Persona 5 Father/Son Run – Better Parenting Through Demonology

**WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR PERSONA 5**

Greetings, humans – it’s been far too long, and while life offers no guarantees, I hope it is not so long again after this.  And I will leave that at that.

Now, what does a malicious mage like myself get up to in the many months since we’ve met?  Who is to say for sure (Editor’s Note: well, possibly some of those villagers…but I don’t think you left them in any condition to talk, actually), ahem – Editor’s flattery (Editor’s Note: I wasn’t complimenting you…) FLATTERY aside, I did engage in one particular activity that I can share with you here that quite intrigued me over the last couple of weeks.  You see, several weeks ago my eldest, redheaded clone pointed out that when I had initially completed Persona 5 when it released on the PS4, he had not been able to watch most of it at that time.  He seemed intrigued in the gameplay systems as well as the standard SMT storyline of carving your own path through the world to rage against the gods and your opposed humans to grab your destiny with your own two hands.

But the decisions being made moment to moment are what really brought us closer together.  Because as you may understand, between the holidays and then some early January scheduling strangeness, they were able to more freely pick and choose time to spend with me.  And since my big Beefer has been with often lately, he was able to help establish our personality for our avatar and how he interacts with his social links, er, I meant “Confidants.”  For example, it took no time at all for us to agree strongly that Ryuji is a loud, tasteless, useless piece of garbage and gleefully try to envision scenarios in which we could get him destroyed.  There were the long discussions about who the best female confidant was and why we should have our character date her as opposed to anyone else.

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And then there was watching my young boy, my growing little man, who claims little interest in school topics, show genuine curiousness about the various demons, gods, and mythological figures that filled out the Persona Compendium.  He and I loved checking online for more info on whatever the latest god we had tamed and the abilities now at our command.  From there would be stimulating back-and-forth conversations regarding the occult, Judeo Christian demonology, Japanese youkai and spirits, and others.  It truly is amazing seeing an intellect that reminds me so much of what I once was, but sharper, growing and learning and becoming even greater than I could have dreamed.

We were not, however, able to come to total agreement in choosing between clearly fellow nerd love interest Futaba:

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…and more mature, and darker punk rock back-alley doctor Tae Takemi.

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Honestly, it’s a great problem to have, choosing between those two.  But even better has been the last 130 hours of game time – laughing at the insanity, freaking out at the ever increasing audacity of the villains, and concocting new ways to save our friends.  Until finally, on the day we were faced with having to destroy God himself in order to preserve the freedom of humanity, we sat in awe as the main character we’d created ourselves manifested powerful demon lord and destroyed the divine.  We were still talking about it when I had to take him home to do homework.  About about the bonds the main character forged with his true companions to sustain him.  About how outside of one another, they didn’t care what others had to say about what they felt called to do.

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So for any of you parents that believe videogames are a waste of time, I openly mock you – because while you are busy denigrating something you don’t understand, you are also losing a valuable tool to connecting with your own children!

Until next time (Editor’s Note: unless in his frustration he summons a meteor to annihilate us all), I will take my leave and see you soon! – EWE

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High Crimes & Misdemeanors

Good evening, humans!  How fare you this night?  What’s that – me, you ask?

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That about sums it up.

Yeah…the mind and body weren’t very cooperative today.  Since my normal response to lack of cooperation (Editor’s Note: …i.e., setting the offending party on fire…) yes, that, didn’t seem appropriate seeing as how it was MY mind and body, I just had to grin and bear it.  Well, bear it – grinning being decidedly not my thing and, frankly, very disturbing the few times I’ve attempted it.  I’m fairly sure it has something to do with the horrific, Lovecraftian monstrosity that I call my face.  Regardless, despite the mental and physical fog, a particular piece of lunacy leaped out to pierce the shroud and assault my mind, common sense, and sense of basic decency (Editor’s Note: and you know that’s really a low bar coming from EWE!) exactl- hey, watch it!

Upon seeing this, my immediate, gut reaction was something like:

Goddammit

Upon further time to process the Senator’s comments and stance, however, my calmer, more nuanced response was:

Goddammit

You know, this is going to sound selfish and petty, but…why do I have to do this?  Why?  For fuck’s sake, it is 2018 – why in the hell do I need to waste a single iota of my time and energy explaining why it would NOT, in fact, “be hard for senators not to consider who he is today” if Kavanaugh, a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States, sexually assaulted a woman in high school.  And is lying about to this very day, displaying no remorse or recognition that his conduct was improper.  Why do we even have to fucking HAVE this discussion?  What in the actual FUCK is wrong with you miserable sacks of watered-down carbon that this is something that even needs to be addressed whatsoever?  (Editor’s Note: Sorry – he’s a little cranky tonight.)

Listen, what a lot of people may not know (although you’d sure think a goddamn sitting Senator would know it) is that Supreme Court Justices are open to impeachment and removal for “high crimes and misdemeanors” much the same way as a President.  And that, short of the Justice retiring voluntarily or dying, is the only way they come off the bench.   With that kind of job security comes a high standard of behavior that we hold our Justices to.  This means that if Bill Clinton can be impeached over a white stain on his intern’s dress, while Kavanaugh is alleged to have teamed up with a fellow classmate to sexually assault and attempt to rape a young woman, then that should damn well disqualify him from even being considered for placement on the Court in the first place.

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Which brings me to Orrin Hatch.  You pathetic, sniveling, arrogant, senile son-of-a-bitch.  You actually said, to national media, with a straight face, that even if Kavanaugh’s accuser is telling the truth, he should still be given serious consideration for the Supreme Court based upon “who he is now?”  Well, Orrin, let me give you a little insight into that point of view.  If you assume that his accuser is telling the truth, then Kavanaugh is someone who committed sexual assault, and possibly rape, in his late teens.  When confronted with this fact, his response has not been to acknowledge his wrongdoings, admit them, illustrate how he has changed and grown, express remorse, or otherwise demonstrate anything in the way of character development.  His response has been to deny any wrongdoing on his part, deny even being present, and call his accuser a liar.  So, Orrin, if under your scenario his accuser is telling the truth, and Kavanaugh continues to deny any responsibility, that not only makes him a sex offender but a liar.  And that doesn’t sound even remotely like someone that should be placed on the highest court in the country, even to a feeble-minded simpleton like you, does it, Orrin?  Because if it does, then not only should Kavanaugh be swept out of Washington and back under whatever dark hole he crawled out from under, but maybe you and your fellow slime that place party line over good of the nation should join him there. – EWE

For the Fe-liance!

Welcome to Sunday, humans!  And what better way to celebrate than to completely ignore whatever mindless nonsense the fluorescent troll-mander-in-chief has spewed all over himself this weekend and instead get back to something more fun.  So what’s on the menu tonight?

First off, after quite a hiatus, I’ve returned to World of Warcraft just in time for the latest expansion, Battle for Azeroth.  After being monumentally disappointed in the Warlords of Draenor expansion, I skipped the Legion expansion entirely, and so I’ve got that entire expansion of content to work through in addition to BfA’s content.  Fortunately, Dracollia and my sons all decided to hop back into Azeroth along with me, and the boys’ mom hasn’t stopped playing since we both started back in the days of Vanilla WoW.  So I’m not going back alone!  But in order for us to coordinate, we decided to form our own small guild – and thus was the Feline Mafia born.

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Meeeeeeoooooowwwwww!

In terms of other games I’m currently playing, I’ve actually been putting more and more time into a game on my phone that my oldest son turned me on to by the name of Alchemist Code.  The game itself is a free download, with available in-app purchases.  At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking this is a typical gatcha-style anime-based Japanese cell phone game aimed at making a quick buck on American cell phones, but this assessment does it a huge disservice.

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Unlike many other similar games, which feature a fairly standard style turn-based tap battle system, Alchemist Code is a full-fledged SRPG, in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea.  In fact, both of these references feel particularly appropriate – because while you can see from the image above that the main story and vibe of Alchemist Code is very much in the vein of the political machinations of Final Fantasy Tactics, the game regularly engages in crossover promotions with popular anime and game franchises, pulling in popular characters and storylines from universes including Fate/Stay, Phantom of the Kill, and most recently Disgaea.

In terms of SRPG gameplay, I would say that it plays most similarly to the PSP classic Jeanne d’Arc.  Party size is initially limited to four (with an optional fifth “mercenary” character that can be hired with currency) and two characters placed in reserve that will sub in automatically upon the death of a party member.  Each party member can be developed into multiple classes and skillsets from a master pool of points, gems, and currency.  While there is the usual option to use real money to purchase gems or currency to advance at a more rapid pace, I have not put a single cent of real money into the game and I have not felt held back once – advancement still happens at a nice pace without feeling throttled.

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All in all, I have to give Alchemist Code the highest marks – it truly is everything that a mobile game should be.  No up front cost, no strings attached for players that don’t wish to, or can’t afford to, pay for advancement, but deep gameplay and story hooks that are enough that I have found myself tempted more than once to break my personal rule of not using real money to buy fake money in mobile games.  If you have an iPhone or Android device and are a fan of SRPGs, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to give it a try.

And if you play WoW and find yourself on Khaz Modan, consider causing trouble with the Feline Mafia! – EWE

Ongoing Segment: WTF Did He Say Now?!

Alright, after last night, a decision needed to be made.  I mean, I wasn’t going to just turn this blog into a full time discussion into the insane syphilitic ramblings of Donald Trump (primarily because I would quickly reach the point of just annihilating all of you fleshbags out of frustration), but at the same time, I knew there was just going to be too much material for me to NOT address on a fairly regular basis.  So compromise I reached was to introduce a new recurring segment: WTF Did He Say Now?!  Now, technically, I suppose we could use this segment to highlight an outlandish statement from ANY public figure, but let’s face it – they’re just about all going to be from the glowing orange shitbag of moronic hatred and stupidity.

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Yeah…this tool.

Speaking of which…this absolute gem of skull-fucking insanity assaulted the world today:

This infuriates me on two levels.  There is the immediate impact of this shriveled sack of shit dismissing the deaths of 3000 people as not happening simply because he doesn’t want to take responsibility for the failed relief efforts that led to them.  That is obvious.  But there is also a broader problem with this statement that makes me want to set fire to random things – the cockgobbler-in-chief’s regular practice of simply denying reality and creating and embracing an alternate, fictional universe as his official version of the truth.  And then the further bolstering of this by his cronies and sycophants and supporters, despite the glaring and obvious evidence that what they are touting is in direct conflict to the OBVIOUS FACTS.  To illustrate this another way, let me offer a comparison chart of our most recent presidential administrations.

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This wasn’t a political plot by Democrats to make you look bad, you pathetic pissant.  This was an independent study that looked at deaths that took place over the six month period following the hurricane that struck Puerto Rico that could have been avoided had electricity and infrastructure been restored.  In other words, deaths that were directly a result of damage caused by the storms.  So they WERE, in fact, the death toll from the storms.  All 3000 of them.  The Democrats didn’t kill them to make you look bad.  The mayor of San Juan didn’t fake their deaths because she doesn’t like you.  They died.  Because of the hurricane.  And your administration’s botched and failed response to it.  You own that.  Whether your addled, senile, barely functional brain can comprehend that fact or not, it doesn’t change the fact that it happened on your watch.  It was your responsibility, and you failed.  Nothing you say, nothing you do, no tweet, no bluster, no hashtag, no lawsuit, no ranting can change that.  President.  Trump.  Failed.  And 3000 people died.

Now…we’ll lighten things up next time, kiddos.  I haven’t forgotten how to write about nerdy shit, and I’ve been doing a whole damn lot of it while I’ve been gone, I can tell you that.  So next time should be a lot more upbeat.  You know, unless Orange Julius Caesar says something stupid again…but what’re the odds of that, right? – EWE

Vacation’s Over, Humans!

That’s right, mortals!  Your vacation, my vacation, EVERYONE’S vacation is done!  For the first time in CENTURIES (Editor’s Note: well, years, but still…a long time) yes, A LONG TIME, I decided it was time to give myself a break.  An actual, honest-to-evilness break – from work, from writing, from everything but relaxing.  And you know what?  IT…WAS…GLORIOUS!!!

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I spent an entire week waking up when I wanted, hanging out with my sons, reading, gaming, finally playing laser tag for the first time in my life (it is just as fun as I always figured it was), and oh did I mention, NOT WORKING.  It was, quite frankly, the single best week for my mental health that I’ve had in recent memory.  So yes – I’ve been away.  You’ve all been free to rebuild your little villages and prosper and whatnot.  But guess what, kiddos?  DADDY’S HOME!

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We’ve got lots and lots to talk about and get caught up on!  The Game Night! streams will of course be coming back – Beefer, Dracollia and Special Buddy in particular are itching to grace your eyes and ears again (Monkey is a little more meh on the whole stream thing).  I’ve watched and read and played so, so many things to share with you all.  In particular – if you have Netflix, consider if any of the following apply to you: Did you grow up during the 80s?  Were you a Voltron fan?  An anime fan?  An action cartoon fan in general?  A mecha fan?  Just a fan of well done animated series?  If any of these apply to you, and you have Netflix, stop what you are doing, and binge every minute of Voltron: Legendary Defender.  If you don’t have Netflix…subscribe to Netflix, and then binge every minute of Voltron: Legendary Defender.

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This is a modern reboot/retelling of the Voltron saga, but for those of us that watched the classic show when we were young (Editor’s Note: well…younger, anyway)…ahem, fear not, because the producers at Dreamworks did as well, and while Legendary Defender serves as an homage to that tale, it is not slavishly beholden to it, and the modern characterizations of the familiar characters both ring true and yet are fresh and avoid being dull retreads of a bygone era.  After a couple of full season releases, the show opted for the growing “half-season” method of release, with each season consisting of a single-digit number of episodes that comprise approximately half of an entire season’s story arc.  Season Six just released on Netflix and having watched the entire series twice now, it stands as a fantastic example of a licensed Netflix Original Series done right.  Even the occasional filler episodes include a bit of plot advancement, as well as lighthearted character moments that don’t feel like a chore to slog through just to get to the next “important” episode.  While some of the plot twists may feel like they are telegraphed at first, in reality the writers, animators and voice actors do an absolutely amazing job breathing such life into the different characters that you truly will be second guessing yourself and your predictions over and over again as the series progresses – and that’s a sign of a job well done.  To say much more would risk giving away twists that you deserve to experience for yourself – now go form Voltron!

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There will be more from here, boys and girls – so many games, good (Dragon’s Crown Pro) and…less my cup of tea (Prey).  There will be books – including my finally, inevitably crumbling to the siren song of the audiobook in the car…which has seen me basically consuming a new non-fiction book every few days, not counting what I read with my eyes, and that’s all just my pleasure reading, not my work-related legal research and writing, to say nothing of black magic, blood magic and curses (Editor’s Note: Uh, just ignore those last few…).  There will be wrestling talk – for what it’s worth, currently NJPW is the best wrestling on the planet and the only thing WWE has coming close as a whole is NXT.  On the main roster, they’ve got Styles, Bryan, and Rollins – and you give Vince and his “creative” time and they will goddamn find a way to fuck those guys up too, no matter how much talent they have.  Don’t believe me?  Go talk to Shinsuke Nakamura…or Asuka…or Sami Zayn…or Finn Balor…or literally any tag team.

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And there will be legal and political talk of course!  Like for example, I hear some citrus-fruit-based life form and his helper monkey/former-NYC-mayor have somehow formed the theory that, in a society that is literally founded on, among other things, the concept of nobody, NOBODY being above the law, the living orange can pardon himself.  That he’s incapable of committing a crime, and that even if he did, he can somehow pardon himself from that crime.  Now, I will engage in a more in-depth look at this at a later date, but for brevity and blood-pressure’s sake, let me just sum up briefly this way: no, no he cannot pardon himself, and anyone that tells him that he can, or that goes on television and advocates that he can, should not only be bounced out of the practice of law immediately, but should – and I honest to cats can’t believe I’m saying this – be liable to the poor orange bastard for damages, because he’s not a lawyer, and if he relies on advice so incredibly, recklessly, shit-stormingly stupid as being possibly true, then they should go down for it every bit as hard as he does for not having the goddamn spine to tell him the fucking truth. – EWE

Game Night! – Dad of War

Happy Friday, humans!  So, technically yes, I know, the game is God of War…but let’s face it, the hook is that Kratos and Atreus are learning to be father and son every bit as much as they are an ass-kicking combo of gods.  We tried something a little different for tonight’s stream, as Dad of War is obviously a single player game and I have not wanted to spoil the main story beats of the game.  So, since Beefer has advanced the furthest in terms of combat ability and accessed a difficult optional battle with a Valkyrie Queen, we elected to stream his attempts to defeat her…with the rest of the crew providing him with, ahem “encouragement.”  Hopefully you find it as entertaining as we found ourselves!  Except Beefer.  He didn’t appear to be entertained by it at all.  You can find the video on YouTube or below.

Until next time! – EWE

Indie Corner: Last Dream

Welcome to mid-week, mortals!  You’re halfway to…wondering where in the hell your weekend went before doing all of this over again, for the rest of your natural lives.  BWAHAHAHAHA!  Ah, but I don’t bear all bad news – in your spare time, you could stumble upon spectacular little gaming gems like the one I’m about to tell you about!

This is actually a two game series that was funded on Kickstarter and developed by White Giant RPG Studios, and was brought to my attention by my very good friend and fellow streamer, as well as husband to my bestest friend in the world Malevolent Moogle, the one and only Absurdum.  Please, please, pretty please, find and follow him on YouTube and Twitch – he is very funny and talented and knows his games!  Last time we got together, I saw him playing what appeared to be a retro-RPG and asked what it was.  After watching him play it for a while longer and hearing from him about how much content the game and its sequel roughly contained, I pulled them up on Steam and found them to be on sale in a bundle for under $5 total – and you can guess what happened.

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I have not yet progressed far through the main story of the game yet, but that is primarily because I have been reveling in the comfort-food-feeling of the combat and leveling mechanics.  For those with fond memories of being able to lose themselves in an hour or so of fast-paced, turn-based combat with a relatively steady trickle of rewards in the form of skill points and gold for new abilities and equipment, you will be right at home, and the variety of character classes ensures that multiple playthroughs are unique in playstyle.

If these games are still on sale on Steam, and you have any fondness for old school JRPGs at all, this is a no-brainer from my standpoint.  If they are not on sale, this still feels like a pretty solid value, but the developer’s website appears to have a demo version available for download, so try it out for yourself and if you like it as much as I do, by all means, support an indie dev, humans! – EWE