Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Anime reviews #6 - Another

Another by Yukito Ayatsuji

Mei or just meh...?

Another is the anime adaption of the homonymous Japanese horror novel. It is centered on the typical average generic run-of-the-mill schoolboy Koichi Sakakibara and his struggle against a curse killing his classmates and their relatives. Luckily this anime draws out some interesting events and details out of this generic high concept plot, but nevertheless it is too single-minded to truly leave an impact.

1. Story

Transfer student Koichi arrives at the scene (Yomiyama North Middle School), is told about the curse that in some years kills students in class 3-3 (cause, why not?), and the method how to ward off the curse, namely for the student body to ignore one classmate - the one believed to actually be dead and therefore an extra to the class roster. That classmate turns out ot be curious, incurious Rei-Ayanami-soundalike Mei Misaki (really! it's the same exact voice, and I was truly surprised the seiyu wasn't actually Megumi Hayashibara!) who he is drawn to immediately - but once again there's no payoff to the obvious paring (more on that below)...

So students and/or their relatives die one after the other in gruesome scenes (the level of violence feels forced and unneeded though), culminating in an all-out massacre at the end.

I forgot why he even did that, even though I watched the series twice.
Was this scene really necessary?

In the end, Koichi and Mei walk down a road together, and DON'T kiss or anything WTF, leaving the viewer (or in other words ME) severely disappointed.

2. Characters

The merit of Another lies in its characters, most importantly the lead female. Koichi has few interesting character traits, he's the average clueless transfer student protagonists all setting and plot details are gradually revealed to. Other than Mei, Koichi himself is also played as the possible dead person in the early episodes.

Then again, maybe this is not that unrealistic? I have never lost anybody dear to me myself, so I wouldn't be able to say for sure.
I don't believe you.

His insouciant way of going through life (e.g. he's not trying to actively get information from his father) doesn't complement him much as a person. There's the dumb jock-ish guy and the fierce redhead class president (actually "head of countermeasures") getting angry at him all the time (you know, like in, I don't know, EVANGELION! and there's also a troublesome twosome like that in Narutaru), and some other side characters. This roster isn't particularly interesting in itself, but Another has a nice, positive way of portraying the student interactions, and even some standout moments like the beach trip that make you wonder why the silly supernatural bullshit had to be in the story in the first place. Honestly, it would be so easy and effective to make a slice of life anime where realistic characters are just friends having fun or suffering from drama - the only thing I've seen in that vein was Welcome to the NHK and that one sucked because of some extremely stupid things happening that easily could've been left out of the story altogether! Nooo we can't have that, instead we get "We have to have a supernatural bullshit CURSE and so classmates keep dying but it's not like they were any of my best friends anyway so I don't give too much of a fuck!" Sigh. Just once...

So, Mei Misaki, our Rei of this story.

If I wanted to put more work into likening Mei to Rei, I could make the similarity very very obvious.
"Never" seen that look before...

It's easy to see how Koichi would fall for her. She's pale, quiet, mysterious, very reclusive (and it doesn't help she is the one ignored by the rest of the class at the begining of the story), frail, and not very adept. At living. So, since she's not exactly like every other girl ever, a dream come true to have as a friend or even more! Oh, she also has only one eye. We later learn that her twin sister (also called Misaki, but in her case it's her first name) was the first victim of the curse - but despite having lost her beloved twin and only friend Mei isn't nearly as troubled and depressed as Rei is for some reason. The dead twin reveal only happens late in the anime, but still this aspect - which is one of the rare things that is able to effect me emotionally - truly should have played a bigger role in this anime. Apparently there is a bonus episode focussing on Misaki and Mei's interactions, but I haven't seen that one yet.

Once Mei gets off the class ignore list, her sheen does somewhat come off. It was clear from the beginning she wouldn't turn out to be the dead one (because too obvious), but she still was better as an enigmatic character than as just another (PUN) face on the group shot. There is one magic moment in the beach episode where an octopus grabs hold of Mei's arm and she gets scared for her life - as hilarious as this little moment is, it is also demonstrating clearly that the aura of the character has changed.

In the last two episodes there's an all out witch-hunt on Mei in a burning hotel. After seeing all the cutesy little character interactions beforehand I really didn't care for the massacre at the end which didn't flow well at all. To add insult to injury there are a few really stupid moments too, like everybody and their dog GOING BACK into the flaming inferno (multiple times even!), and even after watching the series twice I cannot recall if the "main" side characters survive or not. Koichi's boring-ass aunt Ritsuko turns out to be the actual dead person, and the curse goes on and on (at sea? no, at the school, moron). Happily end of story - but no happy ending. After experiencing all that violence and drama together, Koichi and Mei just HAVE to end up a couple, right? RIGHT!? But no, they don't even hold hands while walking towards the end credits. Such a simple opportunity, and once again missed. PFFF

3. Themes

So Another's selling point was to deliver a gory horror mystery, and it delivers on the gore part at least. Horror stories involving teenagers are not a particular novel genre, of course, nor are stories revolving around curses. Another is an extremely straightforward story, there is little room for any hidden meanings (yes, even if one character is wearing a shirt inspired by a Dali painting). As the calamities decimating the class do sometimes involve random unrelated people (e.g. motorboat driver), the curse seems to be comparably powerful and could be likened to Light's tomfooleries in Death Note.

Even in antiquity, some writers thought that all possible themes already had been covered in writing. Judging on how few stories actually dare to make the main character evil, I for one do doubt that.
Apparently, someone had this thought before me.

"Things are not always what they appear to be at first" is how Another could be summed up.

4. Opinion

Another was a pretty well made anime. I for one didn't care much about the horror plot or the bloodbath at the end, but your mileage may certainly vary in that regard. I certainly did get some enjoyment out of the character interactions, but there certainly was a lot more potential available in the scenario - just imagine if e.g. Misaki had been part of the cast and would have been killed only in the middle of the plot! Visual style and animation were pretty good. I definitely would watch another (PUN) season if one was made (which is extremely unlikely though).

PS: Mei being able to move her glass eye and even being able to see with it was stupid enough to be noted in a postscript. And why didn't they just ABANDON HAVING a class 3-3 at all!? The concept of skipping a number is very well known to the superstituous Japanese: "Sometimes levels or rooms with 4 don't exist in hospitals or hotels." (Wikipedia)

Monday, 24 October 2016

Retro Achievements Update #3

Last few months' progress

Long overdue update on my progress on retroachievements.org! Lot has happened in the meantime; I've been trying out a LOT of different games, so I'll stick to the ones I made the most progress in.

My full-time employment has sadly ended now, so I'll have even more time for gaming while working only part-time now. I'll try to make these updates monthly now in the future.

New retroachievements.org score:

22325 points - Rank 256 (of 22942 registered players, up from Rank 437)

New grandmasteries:

-) Super Tennis (first person ever!) (SNES)
-) Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon R (Super Famicom)
-) Donkey Kong Land (Gameboy)
-) Yugioh World Championship 2005 - 7 Trials to Glory (GBA)
-) Yugioh: Eternal soul duelist (GBA)
-) Wario Ware Inc. Mega Microgames (GBA)
-) Asterix (NES)
-) Pokemon Blue (GB)
-) Pokemon Yellow (GB)

-) Super Tennis

Mastering this game meant beating the season mode 16 times - once with each playable character in the game. One playthrough takes around 3 hours, so do the math. Only challenge in this effort was to bestir myself to finish that game once and for all, and that I eventually did. First person ever!

-) Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon R

 A mediocre Sailor-Moon-themed beat 'em up, I lucked out as I mastered this when only a few achievements were required (by now the set has been upgraded, which in this case was rightly justified. I remember some of the achievements used to be utterly broken). It's a short and easy game, pretty forgettable.

-) Donkey Kong Land

 Quite surprised they could put out such a nice DKC game on the gameboy! Some of the moves feel off (e.g. bouncing off enemies), but it's a decent enough companion series to the classic SNES trilogy. Saving the game via collecting the KONG letters was a big pain. Some of the levels are ridiculously big, less would've been more here. Overall this set wasn't too hard.

-) Yugioh World Championship 2005 - 7 Trials to Glory

Finished this set after all. Gotta admit I looked up the duel puzzles - I can't be bothered with this shit (and even in that era, I don't yet know all of the cards). Playing "uncapped" decks in the shadow realm was a lot of fun. Certainly the point where you can build the most ridiculous Exodia deck in any of the games. All the nonsense with spreading out the tournaments based on the passing of days dragged this game down and accomplished really nothing. There's not even proper documentation for how the special character duels work exactly anywhere on the internet! Still, this game and its set were decent enough overall.

-) Yugioh: Eternal soul duelist

More straight forward than WC 2005. The set requires you to do a LOT of duels. Since the pack system makes it hard to get the cards you want (you can get cards via the password machine though, I did so only 1 time - no clue if there is any restriction on it), the deck choices are rather limited. I eventually went for a discard deck (3 Needle worms), which works extremely well as pretty much every opponent has cards like Pot of greed, Graceful charity and the ridiculous Jar duo (Morphing and Cyber) and hence helps you in draining his own deck. For the same reason it's often not really worth summoning big monsters since they are off the field very very quickly anyway. Funnily enough you can't see the limited list in this game at all, you just notice eventually that you can't e.g. put 3 Cyber jars in your deck. Sometimes the game annoyingly forces random duels on you, which accomplishes nothing since you duel all those opponents in the regular campaign mode anyway. So to cut a long story short, this game was very easy and took a lot of grinding, but at least it got me to try out a new deck type that I'll give a shot in WC 2006 too now.

-) Wario Ware Inc. Mega Microgames (GBA)

Where has this game been hiding all my life! Instant top 20 in my favourite games of all time, and earning that spot is some feat at this stage in my life! The entire concept of microgames both appeals to me and favours my gaming talents, so this one is a hit out of the ballpark in my book. Even after completing the set I'm going back to this title time and again to improve my scores on the leaderboards, especially for the featured minigames (Paper plane etc). Fantastic game, and a huge shame all the sequels are based on shitty gimmicks. First game was the best in the series already? Leave it to those Nintendo dimwits!

-) Asterix

Nice enjoyable NES platformer. Controls are mostly tight, although you tend to slip off those narrow platforms a little big too easily (can be very frustrating if you're going for the 25 lives achievement - which is currently broken anyway since it triggers on game over AAARGH). Game is rather short and easy. Checking off a platforming game is always a nice occurrence since those are not exactly my forte.

 -) Pokemon Blue

Never imagined I would complete a Pokemon set! This was one of only two Gameboy games I had beaten as a kid, the other one being Link's Awakening. Completing this game proved to be difficult in only two regards, namely in levelling all required Pokemon enough to evolve to their final form, and in obtaining the ridiculously expensive Porygon (which I don't even consider a real Pokemon since it's described as virtual in the game - how would it ever be able to battle physical creatures?!?). Fulfilling these two requirements the "real" way was completely out of the question, so glitches came to the rescue! I usually avoid glitching entirely, since these things are mostly annoying trial-and-error experiments, so I was not looking forward to having to find out how to duplicate items. Luckily, in Blue/Red there's the very comfortable "Old Man method", and so, using several of the myriads of guides that are available for this game on the internet, after quite some trouble with catching those resilient Safari Zone pokemon (you know the ones!), I put this game in its place, feeling very satisfied!

-) Pokemon Yellow

Needless to say, after beating Blue I immediately tackled the next Generation I game. They sure could have put more effort into this revised version! The additional Team Rocket battles are so sparse and crappy there's no point to them in the first place! If this game was supposed to reflect the anime more closely, why didn't they go all the way and let Brock and Misty join the player, complete with banter as in the show! Completely missed opportunity and it's no wonder Yellow is the sole tertiary variation in the Pokemon family, and the only game based on the show.

Since this game was so similar, completing the set should've been just as easy... right? NO. They actually... took. out. the. old. man! As soon as that fact registered with me, I knew I had to learn another item duplication method, and boy, was that tiresome! Documentation on the Ditto glitch is all over the internet, but the sources also contradict each other A LOT. Since I had wasted all of my long-range trainers but ONE (except for another in the water, which I found out doesn't help) I was very close to giving up altogether and only after doing a lot of research (2 hours to be exact!) on my last try (!) I finally made the impossible happen and got MissingNo. to spawn. Heureka! Now only Red awaits my crushing fist before I can finally move on to Generation II - which I haven't played in around ten years.

Other mentionable games:

-) Antarctic adventure (Famicom)

A very early Famicom title. You race a penguin across Antarctica, avoiding obstacles such as holes and walrus (I think) while collecting flags for points. Really not much to this rather bizarre game. It took me a bit to get the hang of it, but I mostly finished it. I'll go for that last missing achievement only when the mood catches me - but recently I've become more concerned about set completions than mere points (because of terrorists medding with perfectly fine sets and even single-handedly changing rom versions (!)), so it might very well happen.

-) Legend of Zelda: Link's awakening (GBC)

One of the two games I beat on the original machine as a kid (though it was the non-colour version to be exact back then). The second best Zelda game after the eternal Link to the Past. But this one got Marin, which is ridiculously superior to the slimy and useless princess (well excuuuse me!), so it's a standout title for that alone. Controls are tight, there's a big world to explore (certainly too big for me, so I standardly have to refer to guides with titles as this one), the story is wonky but that's all right in my book. I can't see myself finishing this set, as the no-damage bosses would require a lot of pattern memorisation and trial-and-error - not to mention beating the game without dying once to see the complete ending! Fantastic game, and there's still a few proper Zelda games for me to look forward to (on the handhelds, that is), since this is also the most recent Zelda game I've ever played for more than a few hours.

-) Yugioh World Championship 2006 - Ultimate Masters (GBA)

Now we're talking! This is the first title in the classic period of Yugioh games on Nintendo handhelds, which lasted until the 2011 incarnation of the World Championship series. With this game, the proper deck building system is in place, and packs FINALLY correspond to their real life equivalents! Limited and theme duels are established, and opponents are selectable at will (once you unlocked them, that is). Coupled with fast gameplay, these revolutions make this game a true classic in the Yugioh video game family. Naturally I'm planning to finish this set.

I've played a lot more games, but this update is long enough already (because I kept delaying it). Next anime review will be Another, and after that one... there are a few choices, but all of them would require a lot of work... *sigh*.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Anime review #5 - Akuma no Ridoru (Riddle story of Devil)

Akuma no Ridoru by Yun Kōga (aka "Riddle story of Devil")

You can't spell "assassin" without "ass" (*groan*)

Akuma no ridoru is a misnomer as there is no riddle nor devil to be found in this story. What you do get to see instead is a shitty format that should never had made it past the concept stage.

First of all, let's see how Wikipedia defines a riddle: "A riddle is a statement or question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved."

Well, this better than the original image I put here.. but not by a lot.
He deserves this so hard in the first game...

I sure as hell can't remember too many of the "riddles" in this anime, as they are never important to the plot even in the slightest. The first one goes like "The world is full of x." X can be literally anything, as even the main character's teacher (or whatever, he is not important either and could as well be just a voice on the phone - actually that would be an improvement!) admits. So, does this constitute a proper riddle? NO, because the "riddle" provided lacks an unambigious solution. Remember your Professor Layton games? THOSE are riddles (or puzzles, as they are called there).

So, now that we got that pathetically pointless aspect out of the way (you would expect the object mentioned in the title to actually MATTER in the story, no?), let's do the rundown.

1. Story

The storyline of Akuma no ridoru is an example of high concept. At a girls-only boarding school (high school level, I guess), thirteen girls are transferred into a class called "Crassaru Brackaru". Each girl has the mission to find the designated victim amongst their number, and kill her, in order to be granted any one imaginable wish possible (or impossible, really). Our heroine, Tokaku, decides to instead protect the helpless and slightly retarded (she speaks of herself in the third person, which I've ever only witnessed the absolutely worst and most hateful anime characters do) victim, Haru.

Hilarity ensues.

Well actually, it's more like Hillary ensues (and I don't mean travelling to the poles), as we get a lying, hateful product with zero originality that doesn't even have one trump (PUN) card in its deck. Apparently these "assassination classroom" shows are all over the place, and I am somewhat doubting that most of them are worth even one shit given. That certainly was the case for that shitty Danganronpa game, which deserves a curb-stomping review of its own.

So the monster-of-the-week schoolgirl assassin (all of them said or shown to be successful killers, and not bumbling losers (remember that fact!) gets a flashback detailing her pointless backstory, tries to kill Haru, fails miserably and disappears. Episode after episode this is all that happens. So, you might say, this could still be watchable? At least it's bound to have a lot of violence and gore in it? It's about teen assassin girls, right? It's supposed to be good, right?

Nobody dies. In this whole shitty show, not a single person dies. And to not make the viewer realise the sham of having no deaths in an assassination-themed show, it appears as though people die from time to time, only in the epilogue in the final episode they magically come back to life. And that even is true for Haru. Yeah, not only do we not get to see any cool deaths happen, we are outright CHEATED. It's a hateful betrayal of the original potential of the series (really, the first few episodes it seemed to be just fine!).

Since absolutely nothing happens other than the abovementioned (I'm not kidding!), let's move to the

2. Characters

Yeah, and I did my research. Madoka came out before this.
Hm, in which popular anime have I seen these colour schemes before... it was about witches and cats or something...

Haru Ichinose

Haru doesn't really make the cut for the role of the loveable retard, being too weak, passive and naive (and not in a good sense), having the fuck-annoying trait of talking of herself in the third person and doing absolutely nothing to make herself a more interesting person. She is indirectly responsible for the death of her entire family, which somehow didn't make her emo. She tries to make her classmates like her, despite knowing they are all only there to kill her. Later, her bumbling survival of 700 billion assassination attempts is justified by her having innate magical powers (the dreaded unnecessary-inclusion-of-supernatural-elements-syndrome strikes again!) that make her a so-called "primer" who has the ability to manipulate people, even unconsciously (in other words, she has a really high Charisma score - which is not a magical ability). Hence, of course Tokaku-SAAAAN was FORCED to protect Haru, and all her classmates had to fumble their respective attempts of disposing of the girl like incompetent fools. This is likened to a queen bee controlling her worker bees - note that that comparison is of course complete bullshit as a queen bee doesn't control shit in the hive. Bees don't work that way! A queen bee's job is to lay eggs. That's it. Didn't do their research.

Tokaku Azuma

Tokaku is a trained killer from some clan that is opposed to Haru's clan or whatever. I didn't pay attention to that aspect at all, which is a shame since clans really don't only belong in shitty shonen shit like Naruto. Oh wait, they totally do! So FUCK THEM.

Tokaku's character would have been a-ok. She is shown to be a hard worker and cold professional, not actually evil but willing to do the necessary, likeable enough to be the main character. Tokaku certainly had potential. She is in a situation of dependence on her teacher, which unfortunately never is further developed. When she falls for Haru, the viewer might expect a sexy lesbian romance story to develop... but is painfully disappointed, as absolutely nothing of that sort happens after a promising beginning! Of course, if this had been a heterosexual relationship, the epilogue would have Haru carrying her child in her arms nevertheless, because having children without even sharing a single on-screen kiss beforehand is a standard trope for shitty manga/anime!

Other characters

Well, there was the one who had two daddies. Point? None. There was the tall masculine one (reminded me of Jun Inoue from Saki) with her midget child-like love interest ("Koromo, not Kodomo!"), which of course was not played out. One psychopathic girl was a shameless ripoff of Genocider Syo (Genocide Jack/Jill) from Danganronpa, right down to the very specific detail of licking her preferred murder weapons, pairs of scissors. One had a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing going on, one was immortal and wanted to die (LOL), etc. Nothing out of the ordinary here, people! Oh, yes, one thing! They're all girls, so that... doesn't change anything either.

3. In the end

In the end, after the writer has run out of assassins/filler material, Tokaku tries to KILL Haru, who is only her only friend in the entire world! Only the girl is magically saved by having (get this!) a TITANIUM RIB (LOLOL) from some other attempt on her life (remember, Haru is supposed to be primer who can control people. Yet, everybody and their dogs always want to wipe her out! Something doesn't quite add up here, people!) Hence Tokaku has proven to still have free will strong enough to beat Haru's primer ability. The point was...? There was no point! Tokaku's job always had been extremely easy, due to the fact the less strong-willed girls couldn't kill Haru anyway. Stabbing Haru was the easiest thing in the world since Haru was passive, naive and unwilling to fight back. So Tokaku did the only thing she could do - certainly not a feat worth of a twelve-episode anime!

Now if Tokaku had actually succeeded in killing Haru, we would at least had a little drama. Haru was Tokaku's only true friend she ever had, and by killing Haru she would have been granted any wish imaginable, any but the thing she actually most desired, namely being with Haru! Leave it to a hack writer to miss even this oh-so-obvious opportunity to make this shlock at least a little more tolerable!

A little fanservice can go a long way. Just sayin.
You wish...
Also, since Tokaku fails to kill Haru, she doesn't get a wish. But in an early episode it had been said by Nio (the student being the contact to the organzisers of Class Black) that there would be eleven assassins, one defender and one target this year. So if Tokaku had just kept her wits together (or do what any REAL assassin does - namely make sure the target is actually dead ("security shot"), she would've been granted the wish. Feels bad, man.

Haru's wish - to leave her clan - does absolutely nothing. She's still a primer and would automatically attract a new group of people by this show's logic. How do you leave a clan in the first place? Also, weren't all her relatives dead anyway?! Keeping Haru alive seems to me like a really bad creative decision...

4. Themes

So, does this have any deeper meaning? Let's see.

Riddle story of devil promotes friendship. But so does almost every other anime ever made. Hmmm.

Family ties are important, since you are stuck in clan-like structures that determine your entire existence. But on the other hand, family ties are completely irrelevant because your family is inevitably wiped out by assassins which scars you for life. So that is not a well-developed theme either, eh...?!

Killing is bad - so in this show killers only try to kill the target... is that related to the intended message of the show? I don't know anymore, man. I reckon the theme of this show is to not waste your life watching shitty anime (yeah, like that is gonna happen... *sigh*)

5. Opinion

One more thing I need to mention was the final moment of the intro, where naked Tokaku (after a shot where she grins a bloody grin, blood dripping from her knife - as if she had just eliminated the last rival assassin), hugging naked Haru, stares directly at the viewer, as if to ward off additional danger to her prize. That was a nice, well designed moment.

Oh, and the turning point was the assassination attempt in the natatorium (word of the day), where the convoluted and utterly unbelievable trap catching Tokaku instantly punted this show into the fantasy genre even before magical charisma powers turned Haru into a witch retroactively. That was when I gave up on this show.

It definitely wasn't the worst thing I ever seen, but I really can't recommend this show as it delivers nothing new, wholly fails to impress in any regard, almost reaches Bokura no-level in the predictability scale, has no riddles or devils anywhere to make it interesting, brings back dead people to stay PG and DARES not to even toss us the lesbian romance we all hope and crave for as it's the only way to feel emotion... ahem... yeah. Moving on...

(maybe next time. spoiler? maybe)

PS: and why did it take eight fucking months for me to write a new anime review?! eeeeeehhhmmmm. MOVING ON

Monday, 1 August 2016

Interactive fiction review #11 - Gardening for beginners

Gardening for beginners by Juhana Leinonen

Gardening for Beginners by Juhana Leinonen is a short speed-IF game describing the misadventures of a budding gardener.

What is supposed to be a peaceful and upbeat day of work quickly turns into a nightmare as the player is beset by the horrors of nature.

I can recommend this game as a choice to suggest to text adventure newbies, as it is uncomplicated, easy to play and funny to boot.

Personally I would add an option to name your fish to add some more personal involvement to the game. In fact the enclosed framework of the game world even would allow for a game allowing the player whatever he wants to do (e.g. drink the poison, or eat the fish).

Anyway, quite a fun little title to play.


Saturday, 4 June 2016

Entropia hunt logs #2 - Gallard, 5000, Hunt III

Gallard - 5000 - Hunt III

This log spells the end of the Gallard iron mission chain, and not a second too early. Now I can move on to some other monster, or maybe leave Arkadia altogether and explore what else the universe holds in stock, if that opportunity comes up.

Documenting this log frustratingly got screwed up with me interrupting my sole focus on swunting Gallards to enter the Gold Rush event. The Universal Ammo count definitely is off by some 40-70 peds, the Weapon Cells and BLP numbers seem rather wonky too, though I have no clue what happened there. Those last two are incorrect either in this, or the previous Gallard Hunt II log.

As a consequence, I definitely will create a cover-all log form before starting my next run. This must not happen again, as it's a massive loss of time if one element of data ruins an entire log. This log is basically worthless in terms of calculating my total loss on this hunt.

All the other loot values definitely are correct (plus minus a few PEC with the handgun drops).

Side note: Sweat gatherer level gain has slowed down considerably, but still is increasing motivatingly enough for me. I sold 20k sweat for around 1.75/k at some point.

Globals: 0

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Retro Achievements Update #2

What I've been doing over the last few months...

New retroachievements.org score:

11039 points - Rank 437 (of 14110 registered players)

About 70 places closer to the top, quite nice for the fact I haven't really accomplished too much since the last update.

Games I spent time on were:

-) Yugioh World Championship 2005 - 7 Trials to Glory (GBA)

A title overshadowed by the 2006 version I used to play a lot, years and years ago. This 2005 incarnation is severely crippled in its deck building mechanisms (to this day I don't know how to sort my cards!), I literally needed to ask for help to even be able to build my first deck! The actual gameplay is nice and fast though (speedup also helps), even though the very limited AI and old-school-ness of the card pool makes this a very easy game compared to more recent incarnations. The mechanics of game progress are a jumbled mess in this game, to be able to play various tournaments and do challenges you need to "sleep" in order to pass time - with the aforementioned becoming available randomly. Quite annoying and needlessly complicated, needless to say that the formula has been much improved again with the 2006 sequel. Still, it's a Yugioh game and therefore enjoyable enough by default. Not sure whether I will try to GM it as I would need to start a new game in order to be able to do so (and need to possibly do a lot of retries for some of the achievements).

-) Super Tennis (SNES)

I've been working hard on becoming the first person (!) to GM this game's very time-consuming and rather boring set (well it IS a sports game, what would you expect...)

Super Tennis is a more than decent SNES tennis game held back rather sharply by its ridiculously low difficulty and some limitations in ball control and swing selection. I won't elaborate any further on this title as my mini-review should match (PUN) the blandness of playing this monotonous and unrewarding title. Btw, topspin return = RIDICULOUSLY OP! Didn't they test this game before they released it!? *facepalm*

As the achievement set (which has the STUPIDEST achievement names possible!) requires me to win the game again and again with all the different players, I've been doing just that. About 8 players x 3-4 hours per playthrough are left. Super Tennis has an absolutely atrocious password system; thus I am pretty much limited to grinding this game on weekends (I currently am working in an office, which is the best job I've ever held actually!) in order to be able to avoid the pain of entering 40-something letters, numbers and question marks (seriously...) per password *facepalm*.

-) Super Bomberman (SNES)

One of the best multiplayer experiences I've ever had was 4-player multiplayer Bomberman (not even an official version, but some Windows freeware clone) with mates and family members. 15 years later, I got very little fun out of this first Bomberman title on the SNES. The campaign mode is rather boring (remote bomb = OP), with the last boss being an extremely negative experience to boot. You need the "fist" powerup (not the "boot" unfortuntely, or I could have made a pun :-() to be able to defeat said... and you lose (some of) your powerups on death. Ergo, if you die to him, you are better off fast-forward suiciding so you can play the previous level again and farm the fist and remote bomb. A very painful and frustrating experience that certainly coloured my opinion on this title quite heavily.

I am reluctantly attempting to grind down the battle mode challences, but as these are very hard and need a lot of luck, I'm pretty much stuck at the third level and don't know whether I'll brute force these after all as the process certainly isn't any fun at all.

-) Donkey Kong Land (GB)

A more than decent title (very good for a Gameboy title, but lacking in comparison to the eternal classics on the SNES). Controls have some wonky moments (e.g. bouncing on enemies is very jumpy, also rolling feels rather off compared to the SNES games - a platformer of course lives and dies with how precise and fluid its controls are, and in the case of this game, they are a valid reason I can't see myself replaying this title too frequently). Levels are, oddly enough, usually much longer than SNES ones and therefore fittingly have multiple save points. I'm currently at the beginning of World 4 (of 4), so I can't give a final verdict on the difficulty compared to the "Country" games. Overall, it's a quite good game. As usual I can't judge music or sound since I play with those off, listening to music or watching videos on the side instead.

-) Chrono Trigger (SNES)

I've been trying to play this RPG several times over the last 10 years, but never got too far, being hampered by the tiresome combats and my general weariness to complete games (I have actually stopped playing games ON THE FINAL BOSS, no joke! only to start them again from the beginning and quitting them at some point again... and so on!)

Now, since I have a reason to play games all the way through (points!)... nothing has changed. Mood is, as is common knowledge, only a thing for cattle and loveplay - but in my case mood is everything when it comes to long-winded non-action titles like this one, and said mood doesn't hit me too often. Right now, I'm in the second section of the game (the past) and have very little motivation to boot this up - but tomorrow this might randomly be completely different! Chaotic neutral!

-) Frogger (SNES)

Doesn't need many words, it's just a very late (1998!) port of the classic arcade game. I got to stage 4, then it gets too hard for me. LOL

-) Zelda: Link's Awakening (GBC)

Now this is a game I actually played back in the day when it came out! Same as Pokemon Blue (I think), I beat this game on the original machine but never on emulation. I might not be able to complete this 100% as you need to do a deathless run (to see the epilogue or something), but I'll try to beat as much as I can otherwise.

I only count the top-down titles as "real" Zelda games, so this one, along with the eternal classic Link to the Past, is - for me - as good as it gets (haven't played the GBA titles though yet). Ocarina of GRIME for all I care!

Of course (people actually called me arrogant partly because of using phrases like "of course" a lot!), next to all this retro shit, I've been playing Entropia Universe 24/7. There is never a reason NOT to sweat, so I've been working on the last batch of 5000 gallards in order to be able to finally check off my first iron mission. Also dabbled a little in the Arkadian Gold Rush (Category I) event, but quickly got bored of shooting the same damn monster for hours. Injecting some uncommons or even a boss into the mix would have worked wonders here... Additionally there was the problem of getting the right weapons for this kind of monster - I've never been hunting big stuff, so I couldn't do much more than randomly get a gun from the auction I deemed able to do the job.

Stuff I'm planning for the "near" future (think 6 months *sigh*):

-) Game of Thrones season 1 review (ugh!)
-) Why I dropped Yu-No (visual novel)
-) Puella Magi Madoka Magica anime review (this will be another big one!)
-) Working on my first serious fanfic "Sennen Empire" (a Yugioh fanfic, basically a project for me to get back into writing fiction after a more than 5-year break!)

StuffIcouldreviewifIhadtakennotesbutIdidntsoIwouldhavetowatchthisstuffagainwhichprobablyisnt worththehassleeeee *pant pant*:

-) Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei anime
-) Another anime
-) Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (visual novel) (...though it would be a lot of fun to tear apart this clusterfuck!)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Entropia hunt logs #1 - Gallard, 5000, Hunt II

Gallard - 5000 - Hunt II (first one with full tracking)

Another 5000 Gallards down, still 5000 more to go to complete my first Iron Mission chain! I swunted a lot more this time around. Very happy with the skill gains. Net loss on the hunt much less than I had thought beforehand. Compared to Hunt I loot was somewhat worse (unfortunately I didn't track expenses in that one so I can't really compare the overall result). I occasionally healed other people with the mindforce chip, so it's not 100% accurate.

On a side note, scanning has gotten very frustrating now, barely any skill drops any more. I hit Level 7 Humanoid Investigator with big pains.

Globals: 0