Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MIDI Week Singles: "Wiley Stage 2" - Mega Man III (NES)




"Dr. Wiley Stage 2" from Mega Man III on the NES (1990)
Composer: Yasuaki Fujita
Album: Mega Man III Official Sound Track
Developer: Capcom



I've listened to the Mega Man III soundtrack a bunch of times, and yet, I don't remember ever having heard this song before.  This one caught me by surprise as I listened to my phone's music library on random.  There's something decidedly solemn about the tone that I appreciate, despite being simultaneously driving (it seems all Mega Man songs are driving, appropriate for an action game).  The chorus is dramatic, and yet still seems solemn.  This struck me in a sweet way, it's always nice to find music that is just the right kind of sad.  I'd love to hear a creative arrangement of this track. 

On a separate note, I found out today that, according to the Video Game Music Database,  Yasuaki Fujita stepped in as composer of Mega Man III when his wife Harumi Fujita bowed out after giving birth.  Harumi Fujita has a deep catalog of NES composition work, deeper than her husbands.  I thought that was a fun tidbit. 

-D

Friday, May 20, 2016

Game Review: Dead Space 3 (PC)



First off, this is going to be a picture-less review for two reasons which is really just one.  The first reason is that I played Dead Space 3 through EA's gaming client Origin and unlike Steam, pressing F12 while in-game won't take a screenshot and even pressing the PrtScr button only comes back with a blacked out image.  Then I found out while playing the Mirror's Edge: Catalyst beta through Origin, that, I believe, if the game is in windowed-mode, the PrtScr function will work fine.  Ah well, I guess I'll just have to rely on my slick words.  Because I know words, I know the best words.

So I actually played and finished Dead Space 3 and the Awakened DLC back in March, and since it's the last M month of the year, I figured that putting the post up now would be a good thing.  So let's do this in chronological order.

I acquired the soundtrack to Dead Space 3 back in February and after listening to the first eight tracks, I began wondering why I hadn't played the game yet.  Most of the criticism I had heard about DS3 revolved around how the game had gone from survival horror to a more action oriented type of game.  Similar to the Resident Evil games after Resident Evil: Code Veronica.  For me, Dead Space 2 was considerably more action oriented than the first Dead Space so I found it difficult to see how "more" action was to be added; I mean I could see how, but I just didn't understand the descent considering how different I felt DS2 was compared to DS1.  Then there was the online co-op aspect of the game that I wasn't sure if you either had to play co-op in order to fully explore the game, and the issue with micro transactions and being able to spend real-world money to buy components to upgrade equipment without having/needing to find them in-game.  

But what really made me give DS3 a serious consideration was that on the soundtrack, one of the songs was titled "Mountains of Madness" as in the story by H.P. Lovecraft.  That title alone made me rethink of the ice world setting in DS3 and compared it to the story "At the Mountains of Madness" and I immediately had a new appreciation for both the game and the composers (Returning  Dead Space composer Jason Graves, along with James Hannigan) with the Lovecraft reference that wasn't Cthulhu related.  Anyway, with all of those preconception in mind, I decided that I would give DS3 a shot with all intentions of hoping to not be somewhat disappointed.

The game started off well enough, with some unnamed (was he, I've forgotten) guy in a RIG on a snowy planet traversing down a mountain after some code/initiative was declared.  That short sequence lead into a 200 year jump (of which I thought that it looked like the RIGs and other forms of technology hadn't advanced at a rate that I felt was believable; relative considering the story) and so began playing as our favorite engineering technician Isaac Clarke.

True enough, Isaac's sequence began with an attempted apprehension of his person by Unitologist soldiers and felt. . . not very Dead Space-y.  It was exciting, in a way, but felt more like another action game with a Dead Space skin.  However!  I feel that by this point in Isaac's life, he's gone through two necromorph outbreaks, so one would think that he had become quite adapt at being in combat situations when up against horrible vomitations from the bowels of some alien hell.  It's like Ash in Army of Darkness, he's dealt with Deadites twice already and knows how to handle them, which is why Army of Darkness is no longer a horror movie, but an action-comedy.

The rest of the game is made up of a couple of sections.  There's a semi-open-world/space area where you are able to explore a number of derelict ships in which ever order you choose, that are in orbit around the ice planet of Tau Volantis, which felt more like survival horror than the second game and these areas I really liked.  There was at least one area that was not accessible to me because I was not playing co-op and while somewhat miffed at having an area of the game closed off to me because I didn't want to be online sociable, I got over it by chalking it up to being an area that could be completed in about 30 minutes (I actually don't know, but that's what I told myself).

One other major departure that I actually found myself liking, was that there was a group of people with Isaac for a number of scenes.  These people being present lead me to believe that others were capable of surviving in these situations and not just Isaac, which to me was a nice addition.  Sure Ellie Langford (from DS2) was present and a connection to Isaac's recent past, but the character of Sergeant John Carver (whom Player 2 plays in co-op), I actually became rather fond of.  His interactions with Isaac were. . .endearing, for lack of a better term.  When they were together, he would often voice his disbelief at what was going on around them and would sometimes act as the voice of the player, calling BS when things would get out of control.  And since this is Dead Space, it was actually frustrating/sad when some of the NPCs of the group died through various circumstances.  That those NPCs served a function in the story and weren't just cannon fodder (well, they kind of were I guess, but not in a way that was obviously obvious). 

The majority of the time spent on Tau Volantis, I actually very much enjoyed.  There was a variety of environments (even the sub-zero temperatures played a role in a couple of areas), new types of necromorphs that didn't seem too far out of left field, and story-wise, I often felt like I knew what the objectives were, unlike one of my issues with DS2; issue being I often didn't know what I was supposed to do, but just followed the hallway and elevator down to the next level.

Taking a cue from the increasing size of final bosses in the Dead Space games, the final altercation, the boss here was ridiculously massive.  I won't give any additional spoilers away about the boss, but I will say that if there ever is a Dead Space 4, Isaac (or whomever takes the helm) will need to be piloting something the size of the Enterprise-D.

Now a brief statement about the Awakened DLC.  It was amazing.  If the entirety of DS3 had been what the short two hours DLC had been, it may have even rivaled the amazingness of the first Dead Space.  Awakened also felt like it took some cues from Dead Space Mobile by integrating sanity-effects to a greater degree than either of the three main games (DS, DS2, DS3).

I admit that I was surprised by how much I liked Dead Space 3, and I know that I am very much in the minority by saying that I liked it better than Dead Space 2.  I don't know if I will ever get around to playing the co-op portion of the game, and I'm a little sad at that, but I know that if I ever want to play, there's a pretty good population of people over at /r/DeadSpace that will probably take me up on a playthrough.

In the end, Dead Space 3 took me about 23 hours to complete (even with all of the dying I did, more frequently in areas of Tau Volantis, but nothing as volatile as the ADS in DS1; although the fights against the Snowbeast often left me depleted of health packs and willpower to continue playing).  I would definitely say that I would recommend Dead Space 3 (even over Dead Space 2) and I highly (HIGHLY) recommend also getting the Awakened DLC.  It's a great action game, a pretty decent survival horror and I did have a lot of fun surviving yet another necromorph outbreak (and then some).



-JWfW/JDub/Jaconian

P.S.  I know that there is a lot about this game that I didn't cover, such as the crafting system, various story elements, lore elements, the use of Isaac's dementia (of which I am still irritated at that use of a "diagnosis," but I previously covered that) and the sometimes respawning of enemies in extra areas or in one case, an item that would respawn every time you closed a door.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MIDI Week Singles: "Grassy Plans" - Fantasy Life (3DS)


"Grassy Plains" from Fantasy Life on the Nintendo 3DS (2013)
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
Label: FRAME
Developer: Level-5

video


Not having yet beat the game or watched the credits (not actually sure if you can do that with Fantasy Life, but I still felt like mentioning this disclaimer), I did not know that Nobuo Uematsu had composed the music to this game before I started putting together the MIDI Week Single for today.

I decided to use "Grassy Plains" out of a couple of candidates because it was partly the first piece of music from the game that I head with a lot of frequency.  It was also the music that was playing when Conklederp asked what game I was playing because she liked the music.  I've said it a few times throughout a number of posts, but I feel that mark of a good song is if it's able to stand by itself, outside of the game and still invoke some type of response.  For me, "Grassy Plains" has a "Let's go adventuring" tone to it that doesn't imply that it's going to be a deadly adventure, but a fun one.  That tone works really well for this game, which is directed more towards a younger audience (as opposed to the over 30 crowd of which I am firmly a part of), but it's a fun game nonetheless, and music cues like this help to remind me that video games are fun.  Their purpose is to entertain, at least on some level.



~JWfW/JDub/Jaconian
The Time That We Have Here

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pak Watch: Nadia was Here



I've played about 30 minutes of the demo for the retro RPG "Nadia was Here".  So far, I am enjoying it. There is an original take on combat systems, using positioning in lanes to affect combat.  The characters are fun and distinctive.  The graphics are retro and use interesting color palettes.  This isn't NES retro, I'm not actually sure what kind of art this reminds me of.  Almost Game boy color.  

The plot seems really interesting.  Something about the world being erased and rebooted every hundred years, and the struggle to build a legacy with the knowledge that it will all be gone.  Each character will deal with this knowledge differently.  They start with no real goals and gain a sense of purpose as the game plays on. I'm looking forward to the character development in this game.

I was originally linked to this game from a Kill Screen article.  Check it out for more info on the game.  They also have an interview with the designer, Jeop Alben, of the Netherlands.  There's a Kickstarter, and the game is set to come out in Winter of this year.  I'm going to pass them a few dollars after I finish the demo.  It always feels good to donate to a kickstarter.   And this is the kind of super-small scale indie stuff that I love supporting.  

Download the Demo

Contribute to the Kickstarter

Read More

-D




Sunday, May 15, 2016

Games on a plane

On my flight home from Austin yesterday, I had finished my book, and still had a bunch of time to kill.  So I turned to gaming, but I didn't have anything in my Steam account, as I had recently had to reformat my hard drive due to a little incident with some malware.  However, one thing I did have was a bunch of little freeware games I had downloaded years ago, which I kept with my backup files.  Turns out these smaller-scope games were very well suited for a plane ride.  Some of these games go back to my earliest blog posts.  I think there is a special charm in really low-production indie games.  Have a look at some of these: 




Wibble Wobble
Wibble Wobble is a strikingly appropriate title for this simple platformer.  You play as some kind of upright matchstick-thing, and the goal is to jump and collect stars while avoiding red stuff that I decided was hot lava.  The ground moves up and down in wave patterns, and if it dips below a certain height, deadly lava appears.  You are given little awards for distance covered.  It's a very simple game, and pretty fun.  Worth a look, if just to watch the ground move.  





Rescue the Beagles
I played this game long ago at the cooperative gaming co-op in San Jose.  It is a very cute, fast-paced arcade style game about rescuing Beagles from the sinister lab techs who want to experiment on them.  The main music is really cool, and the fast-pace kept me playing again and again.  The visuals are nicely designed and I love that hte mountains move at different rates.  That said, this game is tough, and can be frustrating to a new player.  I recommend playing with a controller, but I made it work with the keyboard.    




Knytt
I've also talked about Knytt before, long ago.   This game is a wall jumping exploration platformer.  It is basically a maze through many different environments.  The music is ambient, and the graphics are minimal, but with some very nice flourishes.  When I showed the game to Jane, she said it was very cute, which is something I can agree with.  Once again, this game is easier with a controller, but do-able with keyboard.  Knytt is very generous with save points, so that helps mitigate some of the tougher platforming challenges.  I think the best approach is to just relax and explore.  I picked up my previous play from a couple years ago, and was able to get to the end.  Satisfying.  

-D

Monday, May 9, 2016

Game Review: Dungeons & Dragons: The Lost Mine of Phandelver


Before you start reading this beast, I should forewarn you that it goes on for a while.  I had intended to post this last Friday (5/6/16), but it got a bit away from me.  It's a bit all over the place, but I tried to remain consistent with what I was talking about, although it does go back and forth between how we (the PC's and DM) played the game and what happened in the story.  I probably could have cut this down into two separate posts, but that would mean additional time editing and rewriting so that it at least looked intentional for everything to have been two posts from the start.  I'm not a professional writer, so everything's getting lumped in one big article. Sorry.  Maybe.

This last Saturday (May 1st), our Dungeons & Dragons group got together and finished the quest from the 5th Edition Starter Box Set, Lost Mine of Phandelver.  First off, I want to say that I fully recommend this product.  Included in the set is a starter rule book (think the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide in a very condensed form with just enough information to run this quest), the module (64 pages of a pretty decent story with full color professionally designed maps by Mike Schley, shiny paper that you can write on with wet erase markers without damaging the pages), pre-created character sheets for five characters (Dwarven cleric, Human fighter x 2, Halfling rogue, High Elven Wizard) and a set of dice (1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, 1d12, & 1d20; although the d8 and d12 are not numbered correctly as each opposing side is supposed to add up to either 9 or 13 respectively and, at least the dice that came in my box were not).  Considering that at the time I paid $11.50 for this, is quite a deal and currently it's priced at $13.50, which is still a great price.

So now let's get down buying that horse already.  Oh, and there might be story spoilers if you haven't yet played this module.

I bought this product around November/December 2014 and our group started way back in January 2015, back when we were still over on our other site.  Our group started out with myself DMing, Conklederp taking on the Dwarven Cleric as Dagnar Ungart, and two fellow MTBC's, Tula Tealeaf as the Halfling rouge, and Lululeevaloolalay as the High Elf wizard.  In March (I believe, so the third session), Deep-V joined as Xob, a Half-Elven paladin (who oddly had a Dex build, but worked out great; meaning he was still a pain in the ass to hit from a DM's perspective), and C-Cat as The Notorious C.R.C. who was a Human bard.  The following month, Chreekat joined in with Lark, a Forest Gnome ranger.  The Lost Mine of Phandelver (hereto after referred to as LMoP) has the quest designed for up to five PC's while we had six, but for the most part I tried to make it all work.

The way I played as DM, I tried to be as "realistic" as possible.  If the PCs were making noise (attacking/being attacked) in a room in ruined castle, any monsters within reasonable earshot might go and investigate, thereby joining in in the fight.  Rooms were not sound proof.  At the same time, I might have a handful hang back and prepare for the PCs.  In one instance, I had planted a bugbear as a decoy in the middle of a room with two others standing on either side of the door.  The plan worked and Xob took a natural hit with ~20hp worth of damage.  I also decided early on that I wasn't going to have all of the monsters fight to the death since it didn't make sense, in my mind, that the monsters would throw their lives away as they too had "lives."  My problem was that if the PCs went chasing after them, I hadn't thought about where they were going, just that they went "that way."

On average, we played about once a month, with a few times having to skip a month due to scheduling conflicts.  During our 15 months playing, we killed off Notorious C.R.C. at the behest of C-Cat as she was leaving for the summer, but killing off a character in 5th Edition is a lot harder for the DM than I thought.  Upon death, the PC has to roll a 10 or higher on a d20 three times before they fail three times; or if they are healed by another character casting Cure Wounds or other some such spell.  I even killed C.R.C. once before she was dead for good.  The second time she stayed dead after being impaled by one of two gricks and whomever was controlling the character failed to make the three death saves.

In another encounter, I almost managed to kill off Lu(luleevaloolalay) in a glorious fashion!  An assassin (with ridiculously good dex/stealth while sneaking through tall grass) snuck up behind Lu, I rolled a natural 20 on my first attack, which drove a shortsword through his chest with the second attack (the assassin was able to attack twice in one turn) was slicing the back on Lu's knee which forced him into a prone position.  I think Lu was down to ~3hp, but it didn't make sense for the assassin to stick around having pretty much incapacitated the wizard, so I had him move on to his next target.

As for the story in LMoP, I found it to be a pretty good mix of combat and "diplomacy."  I say "diplomacy" because I am still not great at DMing encounters where the PCs are supposed to find out information from someone who might not want to give that information up for fear of their own life from their employer who is supposed to be more intimidating than the PCs at that point in the story.  That is something that I know I am going to have to work on as a DM so I cannot fault the players for more often than not, going into an encounter with blades flashing and magic missiles a'flyin'.  Additionally, the PC's would end up killing someone with some information in combat before they could talk their way to relative safety; in one instance, a monster was set on fire (burning hands I believe was the spell) and a document that he was holding went up in flames with him.

Which brings me to propsl  I did make a couple of props (the ones to the right) for the PCs to find, thereby giving the players something physical and tangible to hold and look through/at, something to keep things intriguing.  The problem though as the DM, is that for certain bits of information to make sense, they can be only found in one location (why would a partially written letter from one character to the main boss be found out in the middle of a forest?  I'll tell you how!  It was supposed to be delivered and was torn during a skirmish. . .I'll remember that for next time. . .ah well).  None of the information found in the props though was integral to the completion of the quest though, but it added some background to the story/world and sprinkled it all with some flavor.

I did make a bounty letter for Dagnar that was discovered, as it made sense that the main villain would be after her, having already captured three of her uncles, which brings me to one of the issues that I had with the quest, although it could very well have been the way that I interpreted the story and how I played it all out the PCs.  I felt that the main villain played more of a Sauron-esque-type roll than a big bad guy who kept showing up.  His name was mentioned a few times in the first two "acts," but it wasn't until the PCs had travelled from Neverwinter, down to the mining town of Phandalin, back up to Thundertree and back down to Phandalin that I realized that I had not name dropped anything about the main bad guy.  At that point I was worried that PCs would think that after taking care of a local gang, that that would seem like the end of the quest.

There was a minor villain, a mini-boss if you will, that Tula's character had a connection to who was also the leader of the aforementioned gang, and thereby the other PCs had a vested interest in with taking that character down.  For a good portion of the quest, or at least the first quarter of the story which took up a lot of our playing time, that mini-boss was more of a main villain than the main villain.  The character even went so far as kidnapping Tula's aunt, her nephew and another character that the PCs had rescued earlier in the quest, who was also a direct link to Dagnar's uncles.  I modified the encounter too as I felt that the enemy that the quest had down in a ravine-type-area didn't make a whole lot of sense and I knew that the encounter, as written, would be difficult to play out, knowing how our group played.  Ultimately I felt that the creature in the ravine had too much backstory (of what a bit there was), so I decided to just have a Gelatinous Cube, which in my own version of the story, acted as a sort of garbage disposal unit for the gang when they wanted to dispose of bodies and other nuisances to their operation.  That encounter went very well in that it ended up killing an NPC that, I don't think was supposed to die, but it upped the ante for the PCs in the "Oh shit's gettin' real" department.

One thing that I realized after a couple of sessions though, was that I needed to somehow streamline combat encounters.  Even with only four PCs controlling six characters who were fighting upwards of six monsters, some combat encounters took a while to slog through.  In one instance, the PCs went up against a young Green Dragon and that battle took most of the time allotted that day.  We're talking about two hours from once the PCs entered the tower, to when the dragon flew off, and that was only one creature.  In the final dungeon (sorry guys), I eliminated a couple of encounters, or modified them so there less monsters just so that more exploring could happen.  There were also supposed to be a lot more random monster encounters for both the PCs and the bad guy NPCs, which is why they bad guys had been taking so long in finding out the "secrets" of the Lost Mine of Phandelver, but I ended up not using some of those random encounters to cut through and get to the story.  After the PCs killed the main villain, there was still some exploring to do as they had left some areas in the final area open, and in each of those areas, there were supposed to have been a number of monsters (10 in one hallway, 6 in one room, and 4 in another), but it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to have them there.  Plus, I kind of wanted to finish the quest and get them back to Phandalin.

In the end, I know that there are plenty of things I need to work on as a DM (PCs spending days travelling; keeping the PCs engaged in a town setting; not having battles drag on, but still have them feel accomplished at the end; roleplaying NPCs during conversations.  I'm sure there are some other areas that need attention that I am unable to think of at the moment, but at least I can say that I DM well enough to keep a mostly cohesive group of people interested enough to come back time after time for just over a year.  

We have not set a date for our next session where we will start a new quest, most likely the one that I wrote last year (after a number of touch ups) and then I have an official quest that I bought that looks to be a lot of fun that I could probably work into the existing storylines. 

I know I have a ways to go, but for now it still feels pretty good.



~JWfW/JDub/Jaconian
Instrumental

P.S.  I also have a bunch of miniatures that I need to paint, but that's another post entirely.

Movie Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane



I want to talk about 10 Cloverfield Lane, which I watch last night with Jane.  It's well known that this movie is not a sequel to Cloverfield.  Bad Robot has said as much.  I went in knowing this, and a brief plot synopsis.  Jane went in knowing nothing except that John Goodman is in the movie. 

I will try to avoid spoilers, but I will include little ones, like casting details and maybe some cursory plot details.  I think I can do a good job speaking vaguely about this movie.  First, some stats:  10 Cloverfield Lane cost 15 million to make and made about 65 million.  This bodes well for more films with the Cloverfield brand. 

This was a good movie.  I think it did everything well.  I think there was a great attention to detail which will reward those who like catching little details.  I also think the casting was great, all the principal actors (of which there are 3) were great.  I have to say, particularly John Goodman.  I'm already a fan of his, but he was just fantastic.  If anyone is due a lifetime achievement Oscar, it's that guy.  Frankly, I'd give him an Oscar for this movie, but I doubt that's a possibility, because this movie isn't an Oscar-bait type movie.  But he shows great range and great subtlety.  His character reminds me of someone I know, which is eerie.

Jane also enjoyed the movie, and we had fun extolling its virtues afterward.  And the neat thing is that she didn't know anything at all about the movie going into it, a rare luxury.

So, yeah, this movie is very different from Cloverfield, but I recommend fans of Bad Robot productions to check it out.  I think that if you like other productions by this company you will likely enjoy 10 Cloverfield Lane.  I did.  

-D

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Monthly Update, Y'all!

Howdy folks,  
I'm sendin' out this update as I get ready to head out to Austin, Texas, this coming week.  I'm there to visit family, and it will be a sibling reunion.  We haven't all been together since the last time we met at Austin, either two or three years ago, I can't remember.  Anyhow, it's a great town, but a tad bit hot and humid, and also it's located in Texas.  But the food is fantastic, and the people are nice.  And it is home to the Alamo Drafthouse, where you can drink beer, eat food and watch a movie.  Did I mention that Voodoo Doughnut recently set up shop in Austin?  The Austin/Portland weird economic exchange is real.

I doubt I'll find much time for gaming while I'm out there, though I did pick up a copy of Sushi Go! card game that I'd like to play with everyone.  If they enjoy it half as much as I do, I will call it a success.  

After returning from Austin, Jane and I will redouble our efforts to find a new place to rent.  One that has room for both of us and our cats.  Hopefully with a yard so that I can grow some veggies.  That is the dream.  It's a lot of work though, so fingers crossed that something falls into our lap soon. 

Over the past month, I've played a lot of Magic, The Gathering, as I detailed in a previous post.  I've decided to stop fighting it, and start writing it (pretty catchy, eh?).  So I've come up with a way to compare Magic the Gathering with Dragon Warrior for the NES and also with Dragon Warrior IV, also for the NES.  Dragon Warrior often serves as the prototypical RPG video games, in my mind, so I think it works well as an example.  

This looks like a short one, as I don't have much more to say.  I hope all is well with all Y'all,

-D

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

MIDI Week Singles "Ord Mantell Junkyard" - Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (N64)


"Ord Mantell Junkyard" from Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire on the Nintendo 64 (1996)
Composer: Joel McNeely with themes by John Williams
Album: No Official Release
Developer: LucasArts

video

So, today being the fourth of May, I feel obligated to use a track from a Star Wars game as a way of acknowledging "Star Wars Day," which apparently is only 5 years old, although it hearkens back to 1979, but those were the Thatcher years, and we'd all like to forget about that.

On with the music!!

I chose "Ord Mantell Junkyard" partly because it was one of my favorite levels in SW: SotE, but also because I can recognize the musical theme that composer Joel McNeely used/ripped from John Williams' score for Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.  It's from "Snowspeeder Rescue" in case you wanted to know/listen to the original.  I felt that knowing that 1) Joel McNeely didn't write some of the main themes to SotE was important when talking about music from a video game based in a universe with an already recognized soundscape, and 2) that Joel McNeely wrote/arranged a great score that sounds enough like a traditional John Williams score that it's near indistinguishable from the real Williams.  Or at least to my ears.  But I feel that this music, originally composed for snowspeeders, works great as a theme for a train stage (which is "on rails" eh!?) intent on driving the action.  Basically it's a fun level with a lot to look at, until you have to go up against IG-88.

I should also note, that while there is a soundtrack to Shadows of the Empire, it is music written/arranged by Joel McNeely as a soundtrack to the novelization (which came out about the same time as the game) and not taken from the N64 game.

So happy May 4th, 2016. . .which doesn't really have the intended ring to it that the internet so often demands/craves.



~JWfW/JDub/Jaconian

Monday, May 2, 2016

Monthly Update: May 2016


Happy May everyone!

Now let's talk about shit that went down in April, because we've already gone over this.

April consisted of playing Dark Souls.  Like, a lot of Dark Souls.  When last I talked about it earlier in April, I had 23 hours with my current character Bjorn and presently I'm at 57 hours and at level 71.  Since then, I've managed to kill the Capra Demon, Gaping Dragon (who's had probably the best boss intro in recent years; spoilers), Chaos Witch Quelaag, the Hydra of Darkroot BasinPinwheel, the Iron Golem, and now I'm starting to explore Anor Londo.  I still haven't figured out ranged archery though, and at this point, I'm too afraid to start.  Or something like that.  If I have enough time, I'll hopefully finish the game this month, or at least make it near enough to the end to call it finished (not talking beating all the bosses or getting to New Game +6).

In D&D news, our group finished Lost Mine of Phandelver, which I will fully (mostly?) cover in Friday's article, so stay tuned for that if you're at all interested.  We might be playing in a couple of weeks too as all of our summer schedules seemed to be filling up (or already so), which means we might be starting this quest that I wrote last year, The Taking of the Dawn.  It's obviously not a licensed product and it's not up on DMsGuild.com either as I believe that I have too much material that was not included in the SRD. . .or wait. . .maybe I can?  I'll have to further look into that.  And doesn't that artwork (that I "borrowed" from somewhere on the Internets) look pretty similar to this screen from Dark Souls III?  The quest just needs a little tweaking before we start.  Ah, if only more time existed within time itself.

In mobile gaming, I've been playing/interacting with Nintendo's Miitomo and raking in as many Miitomo coins as I possibly can (averaging about 15 a day) so that I can "buy" games in Nintendo's eShop.  So far I've acquired WarioWare: Touched and Nintendo Picross: The Lengend of Zelda: Twilight Princess all for the low-low price of $0 + personal time.  I'll probably put out an article about one or both of those games as I am fully enjoying both the games and their relative freeness.  I'm also delving bit-by-bit into Fantasy Life, although I'm currently having an issue with a pirate ship, but I'm convinced that I maybe just missed something somewhere.

In other geeky-pop-culture relatedness, Game of Thrones season 6 just aired episode 2 and whoo-wee was it a doozey.  No spoilers here, but I will say that something happened that I was really hoping wouldn't happen.  Some things are happening that I thought should have happened in the previous season, and some things are happening differently than the books because it's a TV show and a different medium and they have to happen that way.  But, so far I am enjoying this new season and being more-or-less completely in the dark about the story after A Dance with Dragons.  Hmmm, I just realized that there was no Daenerys' storyline in last night's episode.  And Conklederp and I are eagerly awaiting the second half of Vikings season 4.

Alright, that's all I can think of to blab at y'all this morning, which is about to turn into this afternoon in about 10 minutes.



~JWfW/JDub/Jaconian