Thursday, July 31, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: The Finale

I had never played this far into the game without cheating before, so when the time came to finally finish the game I decided to stream it via Fangamer's Twitch channel. I started off by beating the Emerald and Ruby Weapons to show how it's done, then proceeded to tackle the Northern Crater and defeat Sephiroth once and for all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: The Assault on Midgar

Once the party learns that Holy has been summoned and that Sephiroth is just standing in its way, the path is clear: get to Sephiroth and stop him. Unfortunately, there's a barrier in the way, but Shinra has a plan for that problem.

Final Fantasy 7: Wrapping up Loose Ends

With Cloud back in the party the group stops talking about how weird Cloud is quite so much. There's just a few tasks left to do before heading toward Sephiroth.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Psychiatrist Planet

I think I'm going to just keep posting these FF7 blog posts until I get it out of my system. If these aren't your bag, come back next week and I should be done.

Anyway, here we go: the emotional climax of the game.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Not a Cloud in the Sky

Whoops, I got distracted talking about Weapons in the last FF7 post. Speaking of which, what exactly was the Mako Cannon for before the Weapons came along? It didn't seem terribly practical for any other engagement. Couldn't they have maybe shot down the escaping airship, maybe? Also, when Tifa and Scarlet get into a slap fight on top of the Mako Cannon, wouldn't the barrel have been incredibly hot after having fired twice? And why is Tifa slapping Scarlet in the first place--isn't she a badass martial artist? Kick that awful woman in the gut!

Anyway, so Cloud's missing, but you've got an airship. Let the search begin!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Meteor and Weapons

As Cloud finally breaks down we get to see the Shinra honchos arrive at the crater, commenting on the things they see. Rather than being the ruthless people we've experienced thus far, though, they seem genuinely amazed and concerned. Rufus actually worries about the state of the planet, and it almost seems like he's on the verge of becoming an ally. And, to some degree, he does: when Cloud gives Sephiroth the Black Materia, the whole place starts falling apart. The only reason the rest of the party makes it out of the crater alive is because Rufus pushes them all onto his airship. It doesn't take long for Shinra to seem evil again, though.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Game Review: Costume Quest

Today I played Costume Quest from start to finish. Costume Quest is a game from Double Fine, an RPG about kids on Halloween running around a neighborhood, collecting candy, and trying to save a sibling from the forces of evil.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Dance, Puppet, Dance

After the death of Aeris and the fight with Jenova - Life you receive the only words Jenova ever speaks directly: "Beacause, you are......a puppet." (sic) This is after Sephiroth really hammers Cloud with some heavy existential remarks, like "Oh, so you have emotions now?" and other lines that clearly question Cloud's humanity. Yet though the player has every reason to doubt Cloud's sanity (given his odd episodes since the beginning of the game) and his control over his own mind (given his two recent awful Will Saves (and one good one) against Domination), we have no reason to really believe he's purely a puppet. Yet Jenova's claim injects the seed of doubt into ourselves as well as our hero. It's kind of like playing FF4 with Kain as the main character instead of Cecil.

Choices in Games

Today's episode of Extra Credits got me thinking about games in which choices are a primary part of the experience. As they explain in the episode, choices are situations in which you are knowingly weighing your options, with no clear right or wrong answer.

An excellent example they gave in a previous episode was the part in Mass Effect 2, in which you have to decide to either destroy all of the enemy Geth or reprogram them to be friendly. It's a massive choice: to destroy them while letting them retain their free will or to strip them of their free will and let them live.

There are very few games I've played with choices like that, or major choices at all for that matter. I'll try to talk about any worth mentioning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: The Forgotten Capitol

I've always referred to it as the City of the Ancients, though apparently it's actually called the Forgotten Capitol. That makes more sense, since the Ancients were a nomadic people, so a city wouldn't make much sense for them. Even so, apparently the Cetra once lived there. Regardless, the place is remarkably well-preserved.

How to Be Likable, Part 2 of 2

In my last post I started talking about some general advice I have for people who are interested in being likable. I talked about the trust earned from being perceived as a hard worker, the perils of complaining, not making people feel bad, and how gossip is a minefield. Today I'm going to conclude this two-part blog post by talking about things like being generally pleasant, self-deprecation, and more, including a secret weapon when all else fails.

Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Be Likable, Part 1 of 2

Somehow or another I seem to be a well-liked person. Or, at least, that's the impression I get. Through a bit of self-examination I've compiled a list of traits that seem to have helped me in this regard. It certainly doesn't help in every situation (I know a few people who don't like me for whatever reason), but I'm going to assume that for the most part the things people don't like about me are traits I have beyond the ones I'm mentioning here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: The Temple of the Ancients

Once you've got the Tiny Bronco, it kinda feels like the whole world is open to you. You can finally travel around fairly quickly to pretty much every place you've been to before, plus a few new places.

After traveling around a bit and talking to people (or simply by finding the place) you learn of the Temple of the Ancients and how it supposedly houses the Black Materia Sephiroth has been searching for.

Drifty Days

Every so often my mind seems to take a day or two off, seemingly unable to concentrate on anything for very long. I'm kind of experiencing that sensation right now, so I'm going to analyze it a bit.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Final Fantasy VII: Wutai

How difficult is it, really, to get Yuffie in the party? I seem to recall once spending hours running around in a forest trying to encounter her, yet most of the time I remember seeing her basically the first time I get into a fight in a forest on the world map.

Wutai would be a pretty pointless town without her.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Is there any way to have close friends without someone else feeling left out? I don't think about it much in regards to myself. I'm much more likely to notice it in other people. However, if I'm going to discuss the subject I have to approach it from in introspective point of view first.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Movie Review #25: Cabin in the Woods

I had heard good things about Cabin in the Woods and wanted to watch it for a long time, but I've always had problems with horror movies. Even horror movies that aren't terribly horrifying, I'm still probably just not going to like it. Silence of the Lambs was an exception.

My one requirement was to have someone to watch it with me, so I got Laura to watch "just the first few minutes" with me, which naturally turned into watching the whole thing. Short review: this movie is bonkers; strange in many ways, but mostly in good, unexpected ways. If you've never seen it, watch "the first few minutes" and see if you can stop. More than likely, you'll get dragged in by the premise.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Rocket Town

I believe the town is actually called Shinra No. 26, but I think I've always just referred to it as Rocket Town. Like many towns, there's two distinct experiences there: a disc 1 experience, and a disc 2 experience. I might as well go through them both.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Old Friends

This week an old friend of mine is visiting me. He'll be hanging out, sleeping on my couch, and getting a glimpse of my life here in Tucson. It makes me wonder about the separation between my friends from home and my friends here, and the difference between who I was when I made those friends and who I am now.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

FInal Fantasy 7: Gongaga

Even more back-peddling! I skipped over one of the most low-key, overlooked locations in the game, mostly because it's full of 100% foreshadowing: Gongaga.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Cosmo Canyon

I think I skipped right over Cosmo Canyon in my discussions, though I guess I've been doing pretty bad at staying in Chronological order. Hey, have you ever noticed how you start off on the first continent at Midgar and leave from Junon, yet the two cities are basically right next to each other? Same thing for Costa Del Sol and Rocket Town. You pretty much just tour each continent, walking in a huge circle around their mountainous cores.

Anyway, Cosmo Canyon is at about the half-way mark in your circuit around the second continent.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Today I spent some time reading through a contract. I can't and won't go into the details about it, but suffice to say that contract negotiations are never very fun.

Movie Review #24: The Fifth Element

Geez, I really gotta stop waiting to review movies a week after I've seen them. Things start get a little muddy. The best time to review a movie is the day after viewing it; when it's still fresh in your mind, but the emotional high of having just seen it has worn off.

Anyway, I watched The Fifth Element for the first time. Short version: it's a fun, fast-paced, funny sci-fi movie that you'll probably enjoy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 8: Riding Through the Desert in a Car with No Name

The final day.

Final Fantasy 7: Shinra

I mentioned before that the true villain of Final Fantasy 7, at least for disc 1, was really the Shinra Corporation. Yet, after escaping Midgar their presence in the game changes dramatically. We have a lot to talk about.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 7: The Best Preserved Meteor Crater

Some people look down on the idea of doing "touristy" things, and it's probably true that many attractions out there are a waste of your time and money. However, I've had a pretty good track record with tourist attractions, with the House on the Rock being one of the most spectacular examples. Have I written about that experience before? I should do that sometime, even though I haven't been there in a year.

Anyway, Meteor Crater is a tourist spot, through and through. That said, it was an ideal place to bring a group of EarthBound fans.

Final fantasy 7: Nibelheim Part 2 - Zack, Vincent, Jenovaroth

Continuing my exploration of Nibelheim! This time I'm talking about Zack and Cloud's escape, the tragic story of Vincent Valentine, and why we bother going to Nibelheim in the first place.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 6: Ruins and Reids

By the sixth day, as the convention organizer I was pretty much out of ideas. Luckily, Laura came to the rescue with the plan to go check out some ancient Indian ruins nearby.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Final Fantasy 7: Nibelheim Part 1 - Rebuilding and Sephiroth's Conception

My notes on Final Fantasy 7 are piling up faster than I can write them out. There's a lot more here to talk about than I remembered.

This time I want to talk about Nibelheim in the present day.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 5: Cajun Food

After four straight days of travel and activities, it was high time for a day off. My intentions for that day were to stay at the house all day, coerce people into testing out my game, and maybe just hang out with people.

In essence, I wanted a day of vacation. However, even a slow day at a Starmen.Net convention will contain fun and surprises.

Friday, July 4, 2014

America Day

I've written about my feelings toward the United States before, but I figure I should talk about it more given the holiday. Besides, if I'm going to run for president some day it's probably good to have a clear opinion about the country I'm gunnin' for runnin'.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 4: Sedona

Some places are simply magical. There's something about it; a feeling in the air, a view, the faint odor of something greater than yourself that inhabits a place lets you know that this place is one of the magical places in the world, and words simply can't capture it.

So, naturally you label these places "vortexes" (or "vortices," if you're a smart ass) and set up shop as a mystic nearby so you can profit off of nature's wonders.

Welcome to Sedona!

Movie Review #23: Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

While in Flagstaff, someone decided to put on Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. For context, I've never really had much interest in Tim and Eric. At some point, I actively disliked them, considering Awesome Show, Great Job! to be utterly stupid, and there was certainly some other folks at the convention who felt the same.

That said, the movie was actually enjoyable to me. If you can recognize that Tim and Eric are actually a couple of bright, funny guys who are clearly having a good time creating a movie on a low budget, you might actually enjoy it as well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 3: The Grand Canyon

Naturally, we had to visit the Grand Canyon while we were in Flagstaff. When one of the most fantastic sights in the world is just two hours away, it would really be a shame not to see it.

The fact that this was my second time there did nothing to diminish its grandeur.

Air Conditioner

Having a faulty air conditioner is basically the worst thing you can have living in Tucson.

Actually, that's true of Louisiana as well. I've never lived in a place where a lack of air conditioner would ever be bearable in the summer or, really, any time other than winter.

Oddly, I've been living with a faulty air conditioner in my car for the past several years.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flagstaff Con Day 2: The City of Flagstaff

For the first real day of the con, I figured it would be a good idea to actually explore the town itself. At an elevation of over 7,000 ft, it's actually cool enough there to spend time outside.

Final Fantasy 7: Leaving Midgar and Sephiroth, Professional MacGuffin

When you finally leave Midgar, you finally reach the world map. Up to now, the story has been focused on Shinra and their use of Mako. The story has been subtly hinting at something else going on via Cloud's visions, headaches, and, of course, the murder of President Shinra, but the main villain still seems to be the mega-conglomerate. In fact, it even seems like you owe Sephiroth for your escape.

The story at Kalm shifts the game's focus entirely, adjusting not only the goal of the game but the feel of it as well.