tl;dr

Here’s another (too) long post about a video game!

Etrian Odyssey 2

Remember when I was whining about not finding the map or knowing where to go or what to do and needing a walkthrough in Final Fantasy 1? Me too! The problem is, I now have to reconcile that with how hard I LOVE this other game I started playing. It pretty much takes everything I complained about in FFI and ramps it up times ten. Somehow this equals a winning formula for me (I almost said “equals win” but I caught myself).

Not knowing where to go in FFI bothered me? Well, in EO2 most of the game takes place in a dungeon that is basically a maze by design and as you go through it, you have to draw your own map (using the stylus, which is the first time I really felt like that thing was being used properly).

Not knowing what to do next to advance the story in FFI? EO2 has almost no story, and almost never tells you what to do next. But it feels like it’s supposed to be that way, as opposed to being a design flaw. You want to explore and map out more of the dungeon? Go ahead. Want to complete a quest? Do it.

On top of that, you create and control every aspect of your characters. You can create a guild of up to 30 people, taking up to 5 at a time in your party. You name them, choose their class, what they look like, and control every stat and skill increase as they level up. If you told me this a few weeks ago, I would have written it off as pointlessly tedious, but it really adds to the feeling of accomplishment as you advance through the game.

I think what I like most, is that battles are actually dangerous, and require some thought. In FFI the formula is pretty much attack attack attack during all the random encounters, then heal and use your powerful spells on the bosses. In EO2, your first time in the dungeon, a random battle actually poses a threat of wiping out your party. And don’t even think about taking on a boss until you actually get to the point where you CAN handle the random battles on that floor with nothing but basic attacks. Even then, the bosses are hard and most of your party will be taken out in order to take them down. I love that.

I guess what it boils down to is that it’s the same basic formula of exploring and getting stronger in order to explorer more and get even stronger, but this game somehow makes it fun and gives you a good feeling of accomplishment and control, instead of simply going through the motions to advance the story.

I do still enjoy FF though, and I’m still using the walkthrough. I enjoy hypocrisy. I bathe in it. We should discuss religion sometime. My hypocrisy readings are off the charts.

Yum

Justin: its like bacon actually changes the taste of coffee
Justin: into something even more fantastic
Kari: yes
Justin: thank you, bacon!
Kari: do you want to marry it?
Justin: yes, and have babies with it
Kari: they’d be strange babies
Kari: strange but delicious

James’ 30th Birthday Bash

Birthday Boy!

To celebrate James turning 30, we had an all day all night blowout.

Bill looks the part

It started with golf. I didn’t get any pictures of James golfing because he was with the group of golfers who are good at golf. I am not good at golf. I may have broken the record for highest score ever.

Whicka whicka scratch!

Next up was a party by the lake at the park. Cornhole sounds dirty but it’s actually a fun game involving holes and bags of corn. DJ Removeable Face rocked the house until almighty Thor became angered and threatened a downpour of epic proportions. Turned out to just be wind. It never did rain. Because I willed it not to.

Professional campers

The day ended at the campsite. It was relaxing except for the couple nearby who’s favorite activity was to yell at each other and their kid.

Good times!

I also have never seen The Godfather

So it’s been this long, and I still haven’t read Watchmen. It’s even sitting on my shelf because I borrowed it from Bill forever ago. Now that the movie is coming out, I’m thinking I should just keep waiting, and read it after I see the movie.

Normally I would always make sure I have the book read before I see the movie, but as I learned from my recent run through the Harry Potter series, that usually ends up with me getting angry with the movie and plotting to murder the director and his family.

I have a hard time accepting each item on its own merits, so I will probably keep putting off the supposedly awesome read and the boost to my comic book fan credibility, and let the movie stand on its own.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I TOLD THIS TO THE INTERNET.

July is a busy month

I am sending out 10 pounds of happy birthday wishes to James. Can he feel it? Like a heavy book in his lap? I hope so!

He turns 30 today. He’s a grown-up now so to celebrate we are going to play golf. But to stay hip with the young kids we’re also going to party and then sleep in the woods. He’s even going to see The Dark Knight again and I happen to know he owns several thousand dollars worth of baseball cards. This guy is so young at heart his heart isn’t even born yet.

I suck at most games but also like them a lot

So I’m playing Final Fantasy I (thanks to the GBA re-release and the DS’s ability to play GBA carts), and I realize it is extremely difficult. How did people play through this when they were 8 years old? Without Gamefaqs?!

My first experiences with Final Fantasy were 7 and 8. Both of which are basically interactive movies with a linear path that guides you along every step of the way. I also recently played through the FF III remake on the DS, and even that pretty much let you know what to do and where to go every step of the way. But the very first one? Many times I felt like I was expected to just wander aimlessly until I stumbled upon a town or a cave that would open up the path to further the story. Even when there was a hint about where to go next, it was extremely vague. Plus, I had no idea how to pull up a map or even if there was one. PLUS while you’re wandering you get sucked into random encounters every 2 seconds and become completely disoriented. Or dead. I gave up.

I almost traded it in, but I’m glad I didn’t, because on a whim I pulled up a walkthrough and started playing through using that. I’m loving it now. Oh, you hold B and hit select to pull up the world map! Why didn’t I think of that? I always know where to go now, where the treasure is, the best strategy to beat the bosses, and… it’s fun. It doesn’t seem like it should be fun having someone hold your hand the entire time, but it is. What does that make me? Where was I going with this? Why am I writing this instead of getting real work done? Should I even post this? No, I should not.

The Manhunt

In the middle of the night last night, we awoke to the sound of a helicopter flying back and forth over our house. It was shining a spotlight in our yard, our field, and the woods around our property. A call to the sheriff’s department revealed they were looking for someone in our immediate area, and to notify them if we notice any “suspicious activity” around our residence.

Now, this is probably about 3am. We live pretty much in the middle of the woods with no visible neighbors. We were freaked out. I almost smashed through the front window clutching a fire poker ready to defend my family when I heard a noise that turned out to be an opossum eating the food we set out for some stray cats.

Luckily they found the guy a couple hours later, but those were some tense couple of hours. At least Nathan let us sleep for about 30 minutes before deciding it was time to wake up again.