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331  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: December 07, 2012, 07:58:04 PM
I'll have to toss my hat in the ring and agree with all the previous comments on that tattoo.  That tattoo destroys the notion of video game tattoos being inherently trashy and the details and clean lines show that you have both the skill and vision that is generally attributed to a more 'traditional' artist. (i.e. someone painting with a brush on canvas.)

Thats a hell of a compliment man, thank you!.... Its really cool that you noticed the more "traditional art" influence in my work because, in truth, I approach tattooing far more like painting then most tattoo artists.... Within my industry, the term for the way I work is "painterly" and the term for me is "art fag" (I always get a kick out of that one..... so vulgar)... I don't really get caught up with "terms" and "styles" though... In other words, I never aimed to work differently or develop some unique approach to tattooing... I really just do what I know works and will yield the best result on skin.

You're welcome, but I'm just calling it as I see it. :)  Many tattoos I see seem to come more from a 'comic book' angle -- think Spawn or something else with heavily stylized, 'intense' drawing.  The only problem I have with those is that they tend to have a style that screams of being intense for the sake of being intense the end result can look trashy.  I don't know what the scene is like up there but here in Texas that kind of tattoo is the norm and deviations are the exception.  I'm sure you know the kind I'm talking about -- flaming skull outline done entirely in dark green ink, that sort of thing.  Your style is as you noted more 'painterly.'

332  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 07, 2012, 02:42:19 PM
So, moved on from Batman: Arkham Asylum back to the Jak & Daxter collection and polished off Jak 1 (well, mostly) and started on Jak 2.  Interesting game and a lot of fun so far, though, I'll give it that.  There's definitely some GTA3 influence here, what with the new open world-city, GTA-styled map, hovercraft-jacking and new, darker-personality Jak (who is no longer silent).  Unfortunately the hover-craft missions are still in place.  I wouldn't mind except that the actions expected of you require far too much precision for the loose controls.

I'm also continuing to work on Etrian Odyssey III which has been pretty awesome.  It's one of the few RPGs that makes me want to start slow and easy and between that and the map making it has actually been pretty relaxing up to this point.  It really makes you employ some strategy since you only get one point per level, though.  I'm still in B1 grinding about for items and cash, but I've explored every part of B1 that I can from the one entrance currently available to me, so I expect that I will hit B2 soon enough.
333  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: December 07, 2012, 08:44:31 AM
After my Hyrule Historia Collector's being cancelled, recently my Figma Link Figure was also cancelled (apparently Diamond couldn't get it at all)... as well as my The Art of Portal 2 pre-order. Gee, it's not my month! With the recent Virtue's Last Reward Amazon pre-order fiasco, I'm starting to think pre-order can't even guarantee you'll get an item anymore :(

I know your pain.  My Figma Samus was canceled, likely for the same reason as your Figma Link figure.
334  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Dragon Age Three (3) on: December 07, 2012, 08:37:02 AM
A tight-knit genre? That's stupid. Apparently the zillion subgenres of RPG don't count.

Perhaps he's thinking of big-name WRPGs.  I have noticed a tendency for some WRPG developers to ignore the existence of JPRGs and small projects from the west.
335  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 05, 2012, 09:55:22 PM
As soon as I run through the Jak & Daxter collection I'll be starting on the Ratchet & Clank collection.  I'm excited about it since I've never played more than the intro level to the first game in the series.

In other news, I have to admit to being impressed with Radiant Historia's length:  Keeping in mind a couple of hours lost on one particularly stubborn piece of firewood, completing several sidequests, and some grinding my playthrough clocked in at just under 45 hours.  That's a pretty nice sweet spot, not too long and not too short.  I've started Etrian Odyssey 3 and I'm liking it up to this point.  I've just made a couple of forays into the labyrinth and mapped out B1 so I'm now a 'true' adventurer according to the officials.  The map drawing element is interesting and I'm really appreciating the attempt at some pretty landscapes given that my last first-person dungeon crawler (my first, too, actually!) was Strange Journey.  I loved that game but after about fifty hours it got pretty depressing.
336  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 05, 2012, 11:28:47 AM
Finally completed Radiant Historia.  Took a few days because end of game grinding is tedious, but I followed my standard procedure when I run into a tough dungeon and upped my team ten levels - Stocke/Raynie/Marco from 50 to 60.  Now I can start Etrian Odyssey 3. :)
337  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 04, 2012, 03:14:57 PM
And of course there's my favorite PS2 series, Ratchet & Clank!  Cartoony aliens and robots with multiple theatres of gameplay.  R&C has been my Mega Man replacement for the past several years - colorful, cartoony platforming and shooting with an over-the-top arsenal of weapons. You can get HD versions of the first three R&C games in a bargain $30 PS3 collection, plus there are 4.5 R&C games made more recently for the PS3.  The original trilogy is excellent; some of my favorite PS2 games.  On PS3, Tools of Destruction is decent, Quest For Booty is weak and not worth the $15 tag, A Crack in Time is one of the best platformers of the past 10 years, and the last two (All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault) are okay, not great.   

And while I'm bringing up those PS3 HD collections, the best reissue of them all is the Ico / Shadow of the Colossus collection.  Ico is really interesting and Shadow of the Colossus is on my shortlist of the very best games of the PS2/GC/XB/DS/PSP generation. 

Agreed with all of this, in particular the Ico/Shadow collection but I'd also add the Sly and Jak collections to round out the list of great platformers.  For that matter, I think the Journey collection would appeal to him due to the beauty of the games (Journey in particular).
338  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: December 04, 2012, 03:10:43 PM
I'll have to toss my hat in the ring and agree with all the previous comments on that tattoo.  That tattoo destroys the notion of video game tattoos being inherently trashy and the details and clean lines show that you have both the skill and vision that is generally attributed to a more 'traditional' artist. (i.e. someone painting with a brush on canvas.)
339  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Going back and reading old reviews, some great quotes on: December 04, 2012, 09:57:01 AM
Which reminds me... what the fuck is Tri-Ace even up to these days?? :S

This.
340  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: December 04, 2012, 09:17:20 AM
Watching a Rescue the Princes podcast.  [Referring to competitive gaming] "It's like speed chess...but on crack."  Speed chess on crack sounds redundant to me...

In other news Amazon took the liberty of withholding shipment preparations for my Black Friday order until the day that a credit card payment hit.  I had to figure out how to keep them from canceling the order over the weekend but it's worked out now and Fallout 3 will be on its way to me soon.  The God of War saga will take a few weeks but for $15 I don't care. :)

I also gave in and finally ordered an 8 gig card for my PSP.  Something of a necessity given the thing is an RPG beast.  And given that it was $8 for shipping but had the free super saver shipping option available I decided the sensible choice was to pay $10 for an Unforgiven blu-ray instead of $8 shipping.
341  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: The NEW Game Journal on: December 01, 2012, 08:12:40 PM
Batman: Arkham Asylum has been pretty impressive.  I've completed the story mode and will probably do a few challenges before moving onto other things.  I'm looking forward to Arkham City when I pick it up.  Meanwhile, I've been plowing through Radiant Historia and I'm nearly done.  Fuck that final dungeon, though.  I hate massive difficulty spikes that require you to grind for several levels to get through the average goons haunting a dungeon when boss battles didn't give you any trouble prior to that.  (Exceptions will be made for post-game stuff once the story is over, of course.)  I'm giving up tonight and will hopefully finish tomorrow.
342  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Videogames and depression on: December 01, 2012, 06:04:33 PM
Fair enough, they can be prescribed too easily when other options are available and you're right that even your average clinic can prescribe something (albeit, generally short term) without someone who can look more seriously into the issue.  That said, the studies done on the subject by academic neurologists and psychologists (i.e. those who have no vested interest in starting and keeping people on meds) do indicate that a combination of therapy and meds tends to most consistently produce positive results.  You are, of course, right though that sending them to therapy* first to see if that could help their problems without medicine would be a better first option in most non-emergency situations in particular if supplemented with taking a vitamin D supplement, exercise, or change in diet.

*The one caveat I have here is that people trying that route should be going to a real, trained therapist which unfortunately doesn't always happen.  Therapy attempted by a non-professional can either leave a person suffering for years without any real progress or even make things worse.  It always saddens me when people take that route due to a generalized fear of doctors.  (Please note that I'm making a general observation here and not saying that you would suggest people go hit up their psychic or priest instead of seeing a trained therapist.)
343  Media / Miscellaneous Games / Re: Forget everything you knew about Tomb Raider! on: December 01, 2012, 05:28:39 PM
New video.
344  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: December 01, 2012, 08:18:22 AM
Going to a shooting range today, hunting rifles and shotguns. Got a groupon discount for it back in august, and my appointment is for 2, so my buddy is driving and sitting in. Looking forward to it, and will hopefully take a few pictures of it to put up here.

Sounds fun.  Looking forward to the pics.
345  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Videogames and depression on: November 30, 2012, 06:19:44 PM
I love this subject..... Having a number of lovely "titles" I myself have been given by "professionals" (such as OCD, ADD/Overactive Mind Syndrone, Manic Depressive/Bipoar/Bipolar 2, personality disorder, social anxiety disorder and probably a host of others I've forgotten) I have also been through the gamut of treatment options.... I gave up on doctors nearly a decade ago having eventually concluded the best way to become well adjusted mentally and emotionally was through cognitive and behavorial changes... On that note, I also tend to believe such "titles" carry a bit too much "weight" in that many diagnosis given are doing nothing more then labeling a personality trait that comes with a pill attached to it (all of which just further throw neuro-balance out of whack in the long run....)... But I'm drifting from the matter at hand....

Just to throw this out there, I wouldn't be too hard on them.  The subject can be damned difficult to handle correctly, in particular if they're dealing with partial information and they really do the best they can.  As an example, I was diagnosed with ADD in the past (now been revised to aspergers) and was given stimulants to treat it.  As a kid it worked brilliantly.  As I got older the help it provided started to slide, though concentration became the least of my problems as anxiety attacks and depression worsened.  After a while I read a book called Walking it Off: A Veteran's Chronicle of War and Wilderness by Doug Peacock and it chilled me to the bone.  The sections where he described his PTSD symptoms and, more importantly, his general personality traits and tactical mindset that developed when violence was approaching were like staring into a mirror.  I grew up in a very rough town but it had never occurred to me that I had PTSD -- never mind that I had showed some symptoms that in retrospect are very obvious -- because I came from a family where the only people that get PTSD are soldiers and anyone else is a lying pussy so it had never even occurred to me to bring up the nightmares, paranoia, or any other signs up during sessions.  Only having a partial diagnosis wasn't their fault.

I immediately brought up those concerns with the psychiatrist that I was dealing with and he concluded that I had PTSD and that keeping me on stimulants to help with ADD symptoms was the exact wrong thing to do because having pre-existing anxiety meant that that would cause concentration problems and that keeping me wired would only make that worse, and make me more paranoid and/or aggressive.  He instead put me on a combination anti-anxiety/anti-depression med that has worked wonders for my concentration issues.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that pills are the answer to your problems, they work for some and not for others and I'll freely admit that the depression element of those meds didn't work for me*, but I think your dismissal is too harsh.

*To be fair, the situation I was in was too damn hopeless (objectively) for pills to do much, I think.  Currently they take the nastier edge off of my depression symptoms and keep me 'content' until I'm in a good enough position to try to make something of my life again.

Quote from: Klyde Chroma
I couldn't agree more.... But it extends a bit beyond depression for me.... The length of time I can play, the amount of attention I can lend to a game while playing, as well as assessing my recall of my playtime are all measures for me to check myself cognitively. How I play and how long I play tell me a lot about how I'm doing mentally.... In fact, I'd go so far as to say in some respects gaming has proven MORE efficient in "diagnosing" and treating some of my problems than any other means I've explored......

Case and point....

A doctor says I have ADD..... I think I'm just too hyper-inspired and excitable for my own good sometimes.... The fact I know to be true is that stimulants calm me down and allow me to focus... At the correct "dosage" the stimulants allow me full faculty of my brain and decision making as well (I don't feel scatter-brained or compulsive, I can make decisions based on logic and/or reasonable desire instead my thoughts and motivations bouncing around like a super-ball in my head)....... That correct "dosage" of pharmacutical remedies was not something doctors were able to achieve with me, and those options just created more problems by throwing other things out of whack.... Now, today, things are very simple.... I play whatever game I am currently playing. If I can devote the amount of time and attention to the game that I like (or more accuractely what I decide to be appropriate) I am good..... If I can't devote the amount of time and attention to the game I medicate... You know medication is now for me? Coffee.... I increase coffee consumption until I can comfortably focus and play my game.... I do this routine every morning... have for years... The result? I have not had a problem focusing or working for years and can easily apply myself to my work for however long is required without feeling or acting on an impulsive need to do anything else.

Everything that follows is interesting stuff but I'll be cutting off the quote here because this post is already long and I'm riffing on a general theme of your post at this point.

In my case I have more difficulty focusing on reading or listening to music with no distractions, perhaps unsurprisingly, than games, so I use those as a diagnostic for how well the ADD/anti-anxiety element of treatment is working.  I can focus on a game if I'm having problems with that, and it's only severe depression or anger that keeps me from being unable to focus on a game, hence my point about going for help if I get that far.  Generally if I'm unable to focus on gaming it means that I'm about to start contemplating the pros and cons of Lookout Mountain, to be blunt.

In any case, I'm glad to see that gaming and coffee work well as therapy for you.  I hope we get some more interesting stories like this in.
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