thud

In case anyone really was in doubt about this point, allow me to remind you all that yes, my luck is that damn bad and that what I thought was the tail-end of the cold was in fact the midway point.

Pestilence

I’ll keep this short because I’m still a little unsteady– I’m surprised that I had the focus to finish CS just now. Anyway, I mentioned a while back that I was sick, right? Well, colds for me always seem to go in a fairly predictable cycle. I have the first inklings that something’s wrong when my throat feels scratchy. Then my sinuses flood with cement for a few days and I have fever dreams that would make George Romero wet his pants and cry for his mommy. After I bury myself in every blanket I own to break the fever, I then have one more day where I’m not entirely sure I’m over it or not as my nose becomes a snot faucet. That night, just to be safe, I stay under all those blankets and roast to death instead of sleep as the infection resurfaces in my chest, now causing me to hack and cough whenever I try to breathe through the only unobstructed airway I have left. After a day or so of this wonderful experience I’m usually back on my feet.

Today was, fortunately, that last bit. I was kind of hoping not to have to miss work, but then again it couldn’t be helped. In any event, tonight should be fine and tomorrow should be better.

Oh, as a final little coda: I found out last night that Video games New York is going to be at Tekkoshocon this year, meaning I may be able to snag one or two of the last few ridiculously-elusive games on my list, or more likely pick up something new and interesting to play. As always, we shall see.

Dumb And Dumber

Dumb: Sony is removing the “Install another OS” functionality of older PS3s as of a firmware patch this Thursday. The intended goal of this is to reduce piracy, but in point of fact it will only serve to have the machine’s primary OS (the XMB) hacked that much faster… because the majority of the hacking community has said that the presence of the more easily-exploitable other OS feature has discouraged hacking attempts on the native OS. I give it about another six months, folks.

Dumber: Some waste of genetic material in Florida decided it would be a good idea to show off that he could hack Xbox Live by defacing Major Nelson’s account. While he was at PAX East. Bear in mind: MN works for MS, and has, on a weekly basis, the head of XBL’s Policy Enforcement division on his show. The individual involved thought it would be a good way to drum up business for those seeking revenge. Instead he found his address and contact information disseminated by people far smarter than him (read: roughly 85% of the human population) and is probably going to have a nice little wake-up call this morning.

Later, folks.

Exactly What It Says In The Title

So… Cave Story. I haven’t spoken all that much about it, mostly due to getting sick, but also mostly because I haven’t played FF13 since CS was released, and that makes me sad. But it’s a good sad, because CS is still as awesome as I remember it to be.

I’m gonna indulge in a few spoilers here, so be wary if you haven’t ever played the game, or in the five years since its release haven’t read all the spoilers already anyway. Nothing big, mind you, just a few gameplay elements and the existence of a couple of hidden areas due to intentional sequence-breaking.

First off, I’m not yet done with the game. I’ve made it about halfway through the final boss-rush, with the appropriate amount of cursing, and I expect to be through that last little push later this week. (It’ll count as a game clear, as I’ve not finished the game since 2005, and I’ve been counting remakes anyway.) In trying for at least one of the better endings, I managed to lock myself into the Hidden Final Cave, whereupon I died. Like, a lot. Seriously, more than I had in the entire rest of the game. I mean, Monster X was always my weakest point, and I managed to nail him on my first try this time around! In any event, I managed to get almost through the Final Cave twice, halted by a) forgetting about the boss at the end and getting pasted by him, and then b) defeating the boss, but dying in a really obvious trap about thirty seconds later after I’d let my guard down but before reaching the Balcony save point.

I can’t say that I’m overly impressed by the new music, mostly due to some mixing errors. The sound effects drown out the music in places, and the music isn’t all normalized to the same volume level– item fanfares, in particular, are very muted compared to the rest of the sounds. The mixes are competent, but I think it would have been better to offer an orchestrated or sound-fontified (SNES-style) soundtrack instead of just differing chiptunes. Still, it could have been much worse.

The artwork is fantastic. Clearly that’s where the majority of the time and care was spent. I switched to the original art at one point and had to immediately change it back, it was so jarring. Suggesting to anyone else, I’d say play with the new art and the original music.

There have been some reports of glitches and bugs here and there. I encountered a couple of them, namely the map screens not displaying correctly in some cases, but I have yet to see the total freezes people had while in the Outer Wall. Most of the rest of the complaints came in the form of grammatical errors and a couple translation choices that differed from the fan translation, so they can pretty much be ignored with but one exception: Balrog no longer says “HUZZAH!”. That was just a little bit of a disappointment to me, honestly, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker.

When you get right down to it, there really was never a chance for Nicalis to “get it right”. I personally think they did an excellent job, but the behavior of some individuals sort of poisoned the well in the long run because of the expectations of those individuals. The original, fan-translation was good, and I’m grateful to Aeon Genesis for producing it. The Nicalis translation is also very good, and I’m similarly grateful to them for producing that. They are, however, their own projects, sharing only their source materials. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of “uproar”, either– when Nintendo of America localized Tales of Phantasia for the GBA, fans got their collective undies in a bunch over “censoring” the text, when the lewd content had been added in by the fan translation group. (NOA still botched it pretty badly by not proofing the text well enough… Ragnarok has little to do with Kangaroos, I fear.)

So yeah, in the final analysis, I really enjoy Cave Story’s Wii port. It’s an excellent game that has now been brought to the attention of a far wider audience, and I really hope that more people look past the complaints of the few people who’re ragging on the game “just because” and give it a shot. Just… yeah, keep an eye on Curly. She’s got your back, but who’s got hers?

Gaming Under Pressure

I lied, yesterday, when I said I’d have FF13 thoughts. Today was busy, and apparently I hadn’t quite beaten all of the whatever-pestilence-Grandfather-Nurgle-‘blessed’-me-with, which means that in about an hour I’m going to take some NyQuil and time-travel to tomorrow morning. But I can talk a little bit about the game I played last night… a pretty basic 1400-point Space Marine on Space Marine battle. Nothing particularly interesting in and of itself; we played a scenario from the Battle Missions book (which I did wind up picking up last night, too– more on that in a bit). Of course, I lost, but I learned a lot more about the metagame and how other things work. I tried to analyze what I did wrong beyond “rolling poorly” and in the end I was pretty much able to identify my mistakes almost as soon as I made them. Didn’t help me all that much in the immediate, but I now have a far better understanding of what sorts of mechanics work in my favor and what don’t.

I then spent today, in between errands, putting together the last of the infantry for my highly-mechanized Imperial Guard army, which will play radically different from the Marines. At the very least my vehicles should last longer than the first turn.

Note To Self

Since, in two weeks, you will be at an anime convention where there will be a far, FAR greater selection of anime than has been available to you in the last 6-10 months, now might be a good time, John, to make up a list of what you want to find in the Dealer’s Room. Also, make up a list of import games as well on the off chance that a game retailer has decided to make it there this year.

Post-Its From The Edge

So I lied yesterday when I said I was going to have a big long post tonight. I ran into town to run some errands and found myself out a little later than I’d wanted to be… anyway, I can provide a little bit of content in the form of a short little life-in-general update. I managed to snag the second-to-last piece of the Babylon 5 set today, the Movie Collection box; all that remains now is the Tales DVD that came out a year or so ago. The Reclamation Project being over makes it a little difficult to find good stuff that I don’t already have, which all things considered is a pretty damn good problem to have. If all goes well this summer I can start tracking down retro games, but before that happens I really need to focus on moving.

On that front, I have not exactly been moving terribly quickly. I’m still in a transitional phase, so it’s a little tricky for me to be considering the move… and yet every day I spend here, the more I want out and into someplace a bit nicer. Craigslist has been very good to me in finding places that I might want to look into… I just need to be less lazy and start actually scheduling some visits.

As for other gaming, I’m a quarter of the way through Pokemon SoulSilver, which should be no real surprise. An hour and a half each day playing it will do that. I’m also enjoying Cave Story immensely, but I’m conflicted that it’s keeping me away from FF13 at a point when I thought it was just getting to be really interesting. We shall see– I have some cleaning to do this weekend, and in between that I’ll likely be getting my l’Cie on.

Later, folks.