dorchadas: (Warcraft Face your Nightmares)
2017-08-16 09:05 am

It can happen here

Posting today instead of tomorrow because there's no farmer's market dinner this week. Now that the school term is starting at [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's workplace, her summer break is over and she can't consistently make time to gather ingredients for dinner anymore. There may be sporadic farmer's market dinners before the market closes in October--those meals are really good--but it's no longer a routine thing.

Charlottesville affected me more than I thought it would. Some of it was reading accounts like this one from a local synagogue, about how the police refused to provide protection and they had to hire private security to protect from roving bands of Nazis. Or this account of weapons caches, similar to what happened in Rwanda, indicating that the Nazis were using Charlottesville as a training exercise for a para-military operation somewhere else. And then the President of the United Sates of America revealed that he's a Nazi sympathizer at a press conference, so the Nazis' goals were mostly achieved. Great. 2017. emoji head in hands

It reminds me of an old statement I read by a rabbi from centuries ago that history was divided into periods of persecution and periods of leniency. A lot of young Jews seemed to think that the cycle had been broken, at least in America, and that the concerns of their elders were overblown. I suspect they don't think that anymore.

At least the weather's nice. I'm not sure we've had a day over 30°C for the entire month of August and the weather report shows that it won't get higher than that for the next upcoming week either. Since my preferred clothing style includes pants at all times, I appreciate the deference the atmosphere is showing me.

I started playing Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (well, ゼルダの伝説:4つの剣+) and I'm filled with immense nostalgia for A Link to the Past. Four Swords Adventures reuses a lot of the sprites and music from ALttP, but also has a lot of toonification from Wind Waker. The bomb explosions are cel-shaded, a lot of the enemies are round and blobby, and the water effects are much more liquid-based than pixelized. The gameplay is all hack and slash, but I'm finding it surprisingly fun so far. We'll see if that's still true after I get past the second area.
dorchadas: (Kirby Walk)
2017-08-12 03:23 pm

Game Review: Kirby's Dream Land

Happy 25th anniversary, Kirby!

I ordered a bon voyage Kirby plush since they were available for the anniversary, and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I started watching the Kirby anime, but of course, Kirby started out as a video game character. What better way to celebrate his existence than by playing the games that birthed him? I originally thought about playing Kirby's Adventure, the first Kirby game I ever played and the one that cemented my love for the series, but that's a several-hour commitment if I want to find all the secrets and unlock every part of the map. Kirby's Dream Land is bite-sized. I finished it in an hour and a half and it was fantastic.

Strange, coming primarily from later games, but fantastic.

Kirby's Dream Land eat enemy
Kirby, just let Waddle Dee waddle be!

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dorchadas: (Toon Link happy)
2017-08-11 05:44 pm

Game Review: ゼルダの伝説:風のタクト

Wind Waker is one of the few Zelda games I've played and beaten around the time it came out, along with only the original Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time. My sister owned a GameCube and kept up with the releases, though she never played the games for that long. She pre-ordered the limited edition--I still have the bonus disc with the Ocarina of Time Master Quest on it--and I'm not sure she ever played it, but when I came home from university that summer, I did. I played through and beat the game without reading any of the online invective about it and I really liked it. I didn't care about the happy, cartoony graphics. That was the year that Call of Duty first came out, and I was busy playing Morrowind and Warcraft III. Something light and happy was refreshing, especially when I spent every weekday at a summer job that I hated and was going to spend the next semester studying abroad in Ireland. At the time, it might even have been my favorite Zelda game.

On replaying, it's still good, but the cracks stand out to me in a way they didn't then.

The Japanese title, as is often true, is simple and straightforward--kaze no takuto, "The Baton of the Winds."

Wind Waker - Ship firing Cannon at shore
Incoming!

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dorchadas: (Kirby Walk)
2017-08-08 09:25 am

Bon voyage, Kirb!

Kirby is my favorite Nintendo character, and this year is the 25th anniversary of Kirby. In Japan, they're doing all kinds of things to commemorate it, like a Kirby concert series or the Pupupu Train traveling shop, but of course there's nothing like that here. Fortunately, there are some good sides to global capitalism, and one of them is the ability to order limited-edition items from other countries. We already bought the omikuji 25th anniversary drinking glasses and need to make Blushing Russians or strawberry smoothies to drink out of them, and yesterday the Kirby plush I ordered arrived.

It was a bit of a surprise.

Bon voyage! )

It is very large. About a foot high, which means that I didn't read the description carefully. I was expecting it to be about half that height like the other Kirby plushes we have. It's extremely cute and wonderful to hug, but I'll need to find a place to put it...
Tonight [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd might watch the Kirby anime. It's a Kirby kind of day.Emoji Kirby heart
dorchadas: (Default)
2017-07-30 08:32 am

Game Review: King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

King's Quest as a series was introduced to me by the same friend who showed me Hero's QuestQuest for Glory. We played King's Quest I, in all its EGA and text-parser magnificence, and while I fondly remember its fairy-tale aesthetic and falling into the king's moat and being eaten by crocodiles, we never got particularly far. We never reached an unwinnable situation because we would always die before solving anything. But that made an impression, and I grew up playing Sierra games.

My favorite Sierra games are still the the Quests for Glory, but King's Quest VI is my favorite King's Quest out of the ones I've played until now (I, V-VIII). King's Quest V is too arbitrary and full of situations that require advance knowledge of to beat, like throwing the boot at the cat so that the rat will rescue Graham in his cell later or beating a yeti with a pie, that I didn't want to replay it and I didn't want to subject [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd to it, so we watched a longplay of it. I didn't own King's Quest VII at the time we started playing and anyway it has a different style and interface than the older games, so wasn't going to begin with that one. We do not speak of King's Quest VIII. But King's Quest VI is the best iteration of the early King's Quest games, with understandable puzzles, a whimsical setting, and a minimum of no-win situations. I thought it would be fun for us to play together, and I was right.

King's Quest 6 Ignorance Kills
The credo of adventure games.

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dorchadas: (Warcraft Algalon)
2017-07-19 04:19 pm

Game Review: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans

Warcraft is the series that I've put the most time into. Even completely ignoring World of Warcrafr--my main had something like 450 days /played by the time I lost interest in the game in in 2011--Warcraft III was my go-to game for pretty much all of university. I'd work on a paper for a while, load up WCIII and play a quick game, then go back to the paper. Back in high school, instead it was Warcraft II, and I was good enough that our team placed second in a tournament that the high school games club ran entirely on the strength of my performance. I mean, one of my team members forgot to build a town hall.

Warcraft I, though, I have less experience with. I came into the fandom (as the kids say nowadays) with WCII, so I got used to that game's much more capable interface. I eventually borrowed the install discs from a friend and played through Warcraft I, and then after I beat it I never went back.

Until now.

Warcraft I humans vs orcs battle
Welcome to the world of Warcraft.

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dorchadas: (JCDenton)
2017-07-17 06:45 pm

Happy (on vacation) Monday!

Relevant title since it's 海の日 (umi no hi, "Marine Day") in Japan.

My shirt came in the mail! Even after I got an alert that it had been delivered, and then checked to find that it hadn't been delivered, but then it turned out that it was delivered.

Click below to hack the Gibson.
Picture )
Otherwise, spent the day playing Stardew Valley and Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. I forgot how terrible the interface on the original Warcraft was. No hotkeyed groups, only able to select four units as a time, no contextual mouse clicks...it's a DOS game. Despite that, I'm having some fun with it. I'm over halfway done already, and should have a review up tomorrow night or Wednesday morning.

We finished watching 少女革命ウテナ ("Revolutionary Girl Utena") with [twitter.com profile] xoDrVenture last night. It's much more optimistic on a second viewing, I think. And much more obviously about growing up, and how some people never do. We'll probably watch something light and fluffy next. We already watched Wakakozake afterward, now that [twitter.com profile] xoDrVenture has been to Japan with us and knows why [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I don't go to Japanese food in America very often.

We tried to order takeout 唐揚げ afterward. There were no restaurants that delivered it. The only restaurants still open were the Thai-food-and-sushi ones that are so common in Chicago and completely absent everywhere else. Emoji rain

This is the first day of my vacation, but it feels like I have to go back to work at any moment. Maybe after Japanese class tomorrow, I'll be able to relax a bit more. I can hope.

But right now, people are almost here for Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom!
dorchadas: (Toon Link happy)
2017-07-13 09:23 pm

Game Review: ゼルダの伝説 ふしぎの木の実 -時空の章-

I was originally planning to play both Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages--fushigi no kinomi -jikū no shō-, "The Mysterious Seed -Time-Space Chapter-"--together and then write a joint review because I wasn't sure there was enough difference beween them to warrant separate treatments. Obviously, now I know that's wrong. They have the same premise, where Link is tested by the Triforce and dumped into a land that may or may not really exist, but beyond that and the basic gameplay conceits of the Legend of Zelda series nearly everything is different. Oracle of Seasons focused on combat and the end result was mostly a disappointment for me, but Oracle of Ages focused on puzzles and that was a much better choice for the format. If I had played this game first and then played Seasons, I might have been happier overall. This is definitely my favorite of the two.

Oracle of Ages Nayru's Song

"Quiet! I can't hear Nayru's song!"

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dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
2017-07-13 08:57 am

(-_-) zzzzzzz

I was planning to go to sleep early last night but was foiled twice over. The first time because I insisted on staying up and making sure that I could get Phantom Hourglass and Skyward Sword--well, 夢幻の砂時計 and スカイウォードソード--working correctly through DeSmuMe and Dolphin, respectively. I originally tried NosGBA for Phantom Hourglass, but it had horrible screen tearing that would have made all the screenshots I took look like garbage, and while Skyward Sword booted up and gave me the proper warning messages, I can't really test it because I don't have the right setup. We have our old WiiMote, but not the WiiMotion Plus, and I haven't bought a USB Wii sensor bar yet since I'm just finishing up Oracle of Ages and still have a long road ahead of me.

And then when I finally lay down to go to sleep, the party that the people in the building next door were having was still going. Maybe they were celebrating the end of summer school, since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd just finished her stint helping with summer school yesterday? I don't know. I was annoyed enough to look up the noise complaint procedure but not annoyed enough to actually call in, and when the rain started the party died down.

Farmer's Market Dinner )
Tomorrow we're going out to the suburbs to visit my parents for a day and then my week-long vacation starts. We're going to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see an exhibit of Japanese art and probably going to go to a few restaurants that we've been wanting to get to for a while. And I'm going to play a ton of video games, of course. Emoji Waddle Dee Two more days!
dorchadas: (Warcraft Face your Nightmares)
2017-07-02 08:45 pm

TCP/IPoop

I spent several hours today trying to get a multiplayer game of Warcraft III to work. There's a map called Sunken City that looks like a lot of fun that's designed for three players, so [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I roped in [livejournal.com profile] uriany to play with us, but we ad to jump through all kind of hoops. First they had to update their games to 1.28, which broke and required them to delete the game and completely reinstall. Then I had to set up port forwarding to allow [livejournal.com profile] uriany to successfully see and join the game. Then, when I figured out everything that was wrong and we had finally all joined and gotten the map started...[livejournal.com profile] uriany got dropped out of the game. Twice.

Remember when we had to put up with this every time we tried to play games online? At least I didn't have to set my IRQ.

On the other hand, we got to eat lunch with [livejournal.com profile] daveax! He's in town visiting family and had a lunch free today, so we ,eat him downtown at Vermillion, a Latin/Indian fusion restaurant near where I work. That was lovely and I'm glad we did that first so I wasn't in a bad mood before we went to lunch.

Now, to cap off the day, we're watching Laser Time play through the first hour and half of Metroid: Other M (THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY). Now that Metroid Prime 4 has been announced, it doesn't sting so badly.
dorchadas: (Kirby Walk)
2017-06-29 10:30 pm

Game Review: Adventures of Lolo

For a game that seems mostly forgotten and whose legacy only survives through cameos in the Kirby games, I got a big response to Adventures of Lolo when I posted a screenshot of a level on Facebook. I never played it as a child, but I looked at the images in Nintendo Power published as part of the Counselor's Corner and thought it sounded like a lot of fun. And like so many other games I saw in Nintendo Power, I stuck it in the back of my mind, carried it through the years, and waited until I got a chance to play it. It's worth it.



Read more... )
dorchadas: (Not he who tells it)
2017-06-29 09:25 am

Dinner made it better, anyway

I spent a big chunk of yesterday dealing with the ripples from the Jewish Pride flag ban incident, including one guy who, if he wasn't actually a Nazi, was happy to play one on the internet for the lels. After all that, coming home to a delicious local dinner was just what I needed.

Tasty food )

I originally asked [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd if we could have sauteed mushrooms on the side before she told me that they were already included in the meal. Maitake is about twice as expensive in America as it was in Japan, which is a problem when we developed a huge taste for it in Japan put it on everything (along with enoki, another mushroom that's too expensive for daily use here). Zucchini noodles is our go-to for "pasta" dishes now that we don't eat much pasta anymore. Tastes amazing with pesto and a good way to get more vegetables.

I'm almost done with Adventures of Lolo, and since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd has to attend a school function tonight, I'll almost certainly finish it and have a review up later tonight (Edit: here). While I love my dozens-of-hours JRPGs, there's something to be said for a game that can be finished in three hours. My lifespan is finite but World of Warcraft is eternal, which is part of the reason I no longer play it. Oh dear
dorchadas: (Toon Link)
2017-06-12 06:02 pm

Game Review: ゼルダの伝説:ふしぎの木の実 (大地の章)

I'm not sure I had even heard of Oracle of Seasons--in Japanese, fushigi no kinomi -daichi no shō-, "The Mysterious Seed -Land Chapter-"--before I set out on my Zelda chronogaming quest. It was twinned together with Oracle of Ages and released in 2001, the height of my anti-console snobbery. My loss. But the march of time and technological progress means I can go back to those games that I missed and play them now, when I'll appreciate them. Truly, we live in the the golden age of gaming.

Oracle of Seasons is another weird portable entry, starting a trend that began with Link's Awakening and continuing to this day. The mainline console entries, with the exception of Majora's Mask, are the traditional Zelda games where Link fights Ganon and rescues the Princess, and the handheld games are the ones where he talks to a psychedelic winged whale, rides trains, and plumbs the depths of the same dungeon a dozen times. Or here, uses the progression of the seasons to save a land where the seasons have been thrown into disorder.


Link's dancing was already disordered.

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dorchadas: (Chiyoda)
2017-06-04 01:25 pm

It never rains on Mibu no Hanadaue


This weekend is the date of two of my favorite festivals in Hiroshima--Tōkasan in Hiroshima City and Mibu no Hanadaue in Chiyoda (とうかさん and 壬生の花田植, respectively). There's video of Mibu no Hanadaue here

It's really making me miss Japan. We went to both festivals all three years we lived in Hiroshima, because while we sometimes had a hard time knowing that any particular event was occurring, Tōkasan was the talk of the town for months, and our students invited us to Mibu no Hanadaue the first year we lived there. And now that social media is so big in disseminating information, I follow a bunch of Facebook pages like 北広島ほっと情報 (Kitahiroshima Town Hot News Updates) or the Tōkasan page. That means I have a constant stream of updates on festivals I went to, festivals I knew about but never got the chance to attend, and festivals I've never heard of but really wish I had. Plus pictures, of course. Get Hiroshima, the gaijin-run local events news source, posted this picture of Mibu no Hanadaue.


Source.

Re: my subject line, today's weather in Chiyoda was sunny and clear, with a 0% chance of precipitation.

Also, last night I installed Heroes of the Storm after my attempts to play an AI-enabled DotA Allstars in Warcraft III did not go well. It's the only map I've ever found that crashed WCIII, and some searching found that the map has problems with certain heroes' abilities. There's no way I'm playing DotA on Battle.net. Those days are done. I played DotA games for thousands of hours when I was a university student and have no desire to go back to the world of racist insults and people dropping the instance the other team scores first blood against them.

HotS seems to solve a lot of my problems with MOBA games. There's no items, so there's no need to memorize item combinations. There's no gold, so last-hitting isn't a thing. XP is team-wide, so jungling and people demanding solo mid don't exist. Also, it's free just like the original DotA Allstars was (WCIII was a sunk cost at that point), so there's no harm in trying it out. And you can play against AI so [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd might try it out with me and see if she likes it.

I don't know how long I'll stick with it, but I'm glad I tried it out. It's much more fun than I thought it would be.
dorchadas: (Cherry Blossoms)
2017-05-28 10:39 am

Game Review: MOMODORA:月下のレクイエム

I heard about Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight on Bonfireside Chat, as a game that was similar to some aspects of the Souls games that they really liked. Then I heard it was a metroidvania game. Well, that's all I need to hear. Sign me up.

I bought it, loaded it up, and took in the beautiful pixel art and moody music. And then I moved forward and was brutally murdered by a chibi with a shield.


A deadly ambush.

Read more... )
dorchadas: (Slime)
2017-05-27 06:06 pm

Back then, we were heroes

Checking twitter this morning and I found out that there was a commercial for a new Dragon Quest game in Japan, and it's fantastic.



I don't really have any nostalgic attachment to Dragon Quest. I haven't even played any of them other than the original Dragon Warrior and, recently, Dragon Quest IV. But I got a little misty-eyed when the music started, and I know what it's like to huddle under a blanket in the night, to tell your family that you'll be done soon, just a little bit more.

My favorite moments:
  • 0:50: The girl saying 時には我慢も必要です。 ("Sometimes patience is required") and then the taped-up paper that says, "Until I get into college, Dragon Quest is prohibited!"
  • 0:55: The kid drawing a slime and saying 授業中も冒険してた "Even during class, we had adventures."
  • 01:10: The man and woman saying 勇者は挫けない "Heroes do not get discouraged" and then でも、余り[?]には勇者だって泣いていいでしょう "But it's okay for even heroes to cry sometimes."
  • 01:35: The bit at the end 僕らは、夢中で勇者だった。そして今、ふたたび「勇者の時」が動き出す。 "In our dreams, we were heroes. And now once again, the time of heroes has come."
This is how you make a commercial that banks on nostalgia.
dorchadas: (Enter the Samurai)
2017-05-21 11:08 am

ACEN 2017

​I was incredibly nervous for basically all of Thursday and most of Friday before I went to ACEN and I still don't know the reason why. I've had a great time at the last there ACENs I went to. What did I think would happen?

Well, nothing went wrong, but here's my chronicle of what did happen:

At length, but with lots of pictures! )

This is the most actual convention-related stuff I've gone to in a long time, and we would have done even more if storytime hadn't been cancelled. I described it to friends as me scanning down the list and saying, "Alright, which of these panels at an anime convention aren't about anime" but that was...well, pretty much my thought process. Most of the cosplay pictures I took weren't from anime either. I don't go to anime conventions for the anime part. Emoji Chocobo

Looking forward to next year!
dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
2017-05-18 09:02 pm

Game Review: Another Metroid 2 Remake

Metroid II is the only Game Boy game I've played for longer than a few minutes. One of my sister's friends had a Game Boy, and for some reason that is still opaque to this day, her mother asked me to babysit for them. That mainly consisted of the friend watching TV while I played Metroid II, confusing myself with the changes between that and Metroid. Having to hunt metroids? Jumping morph ball? Trying to play a metroid game on a 160 x 144 pixel screen? I played for about half an hour, got nowhere, and then never played it again.

When I heard about Another Metroid 2 Remake, I figured it would end up vaporware like the various 3D Link's Awakening remakes or shut down before being released like Chrono Resurrection. To my utter astonishment, however, it was finished, released, and was out for almost a month before Nintendo DMCAed it. That was more than enough time for the internet to seize hold of it, and it's easy to find if you spend any time looking.


Threat detected

Read more... )
dorchadas: (Majora A Terrible Fate)
2017-05-13 10:46 am

Game Review: ゼルダの伝説:ムジュラの仮面

Majora's Mask almost completely passed me by. I think the first time I even saw any of it was at the first Symphony of the Goddesses concert I went to, where the gameplay footage of a moon with an evil face, Link turning into some kind of plant monster and flying around using flower umbrellas, and mysterious giants assembling to defend the city completely confused me. What was this? What was even happening here? And what is it about Majora's Mask that leads Zelda Dungeon to have a huge philosophical exegesis on the game?

(The answer to that is "When there's only one Zelda game every 3-5 years, they've got to publish something")

When my sister bought a Nintendo 64, I played Super Mario 64 and I played Ocarina of Time, and sometimes I played Blast Corps, and then I played Quest 64 and that was basically it for me. The N64 was not the system for an RPG-lover like myself, so I went back to my PC games and that's why I didn't know anything about this game until I played it.

I feel like I'm still missing a lot, honestly.


"You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"

Read more... )
dorchadas: (Awake in the Night)
2017-04-25 08:55 am

In lieu of a game writeup, some ramblings

This is normally a day when I'd be writing up a summary of our Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom game last night, but it was called off at the last minute when one of the players came home to find their apartment had been broken into! The thiev(es) didn't take much, fortunately--they even left the WiiU behind, which seems like a joke itself--but that's not that much compensation. And they are moving in a month...  photo emot-ohdear.png

So instead, I spent most of last night playing Majora's Mask doing the Woodfall Temple. I'm not sure how I feel about Majora's Mask's yet--I've already lost about an hour of time due to freezing and the save system only allowing saving by restarting the three-day cycle, but I love the focus on a small city and the people who live there. I can definitely see a continuation of Link's Awakening, with its weird characters doing strange things and Link stumbling into the middle of it all and trying to sort everything out. I just wish I had a better sense of what's going on.

It's the problem with trying to learn a language. I don't want to read children's books or play games with little dialogue, because then I'm not actually getting any practice in. Studying requires pushing into areas I don't know. But that means that I'm never quite sure I understand the plot. I've got a walkthrough open in the background because of these issues, and I've already made a couple major errors that confused me until I went to check, like thinking that the monkeys in the swamp had captured someone instead of being captured by someone (Xに捕まえられています). The broad strokes I understand just fine, but in a game where it's very important that I'm in particular places at specific time, I need to understand the nuances to be able to play.

I redid the background image on my Dreamwidth page so it's locally hosted and shows up in 1080p. I tried a couple images of Tokyo in the rain, but they didn't display up well--with everything else on the page, it was just a blur of neon barely visible in the background. Which I suppose is accurate to some nights I've spent in Tokyo, but it doesn't make for a good aesthetic.  photo emot-fuckyou.gif

Looking forward to a low-key weekend and hopefully being able to finish Majora's Mask!