It's time to round up the things I've gotten into since last I spoke with Livejournal. This is going to involve some hardcore rambling.
The big one is A Song of Ice and Fire
. ( Details. No specific spoilers, though some general observations about character arcs.Collapse )
Let's move on to, oh, everything else
After I turned the last page of A Dance with Dragons
, I took a shot at my omnibus of the Amber
series and got to the early parts of the fourth book before being distracted. ( On my mixed feelings. Not really spoilery, except sort of for the first book, which is over forty years old anyway.Collapse )
I also read the first two books of N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance
trilogy. ( Discussion, not much in the way of spoilers.Collapse )
That's it for books. I have many yet to read, with the rest of Amber and the Inheritance trilogy up there on the list, but The Stone Gods
by Jeanette Winterson is also tempting me. In addition: The Dark Wife
by Sarah Diemer and Declare
by Tim Powers.
This brings me to anime, into which I am also going to group visual novels for the purposes of this post.
I finally watched Tiger & Bunny
earlier this year. ( Kind of vague spoilers, maybe.Collapse )
Shortly before the second half began airing, I watched the first thirteen episodes of Fate/Zero
. And thus my old feelings of ambivalence and longing towards the Fate subfranchise of Type-Moon awaken from their slumber. Oh, Nasu, why must the twin demons of compelling premises and obnoxiously tedious writing further compromised by stilted translations reside within your heart? ( And then there's Urobuchi.Collapse )
Did you know that Urobuchi Gen, Nasu Kinoko, and Narita Ryohgo (the creator of Baccano! and Durarara!!) are playing a tabletop roleplay campaign with each other with the intent of chronicling it as light novels? If you didn't, now you do.
Last in this category for now: I'm confronting my aversion to NVL-style visual novels and starting on Umineko no Naku Koro ni
. I'm on the second day. ( So, spoilers up through there.Collapse )
Video games! I've been doing those too, and not just the ones where you click repeatedly on a screen, read text, click more, read more, and listen to sound effects and freaky music. I've been writing this post on-and-off almost all day and I'm getting tired of building walls of text. Let's go.
Do you know what game I've always really wanted to replay and finish? Psychonauts
, ever since years ago I got distracted in the middle of Waterloo World and never got back to it. Do you know what game I now realize I will never finish? Also Psychonauts. If I'd kept trying much longer, I would have become a vegetarian. I love almost everything about this game, but the last level defeats me. I still ship Sasha/Milla, though. It's the best. I'm going to try to crunch through some other Tim Schafer/Double Fine games before the Kickstarter one comes out. But I'm not putting money on my success, considering how many other games I have lined up.
In the wake of my Meat Circus failure, I turned to Bastion
. ( Praise, and pretentiousness, and nonspecific spoilers touching on the themes and devices.Collapse )
Short version: it's a deceptively simple RPG whose primary strength is in integrating story, aesthetics, and gameplay. The music is amazing. You should probably play it.
Then it was February 7th, and I still needed a distraction, and Steam had just discounted The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
. I used to have 205 hours of free time, but then I took an arrow to the knee. I barely dented the main plotline before I got distracted by other games, by the way. There's not much point in doing a lengthy and obnoxiously pretentious ramble about this one. It's a goddamn sandbox for you to act out your epic fantasy Mary Sue adventures in, and everyone knows it. It never wanted to be anything else. If you don't like sandbox games, you won't like Skyrim. If you like sandbox games, you will lose a chunk of your life to Skyrim. Personal opinion: the best part was making full sets of enchanted dragonbone armor and feeling proud of it, at least until I realized I was feeling proud about video game armor.
Later, I repeated a similar process, but for about half as much money and time, with Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
. It's extremely cute and enjoyable, and I really appreciate that someone's localizing doujin games like this and that the infrastructure to easily distribute them (Steam and similar platforms) exists. If you like parodies of the RPG genre with addictive gameplay, anime art, and slightly self-consciously silly dialogue, go for it. I finished the main game, but still have a few dungeons to clear if I ever get back to it. Which I won't for a while. Because--well, let me get to it.
Did you know that some ridiculous people made huge, high-quality, expansive RPGs for the Wii? Some ridiculous people who are not the Zelda developers? And have you ever wondered how totally boned
players would be if confronted with a game with sidequest and exploration potential to rival Skyrim, but a plot you can actually care about? Let's not mention how much time I've already clocked on Xenoblade Chronicles
without even advancing to the point where I have a full party, and say we did. Summary: it is a really fun game with great, flexible gameplay, loads of sandbox potential, and creative environments that can be thoroughly explored. I may have overstated the case a bit when I said you can care about the plot, but not by much. The characters aren't too complex so far, the mascot is the unholy revenge of Chu-Chu risen from the grave of underfunded PSX properties, and nobody's pretending that it's deep and artistic. But there are some interesting twists and unusual bits of world-building, and I'm really only getting started. I'll get back to this one when I have more to say.
I'm done here! It only took me all day. This was not what I signed up for.