What’s this? A random update draws near!

Yeah, been a while since I’ve updated this.  So I’m just going to randomly post to keep it alive!  I really should write more, or pull over a lot of the content that I post on the Racketboy forums.

Anyway, NBA playoffs start soon.  The Spurs are the two-seed, with 61 wins despite Duncan retiring.  I don’t know if they can get past the Warriors, but I think they’re the only team with a reasonable chance.

Gaming has been sporadic, although last year I made it a goal to beat over 100 games.  I actually ended up getting closer to 200…  but most of it was short stuff.  NES games and arcade games.  Not epic RPGs, of which I find myself having increasingly little time for.

If you haven’t played it, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is spectacular.  I’m not sure it’s my favorite 3D Zelda, but it’s up there.  I figure Twilight Princess still holds that honor.  Skyward Sword was Nintendo basically making everything a dungeon, which really appeals.  And while this newest entry shortens the main dungeons, there’s tons of dungeoning to do.  And it managed to suck away 75 hours of my time, and there’s still plenty to do.  I’ve temporarily moved on from the game, because I gotta get some diversity in there, ya know?

Along with the Switch launch, there’s Blaster Master Zero, which manages to single-handedly fix every problem the original NES game had.  If you have any love for the NES era, you need this game.

Anyway, I’m hoping that the Switch finds a good deal of success.  The Wii U was a good console, at least for me, but it definitely had its flaws.  This feels like the Wii U done right, almost like a Super Vita, and that’s a good spot to be in.  Hopefully there will be tons of indie games on there worth playing, and I figure Nintendo’s first-party output will be excellent.  Plus, the system figures to be the last bastion of handheld gaming, with lower budget, 3DS-style games appearing alongside AAA titles.  Hopefully it can fulfill that vision!

Welp, that’s all for now, folks.  Maybe I’ll pop back in sooner than three years…

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Random San Antonio Spurs thoughts

Well, there’s a lot that’s happened in the NBA world since my last post.  The Spurs have run the entire emotional spectrum at this point.  What, you don’t know about that?  Oh, okay, here’s a rundown, in hopefully succinct form.

Last year, the Spurs, by some miracle, made it all the way to the NBA Finals.  They managed to dodge the Oklahoma City Thunder in the process, because Russell Westbrook tore his ACL.  Their path was the L.A. Lakers (where Tim Duncan expertly trolled Dwight Howard, who’s moved on to Houston), the Golden State Warriors, and the Memphis Grizzlies (I was at Game 4!).  Then they met the Miami Heat…  and had them on the ropes.  Game 6.  Up five with 28 seconds left.  And they lost it.  They lost Game 6 in overtime, and a surprisingly-competitive Game 7.  But I knew it was over after Game 6.

I didn’t sleep all that night.  No, seriously.  The entire sequence rolled through my mind constantly.  I don’t usually obsess over these things, but for whatever reason, I did.  I can’t even stand to watch those replays, which means it happened a whole lot on ESPN and everywhere else.  Ray Allen is a hero to those Heat.

If that were the end, well, it’d be pretty depressing.  I mean, what are the chances that a 38-year-old Duncan, 36-year-old Ginobili, and a 32-year-old Parker even make it back, much less win a championship?  After that brutal sequence?

They did.  They absolutely did.

What’s more, it wasn’t even close.  They made it back there, with no Spur averaging more than 30 minutes per game in the regular season, without beating the “elite” teams for much of the season, but still finishing with the league’s best record.  Ginobili had an inspired playoff run.  Splitter redeemed himself.  Patty Mills torched people.  Parker wasn’t even the head of the snake, because this team had no real head to speak of.  It was just a whole bunch of guys contributing to the team, and absolutely dismantling the Heat.

Yeah.  Those guys.

What’s more, they did it in only five games, and had the highest shooting percentage ever in the Finals.  They also had the highest average margin of victory ever in the Finals.  It was an offensive renaissance.  While some might dismiss the Heat as over the hill, a bunch of scrubs, they were still a great team.  How badly they got beaten was a testament to how well the Spurs were playing.

Along the way, they beat inter-state rival Dallas, regular-season-reaper Portland, and the dreaded OKC Thunder.  Pretty sweet.

So Duncan has five rings now.  Five.  At this age.  Honestly, I don’t know if they ever make it back again.  But even if they don’t repeat, the narrative arc on this is fairy-tale like.  It’s like a good-over-evil triumph, a redemption so complete that you could see someone making it up.  Except it’s all real.

Thanks to all the Spurs for making this last season one to remember.

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GSJ12 articles!

Update:  Stuff moved, so I’m updating this post accordingly.

So…  all the stuff from GSJ12 is up!  I probably won’t be able to write nearly that much in the future.

Anyway, linkage to all the content.

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Catching up

Well, still having trouble keeping on top of this.  I’m going to eventually link over to all my material in GSJ12, all of which has been published now.  I’m also working with a new site, Shall We Game?, at http://shallwegame.com.  A few articles of mine should pop up from time to time.

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Minor update

Looks like I’m going to have Snatcher in there after all. And on top of that, I went through a couple of other games, namely Sylvan Tale and Defenders of Oasis for the Game Gear. So that’s… well, that’s a lot of articles. Talk about going nuts.

I’m thinking about writing for the next issue as well. It’s an area outside of my comfort zone, but having finished Snatcher again, choosing to write about the influence of Blade Runner on gaming makes tons of sense.

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Articles for GameSpite Journal

Just a quick update, I’m writing a wealth of material for GameSpite Journal now.  The first article is done, on Black Sigil.  It will appear in GSJ 11.  The next issue is the Sega Genesis issue, and it will (hopefully) feature wordification from myself on Gunstar Heroes, Dynamite Headdy, Yu Yu Hakusho, Alien Soldier, McDonald’s Treasure Land, Light Crusader, Star Odyssey, Pier Solar, and possibly Snatcher.  I’ll update with linkage to the text once it all gets posted.  (Or, when it’s published, I’ll put up linkage to where you can order the book, if you want an excellent physical copy.)

Update:  Article  GSJ 11

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Another update, just to keep this thing up

So, since the last update, I haven’t touched Skyward Sword or Arkham City.  Madness, I know.  Instead, I played Kirby’s Return to Dreamland, Alan Wake, and Star Odyssey.

Yeah, everyone probably knows about the first two, and as a quick summary, Kirby is exactly what you’d expect…  which is a good thing.  Lots of fun.  The super-powered attacks were awesome, and much more integral than the Mega Mushroom in New Super Mario Bros.

Alan Wake was a phenomenal, Stephen King-esque thriller.  It basically operates on enemies that can be harmed by light (given that they’re darkness), and half the game has you wondering just what the heck is going on.  Even the endgame doesn’t make everything quite clear, which is probably in line with the way the game opens, in that not all these stories have to resolve everything perfectly, and probably even shouldn’t.  It’s a great game, relatively cheap by now (and there’s a PC version now!), and even cooler, I managed to snag the Collector’s Edition.  Very nice.

But what in the heck is Star Odyssey?  Well, if you’re not a big retro-gamer, you’ve probably never heard of it, but it’s an old-school Sega Genesis RPG published by Super Fighter Team…  last year. Yep.  There’s apparently still a market for this stuff.  At any rate, the original Japanese version goes under the name Blue Almanac.  It’s a decent enough game, but it’s definitely a product of its time.

And by that, I mean the random battle rate is sky-high.  Expect much grinding to ensue.  But the game is buoyed by an interesting (and sometimes rather odd) sci-fi story, which was very much outside the norm for that era, although maybe less so on the Genesis, where the primary RPG was Phantasy Star.  Quest triggers are also a pain to hunt down, and it’s not always clear where you’re supposed to go, but I did manage to finish the game without a guide, so it’s doable.  And the script work done by Brandon Cobb (who obtained the rights to publish the game) is top notch.

Even if you think it’s far too grind-heavy, I’d consider picking it up, for sheer collector value alone.  It ain’t getting any cheaper, as their earlier release, Beggar Prince, can attest.  So if he does another run, make sure you get on board.  And if you’re waiting for a ROM of the game, be aware that it doesn’t work on current emulators, so this is pretty much your only option if you want to give it a shot.

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