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April 1st, 2014
09:02 am
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Pokemon
So, over the past decade, I've sporadically been working on completing the Pokedex to Pokemon FireRed.  Yesterday, I evolved an Omastar and collected the last non-legendary Pokemon, granting me a completion notice and a diploma.

I have 383 of the 386 possible 3rd Generation Pokemon, and I'm missing the following:
Lugia (can be collected in Pokemon XD)
Celebi (only available from events Nintendo did in 2004 or 2005)
Deoxys (only available via the Aurora Ticket, available from events Nintendo did in 2005 or 2006)

I'm so close, and yet so far!

Yes, I've stared Pokemon XD.  Lugia is the prize for beating the game and doing pretty much everything it asks you to accomplish.  We'll see if I can pull it off; then I'll literally have collected all the 3rd Gen Pokemon you can catch in the games outside of events.  At that point, I'll probably make a Facebook post to see if anybody knows anybody who played Pokemon in 2006 but didn't migrate their legendary Pokemon into Diamond/Pearl.

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Pokemon FireRed - Gym (in my head)
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January 1st, 2014
09:14 am
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Happy New Year, Anybody!
The Survey of the Year!Collapse )

Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: some anime ending theme stuck in my head
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September 10th, 2013
01:38 pm
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Bullet Bill Canon
The Penny Arcade Report has a brief article where two of the editors explore video gaming's canon; specifically, what should be in it.

That's a question I've been pondering as well, lately. About a year ago now, I picked up a book called 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, which takes quite the expansive view of the topic of gaming canon. Since video games are the new medium of our age, building a canon is as important to our culture as having one for movies or, say, science fiction.

Dozens of movies have come out so far this year, and movie aficionados watch many of them. But of the movies that came out in the first nine months of 2013, how many of them will be watched, say, 30 years from now? There is too much new, current material to experience. Reaching back into the past, you only pull forward the truly exceptional or iconic. Video games will work the same way, only moreso. It would take a lifetime of leisure to experience all 1001 games in that book, even if you only skimmed them. For every Pong that can be experienced in a single sitting, there is a Disgaea that can be devoured for days worth of hours.

As Ben and Andrew touch on in their article, modern video games are built off the tropes and experiences of previous games and the prevailing culture of those times. At best, those kernels silently enhance our current games; at worst, they are arbitrary and blemishing. They mention Bioshock as an example that fits both sides of the coin, and I say that Bioshock: Infinity continues in that fine tradition.

Stephanie and I are game collectors; we own a lot of video games. Of our collection, which ones will our children be drawn to? Which ones will we force them to play? (This, of course, assumes our kids follow in our footsteps rather than falling in love with any hobby besides the one that their dumb parents are obsessed with)

Which games belong in a video game history museum? (One is in progress, btw) If there were a video game class in school, what would be the homework?

You should probably start small: What games belong in the JRPG canon? The Super NES canon? The Nintendo canon? From there you can find a few shining gems that can work out to a general list.

Let's start super narrow: What belongs in the Super Mario Bros. platforming series "reading list"? I'm going to take the same tack my literature professors did in college: It's okay to give the student an excerpt from the text as a representative sample, and hope that something sparks their interest enough to complete the entire work. That actually works better in video games than in most literature, especially games that are as narrative-driven as Super Mario (that is to say, not at all). Here we go!

The Arcade era:
Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Mario Bros. (arcade): Try each of these games once or twice. Donkey Kong for the nascent creativity in storytelling, DK Jr. for the creativity in level design, and Mario Bros. for the creativity in freeform cooperative/competitive multiplayer.

The original games:
Super Mario Bros.: Play the first sixteen levels. You'll see an underground level, an underwater level, a mushroom platform level and a bridge level, meet Lakitu and Hammer Bros, have opportunities to play with stars and fire flowers, find beanstalks and trampolines and balanced platforms, and maybe kick a koopa shell and run behind it.

Super Maro Land: Play several levels and think about how the gameplay was changed for the Game Boy's limited processing power. There are only twelve levels, so it's actually not very long.

Super Mario Bros. 3: Play as much of the game as you can (at least the first three worlds). Mario 3 introduces flying, sliding down hills, minibosses, world maps with multiple paths, and really a lot of the iconic enemies that weren't in the original Super Mario Bros. Some concepts, like the Kuribo's Shoe, get only a single level!

Super Maro World: Play selected levels--at least all of Yoshi's Island, a couple of the ghost houses, a couple of levels with "obvious" secret exits, maybe one of the levels that changes dramatically after finding one of the P-Switches.

The offshoot games:
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island: Play the first three worlds, first in a single playthrough stage-by-stage, then going back to get perfect scores on levels 1-1 through 1-8. The game revolves around experimenting with throwing eggs and finding all the secrets. How is this different from traditional Super Mario gameplay? If you are feeling brave, give "Poochy Ain't Stupid" a try after unlocking it.

Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3: Play through the first two worlds. How does the dash mechanic change the gameplay and the nature of the challenges presented to the player?

Super Mario 64: Play selected levels and note how the goal of the gameplay changes in 3D--a more leisurely pace, an emphasis on collecting and completing (or even discovering) objectives. Compare/contrast to Yoshi's Island's goals of finding red coins and flowers in each level.

Modern day:
New Super Mario Bros. Wii U: Play selected levels and see how Nintendo synthesized elements from the original series with ideas from the offshoot games. Play the same levels by yourself and then with other people together. Think about in what ways the game becomes more and less difficult.

Capstone project:
Choose either Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, or Yoshi's Island to play through completely.

Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Rainbow Road - Super Mario Kart (in my head)
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August 12th, 2013
02:48 pm
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Blowing off the Dust
It has been years since I've just set my anime music to shuffle and listened to whatever comes up.

"Love Tropicana" coming out of the blue makes my inner child smile.

I need to make an honest to goodness LJ post soon.

Current Mood: improving
Current Music: Hale Nochi Guu - Love Tropicana
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March 6th, 2013
11:40 am
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That's a Fantasy
For my birthday this year, I'm going to meet Nobuo Uematsu. This is a man who shaped the music of my childhood. Even though I didn't own a real Final Fantasy game until college, the iconic music of Final Fantasy "1", "2", and "3" haunted my dreams.

I played little bits of Final Fantasy while I was in Elementary school, when visiting friends' houses, and I always wanted to play more and more. My initial forays into Dungeons and Dragons with my peers were, naturally, modeled after the imps and wolves of Final Fantasy. I saw snippets of Final Fantasy "2" on demo reels at Babbages (remember Babbages?), and finally got a taste of the music while I was playing Super Mario RPG. After I watched Mike and Dustin playing Final Fantasy "3" in high school, with that rockin' battle theme, I broke down and played all three games on emulator, in reverse order (3, 2, 1). The brilliance! At that time, MP3s were still considered huge downloads--I was dealing with a 56.6k modem!--so I found a winamp plugin that played SNES soundfiles directly. Small filesize and authentic! That's also when I played fan-translated versions of Final Fantasy 5, half of the REAL Final Fantasy 2, and the opening section of the REAL Final Fantasy 3.

I spent a lot of time playing videogames growing up, but it was the music that stuck around whenever I turned a console off. Koji Kondo, Hip Tanaka, and Nobuo Uematsu were the composers of my favorite childhood memories.

Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: Final Fantasy VI - Battle Theme (in my head)
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February 22nd, 2013
11:26 am
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Ten Inches of Snow
So, yesterday was stressful. At 7AM, there was no snow, so we went to work. At 8AM, it was already accumulating. At 10AM, I was ready to go. At 11AM, Dad was finally ready (we still carpool, which is so so convenient most of the time). Before we left the building, they came over the intercom and said that Shelter was closing at 1PM. We were out of the parking lot by 11:30, and about halfway home Steph called to say that she was leaving.

Dad and I missed most of the traffic coming home, but we saw plenty of cars careening about and being off the side of the road. We realized we wouldn't be able to drive into the apartment parking lot, so we went past it and tried to turn around so he could drop me off somewhere close--but we got stuck while trying to turn. After uselessly trying to dig out for fifteen minutes or so (some folks from the neighborhood even helped), we trudged through the snow back to the apartment to warm up. Steph was in bumper-to-bumper traffic for over two hours, but she finally got home safely about 2PM.

Finally, Dad decided to call a tow truck and got the car home--but apparently there was some damage to his bumper while trying to pull it out.

There was no way in heck Stephie and I were going to go back out on the roads this morning! What a mess!

It's nice and toasty in here, though!

Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: something from Piano in my head
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January 1st, 2013
10:01 am
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It's 2013!
I'm the kind of person who will wait until January 1st to do a New Year's Meme even though I know none of my answers will change in the last week.Collapse )

Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Owl City - When Can I See You Again (in my head)
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December 4th, 2012
10:47 pm
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Nyaaaah...
I tried to play a little of Lone Survivor while Steph was out tonight. It's a 2-d horror game with very pixelated graphics. I don't do well with scary games, even with a kitty in my lap to keep me warm. I just freak out too easily. I barely got through the tutorial, and then I started walking through a bloody hole in the wall, and it just kept going and going and I freaked out and quit.

My first horror game was Maxwell Manor. It was a 4-bit game, but it still creeped me out so much that I'd only dare to play it in the middle of the day. Sometimes I would have nightmares about it turning itself on in my room in the middle of the night... Yeah, I still haven't grown up. I probably shouldn't have tried playing while Steph's not around. :(

Now to play upbeat chiptunes to calm myself down.

Current Mood: scaredscared
Current Music: Shnabubula - Moonlight Passage
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November 19th, 2012
03:38 pm
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Wii Would Like to Play--Would U?
Oh, how things change!

A short six years ago, Stephie and I spent a day and a half camping outside Wal-Mart in order to get a launch Wii system. This weekend, however, we preordered our system months in advance, and Gamestop doesn't do midnight launches for Nintendo products, so we picked it up shortly after 11AM. Anti-climactic! Doubly so when it took 45 minutes to download and install the day one update.

So far, the new system is pretty cool. The user interface is pretty klunky. 2D Mario games now remind me of the James Bond film series; predictable but quality.

Once you've figured out how to friend people, my Nintendo Network ID is "Jaymark108".

Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: nothing in particular
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November 6th, 2012
03:47 pm
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There's Nobody I'd Rather Be... Than Me
I found these critiques of Wreck-It-Ralph online, two reviews by the same person.
A Note on Wreck-It-Ralph
Some Further Thoughts on Wreck-It-Ralph

I really enjoyed Wreck-It-Ralph, beside the fact that the film is jam-packed with videogame love, but I wasn't able to put my finger to it until I read those articles and felt compelled to respond to them. Read the reviews, and then read my response in the comments, reprinted below. And then, gorram it, watch Wreck-It-Ralph. It's awesome. Actually, watch Wreck-It-Ralph before reading the articles, because SPOILERS.

Response to Further Thoughts on Wreck-It-Ralph, and SpoilersCollapse )

Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: Kingdom Hearts II - Dive Into the Heart ~ Destati
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