Gallery

The Khezu in Monster Hunter Looks Familiar

Oh, this monster doesn't look so bad. It doesn't even have thick skin or scales.
Oh, this monster doesn’t look so bad. It doesn’t even have thick skin or scales.
I can only fight you if I can't see your face, Khezu. Die.
I can only fight you if I can’t see your face, Khezu. Die.
OH DEAR LORD GET AWAY FROM ME
OH DEAR LORD GET AWAY FROM ME

Forty minutes later in Monster Hunter…

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Everything I Do Wrong in Monster Hunter Is Right For Me

Everything I Do Wrong in Monster Hunter Is Right For Me

I can’t stop playing Monster Hunter. Guys, I can’t stop. Seriously, my 3DS is turned on and at my desk right now waiting for me when I finish writing this. I seriously cannot wait to go fishing again.

Wait, what?

In case you can’t tell, I am clearly doing something wrong. In case you don’t know, the Monster Hunter series is exactly what it sounds like–you hunt monsters. So why can’t I remember the last new monster I fought?

  1. Gathering. I think the caravan I work for is filled with hunter-gatherer and nomadic sort of folk, yet for some reason, they are incapable of none of the above. In normal video game fashion, the only one able to do anything is me–even fishing and mining. Seriously, one of the first towns to which you travel has a career miner and yet I’m the only one who can take a pickax out to the fields. While the fetch quests is probably only filler, I still spend more time picking leaves and weeds up off the ground than anything else. Oh, there’s a giant dragon terrorizing a band of kittens? Eh, there’s limitless honey over here. I know my priorities. I even do the Harvest Tours where your only goal is to aimlessly pick flowers for fifty minutes before battling a new monster. It is Dragon Age: Origins all over again where I enjoy the busy work that others criticize the series for. Don’t ask me to get you eggs though. They are useless except for the puns (Egg-speditions. Really, Capcom?). I don’t know why I can carry a hundred mushrooms without dropping one, but this giant wyvern egg is out of my league. How about I scramble it out here on my BBQ pit and pack it in Tupperware instead?
  2. Choosing a weapon. I can’t do it. Ideally, you are supposed to find one or two weapons your prefer–maybe one melee and one ranged–and stick with those, learning all the intricacies and crafting the best possible builds. Instead I keep finding more and more weapons I love. Out of all the ones I tried, the only one I didn’t like was the traditional bow. Currently I’m trying to get the best dual blades, hunting horn, insect glaive, and light bowgun, and I haven’t even tried half of the selection. This means my rare resources are stretched further. Luckily, the closest I’ve come to a gambling addition is playing the probabilities on what ore I’m going to mine.
  3. Expeditions. I know these are new to the series, and I don’t know how much time the average player is supposed to spend on them, but I think I’ve done more of these than traditional quests. If it says a wild palico or poogie might appear–or in normal worlds, cats and pigs–I disembark without a second thought. Who needs story progression and new raw materials when I can get a ninja outfit for my pet pig? Also the treasure areas mean I can possibly get battered, broken, and rusted armor and weapons, also known as more time to play the probabilities. At least I’m only wasting away my valuable time instead of my meager finances.
  4. Single Player 4 Lyfe. Outdated language aside and forty hours in, I have yet to hunt with friends. I’ve talked about my aversion to multiplayer before, and it still applies here. I already know I don’t play right and don’t want to either be reminded or make anyone else suffer that. Instead of slow and methodical movement and combat, I take the angry toddler approach–all might, no thought, and a good bit of running away. I have fun when I play, and I know I’m not great; it’s more fun for me to relish that in solidarity instead of putting it on display for other people. Let’s ignore how me writing about it here totally contradicts that.

Basically no matter what I do wrong, I still can’t get enough. By the way, if you have ever tried the series before and found it slow, confusing, or impenetrable, check out some of the following Youtube channels. They help a lot and are each done in a different style, so find what works for you. I highly recommend it.

  • Kitty Kat Gaming melds walkthrough and casual Let’s Play perfectly.
  • ProJared does a lot of great beginner’s guides. The link is to his material on MH3U, but the advice is still great and applies.
  • Arekkz Gaming has detailed tutorials on all the weapons, game modes, and quests that are edited to perfection.

Stay tuned.

Tsk, Tsk, Excuses, Excuses

Tsk, Tsk, Excuses, Excuses

Have any of you been keeping track of how many posts involve me explaining a long and unannounced break?

I would, but frankly, it’s embarrassing.

This might give a little more insight to some personal struggles–and one recent personal preference–I have been facing with little relevance to my normal content but please be patient. After I clear my conscience, I have my Kingdom Hearts post next in the queue.

Now let’s call it my Top 3 Reasons I Haven’t Been Posting Regularly:

3. Japan

Okay, maybe I’m not blaming a whole country, but their games have definitely been taking up all of time. First it was powering through Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc with intentions of following up with its sequel. I couldn’t even do that before I fell face first into Inaba and Persona 4 Golden. I got halfway through New Game Plus before Fantasy Life turned me into the person with the world’s most jobs and largest pockets for raw materials and fish. After getting burnt out right as I reached the last chapter of the main story, I started trying unlock all of my favorite characters in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call and wishing I could play through the Song of the Fayth. Mainly I have been doing everything in my power to stay camped out in bed with a handheld system permanently attached to me. Not really conducive to a PC gaming blog, now is it?

2. Sixty-Hour Work Week.

I mentioned in the past that I had recently gotten a new position. It was originally longer hours by five or ten hours by now I have found myself working until our nightly cap of ten o’clock multiple nights a week. This means I wake up at 6:30 a.m. and get home at close to 11 p.m. Add in the time it takes to be a human–eat, shower, sleep–and that leaves only enough time to breathe and complain. In my last job, I had a routine and a rhythm that let me alternate between playing and writing, letting me do this consistently–sometimes even working ahead. Now I have some serious retooling to do.

1. Health

I have alluded to health problems in the past, and they are a reoccurring theme in my life. I won’t rehash myself, but instead link to a post from my personal blog I haven’t updated since shortly after college graduation.

http://immediategradification.blogspot.com/2014/07/hospitalshome-and-why-you-should-join.html

My jump from a forty to sixty-hour work week coupled with the above, worsening back pain, and a prescription-worthy Vitamin D deficiency has made it hard to stay faithful to what I have considered a second job for months now. Pain management has always been a challenge, and this is a new one that I have fewer tools than ever to cope with. My job doesn’t know my struggles, and I can’t call it quits when the clock hits five anymore if I’m having a rough day. So now I use it as a blanket of reasons on all of you. Nothing makes me more angry at myself than using it that way, but I felt the need to explain. Let’s just call this another area of my life that is colored by my scars and shaved head.

So here is my new game plan (she says for the umpteenth time):

  • Do my best to stick to the original Tuesday-Thursday plan.
  • If I can’t, try to still post twice a week.
  • If I can’t can’t, continue with streaming plan. I have the software figured out and everything so that is a couple of mouse clicks away.

So please be patient…again.

Stay tuned.

No-stall-gia, Part 1

No-stall-gia, Part 1

Note: For the holidays, I will be going through remakes and ports I have played. If you missed the post, you can find it here. Enjoy!

One of my first forays into ports was the DS version of Super Mario 64. As you may know, I talked about how spent most of my early elementary years watching my mom and sister play this game out of sheer fear of technology (also which you can read about here. Lots of plugging today.). But while I knew what the themes of the worlds like the back of my hand, I knew the gameplay and star locations more like the back of my head. So when it came out while I was in high school, I picked it up with that year’s Christmas money for my then-small DS library.

Now considering this was the mid-2000s, HD remakes weren’t prevalent—or possibly existent at all—so this was a port, playing off of nostalgia. To me it was fascinating to be able to finally play a game that was so much a part of my childhood in a less terrifying way where I wasn’t relegated to my bedroom upstairs or the cold basement. Because of this, I didn’t mind it was the exact same game I still owned; my family’s N64 is still alive even today. I think it was meant to be an example of the power of the DS. While I know nothing about it, it seems like it wanted show off how it could now play games you needed a regular console for only ten years ago. And it worked, and it didn’t.

There is a good and bad side to replaying a game you played as a kid. You can see how you’ve evolved and how you haven’t. Worse you can see if the game is actually good or not. As you already know, this game is good. It’s was one of the best of its time, spawned an entire new series of Mario games, and is still a great 3D platformer even today. Fun fact though: if you watch someone play a game enough, you remember more than you expect.

Every time I entered a world, I expected it to be one I didn’t remember entirely, but I could beeline through the level time and time again to get each star. Even more embarrassing, I still got scared and stuck at the same parts. That serpent in the shipwreck? Hell no. Get me out of this water before I drown. Can I sue Nintendo for continued emotional damages?

Also the game’s camera made me nauseous. Seeing the quick movements concentrated on a small screen (Seriously small. This was the original DS.) was rough on the eyes. I know it was revolutionary for the time, so the controls let you, i.e. force you, to look everywhere. This involves sweeping camera movements that made my eyes and stomach cross.

Long story short, I eventually sold it to Gamestop a couple of years later.

It would be years until I realized another issue I had with this game. It is hard for me to replay certain games. What it takes is a goal, and that for me is the US release of Japanese-exclusive content. This tactic is the perfect time-suck.

But more on that next time. Stay tuned.

No-stall-gia, Part 1: Super Mario 64

No-stall-gia, Part 1: Super Mario 64

Note: For the holidays, I will be going through remakes and ports I have played. If you missed the post, you can find it here. Enjoy!

One of my first forays into ports was the DS version of Super Mario 64. As you may know, I talked about how spent most of my early elementary years watching my mom and sister play this game out of sheer fear of technology (also which you can read about here. Lots of plugging today.). But while I knew what the themes of the worlds like the back of my hand, I knew the gameplay and star locations more like the back of my head. So when it came out while I was in high school, I picked it up with that year’s Christmas money for my then-small DS library.

Now considering this was the mid-2000s, HD remakes weren’t prevalent—or possibly existent at all—so this was a port, playing off of nostalgia. To me it was fascinating to be able to finally play a game that was so much a part of my childhood in a less terrifying way where I wasn’t relegated to my bedroom upstairs or the cold basement. Because of this, I didn’t mind it was the exact same game I still owned; my family’s N64 is still alive even today. I think it was meant to be an example of the power of the DS. While I know nothing about it, it seems like it wanted show off how it could now play games you needed a regular console for only ten years ago. And it worked, and it didn’t.

There is a good and bad side to replaying a game you played as a kid. You can see how you’ve evolved and how you haven’t. Worse you can see if the game is actually good or not. As you already know, this game is good. It’s was one of the best of its time, spawned an entire new series of Mario games, and is still a great 3D platformer even today. Fun fact though: if you watch someone play a game enough, you remember more than you expect.

Every time I entered a world, I expected it to be one I didn’t remember entirely, but I could beeline through the level time and time again to get each star. Even more embarrassing, I still got scared and stuck at the same parts. That serpent in the shipwreck? Hell no. Get me out of this water before I drown. Can I sue Nintendo for continued emotional damages?

Also the game’s camera made me nauseous. Seeing the quick movements concentrated on a small screen (Seriously small. This was the original DS.) was rough on the eyes. I know it was revolutionary for the time, so the controls let you, i.e. force you, to look everywhere. This involves sweeping camera movements that made my eyes and stomach cross.

Long story short, I eventually sold it to Gamestop a couple of years later.

It would be years until I realized another issue I had with this game. It is hard for me to replay certain games. What it takes is a goal, and that for me is the US release of Japanese-exclusive content. This tactic is the perfect time-suck.

But more on that next time. Stay tuned.

Nostalgia for the Now: Pokemon Art Academy

Nostalgia for the Now: Pokemon Art Academy

I loved to draw growing up. I have an uncanny skill for copying animated pictures almost identically. When I wasn’t sketching replicas of coloring sheets, I was tracing characters out of Dr. Seuss books.

I also loved Pokemon. Before Harry Potter stole a decade of my life and thousands of collective hours, Pokemon was the imaginary world where I spent all of my time. Besides the trading cards, games, and TV show, a friend and I would play pretend. Of course we didn’t exactly do it right. Instead of being the trainers, we would pretend to be the Pokemon and battle each other. We willingly pretended to be an enslaved race of adorable creatures that occasionally self-destruct and breathe fire.

And guess what game recently came out that bring me back to both of these aspects of my childhood and is most likely not meant for my age group?

Pokemon Art Academy!

Stop laughing. Seriously, you, quit it.

My original Pokemon handbook was my favorite source of inspiration. I think I went through three separate ones because I would wear out my reference for the original 150. With my obsessive and detail-oriented personality, I’m surprised I never went through and made my own Pokedex with copied images and text entries. It actually sounds tempting for me to do it now.

But really, cut it out with the laughter.

This is a themed version of the Art Academy games which take advantage of the 3DS technology. In the past games (I got the newest one this summer when it was insanely discounted and I was sick and bored), you learn to use different paints, art styles, and techniques. There are little bits of art history squeezed in between detailed lessons. If it is your kind of game, it is well-executed. If it doesn’t sound interesting to you though, it won’t be. It does what it does well, but it doesn’t wrap up its content in a traditional gaming package.

The Pokemon-themed version translates to this model easily. I’ve only completed a few lessons, but it does a good job of explaining what the different tools you use are for and even include little tidbits of trivia about the Pokemon themselves. After finishing all of the Starter lessons and one of the Novice lessons, I have only used the outline pen and markers. The Zoom function is really helpful for drawing details, but I’m definitely glad I have the XL version. Between this and the Professor Layton games, I am glad to have a bigger working space for the touch screen.

Once you’re done, your drawing gets transposed onto a personalized Pokemon card instead of just saving your drawing.

Despite this game being an obvious piece of fan service, I’m adoring it. Like I said, if it doesn’t sound fun, it probably won’t be, but it’s worth at least a try if you can get your hands on a friend’s copy. Sadly Nintendo didn’t put out a demo for this title even though releasing a free lesson would be the perfect gateway drug. One successful drawing after never being able to create anything artistic before, and you’d be sold.

My main issue is that when drawing, I prefer sketching. I have a shaky hand and like creating a loose figure and then outlining the parts I like. Here when outlining, I trace the image already created for me. This is obviously meant to make sure that the starter and novice lessons are just that. I’m wondering though if my drawings will look better once I can start free-handing. We shall see.

Hopefully you could see this through your tears from giggling too much.

Nostalgia for the Now

Nostalgia for the Now

I loved to draw growing up. I have an uncanny skill for copying animated pictures almost identically. When I wasn’t sketching replicas of coloring sheets, I was tracing characters out of Dr. Seuss books.

I also loved Pokemon. Before Harry Potter stole a decade of my life and thousands of collective hours, Pokemon was the imaginary world where I spent all of my time. Besides the trading cards, games, and TV show, a friend and I would play pretend. Of course we didn’t exactly do it right. Instead of being the trainers, we would pretend to be the Pokemon and battle each other. We willingly pretended to be an enslaved race of adorable creatures that occasionally self-destruct and breathe fire.

And guess what game recently came out that bring me back to both of these aspects of my childhood and is most likely not meant for my age group?

Pokemon Art Academy!

Stop laughing. Seriously, you, quit it.

My original Pokemon handbook was my favorite source of inspiration. I think I went through three separate ones because I would wear out my reference for the original 150. With my obsessive and detail-oriented personality, I’m surprised I never went through and made my own Pokedex with copied images and text entries. It actually sounds tempting for me to do it now.

But really, cut it out with the laughter.

This is a themed version of the Art Academy games which take advantage of the 3DS technology. In the past games (I got the newest one this summer when it was insanely discounted and I was sick and bored), you learn to use different paints, art styles, and techniques. There are little bits of art history squeezed in between detailed lessons. If it is your kind of game, it is well-executed. If it doesn’t sound interesting to you though, it won’t be. It does what it does well, but it doesn’t wrap up its content in a traditional gaming package.

The Pokemon-themed version translates to this model easily. I’ve only completed a few lessons, but it does a good job of explaining what the different tools you use are for and even include little tidbits of trivia about the Pokemon themselves. After finishing all of the Starter lessons and one of the Novice lessons, I have only used the outline pen and markers. The Zoom function is really helpful for drawing details, but I’m definitely glad I have the XL version. Between this and the Professor Layton games, I am glad to have a bigger working space for the touch screen.

Once you’re done, your drawing gets transposed onto a personalized Pokemon card instead of just saving your drawing.

Despite this game being an obvious piece of fan service, I’m adoring it. Like I said, if it doesn’t sound fun, it probably won’t be, but it’s worth at least a try if you can get your hands on a friend’s copy. Sadly Nintendo didn’t put out a demo for this title even though releasing a free lesson would be the perfect gateway drug. One successful drawing after never being able to create anything artistic before, and you’d be sold.

My main issue is that when drawing, I prefer sketching. I have a shaky hand and like creating a loose figure and then outlining the parts I like. Here when outlining, I trace the image already created for me. This is obviously meant to make sure that the starter and novice lessons are just that. I’m wondering though if my drawings will look better once I can start free-handing. We shall see.

Hopefully you could see this through your tears from giggling too much.