I mentioned a month or two ago that I’d taken to collecting Streetpasses on my Pretty Princess Pink 3DSXL, and that I’d gotten a few Special Miis thanks to E3.
That was cool and all, but really I wasn’t getting very many passes. I was sitting at maybe 30 unique Miis in Mii Plaza and only had a sprinkling of puzzle pieces.
Then I went to Tokyo. If you find yourself in the same situation as I was in, I must recommend this as a tactic.
I have to say, first off, that I didn’t see nearly as many portable game systems as I used to. Smartphone gaming is a Thing, even in the Land of Nintendo, and I saw an awful lot of folks playing Puzzle and Dragon on their iPhones and Sony Experias.
(As an aside, though I did see a ton of Android phones, I didn’t see so many Samsungs. I think Sony has the home field advantage.)
Even so, I went past many, many people who at least had 3DSs buried in their bags, because it took me no time at all to rack up about 500 streetpasses. I even managed to get the 100 Streetpasses-in-a-day achievement, though admittedly that took going to the Tokyo Pokemon Center and then wandering around Akihabara for about three hours.
Now that I’m back in the States, of course, my pass rate has slowed to virtually nil again. I found out that I can get passes over the free WiFi at McDonald’s and Home Depot, so I’ve been picking up about 10 a day from those at least and I’m up to 650 pieces of a total 1113.
Hey, as far as life accomplishments go, it’s not a great one but I do enjoy seeing the boards slowly fill up.
I spent another four hours with Mass Effect 2 tonight, and I’m happy to report that the Geth DO show up.
This entry in the series feels a lot more like a shooter than the first one did. That’s far from a complaint, mind you – in ME1, I spent most of the time using various pistols because they seemed more effective than pretty much anything else, but I’m finding that every weapon in ME2 is worth using. Also, since ME2 dropped the infinite-ammo mechanic, I’m NEEDING to switch up weapons in order to keep myself in ammunition.
The pacing is a drastic change, too. I’m 10 hours in, I’ve spent most of that time getting the band back together, and I still have several people to go find and recruit – and after I find them all, each of them has a technically-optional mission that I can run to fully gain their trust. I also need to get upgrades, and they’re not in shops any more so I need to collect components and research schematics. The whole saving the universe thing seems to have fallen by the wayside a bit in favor of getting old buddies out of jams and scanning planets for minerals.
Oh god I just realized that this might technically count as doing trade skills.
Let me start of by saying very clearly: I am not disappointed with Mass Effect 2, the video game. Rather, I started it intending just to see how it tied into the first game and then played for six hours straight, which is a pretty good sign that I consider it an excellent game.
I was extra glad to find out that the thing I’d spoiled for myself accidentally is a thing that takes place (and is explained) in the first hour or so of play, so I don’t need to sit in my chair wondering when I’m going to get hit with it.
What I am disappointed in is that the villains have changed – not the Big Bad villains, but the minions that are presumably working for them. This game introduced a new kind of minions, and honestly I’m not really disappointed in the new minions either – they’re nicely creepy and it’s good when your bad guys aren’t too familiar.
The only reason I’m disappointed, then, is because I had planned to title a post “Mass Effect 2: Geth Again” and it doesn’t look like I’m going to get to do that since the Geth don’t seem to be in this one.
I guess I could complain that they changed the key bindings around and I’ve had a couple of deaths due to mixing up the functions of space and left shift, which were swapped for no logically explained reason, and changing quick save from F6 to F5 also makes no bloody sense, but uh. That’s pretty pathetic stuff to gripe about.
Short version, then: the graphics are better, they’ve sanded off some of the rougher bits of the original, and I was able to import my save from ME1 and have it pick up on all of my story choices, and it really feels like this is My Story as a result. I’ll just have to work a little harder when I make up a funny title for the next post about it.
The problem with games with morals systems is that I only ever really see the nice guy path. I mean, sure, it might be fun to see a bit more of the, let’s say, “morally ambiguous” path, but when the mouse pointer is hovering over the “throw the puppy into the blast furnace” option, I can never bring myself to click it.
I blame Lord British, to be perfectly clear. I played Ultima IV at a young and impressionable age and was uh…
…impressioned? I’m going to call that a word, anyway. Having to play a game by a set of eight virtues is pretty heady stuff for a 12-year-old kid, particular after the empty-all-the-chests-kill-all-the-guards gameplay from Ultima III.
But enough about old Origin games and more about something a little more recent:
I’ve been putting off starting Mass Effect for a few years now, for a variety of reasons – no controller support in the PC version, knowing that the trilogy was unfinished, not wanting to commit quite THAT much time to an RPG in favor of playing quick-to-finish action games – and I probably would have kept putting it off except for recently needing to stay up for about 32 hours to set myself to Japan time before getting on a plane.
Since I started Mass Effect about 24 hours into this, my memories of the earlier bits of the game are a little fuzzy. Mostly I have vague memories of following objective markers across alien planets and feeling completely outgunned most of the time.
I made the mistake, you see, of not having anyone in my away team with the skills to open all of the assorted secured lockers we were walking past, so I wasn’t getting money or upgrades very often. Once I figured out that, hey, I should have a tech guy along, the game got WAY easier. Not that I didn’t still die an awful lot, because apparently I love the spicy taste of plasma cannon, but I stopped dying quite AS often.
Anyway, I played the second half while NOT sleep-deprived, and had quite a good time. I’d MOSTLY managed to avoid being spoiled, though I did ruin at least one plot point for a later game for myself by foolishly browsing Amazon’s selection of related plastic trinkets, but that’s all on me and I can’t fuss too much about it. Mostly all I knew going in was that a) the first Big Bad Guy I met wasn’t the REAL Big Bad Guy, and that b) it had managed to make the pearl-clutching set clutch their pearls all that much more tightly by including girl-on-alien-girl romance action.
It gets significant points for occasionally having solutions to conflict that did NOT involve insert bullet A into mook B, and getting to skip one boss fight completely purely on charm brought back happy memories of talking my way through the final Big Bad Encounter in Planescape: Torment. I will take some points OFF for being able to accidentally gimp myself by forgetting a tech guy, but not many.
Mostly I play RPGs to get to feel like The Badass Guy (or Girl) who gets to save the world, drive back ancient evils, and generally secure a bright future for people who never appreciated me along the way. This one gave me all that AND let me romance a blue alien girl with tentacles, so I will mark it off as mission accomplished and try to get to the sequel games before I forget everything that happened in the first one.
I’ve been known to go quite a bit out of my way to go to places I’ve seen in anime. I went all the way to freakin’ KOCHI, of all places, just because I really liked Umi ga Kikoeru, and I was very happy to find several real life locations that had been used in the movie.
I will also admit that my trip to Kyoto was drastically improved by having watched the Kyoto-field-trip episode of Lucky Star.
With that in mind, when I went to Tachikawa to find a Book Off Bazaar store, realized that the station was rather distinctive looking from the front, and took a picture…
I kinda wish I’d realized where I’d seen it before so I could waylay a pedestrian and get them to take a photo of me from a different angle:
Utsutsu shimasu and all that.
So I just got back from a week and a bit in Japan. I’m happy to report that it’s still there, still terribly polite to clueless foreigners, and generally a fun place to wander around in even if it occasionally gets hit with unexpected super typhoons.
Needless to say, those can put a damper – pun intended – on some of your plans, but I persevered.
I didn’t actually wind up spending a ton of money on shopping. That isn’t to say I didn’t buy stuff, just that I mostly spent my money in the second-hand video game stores and toy recycle shops. I was particularly glad to see that, while the PSP is still pretty popular in Japan, it’s old enough that many of the games I wanted to buy when I was last there are now considerably cheaper, so I came home with seven new PSP games. I also picked up a DS rhythm game that looked cool, a Gundam game for the Vita, AND a pair of PS3 games and the total for all of this was under a hundred and fifty bucks. That’s value for money, it is.
Now I just need to find about a hundred and fifty hours to play them.
Gundam Battle Universe
Kei-on! Houkagou Live
Macross Triangle Frontier
Macross Ultimate Frontier
Megpoid The Music#
Project Diva Extend (I dare not start with this one)
Kira Kira Rhythm Collection
Gundam Seed Battle Destiny
Oneechanbara Z Kagura with Nonono
Ninja Gaiden 2 Sigma
I have a few simple rules of thumb.
One is a subjective test of movie quality that I call the “Bloodrayne Test”. It compares any given movie to Uwe Boll’s 2005 trainwreck, and a fair few movies actually fail the test.
I have recently added the “Sherlock Test” of personal shame. It consists of “Is admitting to doing X more or less shameful than writing self-insert “Sherlock” slash fic?”
I don’t know why “Sherlock”, in particular, because I’ve never seen the show, but it seems a favorite on Tumblr which is overall a bastion of shame. But, I digress.
Anyway, having “Sakura Spirit” in my Steam Played Games passes the Sherlock Test. Sure, it’s an visual novel, a genre that barely qualifies as a game, and YES it has a story made up of horribly cliched tropes, and oh my god you wouldn’t believe the atrocious English that you need to struggle through to actually read the story, and I say that as a master of the run-on sentence, and YES it’s mostly about blushing moe girls in various stages of not-quite-nudity…
…but it could be worse. I could be writing self-insert “Sherlock” slashfic.
In all seriousness, I kind of liked it, but 10 bucks for a game you click through in 90 minutes or so is a pretty poor bargain. It kind of felt like they’d WANTED to do a full-scale VN, couldn’t wrangle the funds for it, and basically turned out a prologue that will need a sequel to make a full story. With the notoriety factor this has picked up, hopefully they’ll have the funds to flesh it out a bit.
“Flesh it out”, come to think of it, is possibly the MOST appropriate choice of words for any possible sequel.