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Messages - Dincrest

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General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: Yesterday at 09:39:41 AM »
Cutest girl this Olympics is Esmee Visser. She was a true underdog (well, relatively speaking anyway), couldn't believe she qualified for the games in the first place and is probably still surprised she won a gold medal. And how she's both modest and so incredibly genuinely happy about her victory is adorable.

I feel the same about Ester Ledecka of Czech Republic after she won gold in super G.  She was in such utter disbelief, even standing on the podium, it was adorable.  And what put her over the top was when she did a news conference in her ski goggles after her upset win saying that she didn't even expect to be at the ceremony and hadn't even put on makeup.  She's primarily a snowboarder, so she definitely seems to have that more proverbial "laid-back" snowboarder personality. 

This has been an Olympics of surprises.  Chris Mazdzer winning the first men's singles luge medal in US history was pretty sick (dude seems to have a great personality).  And the overwhelming favorite, Felix Loch of Germany, didn't even medal. 

Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: February 17, 2018, 09:47:31 PM »
I finished the first half of Return of the King, which was all about The Fellowship gearing up for their last stand.  I also just started the second half of it (which focuses on Frodo's errand) and hopefully finish Lord of the Rings before spring. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: February 17, 2018, 09:21:36 PM »
If we're going to go there, I think the most attractive Winter Olympics athletes are the alpine skiers.  In womens' super-G skiing, all three who medaled were quite striking, especially bronze medalist Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein.  And it's no surprise that snowboarders Chloe Kim and Red Gerard are popular among the high school students I teach. 

Aside: Sledding events (e.g. luge, skeleton, bobsled) and alpine skiing events (e.g. slalom, super g, downhill) are my favorite Winter Olympic events to watch. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: February 17, 2018, 09:19:56 AM »
So curling is a "hipster" sport then.  As for  winter Olympics, my favorite events were always the sledding events: luge, skeleton, bobsled.  I particularly like luge and skeleton.  Skeleton sliders always have the coolest helmets. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: February 16, 2018, 04:54:05 PM »
When I was a kid in the Netherlands, my friends and I practically lived on our bicycles.  It was a bit of a culture shock coming to the US and it not exactly being the most bicycle friendly place.  To this day, it still irks me how many bicycle riders don't know/follow the rules of the road.  You're supposed to ride to the right, WITH the flow of traffic. However, when I visited my cousins in Colorado last summer, I marveled at how that state had fantastic infrastructure for cyclists compared to where I live in New Jersey. 

Anyway, haps... Winter Olympic coverage has been going nuts in covering curling.  Apparently there is a massive fascination with the sport and people are absolutely mesmerized by it.  I'm trying to see what the big deal is, but I simply can't.  Like, I respect the sport for being very much about subtlety, which is in stark contrast to most sports out there, but I fail to see so appealing about watching it.  I don't even understand the game at all, really, and I think it's almost as boring to watch as baseball.  I guess curling is one of those sports where people either love it or are uncultured/uncouth heathen like me who just don't get it.  Then again, I do like watching cricket (which is a sport I don't quite understand and most people think is dreadfully dull) so what do I know? 

Song of the moment is "The Silent Life" by Rivers of Nihil.  This is from their upcoming album Where Owls Know My Name.  I've seen Rivers of Nihil live before and I was sledgehammered by their insane musical skill, but felt that their music was kinda robotic.  It was like a tech demo with mindblowing tech but hollow as a game.  Anyway, something in my brain decided to give them another chance and I absolutely LOVED this song.  It actually has me looking forward to the album.  I love it when bands change my mind about them, because that means they're experimenting, evolving, and not just relying on tried and true formulas.

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« on: February 11, 2018, 04:53:34 PM »
I'm okay with random battles, since they make it easier to grind if need be.  (I'm not a fan of excessive grinding, but sometimes you have to.)  However, being thrust into a battle every 3 seconds is excessive so the encounter rate needs to be balanced.  Wild Arms 2 had a nice mechanic where, if you were about to go into an encounter with lowbie enemies, an exclamation mark would appear over the avatar's head and you could press a button to avoid it. 

And let me tell you, Lufia: Ruins of Lore had visible encounters and made me wish for random encounters instead because it was done in the most maddening way possible.  This RPGFan review says it better than I could:

Even straightforward, basic RPG action is terrible in LROL. The game sports a very basic overworld approach, in which all enemies are visible at all times and, theoretically, avoidable. In reality it isn't so cut and dry. Whenever you move, the monsters on the map move as well, except they seem to know where you are going. Have you ever played hide and go seek with someone who knows exactly where all the hiding spots are? You will with LROL; the enemies cheat all over the place. Combine this with the fact that some enemies can move 2 spaces for every 1 you take, and that they re-spawn when you leave the area and return, and you have an exercise in frustration.

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« on: February 10, 2018, 12:07:46 PM »
And this is not even getting into those cutscenes where a narrator is speaking over a montage and his/her words aren't subtitled.  Even worse is when the narrator's voice is mixed too low and I hear the montage's sound effects more than the narrator. 

In other words, subtitles are good for everyone.

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy 16 (survey)
« on: February 10, 2018, 11:51:16 AM »
FF13 also had an incredible soundtrack; possibly one of the best in the series.  Between that and perhaps the best pieces in FFX's soundtrack, Masashi Hamauzu's contributions to FF music have been wonderful.

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« on: February 08, 2018, 06:18:45 PM »
I obviously loved Thousand Arms, but man that battle system was a clunky mess.  It was FF's ATB and Grandia's IP systems gone horribly wrong.  I figured out a loophole/exploit to make battles faster and the back row more useful, but it took away all the cartoony personality that made the battles watchable. 

Another gripe- games on portable systems that don't allow anywhere/anytime saving or at least a quicksave feature.  When you're gaming on the go, the flexibility to save at a moment's notice is important.  Maybe you reached your stop on the train or bus ride.  Maybe your battery is running low.  Maybe you've just been called in from the waiting room.  Losing your progress is a bane of any RPG player's existence. 

Speaking of saving, I notice that a lot of modern games now only have one save slot.  Personally, I like to keep several saves. 

EDIT: I notice that some of my gripes are ones I've been harping about since circa 2000.  You would think that in the almost 20 years since then, some of these would have been 100% resolved.  But no, there are still games on portable/handheld systems these days that don't have anywhere/anytime saving or at least a quicksave.  Otherwise, yeah, my main gripes for the HD era of gaming are text fonts in menus and dialogue boxes that are too small and no way to make them bigger and menu interfaces that, while stylish, aren't ergonomically functional. 

I just remembered another one that one of our deaf/hearing impaired members told us about: Games that don't have subtitles during voiced cinematic cutscenes.  How is a gamer with a hearing impairment supposed to enjoy those scenes if s/he can't understand what the characters are saying?  We have a deaf student in our program this year, and he and I bonded because we both play video games.  (I've been wearing a Tekken lanyard with my work ID, he noticed that, and we started communicating about games.)

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« on: February 08, 2018, 01:41:22 PM »
Another one for me, personally, is pop culture references in fantasy RPGs.  Working Designs used to be a huge culprit here.  Pop culture references kill any immersion I have in the game's fantasy world and become very dated very quickly, eliminating the timelessness that fantasy is known for.  The only time pop culture references work in a fantasy video game is if it's set in a more modern/contemporary time or are period pieces like Saturday Morning RPG.  That game was a love letter to the 1980s and works because of all the 80s references. 

Oh, and I always have to gripe about sequences, be they puzzle or platforming or whatever, that require the most minutely pinpoint accuracy to get right.  Xenogears' Tower of Babel was one sequence that made me indignantly throw things in nerd-rage because it was such a poorly done slice of video gaming.  It was also a sequence that I couldn't cheat my way out of, either through grinding or using a cheat device (like a GameShark) or what-have-you. 

I'm also not a fan of the following: 

-when there is only "one true way" to get a task done.  Xenosaga 2 was notorious for that with Break Zones.  There was only one perfect sequence to kill or even damage a foe, and hunting for that sequence was a crapshoot. 

-vague plot direction.  That killed any enjoyment I was having in Elemental Gimmick Gear because if I have no idea where to go or what to do, it's pointless. 

-And then you have those rare cases that feature both "crappy direction on how to advance" and "one true way" like the infamous "cat moustache" puzzle in Gabriel Knight 3.  It was, in itself, a clever puzzle but it was 100% arbitrary and completely out of context, especially since the dude you were trying to disguise yourself at had no moustache.  (ASIDE: Dangit, why does this forum keep redlining me moustache?  That is a valid spelling!  Webster's dictionary says so!)

EDIT: And when it comes to tutorials, while most of us cringe at all the hand-holding tutorials that keep interrupting our play experience, I think Unlimited SaGa is one game that would have benefited from some hand-holding in-game tutorials.  I'm a hands-on learner so I get more out of in-game interactive tutorials than just reading a manual.  Like when I'm playing a new boardgame or card game, having a more expert player guiding my n00b ass through the rules of the game teaches me how to play more effectively than just reading the rules. 

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy 16 (survey)
« on: February 08, 2018, 01:24:03 PM »
Ever17 explored that concept in interesting ways.

999 (9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors) also does.  In fact, someone in that game literally tells another character about the Locke's Sock phenomenon.  (And it's not lost on me that 999 and Ever17 share some staff.)

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Final Fantasy 16 (survey)
« on: February 07, 2018, 06:05:34 PM »
It's the Locke's Sock paradox. 

Locke's Socks
John Locke proposed a scenario regarding a favorite sock that develops a hole. He questioned whether the sock would still be the same after a patch was applied to the hole. If yes, then, would it still be the same sock after a second patch was applied? Indeed, would it still be the same sock many years later, even after all of the material of the original sock has been replaced with patches?

And the same could be said about bands who have often replaced members to the point where there might only be one original member or no original members at all. 

And then there's the whole analogy of Saturday Night Live that replaces its cast every so often.  Every generation has its favorite SNL cast. 

We could also talk about other popular "things" that are deviating greatly from what they once were.  Many old school Star Wars fans are up in arms over The Last Jedi because it blatantly shouted "This ain't your daddy's Star Wars any more!"

EDIT: And my take on Locke's Sock is that while it isn't the same sock that it originally was (since none of the original material exists), it's still "my" sock.  I still have the memories of all the patches I put on it.  It will always be my favorite sock. 

Single-Player RPGs / Re: Things you can't bear in a JRPG
« on: February 07, 2018, 05:48:27 PM »
I generally don't have issues with games being linear, but the whole "forced choice" thing bugged me in Suikoden where I was given a choice and the game kept pestering me to choose the other choice that it wanted me to make.  For those who don't know, it's when
Spoiler: show
the game forces you to say yes to Gremio coming with you on that fated mission.

On the other hand, too much freedom to do whatever I want isn't great either, because then everything's too vague for me and I like structure.  Lute's quest in SaGa Frontier comes to mind.  You could theoretically encounter Lute's final boss in 15 minutes or so through aimless wandering. 

As for tutorials, I like how Grandia 2 did them.  At inns, there was a tutorial guy clearly marked and if you wanted to talk to him about tutorials, you could.  And if you didn't want tutorials, simply ignore him.  This way tutorials were always easily accessible to those who wanted them yet not intrusive and even optional for those who didn't want them. 

And as far as difficulty balance and grinding goes, my standard is that if I make it through the entire dungeon without running from a single encounter, I should be prepared enough to take on the boss. 

One issue that was highly prevalent during the Playstation era and still rears its ugly head lies in games where you can never get the camera quite where you want it to be.  One of my biggest complaints in Summon Night 6 last year was that I could not pan the camera 360 degrees to get full views of the battlefields. 

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: February 07, 2018, 05:17:30 PM »
Go Piggers!

(And somewhere in the midst of my Olympics, March Madness, World Cup watching, I will try to catch some grand tour cycling, rugby, and I am determined to catch another of those rare fleeting moments when ESPN3 or somesuch televises a cricket match.)

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