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Monday, December 26, 2016

It's a day after christmas miracle!


My new card is great, it really is slightly better then a 980 TI at half the cost. But for some reason, right before I checked out Nuka World, it straight up murdered the load times in Fallout 4 for me. 30-40 second load times turning into at least a minute and the wastleand itself could be as long as 2! I'd barely put up with that if I'd first started but this was nearly a year after launch.

Mods didn't help, message boards didn't help, and I'd just about given up. As long I had my 1070, Fallout 4 was dead to me. The only thing I hadn't tried was putting it on a solid state drive. Seeing as the cheapest SSD worth a damn was $130, I had a problem. Mainly because just as many people who said that was the silver bullet said nothing had changed.

So on my wishlist it went. If it worked, great! If not, more storage space! Thankfully both were true. I'd go as far to say it runs smoother than ever. So much so that all my games are going on it.

Merry day after Christmas everybody!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The PS2 reunion tour continues:

Christmas presents have cleaned me out, so I'm lucky I haven't touched most of my PS2 gems in almost 9 years. My old collection, with a healthy dose of emulator filters to give em' a new coat of paint, could keep me busy for months. Plus I'm curious how much Persona will have changed once 5 comes out. Though I can't say I'm pleased Atlus has given me this much time to catch up. April?! Seriously? It's been 8 friggin' years already! But I digress, because it's sh**y job story time!

I remember playing this during my landscaping summer job. I've been stuck on a mountain in 20 degree weather during a hail storm. I would have almost rather spent a summer there than at greenscape corporate landscaping. Pruning parking lot trees and 30 ft. tall holly bushes in record breaking heat. I woke up every morning at 4, starving, but dehydrated. I had to fight to keep down my oatmeal while my stomach threw a hissy fit. 5 days a week for 2 1/2 months. I still have lil' scars on my fingers from the holly bushes.

You should see what these f**kers do to leather gloves.

If Persona 4 hadn't been the tireless fount of positivity it is I don't know what I would have done. It's good to be back in Inaba, I just might play through twice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Anyone wanna see what a gum graft looks like?

Everything tastes a little bit like blood.

"OOOOOOOH...... kayyyyyy." Is something I didn't want to hear my dental surgeon say while pulling length after bloody length of suture out of my mouth. Apparently my teeth are so close together under the gums I threw a consummate professional for a loop. But everything's good now. My gums are grafted and none of my molars will be falling out anytime soon. That's a relief. The Vicodin's not a bad deal either. My point is, I've lost a lot of traffic recently and you know what they say about journalism: If it bleeds it leads.

Last chance to bail. 

I sincerely hope that's not silly putty.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Man in the High Castle Season 1 Review: Is New York Burning?

If there's one thing peak TV has taught me, it's that there is a finite amount of craftsmen in this world capable of making genuinely great shows. MITHC has a lot going for it. A killer premise, solid production value, and a firm grasp on how living under a foreign power would feel. That last part is the hardest nail down and it's worth watching simply because it's about time Americans get a taste of what it's like when the shoe's on the other foot.

 It aims straight at the heart of what would drive someone to commit acts of terror and I'm glad this kind of story landed in the mainstream instead of the indie scene. Though that has it's drawbacks. Serious drawbacks. No one talks about MITHC much because aside from 3 or 4 brilliant episodes, a whole lot of mediocre writing waters it all down.

If you love fedoras, crisp suits, and jackboots this show will make you loose. your. SH*T.

I'm gonna try to coin a phrase here: Law&Order-itis. When a show becomes so plot driven the dialogue becomes laughably bad. Case and point, halfway through the season the main couple has a fight that gets so heated one of them accidentally (acci-f**king-dentally) blurts out that she murdered someone recently. The only reason in the whole goddamn universe someone would say something like that is because the writer couldn't think of a way to move the story forward. Dialogue like that is the canary in the coal mine for bigger plot problems. Such as someone sneaking into an office to steal Intel almost once an episode. One time two office excursions played out simultaneously. If this show wasn't set in a genuinely well realized nightmare of a world I would be much more upset right now. But, Christ, the writers needed to figure out different friggin' things to do with it! 

The opening credits are something else. You really need to see it.
But there is a lot to love. Rufus Sewell's SS captain could have been a goosestepping stereotype, but he is ordinarily and horrifically American. Everyone else doesn't get in the story's way but hardly any characters are fleshed out enough to grab my interest. Though the folks involved in the obligatory Jewish resistance were lovely. The script really came together for those scenes.

There's nothing else like MITHC. Aside from the script problems and the occasional absurd action scene, this vision of America is still haunting. I find myself thinking about it at work and in the car. Not that this specific reality is possible, (Hitler was fighting a war on 3 fronts, the Nazi's did a bang up job defeating themselves) but a fallen America is a hell of a thing to see. I'm not a flag waving, chest pounding, patriot but seeing Americans bow before Japanese secret policeman made me obnoxiously uncomfortable. That's not nothing and I'm willing to forgive several rookie screenwriting mistakes because of it. It's greatest contribution to 2016 was the dire warning that democracy is not guaranteed. That's something we all need to understand.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Shame Curtain

It's... uhhh, Snake Eater. Swear to god.

Far be it from me to call JRPG's "shameful." But just in case you were worried about roommates walking in while you're in the bathroom and then you find them trying to sound out "CUR-AH-E-JA" Final Fantasy 12 had you covered. A black, soundless, screen that just says "PAUSE." What's paused? It could literally be any game ever made. Including ones with such things as baseball and football.

Not that there's anything wrong with liking JRPGs. Hell, I'm taking time out of my weekend* to write about it. But if you really need to hide this firaga lit light under a bushel, Square Enix won't stand in your way.

*Hurray service industry!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Something Familiar

Baltheir hangs out with a lot of young boys in retrospect...
I wasn't an RPG guy back in '06. I'd never really played one. It's only because Okami had sold out* that I even gave Final Fantasy 12 a shot. "This is supposed to be a big frikkin' deal" I thought to myself. "Might as well bow to all those perfect scores" Almost an entire winter break later I emerged a changed gamer. "These things can last 40 goddamned hours?!" I thought. "How was I so blind?"

Coming back to it 10 years later is like sipping a fancy cup of hot chocolate. Too rich to have all the time, but it's nice while it lasts. Also having it on an emulator means I can kick it up to double speed so grinding is no longer a pain. You never forget your first and 12 is long overdue for a second look. Reading old reviews now is hilarious. FF fans were disappointed in the scope of this game? They had no idea what was coming. 12 being easily twice the game 13 or 15 were. At least to me.

Thus begins my PS2 RPG reunion tour. Maybe when I'm done reminiscing I can get my PS4 fixed... but that might be a while.

*ironic isn't it?