Temporary Hiatus

Hey all, It’s with great sadness that I must inform you all that I wont be able to write any posts for this blog for a while. My Mac Pro is giving up the ghost after nearly 9 years of use, it freezes constantly and I haven’t been able to fix it thus far. I’ll keep trying of course, but I’ll also be trying to build a completely new computer for myself. Hopefully it will be by the end of March, but it might be a bit into April before I can resume writing these daily blog posts. I’ll try to keep writing some book reviews with my old iPad, but it would be a very frustrating to try to write daily blog posts on that, and the quality wouldn’t meet my standards so I won’t attempt to do so.

If you have want to see some writing in the mean time, my game and book reviews on gameindustry.com will be going up still, I have a few in the queue and they should be going up in the next few weeks. The book reviews will only be for print and ebooks however as I can’t load any audiobooks without my computer functioning properly.

So until I get back to writing the daily blog posts I ask for your forgiveness and I hope to have you all come back in the near future to continue enjoy my columns. Thanks for your understanding!

Sensate Saturday: Emotions and Stories


This week for Sensate Saturday I’m covering a topic I’ve been pondering for a long time. It’s all about Emotions and Stories.

What do I mean Emotions and Stories: Well it’s the personal belief that I hold that any story that can make me feel something intense* is a good story. Longtime readers will know that I don’t use a scoring system unless I’m required to do so like on my Game Reviews for GiN. Even then, I still prefer not to make them, and I often forget that I need to add them. My editor has often had to remind me to include my scores in the review. I don’t generally give something my time unless I view it as a decent story, or I’m trying something out. I’ll be blunt if I feel it’s lacking, and sometimes brutally so, but I don’t think any story is particularly bad even if it has parts I don’t like because they make me feel sorrowful. Mistborn is one of my favorite series of all time, but I can’t stand reading or listening to the books past a certain point because it just makes me too sad knowing the outcome of the story.

Alright so that’s great and all, but so what?: Well it’s why I write the way I do, I won’t take away the feeling that a story can evoke in you as a consumer by spoiling something. It’s also why after reading a good story I always feel very slightly differently afterwards. A character might be incredibly brutal, but does so in order to protect his friends and family, a thought that until I read a story where the main character is just such a character I would’ve felt would be inherently wrong or evil. But after reading that story I was able to understand somethings about why we as Humans sometimes act the way we do. Not every story is able to make such a clear “lesson” for me, but I know I’m influenced heavily by all stories I consume. A story where a character I have known throughout the entire story suddenly and unexpectedly dying might hit me pretty hard emotionally and I might be out of it for a few hours afterwards.

Personally I don’t know if other people get so emotionally invested and feel such intense feelings like I do, but for me it’s a side effect of being such a story fanatic and lover. I’ve always preferred a good story to the point that I used sit around the elders when I was visiting my Father and going to a friend of his, someone I might have met once in passing, for a meal. Even when I was much younger I would sit around the table to listen to stories rather than go play with any kids around my age. For me a story was much more interesting than any sort of playtime I could’ve had with fellow kids. Was it mentally healthy for me to grow up like that?  I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist. I just consume stories and write about my thoughts about those stories.

That’s it for this week’s Sensate Saturday! Thanks for reading my ramble, I promise to get back to a more routine topic next week! Any comments or thoughts are definitely welcome below!

1: My only exception to the rule is disgust in the story as a whole, not any particular part. Twilight is such an exception and for many, many reasons.

Retro Game Friday: Golden Sun


This week on Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game I can’t believe I waited this long to cover. It’s Golden Sun!

Plot Synopsis: The prevalent force of Alchemy in Weyard’s ancient past enabled the development of great civilizations. However, this thriving period eventually gave way to worldwide conflict that subsided only with the sealing away of Alchemy. The keys to unlocking Alchemy, the four Elemental Stars which hold the pure power of the four elements, are hidden within the mountain shrine, Mt. Aleph, which in turn is guarded by the town of Vale at the mountain’s base. In the game’s prologue, Saturos and Menardi, with help from a raiding party, storm Mt. Aleph with the intention to seize the Elemental Stars for themselves. They fail to solve the riddles guarding the stars and are driven away by the mountain’s trap, a magically generated thunderstorm and rock slide.

Plot: The plot of the game is amazing, especially considering that the gameplay is equally as amazing. This is one of the best JRPG’s you can play in terms of story.

Characters: The characters in this game are great, my personal favorite is Ivan, just because he’s associated with the wind. The rest of the cast is amazing though, and I loved every character.

Gameplay: The gameplay is quite fun, and it’s a new take on the standard traditional JRPG archetype of battling with a party of 4. In addition to that the magic system, the Djinn system, is quite interesting and fun.

Art: The art is definitely dated, but at the time it looked pretty freaking good for a portable game.

Music: One of the very few games I listened to the music to as a portable game, the music is just as good as everything else.

Overall: If you haven’t played this game, go find a copy somewhere and play it. It is well worth your time.

For those who like: RPGs, Great Plots, Amazing Gameplay, Excellent Cast of Characters, Fantastic Music.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but how can you hate all of that?

Retro Game Friday: Phantasy Star Universe


This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the “sequel” to Phantasy Star Online. It’s Phantasy Star Universe!

Plot Synopsis: At the start of the game, Ethan Waber, the main character, and his little sister, Lumia Waber, are at the celebration of the 100th year anniversary of the Alliance Space Fleet on the GUARDIANS Space station. The celebration is interrupted when a mysterious meteor shower almost destroys the entire fleet. During evacuation, Ethan and Lumia split off of the main evacuation route and collapsing rubble separates Lumia from Ethan.

Plot: The plot isn’t that great, in fact it’s terrible compared to most other RPGs. Ethan wasn’t that likeable a character and the rest of the cast was only so so.

Gameplay: The gameplay is just like Phantasy Star Online, with a few additions like the ability to dual wield a sword and gun. This was probably the only reason I even borrowed the game from my friend, because I remembered the good times I had with PSO and wanted to see if this was at all like it. It was, but it also wasn’t that great after having played a real MMO on a computer.

Art: The art was pretty much just like an updated version of PSO. There is nothing wrong with that however and the game looked nice.

Music: The music for the game wasn’t as good as PSO, which is a shame because the opening themes for PSO episodes 1 and 2 were amazing.

Overall: Skip this game, unless you had a case of nostalgia like me.

For those who like: Phantasy Star Online, Dead MMOs.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above, or a medicore plot and cast.

P.S. Sega hurry up and freaking release PSO 2 here in the west please.

Retro Game Friday: Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin


This week I’m covering Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. It’s my favorite DS Castlevania game.

Plot Synopsis: The story occurs in Dracula’s castle and is set in 1944 Europe during World War II. In addition to the castle, the main characters explore various different paintings that have been constructed by Brauner, a villain. The paintings act as portals to new areas and feature a distinct look that is different from the main castle.

Plot: The plot is decent, not amazing though.

Gameplay: The gameplay is however really good, I enjoy the partner system immensely.

Music: The music is amazing, although not quite as good as Symphony of the Night.

Art: Since it’s based off Symphony of the Night it’s great, but expect model recycling except for some new characters and Death and Drac getting a new model.

Overall: If you like Metroidvania games play this one.

For those who like: Exploration, Action, Adventure, Castlevania, Metroid.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.