Monday, June 30, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 1: Travel

This year's Starmen.Net convention was planned by me, which pretty much just means that I found a place that can fit a couple dozen people, figured out how much it would cost to stay there for a week, then convinced people to send me money to cover that amount.

This year it was in Flagstaff, Arizona, a part of the state that looks very different than the rest of it: green, grassy hills, lots of trees, and temperatures below 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. After months of planning this convention for literally minutes each month, it was finally time to go check out this house we were staying at.

Home Run!

I haven't made any blog posts in over a week, mostly because I was out of town and busy, with little to no Internet available except via my phone. I was busy with many things--mostly the fact that I was in Flagstaff, seeing the sights of northern Arizona, but also spending a lot of time testing and building a game.

If you have a Windows PC, you can actually download and play the game right now, for free. I'm actually going to spend this blog talking about what it is and what I hope it can be.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Like Father, Like Son

Final Fantasy 7 has been a great source of reflection for me. I'm not a fan of nostalgia--if I'm replaying something these days, it's because I'm hoping to experience something new and to come to new realizations. FF7 has been doing that admirably.

Recently I has a conversation with Aeris in which she wonders idly what an Ancient is "supposed to be like." It was a basic nature versus nurture problem: how much of who we are is due to how we were raised, and how much is due to our genetics? Which led me to thinking about my dad and I.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


As I noted in the Final Fantasy 7 posts, I first played the game during my Gameshark phase which, really, was a part of a greater, more general cheating phase.

So, with that part of my life on my mind, I got to wondering about the differences between myself now and myself at the time--basically, why don't I like to cheat at games anymore?

Warped Tour

Today I went to Mesa, AZ to attend the Van's Warped Tour. I primarily went to see The Protomen, who have never been a part of something like that.

I'd never been to something like the Van's Warped Tour either. So, naturally, I now have a few thoughts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Choices and Cloud's Mental Disorder

Did I mention this was going to be a multi-blog series? It kind of has to be. There's a lot to talk about in this game, and curiously I'm not sure if this has all been said before.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Midgar, Noir, and Eco-Terrorism

Recently I started playing Final Fantasy 7 (PC version) to gather some reference images. After playing for a while, though, I remembered that I've never actually finished the game properly. I beat it many years ago... using a Gameshark, because I was in my cheating phase at the time.

I'd like to actually beat the game on my own, so I decided to keep going. Not only do I want to prove mastery over the mechanics and beat the WEAPONs, I also want to relive the story again to see how it holds up upon repeated viewings.

So, if the game is going to be taking up my time for a few weeks, I figure I should take notes as I go and blog my observations.

Movie Review #22: Spirited Away

I'm finally back to Miyazaki films. The next one I hadn't seen before was Spirited Away, which I'm only really familiar with due to a scene or two I once watched while in a hotel in Houston many years ago.

Short review: another beautiful film by Studio Ghibli, but this time with relatively few environmentalist themes. It's good, go watch it if you haven't.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

D&D Session #40: Tit for Tats

Whew! The past few weeks have seen one thing after another get in the way of having D&D sessions, but this week we pulled it together and continued our journey.

The party had followed the light of a star to a new land, oddly enough. The new land looked much like the place they'd left from, except for the huge city with the blinding, bright light beaming out of the top of it.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Current Car

I don't have much experience shopping for vehicles. My first car was a hand-me-down, and my second vehicle was purchased for me without my knowledge.

All of the experience I have with shopping for cars comes from my current vehicle.


My car is currently in the shop for repairs. There's nothing like having no car to remind you of how much we take that sort of mobility for granted.

I appreciate having a vehicle of my own more than most, I imagine, simply because I get motion sickness. I also really like being in control, though--a personality trait I try to keep in check to varying degrees of success. I've had access to cars since I first got my driver's license, almost immediately after turning 16.

I don't consider myself a car guy--I don't work on them, I don't have any brand loyalty, I have no interest in modifying my car, etc--but I believe each of my vehicles, past and present, have factored into my identity.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Game Review: Dragon Age 2

With the imminent arrival of Dragon Age: Inquisition and the fact that Laura has been playing it, I finally went back and played Dragon Age 2 again. I had played it a bit when it first came out, but for a number of reasons I don't recall I guess I just kinda put it aside and never returned.

Which is odd, because I generally like Bioware games. Or I did. I'm not sure how I feel about them anymore.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Superman Complex

If there's one thing I've learned in my years as a working man, it's that if you want something done right you've got to do it yourself. Simply put, nobody does things as well or as thoroughly as I do them.

Except that's not true at all, and arrogance like that is one of my least favorite personal faults.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Legend of the All-Goblet

This is the tale of the All-Goblet, a powerful artifact long since lost to the world. Perhaps some day a group of brave adventurers will find it. Many have tried, but to no avail: some adventurers seek the Goblet all their lives, only to give up in their old age. Others venture far and wide and are never seen again.

Here's what we know, according to legends:

Movie Review #21: The Silence of the Lambs

I remember going to the video store often as a kid. My family rented movies regularly. I would primarily gravitate toward the video game section, of course. However, I recall certain movie covers that would stand out to me, and which still stick in my brain even today.

One of those movie covers was for The Silence of the Lambs. It was often prominently displayed in the horror section, and the cover scared the crap out of me. As a result, I kind of avoided anything to do with the movie, and even when I finally actually watched the movie this week I still only had a fuzzy picture of what the movie was about, mostly based on pop culture references.

I'm honestly not a horror movie person. That said, I enjoyed The Silence of the Lambs very much. It was not at all what my 7-year-old self imagined it to be.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


As someone who plans to run for president some day, I've thought a lot about what it means to be a good leader. After much deliberation, I've settled on three primary qualities that an effective leader needs to have: charisma, authority, kindness, and efficiency.

Oh hey, that can be an acronym: CAKE. CAKE leaders are the best leaders. I'll explain what each part means.

The Spirit of Competition

Fangamer has several companies that we consider our competition. There are certainly no shortage of nerdy shirt outlets out there, and we actually know people from several of these companies personally.

Many of these people are very cool. Not all of them--there are certainly some scumbags out there--but I think most of the people in the video game merchandising industry are really awesome people.

Unfortunately, any attempt at friendship becomes awkward due to competition.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Dark Ages, Book 1: Chapter 4, Part 3

(Continued from Chapter 4, Part 2.)

“Was your day about town pleasant, Cyrus?”
Cyrus chewed and swallowed before he spoke. It was a wonder, thinking back to when Cyrus first started eating at the baron’s table. He used to be so… common, Reace supposed was the word. He would shovel food into his mouth and talk all the while, spraying food all about. Father was content to simply look disgusted and ignore it, but Mother would have none of it at her table. She spent an entire week instructing Cyrus on etiquette and manners, much to the stable boy’s horror. He ate with the grace of a nobleman now, though—at least while under Mother’s watchful eye.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Movie Review #20: Adventures in Babysitting

Oh dear, I seem to have fallen off the blog horse. I blame Mario Kart 8. Forgive me?

Anyway, the second movie I watched while Cap was here was Adventures in Babysitting, an early outing from Chris Columbus, the guy who directed, among other things, the first two Harry Potter movies, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Home Alone.

In short, it was a fun film: a surprising, often hilarious amount of adventure from an evening of babysitting. The movie has apparently achieved cult status, and I can see why.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Movie Review #19: Terrorvision

For the past couple of days my friend Cap Blackard of Nerdy Show has been hanging out at my place on his way to E3. We used his time here wisely: by watching movies.

Last night we watched Terrorvision, a movie Jeff discovered and has been itching to watch for a while.

Short review: It's a ridiculous movie you'd probably enjoy watching with friends. The premise is weird, the effects are impressively awful, and everybody overacts so much it's just fun to make fun of the movie.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What is Talent?

I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea of talent.

I have my suspicions on what it might be, but I'm still not sure about it. I've observed what I consider talent, though, so I guess the secret lies in there somewhere.

Becoming a Game Designer

When I was a kid, I was determined to become a game designer.

Actually, when I was a kid I was determined to become a paleontologist, because that's the people who study dinosaurs.

Actually, I'm pretty sure I just straight-up wanted to become a dinosaur when I was a kid.

Anyway, around the time I had the capacity to understand careers, I decided I wanted to make video games for a living. I never thought it would actually happen, and it still might not. But still, it feels less like a pipe dream than it did 15 years ago, or even two years ago.