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Month: May 2010

Special Stage Extra: The Hobbits, The Hobbits…

There were a lot of little things I had forgotten to mention in my PAX posts, like the donut people roaming the queue the second morning, Ubisoft’s redefinition of the term “Flash Mob” in their promotion of Just Dance that same day, the fact that the show directories were called the “World Map”, and the Hitler meme covered in Alex Leavitt’s talk which I hadn’t been aware of until then. Most memorably, there was a certain video which was voted on while in the queue, which we hadn’t seen in ages before PAX East, but whose tune has gotten stuck in our heads many times since then. All together: “They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard!”

A certain <i>DMC</i> arachnid gets a little lost.
A certain DMC arachnid gets a little lost.

Speaking of Penny Arcade, a few weeks ago, I started reading the entire archive from the beginning, something I’d never done before. I can’t remember exactly when it was that I started reading PA, but I believe it was sometime after the current style and format had been established, so it was interesting to go back and see the oldest of the old strips. So far, I’ve happened upon Gabe’s marriage proposal, the introduction of names, the first appearance of DivX, the first mention of the Fruit Fucker, Chuck’s transformation into Charles, and much more. There is technobabble, Dreamcast love, and some where the strip is funny, but the lack of historical context is a little infuriating (Cyrus believes this is from around the time of the World of WarCraft announcement). However, for games that I have played and remember well (like, say, Devil May Cry), seeing them made fun of in old Penny Arcade strips is an enjoyable way to indulge in nostalgia.

Elsewhere on the interwebs, thanks to fadedjae on LJ for reccing the Escapist article Phoenix Wright‘s Objection!”, which shows just how closely the Gyakuten/Ace Attorney series mirrors (and pokes fun at) the Japanese legal system. Some of the information wasn’t new to me—mainly Japan’s high confession and conviction rates—but much of it was, and it was certainly an eye-opener.

Finally, in case you’re looking for good deals on video game soundtracks—or have one to share—I’ve started a thread on the Cheap Ass Gamer forums with comprehensive information on anything related to buying OSTs: store listings, tips, deals, sales, you name it. Please note that you must be a registered member of the CAG community in order to view this or any of the other threads in the Video Game Deals forum.

Just a Brief Gaming Update

I finally got around to beating Halo last night. Real-life things, plus the absorbing magic of Dragon Quest V, had kept me away from it for awhile. There were also the Windows issues: that I had to boot into Windows to play it (I’m a Boot Camper), and that my desk is near some very sunny real windows, which in the latter case meant that play sessions were largely restricted to evenings.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. Continuing to be led by sidekick/moral center Jiminy Cortana, I got through a tough spot I had been stuck on, the last of the overly samey bits, and even spotted a Marathon reference in a cutscene. It was all quite entertaining, and I’d like to play more in the series, but there’s the problem of most of it being console-exclusive with no mouse and keyboard support. What would be the point of me playing Halo 2 PC if I can’t play Halo 3 PC? Still pondering my options here. Part of me’s thinking that since I had no problems that one time I played GoldenEye 007 on the N64 back in the day, I should have no real issues using a controller. On the other hand, I really do prefer mouse and keyboard control for first-person games (Wii Remote and Nunchuck are good, too, but that won’t happen for Halo 3, and something tells me Natal wouldn’t be comparable). Anyway, I think I’ll be playing FPSes more often again in general. Metroid Prime Trilogy‘s already in my backlog, and there’s several PC ones that Cyrus and I’ve got sitting around as well.

Dragon Quest V: A young hero's journey begins.Now, on to Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride. I can’t say enough good things about this game. It is the best Dragon Quest I’ve played thus far, and is one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played, period. The world, dungeons, fighting, music, and so on is all typical highly-polished DQ goodness, but the story is where DQV really shines. Without giving away too much, the tale is about how a boy becomes a man, and the hardships and joys that he faces along the way. The game’s centerpiece, as hinted at by the subtitle, is the hero’s wedding. The events leading up to it and the eventual choosing of the bride (probably the only part in the game where the player’s actions have any real impact on the plot—keep in mind this is a JRPG!) are a little predictable, but an absolute pleasure to take in. This is a real gem of a game, and as such, it’s a little disappointing that it’s a remake, and thus a reminder that they don’t quite make ’em like this anymore.

In the midst of all this, I got a beta code for StarCraft II! It came from Amazon, not long after word got out that some retailers would be including codes as preorder bonuses. My preorder for the Wings of Liberty Collector’s Edition was already in by that point, so I was good to go; the code was certainly a nice surprise to find in my inbox that morning.

I haven’t played all that much SCII Beta though. Well, I’ve played enough to check out some of the new units, especially the Protoss ones. However, I don’t like playing online much to begin with, so even just my feelings going in were mixed. Might mess around with it some more—but with a stronger focus on Terran and Zerg—before the beta ends, but it’s not a huge priority.

Finally, soundtracks! I’ve been on an OST buying spree, and with the number I’ve bought (and the amount I’ve spent), I think I’ll be set for awhile. Here’s what I’ve picked up:

  • Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter Original Soundtrack – This was pretty much what started this binge. The music was really good, and when I saw Hitoshi Sakimoto‘s name in the credits, well, then I knew why. I simply had to have this OST. Ordered from YesAsia, but they couldn’t get it, so I ended up buying it from instead.
  • Radiata Stories Original Soundtrack – Another so-so JRPG whose soundtrack I enjoyed semi-recently. Figured I might as well get this one, too, so I also ordered it from YesAsia. Had better luck, and currently it’s the only OST still en route.
  • Klonoa of the Wind 2 ~Something Forgotten Wished by the Wind~ Original Soundtrack – A long-time want. Ordered and arrived from Play-Asia.
  • Tales of Legendia Original Soundtrack – See note for Klonoa of the Wind 2, though the former was a higher priority.
  • Halo Original Soundtrack – I was familiar with some of the music already, but while playing the game, the whole OST impressed. Picked up at
  • Devil May Cry 4 Original Soundtrack – Also bought via Amazon, but it’s not the Japanese release. Like the Halo OST, it’s published by Sumthing Else.
  • Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack – If you’ll remember, I recommended picking this up in lieu of the game itself. Listening to it right now; it’s damn good. only ships via EMS, which is expensive, so I tacked on a couple of other OSTs when I got the BoFV one from them. This was one of them.
  • Front Mission 5 ~Scars of the War~ Original Soundtrack – …and this is the other. Both are ones I had had my eye on anyway. This is also the only OST I’ve ordered that I haven’t heard anything from; however, I like the composer and love the series, so I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

I also made a set of trades over at VGMdb recently: a couple of spare DDR demo disks for copies of the Grandia 2 bonus disk (which I already had a copy of, but one that was damaged to hell) and a DDR SuperNOVA/Ultramix demo disk (which is wholly new to my collection). It was my first trade conducted through the site and went swimmingly.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Don’t know what I’m going to do today, gaming-wise; I’m exhausted, so I’m kind of iffy about putting more time into Dragon Quest V. I (finally) checked out the Plants vs. Zombies demo last weekend and really enjoyed it, so maybe I’ll get that and do some lawn defense.

Taking Issue

I have much I want to talk about: Halo and its classic FPS horror aspects, the marvelous life story contained within Dragon Quest V, the StarCraft II beta in general (ayup), recent game music purchases and trades, PAX East remnants, and so on, but for now, some complaints and observations about specific video game magazine articles.