recovering from that was easy too though. This was a very gentle game and I'm a little... I'm both sad and happy that it focused more on plot and characters than RAW HARDCORE NETHACK WITH A GIANT BIRD ADVENTURES. It's probably more accessable and fun for people!

That said, there IS a big 100-floor postgame romp of a dungeon I'm looking forward to tackling ... but not right now. Right now I wanna play something else. I look forward to delving back in later though~
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
All years have to end sometime, and for 2016 that feels more like a contractual obligation than a statement of fact. If not for the clearly delineated number of days in a year it would squat in the center of the floor and refuse to go away, farting and grunting and being the worst house-guest the imagination can conjure. My only fear as we shove 2016 out the door is that 2017 will be worse.

Icy spikes of raw terror form inside me when I think about that, so let's dwell on 2016 a little longer with this year's wrap-up post. There's four parts to this year's finale here on Livejournal...

(ha, man, it's nearly 2017 and I'm still on Livejournal?)

Anyway. Three parts: the games, the reality, the Big Change, and the Final Top Five.

Let's roll.

What was fun this year? Video games. )
Let's get Real. )
The Big Change. Form, Gender... )
Top Five and Beyond )
THAT'S IT
FINALLY
HERE I AM
MADE IT TO THE END OF YOU


AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED--

2016 IS OVER
2016 IS OVER
2016 IS OVER
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Super Mario Galaxy may not be my last COMPLETE of the year, but I'd be hard pressed to squeeze another game of this size and quality in. Heck, I may continue squeezing THIS one in, it's a great game and I only did a quarter of it.

(I got 63 stars. You can win the game at 60 stars. Mario's game is complete at 120 stars collected. Then you unlock Luigi. The FULL game has 242 stars.)

And then there's the ending. Uhm.

"I already know the ending / it's the part that makes your face implode.
I don't know what makes your face implode / but that's the way the game will end." - Nintendo PROBABLY?!?

Very good level design, AMAZING music... yep. Mario game. Lotsa fun. Had a good time here.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
So it's been a hell of a year, guys. I... I don't know what to say about it, except I'm both glad to see the back end of it and terrified next year will be worse. So I'm seeking refuge in capitalism, and since I've gotten actual requests to do it (which still freaks me out but okay) I'm posting the Amazon wishlists this year.

Some notes:

1. You're not obligated.
2. Please do not pay the Stupid Amazon price. If at all possible, buy from the used sellers or a cheap new seller. Stupid Amazon price is STUPID.
3. I've had these lists for over a decade at this point, there's some weird cruft on there, but it's still all stuff I'd genuinely like.

[EDIT] 4. I have my gifting address set up but it seems not to work for a number of people, and frankly Amazon's setup is weird and terrible and allows only "verified friends' to send stuff. This is stupid. If you really REALLY want to mail me something and can't get it working on amazon, post a comment here or send me an email at xyzzysqrl@gmail.com and I'll give you my dang address manually because that's what we're reduced to these days.

I keep three wishlists.

The games list is the primary one I roll with. I can no longer promise that games received this way will be covered extensively here. I can promise you undying thanks.

The general list is for Misc Stuff. This is the place to go cheap, you can probably grab a book for a dollar or something. Woo.

Skylanders? ... Well, I am not as hype about those as I used to be. Still, they wouldn't go without love.

Also if you have spare video games you are never gonna play that you feel need a good home, talk to me about it. I can probably pay shipping for your cast-offs and I would love to have them.

... For real, though. Guys? This year, forget me. Donate to charity, Flint, somewhere that needs it more than my goddamn dragon-style pile of video games to lounge on.

Thank you.
xyzzysqrl: (WWSD?)
Dreams of last night:

- Everyone must be covered in weird mucus-goo to survive this incoming flare of radiation.
- Wait, but this Ant-Man knockoff hero has discovered a way to shrink the planet which will somehow save everyone.
- Oh cool there's actually a teleporter to alternate realities, we don't have to stay here, we can go to a world where things are okay. It's fine because people just want to live.
- ...oh, actually assholes have broken all the solutions, nevermind, all life on Earth is extinct now.

*rub face* I WONDER IF MY BRAIN IS REACTING TO REAL EVENTS SOMEHOW.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
The BF went over to his parents' place to return a few things we used during the move, and got a pair of gift cards for Barnes and Noble in return. Apparently they were Christmas presents. From last year. Which had been in a drawer, forgotten.

So if you need a baseline for how screwed up we are, know that we'd just assumed we'd done something wrong and weren't getting a gift last year. Que sera. Anyway, consequence-free shopping. We NEEDED a stress outlet after the National Bullshit Cavalcade our country's been on. Capitalism seemed like the thing to do.

So:

Yotsuba&, volumes 4 and 5. Yotsuba continues to be the best manga for lazy relaxing reading. Low-conflict, funny, great stuff.

Dragon Champion, by E.E. Knight. I had ONE GOAL going out today: Buy some books about dragons. This particular book is about a young gray dragon who is the Last of His Kind, fighting back against an oppressive world in a quest to survive. Spoilers: This is at least a five book series, so I figure he does okay for a while. I need that.

Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland. A Scholastic young adult book, but after a while I just utterly despaired at the lack of dragonbooks in the sci-fi section and snuck over to the kid's section to grab something. This looks like the latest in the "Warrior Cats" style endless saga of clans and prophecies and destiny and shit. I hope it's good because I am already in a committed relationship with the artwork for at least three of the dragons on the covers of the sequels.

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon. Because... Ursula Vernon.

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold. The BF has been re-reading the Vorkosigan Saga again, I take it.

Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee. A VERY high-concept sci-fi novel about a universe where physics takes a backseat to belief, and a soldier-woman who teams up with a dead tactical genius who lives in her literal shadow to reclaim a fortress made of needles. I recall reading NOTHING but high praise on the Internet for this, and I shoved it over the top of the section divider to the BF.

"I think you need to read this one." I offered to him.
"...Do -I- need to read it?" asked an unfamiliar woman's voice. "Because that looks neat."
"Uh." I replied, helpfully. "Do you like military sci-fi?"
"Heck yeah. Hold that still... okay this reminds me of like Apocalypse Now and Starship Troopers and... oh hey it's right on the back cover, 'Starship Troopers meets Apocalypse Now'. Thank you, mysterious hand. I'll take it."

I eventually came around the corner and said hello and all, and we did pick up a copy for ourselves, but... uhm... I sold two copies of this today! One by accident! To a total stranger!

Boy I hope it's good.

(We also picked up Munchkin Apocalypse Guest Artist Edition and the expansion, Sheep Impact. Because we've been playing a LOT of Munchkin.)

(We spent $30 over the gift cards.)

(We always do.)
xyzzysqrl: (Sqrl-Bit.)
We moved into the new place. That's fine. It's very nice. Our home life is good now.

I had more but it doesn't feel right to post. I don't have anything else to say right now.

Please stay well, my friends, my loved ones. We're all we've got anymore.
xyzzysqrl: (RUN AWAY)
Y'all haven't heard much from me here for a bit, and you're about to hear even less for a while as we box up the twin PCs that make up my command station. Both Pinkstation NEO and ChatVector RED have to be transported off to the new place, and I'll be down to just the unnamed celphone for things like twitter and telegram and the like.

If all goes well I should be back up and streaming and posting about beating games nobody else has heard of within a week's time at the very worst, probably sooner.

Please look forward to it.
xyzzysqrl: (Play with me.)
WOOF and SQRL are, somehow, STILL MOVING HOUSE. They discuss this in the car, in a way that is PARAPHRASED HERE because SQRL has the MEMORY of a CHEESE DOODLE:

Woof: "...so I guess... plan A is gonna be to try to use the wheeled handcart to move all those books still in my room and maybe the bookcases, and then... take the beds apart?"
Sqrl: "Mm."
Woof: "...and I guess plan B will be to find help if the bookcases and beds weigh too much. We might have to call movers."
Sqrl: "Many strong men await you."
Woof: "...uh, okay. But otherwise we're gonna have to haul all this stuff ourselves."
Sqrl: "Okay, but about the floor layout we're going for--"

There is DETAILED TALK about COMPUTERS and BOOKSHELF-BASED ROOM DIVIDING and it eventually gets TOO COMPLEX.

Sqrl: "...I may have to go home, load up The Sims 3, and show you what I mean."
Woof: "So plan C is for me to burn down the apartment while you pass out in a puddle of your own urine."
*long, thoughtful silence*
Woof: "That was a joke."
Sqrl: "No, no, I think you've got something there."
Woof: "That was a JOKE."
Sqrl: "A -brilliant plan- of a joke. I like your line of thought. Let's keep that on the table."
Woof: "...we still have to move the table though."
Sqrl: "goddamn it."
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
My first replay! Kind of. I bought the three Skylanders games I already own for the PS3, because my Wii U copies of Giants and Swap Force have some issues (used eBay purchases aren't pristine, who knew) and I'd rather have them all on one system (they were spread across Wii U and 360 before).

I love these little toys still, even if I haven't yet bought into Trap Team (which does its damndest to invalidate your collection) and Superchargers (which is a racing game primarily I understand). Still, if I can pick up someone else's used collections of those games or something, I may.

I sadly had to break my streak of Perfect Dragoning Spyro-related games, because... well. It's difficult to say what counts as perfect running a Skylanders game.

Let's take the first one as an example:
Get the achievements/trophies? (Doable with just the starter-pack Skylanders). Three-star every level? (Need 7.) Collect every figure? (32, with cosmetic variants, some of which are quite rare, goodbye wallet.) Do every Heroic Challenge (32 of them) with every figure (also 32 of them)? And of course the toyline expands with every game, with more and more goals and more figures to collect and...

No, I'm not a Perfect Portal Master. I am a happy one, though.
--

Oh. Also we'll be moving throughout the month of October. I may be sparser.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Another hidden object game, this one published by Artifex Mundi. They always seem to put out the hidden object games closest to a traditional point-and-click adventure: Lots of puzzles, very plot-heavy, etc. Indeed, this particular hidden object game was completed without doing any hidden object scenes at ALL. Instead, you can play a nice round of shangai solitaire/mahjong-tile matching and bypass the hidden object stuff entirely.

Which goes to show that genres are awfully flexible things, doesn't it?
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
A trilogy of short (45 minutes to an hour each) RPGs about a wandering con-man and his adopted daughter, a dragoness who feeds on lies.

I'm sorry, Steam, can you sell me a ladder? I need help reaching the HIGH CONCEPT shelf where this one's stored... okay there we go. I say they're RPGs but even that's somewhat inaccurate. There's "combat", but it's pretty easy, particularly if you rustle around. Every one of the games has some equipment upgrades that are super-ridiculously-overpowered (get a guide) so you can just handwave the combat away as a narrative concern and focus on the story.

The story is pretty good. A little confusing at first, but they're like miniature mysteries: Get dropped in, figure out what's going on, solve the "case", the end.

These are of course Japanese. If the Japanese narrative style grates on you, don't buy these. But I thought this was worth my time and I was correct.
Minor spoiler here... )
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