Really, conference organizers?

Jul. 23rd, 2017 03:11 pm
jethrien: (Default)
[personal profile] jethrien
I'm going to a conference this week. I'm trying to plan out which sessions I want to go to. While their website lets you filter by day and theme and such, there's nothing that filters by, say, time. They're listed alphabetically. Which is possibly the least useful way to list a time-based thing...
chuckro: (Default)
[personal profile] chuckro
So, it occurred to me that I've played a lot of KEMCO's Android jrpg fare in the last few years, and I should probably try to actually look at the details and try to summarize it.

I have played 31 KEMCO-published games (25 to completion), virtually all of which cost me $1 or were free. That's on the order of 270+ hours of gameplay for around $25. Completed games average around 11 hours each, and Adventure Bar Story was the only one to crack the 20-hour mark.

KEMCO publishes games from four major developers, and though they're all retro-jrpgs, they each have their own style and evolution, which I've conflated in some places and becomes clearer as I've played more of their games.

EXE-Create made the Asdivine and Alphadia series, as well as the contents of the second KEMCO Humble Bundle (Fanatic Earth, Illusion of 'Phalcia, Journey to Kreisia, Revenant Saga). Their games tend to be longer, have multiple difficulty levels, rely less on IAP, and have the best translations. That said, their characters tend to be identical and the plot sequences, sidequests and worldbuilding don't change much from game to game. They have been steadily improving; I should probably try a few of their most recent offerings.

Hit-Point tends more towards games with monster companions and a variety of ways to grind. Several of their offerings (Crystareino, Justice Chronicles) were on Amazon Underground and I bought several others in their holiday sale (Soul of Deva, Chronus Arc). If you need to grind for materials to craft weapons, it's a Hit-Point game. On the other hand, they're most likely to to put actual puzzles into the dungeons. Their IAP is usually there to reduce grinding time. A bunch of their games were in the Humble KEMCO x HyperDevBox bundle, so it'll be interesting to see how those function without IAP.

Magitec tries the hardest to get creative with their plots, often to the point of cramming in too many twists. They also had a bunch of Amazon Underground games (Grace of Letoile, Soul Historica, Dead Dragons) and a bunch I got in the holiday sale (Covenant of Solitude, Chrome Wolf, Shelterra the Skyworld). They tend to go in for class systems, mission-based plot sequences, and very standard space-filling dungeons that have the same half-dozen styles (take the long way around to hit a switch; one-way doors/traps; sliding ice/walkways; damage floors you need items to avoid, etc). They'll often have cool stuff in their IAP, though sometimes it breaks the game more than others.

WorldWideSoftware provided the first KEMCO Humble Bundle (Eclipse of Illusion, Aeon Avenger, Fortuna Magus, Silver Nornir, Symphony of the Origin, Eve of the Genesis). They're most likely to hide story content behind IAP (if you aren't playing a Humble version), and their translations are sometimes rocky. They've gotten better at designing dungeons in later games, but it's not hard to improve from three open screens with two arrangements of enemies, which was the standard in their earliest offerings.

I suspect I'll continue to play games from a variety of the developers, but I'll likely seek out the WorldWideSoftware or later EXE-Create ones when I next go looking, unless I'm really in the mood for a decent plot and willing to handle the Magitec style to get it.
chuckro: (Default)
[personal profile] chuckro
A Bird Story - A virtually wordless tale told in RPGMaker, by the same developer as To the Moon. It's not a game so much as an interactive story, and it's clearly trying to be “art”. Though it's a short and cute little tale of a lonely, imaginative boy making friends with a bird, I think I preferred To the Moon for its much greater depth.

Gone Home - Katie arrives home after a year in Europe to find that the door is locked and her family is gone. First-person exploration of the giant, creepy house tells the story, and it doesn't turn out how you might expect. I quite enjoyed this; I found that the story played out reasonably well and the game didn't outstay its welcome or throw up any ridiculous barriers.

Eternal Senia - An action-rpg made with RPGMaker, that was an “impulse play” because it was free on Steam. The battle system is similar to the early Ys games, where you're mostly trying to ram enemies before their projectiles hit you. The engrish is pretty terrible. But there are some decent puzzles and a nice progression—this was clearly someone's labor of love.

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs – Mithrigil recommended this to me because I like puzzle games and horror exploration games. I'll admit, I was hoping for a bit more "point and click adventure" and a bit less "first-person stumble around and get killed." You seem to be playing an amnesiac man--a butcher-turned-investor, perhaps?--who is searching the mansion house for his children. This house makes the hotel from The Shining seem tiny, mind you. The paintings are one-way viewing portals from the secret passages. The desk drawers and cabinets (and there are many) are all full of bottles. There might be a deep mystery here, but it’s too big for my patience and there’s too much actual danger for my skills.

Goat Simulator - It is everything that I heard it was, and more. You play an immortal, incredibly strong goat and can roam the world smashing and jumping on whatever you want. The physics take "ragdoll" to new heights (people flop around in the most absurd ways). The design philosophy was clearly "if it doesn't crash the game, leave it in." It also qualifies as "a game for the whole family", in that ARR was delighted to watch me jump around smashing stuff,* and Jethrien provided color commentary. There are actually a surprising number of things to find and things you can unlock--I had kind of expected it to be stupidly simple, but for a glitch-filled bunch of craziness it's shockingly deep. Oh, and despite all the things that didn't back up on the Steam servers when my computer crashed? My saves for this bug-ridden monstrosity were just fine. It got old after a while, but I had lots of fun with this.

Besiege - A construction-set puzzle game of absurd destruction. Each stage has a goal, and you need to assemble a siege weapon from an assortment of generic parts to accomplish it. Of course, that's never as easy as you might hope, because you can't take for granted things like “steering” or “aiming.” I suspect I was “really” suppose to destroy a house on the other side of a wall by using a catapult, but I opted to build a crappy makeshift airplane and crash that into the house instead. This is still in Early Access, so I'll likely want to revisit it once the later stages and features are implemented.

Quote: “It's okay; I'm a goat.”

The Flash (TV Series, Season 3)

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:24 pm
chuckro: (Default)
[personal profile] chuckro
Barry Allen makes terrible life choices and breaks space-time. Following time-travelling to finally save his mother, Barry discovers that this didn’t actually make the world better, and even after he “fixes” it, subtle changes have infected the reality he knew. And elements from the “Flashpoint” timeline start bleeding over, as well.

Read more... )

Overall: The season was uneven, with some bits I really enjoyed and some that were kinda dumb; and the overall arc got tiring by the end. But I still like the show and I'm still on the hook for the next season.
chuckro: (Default)
[personal profile] chuckro
You live on a floating continent that's about to fall to the demon-infested world below. A princess and her stuck-up bodyguard hire you, a low-class treasure hunter, to find the magic stones that can save the world. Hmm...this actually sounds really familiar.

Read more... )

Overall: Short and by-the-numbers KEMCO/Megitek jrpg; the challenge level was reasonable and it didn't outstay its welcome. Not bad, but nothing amazing.

Sugar-free

Jul. 14th, 2017 09:08 pm
jethrien: (Default)
[personal profile] jethrien
I've been eating a lot of crap lately, and kept making resolutions to eat "better" and failing at it. So this past week, I tried an experiment. No sweeteners of any kind. No sugar, honey, agave, artificial sweeteners, nothing with any of them in it at all.

You see a lot of "blah blah sugar is addictive poison" stuff, and I was just kind of curious. Would I suddenly have clearer skin? More energy? Would I spend two days detoxing and craving and miserable? A couple conclusions:

1) Avoiding sugar is a pain in the ass. Seriously. It's in freaking everything. Bread, cereal, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, barbecue sauce, all beverages, sausages, crackers, basically anything processed. I'm certainly not going to commit to something like this long term, because it's incredibly inconvenient. (Also, I like baking, a lot.)

2) On the other hand...I had no real trouble cutting it out. No cravings. Didn't really miss dessert. It's summer, so it's a lot easier to do this when there's a ton of good fruit around. But I think I have to face that it's not that I'm addicted to sugar, it's just that I succumb from boredom and habit.

3) It's actually much easier to eat healthy food on a restrictive diet. I usually have to do this whole complex balance of what I've eaten today and plan to eat later and fighting with my willpower, over and over and over. When I'd set an arbitrary, strict rule that I just couldn't have it, I had very little trouble sticking almost entirely to produce with a little dairy for the full day, with some not-very-processed carbs and protein at the beginning and end of the day.

4) Some of this is related to the timing of my period, but I lost three pounds this week.

5) Brown rice is actually an awesome replacement for granola. I initially did this because I wanted some carbs in my yogurt and we also really needed to finish the leftover rice from takeout Chinese, but it's nutty and chewy and really satisfying with unsweetened Greek yogurt and a bunch of berries. I think I'll actually do that again.

So now I need to figure out what rules to set for myself that are a little less restrictive, but still continue the significantly healthier eating. Because I did feel better about myself, if not some kind of miracle energy glow.

On the other hand, I spent this evening baking a birthday cake.
jethrien: (Default)
[personal profile] jethrien
We're going to Germany in August, so I'm reading up on German history. One book was noting that trade fairs came out of the Hanseatic League. Which, ok, blah blah, I know some medieval history and lord knows trade fairs are a recurring Thing in sword and sorcery. So that's where they come from, moving on. And then the book goes on to note that Germany continues this tradition into the present and is the host of most of the biggest trade shows in Europe.

Oh. Oh *anvil drop*

I've known about Medieval trade fairs for decades. I've been attending trade fairs for work for a decade. Somehow I never put together that the latter is literally the modern version of the former, descended in a straight line.

When I go to BbWorld in New Orleans in two weeks, I'll make sure my sword is peace-bonded while I'm working the booth.

(Not really. Just in case this has to be said, I would in no way take a sword or any other weapon to an educational technology conference.)

Identification

Jul. 12th, 2017 04:13 pm
jethrien: (Default)
[personal profile] jethrien
I forgot to mute myself on a conference call (in the very beginning while we were still waiting for people, not during the actual call). I was working at the same time. Apparently I have a distinctive enough typing pattern that people were able to identify it. (They said it's because it's very fast.) Not a thing I realized was an identifying characteristic.
chuckro: (Default)
[personal profile] chuckro
”A roleplaying game about kids and the relationship-devouring horrors from beyond time and space who love them.”

Read more... )

Overall: This is a very cute system clearly streamlined towards a certain type of game, and I do look forward to trying it out at some point, though that may be a while.

Castlevania (Netflix, Season 1)

Jul. 11th, 2017 03:54 pm
chuckro: (Default)
[personal profile] chuckro
In Wallachia in the 1400s, the vampire Vlad Dracula Tepes is incited to bring down the wrath of his dark forces on the country. Fortunately, the Belmont family is well-versed in fighting this sort of thing. The plot is very loosely based on the events of Castlevania III for the NES, starring Trevor Belmont, who is later joined by Sypha Belnades and Alucard.

Read more... )

Overall: The four half-hour episodes in the first season feel more like a teaser miniseries, testing the waters for something much larger. If you've felt the urge for a hard-R rated version of an NES game, give it a test run; but know that you're not getting much literary value.
newredshoes: Dottie laughing on the grass (peaches | this thing you love)
[personal profile] newredshoes
SO MANY BIRTHDAY MESSAGES yesterday! THANK YOU to all, for the texts, emails, FB posts, tweets and videos. Friends are amazing! You are great and I am so lucky! ♥

It was probably my most low-key birthday ever, and I'm fine with that -- it was still glorbious. I'd basically already bought all my presents for myself; in the morning, I made an actual effort to, like, work, for money and prestige, but my eyes gave up on my laptop screen and I just went off to Park Slope to wander for a bit and get some personal-project writing done.

The real highlight was meeting up with [personal profile] kaydeefalls for ramen at the best ramen hole-in-the-wall in New York, which she also introduced me to when I first moved here. I then tried every bright/outlandish/glittery lipstick in the Union Square MAC store (on my hand; most of it didn't come off) -- fun. Finally, we saw Spider-Man: Homecoming, a film I was groaning about when Spidey was (admittedly delightfully) shoehorned into Civil War last year. But like -- holy shit, I think that was actually the best Marvel movie that's not Winter Soldier??? HOLY SHIT, IT WAS JUST SO GREAT AND GOOD. I enjoyed it so much!!

Meanwhile, apparently I am getting political birthday presents from the Trump family? Oh my god, what on earth is even happening today, with Donnie Jr. literally tweeting the emails that show him trying to collude with the Russian government and failing?????!? I've spent most of this morning glued to Twitter and strongly contemplating a stress-nap ("My man actually Reynolds Pamphleted himself!" thank you, [twitter.com profile] eparillon). The other part of the morning I spent being vindicated and then increasingly horrified as my building super peeled away layers of paint to reveal a BIG FUCKOFF PIT OF ROTTED DRYWALL in my living room, as I've been saying for more than two years!!

And to conclude, wow, 33 is some ride so far, holy cats.

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