Apocalypse Log

Hey folks!

Something a little bit different today.  I had planned to have the next bit of the Persona 3 retrospective out a week ago, but, much as I hate to be propagating the “All Coronavirus, All the Time!” of the rest of the internet, I work in a human services organization, my region’s the first and hardest hit of my state by viral stuff and lockdowns, and I haven’t had the capacity to be putting the usual post together.

Still haven’t yet, although things seem to be settling into more of a routine.  In the meantime, I’ve been blowing off steam about the situation by posting about this stuff on Facebook, and figured that might entertain you folks as well.  So, to follow, as I work on getting back to our usual personal entertainment-based content, enjoy my screeds on the Coronavirus social distancing measures we’ve been facing.

Apocalypse Log: Day 3

It’s been 3 days since our local government imposed martial law in response to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, and the first working day we’ve had. I think we’ve adjusted rather well. Not that it’s been easy. There’s been a lot of changes. Never knowing who is a potential ally and who might be one of The Infected. The cabal-imposed shutdown of all services and businesses in the community. Our right to free assembly negated. But I’m a survivor, we adjusted, and our stronghold is relatively well-equipped.

Not perfectly, however. On paper, all seems well. We’ve managed to secure a comfortable stockpile of toilet paper from the horde. Our escape routes and contingency plans are starting to take shape. And, on paper, we have enough food to last an extended siege. But there are small flaws we’re still working on at every stage. The food issue is currently the biggest one. As I said, on paper, we have enough. We could withstand an 8 month siege just on our stockpile of girl scout cookies alone. But if we’re seeking to thrive under these conditions, we need to do better. We’re running dangerously low on key nutritional groups. We only have eight half-full bottles of wine and spirits, for example. And we’re almost out of both Frosted Mini-wheats and milk, and I fear for the state of the house once that occurs. Seeking to forestall that, my partner had gone out salvaging yesterday. She returned after several hours in the infected wastes with bagfulls of provisions and tales of store shelves nearly picked clean by the mutants. Most of this food was contaminated by the insidious poison, ‘sodium’, but I suppose that was to be expected in this environment. She did not return bearing the familiar shape of a precious gallon of milk, but she did return with a carton of a familiar shape. Wasn’t quite the quantity I hoped for, but my excitement grew, and I could already taste the white ambrosia in my mouth. That crashed to the floor as I turned the carton over, and read the word ‘oatmilk’. This is a cold hell this world has turned into.

To do: Talk with the kids about which pet to eat first once we run out of food.

Apocalypse Log: Day 4

There’s a strange dichotomy to survival situations. Twin impulses that work against each other, yet both must be considered. The one, the impulse to act, and act now, that something must be done and it doesn’t matter what it is. The other, that it’s safest to wait, to watch, to stay where you are like a turtle in its shell. People who aren’t survivors listen to one or the other without consideration. That’s not a strategy that will serve well in these dying times.

It’s a natural course of events that public utilities don’t last long in the apocalypse. And so it wasn’t unexpected that our stronghold lost electricity in the wee hours of this morning. A lesser person might have left the stronghold immediately to try and rectify the situation. However, this carries the risk of running into whatever mutants, Infected, or TP Hoarders caused the outage in the first place. Of course, the threat of whatever vile presence ended the electricity in the first place may have prompted a lesser person to remain in the relative, if dark, safety of the stronghold. That, likewise, would have been a mistake. After all, without electricity to power our devices and beam wifi into our stronghold, it was only a matter of time before members of our party turned against each other.

With calm calculation, I determined we could ration the remaining power retained in our devices for approximately 10 hours. Perhaps more than that if we used our wine and spirits to supplement that time. That gave me a framework to work within. This time was a resource to me. I made my plans, gathered my resources, girded my loins, and waited for the opportune moment. Too soon, and one would have to fend off whatever fiends still remained in the power plant. Too late, and one would had to waste energy on one’s own family. No, I armed myself, I planned, and I waited. There is a time to be a hero, and a time to be a survivor, and this was not the former.

As was demonstrated when power returned 40 minutes later. Undoubtedly, someone had entered the power plant before the time, and sacrificed themselves in returning electricity to all us stronghold hoarders. Although their impatience cost them much, I do have to respect, and honor, their sacrifice.

But still, I am a survivor.

Apocalypse Log: Day 5

I am given to wonder about the wisdom of splitting up our workers into their own independent strongholds. It seems a rather calculated risk. On the one hand, sure, you never know who is in the process of becoming one of the Infected and might soon unwillingly turn on you. On the other, it seems like at least my place of employment would be a lot more defensible than most people’s strongholds, and that’d we’d be a lot better poised to defend our collective bounties of toilet paper from the hoarders as a group.

My work is one I am technically able to conduct remotely, but doing it solely from the stronghold has been a strange experience. For one, the local economy getting screwed harder than a shop class 2’x4′ means I’m largely stuck with addressing my customer’s symptoms, not their cause. Sorry, we’re saving our beds for those most at risk, so stay at home, no testing for you, take these food assistances and unemployment insurances to make sure your condition is manageable, and wait for your symptoms to decrease. That’s not enough for everybody. Many of my clients are still reaching out to me. “Save us,” they plead. “Sure,” I respond. “I can’t meet in person, but let’s set up a phone call or google hangout.” Then, their fear shows. They react as if the phone lines are part of the Infected, that by calling, they will be exposed to the virus as well. They let this fear rule them. They are not survivors.

Luckily, I am.

Apocalypse Log: Day 6

Our complex dumpster has become a microcosm of the state of our fallen civilization. Somebody, who perhaps was attempting to ensure that they would eternally burn in Hell for their sins, threw away a dying smoke alarm that still had enough juice in it to beep incessantly over the course of the day. Anyone who thought they might have a relaxing post-apocalyptic afternoon had those plans crashed as an endless alarm bored into their safe strongholds. Somebody else had placed some small furniture in front of the dumpster, and the rest of our fellows, who apparently didn’t have the survival instincts required to sidestep a chair, started dumping their trash in front of the nearly empty dumpster instead of actually in it.

It is disgusting what our civilization has come to. I thought long and hard about correcting it, throwing the trash away or digging through the dumpster to find the fire alarm. However, with the threat of Infection omnipresent, it was too much of a risk. There are times to be a hero. And there are times to be a survivor.

And I’m a survivor.

In other news, my partner has scavenged both milk and Frosted Mini-wheats. In light of this, I have decided to forgive her for the oatmilk debacle. Supplies of wine and spirits are somewhat reduced, although we still have enough to last some time. Port has become the official drink of the apocalypse.

Now Playing: One Small Step for Man

Yeah, let’s come round back on this.

For the summary, years, years ago, I set myself on a quest to beat, or come as close as I’m capable of doing, all my games. Every single games that’s part of my collection. Group them by console generation, tackle them sequentially, don’t stop until either they’re beat or I am.

At first it went smoothly. Although I still have some older games either I forgot about at the time (basically my whole Game Boy library) or picked up after the fact, the first several console generations fell quickly. Then I’ve been stuck in the seventh console generation for what feels like ages. But I am near the end of it. In an attempt to keep myself honest moving forward, I’m making it public. Potentially opening up myself to shame but not really because I am magnificent and so don’t have to worry about that.

Last time, I moaned about not making nearly as much progress as I thought. Since then, I’ve changed the way I play games. Got more of a solid schedule to it, less just playing whatever I feel like. Also, I don’t have as much games going at once, and for the time being at least, I’m not working classic games outside of the project series I’m picking up into the rotation. I think it’s had success in moving me forwards. I’ve knocked off several titles in the short month-plus since the last time we’ve done this. Makes me hopeful I might actually get through this generation of the quest in less time than even I predicted this year. Yep, quite a turnaround from the last time we checked in. Let’s get into that.

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

So, as we mentioned last time around, in addition to the Mystery Blogger award from Red Metal, we were nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award by master of the mental science, bloggess extraordinaire, and dominator of the post-apocalyptic wasteland, Athena. Ran out of time to get my response together for that last week, so let’s address that now.

Rules for the Sunshine Blogger award are:

Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.

Athena is a woman of impeccable taste and decision-making. And also she likes Dragon Age. Thank you very much, Athena, for this recognition. I appreciate your consideration.

Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.

Questions are:

1. If you could change one thing about AAA gaming, what would it be?

This is one of those somewhat trendy business management things, but I would increase the focus on Human-Centered Design. For a quick 101-level summary, the philosophy there is that generally, there’s three directions most people start from when designing a new product. There’s the business side, which seeks to build things that are economically viable, the practical side, which builds things you’re capable of doing, and the human side, which builds things that people want to use. Any product you release has to satisfy elements of all three spheres to be successful, but when you’re just in the early stages, planning things out, you typically start in one of those spheres mentally and move into the others after you’ve started prototyping and actually testing those projects out. Whichever one you start with has the biggest influence on what shape the product tapes. I get the feeling that a lot of AAA gaming starts more in the sphere of seeking financial viability rather than something that’s going to have an impact on the end user, and I’d like to see that shift.

2. Do you think pineapple belongs on pizza?

Absolutely. Pineapple and onion pizza is one of my favorites.

3. Is there an article on your site that you would write differently, knowing what you know now? Which one?

Eh, don’t think so. I can’t think of anything I’ve written that I wouldn’t stand by. Some of them I’d have plenty to add to, my opinions might have changed on a few, but I can’t think of any that I’d re-write.

My post about being unable to identify as a player in my professional life, though, I feel that one I’d have the most to add to with the way time has shaped up.

4. What’s the weather like near you today?

Warm and sunny. Which has been the case most winter. And that’s a problem. I live in an area where the economy strongly relies on the ski industry. So while parts of the country has been absolutely dumped on, we’ve been pretty dry. Our slopes have spent a lot of the season green. Without snow, we haven’t been getting our usual tourists, which has slowed the economy, which has made my job in workforce development a bit more interesting than usual.

5. Do you like pancakes or waffles better?

Waffles, typically. Evenly cooked all over, crispy instead of floppy? Yes please. Pancakes are good too, though.

6. Is there anything about your gaming hobby/habits that you don’t like?

The time available, mostly. As I mentioned in my last post, I am a multi-faceted individual, with multiple interests and responsibilities, and it’s hard to fit them all into a given day. It’s usually not until 9:00 p.m. That I’m able to start playing something, and I’ve only got a few hours to spare for my favorite pasttime. Even then, I often find myself combining activities, such as playing and exercising or playing and listening to something at the same time, if the game is of a kind to allow for that, just to fit in everything I want to before the day’s over. It’d be nice to have a few more hours added to each day so I can deal with that.

7. Do you have a preference between JRPGs and western RPGs?

No. I don’t typically think in terms of genre much, but both can deliver absolutely fantastic experiences. I feel like there’s a lot more half-assed JRPGs than WRPGs out there, but if you reach the heights of both, both genres can be great, and they can be great in very different ways. What I’ll play really depends on my mood.

8. When does an open-world game begin to suffer from open-world bloat?

I think it’s really a factor of time and engagement. When you’re spending a noticeable amount of time doing things that you just check out from, such as travelling through an empty and uninteresting locale, grinding boars for your quest to collect 20 pig asses to craft your Sword of Pork Butt, *ahem combat in Planescape Torment cough cough*, and you’re not actually paying full attention to any of it, I would say that that’s when open-world bloat starts to kick in. Experiences should be engaging. They should cycle mental energy through you. When they stop doing that, when you’re just checking the boxes and checking out, that’s when they start losing you.

9. What is the most memorable line of dialogue in a game?

I’m not a big quotes guy, but I am rather fond of “Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?”

No? You want something meaningful? How about Tales of Phantasia’s “If there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of man.”

Still not satisfied? Fine, bonus round. “Only a jackass can change the world.” Probably my favorite moment from Final Fantasy X-2.

10. Quick! You have 3 seconds to grab one game from your collection. Which one to do you grab and why?

3 seconds?! Oh no, what am I… Persona 4. That’s also my desert island game, my game that describes me, my 8th degree of Kevin Bacon, etc. I think everybody has a work that truly means something to them. That’s special to them, no matter what the quality is. That there’s a connection there beyond just the work itself. Persona 4 is that for me, for reasons I went over in my last post. Persona 4 is my game of games.   It’s the one where context has transcended context, and it has touched me and my life in a way few others have.

11. Do you collect anything? What is it?
Can you collect memories? If so, that’s it for me. I enjoy novelty, building up new experiences, trying new things out. I am more apt to do something if it gives me something new to learn or an experience I hadn’t tried before. There’s a lot to life, and although I’m never going to experience even a fraction of it, I would like to build up as much experience as I can.

Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

Again, nah. I’m just not that social. I don’t think I even have eleven friends. And all the people I would nominate either don’t really jive with the social awards or they’ve gotten one recently because we’re all part of the same circle. Sorry.

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
I don’t know what the award logo is. A quick Google Search shows about a hundred different logos. So you know what? Here:

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And that’s me!  I hope you all enjoyed me talking about myself as much as I did.  And it was a lovely break over a week when I spend half of it away from my writing computer.  We’ll be back with our regularly scheduled content in the near future.

 

The Mystery Blogger Award

This post could have been a couple things. A bit about how I tried and utterly failed to every one of our Fallout decision makers. Something reflecting on Planescape Torment’s unfortunate case of bipolar disorder. I could have finally publicly published one of the hundreds of posts sitting in my blog folder extolling the virtues of my hair. But, well, I’m a pleaser. I can’t help it. Just ask your girlfriend. I like leaving the people around me better off. And when those people around me combine that impulse with my natural enjoyment of talking about myself, well, I just can’t help it.

We’ve been touched by those viral get-to-know-you blogging awards again. You may remember our adventures with these in the past, when we were given the Double Lovely Versatile Liebster award. Well, that’s been expanded by not just one, but two steps. First, Red Metal was kind enough to send us over a Mystery Blogger award, thus guaranteeing we’d have easy content ready to go the next time a week got ahead of us. I was holding on to that in my back pocket, waiting for the most opportune time to slip that into my draw, but then Athena raises the stakes with by calling us for the Sunshine Blogger award, and, well, now it’s time for those cards to be on the table. I am nothing if not efficient, so let’s take care of both of those at once here.

Thank you both Red Metal and Athena. I appreciate your interest in opening up humble old me, the kindness you showed in your nominations and giving me the opportunity to talk about my favorite subject, myself.

Let’s start with Red Metal’s Mystery Blogger Award. Step by step, the rules are

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.

You know what, let’s do that, but with a twist.
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  • List the rules.

Check, got it. Man, I’m the best at this.

  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

Done already. But again, thank you Red Metal. If you’ve been around for most any length of time, you’ve seen him around in the comments at the very least. Dude’s one of my favorite game reviewers, and takes a pretty in-depth look at whatever catches his fancy on the regular. Check him out.

  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

Methinks that one Okoto Enigma maybe started up this award as a means to Google Bomb themselves. But oh well. I won’t hold it against them. With a quick glance at their blog, they’ve got absolutely no crossover with what we talk about here, so, don’t know that you’d be interested, but just for the webcrawlers, here’s their site.  I chose a random post there, just to make the stats the get a little more random.

  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  1. Like many people, video gaming is just one of my too many interests. It’s the one I’ve kept up with the longest, and devote the most mental space to, but I’ve got a too long list of things I keep up with, such as comic books, physical fitness, men’s style, art, New Japan Pro Wrestling, wine, my hair, and so on. Makes my days a little too full. I’ve kept most of them from here, because, although I consider this more an Aether’s Interest blog than a video games blog, I want to have at least a little consistency, but I’ve noticed some of that popping into a few of the examples or analogies I may use.
  2. I fantasize about leading a band, but I haven’t actually picked up an instrument in years.
  3. I think of myself as pretty socially adept. I can hold my own in a conversation, use my network well, get people talking with ease, etc. Put me in front of a room of people, even, and I’ll thrive. I’ve got this huge block when it comes to approaching people, though. I don’t understand it myself. When I’ve got an in to a conversation, it’s easy. When I’m introduced by someone else, fine. But I just can’t figure out how to put myself out there like that. Social stuff is weird.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

Nah. That involves approaching people, and see number 3 above. Also, I have a pretty small blogging circle, and most of those whom I would nominate either received a similar viral award recently or choose not to play along with these.

So here’s an inoculation against the viral spread, I guess.

  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

Okay, done.

  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny

Here’s Red Metal’s questions:

Which game proved to be the biggest disappointment for you?

Justice League Task Force. When I was a kid, had a lot of fun with fighting games, loved superheroes, this seemed really interesting from the magazines, a perfect fight. Then I rented it, and it played like garbage. Slow, clumsy, special moves were really unreliable, just not a good experience. I’m sure I’ve been more disappointed by games since, but I remember this one because it was my first learning experience that not all games will live up to my excitement.

Which game proved to be the most pleasant surprise for you?

Persona 4. But this one’s going to take a bit of a story.

Around the time I picked this game up, I was in a weird place in life. Part of that led to me just not enjoying things, including video games, as much. Part of that was just general malaise, but part of that was that it was a lot easier to see the worst in everything than it was the good. And my gaming habits were hitting that wall hard. I was starting to think the whole medium had peaked, and was on its way down in quality. I had been considering giving it up.

I don’t remember why I had picked up Persona 4. I didn’t know anything about it, other than that Persona 3 was reputed to be really good, and I had very fond memories of its Super Famicom predecessor Shin Megami Tensei from a time when I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing else to do than to trial and error my way through a brutally hard JRPG that I couldn’t even read. But I gave it a try on a whim, and I was blown away. It was an incredibly tight story that was very well thought out, I built connections to the characters there in a way I was sorely lacking from the people I was with in real life, and the battle system had complexities at a level I wasn’t expecting from a JRPG of the time.

It didn’t exactly turn my life around, but it did single-handedly turn me back into a devoted hobbyist of video games. I had been a proponent for stories in video games beforehand, but that was the first one that really opened my eyes to the depths of just what unique feature the medium had for storytelling.  Not only that, it was fun.  I fell in love with it, and it showed me I still could enjoy video games at a time I really needed that.  I probably wouldn’t be playing today and having this blog here were it not for that game.

What is the most memorable scene from a film you’ve watched?

For me, it’s the climax to Beauty and the Beast. Where the Beast is fighting with Gaston, and the latter falls off the castle to his death. Between Gaston’s blind rage, and the first time I think I was exposed to a death as a kid, that really stuck with me.

What inspired you to begin blogging?

Blazes. Look at my sidebar there. This blog dates back to the start of 2013. For such a simple project like this one, that’s exceptionally long. Long enough that I don’t rightly remember.

I’ve been writing for a long time. Some of which has even seen the light of day. I used to admin for a roleplaying forum, and was a pretty active participant there. I’ve got a few articles scattered around other people’s sites, used to put together fun essays and games on various social media I was a part of, etc. I enjoyed it. I like creating. But everything I did was all scattered around, and it was all on other people’s sites. I had nothing of my own. I was also following quite a few gaming blogs at the time. I was frustrated with most of the forums and what not I had been dealing with, how much discussion went ignored there, but I was enticed by the idea of having my own little place that I could put my own thoughts up, keeping my own small corner of the internet, just having a place for me and whatever from my mind I felt I could share with the world. I figured I’d try it out, see how it goes, and five years later, I’m apparently still at it. I don’t have the time to post as much as I’d like to, and it doesn’t seem to have as much reach as the avenues I used to write through, but I’m very fulfilled with it.

If you could go back in time and see any band that has permanently broken up perform a concert, which one would you choose?

Nightwish is one of my favorite bands. They’re still around, but they’ve gone through a few lead singers, and each time, it changes their musical profile significantly. Would have been nice to have caught them with their original lead singer, with whom they put out a lot of their most notable work.

  • Share a link to your best post(s).

My best post? They’re all great, how can I choose? But I am particularly proud of having what I believe is the most comprehensive list of left-handed video game characters on the internet. It could probably do with an update, there’s two more I’ve come across in games since I put that list together, but it’s still a more thorough list than I believe you’d be able to find elsewhere. Occasionally, I track back the links leading people to the blog, and find that someone else has used that list for their own projects. That’s also fulfilling to me, that it’s started to take a life of it’s own.

Also, I’m really proud of our Dark Souls run here. If you have some time to fill, might I suggest that? The first post probably not so great, because I wasn’t expecting to do a LP out of it then, but from the second onward, should be hitting more our stride. That was the first LP I’ve completed, and I think it went really well. Especially one jumping in blind to a notoriously difficult game.

More recently, I think my post analyzing Nintendo’s business culture is pretty noteworthy. It was fun for me to step back into my business academic shoes, and although it’s mostly conjecture, I think it does come from a perspective and carries information you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

And, you know, because this is long enough already, and because it’s time for me to go play some games, how about we tackle the Sunshine Blogger award in another post.

State of the Quest

We’re going to be posting a bit differently, here at Lost to the Aether, for at least the near future. Your main man was wounded recently, and while it’s not anything you should be worrying about, the effects of this do mean that I’m having a harder time focusing and putting the kind of thought I usually do into these posts. I should be able to make a full recovery with time, but until then, well, the content’s just going to be a little different around here, more in line with my presently diminished capacity. So, you know, fair warning. I hope you’re into it. I hope I’m into it, too.

Today I’m going to go back to an old standby and talk about myself. I’m good at that. Specifically, my little gaming quest. I’ve mentioned several times on this blog, once upon a time, I got the odd idea in my head that I was going to beat all of my games. All of them. I’ve been collecting games since I was a cub, I’ve got a lot of them. I give myself a bit of a break when the game is too glitchy to progress, or in the very, extremely, infinitesimally rare case I’m not skilled enough to beat a game, but overall, if I own it, I will beat it. I’m going through my entire collection, with games grouped by the console generation they released in, and by hook or by crook beating every single game I own.

This little quest has been an interesting one. Some games I never would have given the chance I did, some games I found that I enjoyed in a different way, and some games, playing them this way has actually given to my perspective of them. This quest has certainly changed the way I value games and the experiences contained therein.

But have I mentioned that I have a lot of games? Because I have a lot of games. The NES era took me a few weeks to play through. SNES took me several months. The N64/PS generation took me about a year to clean out. The PlayBoxCube era? I have been at this for years. Many years. Too many years. Longer than I’d care to admit. Children have been born into my family since I started, and have now grown old enough that I can have a sensible conversation with them. It’s been a long time. Part of which is that this was the generation I started making an income in, then one that I filled in later when I started picking up the other consoles for cheap, so my collection is perhaps the largest in this area. Part of it is that there are just so many JRPGs on these consoles bloody hell and they all take like 40 hours minimum to beat.

But for all the causes, I’m most of the way through. I estimate that I’ll be through the rest of this console generation and on to the next, hopefully not so long one, in about a year. That might be a bit optimistic of me, but still, pretty close. I’m excited.

I thought I’d take a look at all the rest of the games ahead of me. What do I have coming up, what shall soon be moving through the life of Aether, what more must I conquer before the next milestone. Because sometimes, it’s just fun to get organized.

Currently Playing

Tales of the Abyss

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So of all the games I haven’t beaten yet on this quest, this one is one of my favorites. The Tales series has, overall, been pretty solid ever since Tales of Symphonia, and Tales of the Abyss shows the developers in rare form. The Tales series has spent the past decade and a half really strong in terms of characterization, oddly charming technobabble, and in pointedly subverting common storytelling tropes, and Tales of the Abyss showcases some of the best the series has to offer. Mixing the typical JRPG wayfaring and dungeon diving with a fast-paced Smash Bros-esque combat engine keeps the experience feeling really varied and fresh. They don’t really add much new to the mechanics here over previous installments, and the new features they do add seem largely circumstantial, but the mechanics are very solid. I’m having a good time with it.

Also, I get to play as a left hander in this game. How often do I get to do that?

Summoner: A Goddess Reborn

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The other game I’m currently playing is one of the best games I have left on my list. This one is one of the worst.

Which I suppose if this is the bottom of the barrel, the barrel’s not really that bad. Summoner: A Goddess Reborn is no Fur Fighters, or Turok: Evolution, or Fallout Tactics. It’s not the type of game that actively offends me for its existence. It’s just… kind of bad.

You remember when THQ made RPGs? Yeah, those were always kind of quirky titles, none of them actually very good. This is along those lines. I’m actually really interested in the lore and the world. It’s obvious the developers put a lot of time and thought into those. I just wish they put as much into their engine and presentation. Gameplay is as slow and clunky as my uncle’s pinto. When it goes bad, it gets about as explosively horrible, too. Graphics and sound are poor, and the art design is all over the place. It’s world is interesting, but it’d take a better game to keep me around if I wasn’t forcing myself to.

I’m a little worried that I may not actually be capable of taking this game the whole way through. Most of the time, strategy or skill makes at least a bit of a difference to how well combat goes, but when the game hits its bad points, that goes out the window and there’s not a whole lot to do except button-mash and hope it works out for you. I haven’t been completely stopped yet, but I’m worried that I’ll run into one of those bottle-necks where skill or preparation doesn’t matter and the odds are too stacked against me to make any headway, and that’ll be a really unsatisfying end to this run.

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My Adventures in XCom 2

I got myself a new computer. I didn’t want to. I was perfectly happy with my old one. But you can’t always get what you want, so here I am, new computer in hand. Lap. There you go.

One of the important things to do with any new computer, of course, is to find out just how much it can handle. After all, if you’re going to be investing into any games for it, you need to know just how leet it is, else you could buy something above your system. And also, you get the hackerz casting hardz as to the spex of your system. You can’t have people hardzing your spex. Sure, you can just look at the system requirements, but that doesn’t give you anywhere near the knowledge on frame rates and specific graphic quality that a practical test does.

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That drew me to XCom 2. A current gen game I actually wanted that I could get for cheap with a bunch of mystery gems on top through the recent Humble Monthly Bundle. If it worked on my system, and actually played well, I could comfortably get other modern games. If not, well, at least I got some other games I could play.

So when I started XCom 2 up, I really wasn’t planning on playing for long. My gaming schedule is rather full. Like, I need games to make reservations to get themselves in my immediate playlist. I played it for an hour, was satisfied with my system’s performance, and shut it down. But I couldn’t get the game off my mind. So I figured, you know what, Time? You can’t tell me what to do. I still have this super packed gaming schedule, so I wasn’t going to commit to a full runthrough, but given the nature of the game, I thought I’d give it an ironman run until it wasn’t possible for me to continue anymore. Continue reading

The One Lovely Blog Award

There was supposed to be a blog post here.  A long one.  I’ve been working in my spare time on one for a while.  This is one that I’m putting a lot into.  Working a lot of thought and research into it, meaning it’s probably going to be one of those posts that so tailored to my own mental processes that not many others are going to agree with or be interested in the content, but it’s fun to put those out every once in a while, and what’s blogging if you’re not selfish every once in a while?

In any case, I had planned to put this post here, today, figured that I’d have the time to finish it up over the weekend.  Unfortunately, life, as it often does, said no.  Between work, chores, homework, and social obligations, I’ve not had the time I wanted to to work on that post.  Looking at the post, I’m not anywhere near finished.  So, we were going to be looking at one of those sad, sad times where it takes me a while to get a post out, and everyone’s hearts feels smaller in the interim.

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Then, I remembered that a fortnight ago, the lovely Athena at the lovely blog Ambigaming had nominated us here at Lost to the Aether for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I’ve been a little hesitant to follow up on that, what with the fact that this is one of those viral social things and I’m just not very social conflicting with the fact that I think I am totally awesome and love talking about myself.  These two opposed mentalities created a stalemate until… well, until I needed some quick content and this provided a good framework.  You should go over to Athena’s blog and thank her for that.  While you’re at it, check out some of her posts, too.  I mean, if you’ve been following me this far, you probably enjoy overthinking video games, and she does that really well!  Especially if you’re interested at all at how brain science works with video games.

And yeah, some of you who’ve been with us for a while may be wondering how I might have anything more to say about myself after I’ve already been Double Liebstered and a Versatile Blogger.  Oh, how much you underestimate me.  I am as complicated as I am mysterious.  Besides, the OLBA on requires me to state seven things about myself.  Seven!  I could do that all day.

Let’s go!

  1. I was a giant Nintendo fanboy for the longest time.  Yeah, the bad, argumentative type.  I don’t know what to say, there was something wrong with me.  That had lasted until I was given a PS2 back in 2007 and got to expand my gaming horizons.  Even now, I’ve owned at least one version of every console and handheld Nintendo’s put out, aside from the Virtual Boy.
  2. I stopped acknowledging my birthday years ago.  This way, I never age, and shall remain eternally youthful.
  3. I haven’t really written into it here, but as you may have guessed from my ill-fated and poorly suited to the internet-format attempt to create a graphic novel, I really like graphic novels.  Or comics, or manga, or whatever you want to call them.  I read more of those than I do traditional literature.
  4. My father was a huge gun nerd.  I have never cared about guns, but I was able to, check the safety, securely unload, and strip a gun at the age of five, thanks to him.
  5. It seems that most of my interests have pulled a complete 180 from where I was as a teenager.  As a youngling, I was never very interested in dancing, dating, sports, clothes, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I’ve really grown into and now I kick myself for wasting all those times and opportunities in my teenage years.
  6. My hair is my best physical feature.  I’m like Samson, and that’s where my power comes from, except my power is to make people weak in the knees and keep them from thinking of anything else.
  7. I’m not a fitness freak or anything, but I’ve gotten really into calisthenics in the past few years.  I can’t even say why that specifically, but those bodyweight exercises just feel so satisfying to me.

So… there.  That’s me.  And wasn’t that fun?  We’ll see you all again, once I get caught up with life!