I'm grateful to Jeremy Parish for the years I was a freelance contributor to the late, great 1UP, but nevertheless, I worry a little that it's made my writing style a bit too... formal. Back in the day, I was better known for stream of consciousness pieces that reflected my mood without any greater purpose... so let's revisit that golden age, shall we? Here now are some random thoughts that have been bouncing around my head as of late.
|"Golden Sun! Golden Sun!" Er, sorry.|
• Around this time last year I was bitten by the Game Boy Advance collecting bug, and hard. I must have tripled my collection until the obsession burned itself out after I bought a Vita in May. Guess what's come back with a vengeance? I recently purchased a handful of GBA games from a seller on Cheap Ass Gamer, who was eager to unload his stock. By the end of the week F-Zero GP, Golden Sun, Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls, Advance Wars 2, and Sim City 2000 will be taking up residence inside my already bulging Tupperware case full of Advance cartridges. I also have the first Super Mario Advance coming from a seller on eBay, which will finish my collection of that series. Hooray for the hoarding instinct!
|JESS casts METEOR on DORKS!|
• By the way, I've grown somewhat disillusioned with the Final Fantasy series after playing the sixth one on my Vita. You know, Final Fantasy VI, the crown jewel in the long-running series and the last game before the switch to polygonal characters and constant cut scenes? The game as it's presented on PSN suffers from insane load times before and after battles (five freaking seconds. Believe me, I've counted), but what I find most hard to swallow is the stiff, primitive combat. Tiny characters shuffle to the middle of the screen, swing their weapons, and shuffle back in a laughably 8-bit show of force. Cast "confuse" on a pack of wolves and their sprites awkwardly shift back and forth until settling on the opposite direction. Yes, the artwork for all the enemies is gorgeous, and the magic spells can only be described as psychedelic (cast Bio, turn on a black light, and fire up a doob), but I still can't help but get the feeling that I'm locked in a battle to the death with cardboard standees. Even Sega managed better with the fights in Shining Force and its sequel... they're still primitive by today's standards, but at least it looks like they TRIED.
|The PSP-3000 is indeed sweet, but|
I still want to punch this annoying
SOB in the jewels.
• I've been so happy with my own PSP-3000 that I've been meaning to spread the love to other gamers. I finally got that chance, picking up a cheap unit on eBay for The Gay Gamer's Bryan Ochalla. By the way, it's not just because I was feeling generous, or because it seems like he's the only guy who reads this blog. I was hoping to diversify the content on his own page, which leans a little too hard on Nintendo's systems for my taste. Man cannot live on Mario alone, after all! It probably would have been cheaper for me to read more than the same three blogs day after day, but feh, whatever.
Right now, I'm sweating bullets wondering (and worrying) if the system will reach its destination in one piece. The seller was an eBay newcomer, and his communication has been quick but distressingly terse. The fact that he was unwilling to insure the package or even offer tracking makes me even more nervous. On the plus side, he left his phone number in the auction listing, so I can always give him a friendly reminder (and another reminder, and another...) if there are any delays. Cross your fingers and toes for Bryan and me, folks.
|This almost makes up for the hours of zero progress I|
made in Falcom's other game Legacy of the Wizard.
• If you missed The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky in a recent PSN sale, well, sucks to be you! I'm already eight hours into this one and it's proved more entertaining than the dozen other RPGs I bought in the past month. (When the hell am I gonna spend any serious time with these? Oh well, to the backlog you go!) It feels more like Grandia III than the official sequel by Square-Enix,with whimsical characters and a similar (although not entirely identical) combat system. The members of your party actually battle their opponents face to face! Now THAT'S entertainment! It takes time to wrap your head around the magic system, and the rendered sprites drain some of the personality out of the experience, but Trails in the Sky is nevertheless the most fun I've had with an adventure game since December's love affair with Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. It's a pity American gamers never got the last two chapters of the trilogy.
|Well, it's true.|
• I wasn't on board with Miiverse at first, but now I recognize the brilliance of this social network designed exclusively for Nintendo customers. Gamers can not only post their thoughts on the games they're playing and offer screenshots of their accomplishments, but draw monochrome pictures as well, which often prove more expressive than you might expect. To my relief, Nintendo has been surprisingly lax on content... out of the 125 comments and images I've posted, including several critical of Nintendo and the upcoming New 3DS XL, the Miiverse admins have flagged just one. (Evidently posting Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on the page for Natsume's unfortunately titled S.C.A.T. is a no-no. Hey, I didn't name it!) I'm not sure if Miiverse will be an option in the next generation of Nintendo consoles, but if the feature is dropped in the future, it will be sorely missed.
|A small fraction of what's available|
to Club Nintendo members during
the promotion's final hours.
• Ooh, ooh! This one's important! Club Nintendo is going out with a bang, offering a hundred different downloadable games that can be purchased with Nintendo coins. These include everything from Super NES and Game Boy Advance classics to retail releases for both the 3DS and Wii U, everyone's favorite quasi-portable game console. You'll need a lot of coins to purchase Star Fox 3D or Paper Mario Sticker Star, but the option is nevertheless available. (Don't waste your coins on Sticker Star, by the way... you deserve better.) You've got until June to cash in your chips... after that, the Club Nintendo promotion goes kaput, and your coins will vanish along with it. By the way, there's still a special prize in store for players who've reached Gold or Platinum status. Nobody knows what that will be yet, but if anyone from Nintendo is reading this, I'd be quite happy with Super Mario 3D Land as a parting gift...
(images culled from various online sources, unless I took the pictures myself.)