My Dead HDD – Time versus Preservation

My hard drive died last week (as of the writing of this – it could have been a few weeks ago by the time this is posted). It was a slow build up and a sudden burnout. I didn’t really have any indication things were wrong until I shut down explorer and it didn’t restart. This would have been resolved by a reset, but that reset never came. That would have been resolved by something, and so would have the next problem, but ultimately, it was quite dead.

I’ve been thinking a lot about game preservation lately. The incident with Silent Hills PT got me thinking, and that got me reading. I quickly became aware that this was a much bigger issue than a single demo I’d never get to experience – video games are engaged in a losing battle against the very progress that brings about new video games. As a lover of retro games, that’s a pretty serious problem.

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FFIX Analysis Part 10.5 – Analyzing the Analysis

For a few weeks now I’ve been doing some analysis of Final Fantasy IX. The titles for the posts have been a little gimmicky, and I’ve been all over the place with the depth and focus of my analysis. Also, I’ve been a bit irreverent at times, but I actually like writing like that, so expect that to continue.

This post, I’m going to take the opportunity to analyze the analysis I’ve been doing. I’m also going to go back, cover some of the game mechanics in a bit of depth, and look at the plot thus far (or at least summarize it quickly and offer some impressions). I’m actually really excited about this post – it’s going to give me a chance to get a little more serious about this analysts and treat it with the level of engagement it deserves. Once this post is done, expect things to be a little more focused in approach, provide better plot coverage and analysis, and continue to joke around and have some fun with looking at a brilliant JRPG.

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RPG Musings – The Brighter Side of Death

The handling of death in video games hasn’t changed much in the last, well, pretty much ever. Arcades started out with a simple lives to quarters system, and that carried over to home consoles after a fashion. What started out as a method for enforcing the expenditure of additional coins quickly became a punishing technique for those that didn’t have the necessary skill.

Over time, games have started changing, and people have begun to look at death in games with a new thought in mind: how can this be an integrated game mechanic? We’re going to take a look at how death has functioned in video games, and how it could function in the future.

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FFIX Versus Dungeons – Part 10

Last time on FF9 Versus, we took a look above the Mist and checked into the village of Dali. As always, I got hung up on the oddest details.

The story so far: Zidane and friends wander into what should be a calm farming village, but instead gives more of a B horror movie vibe. And Vivi got kidnapped (guess it doesn’t matter if you’re a black mage when you have a couple farmers to deal with. Wait, what?).

ff9-106Seems normal to have this under a farming village, right?

This time we’ll start off with one of the oddest dungeons in the entire game. After that, we’ll look a little more at the area around Dali, and if I’m really sparing with my words, we’ll start the trip towards Lindblum. So, we’ll look at the dungeon for sure, and the rest is iffy.

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Musings – Choice Without Morality

At this point, few console game players have avoided playing a Bioware RPG. Between the incredibly popular Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the also incredibly popular Mass Effect series, or the one that no one seems to talk about anymore Jade Empire, there’s usually at least one of them that someone plays. The morality systems and the choices surrounding them are well known and much discussed, but, well, painfully simplistic.

They break down choices into a simple black and white, good and evil dichotomy, but anyone that’s actually been out in the real world is aware that things are far from so simple. What benefits one can easily harm others, and the angles on that are just waiting to be explored. Not to mention choices that could change the actual game flow, instead of just the flavor. It’s time to look at what Bioware has done (and all of the copycats to follow) and what can be done in the future.

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Liz and Mary: Whispers

My name is Dylan Richardson and I’m a friend of James. We are working together on several projects that I am unreasonably excited about. I also write stories sometimes, and I’m currently working on a collection set in my Whispers universe. This is an excerpt from one of those stories and I hope you like it. Continue reading

FFIX Versus Farming – Part 9

Last time on FF9 Versus, we got to play through the second dungeon, and struggled our way through a unnecessarily brutal boss fight.

The story so far: After a chilly walk up above the Mist, Zidane shows he’s better than classical dances and the gang narrowly avoids freezing to death.

ff9-087Haha! Above the Mist at last.

This segment of FF9 Versus marks a transition to a very different portion of the game. Up to now, it’s been a combination of introduction and dungeon running. While there were elements of what we’re going to see here in prior segments, Dali marks the player’s arrival at a town. The player is allowed to puzzle things out, wander off to grind on the world map, and generally move at their own pace (rather than have nothing to do other than progress or stand around). Here, character development is king, and unfolding details of the setting wrap you further into the world and give you hints of what’s happening on the big scale – and what’s to come.

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Old Man Musings – The Olden Days of Couch Coop

I recently sat down and played Dynamite Cop with a friend. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about (which is very understandable), Dynamite Cop was a Sega Dreamcast title made in the same vein as the Die Hard Arcade game. Basically, it’s mindlessly fun 3d brawler gameplay with silly little quick time events between brawls. Honestly, it’s not a very good game, but it does have cooperative play, and that makes all the difference in the world.

I may be old now, but when the world and I were still young, there were all sorts of couch coop games out there. Things have changed quite a bit, but one thing hasn’t changed at all: even the most mediocre of titles becomes fantastic when you’re playing it with a friend. So find a spot on the couch, grab a controller, and we’ll play our way through memory lane.

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