So, let’s start by getting this out of the way:
Boom indeed. But, to be fair, it was awfully close, so we shouldn’t look down on the heretical Callie devotees with TOO much scorn. We will need someone to shovel coal into the metaphorical engines of our True Queen’s glorious empire, after all.
Technically I guess if she had an empire, she’d be an Empress instead of a Queen? I honestly don’t know if that’s exactly how it works.
The other good thing that came out of the Splatfest was that I got annoyed, and when I get annoyed I solve problems.
Specifically, while the WiiU provides a fairly easy way to TAKE screenshots (press the Home key while you’re in a game, as long as you’re somewhere the Home key works), it doesn’t make it easy to get them off the console. I used to use the web browser to upload them to WordPress directly, but the WiiU’s web browser hasn’t been updated in years and no longer plays well with WordPress or Google Drive.
So, when I was taking screenshots yesterday, I used the Miiverse feature and just uploaded them to my Miiverse screenshot album. I didn’t find out until well after the fact that screenshots uploaded to the Miiverse album are saved at 800×450.
So, like I said, I got annoyed.
Then, some googling (and you would be surprised at how difficult it was to actually come up with search terms for this) lead me to a python script by a gentleman (or gentlewoman, quite possibly) who goes by the name of bones7456. It’s nothing more than a very simple http file server with upload functionality, and that’s exactly what I needed.
There’s a youtube video here that explains the whole thing. I didn’t watch it, I just skipped to the file list in the comments, but it’s probably a good watch.
Anyway, once I had the python script, I just copied it to a linux box, made it executable, made a folder to transfer files into, RAN the python script, and then went to <ip address>:8000 from the WiiU’s web browser. It’s super barebones – there’s a file list, a “browse” button which makes the WiiU’s screenshot dialog pop up, and an “upload” button to put the file on the server at full resolution with no recompression beyond the WiiU’s default .jpg compression.
One thing of moderate annoyance is that every screenshot from a given WiiU game will have the same file name. Fortunately the script is smart enough to append an underscore to duplicate file names, so all it takes is a little renaming later.
So: Team victory in the Splatfest and I now have a new tool to solve an annoying problem. Good weekend so far.
It’s been a good time, Squid Sisters.
Wait no it isn’t. Sorry, Europe.
It is WAS, however, the final Splatfest this weekend, and even though I haven’t been playing Splatoon in the last several months, I felt obligated to log on and do my best for Team Marie.
Because Marie Best Squid.
Anyway, the event came with the requisite set of bad puns…
…and Marie snarkiness…
…and, of course, the Splatoon tradition of getting on a really good team and sticking with them for several wins in a row and then unceremoniously getting dumped by an inexplicable network error and winding up with a bunch of losers.
I will make no pretense of NOT being in that second category, mind you. As mentioned, I haven’t played in months.
I did, however, wind up on far more winning teams than losing. This is a pleasant change from previous Splatfests, and it made rising through the ranks much less of a grind. Back in the very first Cats vs Dogs Splatfest, by way of contrast, I took over 40 matches to get from Champion to Queen. That’s 99 points awarded 2 at a time for losses and 5 for wins, so you can imagine what my win ratio looked like.
This time it took about 25 matches.
It was a pretty good send-off for the events. I’m a little sad to see them go, but at the same time a little startled that Nintendo actually gave Splatoon support for this long. It’s a game that I honestly don’t think they’d have released if they hadn’t already been resigned to the WiiU’s position atop the rubbish heap of console history, and to their credit they recognized that they had something pretty neat and ran with it.
I don’t think it’s much of a secret that Sekai Project finances their “serious” localization projects with a constant stream of comparatively low-budget borderline-lewd visual novels, and as much as I would like to claim that I am above such base pandering I somehow own all of their “Sakura” games and only one of their serious games.
“Planetarian”, by the way, in case you were curious. I strongly recommend it if you want an absolutely beautiful story that will punch you in the gut just when you’re starting to think things might turn out all right, then just keeps punching.
But I digress.
Anyway, while the first SEVEN “Sakura” games were Visual Novels, Sakura Dungeon is an old-school-style dungeon crawler, with gridded corridors to map out and hidden doors and pit traps and spinners and teleporters and all of the sorts of things you would expect from the genre. You have a party of six characters, there’s a “front” and a “back” line to your party, you regularly retreat to an inn to recover and change your party… seriously, it’s a Wizardry game in all but name and art style.
The art style is, of course, probably what caught your eye in the first place, and I will make no excuses for it. It’s designed for guys who like improbably-proportioned monster girls in skimpy outfits.
Unlike the Wizardry games, you don’t actually create your party members. Rather, the game starts with you being woken from a magical slumber by a pesky adventurer who has decided to challenge you for, you know, justice and glory and all that. Did I mention you’re a Demon Lord? You’re a Demon Lord. Probably important. Anyway. You wake up, you don’t precisely know WHY you were in a magical slumber in the first place, you have juuuuuust enough energy available to you to survive the pesky adventurer attacking you and bind her in a magical contract, and then you need to send her down into your old dungeon to figure out just what has been going on over the last few hundred years. She can, in turn, capture the monsters in the dungeon and you can recruit them to your team, building up a party of bigger and badder monsters the deeper you go.
Wasn’t this the plot of Wizardry IV? Something like that, anyway. If Werdna’s goal had been to Catch Them All, as it were.
So, your begrudgingly-faithful minions wander around, beating up monsters, capturing monsters and slowly figuring out just what’s been going on. Eventually you regain enough strength to join them in the dungeon, which adds an extra strategic aspect – you’re one of the strongest party members, but if you die it’s Game Over and you’re reloading your last save.
Unlike most “Sakura” games, which are short 2-3 hour affairs, Sakura Dungeon is a full-length game. It took me just about 20 hours to finish the main story and then level up enough to take out the optional dungeon and optional True Ultimate Big Bad , and it never felt like it was dragging. Occasionally you’ll need to pause and grind up a level or two, but there’s a fast-forward auto-battle option for combat that works pretty well when you’re just beating up on random dungeon trash. It’s not recommended for boss fights at all, though.
It’s also genuinely funny at times. There’s a lot of banter between your party members, and all of the monsters you capture have a personality that comes through whenever the whole party stops to talk about the boss they’re about to fight or about things that are happening in the dungeon. It doesn’t fall prey to the far-too-tempting trap of Building A Fantasy World, which is a refreshing change of pace after one-too-many Serious Business RPGs, but it gives you a little backstory on most of the characters and how they came to be where they are.
And, yes, there’s an awful lot of almost-nudity.
…I mean, just look at those completely naked walls. For shame!
So if you like dungeon crawlers and have no shame whatsoever, I give it an unqualified recommendation. It even comes in your choice of Mac, Linux or Windows versions!
I mean, it’s just an unfortunate combination of some easily misread text combined with placement on a photo that just happens to draw your attention to someone’s butt. You would need to have all of the sophistication of a 12-year-old boy to giggle at it. For shame.
On the other hand, sometimes the inner 12-year-old wins.
So, back in April, I had a filling come out. Like a big doof, I decided that it wasn’t really bothering me THAT much and I had an appointment scheduled for the middle of July for a cleaning ANYWAY so it could wait.
About a month ago, it decided to start hurting, but, you know, it seemed silly to make an appointment then when I still had the one scheduled in July…
Anyway, the result was that I went into the appointment yesterday as scheduled, and my dentist looked at the X-rays, and then we had a talk about abscessed teeth, and then I got to have a root canal where – as an added bonus! – I had what he called a “hot tooth”, so the anesthetic didn’t actually work to numb the nerve endings and I got to feel every moment of having four nerves pulled out of my jaw through the tooth.
So I deserved some retail therapy.
I had heard that Nintendo was planning to release Callie and Marie amiibos, but I’d put it out of my mind as a crazy fantasy that would either a) never actually happen or b) be such an amazingly limited release that I’d never actually see them, so I was very startled to see this box on the shelf at Fred Meyer and very quickly made it mine. They don’t do much in-game, but I don’t care.
Anyway, I haven’t logged any time in Splatoon recently, but the final Splatfest approaches and I am going to need to strap on my big squid pants and do my best for Team Marie.
Then, I decided to grit my teeth – that is a figure of speech, in this case, because teeth gritting is not to be happening in my near future – and go see Ghostbusters, a movie I did not have high expectations for after seeing the awful, awful trailers.
It turns out that an awful trailer is not always the sign of a bad movie, and I’m glad that I gave it a chance. It wasn’t a shot-for-shot remake of the original movie, but it followed more-or-less the same story arc while being very much its own film.
Nostalgia forces me to always rank the original movie first, but I’m comfortable giving this the #2 spot in front of the 2009 game. All three are, of course, miles and miles ahead of Ghostbusters 2, a movie I like to pretend never actually happened.
Also spending 18 bucks on a movie ticket came with a shiny plastic souvenir:
I will treasure it forever.
Well, probably not that long.
Being as I have yet to grow up, every time I go into a store to buy grown-up items, I invariably wind up taking a pass through the video game section. That’s how a simple trip to Target to buy trash bags wound up with me holding a sack full of clearance-priced Disney Infinity stuff, including the Finding Dory and Twilight of the Republic play sets and a mess of random figures. I haven’t actually SEEN Finding Dory yet – though I hear it’s good – but most of the DI stuff was marked down to 50% off and had a Cartwheel coupon available to knock an extra 30% off, so I figured it was worth it.
Sadly, their registers were smart enough to apply the markdowns in order rather then adding them together, so it worked out to 65% off rather than 80%. Still, it was a pretty good deal, and I now have every 2.0 and 3.0 play set and the three-pack (Monsters U, Incredibles, Pirates) from 1.0.
I think I can live without the Cars, Toy Story, and (dear God, what were they THINKING?) Lone Ranger play sets.
At some point, someone with more free time than I have is going to sit down and do their research and figure out just how Disney took the most valuable set of entertainment properties AND made some of the best-looking toy versions of the characters from them AND STILL managed to cock it up badly enough that they wound up canceling the whole thing without even getting around to half of said properties.
I mean, not that I’m bitter or anything, but I wanted my Pixie Hollow character pack and play set, dangit. And maybe some Rescue Rangers. And, like, half of the Marvel universe. And on and on and on…
It’s a good thing that I have absolutely no interest in any of the games coming out between now and November, because the end of June was a little expensive. I had pre-ordered both Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Star Ocean without realizing that they (a) released in the same week and (b) it was the same week as Project Diva: Future Tone. Fortunately I had some extra income last month to offset this, but I will be honest in admitting that I didn’t know about the extra cash at the point where I made the unwise purchasing decisions.
I suppose I should be thankful for how generous Amazon is with pre-order discounts for Prime customers, though being enthralled by their aggressive discounting is precisely how I wound up in this mess in the first place.
So it goes.
Anyway, Project Diva: Future Tone is pretty much Sega’s ultimate love letter to Miku fans, collecting all of their songs from the PSP and Vita games and presenting them with HD visuals and some updated mechanics.
Seriously, it has 220+ songs and was a little over 60 bucks after the currency conversion; previous games have cost nearly that and only come with 40 tracks. If you like Vocaloid music at all, it’s a crazy deal.
But, as I found out, it’s both naturally harder – which is fine! – and can also be made quite difficult for yourself without really meaning to.
For example: I often make use of the headphone jack on the PS4 controller so I can hear game audio without disturbing my wife. It turns out that using a wireless controller, and then using the controller’s audio out, and furthermore playing on an LCD screen without, you know, using the game’s built-in timing calibration feature… Well, it’s not exactly a recipe for precision timing.
I did very, very poorly even on “Normal” difficulty, and that’s with playing songs that I have heard, on a lowball estimate, twenty or more times.
On the other hand, after pulling a Hori Fighting Commander wired pad out of a drawer, and plugging in a cheap USB DAC so I wasn’t using Bluetooth audio, and actually calibrating the game to the screen… I STILL did worse than I would like but much better than before. I can now blame mistakes on my OWN derpiness rather than wondering if I’m being undone by wireless latency.
Mind you, the front of my PS4 looks like it’s buried in black spaghetti, what with the cable for the DAC and the way overlong cable for the wired pad and the necessary USB hub and so on. But it works!
One final note: Future Tone gives me a new nemesis to replace the godawful scratch sections in Diva F2. Now, it has single notes that need to be played by hitting four buttons at one. I’ll get the hang of them in time, I’m sure, but for now I curse them and whoever thought they were a good idea.