Humans, your technology is many things. It is sometimes novel, sometimes mundane, sometimes awe-inspiring, sometimes infuriating. But there is one thing that it always, ALWAYS is…
And so it is that I recently decided to upgrade the storage in my laptop to allow me to stop having to choose what I wanted to delete every time I got a new game. Unfortunately, while the upgrade process was simple enough, some other unforeseen technical issues prevented me from being able to clone my old drive, and thus, all of my old save games for every game I play on my PC are now gone. Now, normally you would think this would be the beginning of a profanity-laced rant in which I threaten to end the world (Editor’s Note: in fairness, this is your typical reaction to…almost everything, really) yes, I’m aware, now shut up. As I was saying, I actually saved myself from a blood-pressure-spiking rage by taking a queue from my good friend and fellow blogger, the estimable “Lightning” Ellen, of both Livid Lightning and The Well-Red Mage fame.
My gaming backlog now consists of…everything.
Yes, I will now begin each game anew, and you gullible suckers (Editor’s Note: I think you mean WONDERFUL READERS) yeah, sure, whatever – you humans get to come along for the ride. I’m not necessarily saying I’ll give full blow-by-blow playthroughs of EVERYTHING – but I’ll be restarting them all, from Skyrim to the games I got for free in a Humble Bundle and didn’t even realize I had. Now you may be asking, “EWE, what is your plan for tackling such a huge task?” Well, fleshbag, I should think my answer, by now, is obvious.
So join me, won’t you, as we answer such questions as “who thought this was a good idea?” “wonder if I should fight that dragon?” and mostly “why the fuck am I doing this to myself again?” – EWE
Good evening, humans! How fare you this night? What’s that – me, you ask?
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!
Orrin Hatch, saying if Dr. Ford's accusation of Brett Kavanaugh is true: "If that were true, I think it would be hard for senators not to consider who he is today.''
Upon seeing this, my immediate, gut reaction was something like:
Upon further time to process the Senator’s comments and stance, however, my calmer, more nuanced response was:
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.
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
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.
Speaking of which…this absolute gem of skull-fucking insanity assaulted the world today:
3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…
…..This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!
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.
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
So, as you may have noticed, this is the second year in a row that has been marked by an extended absence on my part at around the same time. This is not a coincidence. The reasons are something I’ve struggled with, but I feel like sharing them might be both good for me as well as make it somewhat easier for some out there that may be dealing with similar issues to know that they are not alone.
I have for some time been dealing with a particularly vicious two-headed demon; fibromyalgia and depression. The roots go back a long ways and aren’t particularly the point here and now; but suffice to say, the two have an awful symbiotic relationship with one another. The fibro causes significant physical pain, which makes the depression worse, which magnifies the pain, and so on and so forth. This is exacerbated during the changeover of seasons – as weather patters begin to change, pressure systems begin to wildly fluctuate and both conditions are particularly sensitive to that. If you have ever suffered from seasonal depression, or have had a knee or shoulder ache during a storm, imagine that but cranked up to 11 and then happening almost constantly. Basically the only way for me to work and take care of my absolutely required social responsibilities was to lock my psyche into something resembling this:
Believe it or not, I’ve wanted to write. I’ve spoken with some of you, on Twitter or in person, and I’ve sat here some nights, staring at the blank page and cursor blinking at me, but just unable to sort through everything and assemble it into something resembling coherent thought. But I’ve missed you (EWE’s Note: Don’t admit that to them, you sniveling fleshsack!) and believe it or not, so has EWE. I promise. Speaking of whom…
But you know what I haven’t missed? What I haven’t been ABLE to miss? What I haven’t even been given a chance to miss? DONALD MOTHERFUCKING TRUMP. Specifically, I have not been afforded the opportunity to miss Donald Trump saying or doing something that is a complete and utter embarrassment to the country as a whole, both here in the U.S. and to whatever allies we have remaining in the world at this point.
Now, I don’t have the time or patience (nor likely do you) to expound upon every single horrific statement, quote, tweet, or other action taken by our narcissistic, dementia-addled lunatic-in-chief, but I think we can probably sum up the general vibe relatively quickly. Let’s see…
We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!
“A Pluses,” huh? Who the fuck was grading your sad-sack efforts on that curve – Betsy Devos? No wonder your administration doesn’t like public education – they probably all grade too hard for you. And since when did travel to Puerto Rico suddenly become the equivalent attempting to reach the North Pole? It’s a fucking U.S. territory, and this is 2018. We have the most powerful, modern Navy in the history of time, and we aren’t actively involved in any major armed conflicts. Do not talk to me about the “war on terror” bullshit because that’s like saying we couldn’t send ships because they were busy patrolling the shorelines as part of the “war on drugs.” The bottom line is that your administration was caught unprepared, responded completely inadequately, and as a result, the death toll was 3000. Would some people have died anyway? Yes – that’s the harsh reality of natural disasters. But would 3000 people have had to die if food, water, electricity and infrastructure had been restored to island as quickly as possible thanks to efficient and effective U.S. response? No, and Trump’s refusal to be able to admit even the slightest bit of error, and in fact to petulantly whine that HE’S NOT GETTING ENOUGH CREDIT FOR HOW WELL IT WENT in the face of 3000 dead souls is a stunning, mind numbing demonstration of just how self-centered and disconnected from reality he is.
“It is mostly anonymous sources in here, why should anyone trust you? General Mattis, General Kelly said it’s not true.” @SavannahGuthrie@TODAYshow Bob Woodward is a liar who is like a Dem operative prior to the Midterms. He was caught cold, even by NBC.
Oh really? Bob Woodward is a liar? The Bob Woodward that was instrumental in exposing the Watergate scandal that brought down Nixon and fundamentally changed how the media and the general public viewed the presidency and government in general? The Bob Woodward who has been one of most well-respected, thorough, and meticulous presidential researchers and analysts of our time? The Bob Woodward who, despite respecting the time-honored tradition of maintaining his sources’ request for confidentiality with regard to their identity, has hours upon hours of documentation of his interviews with them in order to prepare his book? That Bob Woodward is a “liar” because his book, rather than portraying you as the greatest president in American history, instead depicts you as being so fundamentally disturbed and mentally unfit to handle the rigors of the presidency that those closest to you have taken to manipulating you around your worst and stupidest impulses in an effort to just keep the country functional and out of any kind of doomsday scenario?
You see, Orange Hobgoblin, it really just comes down to a relatively simple calculus. Bob Woodward, he’s got credibility. A track record of proven integrity and reliability. You, however, have…um, Melania? Baron? The human caricature drawing that is Rudi Giuliani? So really, anyone with even a drop of common sense would realize that banking on your word is not a safe bet. Ever.
These are just a couple of examples of the freakish, insane alternate universe that Donald Trump has chosen to inhabit. Where 3000 people dead goes from being a mistake that could have been avoided to an “unsung success” that just doesn’t get the credit it deserved. Frankly, I could go on, but I’m beginning to tire for the night, and there will be plenty of nights to come – but for now kids, I have missed you all greatly, and it’s good to be back! – EWE
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!!!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
Ah, some sleepless humans have come to join me! Welcome, fellow sufferers of eternal exhaustion. This is the little corner of the blog where your favorite sleepless wizard, old EWE himself, tries to find a way to pass the hours before the sun comes up and he’s forced to go pretend that writing to all of you isn’t his real passion and calling. So, what should make the cut for our slice of nocturnal gaming nourishment tonight? I believe we’ve settled on Ys Origins, available on Steam and PS4.
Ys Origins, as the name implies, takes the long running series of adventures by hero Adol and sets them back far before the time of Adol, or any of the other running characters in the main series and instead tells a somewhat more self-contained story that limits the scope of the world to one immense and expansive tower and the power it contains within it. Two Goddesses have been kidnapped and are on the run from the evil forces of darkness, and it is the forces of he traditional defensive order that begin to dictate how your character will approach the story unfolding. You see, you can initially choose between two characters, a fairly happy-go-lucky young girl who is a wonder with her twin axes, or a haughty and arrogant wizard who believes that all lives, even his own, are fuel to be added to the equation that leads to victory. Only by mastering both of these paths can you unlock a secret, third playable character,
The gameplay is fantastic Ys action arcade RPG mechanics. Even lesser enemies need some level of respect so that they don’t respawn and decimate your party when you least expected it.
I’m doing my first playthrough as Hugo Fact the Mage, who is…kind of a pompous asshole during the entirety. That said, unlikability of Hugo aside, I have very much enjoyed sinking my teeth into the meaty combat system in YS. Hugo definitely controls like a squishy mage in this type of action rpg – keep him away from the action and shoot away, and if the enemies close in, move away! It is satisfying, in its own way, just as I am confident the playthrough with the melee character will as well. Then we get to see who the mystery third character is going to be and play as.
Thus far in my insomniac playthrough with Hugo, I have overall been pleased. As we have discussed, Hugo is not a pleasant character to have as an avatar, but his combat style is diversified, challenging, and rewarding. My hopes are that playing through with the other characters will prove just as amusing! – EWE
Humans! How long it has been! Well, more for you than for me – I’m the timeless personification of darkness, so really, a couple of months is a catnap for me. Though I suppose I’ve perhaps somewhat missed imparting my wisdom/seething misanthropy onto you, the select group of mortal meatbags that I don’t abjectly abhor. So…I guess…maybe…it’s nice to see you again. There! I’m not repeating myself! (Editor’s Note: Aww, you missed-) I swear, I will set your entire BLOODLINE on fire if you finish that thought (Editor’s Note: …nothing, nevermind.) Damn skippy.
So many things have contributed to my absence – physical, mental, emotional – and I’m sure over time some or all of them will bleed out into my writing, whether in bits or in their entirety. But if I’d had the right words to tell those stories, I’d have been back before now. So then, what finally made me able to pick up my pen – keyboard, whatever – again after being away? Well, that would be, of all things, a Twitter poll from my fellow wizards of the written word over at The Well-Red Mage. By the way – read them, listen to them, support them – they are each and every one an amazing writer and person.
Now, at first blush the only dilemma I had was that I felt torn between two decades, as the period from the mid-to-late 90s through the early-to-mid 00s was what I considered my perfect answer. But then I saw a tweet in response that really got my inner-philosophical-gamer juices working.
If I was totally objective, today would be best with variety, online AND retro revivals ala mini/classic/remastered editions. But nostalgia is not objective
Don't get me wrong, I love the games from my childhood, but I'm a firm believer that we've reached a golden age in video games. The level of variety and polish, the sheer amount of really amazing stories being told, make me lean toward the 2010s.
Ohohoho, now we had a full-blown bout of navel-gazing going on inside my head, minions! What was my Well-Red (and Read) friend actually asking – for an objective “best” era of gaming, or a subjective “favorite” era of gaming? What was the distinction between them? IS there a distinction between them – and even if such a distinction were to theoretically exist, can we ever truly grasp it, as we are inherently colored by our own perceptions of our own individual realities and experiences?
The first issue that occurs to me is that while I truly respect the opinions and thoughts of all the individuals involved in that particular Twitter discussion (Editor’s Note: This is no small thing for him to admit – he works daily around judges and magistrates that he considers barely worthy of continued intake of oxygen, let alone actual respect), I believe that the concept of an “objective best” is impossible. The term “best” is inherently and inescapably subjective – it is brewed from all manner of differing criteria depending upon the evaluator, steeped in one’s own personal preferences and pet peeves, and filtered through the time, place, manner, and setting in which we each experienced things for the first time. There are times when, under certain circumstances, we may attach a more objective modifier to “best” – such as associating “fastest” with “best” when discussing race cars – but even then, it presupposes this connection between the objective term (“fastest”) and the subjective “best.” As soon as someone decides that perhaps handling is a more important consideration than raw speed, suddenly the illusion of an objective “best” race car is shattered.
So then is “best” – without the attachment of some more objective modifier – simply synonymous with “favorite?” Not so fast – it isn’t that simple at all. You see, “best” may be inherently subjective, but it is still something that invites debate. Advocating for or against an interpretation of what is the “best” – trying to convince others as to why they should also adopt what you see as the “best.”
But “favorite” isn’t just a subjective concept – it is inherently, indelibly personal. It isn’t so much a debate or attempt to convince others as to the correctness of your point of view as to simply express your own opinion. You “favorite” can of course change – but the reasons will always be internal, personal – singular to you, not the product of debate and analysis by a wider audience. My “favorite” Final Fantasy is Final Fantasy Tactics. The Shameful Narcissist’s “favorite” is Final Fantasy VII. LightningEllen’s “favorite” is Final Fantasy XIII. The three of us can debate endlessly over which of the three – or perhaps even another – is the “best” Final Fantasy. But there is no debate over our “favorite” – because it is just that…ours.
I suppose this little tirade is in part a response to another point made by my feathered-hat-wearing compatriot.
This statement, made far too often in gaming journalism, is part of the conflation between “favorite” and “best.” I in no way am suggesting that reviews cannot be subject to the personal interpretations of the reviewer – that’s impossible. Any critique, no matter how much the reviewer strives for objectivity, is going to be influenced to some degree by their subjective views. But an analysis that is supported by sound reasoning (“the ATB battle system is the best RPG battle system because it balances the tension of quick thinking and decision making with the strategy and planning of traditional turn-based systems”) is completely different from a blanket qualitative statement based upon nothing but a vague, unspecified dislike (“the combat in this game just doesn’t work”). The only time the phrase “just doesn’t work” should be used is when the aspect of the game to which it refers LITERALLY DOES NOT FUNCTION. As in, every time a battle is triggered and the combat engine tries to load, the entire game crashes. Otherwise, it is just a lazy cop-out to substitute “I just don’t like this” for a critical analysis of a game’s virtues and vices. Does this mean a reviewer can’t simply express dislike? Not at all – but they need to add two very crucial words: “This just doesn’t work FOR ME.” Suddenly, as in the difference between “best” and “favorite,” the expression is clearly personal – not right or wrong, just a statement of opinion individual to the reviewer. It isn’t an argument for or against the overall merits or flaws of the game – those can be made but must be supported with reasoning.
Whew – quite a winding trail of babbling, wasn’t that? If I were one to ask for understanding, I might point out that it has been a while, and I’ve had some pent-up literary expression brewing…but I’m not, so I won’t! Regardless, I must say that it is quite agreeable to be conversing with you mortals again…I think I shall try to do so with greater frequency. Until then, my friends! – EWE