Category Archives: Pet Parents

So while I’m sitting here finishing up my Persona 3 review, I realized that there’s not a whole lot of negative things I have to say about this game. It reminded me of a comment I made on some guy’s blog like a year ago (which was two years too late, unfortunately). He wasn’t enjoying the game, to put it mildly. Some people in the comments section were also developing negative opinions because they were having difficulty with the game. Everything that has ever been written on the internet matters, as everyone knows, so I decided to write a somewhat lengthy comment in an attempt to give them some honest advice, but how I feel about the game came through more than I intended.

Anyways, I found that comment, and it’s being re-used, because joining the Navy made most of my thoughts into a greatest hits record, highlighting the first 22 years of my life, because I miss it. And so I don’t have origional thoughts anymore.

But, I wanted to say, as a preface I guess, that this game isn’t for everyone. It can be pretty polarizing. Some people end up hating it, like this guy.

The blog is called “The First Hour” because the guy posts reviews of games after playing them for only an hour. I won’t tell you how that makes me feel. One hour of Persona 3 isn’t long enough to know what the game’s all about. It’s a lengthy game and takes a while to gain momentum. Here’s a link to the review.

You can still find it near the bottom. The comment is titled “An honest attempt to be polite…” if you want to swim through the sea of text to find it.


I’m a video game masochist: Kingdom Hearts

Well, I’m pretty sure that’s not how you spell “I hate myself” but whatever. Anyways, Kingdom Hearts is a video game for the Sony Playstation II. It was developed by Square Soft. It is in full color.

Everyone I know who has played the game (aside from Thomas) loved it. It is actually pretty popular. So I can say with a certain amount of confidence that my opinions of this game will probably be unpopular. Well, what do I say, except “Whoops!” I loved the game, but I hated it.

First, I will introduce you to some characters.

This is our protagonist, Sora:

Then, you got Riku, a misguided badass with a good heart in the wrong place:

And then there’s Kairi, who is pretty much just the damsel in distress:

Then there’s Final Fantasy characters and Disney characters. I’m not going to describe the FF characters, and if you don’t know the Disney characters, you have some films you should be watching right now.

Oh, and by the way, as with my last review, this game is pretty old, so spoilers abound.

I’ll start what I liked. As ridiculous as it may sound, my favorite part of the game was the story. Especially the central characters of Sora, Kairi, and Riku. The way those three characters were played to each other was fantastic, and created


an engaging experience. I liked Riku’s character especially. In a sense, Riku felt it necessary to sacrifice his own soul to save the person he cares about, and it was beautiful. The loss of Kairi pulling Sora and Riku in different directions, and the way those characters interacted based on that, was brilliant and moving; it built tension through the game’s climax, and made the resolution so very satisfying. Also, the Disney characters were a wonderful inclusion for the story. While I thought Sora, Donald, and Goofy’s adherence to the Prime Directive a bit strange, it made the Disney movie-based worlds that much more immersive. Donald and Goofy made fantastic companions, and I felt they, as well as their relationship to the main character, was expertly developed. At the end, when you find out that once the darkness is sealed away all of the worlds become separated again, it almost broke my heart to thing that these three friends would be torn apart. The final boss was…cool. I will voice my issues about him later, though. The ending was very satisfying and provided plenty of closure while still leaving the game open for a sequel. Overall, the story was very satisfying. And that concludes my gushing about how much I love the game (very much). The gloves are coming off, brusing will now commence.

Let’s start by talking about what I didn’tlike about the story, shall we? To put it bluntly, Final Fantasy. All of the FF characters were clearly included in this game for nothing more than Final Fanservice (tee hee). They do literally nothing for the plot. I was okay with people like Yuffie and Leon (and I was secretly hoping for Cecil, Kain, or even Zidane; I’m not immune to fanservice sometimes.), I had a huge problem with Aeris (or Aerith, either way, eat shit.).  They all felt shoehorned in. For some reason, they were the only characters I couldn’t bring myself to give a shit about, no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t figure it out! And then, during a conversation with Squall (or Leon, or whatthefuckever.) it hit me: He hasn’t done anything useful! All of the FF characters just holed up in a hotel room and complained to each other how much everything sucks, maybe occasionally playing their favorite game “who can be the moodiest.”

Why does he look so bored? Maybe because he spent the whole game crammed in a hotel room with two chicks? Yeah, that's a stupid answer.

Squalleon has A FUCKING GUNBLADE. Couldn’t he at least try to help? The problem I had with the scene where we come to the revelation that the different worlds become separated when everything is fixed is that the revelation is delivered by Squall. I was like “So? Who cares. My beach planet was some pretty sweet shit, man.” Donald and Goofy showed up, and I instantly changed my tune to “No! My friends! I may never see you again!” The Final Fantasy characters were never developed,  because they had already served their purpose. Fanservice doesn’t need to be meaningful, because people eat it up even if it’s really stupid.

Then, there’s the gameplay. Holy god the gameplay. Square Soft (or Square Enix, or Squeenix) doesn’t know what the term “Action RPG” means. No, it does not mean trying to manage a battle menu in real time. That is fucking stupid. Why would you do that. What the fuck.

You see, battle menus are for turn based rpgs. Because in a turn based game, you have time to wade through a menu. Even with stuff like the ATB system, you had time before the enemy could attack again, and thus you could comfortably swim through the menus with a sense of urgency. However, in Kingdom Hearts, you, and your enemies, can use attacks and magic whenever you want. I don’t like the feeling of having to run in circles continuously to evade enemy attacks while I’m trying to navigate menus just to fucking heal my party. The hotkeys were nice, but felt like an afterthought since you could only hotkey four of them. You could edit your hotkeys from the pause menu, which actually would have made the real-time menu fighting almost a non-issue, except, whoops, you can’t access the pause menu in combat. So if your equipment or abilities has you in a bad position, that’s just too damn bad. You just have to die like a real man.

And then, there’s the controls. No major problems here, except for one. When you’re playing a third person video game, you usually expect the left analog stick to control your character and the right to control the camera, right? Nope. The right analog stick now controls the menu! Okay, so then what does the d-pad control? The menu. Why the game is using two inputs to control the same thing is beyond me. The camera is controlled by the L and R buttons, which makes for some terribly imprecise camera controls. It takes some getting used to, but why couldn’t the left stick control the camera? Then the shoulder buttons could have been additional hotkeys. Or, even better, the d-pad could have been exclusive to hotkeys.

Overall, this game is pretty flawed. Like most people I know, I’m able to look past its flaws and enjoy it regardless. One thing that seems exclusive to me, though, is that the game’s flaws still manage to piss me off. This seems to happen a lot, so maybe I’m just an angry person. Either way, I hope I’ve effectively demonstrated my feelings for this game, or at least what I mean when I say “I love it, but I fucking hate it.” Allow me to end the review with my favorite quote from the game…

Sora has some weird friends.

Mass Effect: An effectionate (or effiminate?) retrospective.

Mass Effect is a third person shooter/role playing game for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. It was released on November 20, 2007 in the US. You may be asking yourself ,”why are you reviewing a game that’s over four years old?” My answer would be ,”because I said so.” This review is actually just to give a new perspective on an old favorite. I thought that it would be a good idea to revisit the game’s strengths with the final installment of the series over the horizon. I know I plan to complete multiple playthroughs with my new characters and then import them into ME2, rinse and repeat. I want to maximize my Mass Effect potential, I guess. But anyways, since I intend this as a revisit to the game, there are minor spoilers ahead. They happen early on, but to maximize the effect and your reactions to the story (as well as immersion), then don’t read this until you have played this game. You have been warned…


Oh joyous day! I get to use this as an excuse to play Mass Effect some more! Well, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Let me start with some background. People discover some shit on mars and then they are in a sci-fi universe. I think that about covers it. What’s that? Horrible you say? Fine, here’s more detail, but just try and chill out, okay? So, one day humanity lands on Mars (the planet, not the candy bar) and discover ancient ruins of a long lost alien civilization referred to as the Protheans. This discovery introduces humanity to Element Zero, a substance that, when an electric current is conducted through it, creates a “mass effect field” that can temporarily alter the mass of an object. This presents humanity with the science fiction holy grail of faster than light travel, and allows them to join the larger community of the universe. It is also the reason behind everything in this universe functioning. Guns, ships, shields, and much more are just different applications of these new physical laws. So that’s the universe in a nutshell. You play an Alliance (human military) commander named Shepard (metaphors, anyone?).

So here we are, starting the game, creating a commander Shepard to suit our tastes. You even get to pick a gender. How about that? The game throws you into the Alliance Military Personnel Database and tells you you have to re-create your profile from scratch because of a system error. I love when role playing games just start the role playing from moment one. The whole “you’re using a computer” thing is adorable!

You pick a sex, name yourself, and then you get to pick a pre-service history and a military record. Histories range from grew up in the slums on Earth, military brat, or my whole childhood was killed along with everyone in it in a Batarian raid, and military records include war hero, sole survivor of a brutal battle, or ruthless bastard. Along with serving as potential justification for your character’s…well, character, it also influences

I hate Batarians 'cause THEY ALL RACIST!

the way other people treat you. There’s also some fun sidequests that are specific to each option, like you have to talk a former slave to the Batarians (Call me a xenophobe, but I hate the Batarians. They’re dicks.) out of committing suicide. And she happens to have been captured by the Batarians in the same raid that killed your parents. Super neat, right?

I like to use this history stuff as a basis for my character. I like to have the colonist history (the one where your colony gets raided when you’re little and your parents were killed in the ensuing battle), pick the ruthless reputation, then be fucking ruthless. It makes your character who they are and serves as potential justification for their actions throughout the game, as I said before, which furthers that whole role playing aspect.

Then you pick a class. There are three areas of combat: biotics (basically the equivalent of magic), tech abilities, and gunplay. The different classes focus on different combinations of these. I normally pick infiltrator (specializing in tech and sniper rifles/pistols), but today, I am a vanguard (pistols/shotguns and biotics). Vanguards are essentially the biotic specialists with the best weapons. They are, in my mind, the “I don’t give a fuck” class. In ME2 they exemplified this by giving the vanguard a falcon punch-type move called “Charge”. So there. Pretty standard class-system stuff. It works very well, because different classes play differently.

Next, you get to make a face. Oh boy, do you make faces. I made faces while I made my Shepard’s face. Making a satisfactory yet unique face in Mass Effect is like trying to eat while you’re hanging upside down off the edge of a a cliff. The main problem is that the sliders don’t make a whole lot of sense. There’s a slider called “Face shape”. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean because the other sliders seem to be the concept of face shape set into different sections of the face. Also, most of the hairstyles are ugly. The texture mapping makes it look like your hair is constantly greasy. Since the human npcs use mostly the same creation engine, one could conclude that no one in the Mass Effect universe washes their hair, or else they all use tons of gel. Anyway, if you aren’t careful, you could end up playing as this:


However, if you play your cards right, you can end up with this:

"Gimmie PIZZA!"

In this part of the game, Tali discovers Shepard is a cross dresser, and you must converse your way out of it. Or not.

So now here we are. We have a name, sex, history, class, and face. Isn’t that all you need for life? Hit accept, and you’re immediately staring out a window while people talk about you. They reference your history and military record and say “He/she could be the only one who can save the galaxy!” (paraphrasing). It gives you a good sense of what’s going on right off the bat (though how they know the galaxy needs saving is totally beyond me!). The game gives you a neat little text crawl explaining the whole “mass effect physics” thing, and then you are treated to a cutscene of Shepard walking to the bridge of a spaceship (the Normandy, because France wanted people to forget their reputation of cowardice) while increasingly dramatic music plays. You get your first taste of two important game elements immediately after this cutscene. The first is conversation. The conversation system Bioware created for this game is very well done, as anyone will tell you. The conversation options are on a wheel, making it abundantly clear which speech option is Paragon and which is Renegade and which is boring neutrality. Having the options’ allignment obvious is fantastic. In KoToR (Amazing game, go play it.), you just had to select from a list, which made maintaining your alignment difficult because sometimes it was difficult to snipe the “good guy” answer, especially in situations that deal with a moral grey area. It’s easier to turn your character into who you want them to be this way, which is a huge deal when it comes to rpgs.

The second thing you get a taste of, immediately after the conversation is over, is the morality system. This game’s morality system is the best I have ever seen. Rather than having a sliding scale that covers all morality, all of your choices are reflected equally in the universe because morality is calculated in a different way. There’s one scale for Paragon (which is good) and a whole other scale for Renegade (use the process of elimination to figure out what that means). This means that allof your decisions have social consequensces rather than just the majority of them. I have no jokes left on this subject, so let’s move on.

I searched "Space Racists" in Google Images, and the first result was a picture of Ashley. Now you know why she was never in my party. And why I hated her. Bitch.

First thing you notice: space racists. Unlike other sci-fi series, you see TONS of xenophobes of every race, which means some pretty awesome attempts at realisim for a work of science fiction. The captain of the ship orders you to come to the briefing room (I think that’s what it is anyway…) to talk to you. He tells you that you’re headed to the (aptly named) human colony Eden Prime. Apparently, there’s some trouble in paradise, as you’ve recently recieved a distress signal. They unearthed a Prothean artifact, then things went sour. You’re being sent to recover the artifact and save the day. A Spectre is sent along to support you in the mission. Spectres are probably my favorite aspect of the universe’s political structure. Basically, they’re space police modeled after Batman. They are to uphold peace and enforce the law however they see fit. Obviously, it’s a blessing and a curse, as some people abuse this power. But, I digress…

You land on the planet with a squad of two other people. Here’s where you get a feel for the third and fourth game elements with the mission on Eden Prime: combat, and preparing for more combat.

The combat’s decent, but not amazing. Nothing to applaud into an envelope and send home about. It’s a pretty basic third person shooter with a handy dandy cover mechanic. Don’t get me wrong; you won’t hate it. On the contrary, it works exceedingly well for the game. It just doesn’t feel like the next great innovation in the third person shooter area. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing (unless you hate things that are good.).

Now, back to current events (from 200 years in the future), on Eden Prime, you meet another Spectre named Saren. The game balances this out by having Saren kill the first Spectre you meet (so you don’t end up with Spectre-overload [Dibs on the band name]?) He’s trying to bring The Reapers back (dibs on the song title). The Reapers are the ones who wiped out the Protheans, bt dubs. So then you have to gather a team of intergalactic badasses to stop Saren and save the world (universe).

Garrus has the baddest ass in space. 😉

You get tons of oppurtunities to influence the story (as well as the politics of the universe) throughout the game, which is what makes the story amazing. Where the game shines for me, though, is in the customization.

People made a pretty big deal out of Mass Effect before and after it came out because it was an action-rpg with guns in space! But the rpg elements were the biggest parts of the game (tied with the conversation, morality, and story). Rightfully so, because at this point in time that’s what we had come to expect from Bioware. The leveling system was a lot like KoToR’s as well (seriously, play that game. Even if you’ve played it already, go play it again). Instead of blanket stats that affect how your character is generally, you leveled up specific skills, which worked well because it was a more actioney rpg.

I loved it because the one thing more than everything else that screams rpg (to me, and anyone who played Oblivion because that game is in love with it’s menus.) is menu-surfing. Call me an idiot, but I love menus. The menus translate (for me) into customization. Different weapons and armor had different stats, which you could change even further with the use of armor, weapon, and ammo upgrades. On top of that, you get to pick a party of two from your intergalactic-badassery squad everytime you leave the ship. You get to optimize your squads effectiveness by choosing a squad that compliments each other or works well for the mission at hand. Oh, and all the gun and armor customization and leveling? You get to control that for your squad too.

Mass Effect was everything an rpg should be, and I loved that about it. It didn’t play or feel like any rpg, or even any game has before. Mass Effect

Beautiful menus.

was beautiful because of that. The core of the game was combat, and the combat wasn’t amazing by itself. But with the different classes and all of the customization, you got to play the game the way you wanted to. You got to create your character and your tactics based around that character. A soldier with heavy armor, their assault rifle skill fully leveled and a Gorgon-X assault rifle would play a lot different than an infiltrator who put all of their points into buffing tech abilities and their sniper rifle skill. That’s the main reason to play Mass Effect: From your character to your playstyle and down into the story itself, you create your own experience with the game. That’s what’s so beautiful about it.

Anyways, up next: Mass Effect 2!

"Oh God! MASS EFFECT 2?!?"

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I figure it’s time for some directionless yammering, don’t you?

This sure looks awesome. I wish it were related.

So, I have been playing a lot of different video games lately. This isn’t a major development. I’ve been playing video games for a very long time. I’ve just been playing a large variety of games. I don’t usually play this many different games, and I’ve also been spending more time each day playing games. It doesn’t feel like I should be doing that. It might be starting to verge on obsessive behavior.

I do remember reading somewhere that people tend to play more video games when they’re depressed, seeing them as

an escape from reality. I have been kind of unsure about the direction my life has been going in lately, and that can be upsetting. But I don’t think I’m depressed. I haven’t had to suffer much, but when I have I still thought that life was too awesome to waste any of it being depressed. To amend a saying people seem to like throwing around: I’ll get depressed when I’m dead. I think that’s a good time for it. If you’re going to be depressed about anything it should be that you aren’t alive anymore, right?

Life is pretty awesome. I have a plan for the future. I haven’t put it into action yet. I believe I’ve already mentioned that I’m a horrible self motivator. Well, fuck. I’m not getting any younger. I have some phone calls to make later today.

I’ve been playing the Uncharted series of games. So far they have been fantastic. I’m working on Uncharted 3 at the moment. I’ll review those games after Mass Effect. I have to. They are pretty fantastic. I don’t think that video games should try to be movies, but in Uncharted’s case, it doesn’t hurt. The games are so cinematic. The action is over-the-top and yet immersive. And the characters are real people (not literally.). Especially Tenzin. I love that bastard.

That beautiful bastard.

Anyways, I’m still working on a final draft of the Mass Effect review. Then comes the comparison/review of ME2. Then the Uncharted Trilogy. Looks like I’ve got a good start planned out. I’ll probably attempt to tackle some of the Metal Gear Solid games after that. I hope you like it (if anyone is reading anymore). Goodnight. 😉


So here I am, 2:22 on a Friday afternoon. On the internet. Whoops!

Anyways, I am a very large fan of video games and anime. That’s what I’m going to be talking about primarily. Just thought you should know. I like to look at video games and think about specific mechanics and set pieces and take that shit apart to see what makes it appealing, or what makes it fucking garbage, or how it could have been improved, or, maybe sometimes, how the developers narrowly avoided a catastrophe by making one decision that seemed almost trivial but could have ruined the experience entirely in the long run. I like stuff like that. Intelligent words not just about if a game is good or not, but WHY. Because I am a video game elitist. And by that, I mean I played Dog’s Life on the PS2.

Masterpiece painted with shit

Yes, this is the pee-marking minigame. No, I don't really have any standards...

By the way, I’ll probably tell you (my imaginary audience) about that game someday. Let me give you some quick highlights. You play a dog, as you may have guessed by the game’s title. So based on what we already know about the title’s relationship to gameplay, you might assume that the dog you control is also alive. That is also true. Although you will wish you aren’t if you play this game. I will talk more about this game in the near future.  And boy, will you get an eyefull.

So yeah. Once I start learning how to make this blog not an enormous eyesore, then expect some serious stuff. Or don’t. I am an awful self-motivator. But at least the blog will be appealing for your eyes. So you can see all the beautiful colors that compose this page. Maybe, someday, in full 3-D! Until then, I have some work to do.