Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Youtube Channels you should check out: PushingUpRoses.

Before we get started, I just wanted to let everyone know that I have another article up on Movie Pilot/Now Loading. You can read it here: https://creators.co/posts/4188587   I hope you all enjoy it.

Anyway, When I did the first post showcasing a Youtube Channel, I said that gaming channels on Youtube were a dime a dozen, and that's still true. But what I didn't say was that not all of one of them are hyperactive weirdos shouting oddly hilarious obscenities into a Microphone for 20-30 minutes. No, there's actually a rather ginormous chunk of them dedicated to analyzing and reviewing games as well, and this one, in particular, is one of my absolute favorites. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Sarah Wilson, better known to the internet as PushingUpRoses:

Formerly of Channel Awesome (Aka That Guy With the Glasses), I first discovered Roses about a year or two ago after I stumbled upon a small Let's Play of a game I like, an RPG called Wasteland, that she did with another Youtuber, Lazy Game Reviews. When I first saw the video I didn't think much of it, and then some time after that, her Alone in The Dark video (see above) showed up on the sidebar of another video I was watching. I gotta admit, her tattoos, multi-colored hair, and ghostly goth look on the thumbnail drew me in (I always did find the goth look attractive). That and Alone in the Dark is one of those games I'd always been curious about, so I figured why not. I liked what I saw, so I checked out the rest of her Channel and, well, there ya go.

As far as content goes, Roses' videos range from Let's Plays, reviews (obviously), to videos spotlighting such things as where former game developers are now forgotten female game protagonist, and Top Ten Sierra Adventure Game Deaths. The last of which might give you an idea of the kind of humor her videos tend to lean on, which I think is pretty cool. For me, though, what makes Roses stand out from other gaming reviewers on Youtube is both her intelligence and the fact that the bulk of her content covers a genre that's not really given a whole lot of love on Youtube, the Adventure Game. She doesn't need to yell and excessively cuss to get her point across; just a well-written, articulate and sometimes funny review, like her review of Sanitarium, or her uproarious review of Curse of Monkey Island.

If video games aren't really your thing, well recently Roses did begin to branch out and review old and somewhat obscure animated TV shows and films. The most recent video of which covered...David the Gnome...hm. And here I thought I was the only one who remembered that.

Anyway, to sum it all up, Roses is a great content creator and I feel she deserves more attention. If you all feel the same after reading this, then go take a look at her channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCTNXqhWPba9Xh8gx0EKOtQ   

And that's it for me this week, Dear Readers.
See you again soon.   

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

May the Force be with you. Always. (Eulogy for Carrie Fisher).

I'm really out of practice here guys, so I apologize if this comes off as sloppy. Anyway, I'm sure everyone knows this by now, but Carrie Fisher died this morning. I don't know what else I could possibly add to this. It feels like I just lost a friend, but I know it's because I'm attached to the character of Princess Leia, not the woman who played her. So who am I really mourning here? An actress I've never met and not all that familiar with outside of one major role? Or a friend that stayed with me all my life, and whose story helped shape the adult I am today? I believe that the answer is both of these. I never knew Carrie Fisher personally, but I know Princess Leia. I know that Leia taught me to fight for what I believe in, to never give up even when the world was at its darkest, that one person doesn't have to be an invincible Jedi to stand up to evil. But you know what else I know? It's that at the end of the day, Princess Leia is just a character dreamed up by George Lucas. But It wasn't Lucas who stood in front of the camera and taught these things to me and millions of others, it was a shy woman from California with Bipolar Disorder, who self-medicated for years with Cocaine and prescription drugs and fought with weight issues all of her life. And yet despite all of that, she still managed to become this character and inspire generations of people. Lucas may have invented Leia...But it was Mrs. Fisher that made Leia an icon. And for myself, my life was richer and happier because of it.  

Carrie Fisher....Thank you.
May the Force be with you.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I don't say this as often as I probably should.

I don't have anything prepared, Dear Readers, but as the year comes to a close I just wanted to say to everyone who reads this blog. Thank you so much for doing so and putting up with me. I don't feel like I say it enough. But I am so very grateful to each and every one of you who comes on here week after week and reads my stupid little posts about nothing. I know that what I put on here isn't always the best. And yet you all still read it....You have no idea what that means to me. Thank you so much. 

I hope you all have a happy holidays. 
Thank you again. 
I'll see you next time. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Strange Dream I had.

I dreamed that Rogue from the X-Men (or someone with the same powers as her anyway) and another character were sealing away Apocalypse (or some monster like Apocalypse) in a coffin covered in a force field and that it was somehow important that no one touch him....and then Rouge did just as the Coffin was closing.

And then Rouge joined the Justice League and began to mutate into a hideous monster when they responded to a domestic disturbance. Then it switched to me flagging down Hilary Clinton as she was leaving my house (...which apparently is inside a hallway to a plane) and asking for her to use her government connections to get Rouge help.

I follow her onto the plane and then it got freaky. And by freaky, I mean she started ranting and raving about the world rejecting her and hammering tiny and ginormous nails into my skin and muscles, literally pinning me to the chair. I pulled them out, feeling weak from blood loss and bleeding out. And then the stewardess quietly asked Mrs. Clinton to leave. Which she did...and left me there to bleed out.

After being attacked by insects, snakes and the elements. The scene changed and the plane had crashed, rather conveniently, into the shape of a theater in a forest somewhere. The other passengers, still alive (I think), remained strapped to their seats, but someone had moved me to a mattress they had found and put blankets over my bleeding, but still alive body to keep the rain off. And then we discovered that The Muppets had been on board and Doctor Teeth brought a human sized Rooster to play the flute to heal me.

The Rooster played the Christmas Carol "Comfort and Joy".
And then it changed and I was watching the Rooster playing 'Comfort and Joy' over my shrouded body from backstage. And then I and two girls exited into a mall to look for t-shirts to give to the crowd. And then I woke up....

I have no idea what it means. But I thought it be fun to share this.
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.
See you next week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Old Hubpages article: Dragon Quest IX review (originally published on 05/25/13).

Ya know, as much as I love Japanese RPGs, I could never really get into the Dragon Quest (sometimes called "Dragon Warrior" in North America and elsewhere) series. Oh, I don't hate it, but me and it have a rocky relationship. I played the original game on the NES when I was a kid and found it lacking. I was still very young and it was incomprehensible to my slightly sheltered mind that video games could actually be about something more than rushing in with guns blazing. That and, unless you had a walkthrough (and remember this was before the internet), then you had no clue what the heck you were doing.
I wasn't as patient as I am today so that alone turned me off. So I missed the three original sequels, heck I didn't even know that they existed until I got the Internet. I didn't pick up another Dragon Quest game until 2001 when the seventh game came out in North America on the original Sony Playstation. I don't remember why I decided to pick it up, but I did....and I was really underwhelmed by it. I mean, I thought it was good, but that underwhelming feeling became the norm for me on this series. I picked up both the Game Boy Color remakes of the first two NES games and Dragon Quest VIII on the PS2 and got the same result. I originally wasn't even going to bother with Dragon Quest IX, but then a few weeks ago, I saw it at Gamestop for about $12. So I figured what the heck. And while I can't say that its 'wowed' me, I will say that not only is it the best Dragon Quest game that I've played, but it's also one of the best Nintendo DS games period. And coming from me, that's saying a lot.

Story: 4.5 out of 10.

The Celestrains' observatory.Dragon Quest IX takes place in a nameless fantasy world. You play as a Celestrain, a race of angelic-like beings charged by the almighty with guarding the inhabitants of the human world below your floating observatory. This observatory is also home to Yggdrasil, the world tree, which the Celestrain's have been nurturing by taking the gratitude of the humans and giving it to the tree. They believe that if they do this long enough, Yggrasil will bear fruit and then they will be  permitted to return to the side of the almighty. Well, the game begins when this happens...and something goes horribly wrong. The observatory is nearly destroyed by an unknown force, and you and the fruit are thrown down to the human world below. Now it's up to you find out what went wrong, recollect the fruit and save the world.
player character holding one of the fruits of Yggdrisil.Let's face it, the Dragon Quest games have never been strong with their narratives, and that's still true here. The story feels unfocused and underdeveloped. With no character development and very little drama to speak of and the world as a whole is as generic as fantasy worlds get. Literally, all you're doing is skipping merrily along on the adventure's path. This is a common complaint among critics, but this is one instance where I think they're right. The story just isn't working for us. But with that said, the game has this quaint charm to it. I don't know what it is, but I can't help but be drawn into the world. This makes sense in a way because the protagonist is a blank slate for the player to mold. But I dunno, I think that its charm has more to do with Manga artist Akira Toriyama's (Creator of Dragon Ball Z) art style being front and center. He's worked on all of the Dragon Quest games since its creation as the monster and character designer, and his style has become the face of the series. The other factor, I think, is series composer Koichi Sugiyama's musical score. I have very conflicted opinions about this. I like the music, don't get me wrong, but I always felt like the music for this series was too happy and whimsical for a world-saving, swords and sorcery adventure. It feels like it belongs in a Mario game. Which is odd because I know for a fact that Sugiyama's music is capable of stirring up a wider range of emotions. I mean, this is the same man that did the music for Space Runaway Ideon. 
But one place this game doesn't skimp out on is gameplay.

Gameplay: 9 out of 10.

Character creation.Dragon Quest IX's core gameplay hasn't changed all that much since Dragon Quest IV on the NES. With turn-based battles, experience points, towns to explore, side quests to conquer, a world map to traverse, monsters to slay,  the same old stuff. It embodies the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." And thankfully they didn't. The job system from previous games makes a return. If you're familiar with games like Final Fantasy V or Final Fantasy Tactics, then you know how this works. You can select a specific job (like a Warrior, Priest, Mage and so on) for each character and use their abilities in battle. But here it works a little differently. Unlike Final Fantasy V and Tactics, you have to go a special place, the "Alltrades Abby"  in order to change your job and each job has its own set of experience points. So instead of the player party members becoming stronger with each level up, your job does. There really isn't much to say on this end. It's a JRPG through and through, and there's nothing really wrong with that.
Entering the multiplayer mode.

However, there is ONE major addition to Dragon Quest IX's gameplay here. Multi-player. Yes, multi-player. And I don't mean that thinly veiled horde mode from Mass Effect 3. No, this is true, Secret of Mana style co-op where you and up to four friends can play through the story mode together. Now it makes sense as to why the player character is customizable. You activate the Multiplayer by talking to a certain person in a tavern in the second town you visit. If you talk to the winged woman, she can set you all up. Incidentally, this Tavern is also where you can recruit party members for the single player game. But anyway, the Multi-player mode is a neat feature, and In my opinion, is the probably the best way to do multiplayer in a single player RPG....But there's just one catch. Dragon Quest IX's multiplayer mode is offline only. And anyone you want to play with has to have their own copy of the game. I can understand everyone needing a copy of the game, but it makes no sense to me why an online mode is absent. The Nintendo DS was fully capable of online interaction, even more so after the DSi upgrade was released, but sadly very few developers actually took advantage of this feature.

equipment management.
Anyway, the other thing that makes this game so awesome is the side quests. There's tons and tons of them that you can tackle both during and after the story, many of which are open ended. And the game has a cool feature where treasure maps are generated infinitely, so the player can constantly find loot and fight new monsters that aren't in the main game. In many ways, the game is like a pseudo MMO in this regard. There is also a crafting system that lets you use alchemy to make new equipment, provided that you have the materials and the recipe. So Dragon Quest IX doesn't lack for things to do, even after the story is finished. It's just too bad that's there is only one save slot. So if you want to start a new game, you gotta delete your old one. What the heck?

The last thing to mention is the length. The main story will probably take you on average up to 40-50+ hours to get to the end. But the amount of extra content can keep you busy for over 100+ hours. Heck, I know someone who has played this game for over 800 hours. So needless to say, it's a massive game and you'll get your money's worth.


What Dragon Quest IX lacks in plot and characters it more than makes up for with gameplay. And that's the best way to sum it all up. It's a fun to play, the music is pretty good, the art style is charming, the multi-player is intuitive, and there is so much stuff crammed in it that you'll never get bored playing it. With that said, this game is not for everyone. it's pretty much the textbook example of what some people down right about JRPG's.  But then again I've read and seen reviews from critics who hate JRPGs give praise out the out the wazoo for the Dragon Quest games, so go figure.

But on the whole, yeah, DQ9 was worth my $12 and more. If you find a copy, get it. You'll thank me later.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It's just been one of those weeks.

Yup, video sums it up . I don't really have anything else to say about that. By the way guys, I don't know if you can see it, but that big empty space right next to the posts with the heading of "Helping a dear friend"  is supposed to have a widget that would take you to the Gofundme page I set up for my friend a few weeks ago. I don't know why, but for whatever reason, it's showing up as invisible for me, so if anyone knows how to fix that, please let me know.

I'll see you next week.