2015: My Year in Review

I think a lot of people found a lot of fault in 2015. I empathize with them. However, for me, it was a pretty big year on a lot of levels.

It began in quite a chaotic state. Kate’s job necessitated a move north to San Jose – an area I’m still struggling to appreciate in any meaningful way. The shift wasn’t made easier by my returning from tour less than a month before the shift started to take shape.

I went to Japan in March, by my lonesome. While I can lay out several reasons for the trip, I’m still not sure how to adequately explain the desire to go nor the end result. If anything, it strengthened my desire to be there and immerse myself in the country’s benefits. It became more relevant later in the year. Continue reading

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Cool Shirt Tuesday #2

I Know Tofu
Designed by crula
T-Shirt Link 

i-know-tofu_post

I don’t eat meat or dairy. I haven’t in several years. I’m proud of this – like most of my lifestyle choices (working out regularly, no alcohol, etc.). And like most things I like, I want to represent them on a t-shirt. But unlike enjoying Legend of Zelda or Black Sabbath, for example, it’s a little preachy to sport a vegan t-shirt. That’s where this one comes in.
Continue reading

What, me jealous?

Maybe my no-buying vow has colored my impression of new releases. Perhaps it’s a self-defense mechanism to keep me from being too envious. But really, there hasn’t been a new release this month that has really left me wanting. Assassin’s Creed III apparently takes out all the assassinating. Super Mario Wii U has a cool overworld, but I didn’t *love* New Super Mario Wii nor have I completed either Mario Galaxy. Halo 4 is even a mixed bag in terms of reviews – many knocking its campaign as samey with a Tron overlay. FarCry 2 pissed me off far too much for me to have any interest in FarCry 3, and the talk of its story elements being shock for shock’s sake isn’t going to turn me around. mind you, all these games are getting at least an 80 Metacritic score.

I’m on the last stage of Fire Emblem 2. It’s kicked my ass a couple times, to the point where I consulted GameFaqs. They keep talking about these magic spells that I’ve never seen much less have access to, so it may be tough for me to come out victorious.

I’m also struggling a bit with Persona 3, which I’m waiting to take a big step in the excitement department. Currently, my character is in the week before high-school finals, so my cohorts keep jumping ship and all I can really do is go to the library to study. That’s as exciting as it sounds. At least the soundtrack is dope.

I started Driver: San Francisco a while back, and it’s been fun. It’s a with-Kate game. I worried that she’d bore of the open world and race/stunt challenges, but she’s enjoyed it. I think the strange-and-intriguing story helps, as does the San Francisco setting – a city of which she’s very fond. Sticking with the car theme, we played a little Mario Kart Wii. I spent the time to unlock a few extra cups, but there are still 8 tracks we can’t yet access.

Everyone enjoy your Black Friday buying. Amazon, Steam, and even Capcom’s own store have already posted some great deals. Just remember to buy stuff for other people, and make sure to actually play the things you buy at some point.

Longing For My 1 Multiplayer Weakness

I’m a single-player guy, almost exclusively. Sure, I’ll rock some co-op with Kate – we just fired up some Mario Kart Wii the other day, her on the Wavebird and me doing it nunchuk/remote style because screw that plastic wheel – but I rarely do competitive. The AI, now they’re my rivals. There is one exception: Halo.

I got into Halo 2 multiplayer with a clan from Cheap-Ass Gamer and would play at least one night a week. It was much better playing with people who I knew weren’t total dicks. At least, most of them weren’t total dicks. Most were also better than me, but I started to improve. I also loved that Bungie kept an inordinate amount of stats.

For Halo 3, I rocked several dozen hours, but probably not as much as its predecessor. But Halo: Reach probably beat ’em all. The different load-outs and accessory skills meant you had more play style choice. And the replay videos were pretty dope, even if I mostly used them to expose bullshit kills that shouldn’t have happened. Of course, I played through the single-player campaign for all 3 games as well.

As I’m sure you all know, Halo 4 is out. Both Penny Arcade and Kotaku talked it up today in a way that made me long for those late-night deathmatch sessions. It would get me so pissed, but at the same time I’d have moments of success, of leading my team or having some noteworthy kills. But alas, Halo 4 is something I cannot have. Not for at least 11 months, if I stay true to my vow. I guess I’ll need to bust out some Reach soon; I hope there are still people playing, and that they’re not so good that I’ll be laughed out of the lobby.

All About The Paper… Mario.

In a 24-hour period, I completed two games I started a LOOO0000oooong time ago: Super Paper Mario (Wii) and Puzzle Agent (iPhone).

The first was a game I reviewed back in 2007. I got about 11 hours in, but never completed it. Kate and I started from scratch a couple months back, and played through it. It’s funny, adorable, entertaining, insulting, redundant, innovative, ugly, and clever. I’m glad we played it. And I’m glad I had someone alongside me who would help me voice all the characters and read their dialog.

Not sure what we’ll pick as our next play-together game. Driver: San Francisco? iNFAMOUS 2? Silent Hill 2? Zelda: Skyward Sword? Luckily, I can use my as-yet-unplayed Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story as a backlog replacement for the new Paper Mario: Sticker Story.

Puzzle Agent is by Telltale Games, who is keeping the adventure genre alive with episodic titles like Back to the Future and The Walking Dead. This game is closer along the lines of Professor Layton, except the story is along the lines of if Fargo and X-Files had a baby. I rarely ever had a time when I played it extensively, and really the last year I’ve barely touched it. I just fired it up on my new iPhone 5 while synching Kate’s iPhone 5. Four puzzles later, it was over. Okay then.

In other news, I’ve decided to not include any video games on my Christmas list. I originally thought this would be a good workaround for my year of backlogs, but decided it would be akin to cheating. And I’m no cheat… at least, as far as you know.