Extra Life 2017 Streaming Marathon Schedule

Posted in Uncategorised

Here is what we have on the schedule, with most of the contents being highly prone to change unless there are others involved.  All times listed are in the Eastern Time zone. The goal is to stream for 16 hours or so (minus the occasional bathroom and food break), starting at 11:00 AM on November 4th.

Time Notes Games
11:00 Warm Up Metroid: Samus Returns, Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS, Mega Man Anniversary Collection, Dragon Quest VIII
12:00 Gaming with Towelman Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, 20XX, Invisigun Heroes
14:00 Roguelikes or Randomizers Everspace, FTL, 20XX, Zelda: ALttP or Super Metroid Randomized
16:00 Team GetWaved Assemble! Artemis
18:30 Science Time! Kerbal Space Program – There and Back Again challenge (drop 1 kerbal off on the Mun, return and retrieve him)
20:45 WhyCalibur Tabletop Time! Roving Bastion Armsweir (Lancer: giant mech tabletop game)
24:00 Chill Out Journey, The Stanley Parable, SM3DW: Champion’s Road, Halcyon 6
03:00 Sign Off Happy Extra Life 2017 everyone!

 

People interested in supporting my fundraising efforts can check out my page on the Extra Life Website.  100% of the donation goes to the Stollery Children’s Hospital and is tax receiptable. If we hit the donation target of $2000 then I will also be doing the 12 days of Christmas thing I proposed, the description is a few posts before this one. =)

 

The Final Fantasy VIII Spread Sheet

Posted in Uncategorised

I just completed a Let’s Play of Final Fantasy VIII, and for part I used an excel spreadsheet to figure out how to divide up GFs across the whole team.  This is the single coolest thing I have done in my life, and I expect to be getting recognition from the major news outlets of the world any day now for my accomplishments on organizing data for this 18 year-old game (which can now vote, BTW).

A few dozen people One person asked for the spreadsheet I made, so here it is.  Both pages:

Final Fantasy VIII Plan

I’m pretty sure a more effective distribution of GFs could be made.  I originally wanted each character to have a thematically appropriate “main GF” but it all got screwed up when I thought I gave a Spd-J Scroll to Ifrit but actually gave it to Siren, and you just know what she can be like about that sort of thing so naturally everything went sideways.  But this one is “pretty good”.

In case you are wondering, no, there is no perfect solution for getting all of the characters fully junctioned without using a bunch of scrolls.  Most stats are only junctionable by 5 GFs, not 6, and many have only 3 sources (most importantly: speed).  Two speed scrolls are pretty easy to get via petty crime, and in my case I generated a third by beating up adorable Cactuar enemies and refining their Cactus Thorns (200 of them, which were pretty quick to get, all considering) into Hundred Needles (two of them, making still 200 needles, but packaged differently), and then refining those into Speed-Up items (2 of them) and then those into a a Spd-J scroll.  I learned all about this stuff from a website that peeled away they veil and showed me the truth of all things.  It also had helpful tables.

Extra Life 2017, The List, and the 12 Days of Christmas

Posted in Uncategorised

Every year I try to participate in the Extra Life livestream charity event.  The idea is that people should livestream for 24 hours for charity, although for me the 24 hour stream is pretty tricky to pull off given what life is like for me.  I still try to come up with a different way of hitting 24 hours, so the plan this year is to do a bunch of streaming, and also something I’ve been wanting to do I’m going to call “The 12 Days of Christmas”, where, at Christmas time, I will put out extra videos (12 of them) each a 1-off of a different game.  I also keep a list of games that are good candidates for future LPing as well, so I’m just rolling it all into one today.

Extra Life 2017

  • Artemis
  • Journey (late at night)
  • Dragon Quest VIII
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Halcyon 6
  • Invisigun Heroes
  • Super Metroid (randomized)
  • The Stanley Parable (late at night)

The 12 Days of Christmas Shortlist

  • Apotheon
  • Cities Skylines
  • Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
  • Dungeon of the Endless
  • Everspace
  • Evoland
  • Fez
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
  • Overcooked
  • Push Me Pull You
  • Rising Islands
  • Roller Coaster Tycoon
  • Shadow of the Colossus
  • Shovel Knight
  • Sim City
  • Smash Bros
  • Starbound
  • Star Trek Online
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Overwatch

The List

  • Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
  • Final Fantasy VII (again)
  • Chrono Cross
  • The Last Story
  • Xenosaga III
  • Gravity Rush
  • Homeworld – Deserts of Kharak
  • Sorcerer King: Rivals
  • Battlestar Galactica Deadlock

Extra Life 2016

Posted in Let's Plays, Uncategorised

On November 5th it is going to be time for Extra Life again. The plans are a bit less structured this year, just like most years, but the following things are set in stone:

All times are based on the Eastern Time zone, which is -5 GMT, possibly depending on daylight savings.  Those mess up everything.

That’s it for an official schedule, and beyond that I plan on having a list of potential activities and we’ll be winging at as we go, with the one caveat that I have learned to finish off with a more mellow activity, alone, rather than have the social stuff at the end.  Right now the following games are on the “Maybe I’ll play some of that list”

  • Kerbal Space Program (operation Mun Rescue: episode 3)
  • Super Mario Maker
  • Super Mario 3D World – Champion’s Road
  • Master of Orion (Impossible difficulty?  Mebbe we’ll start with Hard)
  • Halcyon 6
  • Galactic Civilizations III
  • Final Fantasy VIII
  • Journey
  • Dragon Quest Builders with Mrs. GetDaved (Terra Incognita mode)
  • Fire Emblem Awakening
  • FTL
  • Towerfall
  • Everspace
  • FEZ
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Monaco
  • Dungeon of the Endless

The plan is to start streaming a few minutes before Artemis and then to power on for an unknown amount of time.  This is all to support the Stolliery Children’s Hopsital, so please consider helping out with a donation.

The List: 2016

Posted in Let's Plays, Uncategorised

The old list has been up for a while so I think it’s time ot update things a bit. This is now the real list. The old one is the fake list for games I am thinking about LPing.

The List

  • RPGS
    • Kingdom Hearts
    • Chrono Cross
    • Another Final Fantasy Game
    • The Last Story
    • Xenosaga III
  • Strategy/Tactical
    • Fire Emblem Awakening or Fates
    • XCOM 2
    • Endless Space 2
    • Stellaris
    • Cities Skylines
  • Platformers
    • Mega Man X8
    • Mighty Number 9
    • New Super Mario Bros (DS)
  • Adventure
    • Gravity Rush
    • Journey
    • Hyper Light Drifer
    • Metroid Prime
    • New Zelda
    • Bastion

The List

Posted in Let's Plays, Uncategorised

So I do LPs of games, and a lot of the time I get requests to play certain games. I also sometimes think to myself “Self, you should do a Let’s Play of _____.”

To handle this I have a little memo where I write all of these down. When people send me messages requesting a game I tell them things like “Okay, it’s on the list.” I figured I should just share this list. So here it is. Everything I am thinking about LPing or people have recommended that I check out.

The List

  • RPGS
    • Crisis Core
    • Kingdom Hearts
    • Chrono Trigger (DS port)
    • Chrono Cross
    • Another Final Fantasy Game
    • The Last Story
    • Xenosaga III
    • Golden Sun
    • Earthbound
  • Strategy/Tactical
    • Fire Emblem
    • Star Wars: Rebellion
    • Master of Orion II: Super Duper Impossible
    • The Banner Saga
    • Cities Skylines
  • Platformers
    • Mega Man X8
    • Mighty Number 9
    • New Super Mario Bros (DS)
  • Adventure
    • Hyper Light Drifer
    • Metroid Prime
    • New Zelda
    • Bastion
  • Other
    • Evil Genius
    • Empire Nudis
    • Free Space 2
    • Star Trek Online
    • To The Moon
    • Dungeon of the Endless

I also have a list of more abstract ideas, that I may never get to

  • Edit an LP in the style of the movie Memento.
  • Multi-threaded LP with time travel
  • Do a gamer morning show
Extra Life 2014

Extra Life 2014

Posted in News, Uncategorised

I am still figuring out some of the finer details of the schedule, and I have gone for a lot of flexibility this year, especially to maximize time spent playing video games and minimize time spent watching loading screens. I also wanted to avoid having a schedule, but instead I present the priority list for Extra Life 2014, along with how long I intend to play things. If people provide feedback these priorities can shift.

The Games that Trump Things

Most of these are multiplayer experiences, and I will probably drop what I am doing if other people are ready to go with this. Guacamelee has been prerecorded as an LP, but I will stream the entire thing to give an uninterrupted 24 hour stream.

  • Civilization: Beyond Earth – Multiplayer (1 – 5 hours)
  • Artemis 2.1.1 – Single ship multiplayer (1 – 2 hours)
  • Guacamelee: Gold Edition – Single Player (8 hours)

The A-List

These are games that I very much want to play this year.

  • Way – Multiplayer co-op (0.5 – 1 hour)
  • Champions Road from Super Mario 3D World (0.25 – 999 hours)
  • Kerbal Space Program (2 – 4 hours)
  • Towerfall Ascension – Local multiplayer (1 hour)
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborh – MMO (0 – 3 hours, depending on MMO/stream connection stuff)
  • Monaco – Probably Single Player (1 – 2 hours)
  • New Super Luigi U (2 – 3 hours)
  • FTL: Hard Mode (0 – 999 hours)

Things I am Open To

I am not exactly prioritizing streaming these games, but if something worked out nicely or people asked lots I would totally go for it

  • Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion – Multiplayer (2-3 hours)
  • Every Day the Same Dream (0.25 – 0.5 hours)
  • Super Mario 3D World – Local Multiplayer (1 – 2 hours)
  • A Fire Emblem Game (1 – 4 hours)
The characters of Bravely Default

Bravely Default

Posted in Games, Reviews, Uncategorised

Everyone else has already established that Bravely Default is amazing, so if you haven’t played it and have any love for JRPGs or the good Final Fantasy games you owe it to yourself to check it out. The game made an extremely positive impression on me early on, and actually elicited the comment “This game is perfect” about 30 minutes in, once a particularly great piece of music began playing. It also has a very strong ending, and a slightly less amazing but still good alternate ending. The only negative criticism I can think of is that in the back third (we’ll call it Chapter 5) the game slows down quite a bit and becomes repetitive as you have to repeat a very similar cycle over and over, and the game could’ve handled things differently. It is still fantastic, and although not offically in the Final Fantasy series, it does a better job of being a Final Fantasy game than any other FF game has in the past decade (except FFXIV A Realm Reborn – that game was solid).

Here’s the lightning overview of what it makes Bravely Default special:

  1. It’s a classical JRPG in the mold of Final Fantasy IV meets Dragon Quest (puns included), but in a 3D environment with occasional pre-rendered backdrops (similar to FFVII) and with better art than either
  2. It has a job system similar to FFV/FF Tactics. This means it has an implementation of the best job system ever
  3. It has a decent plot that turns into a bit of a mystery towards the end, and an extremely epic finale (even considering that video games generally set the bar for “epic ending” pretty high)
  4. It has very, very good music
  5. It has two good characters and two annoying ones. By the end everyone becomes more likeable.
  6. It knows people may not like grinding, so you can double or quadruple the speed of the random encounters
  7. It also lets you turn off enemy encounters entirely. Or you can double them. You can also change the difficulty of the game whenever you want. Overall the game gives the player a lot of control over their experience.
  8. Lots of cool twists on game mechanics like importing super attacks from other people playing the game, stocking up turns, and interrupting enemies part way through their turn (even in the middle of an attack animation) to take an immediate action

In my opinion Bravely Default really represents the modernization of the classical JRPG, and it gives me lots of hope for the genre, and for the future of Final Fantasy. Square Enix finally published a good RPG again!

Wiping the Hard Drive

Posted in Uncategorised

Going through a major computer rebuild is always an interesting experience. Right now I’m slowly watching the only (in theory) bits I definitely want to back up transfer to a USB stick. This isn’t even a huge change to be honest, but it’s a new hard drive in a new case, so I had to gut the old box that has served me well for three years. There was enough dust inside it to reconstitute a new human.

I get retrospective fairly easily, but gathering up all of the files and packing them up is a bit like moving to a new house. I’ve looked at creative projects I haven’t touched in 12 years (fun fact: I used to have a web comic), and I’ve tried finding things that are no longer there (a really awesome personal website from about 9 years ago).

It’s a bit of a strange post to cut off a 5 year silence from blogging online, but it’s a bit of a time for new beginnings as well. New case, new (almost finished) personal website, and new projects ready to be shared.

I hope I didn’t forget to backup anything good.

But the Future Refused to Change

It’s the End of the Overworld as We Know It

Posted in Game Design, Uncategorised

In 1986 a video game named Dragon Warrior was released. They called it Dragon Quest in Japan, but under either name it single-handedly established the JRPG genre and was a landmark achievement for gaming. May of the conventions it established are still used in many games today, even outside the genre. Games have evolved since then, and many features have since been improved upon (most obviously: graphics), but one critical thing has been getting neglected recently, and it’s not okay. I speak of the Overworld Map.

To clarify what I mean when I refer to an overworld, I am defining it as the big, continuous world that links all of the towns, dungeons, super robot statues, etc. in the game’s world together. Typically major destination were represented with icons on a very large map. Your character could wander that map, and whenever your character wandered onto an icon the town or dungeon or whatever would load. It managed the scale of the game where literally travelling the entire world would be pretty boring if scale were preserved. By using iconic representations of locations the world suddenly came into existence while still be practical to explore and geographically interesting, all without breaking the bank on development time.

The advanced 1986 overworld system of Dragon Quest.
1986: The advanced overworld of Dragon Quest.
The primitive 2001 world map system of Final Fantasy X
2001: The primitive world map of Final Fantasy X

In Final Fantasy X there is a big world with lots of screens and the game does create a bit of an illusion of connectedness when it allows you to travel from one to the other by going through fundamentally linear areas, but in the end, any concept of a world is destroyed when you get your airship. In every other Final Fantasy game you get an awesome flying airship that can take you virtually anywhere. In FF 1 – 9 you get on the airship, fly to where you want to go, and then land and get out. It’s great. In FFX you get in it via a menu, once inside you don’t fly it anywhere, you look at a menu and a map and select where you want to go from the menu (not even from the map!) and then you appear there. It’s a lot like navigating a website, but not much like exploring. In Final Fantasy X you explore the world by inputting passwords into a computer that add new locations to your menu. Despite this being less fun, this system of menu-based travel and exploration is becoming reasonably common in gaming, and it sucks.

Luckily if we need a shining beacon to show us the way to do things right, there is one: Dragon Quest VIII. That game gave exploration the best treatment it has ever had in video games to date. It has an overworld that is wide and open and continuous but it doesn’t have to scale down the towns to mere icons or avatars: the world is simply that big. This is often employed in MMORPGs, but said MMORPGs typically feature zones that are still largely self enclosed, which is something that should be avoided in areas that are allegedly outdoors. In Dragon Quest VIII the only zoning that exists is gates that allow entrance into towns or dungeons – and this is makes sense in the context of the game. The game also lets you fly around the world, and there is no menu nonsense. You actually soar above all of the areas you explored on foot and get to look down and them and try to find places you couldn’t reach before or identify cities you want to revisit from the sky. It’s great. And if all of those makes it sound like it would be a pain to backtrack (after all, clicking on a menu option is very fast and convenient) we must also remember that every Dragon Quest game also features the zoom spell, where you can instantly teleport to a city you have already been to by selecting it from a menu. But you don’t need to find an arbitrary “airship spot” like in FFX or FFXII. You just go whenever you want. All of this is wonderful.

Dungeons were just as confined as the great outdoors in Final Fantasy XII
Exploring the world in Dragon Quest VIII is about as good as it gets.

Now it is no secret that DQVIII needed (and received) a lot of time, manpower, and money in its development, but not every game needs to have an overworld that is simply that good. If exploration is supposed to happen there needs to be a world map though, and there is no shame in using iconic representations of cities and simplified geographies like in Dragon Quest I. It’s not a step forward from 1986, but at least it isn’t the step backwards all those others took.