Monday, August 31, 2015

The End of Blaugust

Wow, what a month.  Blaugust was awesome!

31 posts in 31 days is a tall order, but so many bloggers have risen to the challenge.

I ended up working ahead and scheduling posts out in advance, but I know there are a lot of the bloggers who diligently wrote posts every day.

Congrats everyone!  We made it!  We made so much content and had a great time building our community!

This was a fantastic event.  Thanks so much to Belghast for organizing it and helping it along throughout the month.  It wouldn't have happened without him.

Thanks everyone who participated.  We made it!  You guys all rock!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Gaming To-Do List Update

Earlier in the month I was inspired to make a gaming to-do list because of a great post by Izlain.  Now that we're nearing the end of the month and the end of Blaugust I thought it would be a good time to check in on the status of my list.

Here's where we stand:
  • Persona 4 Golden - Still playing and enjoying!  I plan on playing more.
  • Hearthstone - Succeeded in getting to at least rank 20 by the end of the month.  Kept up with the Tavern Brawl's every week for card packs.  Will continue to play for now
  • FFXIV Heavensward - I did daily trial roulettes until they stopped being fun.  Now I have the game on hold until the next content update.[removing from list]
  • KOTOR II - Tried and found it wanting.  Done with this game.[removing from list]
  • Valkyria Chronicles - I got back to the game and have been playing it.  Still not complete.  Will keep playing
  • Dirty Bomb - I tried it and didn't like it.[removing from list]
  • Fire Emblem Awakening - I still haven't gotten back to this game, but I want to.  It was a fantastic SRPG.
  • Lightning Returns - I plan on getting to it soon.  I want to spend more time with Final Fantasy spin-offs.
  • FFX-2 - Another Final Fantasy spin-off that I already own.  I liked playing it through when it first released.  I want to try the remaster! [added to list]
There we go.  A few games removed and one game added!  Lots of progress being made this month as I work toward the end of my gaming backlog.

Next month, September, is typically when games start releasing for the upcoming holiday season.  We'll see how that impacts my gaming intentions heading into the new year.  There are a few games I'm really excited about, but they're all scheduled to release in November or December.

It looks like I get to keep working on my backlog for another month!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Evergreen But Not as Welcoming

Exploring and revisiting some of my evergreen games this month has been interesting.  I'm finding that more of them have fallen off the evergreen playlist than I thought.

Two that are still "evergreen" in my mind are Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike Global Offensive.  But, I'm finding them much less welcoming than they once were.

It seems like all the casual fans of the game, including me, have drifted away from them.  All the players that are left are the players that never stopped playing the games.

Whenever I go online in either game I just get destroyed.  It's not as fun as it used to be.  I played both of these games a ton when they released and there were players of all skill levels.  Now, most of the players are very highly skilled and will destroy me.

They're not as welcoming as I wanted them to be.  It almost makes me afraid to even try some of the "higher skill" games that I've liked in the past, such as StarCraft II.  I feel like that one would be even worse.

I'm not a teenager and I haven't been for awhile.  I don't have hours every day to devote to getting good at one particular game.  I'll probably not have that kind of time again until both of my kids leave for college, and that's quite a ways off.

For now I'll just have to play these games less, else I get discouraged and give up on them forever.

It just makes me hold out hope for a Team Fortress 3 or a new Counter-Strike.  I would love to jump into a new game with a vibrant player base of all skill levels.

Friday, August 28, 2015


KOTOR II recently got it's first patch in years to make it run better on modern hardware.  That, along with a community pack of bug fixes and content restoration on Steam inspired me to revisit the game.

I had played a handful of hours of KOTOR II when it first released.  I loved the original KOTOR but I never got beyond the first few hours of the sequel.  It was a buggy mess that wasn't worth the effort.

Fortunately, with the updates available, it's a much more stable game.  And seeing it run at 1080p was pretty cool too.  Good job patches!

Again I found myself tired of the game after only the first few hours.  This time not because of bugs but because of old gaming sensibilities.  This game just feels clunky.  It doesn't hold up to modern ease of use and control standards.  There are menus upon menus and lots of un-intuitive control schemes.

Once again I find myself done with this game without fully experiencing it.  But, that's ok.  I still have great memories of KOTOR that will always be with me.

The truth of the matter is that this really makes me want a modern KOTOR game.  Bioware would knock it out of the park.  They've learned so much about game making since KOTOR and KOTOR II were released.

A modern KOTOR on modern hardware would be simply amazing.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What I'm Looking Forward to at PAX

By the time you're reading this I should (hopefully) already be in Seattle at PAX.  I'm super excited for my first (for fun) convention experience.  Here are a couple of the things I'm most excited for.
  • Spending time with my brother.
  • Thornwatch.
  • Wandering the floor and people watching.
  • Acquisitions Inc.
  • Discovering new games.  Video games or board games, I don't care.
  • Possibly getting to meet online friends face-to-face.
I can't wait to report back after the trip and let you know how it went.  Expect a couple regularly scheduled posts between now and then to tide you over.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Who's Going to PAX?

I mentioned it earlier this month, but it's worth saying again.  I'm going to PAX!  And I'm super excited about it!

I realized that it would be awesome to meet up with some of the blogging community that I regularly interact with.  If any of you dear readers plan on attending you should totally let me know.  I'd love to meet up on the show floor and say hi in person!

Honestly, the best way to get in contact with me will be on Twitter.  It's my primary social media these days.

I also still have no idea how to attend a convention for fun, so any tips and tricks are 100% welcome.

I'm heading out to Seattle tomorrow, so feel free to hit me up @grnmushroom if you're interested!  I should be around for the whole show.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Potential New Evergreen Games

After talking yesterday about an evergreen game that has faded away for me I thought it would be appropriate to talk about some that may become new evergreen games.

I've found myself spending a bunch of time with both Crypt of the Necrodancer and Mini Metro lately.

Crypt of the Necrodancer is a rhythm based dungeon crawling roguelike music game.  I'm still not very good at it, but I keep coming back for more.  I've been using it to fill in spare time here and there between other games.

I feel like Crypt of the Necrodancer could go one of two ways.  I could get good at it by continually coming back to it or I could get frustrated that I'm not making enough progress and give up on the game for good.  If the first happens then this could become one of my future evergreen games.  Only time will tell.

Mini Metro, on the other hand, I'm fairly sure will stick with me for the long haul.  I love this game so much.  Organically drawing out metro train routes between stations should not be this fun.  It's ridiculous how good this game is.

My only complaint, and it's not really a complaint, is that it's only on PC at the moment.  If this game ever comes to iOS I'm going to be in trouble.  I already lose hours of time to this game on PC.  If it's on my phone, always within arms reach.... who knows how much time I'll put into it.  I so hope it happens.

Have you guys discovered any potential evergreen games lately?  I'm always looking for more!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Revisiting Civ V

Nearing the end of my backlog has given me more time to revisit some of my favorite evergreen games lately.

The other night I jumped into Civ V and played "just one more turn" for a few hours.  I haven't played much Civ in awhile but the strategy and flow of the game came back almost immediately.

In the moment everything was fine, but reflecting on the game after I had finished I realized that I didn't get much out of it.  I feel like I understand everything Civ V has to show me.  I'm no longer getting anything out of this game.

So, I deleted it from my hard drive.  I'm done with Civ V for the foreseeable future.  I guess it's not an evergreen game for me anymore.  But that's ok, it provided me with many hours of entertainment over many years.  It was a good game, but it seems like I'm ready to move on.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Modern Media Must Read

I got a recommendation from someone I trust to check out the book Flat Earth News.  I've worked in media for my entire career and specifically did a lot of news production in college, so they knew I would be interested.

I always love to discuss the modern media.

Flat Earth News is about how the traditional press is set up in a way that institutionally make it hard to do a good job at the news.  I only read the first third of the book before I had to put it down.  It already feels dated in our modern internet era.  It had an interesting snapshot of the newpaper business from ten years ago, but it's not as relevant today.

A different source recommended Trust Me I'm Lying.  I'm not even done with it yet, but this book is amazing.  It covers the way our modern media works in an internet age.  It's such a good book.  The author shows ways that he has purposefully and easily manipulated the media in the ways he wanted to do.  It's basically a step-by-step guide to PR and media manipulation.  It's just amazing.

I feel like Trust Me I'm Lying should be required reading in modern journalism schools.  If you have any interest in the modern media at all you should pick it up and give it a shot.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Playing With Subtitles

I've been playing games with subtitles turned on a lot lately.  I touched on it in my post yesterday, but I wanted to expand my thoughts on it a bit.

There's nothing wrong with my hearing, but I play a lot of PS4 and Wii U games while I'm on my exercise bike.  When I'm exercising I listen to audio books or podcasts.  I typically turn the TV volume all the way down.

To get the story while I'm on my bike I can either pause my audio while turning up the TV or I can just turn subtitles on at the beginning of a game and then not worry about it.  I almost always choose subtitles now.

If it's a story driven game that I'm very invested in I won't play it while biking, but if I'm just in it for the gameplay then it becomes a good candidate.

When I was playing Arkham Knight I would work on side quests while biking and then devote my full attention to the game (with sound on) while progressing through the main story the first time.

It's been interesting finding games that fit well with spending time on my exercise bike.  I'm always looking for more recommendations, so if you have any send them my way.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Back to Tomb Raider

Having finished up Arkham Knight I was browsing through my PS4 games looking for a new game to play while on my exercise bike and found Tomb Raider!

I forgot I even bought the PS4 version.  I think I picked it up when it was on super sale the first week I had the system and then promptly forgot about it.

I had played Tomb Raider on PS3 but I never beat it.  Hopefully this time I make it further through.

It seems like a game where I can make some decent progression every day that I'm exercising on my bike, and it's not too story intensive.  That's important because I listen to podcasts and audio books while I exercise.  I get annoyed if I have to pause my podcast/audio book and turn up the TV to listen to story too often.  I'm actually using subtitles a lot these days for just that reason.

Anyway, I hope I stick with it to the end this time.  There's some fun gameplay here.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

PAX 2015 Trip

I'm super excited that I'm going to PAX this year!  It's a convention I've wanted to go to since the very first year but I've never been able to make the timing work out.  This will be my first time attending.

This year my brother and I are going together and I'm really looking forward to it!

I'm not sure what to expect.  I've never been to any conventions for fun before.  All the conventions I've attended have been work or career related.

PAX is supposed to be the show for gamers by gamers.  It was the answer to E3 being all for the press.  I've only ever heard good things about PAX and I'm hoping to have a great experience.

I'll definitely write about it when I get back from the show.

Does anyone have tips for convention going?  What do you normally take with you on a convention day?  Any tips and tricks I should know about?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Final Fantasy Spin-Offs Update

I love Final Fantasy.  As part of my Final Fantasy Project I've been eyeing some of the spin-offs I want to visit or revisit from the series.

I've already covered some of them, even if I just went in for a taste, but there are a few that are top of mind now that I'm near the end of my gaming backlog:

Lightning Returns - I liked FFXIII, although it wasn't my favorite game in the series.  It had some issues, but it was still good.  After finishing it I tried to get into the sequel, FFXIII-2 but it fell flat for me.  I've heard great things about Lightning Returns, which is the third game in the series.  I even own the game already.  Since it's on my PS3 which has been moved to another room I've just never booted it up.  I need to get around to it.

FFX-2 - I think FFX is one of the best games in the series.  It's the one I always recommend to new players who are interested in Final Fantasy.  FFX-2 is the direct sequel and I remember enjoying the battle system a lot the first time I played it.  I don't remember much more than that because it's been awhile and I only played the game once.  Again, this is one that I own.  I have the remaster sitting on my Vita ready to go.  I just need to pull the trigger and start.

Not to mention the Final Fantasy spin-offs coming out soon.  I'm really excited that Final Fantasy Explorers is coming to the west and I'm super hopeful that we'll also get to see Final Fantasy Mobius here too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fading in FFXIV Heavensward

One of the goals on my gaming to-do list was to keep playing the daily Trial Roulette in FFXIV as long as I'm having fun with it.

A couple days ago it stopped being fun for me.

I've never been a fan of endgame grind or the gear treadmill that happens when you reach max level in a MMO.  That's where my character is at currently in the newest expansion, Heavensward.  I was doing only one trial every day (the one I think is the most fun) but even that has lost it's appeal.

I'm not done with Final Fantasy XIV.  I still think it's a great game.  But I am done with it until they do the next major content patch.  I want to experience new things in my games, and I'm not getting that from FFXIV right now.  Luckily for me, they've been fantastic about releasing regular content and story updates in the game.

Now I just have to wait for the next one to land.

Monday, August 17, 2015


I'll admit it... I've been netdecking.

"What is netdecking?" you might ask.  Well, netdecking is when you don't want to go through the pain of trial and error in deck construction for a card game, so you go online and look up some of the best decks.  Then you recreate them!

I'm talking about Hearthstone at the moment, but netdecking applies to any card game with deck building.

Since I've been trying to get back into ranked play I'm finding myself needing to netdeck to get anywhere at all.  This game used to be newbie friendly, even in ranked play, but it's not as much anymore.  Once you get to rank 20 or less (lower numbers are better in Hearthstone) the opponents start to get really good and if you don't have a modern deck with good cards you don't stand much of a chance.

I used to be able to get really far in the ranked mode, even with the standard starter decks.  I can't imagine what it must be like for someone who is completely new to the game picking it up right now.  With the expansions and solo adventure cards there are a ton of cards out there to make great decks.  Starting out must be extra difficult these days.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Latest Board Gaming

Besides video games I also regularly play board games when I'm hanging out with people face to face.  My brother, my wife, and I end up playing a lot of 3 player board games, but sometimes we get other players involved too.

I realized I haven't talked much about what I've been playing in the world of board games, so here goes:

Ticket to Ride - We own 3 different base versions of Ticket to Ride, 2 expansion sets, and an extra map set.  We love this game.  This is the game that gets the most overall table time when I'm playing board games with friends.  It's super accessible but still holds fun for people who have been playing the game for a long time.  I recommend this as a great beginner board game for anyone.

Masquerade - A hidden role game where roles are constantly switching hands.  You're limited in actions on your turn and can only take one action.  This means that a lot of the time you're not entirely sure what role you currently have.  It makes for an amazing game of bluffing and calling of bluffs.  We play it often with 3 people, but it really shines if you can get 4+.

Saboteur - You are a dwarf and you want to be the first to reach the gold, but you also want to work with your fellow dwarves or you'll never make it there.  That's all well and good, except there's a chance in every game that one of you might actually be a saboteur.  If you end up with that role you essentially try to sabotage everything since you get points if no one reaches the gold.  This is a fun game of backstabbing.

Krosmaster Arena - This game was pitched to me as a MOBA in board game form.  I can see where that vibe is coming from, but it's not entirely accurate.  There are no mobs, lanes, towers, or bases in this game.  There are unique heroes with their own powers and play styles.  There's in game currency, equipment, buffs, and scoring.  I haven't played this game enough to know if I like it yet but I do find the premise interesting.

Do you guys have any board games that you regularly play?  Or any recommendations for games I should check out?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hearthstone PVE

Although it wasn't explicitly in my gaming to-do list I've been playing Hearthstone PVE content.  I've owned both of the Solo Adventure's since they released but I never got around to finishing them.

I'm trying to remedy that now.

Both of them reward unique cards for defeating the bosses the first time.  I really want those cards for deckbuilding since one of my goals was to get back into ranked play in Hearthstone.  More cards means more options for ranked play.

The content is actually really fun.  I don't know why I didn't stick with it the first time.  Each boss offers a challenge that breaks the game in interesting ways.  They have unique spells, minions, and hero abilities.  It's been a ton of fun seeing what each one has to offer.

In a way, I wish the cards weren't locked behind a content wall but at the same time I truly am enjoying my time with the Solo Adventures.

If you're playing Hearthstone and haven't tried them yet I would suggest taking a look.  You can buy the content one wing at a time, or buy the whole adventure in one purchase for a discount.  There's a lot of fun stuff on offer.

Friday, August 14, 2015

N++ Thoughts

I picked up N++ on PS4 the other day and it's really good.  It's also exactly what I was expecting.

It feels and plays just like N+, but with a couple new twists.  That's not a bad thing.  N+ was an amazing platformer and N++ is as well.

If you've never played the series, it's a very minimal look and feel with no hidden information from the player.  The game is all about execution of platforming.  Once you get a feel for the game it's glorious.

The level designs keep me coming back for more as does the co-op.  There's a ton of content to explore in N++ for platforming fans out there and it's an easy recommendation to people who like the genre.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sci-Fi Movie Kick

In approaching the end of my gaming backlog I've started to spend more time with other media that I like.  Books, movies, TV shows, and that sort of thing.  Lately, I've been on kinda a Sci-Fi movie kick so I asked for some recommendations and then watched a bunch of movies over the course of a weekend.

Her -  This was an amazing movie, probably the best of this bunch.  It's about a man who installs an operating system that is supposedly artificially intelligent.  It's supposed to help him more than the other modern equivalents.  He and the AI grow together and form a relationship.  It's a fascinating watch and I've been thinking about it for days afterwards.

Moon - I don't know how to sell this movie to you without giving away spoilers but I'll try.  There's are mining colonies on the moon providing the world energy.  Each mining colony is automated enough that it only takes one person to operate them.  The movie picks up at one of these mines where the operator is almost done with his contract.  The long isolation is starting to get to him and as he approaches the end of his contract and his return journey home he starts to figure out some secrets of the company.  It's a great movie.  You should watch it.

Ex Machina - Another movie about AI, but with a different slant.  There's a huge tech company CEO with a reclusive estate where he works on secret projects.  He invites one of his employees to the complex and tells him that he thinks he's close to having created a real AI... but needs someone to test it.  The movie becomes about the employee and his interactions with this human-like AI.  I didn't know anything about this movie going in, but once it got rolling I couldn't stop watching.  This is another one I highly recommend.

Jupiter Ascending - Ugh... Ok.  So... Mila Kunis is a cleaning lady but she secretly has the DNA of the queen of the galaxy... or something.  This movie is really bad.  I can tell it must have had a huge budget because the special effects are over the top.  But the story and dialogue cannot hold this movie together.  I couldn't even finish watching Jupiter Ascending.  It was that bad.  And it wasn't even "so bad that it's good" it's just bad.  Skip this one.

Do you guys have any other Sci-Fi movie recommendations for me?  I'm really enjoying them at the moment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dirty Bomb Impressions

One of the suggested F2P games to check out for Blaugust was Dirty Bomb.  Since I put it on my gaming to-do list yesterday I thought I could check it out today!

I jumped in and played a couple games of it, and almost immediately realized it wasn't for me.

There was a time in my life where I might have clung onto a game like this, but these days it seems like I can pick out all the influences that went into this game... and they're all games I've already played.

It has the feel of a game somewhere between Battlefield, TF2, and Counter-Strike.  Those are all games I've played to death in the past, so they no longer get me very excited.  Because of my past play experiences Dirty Bomb felt generic and already been done.

It seems like it's a serviceable multiplayer FPS.  If you've never done a multiplayer FPS before it might be worth your time to look at this one because it's free.  Even then, you're probably better off checking out Team Fortress 2, which is also free.  If you're a veteran of the genre then you already know everything Dirty Bomb has to offer.

Despite this one being a flop for me, at least I can cross an item off my gaming to-do list.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

In working through my backlog I'm running into a bunch of games that I own, have had for awhile, have never played, and then end up not liking.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is one of those games.

It seems like it was probably a good tactics game in it's day but it's biggest problem is that it's so similar to Final Fantasy Tactics that you're better off just playing Final Fantasy Tactics.  I don't know why you would ever choose this game over FFT instead.

I guess if you're a huge fan of the Ogre Battle series this might hold some sway.  But, for the rest of us, there are better tactics games out there.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Thoughts on Anook

I've dabbled with Anook as a gaming social media platform in the past, but I've never used it regularly until this Blaugust event where many bloggers are writing and posting to it every day.

I really like it as a platform.  It seems to be a good option for anything gaming related.

Anook does some interesting things with the way it organizes content.  The coolest of which is organizing content by game.

You can tag any content as being related to a specific game and it will filter that content into that game's Nook.  Because of this it becomes a great source of specific game related information being aggregated from everywhere across the whole site.

You can follow any games that you're interested in and see their specific content.

It also tries to tie together the various game ID's and usernames that you might have so that you can find your friends across multiple platforms and multiple games.

Technically Anook is still in Beta, but it's already fun to use.  I can see it expanding and becoming a big social platform for gamers in the future.  You should really check it out.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Geometry Wars 3 Dimensions

I loved the original Geometry Wars on Xbox Live Arcade.  I played so much of that game.  Despite the amount of time I put into it I haven't thought about it much since my Xbox 360 died a few years ago.

But then Geometry Wars 3 Dimensions was a PS Plus game for free in July!  I grabbed it for my Vita and have been trying it out.

Besides the stage distortion (the "dimensions") being a little annoying, I like the game.  And it's nice to finally have it portable!

It has a ton of new modes and stages that are three dimensional instead of just flat.  But the core gameplay of the game I loved is here, and that's what counts.  All the classic modes are present and accounted for, which makes me very happy.  Pacifism has always been my favorite Geometry Wars mode and to see it represented is fantastic.

If you don't know, Pacifism mode takes away your weapons and only spawns 2 things; enemies that follow you and gates.  If you pass through a gate it explodes and destroys enemies in it's blast radius.  Pacifism mode becomes a game of kiting a bunch of enemies after you as close as you can while navigating through gates to blow them up.  It's so much fun!

Geometry Wars 3 Dimensions is a great addition to anyone's handheld or mobile gaming library.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Persona 4 Golden: Finding My Way

I've been dabbling in Persona 4 Golden off and on for a few months now.  It hasn't truly gotten it's hooks into me but I find it an interesting game and I keep revisiting it.  But, it's still not a game that I'm super excited to get back to with every spare minute.

Part of my problem may be that this game was over hyped for me.  I've seen so many people say that this is the best JRPG ever.  Going into the game expecting that has definitely set my expectations at an unreasonably high level.

I really like the core of the game.  The story and characters are interesting.  They're what keep me coming back.  I love the relationships that develop between characters and the social links that I get to form.  The fact that the social link system is so central to the game is really cool.

In my opinion, the battle system and dungeon design are the weak points of this game.  The battle system has some typical elemental oppositions and abilities, but it's not super engaging for me.  Fusing personas and choosing different personas for different situations adds some variety, but it's not enough.  I also think the dungeons get repetitive.  Each setting is unique and interesting for the first floor... but there are many floors... and it just gets tedious.

Luckily for me, most of my time with the game has been spent with the characters and story.  As I said, that's where the game shines.  They are what keep me coming back for more.

And the music!  I can't believe I've written this much and not mentioned the music.  It's amazing!  It's not what I would ever think of as typical JRPG music.  Every track is fantastic and some of them get stuck in my head for days.  This is going in my top JRPG music games right next to the Final Fantasy and Chrono series.  It's not typical JRPG music and that makes it extra good.

As of right now I've done a the first couple major dungeons and I'm in late May on the in-game calendar.  As far as I can tell, the game takes place over the course of an entire year which started in April, so I'm not even 1/6 of the way into this game yet.  That's kinda intimidating since my playtime is over 10 hours already.

At this point the characters have truly started to grow on me, so I plan on continuing to play the game.  I'm not sure if I'm in it for the long haul.  Based on my rough estimate of my current place and time... I would guess this is probably a 60+ hour game.  But as long as I'm having fun I'll keep putting time into it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Visual Novels and Reading Speed

I ran into another hang up with visual novels.  I've been trying to play a variety of them lately and I've given up on everything except for Professor Layton vs Pheonix Wright.  But, I'm almost ready to give up on that too.

A big issue I run into with these games is my reading speed.  I read a lot and I've been reading a lot for as long as I can remember.  Because of that, I read really fast.  I read much faster than these games display text.

I basically end up just mashing the A button or tapping the screen as fast as I can to get the text to show up faster.  I wish they would either display more text on the screen at one time or increase the text display speed.

And the worst is when they slow down the text to a crawl for dramatic effect.  It's so infuriating.  Ugh!

I can tell I'm almost done with this venture into the visual novels left in my backlog.  I'm down to just the one last game and I'm either going to power through and finish it soon or simply give up out of frustration.  Either way, it's about time to move onto the last few games in my backlog.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Speed Runs

The other week there was a huge event where a group did streaming of game speed runs for almost an entire week straight.

I popped in and out over the week to watch a few games that I like.

I figured out that I really like seeing the basics of every speed run.  It's fun to listen to them talk about how they break the game and which mechanics they abuse.  But after that I would only watch the full run if it was a really cool gimmick, a game I love, or a game that took under 30 minutes.

One of my favorite runs from then was the original Legend of Zelda no sword run.  That was really cool.  I also loved watching the Mega Man X4 run with only the buster gun.

I don't watch a lot of twitch, but apparently a good speed run can suck me in and keep me entertained.

Below I've embbedded my favorite speed run of the event for you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Ys Memories of Celceta

I had never played a Ys game before this one and really didn't know what to expect.  I thought it would be a typical JRPG.

When I launched it on my Vita I found out that although it does have many of the generic JRPG trappings it's actually an action RPG.  There's a lot of hack and slashing while turn based combat is nowhere to be seen.  And it works really well!  Sometimes action RPGs just seem to fall flat but I've been having fun with the combat in this game.

At this point I'm not sure if it's a game I'll push through and finish or if it's one that I'm happy to simply sample.  It comes down to whether the story and characters are interesting enough.  I don't have much to go on yet.  There's a generic JRPG protagonist with amnesia and a reluctant sidekick.  I mean, really... amnesia?  That's a horrible storytelling trope to fall into, especially for a JRPG.

But the combat and gameplay are enough to get me to explore the game at least a little bit more.

At the very least I'll know to keep an eye out for any future Ys games that release.  The core of the gameplay is definitely interesting.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Gamer To-Do List

I'm inspired by Izlain's post on the first day of this Blaugust event.  He has created a gamer to-do list.  I'm constantly doing this in my own head as I'm working through my backlog, but I never formally write it down.

But since I loved his idea so much, I think I will write it down this time just to try it out.  It might be nice to have a gaming to-do list formally written out.  Izlain did a top 10, but I think mine will be slightly less:
  • Persona 4 Golden - Continue playing until I either beat the game or grow bored of it and decide to retire the game.
  • Hearthstone - Get to at least rank 20 by the end of the month.  Do the Tavern Brawl's every week for card packs.
  • FFXIV Heavensward - Do the daily trial roulette as long as I keep having fun with it. (I'm already bored of the other roulette options)
  • KOTOR II - Finally try the PC version since it got a major official update and has a community content fix patch on Steam.
  • Valkyria Chronicles - Get back to this game and keep playing it.  It was a lot of fun and I haven't beaten it.
  • Dirty Bomb - Try out this game because it's a recommended Blaugust F2P game that a lot of the community is trying.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening - I loved this game and want to go back to play a new game + if available.  Otherwise I want to just play the game again because I'm excited for the new Fire Emblem games.
  • Lightning Returns - I bought this game on super sale for PS3 right before I moved the system to another room and stopped playing it.  I need to get around to trying it
There we go, 8 items.  It's kinda nice to have some immediate goals written down.

I'm sure this list will change and morph as time goes on.  It always works that way in my head when I'm juggling games anyway.  For example, you may have noticed Arkham Knight is off this list.  Since I last wrote about it I've beaten all the side missions and activated the Knightfall protocol at the end of the game.  It was a great game, but I'm basically done with it now.

And I also have a couple games on the backburner that I only play when my friends want to.  Games like Rocket League and Heroes of the Storm.  They're fun with friends and they're good games, but they aren't games I'm inspired to sit down and play single player.

How about all of you, how are your gaming to-do lists looking?

Monday, August 3, 2015

That Didn't Last Long

Last week I mentioned that I've finally gotten around to some of the visual novel games I've been meaning to play.  My final thoughts were about how the pacing of Danganronpa seemed to be better than the other games I had tried.

I was very wrong.

The pace of the narrative slowed way down and I got extremely frustrated with it.  The game has murders and trials and I saw the obvious conclusion of the cases almost immediately.  It took forever for the characters to draw the same conclusions.  It was infuriating.

So I stopped playing it.  I'm officially walking away from Danganronpa.  It quickly became too frustrating slow for me.

I tried going back and playing a little bit of Dual Destinies but that has some pacing issues of it's own.

The one game in this vein that I'm still slowly picking away at is Professor Layton vs Pheonix Wright.  The Professor Layton portions of the game are redeeming it enough that I keep coming back for short bursts of play.

I'm starting to think that the visual novel genre just doesn't have enough gameplay for me.  When a game has this much text based narrative I feel like I would rather be reading a book instead.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Prune is a simple concept that is a ton of fun!

Your goal is to grow a sapling out of the darkness and into the light where it can flower.  If you manage to get enough flowers on it you complete the level.

The way you grow the sapling is the crux of the game.  You have to prune branches that aren't going the way you want them too.  The plant grows organically and you're only control over it is pruning the plant.

It's a simple mechanic but it's an amazing amount of fun.  This has been my go-to phone game lately and I would encourage all of you to check it out.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Blaugust Kickoff!

Blaugust is here!

What is Blaugust you might ask?  Well dear reader, it's a time to try your hand at producing content every day.

I've mostly fallen into a 5 day per week posting schedule, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to do this event with the blogging and gaming community that I love.

There are a ton of participating blogs, most are written but some are vlogs too.  We're all posting every day in August.

Thanks to the amazing Belghast for organizing this event.  Make sure to take a look at his site over at Tales of the Aggronaut.

He even gave us a writing prompt to kick off the event: What are you hoping to get out of Blaugust this year?

Personally, I'm taking Blaugust as a challenge.  I'm right near the end of my video gaming backlog and I know I'm going to need to branch out and talk about other things more often very soon.  This is going to push me there faster.  I always end up touching on movies, books, shows, tabletop games, and life occasionally with this blog but you can expect to see even more of those after I truly hit the end of my backlog.

Thanks Blaugust for propelling me forward into some new content areas!