The Liebster Award

Whoa, two posts in one day!  I must have a ton of energy – or a lot of smoldering rage issues preventing me from getting anything else accomplished.  Well, I guess we’ll never know!

But at least this brightened my mood – I’ve been nominated for another award!  My first-ever Liebster Award.  You know, when I started blogging not all that long ago, I honestly never considered that anyone would actually want to read it, let alone think it had any particular value.  But I was apparently wrong – many thanks to moresleepneeded for the kind nomination!

As a part of the award, I once again get to answer a series of questions posed by my nominator, and then nominate a group of fellow bloggers to answer some questions of my own.  Without further ado, more information that you probably never wanted to know about your friendly neighborhood Evil Wizard, Esq.

1.Why did you choose the name of your blog?

Well, if you’ve read it, then Evil should probably be self-explanatory.  Wizard is a reference to the fact that I’m fairly analytical – I want to understand anything I don’t, be it people, situations, or problems.  And passing the Ohio bar exam enables me to add the Esq. to the end!

2.If you could go back in time to experience any event, where would you go?

Hmm…tough call.  I mean, I’ve always been fascinated by space exploration, so one obvious choice would be to watch Apollo 11 lunar landing.  But then, the evil nihilistic side of me might say that I could go back to the very first instant that basic building blocks of human life first formed in the primordial soup of the earth…AND STOP THEM.

3.What subjects do you enjoy finding out information about?

Well, the obvious example given my profession would be law – but the truth is EVERYTHING.  There is honestly nothing I don’t like learning more about.  Gaming, sports, politics, science, history…I’ve never encountered a single subject that I don’t find interesting on some level.

4.What is a mystery you would like to know the answer to?

The existence of extraterrestrial life.  It’s fascinated me since I was a youth.

5.What is the funniest way that you have heard anyone mistake the lyrics for a song?

Hmm…I don’t really have a good answer for this one, but I cracked up the other day when my niece told me that her new favorite movie was “The Wizard of the Boz.”

6.What is the weirdest question you have been asked as part of a Liebster Award Nomination?

See Number 7 below.

7.What is the name of a dance song (which sounds like it was from the eighties) which features energetic music and a deep voice singing “Hold me”?

I…I honestly have absolutely no idea.

8.How do you like to write blogs?

As a pure stream of consciousness – I find the most entertaining entries are when I have a lot stirring inside and just let myself rant.  Alcohol tends to help this process.

9.What would you do if I sang out of tune?

I would stand up and walk out on you – and then immolate the establishment in which you were singing.  So don’t.

10.What is a song that reminds you of a specific time or place?

This is tough for me to answer – not because I can’t think of an example, but because there are so many and most are intensely personal.  I will say “Walking in Memphis”, high school, and The X-Files.  The rest is mine alone.

My nominations go to:

The Crew at Games Revisited (sweet, pure classic game goodness in my veins)

The mysterious master of retr0pia (MORE classic goodness)

The Storytelling Cook at Recipe in a Bottle (so many delicious noms)

Magnificent Millie Schmidt at Coffee, Chocolate & Writing – With Cats (how can you not love all of those things?)

Anna at Anonymously Autistic (a wonderful soul who helps me to understand my youngest son’s precious mind)

As for my questions:

  1. If you could have one more visit with someone who is no longer in your life, who would it be?
  2. If you won the lottery tomorrow and were financially set for life, what would you do?
  3. Where is your absolute favorite place on earth?
  4. What is your favorite game, book, film, show, etc.?
  5. If you lost everything you had, who is the first person you would turn to for help?

Short and sweet, kiddos!  Thanks again for making an old, evil hermit feel welcome! – EWE

 

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#FrozenFoodFridays -It’s Gotta Be Friday Somewhere Edition!

Soooo…yeah, it’s Saturday.  I’ve got nothing – it was a really stressful last couple of days at the office, as well as personally, and that led to no Friday post.  For that I am sorry – but, due to Evil Wizard’s Law of Temporal Convenience, it has to be Friday somewhere, in some dimension or plane of existence…therefore, welcome to another #FrozenFoodFridays!

And since I kind of blew the timing on this, it’s a kind of bonus – two related treats for the price of one!  Because tonight we have not one, but two of my personal favorite snacks and sometimes, meals – first, SuperPretzel Soft Pretzel Bites!

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I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I’ll eat all 35 in one shot.

I love hot pretzels – but lets face it, sometimes they just aren’t the most convenient things in the world.  I mean, maybe I don’t want to smother it in mustard or cheese – maybe I want to dip it.  But then I’ve got to pull the damn thing apart…the whole thing becomes a huge fucking hassle.  Enter the soft pretzel bite – proof that you humans are, occasionally, capable of higher-level thinking.

These are another relatively low-challenge snack to prepare – just place the frozen bites on a plate, moisten with water, salt to taste, and microwave.  But I can offer a few helpful tips.  First, I find that the optimal level of moisture is achieved by getting your hand wet and then using the wet hand to dampen the pretzel bites, rather than running the bites themselves under water.  Second, while there is a small pouch of salt in the box with the bites, using ground sea salt or table salt results in a better distribution across the bites.  Finally, do yourself a favor and prepare multiple dipping sauces for your pile of pretzel goodness.  Personally, I like to have some yellow mustard, some salsa con queso, some peppery marinara sauce, and some ranch dressing.  In fact, just describing this is making me fucking hungry now.

But wait!  Maybe you see this and say “Well, I’d like to have delicious warm pretzels for dinner, but I haven’t had any protein all day!”  To you I say – I’m a fucking wizard, did you NOT think I’d have you covered too?

pretzel-dogs
Insert your own wiener joke here.

Yes, they crammed their plump, chubby wieners into the warm, soft insides of the pretzels.  Actually…that sounds even worse than I thought it would when I was writing it.  I’d apologize, if I weren’t, you know, evil.  Anyway – the person that decided to combine beef hot dogs with soft pretzels is a certifiable genius and deserves a medal.  The preparation is basically the same, but now you’ve got the additional flavor of the dogs to go with the pretzel, and when you factor in the wide variety of condiments that can be used as a dip – well, your palate won’t know what hit it.  Kind of like those villagers I buried under an avalanche last week.  Ah, good times!

So that’s it for this week’s #FrozenFoodFridays, kids!  Apologies again for the tardiness.  Until next we meet, remember – you humans, no matter how unlikable you may be, you will sometimes encounter another that doesn’t seem to mind you, and may even enjoy your company for some odd reason.  Don’t take those people for granted.  Hang on to them.  You never know when they might not be there, and you’ll wish they were. – EWE

A Dragon Quest Retrospective – Part 1: The NES Era

Welcome back once again, questors and, uh…questettes?  Sure, why not.  Once again I welcome you to something a little different from me – while I have profiled various humans here in the past, as well as reviewed some games, I have never before given an overview of an entire video game series.  Quite honestly, I feel as if doing so is something that should be reserved for only the most important and influential series in the storied history of video games – otherwise it somewhat cheapens the endeavor.  I mean, you can do a profile of the “Destroy All Humans!” Series but that would only be two game that not many people have heard of.

So when I considered doing a retrospective look at an entire franchise, I knew it needed to be one of some import.  It also needed to be one that had some personal significance for me – because let’s be honest, this is my blog, and if I don’t give any fucks about a particular series, why the hell would I waste my time discussing it?  I’m evil, not stupid.  So I figured that I would go with a groundbreaking, landmark JRPG series of fantasy worlds, swords, magic, world threatening evils, and parties of colorful characters growing from relatively powerless youths into earth-shattering Demi-gods intent on saving the world.

What’s that?  Oh, no, not that one.  There are no rideable chickens or bat winged koala bears in this one.  That’s right – it’s time for a look at Dragon Quest / Dragon Warrior if you’re older than time itself (like me, goddammit).  And since this is not a small undertaking, I have decided to split it up into a few separate posts, each focusing on a different part of the overall series.  This time, we take a look at the origins of the series on the venerable NES.


If Square’s Final Fantasy is considered the father of the modern JRPG, then Enix’s Dragon Quest was the granddaddy of them all.  Originally released in Japan in 1986, and in the US in 1989 as Dragon Warrior, the original Dragon Quest was one of the first console role-playing games to take the venerable gameplay of tabletop Dungeons & Dragons and convert it into a streamline, user friendly video game by placing most of the dice rolling and number crunching under the hood and only displaying the results to the player.  The game saw a lone warrior embark on a quest to save the Kingdom of Alefgard’s princess from danger and defeat the evil Dragonlord to restore peace to the land.  Yeah, as stories go, they don’t come much more cookie cutter than this, but it was the 80s, dammit!  Anyway, the relatively simple turn-based battle system was made enchanting by the now-iconic monster designs of famed Dragonball manga creator Akira Toriyama.  The game was a smash hit in Japan, but Nintendo wasn’t sure about its chances in America, so they literally gave it away for free – a copy of the game, along with a substantial strategy guide, was given away to every person that subscribed to Nintendo Power magazine.   This brilliant exercise in marketing strategy enabled a younger, extremely poor, not-yet-esq. Evil Wizard to fall madly in love with the world of RPGS.


Following the success of Dragon Quest, Enix released the sequel, Dragon Quest II, in Japan in 1987 and in the US in 1990.  Everything about Dragon Quest II was an expansion on its predecessor, but in some ways Enix’s ambitions outstripped their abilities at that time.  The world of Dragon Quest II was huge – for comparison, the Kingdom of Alefgard featured in the original title was only one small portion of the entire map.   The story was also much more central than the barebones plot justification of the original.  Dragon Quest II featured the descendants of the Hero of the first game banding together to combat an evil wizard named Hargon.  The game featured a party of three unique playable characters, and a ship that could be used to travel between the many continents in the world – however, the combat was not as balanced as other party-based RPGS, and the necessity of grinding in order to keep your weaker characters alive reached levels of absurdity.  Still, for its time, Dragon Quest II was an incredibly ambitious sequel and pushed the series forward in every possible way.


Ah, Dragon Quest III.  Make no mistake about it – this is my absolute favorite entry in this entire series, and I love a number of these games.  In almost every conceivable way, Dragon Quest III is the absolute pinnacle of JRPG game design and execution for the entire 8-bit era, and it inspired nearly every convention of RPGs today.  Not just one gigantic world, but two, packed with colorful NPC characters, an epic, sweeping story, numerous towns, castles, towers, caves, dungeons – but the show stealer was the game’s class system.  At the beginning of the game, the Hero recruits three characters for a party of four.  These characters can be created from a number of different character classes, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses.  Later in the adventure, the player gains access to the ability for these party members to switch their current character class for a new one, beginning at level one but retaining all spells and abilities that they learned previously.  This incredibly well balanced system still holds up to this day, and has been copied by numerous other games through the years since.


Released in Japan in 1990 and in the US in 1992 as Dragon Warrior IV, Dragon Quest IV was the series NES swan song, and in many ways was something of a “concept album” for the series.   Eschewing the blank slate party building and open-ended class system of Dragon Quest III, Dragon Quest IV featured unique playable characters with their own set classes and abilities – but in a break from the past, rather than put the party together early in the game, IV instead broke the story up into individual “chapters” each focusing on a different party member.  Only n the last half of  game did all of the playable characters come together to face the common threat to their entire world.  The other main problem with IV was that it was released for the aging NES after the much more powerful SNES had come out – thus, despite being a critical hit, it failed to sell as well as its predecessors had.

Now, each of these games is more than worth a play through for fans of classic JRPG game design – and the GOOD NEWS for all of you is that each of these has been remade a number of times – most recently for iOS and Android devices.  Do yourself a favor – track down these classic gems and give them a look!

That’s all for this installment – as always, please give me any thoughts or suggestions on this topic or anything else in the blog.  I promise, even if they are critical or cruel, I probably won’t rain down terror upon you and all of your descendants for generations to come!  Next time I revisit this, we will take a look at the “lost” SNES entries in the series.  Until we meet again, kids, remember – not every Trump supporter you meet is necessarily a horrible person.  There is a chance that maybe they are JUST horrifically, criminally, incurably stupid.  Those ones can be forgiven, and then hopefully institutionalized before they can cause harm to themselves or others.  The rest are absolutely horrible people –  and this is coming from who LITERALLY wears his evil on his sleeve. – EWE

Joking Hazard FTW!

No, children, I am NOT advocating you commit suicide by cyanide – though admittedly, the list of folks I’m tempted to give a cyanide soda to is not particularly short.  This is actually a rather happy use of cyanide – at least, if your as twisted and find enjoyment in the suffering of others as much as I do.  This is my new favorite card game – Joking Hazard, from the same talented sociopaths that brought you Cyanide & Happiness.

For quite some time now, the title of Best Card Game has been owned by Cards Against Humanity.  Joking Hazard, however, has similar complete-the-sequence-in-the-funniest/most horrible-manner-possible gameplay, but one-ups CAH by having each card illustrated by the delightfully depraved Blue and Green from the C&H web comic.  Now, you no longer need to mentally picture the insane, borderline criminal scenarios that the cards you’ve played depict – it’s right there in front of you!

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The king is dead – long live the king!

Gameplay is simple – each round, a different player acts as judge and starts a comic strip sequence, then judges which player has completed the sequence in the “best” manner.  Best can mean a lot of things – most fitting, most logical, most insane, most horrific…the possibilities are endless.  Well, until you run out of cards, I guess.  So not quite endless.  But still…a fucking lot of possibilities.

Do yourself a favor – get some friends together (or if you’re like me and nobody fucking likes you, round up some hostages), settle in with a few (lot of) adult beverages, and play this game.  You won’t be disappointed.  Unless you’re an asshole with no sense of humor – in which case, the fact that you continue to read this blog makes you some kind of masochist, so you STILL win!  Enjoy! – EWE

#FrozenFoodFridays – Dessert Time!

See, a good authority figure would make you eat your dinner before offering a treat.  But an Evil one?  Oh, it’s straight to the dessert this week on #FrozenFoodFridays!

As you can see, I’ve brought you a classic this week – Breyer’s Oreo Cookies and Cream ice cream.  Now, I’m not going to beat around the bush here – there’s little in the way of “prep” to this. I mean, I guess you could run your scoop under water to make scooping the ice cream a bit smoother…but really, why the fuck aren’t you just eating it straight out of the carton?  This is objectively the best ice cream on the face of the earth – there’s no “too much of a good thing” here.  Take it out of the freezer and enjoy.

Oh, and protip: keep to of these in the freezer. One is your standard dessert carton.  The other is there for when you’ve had a traumatic, depressing experience – that one you open and eat from start to finish in one go, stopping only to sob.  Don’t look at me!  Don’t judge me!  You know you do it too, goddammit!

And that’s it for this week’s #FrozenFoodFridays, boys and girls.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a gallon of ice cream, and a lot of regret to follow, waiting in my freezer. – EWE

Why Geeks Rule the World

Greets, little ones.  You are all witness at this moment to an exceedingly rare cosmic event – I am honestly, genuinely happy because of a group of humans.  I know, I know – even I am kind of shocked.  Particularly after that absolute dumpster fire of a debate last night, I thought for certain that I would be here just frothing at the mouth and ready to strangle the first person within reach.  But then…then this happened.

grinch
EWE’s actual heart is jet black and much smaller, but you get the idea.

As most of you that have been following for a bit are aware, I am an unabashed fan of IGN‘s podcasts and the incredibly talented men and women that make them happen.  Podcast BEYOND and Podcast UNLOCKED, and more specifically the amazing people behind them – AlanahMartyMaxBrianAndrewRyan, and so many more – showed kindness and friendship to a complete nobody halfway across the country at a time when I needed it more than anything.  They had nothing to gain by doing so, but they did it anyway – because they are just good people.  The absolute best.

So knowing this, their latest act of kindness and generosity comes as no surprise to me, but is no less heartwarming.  Recently, a fan of the shows, Zach Carlson, wrote in to tell the story of how the recent advent of VR gaming had been very meaningful for his family – as his blind, autistic brother had fallen in love with it the moment he had tried it.  Zach went on to describe something that I, and anyone that has a loved one that suffers from autism, wanted to weep when I heard – that his brother said being in the VR world was the first time in his life that he felt “normal.”  After sharing his touching story, Zach explained that he was now saving up to try and secure a Playstation VR system for his brother in time for Christmas.

Most people would say what a nice story that is, and then move on.  But not the IGN family – they decided to lend their hands, their voices, toward helping Zach reach his goal and then some.  Alanah started a GoFundMe and reached out to the gaming community in hopes of getting funding to provide Zach’s family with a PSVR and maybe even some games to go with it.

Gamers get a really bad rap.  People condemn them and their hobby as pointless and childish, and even within the community there can be vitriol and strife.  But when push comes to shove, the gaming community has each other’s backs like no other group in the world.

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In less than four hours, the fundraiser brought in more than three times the goal it was aiming for.  Zach’s family would not only get a PSVR and every available game for the system, but be able to donate to a charity of their choosing as well.  And all of this was due to a group of gamers, of journalists, of podcast hosts, but most importantly, of absolutely fucking amazing people, who decided once again to show kindness for no reason other than because they could.

Support Zach’s GoFundMe, support IGN and their podcasts, and most importantly, humans, support one another.  There may be a disgusting, vulgar sexual predator running for the presidency – but the most important people in this world are the ones that take care of one another.  Yeah…even an Evil Wizard can help his own sometimes.  And I’m happy to do so.  Until next time, minions – take care of yourselves and one another. – EWE

The Versatile Blogger Award

Another award nomination?!  Aww…you kids are too kind!  Seriously…you’re really too kind, you should get that checked or something, it never turns out well.  That said, many thanks to ToreishiNoblesse of toreishigames for the nomination and the kind words.  If you like my ramblings, you will love Tor’s – a kindred blogging soul to my own (if I had a soul) with far less nihilism.  Thank you kindly, my friend!

Rules:
1) Display Award
2) Thank the person who gave this award (and include a link to their blog)
3) Share seven things about yourself
4) Nominate ten bloggers

Wait, seven things about myself?  Shit – this might be more introspection than I’ve done in centuries.  Well, you’ve been warned – you may never be able to unsee/unhear the horrific atrocities that are about to be unleashed…

1) I’m chronically early to everything.  It’s a fucking compulsion – if I’m not running 30 minutes ahead of schedule, I start to lose my shit.  It stems from being a kid and my mom being my only mode of transport.  She is an amazing woman, single mom, ran a day care in our home and somehow raised three children despite being very poor – but the consequence of always being busy meant that we were inevitably late to everything, and I hated that feeling.  By the time I was in high school, I would lie about when I needed to be places on the order of a couple of hours just to make sure I would get there on time.  Once I could drive myself places, I swore I’d always be early before I’d be late.

2) I’m terrible at taking my own advice.  I majored in psychology as an undergrad, and both before and in the years after, I’ve always had a talent for reading people and helping them deal with issues that they face.  That said, I am completely goddamn incapable of taking my own advice, no matter how sound it is when I offer it to others.  I’ll even recognize this fact as I am dispensing said advice to someone, and still will manage to not follow it.

3) I love amusement parks.  Like, Cedar Point is some form of heaven on earth for me.  Roller coasters, haunted houses, fair food – I love every bit of amusement parks and have ever since I was a young evil mageling.

4) I have trust issues.  This is probably fairly obvious to anyone that has followed this blog to this point, but they aren’t exactly what you may think, and they are fairly well-founded.  As a child, I was subjected to severe, prolonged, and horrific abuse – I will spare the details, but I look back now and realize I should by all rights have become a statistic and I don’t know how I didn’t.  Even into adulthood, it seemed that the people that I would come to trust the most and leave myself vulnerable to would use that trust to hurt me.  But my issue isn’t that now I can’t trust – it is that even when I do place my trust in someone now, I do so with the sad, inevitable feeling that it will sooner or later be betrayed.  It is far from pleasant, and I would like nothing more than for it to be proven wrong one day.

5) I’m an insomniac.  I’ve never been particularly good at falling or staying asleep my entire life, but since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the pain has made sleep even more difficult, and the collapse of my engagement some time back shredded my mental and emotional world for quite a while.  Fortunately, after spending some time using various aids to help combat this, I’ve recently begun to return to something approaching a healthy sleep cycle – but I still have a long way to go.

6) I am terrible at admitting defeat.  Whether it is in a court case, an MMA fight, a cooking endeavor – you name it, and I have to be good at it.  I recognize that it isn’t realistic or even particularly healthy – but see no. 2 above.

7) I love blogging.  Seems almost silly, right?  But it’s a new thing for me.  I had never considered an undertaking like this before, but then I needed a place to open up when I was at my lowest point, and so now here we are, and I have loved every moment of it.  I have no particular expectations – while I would love for my thoughts to become a massive success that amuse and inform and incense people all over the world, I am also content that I have found any audience at all that finds value in what I have to say, and how I say it.  It is honestly one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had.

Now, for ten people far better at this than I am (apologies if you’ve already been tagged before; it just means you’re extra-super-special!):

Mari Lyn at Mari Lyn Holistic (I’ve known this beautiful, artistic, talented, and compassionate woman for many years – she’s absolutely amazing!)

The Rage Mage at The Well-Red Mage (Your review of Jaws for NES made me laugh, cry, and suffer horrific flashbacks all at the same time.)

Lightning Night Nova at Conquering the Gaming Backlog (Her approach to gaming seems so in tune with mine, it’s like she’s a palette-swapped sprite of me!)

Mei-Mei at Jedi by Knight (Who in addition to being an awesome blogger, also lives in NE Ohio – making her geographically superior as well!)

Spoon You Fork Me at The Dining Diaries (I want to eat all the things.  Seriously, all of them.)

Mr. Panda at Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews (In-depth reviews that I can only aspire to emulate.)

Hammy at Hammy Reviews (Fantastic, polished reviews across a wide range of media.)

The Otaku Judge at The Otaku Judge (A rightfully self-described, and quite accomplished, geek critic after my own, uh, what do you humans call it…oh, right, heart!)

Vahrkalla at Vahrkalla’s Video Games (You have to appreciate snark this skillfully woven into intelligent prose!)

The Well-Red Mage at The Well-Red Mage (The first to make me feel welcomed to the blogging community, and also one of the most entertaining writers in said community!)

If you aren’t listed above, it doesn’t mean I hate you – well, I mean, I AM a condensed mass of hatred, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t list you out of hatred.  I actually am rather fond of many, many people and blogs in our little corner of the Interweb – and I humbly thank you all for allowing me to join it. – EWE