Archive for the ‘Stuff’ Category

And the winner is …

June 7, 2017

… Dragon Age: Origins.

For a long time it really seemed like The Old Republic was going to be the game. Other than the possibility of wanting to park in a cantina when stopping for the night — and so having to travel back to it from where ever I happened to be at the time — it seemed to fit reasonably into the schedule — I’d probably be able to finish one planet each session, while having to leave the inter-planet quests for the next one — and had interesting stories to work through that I hadn’t gone through in a while. I’d be able to create new characters and do different things, which would be interesting. So it seemed a pretty good choice.

And then I remembered about the updates. Typically, updating after a long period away takes hours, and so at least one session. Updates week-on-week might not take that long, but then there might be periods where I had to put the gaming on hold for a few weeks due to other issues, and thus I’d end up spending that session updating and not playing, which isn’t fun. Or I could try updating the evening before, which I don’t have time to do. None of that really worked for me.

Dragon Age: Origins has none of that. Its biggest detriment is that I might want to play Inquisition after playing Dragon Age 2 to complete the set, and I trust myself to either not play Inquisition or resign myself to slogging through it again.

I started as a Noble Dwarf Warrior, and made it out of the intro story and through Ostagar, ending my play session when arriving at Lothering. I’m playing on Casual, and so far Alastair almost got knocked out by the ogre (troll?) in the first tower, but otherwise my health is good. We’ll see how long that lasts. I enjoyed the intro story, and so far am playing my character as an incredibly polite, loyal and dedicated person who has a dry sense of humour and is a little bitter about all the betrayals, and so comments when Alastair suggests going to Arl Eamon because Eamon is honourable that, hey, Loghain was honourable, too. But I loved the comments he can make like calling Alastair a very strange human or, when Alastair goes on about Callain getting him to wear a dress and dance some kind of dance that Alastair has a very odd idea of the king, while knowing that Alastair was being sarcastic.

He was also very polite and respectful to Morrigan and Flemeth, which they both appreciated (and I managed to surprise Morrigan with that, which makes me actually like her more than I did on my first playthrough).

So, that’s the game I chose, and the reasons for the ultimate choice.

My Thought Process on Choosing the Next Game To Play

May 31, 2017

So, as I said while talking about my second playthrough of Persona 5, I need to choose a different game to play because while I could play Persona 5 again, the time I have to play games is shrinking and I’m not convinced that I could play Persona 5 for 5 months without either getting distracted by something else or else having Persona 5 take over those times when I really should do something else. So, I’ve been musing about that off and on while things compile and install for the past days, and my thought process seemed fairly … unique. So since I’ll need a post anyway I thought it might be nice to let you guys into my head for a bit to show you my thought process on this.

Note that I very much hope to have decided this by the time you see this post, since my time to play video games is Thursday and this is set to come out on Wednesday. So comments here might or might not influence my decision.

Anyway, I have a block of about 3 – 4 hours once a week to play video games. I really don’t want to extend or be terribly tempted to extend those hours for at least the next 3 – 5 months or so, because there are many, many other things that I want and need to do that I’ve put off for too long. I should have started this back in January, but as usual got distracted and was aware that Persona 5 was going to show up in April which, well, was going to throw everything out of whack. So I definitely don’t want to distract myself again with something else that will take up that time, especially since I’m facing work pressures and won’t have the time to waste. Which ironically means that I probably don’t want the game to be too good, since I’ll want to play it when I shouldn’t be.

Because I have so limited a time to play during the week, I also don’t really want to play a really, really long game either, because it will take too long for me to finish at that rate. Persona 5 fails both this and the “too good a game” criteria, because at 4 hours a session for a roughly 80 hour game it would take me 20 sessions or 5 months to finish, which is a long time for me. I’ve been musing that three months is probably the limit, and even that is shaky (but I’m willing to give it a try).

But another consideration is that if I can only play for 3 – 4 hours a week, I have to be able to feel like I did something in each session. It’s fine to only grind to get to the next couple of levels or open up missions if I’m going to play it again tomorrow, but if I’m going to stop for a week I really want to have had a lot of fun doing it and/or have really accomplished something. Plus, since that 3 – 4 hour time span is both a bit variable — I may have slightly less time one week and slightly more the next, depending on work and what I need to do when I get home — and is a fairly hard limit — I have to stop at a certain point to do other things like going to sleep — the game has to both get somewhere in that time period and can’t have really long sections where I won’t be able to save the game and stop for the night … or, at least, it has to let me know what those are so that I can prepare and, well, stop for the night before getting into it and leave the long section for the next week.

Another factor is that I’m going to go home, eat, and then play the game, because that’s already my Thursday schedule and the gaming is going there mostly because right after eating a large meal I usually don’t want to do anything that requires walking around. And since I tend to pace while writing, that includes writing on the blog. Thus, console games work well in that slot because I can — and have, with Persona 5 — eat and then immediately sit down and play the game, gaining anywhere from a half-hour to an hour in the process. This also means that console games are slightly preferred because I game on my sofa and that’s a really good place to be right after eating. But that’s not that major a factor.

Another minor factor is that I keep thinking that if I’m going to pick a game to play here, it should be one of the games that I have lying around that I want to finish. Like one of the games on the “List of Games to Finish”. This is counter-balanced by my whims and distractions, which I’ll get to in a minute when I go through some of the games I’m thinking about. These are minor, but ultimately will have an impact on how I feel about the game and so how long I manage to stick to that game.

So, I considered starting over with Persona, which I played for a while but never finished. It’s a bit more reasonable in terms of length — 50 hours average main story plus extras — and then I could go on and replay all of the games again, which I really do want to do. But to do all of them would take me over a year to finish, probably even if I cheated. Even with there being five different games to play, that’s probably too big a commitment to make right now, and Persona itself doesn’t interest me enough to just play it for itself. If I was going to do that, I’d just play Persona 3 or 4 … but those are 80 hour games as well.

I’ve mused about playing Shadow Hearts or Shadow Hearts: Covenant again. They fit neatly into the time frame and are games that I really liked playing. I’m a bit worried about some sections and not being able to either stop in time or get something done, though, and I’ve already played both, so it’s not a game that I would be finishing.

From the list, I’m definitely thinking about playing Fatal Frame and then the two that I didn’t finish. The biggest problem with this is that I’ve very walkthrough dependent with these games, which means I’d have to run the computer, too, and I’m not sure that I’ll always be able to save when I want to. The same thing applies to the Silent Hill games.

Record of Agarest War and Conception II are games that, are. of course, ruled out for being too grindy.

I was originally thinking about playing Saint’s Row The Third, but I’ve never played it before, don’t know how long the missions take, and am not good at more FPS and action-focused games. There’s just too much risk of this being a disaster, so I think I’ll save it for some time when I’m on vacation.

I’m considering Bloodlines again, although it gets a slight knock for being a PC game. But it has “Save anywhere”, which is good … but I haven’t played it in so long that I’m thinking of starting over, which means that I’d have to do the warehouse again, which is very, very bad.

I also recently re-watched a lot of the video game videos at SF Debris, which has gotten me feeling like I want to play some of those games again. I’ve considered Knights of the Old Republic, but I recently replayed the first one and when I tried playing Sith Lords right after I found that it dragged. So I’m considering resubscribing to TOR and going through one of the story missions again, as I can finish a planet — or at least a few areas of one — in about the right time now and it would only take me about three months to finish one run through Corellia. I’ve also been tempted to play Dragon Age: Origins again, but if I did I’d want to play Dragon Age 2 again, and then maybe Inquisition again to finish out the series … and, as you all know, I definitely don’t want to do that. Fortunately, I feel no real reason to play Mass Effect again, at least not yet.

I’ve also recently re-watched .hack//Sign and Liminality, which then gets me wanting to play the games again (I managed to get part-way into the fourth game). It’d be a console game and each game is about 20 hours if I recall correctly so it fits into the timeline, so it’s definitely a possibility. I’m just not all that fond of its gameplay.

I’ve considered playing another full season of baseball again, but the season is so long that it falls into another 5 month plus commitment.

I’ve considered just playing Pinball Arcade again for a while, but that’s more a time waster than an actual game. It thus risks grabbing me too much so I don’t quit in time, and also I really want to, well, actually kinda play something where I make progress, which doesn’t happen that much with that game.

I’ve thought about playing Star Wars: Rebellion again, but that is a game that definitely and absolutely makes me forget about time, so I’d waver between not feeling like playing it and getting so caught up in it that I don’t go to sleep on time.

I’ve considered the Hearts of Iron games, but there seems to be a lot to learn with them from what little I’ve played with them and I’m not really up for that at the moment, especially for a game that I’m mostly interested in seeing how things might change rather than in playing out the strategic parts.

I’ve actually thought about playing the Gold Box D&D games again, as they should be short enough and I should get somewhere in a couple of hours.

There are also a number of other games that I’ve bought from GOG.com that I think might work, like some of the Star Trek adventure games. And probably a few on consoles or the Vita to consider. I hope to decide very, very soon, and will tell you when I do.

Phantom Thieves in Cincinnati …

May 19, 2017

So, at one point in Persona 5 they ask you to enter a name, and point out that this name is what people will see online. I had no intention of going online, and so didn’t really care about it, and didn’t have any idea that this would come up, and so didn’t have any name prepared. But I was musing about watching the show WKRP in Cincinnati, and so decided that, meh, that would do. So I entered “WKRP”, and went on with the game.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that that would also be what your team was named. And thus, when sending the calling cards, I would get things like “We are going to change your heart and reveal your horrible crimes! Signed, WKRP” and on the TV I would get things like “The police are being asked to pushed to deal with the terrible criminal organization WKRP!”. Which, of course, I found rather hilarious knowing what WKRP really was (a small time radio station full of utterly bizarre characters). So, on my second playthrough, I decided to keep that name.

And since I have indeed been watching the show — I plan to post about my impressions of it once I finish it — I was musing about whether I could actually map the characters from the game onto the characters in the show. This sounded amusing to me, but there’s an issue: there are nine Phantom Thieves — not counting Akechi — and only eight employees of WKRP. And Herb is too unsympathetic to fit with a lot of the characters. But I still kinda wanted to try it, and noticed that for some of the Phantom Thieves there’s more than one character that fits, and some WKRP characters fit more than one person. So I then thought that maybe if I did two WKRP characters per Phantom Thief, I could reuse characters and so could fill out all nine Phantom Thieves and even include Akechi. So, I’m going to try that. I make no promises that these will actually work out in any real interesting way, but it might be kinda fun.

So lets start:

Joker: 1 – Andy Travis: If play Joker as the one who is cool, confident, and who generally knows what’s going on, then Andy fits. Andy is also known as quite the ladies man but isn’t incredibly aggressive about it, which also fits the vast number of Confidants Joker can date. About the only difference here is that Joker is pretty much the official leader of the Phantom Thieves, while that role technically belongs to Arthur Carlson at WKRP. And speaking of which …

2 – Arthur Carlson: On the other hand, if you play Joker as generally well-meaning but mostly clueless — and since you get to choose your reactions, you can — then Arthur Carlson, the nice, well-meaning, but somewhat clueless leader who wants things to succeed but doesn’t really know how to do that fits. And as he was very happily married throughout the series, he best fits a Joker that is a one-woman man.

Skull: 1 – Dr. Johnny Fever: Brash and loud, marches to the beat of his own drummer, but generally a good guy at heart. Can be abrasive and rub people the wrong way, but is generally entertaining enough that most people like him.

2 – Herb Tarlek: However, if you find Ryuji annoying and someone who too many people don’t like very much, Herb fits well. And the fact that Herb would hit on every woman he encountered in a pretty sleazy way fits Ryuji a lot of the time.

Panther: Jennifer Marlowe: Jennifer is very attractive, is treated as such by everyone, and has access to a fairly luxurious lifestyle, like Ann. She’s also, however, very kind and cares about everyone, and is willing to help everyone out whenever she can. She also almost had a “nude incident” as well.

2 – Jennifer Marlowe: Okay, this is kinda cheating, but Jennifer and Ann really are a pretty much perfect mapping.

Morgana: 1 – Venus Flytrap: Because they’re both cool cats! And both were often used to explain things that someone needed to know but that it didn’t make sense for anyone else to know, like the episode where Venus reveals that he was a teacher and explains atoms to the cleaning lady’s son, or financial planning to Johnny.

2 – Andy Travis: He can also be seen as the competent and informed member of the party who knows things and does the planning if Joker doesn’t step up to the line. Also, he often tells Joker what to do and what not to do which is what Andy tried to do for the DJs as programming directory.

Fox: 1 – Les Nessman: Exceptionally serious and naive, eccentric, and excessively passionately attached to their chosen field (art for Yusuke, news for Les). Yusuke is just in general actually good at art, but Les, when he gets past his own peculiarities, can pull off the news, too.

2 – Venus Flytrap: This fits mostly because Venus is serious, has a unique — and yet culturally appropriate — wardrobe, and is generally popular with the ladies, like Yusuke.

Queen: Bailey Quarters: Bailey is smart, responsible, dedicated, ambitious, attractive, knowledgeable, generally and genuinely cares for the others, and although she’s shy and often slow to speak up for herself she has quite the temper when she finally gets riled up.

2 – Andy Travis: You can also see her as the competent and intelligent one who turns the team around once she joins by supposedly making them actually have plans.

Oracle: 1 – Les Nessman: You can go with the extreme eccentricity that Futaba and Les both display, with incredibly odd thoughts and fixations that permeate pretty much every interaction with them …

2 – Bailey Quarters: … or you can go with the extreme social awkwardness coupled with being very good at what they do, and better than anyone would expect them to be, at least originally.

Noir: 1 – Bailey Quarters: A shy and sweet girl who when she can escape that role has deep passions that she can let run wild.

2 – Jennifer Marlowe: Or the classy, wealthy woman who despite all that genuinely cares for other people.

Crow: Herb Tarlek: When he joins the team, no one really likes him at all, but they kinda warm up to him as things go long. He aims for flash over substance most of the time, and wants to prove himself and succeed almost no matter who it hurts. Herb’s quite a bit less of a villain, but they have both the same underlying desires and similar methods for achieving them, which leads to very similar reactions from everyone else.

2 – Mother Carlson: Going off the main board here, just for the fact that both of them provide critical aid and support to the team supposedly to help them, while in reality they were hoping and planning for the team to fail in the end.

No More Wii …

March 20, 2017

So, over six years ago I bought a Wii. And recently, I took it off of my main TV and stuff it into a closet, where it likely will never be used again.

I mostly used it for Wii Fit, and that was the main reason why it stuck around so long. But the problem was that right now I was looking to get exercise other than walking due to the weather, which would have been the place where Wii Fit really shined … and it faltered because, at least for me, trying to use Wii Fit after dark never worked. If I left my lights off, then it couldn’t detect my movements, but if I turned my lights on, my shadow fell across the detectors and, again, it couldn’t detect my movements properly. So I pondered it, and thought that it might do well once we got back into spring and summer … but, then, if I was going to exercise I’d likely be able to get a walk in, which is what I preferred.

And I never really used it for anything else. I briefly played the golf game that came with it, and a game of carnival games that was kinda fun, and I picked up a couple of adventure games that I never played — including one based on an Agatha Christie novel (“And Then There Were None”) that had been read to us in class in grade school that I really enjoyed — but for the most part I never played games on it and when I was looking for games to buy for it never really found any. I have PS2, PS3, PS4 and even PS1 — played on the PS2 — games that I still want to play, but there’s just not much on the Wii that I’d really want to play, even if I wasn’t overloaded with games that I want to play at some point.

So, with Wii Fit not working for me and there being no games I really want to play, it was time to pack it in. The best things I can say for it is that it had Wii Fit Plus on it and it was cheap, so it was ultimately worth the money despite how little I actually used it.

Playboy …

February 14, 2017

So, about a year ago, Playboy decided to stop including pictures of nude women.

And now, they’ve gone back to posting nudes.

It turns out that people don’t really buy it just for the articles …

(To be fair, it seems they still put in pictures of attractive women, they just weren’t completely nude. Which then would have made them the equivalent of Maxim with a slightly more recognizable name. That … probably wasn’t going to work.)

It’s Tuesday again …

February 14, 2017

… just like it was five years ago.

I’ll be watching some Star Trek: TNG this time around …

2016 in review

January 8, 2017

WordPress didn’t prepare or send me a report this year — either they’ve stopped doing it or I need a higher level account to get it — but I figured I’d still talk about how the blog did this year.

I ended up with about 100 hits less this year than I did last year, which means that I’m still hitting at around 15,000. This is, of course, pathetic compared to many, many other blogs, but is still pretty good for this one. And it’s a surprising result, since I had less posts this year, 171 to 182, and I definitely found that the more posts I make the more hits I get. What I think kept things this close was the fact that I had a lot more visitors this year than I had last year, by just under a thousand. So, last year fewer people read more posts at a time, while this year more people read fewer posts at at time, likely reflecting more people having read all of the interesting things in my archive that the WordPress suggests with each post, and perhaps not missing so many posts and so not having to work backwards from the latest to read what I had posted that week.

Getting the same number of hits only because more people read (overall) is pretty much totally due to the readers, so thanks to everyone who reads this blog.

Final Vacation Status …

December 31, 2016

So, my vacation is now pretty much over except for the crying, and so I can look back on it and see what I managed to do:

What worked in the last half? I finished watching Charmed, sorted out all of my Legendary cards, got well ahead on the blog, ripped most of my CDs over to a USB drive so I can listen to them at work (and drown out the stereo swearers on either side of me [grin]) and watched all of the Captain America movies, the Avengers movies, and Deadpool (twice). I also did a fair bit of cooking over it, defrosted my freezer and shoveled snow as appropriate.

What didn’t work in the last half? I did no writing, no programming and played no games except for sessions of Pinball Arcade. I also didn’t do all that much other housework.

Other than the blog — which is well ahead — I didn’t get much done over the break that I really wanted to do while I was in my busy streak. That being said, I’m content with what I got done, as a lot of what I did get done was more useful or beneficial. As an example, watching Charmed would have taken me about four months in my regular schedule, and I’m not sure that I would have been able to take it for that long, but at least now I can say that I finished it. And the other things can be done once I go back to work as well.

Overall, it was an okay vacation.

The tradition continues …

December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the reader of this blog.

Don’t you mean the readers?

Nope, WordPress still says it’s pretty much just the one.

(Note: the second part of this tradition — my actual stats — should be out around New Year’s, WordPress permitting.)

Vacation Status …

December 21, 2016

So, I’ve been off on vacation for a few weeks, and am pretty much just past the half-way point. As usual, I had a lot of things that I wanted to get done going in. How am I doing?

The first thing to note is I set a schedule with rough precise times for doing things … and that schedule is completely blown. There are a number of reasons for this. Curling interrupted it for the first week. Snow interrupted a few days. I started watching “Charmed” and other things which cut into the time for other things. The weather wasn’t great and so cut into my schedule outdoor exercise (walking). While the very rough outline of the schedule still works — stuff in the morning, lunch, stuff in the afternoon, quit for the day — in general what was supposed to be happening there, well, isn’t.

This means that I haven’t accomplished much of what I wanted to do.

So have I done anything useful? Well, I did manage to get ahead in blog posts. I also managed to finish reading and commenting on the Hugo Awards (watch for those to come out on Mondays until mid-January). I finished “Knights of the Fallen Empire”. I’m currently on Season 5 of Charmed — watch for comments on the first four seasons to come out right after New Year’s — which is great because if I tried to watch the entire series in my projected available time once I get back to work it would have taken me almost four months. I played Legendary — the card game — twice. I got some walks. I mostly cooked enough for the week every week. I got in my Christmas shopping run (that’s when I got Charmed).

So, then, what’s likely to not get done? I was looking at doing some little programming projects, playing with RAGS and other things. But I don’t think I have the time to get anything useful done before the end of my vacation, and that was the main point of putting a push on that over my vacation. I’ve also not really played video games over my vacation, and so likely won’t finish two runs of Bloodlines, if I even finish one. Right now my fear of having to go through repetitive combat is making me nervous about playing it. I may or may not move on to another game.

So, finally, what’s left? I want to keep pushing to get ahead on the blog, and finish up a few things, like my comments on “Unapologetic” and the latest two videos from Anita Sarkeesian. You won’t see them until mid-January, however. I also wanted to do some writing in terms of short fiction, one of which is a fan fiction, and I still hope to get those done by the end of my vacation. I’d also like to play three other board games — Star Wars Rebellion, A Touch of Evil, and Albion’s Legacy — by the time I go back. And I’d like to be almost finished “Charmed”.

So, so far, so okay. We’ll see how the rest of it goes.