laceblade: Screencap from FF7, Zak and Cloud escaping from Mako tubes in Shinra mansion (FF7: Cloud/Zack escape)
So approximately a decade after it came out, I finally played Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus.
For those unfamiliar, this is a shooting game that uses one of FF7's tertiary characters as the protagonist - Vincent's even optional, in FF7! In FF7, he has a rich but underutilized backstory that is told primarily through wordless flashbacks. Much is insinuated, but not articulated.

It's hard to beat FF7's protagonist in terms of angst, in that he looked up to his culture's war hero, left home to join the army & be like him, only to have that hero burn down his hometown, killing his mother and everyone else he ever cared about...AND THEN you find out halfway through the game that this character's memories have been fucked, and he's not even the person he thought he was.
No, Vincent beats that! By previously working for the Corporate Bad Guys and being an expert marksman, falling in love with a scientist working on biological experiments whom he's supposed to be protecting, discovering she got pregnant by an unscrupable man he loathes, and that she did it FOR SCIENCE, injects herself with JENOVA cells, gives birth to a future serial killer/wannabe-planet destroyer before tragically dying & causing Vincent to feel like he personally failed her, getting SHOT by an unscrupable man he loathes & basically brought back to life and tortured/experimented upon against his will, and literally sleeping in a coffin for the next 50 years to atone for his sins in the basement of a mansion in a town that was supposed to have burned down, until you/your party wake him up to join the fight. ALL! OF! THE! ANGST!

The fact that the guy voice-acting for Vincent Valentine is the dude who did Spike's voice in Cowboy Bebop doesn't hurt, either. For a video game, I though the voice-acting in this was pretty great.

This story focuses primarily on Vincent, but Reeve and Yuffie are pretty prominent as well. I've seen some reviews complain about this, but I'm actually really excited for a game focusing on these three. Of course, that didn't decrease my excitement when the rest of the party showed up. TIFA!! I loved seeing Cid's ship - of course he'd have a skylight that rotates images of natural life on the planet.

I'd put this off for a long time because when I initially tried playing it, I failed hardcore with the setup. It is absolutely necessary to play through the tutorial, but this was made interesting for me because you got to play Vincent-as-a-Turk, :D With the help of the tutorial, you get your bearings okay, although playing games like Star Wars Dark Forces I and II probably have helped me become accustomed to shooters. Sometimes I had to replay parts of missions what seemed like an endless number of times to finally beat them, but then I'd get rewarded with ANGST and more story, so it was okay. Also, some of the mechanics are aimed at people used to RPGs, in my opinion, in that they make it easier. At all times, you can literally use a Phoenix Down on yourself so that if you get shot/KO'ed, you're immediately resurrected. They make a few things difficult in that the number of items you can carry is severely limited, but overall the difficulty was not extreme.

I'd expected the plot to make way less sense than it did. This game was better than it had any right to be, and the twists in the story were totally unexpected [to me], and tied right into the larger Final Fantasy VII mythology. It was fun that Lucrecia still had some secrets.

I LOVE part of the scene that auto-plays when you start up the game and just let it cycle, where Vincent climbs to the top of the Sister Ray towards the end of disc 2, and finds Hojo collapsed over the computer screens/controls, and Vincent just levels his gun. GAH!!

Being able to play around in Midgar and Kalm, finding LOVELESS posters on walls when you're zooming around with your sniper scope, EXPLORING THE SEWERS BENEATH NIBELHEIM, I feel like this game was a love letter to fans, and almost like it was created specifically for me.
As I try to finally plow through some PS2 games to find which ones I actually enjoy/are worth keeping [or, to use the KonMari phrase, which "spark joy"], I'm delighted to have fallen in love with this one.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Kumiko x Reina)
After following the advice of a coworker, I revoked Pokemon Go's access to my camera. Since then, the app crashes less than it had previously, and I've actually been able to catch some Pokemon. I'm one of many now hanging out at [community profile] pokestop, so if you're also playing or interested, join us!



I've written about Sparkler Monthly here before, and I wanted to plug their Kickstarter, which has 3 days and a few more thousand dollars to go. If they don't meet their goal, Year 4 won't happen :(

I've been a monthly subscriber for a couple years now. Some series are done, so you can sit and plow through, while others are still being updated periodically. I really loved the audio drama "Awake," and have been hoping for more time so that I can get caught up in "The Cat-Lover's Circumstance." They have mostly-prose stuff similar to Japanese light novels, too.

Basically, if you think visual and audio media directed at the non-male gaze is something to support, please consider donating to Sparkler. In addition to non-male artists and writers, the stories often feature LGBTQ characters as well. People of color, too! It's just really fantastic, and I would hate to see them fail.
They also operate as a distro for series published elsewhere, for example you can buy the paperback Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal through Sparkler.
They're also opening up submissions once this Kickstarter ends, so if you have some work that needs an audience, consider submitting!

Sparkler also has an explicit line called "Cherry Bomb." These include listener-focused "situational audio dramas," which I've been meaning to try. Apparently they are quite popular in Japan! Best of all, in Sparkler's, "[t]he listener isn't gendered, so anyone can identify!"

The Kickstarter itself is a great intro to their site and their content. You can still score commissions from artists in some of the tiers! There are many tiers and options to choose from in this Kickstarter. I'm really tempted to get a copy of every paperback they've published so far, and share them with my comics club. That tier is $200, though, so it takes a lot of thought. [Most tiers are way less!]

laceblade: Kate Beaton comic of frustration from playing Super Mario (VIDEO GAMES)
Purchased as part of a weekly Humble Bundle deal consisting of video games with female protagonists (still good for 16 hours! anti-rec to The Cat Lady, massive suicide/gore warnings!), this was my first time playing a visual novel RPG. The player controls Elodie, a pink-haired 14-year-old princess whose mother just died. She will inherit the crown and become queen on her fifteenth birthday - if you can keep her alive until then.

As the player, you can regularly control two aspects of her life: what she studies in her classes during the week, and how she spends her weekend. Classes range from court demeanor to animal husbandry to military logistics. Elodie's lessons affect her "skills" stats, which can also receive a boost if you choose to have Elodie wear the associated outfit (e.g., military uniform for strategy, cat suit for political intrigue, etc.). These skill sets affect Elodie's performance in the game's events, such as her abilities to fend off assassins, adequately deal with criminimals, and sense the plots - both political and magical - of those who want to steal her throne. While Elodie can choose how to respond to would-be suitors or political attacks, her options are shaped by her skillset (in this case, flattery/composure for the former, intrigue and her kingdom's history for the latter).

Of course, Elodie's ability to retain knowledge to boost her skill set is controlled by her mood, and her mood is controlled by the choices you make as the player about how she spends her weekend, or sometimes by forces beyond her control (aren't we all). For example, playing sports on the weekend increases her anger, and being angry helps her retain military-related lessons at a faster rate. Touring the castle's barracks on the weekend, though, can make her feel more pressured.

ALSO THERE IS AN OPTION TO BECOME A MAGICAL GIRL?!

While there's more than one way to win, and winning is fun, so is dying - sometimes attacked by bandits, or from poisoned chocolate. There are at least two achievements in Steam that you can win for finding a certain number of ways to die!
Tonight I gave a human sacrifice to satisfy a kraken, & also saved my kingdom from invasion by singing.

Basically, this game is great fun, and I didn't know games like this existed. (I mean, I was aware of visual novel RPGs, as they sometimes inspire anime series, but not the details.) I'll be messing around with this one for a while, but am very interested in finding and playing more.

Oh yeah. I'm ribbonknight on Steam - just signed up Monday night.
laceblade: Kate Beaton comic of frustration from playing Super Mario (VIDEO GAMES)
I've started some of these games before, but the thing that binds them all together is that I've never beat any of them.

As always, I may not take your advice ;)

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 13


Help me choose a video game!

View Answers

Final Fantasy III (DS)
1 (7.7%)

Final Fantasy IV (GBA, played on DS)
2 (15.4%)

Chrono Trigger (DS)
9 (69.2%)

Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle (PSP)
3 (23.1%)

Okami (PS2)
6 (46.2%)

Epic Mickey (Wii)
1 (7.7%)

Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)
1 (7.7%)

Xenosaga (PS2)
2 (15.4%)

Final Fantasy X
3 (23.1%)

Final Fantasy XII
2 (15.4%)

Dirge of Cerberus (PS2)
1 (7.7%)

Persona 3 (PS2)
4 (30.8%)

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PS2)
1 (7.7%)

laceblade: Screenshot of FF7. Aeris: Don't fight here! you'll ruin the flowers! (FF7: You'll ruin the flowers!)
Orphan Black - Thanks to a friend, I've been able to burn through the first season. I still need to watch the third & fourth episodes for the currently airing season. WOW THIS IS AMAZING, I forgive everyone in Glee fandom for constantly reblogging gifs of Tatiana Maslany on tumblr. She is amazing.
BUT ALSO PAUL IS AMAZING. AND HOT. LIKE, REALLY HOT. AND HIS TORTURED, PROTECTIVE HEADBUTTS WHILE TIED TO A CHAIR. idk if I'll ever get over it.
Paul & Mrs. S. might be my faves.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated series) - This became available streaming on Netflix, and I've found it's a great way to spend 20 minutes. There are lots of great female Jedi, Padme's gr9, & I love Anakin's padawan, Ahsoka. Overall it's sort of lighthearted/cheesy like the original trilogy, while also going through some pretty dark shit. Also the underlying Dark Feelings of knowing everyone's going to be murdered by the end of the war is pretty sad, & gives the show an interesting tone.
I'm feeling the itch to get back to the Star Wars novels from the expanded universe, but while I focus on reading WisCon-related things, this is a good way to scratch that itch. Might kill someone the next time I hear, "I have a bad feeling about this," BUT OVERALL it's a good ride.

Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns - I bought this game used, for the DS. Basically, you farm, help out your neighbors, forage for materials in the woods, & try to cook things. I think as you go on, you can court & marry people, & also have children.
This game is different than under Harvest Moons (as I understand it) in that there are two towns you can live in. No matter which you live in, you can visit the other, though. One is a Western European town which focuses on animal husbandry. The other is a Japanese town in which you can farm vegetables. They're separated by a mountain, & also by some stupid argument about whose food tastes better. Pretty sure my character's role is to bridge the gap between the two, by winning cooking contests & also eventually repairing the tunnel connecting the two (which goes through the mountain).
This is a pleasant way to spend time. I'm thinking about using my DS/PSP more, as they feel like less commitment than booting up the PS2/something else hooked up to the TV.

Speaking of video games, I'll take input: I have never played a Pokemon game, & I think it would be neat to try.
I have platforms to play the following systems: PSP (not Vita), DS (not 3DS), Gameboy Advance, PS, PS2, Wii, GameCube.
& actually, Pokemon aside, I will take any/all recommendations you have for the PSP and the DS. Since their next generation has come out, they've stopped selling games for those systems in Game Stop/Best Buy, & I'd like to know what I should keep my eye out for in the used shops.
laceblade: Fanart of Yukiko & Chie from Persona 4 (P4: Yukiko/Chie)
One of the playable characters in Persona 4 is Naoto Shirogane, referred to by his classmates as "the detective prince." He dresses as a boy to earn the respect of the police force, & is sort of a genius at solving mysterious crimes.

I'm at about December 6th or something, in the game. (There have been a LOT of narrative-dumps lately, holy shit.) I only just got enough courage & knowledge points to establish my social link with Naoto. I haven't actually done so yet.

After defeating Naoto's dungeon, he joins my party & everyone else starts referring to him as a her.

There is this blog post that [personal profile] littlebutfierce linked me to this morning.

In Persona 4, your party members have their deepest insecurities played out on the Midnight Channel like a scheduled program. Everyone is watching and judging. Everyone is watching when it is revealed Naoto isn’t a cisgender man, his shadow self threatening him with sexual reassignment surgery. At that moment, I realized that I, too, was watching Naoto through a TV. He never called himself a she, the rest of the cast did. He didn’t call himself a him, they all did. I did.

What is Naoto’s identity? It’s possible he doesn’t know yet. And with the absence of genderqueer characters in media, we don’t have a cultural reference point for what to make of him.

That post also led me to an earlier one: It's Time to Talk About It: Atlus, Naoto, and Transphobia, written by the same author.

It sounds like Naoto's social link storyline can become pretty skeevy, :(
Because all of the females are open for romance (don’t get me started on just that thought), the logic of the game decides Naoto should be as well, and he becomes the antithesis of what he wants during his Social Link with the protagonist. There is a clear disconnect between the Naoto in the main story and the Naoto in the Social Link. While you are able to become intimate with Naoto while encouraging him to still be a man, there are options for you to persuade him to act and dress as a woman. What makes this disturbing is Naoto’s identity hinges on the player’s choices, and the gameplay mechanics encourage the player to nudge Naoto towards becoming a woman. For instance, the first trigger that can initiate romance with Naoto when choosing “I’m glad you’re a girl” when he is having a moment wishing he was born male.

UGH WHY SO DISTURBING, GAME.

As I start to maximize my other social links in the game, it's becoming clear that every playable character's "shadow self," the one they had to defeat in their own personal dungeon/version of hell, is not constructed from lies, but rather everyone's actual dark thoughts/truths.
idk. I like this concept in & of itself.
But in relation with Kanji trying to accept his sexuality (or not), there's this sense of unease, too. idk. I feel like the top-level of Kanji's social link is going to end up being a cop-out, too.



Spoilers are okay in the comments; I assume that I won't have enough time to get very far in Naoto's Social Link in my story, :(

Other Random Asides: I probably like Yosuke the least of the party, because he says such fucked up things about women & etc. sometimes, :( HOWEVER, his voice actor is pretty phenomenal, and his grief over Saki's death is so believable.
Adachi's voice actor is awesome, too.

I had...A LOT OF ANGER when I realized it's going to be impossible to max out most of my social links. There's just NOT ENOUGH TIME in this game for all the things you need to do. :(

Persona 4

Feb. 14th, 2013 03:46 pm
laceblade: Fanart of Yukiko & Chie from Persona 4 (P4: Yukiko/Chie)
I'd originally started playing Persona 3 back in January 2012 while I was on medical leave. I liked it, but the game requires characters to shoot themselves in the head with a gun every time they summoned a Persona character. I wasn't in the best headspace, so I stopped playing it because I really did not need to see that so frequently. Maybe some day I'll return!

Anyway, I started playing this game courtesy of [personal profile] the_andy.
Persona 4 is an RPG that takes place in modern-day Japan. My character and the other playable characters all attend the same high school in a small Japanese town.
The protagonist (in my game, "Kevin McHale," lol) moves to Inaba to live with his uncle and cousin for a year. He doesn't know his uncle very well, so things are a little awkward at first, both at home as well as at school, where he has to learn to make new friends.

As I manage the protagonist's social life (through a game system called "Socal Link"), I also work part-time jobs to earn money and life skills (Understanding, Expression, Courage, etc.) and try to do well in school.

A couple of gruesome murders happen about the same time the protagonist moves to town. His uncle is a detective for the police department, but the protagonist and his friends keep trying to solve the murders on their own: mostly because the protagonist has the ability to enter another world through television screens - a place where people are taken during the time when they disappear from the real world but before they are killed.
The protagonist and his friends are able to create and use their own personas to fight against enemies in this world only after they have "faced" their own shadow selves, and confronted some of the true feelings within themselves that they had previously tried to deny and ignore. (Examples: Yukiko doesn't really want to inherit her parents' famous inn; Kanji is bisexual.)

The opening that plays every time I turn on the PlayStation is totally boss, and it's pretty representative of the game. Since it plays every time, it always feels like I'm watching an episode of anime.
The gameplay is much better than the beginning of Persona 3 especially; things are introduced at a slower pace, and things like Social Links and Personas are explained a little bitter, in my opinion. I think that I'll have a much easier time of it whenever I return to Persona 3.

The music is great. The voice-acting is also great.

My character is better able to summon (adopt) and create different personas based on how strong his social links are with the people in his life in the real world. THIS UNSUBTLE METAPHOR AMIRITE?!

Things That Suck
The thing that prevents the game from being perfect for me is its treatment of women. The students' homeroom teacher and some of the boys (Yosuke especially) are constantly making comments about wanting to be with girls/being attracted to girls, and it is always played for laughs.
The only character who consistently refuses to play along is Yukiko, which is probably one of the reasons she's my fave (that and just about everything else makes her a dead ringer for Rei Hino/Sailor Mars; she's the person in the background of the DW icon on this post!).

Another thing that's awful was the inclusion of Teddie, an obnoxious blue bear, as a "cheerleader" in a corner of the screen during every battle in the "shadow world" of the TV. TV will yell at the protagonist when people's HP are low, when someone gets KO'ed, and also cheer everyone when they're doing well. IT'S SO OBNOXIOUS. I get tense during video game fights anyway and the last thing I need is a grating voice screaming at me.
At a certain point in the game, the cheerleader changes, though, thank God.

Future
I'm not finished yet with the game; I'm at the end of August right now.

I tweet about this game pretty frequently whenever I play it! Lately, there have been a couple of great plot twists, and I expect they'll only get bigger/more epic as the characters get closer to figuring out who the killer is (they'd briefly succeeded in preventing the murders, and then everything got blown to shit).

I suspect this will be a game I buy for myself and replay in years to come! It's rare for me to connect so deeply with a video game outside the Final Fantasy franchise.



If you don't do video games, there is also an anime helpfully titled: Persona 4: The Animation. If you live in the US, I believe you can watch it for free at Anime News Network (&/or Hulu?!) right now. I'm at work, otherwise I'd link.
laceblade: Glaring Tifa of FF7, shot taken from Advent Children. Brushing her jaw with clenched fist. Text: FIGHT (FF7: Tifa fight ac)
I haven't played much of Okami, except that I played enough of it to firmly know I'd like to buy it one day.

As I continue testing everything in the pile lent to me by [personal profile] the_andy, today I started "Beyond Good and Evil."

IT IS THE BEST GAME.

To tell you how good it is, here are two sentences from Wikipedia that tell you all you need to know:

The story follows the adventures of Jade, an investigative reporter and martial artist, who works with a resistance movement to reveal a planet-wide alien conspiracy. The player controls Jade and allies, solving puzzles, fighting enemies, and obtaining photographic evidence.

BEST GAME. (To be fair, I've only played about two hours of it. BUT SO FAR. AMAZEBALLS.)
laceblade: Screenshot of FF7. Aeris: Don't fight here! you'll ruin the flowers! (FF7: You'll ruin the flowers!)
[personal profile] the_andy is The Shit, and sent me video games to play! SO THE QUESTION IS:

Poll #9601 Which game should I play first?!
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 15


Which game should I play first?!

View Answers

Wild Arms (and then also Wild Arms 2)
2 (13.3%)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
1 (6.7%)

Okami
6 (40.0%)

Beyond Good & Evil
2 (13.3%)

Odin Sphere
0 (0.0%)

Persona 4 (though I'd have to finish Persona 3 first and am finding head-shooting triggering at the moment)
4 (26.7%)

laceblade: Kevin McHale & Harry Shum Jr., screenshot from their remake of "Scream" music video (Glee scream)
It turns out that you consume a lot of media when you're home all the time and wanting to dissociate from pain.

VIDEO GAMES
Persona 3 FES for the PS2: Umm, this game is pretty sweet. I'm a Japanese high school student who hangs out with friends and goes out for ramen and studies, but sometimes at midnight I have to fight against these shadow spirits with my friends. To fight them, we call on spirits that have fused with us, or "Personas." We do this by shooting ourselves in the head. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THE SHOOTING HAPPENS OR WHAT IT MEANS. I named my protagonist Chris Colfer. I REGRET NOTHING. I'm still only in like, May.

Dissidia 012 for the PSP: I didn't play too much of this yet, mostly because holding the PSP felt a little awkward and also because this is an action game and it's SO HARD TO FIGURE OUT THE CONTROLS, OMG. Umm, characters from various Final Fantasies are called to A Place and fight against each other. But they can't remember their past lives, and they keep forgetting the fact that they can NEVER LEAVE. It's kind of depressing.
I thought that I could play the first Dissidia game with 012, but if you can, fuck if I can figure out how.

[personal profile] the_andy is sending me a bunch of video games to play. GUYS IT SOMETIMES TAKES ME FOREVER TO PLAY VIDEO GAMES. But I'm pretty hopeful because it seems to be doing okay things for my brain - stuff to work on in the background (strategy!). I also like when I dream "in video game," which usually happens when I play something a lot.

BOOKS
Atonement by Ian McEwan was pretty great. I almost hated the middle part, but then the end was about as great as the beginning. If anyone have recs for other shit written by McEwan, I'll take them. HIS PROSE, OMFG.

The Book of Heroes by Miyuki Miyabe. I'm only about 1/4 of the way through. IT'S PRETTY GREAT. This is my first book by Miyabe. The prologue made my eyes glaze over, but I'm glad I turned the page to chapter one, because it grabbed me right at the start.

Bone, volume 2 by Jeff Smith. Why does everyone think Bone is the greatest comic book series in the history of ever? Does it suddenly become amazing? Maybe this is like dude-bros who say that Love Hina & Maison Ikkoku are the pinnacles of manga.

VISUAL MEDIA
"Ever After" - rewatched the movie with a couple high school friends. We used to watch this like, every-other sleepover (opposite of "Center Stage"). I CANNOT BE OBJECTIVE ABOUT THIS MOVIE. IT IS AMAZING. I STILL KNOW EVERY LINE.

"Chak De! India" - I CANNOT CAPSLOCK ENOUGH ABOUT THIS MOVIE. OMG. Luckily, other people have written things that make sense. Rec post 1. Rec post 2.
This movie is currently streaming on Netflix. WATCH IT.

Parks & Rec - I'm a little more than halfway through season 2. AMAZING.

Downton Abbey - I've already posted about this. IT'S PRETTY GREAT, although season 2 is pretty soap opera-y now (I'm watch episodes as they air on PBS). Matthew and Anna are usually my favorite characters.

FANFICTIONS
I read fanfiction lots & lots when I was in middle school, and after that I just didn't have the patience to read that much text on a computer screen unless I was at work and paid to do so. BUT THEN I GOT AN E-READER.

"The Poetry in Blood" by Glass Shard - FF7 horror fanfic. The dialogue is, um, a lot more terrible than I remember it being. BUT. There are gunfights, and Vincent!angst and etc. Not as fab as I remember it being, but still one of the FF7 fics of my heart.

"Shards" by Frank Vederosa - I'm about 3/4 through this reread. I haven't read this fic for more than 10 years, probably. The fiction holds up better than I thought it would, but I hate how much of a victim Tifa has to be in order for her character to mature. I'm reading tons of epic-length FF7 fic lately, and I'd really like to do a comparison post of "what I remember" to "what it's like now." OMG I WANT TO DO THAT. I WILL.

Umm, I usually only read FF7 fanfiction. But I've been really into Glee lately, like, even a semi-active member at [livejournal.com profile] ontd_glee?? So I've been reading Glee fanfic.

Singing the Journey by [archiveofourown.org profile] wintercreek - "Blaine takes a job as Music Director at a Unitarian Universalist church to pay for grad school. Kurt is uncomfortable with this but finds his own way of fitting it into their lives. A story of liberal religion, complex relationship negotiation, family, music, marriage and a year in the lives of Kurt and Blaine."
IDK where to start with this fic. Umm. Blaine the character on Glee doesn't really do anything for me. I don't say that to bash a character while simultaneously reccing a fic, but rather to commend [archiveofourown.org profile] wintercreek's writing, because even not really digging the character, I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS FIC.
This fic is what kept me grounded in the last frantic hours before surgery, and in the horrible, terrible, no-good hours spent in a hospital recovery room when I wanted to die. It deals with heavy emotional stuff, but the fic is so comforting. Because it's about food, and music, and relationships, and Kurt Hummel ILU.
The third part isn't yet complete, but there's a pretty hefty word count there right now, and...and LOVE. I really can't say enough how comforting this fic was, and I hope to reread it soon, when I am not high on a morphine-variant like I was the first time.

I'm making way through [archiveofourown.org profile] lexie's Glee fic after reading her Tumblr post pointing out what was fucked up in the Michael Jackson episode.
I love ALL OF HER FIC; she captures each character's voice so well. She picks at things the show ignores; explores the relationships I wish the show paid more attention to. Here are some of my favorites, of what I've read so far.
Thousand Ways to leave this place - "Kurt has to figure out how life works, now that he's a student at Dalton Academy."

Find me a find, catch me a catch - in which Finn is a spectacularly inept matchmaker

What friends are for - "Santana and Brittany's friendship, from middle school through the summer before sophomore year."

To boldly go - Star Trek AU, in which Kurt and Blaine attend Starfleet academy.


If any of you have any recs for Glee fic, send them my way. This is the first fandom in which I'm cool with real fic, too. Except for Kurt/Darren, :p Lea/Dianna = my fave. Also like Kevin McHale, Harry Shum Jr., Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, & Lea Michele.
For the actual show, I'll take pretty much anything, although the fic seems especially heavy on the Kurt/Blaine. It's not my favorite pairing, but it seems to be fandom's. My favorite characters include Kurt, Santana, and Sam. Fics giving actual personalities/backgrounds to Tina or Mercedes = appreciated.

MUSICS
I bought Lana Del Rey's album and I fucking love it. That's about it.
laceblade: Aeris of FF7, screenshot from battle screen; staff is horizontal, she's about to cast magic. (FF7: Aeris fight)
Having trouble figuring out how to "cure" in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy (I haven't played the first one....I thought I could play the first one in this game!).

Further described in this post, if anyone can help me out!
laceblade: Screencap from FF7, Zak and Cloud escaping from Mako tubes in Shinra mansion (FF7: Cloud/Zack escape)
Is the plot of Crisis Core supposed to make sense?


I mean, with all the cameos, I really don't care, but at least if I know it doesn't make sense I can stop trying to pay attention to this Angeal and Genesis crap.
laceblade: (FFXII: Woodword motherfucker)
Following the assumption that Dreamwidth knows all, anyone have recs for games for the PSP? I have enough video games to last me for like, three years BUT WHAT IF I BEAT THEM ALL?!

I'm already playing Crisis Core (obviously!), have Tactics and a sweet Joan of Arc + zombies + cool cover art game. I'm interested in the Dissidias, although I'd listen to feedback on them!


I like epic RPGs, but am open to cute/mindless games, too.


In return, read a Tifa ficlet by [personal profile] mako_lies!
laceblade: Screencap from FF7, Zak and Cloud escaping from Mako tubes in Shinra mansion (FF7: Cloud/Zack escape)
(Post is not on filter because it's not really about writing the fic. However! This a reminder that if you'd like to read posts about the FF7-ness of the fic, or the Inception-ness of the fic, or really mostly about my progress in writing the fic, Vote yes in this poll to be added.)


So really, what writing this fic is doing is making me want to OMG BUY A PSP AND CRISIS CORE* IMMEDIATELY.

This is a problem because I'd like to buy a bike. A cheap and used bike! But still, a bike. Also, round-trip plane tickets to Japan, and WisCon is coming, and WAH.



*Crisis Core is a video game prequel to FFVII.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (You'll ruin the flowers!)
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6


Which video game should I play?!

View Answers

Finish Vagrant Story. It's already two months past when you were supposed to send it back to Jume.
2 (33.3%)

Re-play Final Fantasy VII
0 (0.0%)

Finish Final Fantasy XII (or restart from beginning, XD); then you can play Revenant Wings for the DS
0 (0.0%)

Finish Final Fantasy IV
0 (0.0%)

Continue playing Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
0 (0.0%)

Start The World Ends With You
0 (0.0%)

play that Fullmetal Alchemist game for the PS2
1 (16.7%)

Finish Star Ocean: Til the End of Time
0 (0.0%)

Finish/start over with Kingdom Hearts
0 (0.0%)

Play FInal Fantasy X and then X-2 (LOL I've never played X !!)
3 (50.0%)




My guilt tells me I should go with #1! Also, it's an effing fantastic game.

I think I have a pretty short attention span when it comes to video games. :[
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Sailor Neptune)
My fiction (specifically, Ghost Hunters) says:


I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




This does not surprise me. And he's one of my favorite authors, so, yay.



I left work early yesterday - basically, a stress bomb went off, and also my stomach hurt. I stopped feeling guilty about this when higher-ups, who are in Hawaii for a conference, updated their Twitter and FB accounts.

I had been playing Final Fantasy III, but then I found Final Fantasy IV for the Gameboy Advance (which can also be played on the Nintendo DS), and holy fucking shit, I love this game. It might end up being one of my favorite FFs.

Additionally, the lag time between fights and dialogue is much, much less. ALSO, THE ANGST OF CECIL IS SO EPIC. Please do not spoil for anything (I just got the airship, if you're looking for where I'm at).



The Nintendo DS: Allowing people to cuddle their significant others while playing epic video games.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Tifa & Aeris)
Again, it's not an exact transcript because I do pen/paper notes.

Panel Description: In some ways, the gaming industry is the last glass ceiling of geekdom; in spite of its increasing diversity, gaming culture has largely assume white, male, able-bodied, and heterosexual biases. Gaming communities like XBox Live, MMORPGs, D&D groups, and even retail stores can be noninclusive or even hostile environments to women, people of color, gay people, or the disabled. There are exceptions: Bioware's Dragon Age: Origins was highly lauded by GayGamer.net for its inclusion of same-sex relationships, and won AbleGamer.com's Most Accessible Game of 2009. This panel will discuss how games can get it right (and why they often don't). We'll also explore ways to make the gaming community more accessible, and brainstorm strategies for surviving hostile encounters in the gaming world.

Panelists: Chris Hill, Robyn Fleming, Jacquelyn Gill, Nonie B. Rider, Anastasia Marie Salter



The sub-culture of "gaming" is very broad, so the panel began by establishing different interests.

CH: Role-played in the late 70s and early 1980s, and is now into computer gaming.

JG: Roleplayed D&D and White Wolf. In college, more into computer gaming. She noted sometimes feeling uncomfortable online, in stores, etc. Also dislikes being told what she "should" like, as a girl gamer (i.e., not violence).

AS: Just finished a PhD in (?!) gaming narratives (sorry, I wasn't paying attention and didn't write that down properly). She likes to focus on the gender dynamic in computer gaming - how those playing with female avatars are usually assumed to be male; how this is now complicated by the addition of voice-chat, etc.

RF: Writes gaming columns, etc. Plays D&D, is bad at 3-D navigation. Would like feminist gamers to stop demonizing the hyper-femininity of some games. She likes the Barbie games. Please embrace them.

NR: Only into tabletop gaming.

Press coverage of a quote of fail was made reference to: apparently, when asked why Modern Warfare II contained no women (you know, to be modern), the person answered that in order to take the time to render female characters in the game, time would have to be taken away from other detail-work, such as crumbling walls. So apparently, crumbling walls in video games are more important than the option to see/play as female characters.

AS: doesn't play video games to necessarily "be herself," but why don't the games have more options?

RF: Gives props to Mass Effect (highly customizable avatars)

More games that have customization options are using it as a selling point.

Dragon Age is very accessible, and also explores other classes. Sometimes, "customization" is cited as being prohibitive to telling a linear storyline. Dragon Age disproved this for games that have storylines.

Also, for MMORPGs, which have no linear plot, there is still a lot of work to do on making avatars more representative of the human race. The "linear plot" argument is indefensible here, if it is in fact defensible anywhere.

At some point, there was a lengthy digression about the new rules put out for D&D. (Basically, for the 3rd edition, non-male pronouns were sometimes used (gasp!), but they were all or mostly male again for 4th edition. Also, even when the pronoun-usage is evenly dispersed, the pictures on the page show women in voluptuous/revealing clothing. There is a disconnect.

At some point, City of Heroes was also brought up as a game that allows a lot of customization (even fat characters!).

Team Fortress II was brought up as a game that had 9 classes of men in it. Online gamers are creating detailed hacks for female classes, too.

Hacks are fan-created works.

Ways to make the gaming community more accessible/let people know that gamers are diverse:
--If a game pisses you off because of its treatment (or complete lack of) POC, women, disabled people, etc., then don't buy it. Also, tell gamers in your life why you're not buying it. Write about it on the Internet.

--Find ways to hack the games, and play as different characters.

--Be a presence in gaming stores. Instead of buying things online, physically go to stores, let the employees know you exist, you play games, and you're giving them money. JG said she makes a point of going into gaming stores and asking intelligent questions about current games.

--Write online. Be a frequent commenter on the websites of companies that frustrate you. Let them know what frustrates you.

--Support game-producers who are not EA or ActiVision. Don't let huge companies be the cultural gate-keepers. Open-source games are awesome. There is a belief in the world that free games are not necessarily "good" games, because they're not mainstream. This is false. Use them. Smaller projects can afford to be more experimental than the Big Two Companies because they don't have as much money riding on a project. So if you support smaller projects and prove that experimental wonders such as including fat avatars or more POC can be successful, there will probably be a trickle-up effect.

--Download a free game, play it, and tweet it to the WisCon tag.

--Tweet to the #HackGender tag.

--Be a pusher of inclusive games to younger kids/teenagers in your life. They will be receptive.

--Use the Bechdel test on video games.

--Read Border House. From their own website: "The Border House is a blog for gamers. It's a blog for those who are feminist, queer, disabled, people of color, transgendered, poor, gay, lesbian, and others who belong to marginalized groups, as well as allies. Our goal is to bring thoughtful analysis to gaming with a feminist viewpoint and up-to-date news on games, virtual worlds, and social media."




I really took a lot away from this panel, particularly the To-Do list. The idea of supporting small companies (and small book presses) is one I've always supported in theory, but looking at my habits, do not do much to support financially or through promotion. It was because of this panel that I realized I had never purchased a book put out by Aqueduct Press, despite this being my fourth WisCon. (I then bought four books from them.)
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
I might write some FF7 fanfiction at some point, so I will start with meta. [Of course, I have written FF7 fanfiction before.....IN THIS JOURNAL! Don't look for it, it will make you cry.]

Final Fantasy VII was released for the PlayStation console in 1997. I really hope that it's okay for me to be spoilery about this game. It's been out for 12 years, and if you play video games at all, you've already played it. If you haven't played it, you probably never will.

But since it's best to be unspoiled if you ever DO play the game, I'm using an LJ-cut anyway. If you're never going to play it, though, read my post! My posts are terribly interesting! You always feeling better for having read them! )

ETA: FABULOUS CLOUD META BY SOMEONE WHO IS NOT ME!
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
I love the Final Fantasy games. VII will probably always remain my favorite, and I'd like to replay it some time soon, perhaps. With each installment, it's nice to explore a new and interesting world, while also seeing familiar elements.

I have yet to see a Biggs, Wedge, or Cid! The chocobos are totally badass in this game, though, and they look real and believable and are the caliber of what I expected in Final Fantasy Tactics, if the game could have had cooler graphics.

Anyway, I'm loving the Ivalice setting of the game, just like I love it in Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story. I love the medieval European feel, the knights and castles and armor and honor.

My favorite character is Balthier, hands-down. His English accent and snarky comments make him feel like Spike (of Buffy/Angel) reincarnate. But Balthier has better style than Spike. I love his fresh white shirts, and the fact that he gets upset if they're dirty. I love the way he holds his gun, and the gold trim on his clothing. MOST OF ALL, I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM. If Balthier dies, I'm going to be upset.

I find Vaan pretty useless and uninteresting, as far as heroes go. I even like FF8's Squall more than this guy. Luckily, I love everyone around him. I was wary of Penelo, expecting to find her irritating, but I really do like her. Also, surprisingly, I expected to fall head over heels for Ashe and love her like I love FF9's Princess Garnet, but I'm not really feeling the love yet.

I read somewhere online that originally, Basch was going to be the main character, but they decided, as they always do, to go with a younger, impressionable hero. I think it'd be really cool of Square would make the jump and have an older protagonist, or (God forbid!) a female protagonist!

Oh yeah! Usually, I don't like "complicated" menu set-ups, but I kind of dig the licensing system. I love the battle set-up, and how the perspective doesn't change from wandering around to the world map to battles. I like being able to change characters mid-battle, and....yeah, I love everything, except that I seem to constantly be short of money in this game, and it seems hard to find good weapons for everyone (especially guns!).

Still, I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far, and hope that the storyline gets even better.

Where I am right now, and my favorite plot point thus far. )

Also! While doing a Google image search for Balthier (*cough*), I found this website to be vastly interesting! It explores the copious similarities between the Star Wars trilogies and Final Fantasy XII. This thought actually occurred to me when Miguelo was introduced, and I expect will become even stronger as I continue to play.

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laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
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