Final Fantasy Friday: The Best and the Worst

A Final Fantasy (et al) post to welcome you to the glory of Friday (if you don’t have weekends off then may this hopefully brighten the midst of your work week) with more located here!

Is this a bonus round?  Or do I just feel like leveling up?  This is a two part and multifaceted question and one that’s going to require a bit of thought on my part (as I hope it does on yours).

Who is your favorite and least favorite character in each of the games you’ve played?


Well, I’ve played IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, and XII, so I’ll try to answer seven two part questions (really?  I’ve played 7 Final Fantasies?  Of course I have…well okay, if I only count the numbered ones).

Final Fantasy IV

My favorite character is Cecil, because he’s just an all around decent guy.  He’s willing to defy authority (the King of Baron) in order to protect the weak and innocent.  He’s forgiving.  He’s a loyal and true knight even before he became a paladin, and he’d never side with his alien half to go against the Blue Planet (sigh…).  Also he looks like this:

It’s hard to argue with such a beautiful face

My least favorite character in IV is without a doubt Edward.  Oh…my…god, he is so freaking useless (except for that one time in the Dark Elf’s cave).  He…edges out Edge in the annoying contest because at least the ninja prince is a decent fighter, but I can’t stand his overly cocky attitude.

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The State of the Reader: 3/29/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/22/17          The State of the Reader: 4/5/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week: 7

  1. Akarnae by Lynette Noni: Kept – I was a bit wary at first, because it started off a little too YA for my liking (especially in terms of unfortunately typical adolescent bullying), but the great writing kept me going, and then when the main character stepped through that strange door, I realized I was really interested in what would happen.  It’s also a book a fellow WP blogger/writer, and I always want to support people like that!
  2. Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner: Passed – Though it was touted as a clever, humorous fantasy, it just didn’t hold my interest.  I’m quite disappointed because there’s apparently a paradigm in the story about how the line between villain and hero can be altered in the blink of an eye, and I love things like that.  None of the characters grabbed me though, and while I’m usually a huge fan of assassins, there wasn’t enough background for me to really latch onto.
  3. Fire at Dawn by Ed Ireland: Passed – It just didn’t engage me.  The novel starts out with a character running from orcs, which I’m okay with in terms of borrowing from Tolkien; however, the dialogue seemed almost juvenile, so maybe this was geared more towards a mid-grade/YA audience?  Either way, it wasn’t for me.
  4. Fall from Grace by J. Edward Ritchie: Passed – I’m very picky and particular about my angels, and this book seems to be written for people who know little to nothing about them.  The fact the author italicized that the two main characters were seraphim with six wings (this is literally what he did) led me to this conclusion.  It’s also about a war in heaven where (of course) sides are chosen, and one of the mains is named Satanail.  I’m okay with some predictability, and it’s possible I’m wrong and the other MC Michael is the one who turns to the dark side, but I also wasn’t too keen on the angels’ aesthetic either.  Like I said, I’m picky about my angels, and before that thought can solidify in your head, understand that there are quite a few types that I find acceptable.  Example:

Totally acceptable aesthetic

Picture Source: 2010118 by feimo

  1. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch: Kept (RWTR) – I’m noticing a pattern as I download and read through samples.  I almost know right from the first page if I’m going to keep it and if it’s going to be in the “really want to read” category.  I also know if I’m going to pass on it.  This book “broke” an accent rule.  A recent writing tip I read stated that you shouldn’t write out accents.  If You Find Me breaks it a little with having the narrator Carey speak in a way where she leaves off her “g’s.”  It makes sense though since she and her sister are living in the woods of Tennessee, and it draws you more into the story rather than out of it.  If I know I’m going to keep a book on my TBR list, I usually stop reading the sample so that I’m not going too far into the novel, but with this I read until the end and wished there was more.  There is something extremely heartbreaking about the plight of Carey and her little sister,, abandoned by their mentally ill, drug addicted mom and more than likely abused by their dad (which is probably why the mom left him ten years ago in the first place).  This is also not my typical fantasy fare, but it may be finding its way onto my Kindle very soon.
  2. The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov: Kept (Library) – I really hate when samples have long introductions/forewords, and the sample ends before you really get out of those sections.  That’s what happened with this book, so I really didn’t get to read much of the story proper.  I decided to keep it, but put it onto my Library shelf, since I don’t know enough about it to warrant spending money, but for the same reason, I still want to give it a chance.
  3. Frostfire by Amanda Hocking: Kept (RWTR) – I already had this on my really-want-to-read list, and there it shall remain.  I was a little confused what kind of people these were when the main character said that they were allowed “human music and movies,” but the blurb revealed they’re trolls, and I thought it was cool that it seems to take place in a modern era where trolls (and probably other beings) coexist alongside humans.  I also totally called the villain of this story.  He was introduced in the sample and was portrayed as an attractive member of the elite guard that the main character looked up to.  Uh-huh.  I’m not going to give away what happened next, but I was very unsurprised.  This doesn’t diminish me desire to read this book in the slightest though.  I’m too well versed in fantasy tropes to be consistently surprised, and I actually like when I’m right so long as the trope is used well.

Books Purchased This Week: 1

Title: Red Queen
Series: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Date Added: January 6, 2016
Date Purchased: March 24, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $8.79
Retailer: Target


Books Currently Reading: 5

Title: Riddled With Senses
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: January 28, 2017
Date Started: March 19, 2017

Media: Paperback
Progress: 21%

There’s a brilliant commentary on the paradox of not wanting to conform, but also not wanting to fall into the trap of the non-conformist, which is another type of conformity.  It’s something very relevant to the age group Jitty, Hazel, and crew belong to, but the Era of Chaos has just begun.

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: March 4, 2017
Date Started: March 5, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 57%

It happened.  The part in the book where the title is said, and the speaker of it is revealed.  I was not expecting those words to come from that source, and I actually went over my typical one chapter for the day because it ended right when something extremely interesting occurred.  I want to know what “Blue Lily…” has to do with Blue’s character.  Is she the blue lily?  Is Lily going to be her secret middle name?  There’s still nearly half a book left to get through.

Title: The Quantum Door
Author: Jonathon Ballagh
Illustrator: Ben J. Adams
Date Added: February 18, 2016
Date Started: March 3, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 90%

The delineation of the typical three acts are quite sharp in this novel.  The first part is when the boys discover the eponymous door; the second is when they go through it; and the third is when they need to return something that came through to our world to the other.  There are obviously other considerations, but it’s a rare few stories that so clearly define their three acts.

Hm, this is making me want to make a post about the three acts in other stories…

Title: The Illustrated A Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell
Author: Stephen Hawking
Date Added: June 25, 2016
Date Started: January 2, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 47%

I think I’m one (or maybe two) chapters away from finishing the first part of this.  The chapter I’m on now is discussing string theory, and I…kind of get it.

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 81%

I officially cannot stand any of the main characters in this section/branch.  All of them are terrible.  There’s Gwydion who helped his brother assault his uncle’s footholder (his uncle, the king) then he tricked the King of Dyved into giving up his swine herd, and when the rival king obviously sought retribution, him and all of his men were killed in what was considered “fair” battle, but really Gwydion just tricked him again.  He has no qualms about using his powers to manipulate people, and he’s supposed to be the king after his uncle Math who is the only decent character in this part.  Then there’s Arianrhod, Gwydion’s sister.  She lied about having relations with men and attempted to be the king’s new footholder (only virgins are allowed to do it…I could say a lot about the concept of virginity, but we’ll let that slide), so when Math tested her, she not only failed, but actually gave birth right then and there (mythology is weird).  That child swam away, but somehow or another, Gwydion got another child from her prematurely and kept it in a box, but when he presented this son to Arianrhod, she utterly rejected her own child.  Oh, and this woman also blamed the footholder for getting her brothers in trouble #fuming  I suppose it’s better that the reprehensible characters were saved for the end since I might have given up reading this had they been the forerunners.


Fanfictions Finished: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 2

Title: I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight
Author: runicmagitek
Fandom: FFVI
Pairing: Celes Chere/Setzer Gabbiani

No updates for this one.  I still need to check her tumblr.  I really haven’t been on that site except to answer messages from people.

Title: I Will Call You Home: A Recounting of the Fifth Blight
Author: AtheneTseta
Fandom: Dragon Age
Pairing: Leilana/Various

I read two chapters last time I had a chance to do so, but I missed my Monday reading (I think I have this on my planner for Mondays and Thursdays).  They were hard to read due to some terrible things that happened (which means the writing is fantastic).  I abhor religious zealots.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 5

Title: Bull
Author: David Elliott
Date Added: March 23, 2017
Recommended by: By Hook or By Book

Kim and I had a nice discussion about myth retellings in the comments of her review post.  Mary Renault’s The King Must Die and its sequel The Bull from the Sea are probably my favorite ones.  I love the way she writes.  I’ve read The Last of the Wine, too, which is about two Athenian youths who are best friends, and Fire from Heaven, the first in her Alexander the Great series is on my TBR list.  Suffice it to say, I have a fondness for retellings.

With Bull, I love the implied crassness in the title.  Plus I’m a Taurus, so anything concerning bulls always has the opportunity for that parallel.  The novel is also written in verse, which puts me in the mind of Paradise Lost, but David Elliott’s work is much more tongue-in-cheek.  Either way, it’s worth a (sample) read.

Title: The Gathering
Series Title: Darkness Rising
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Date Added: March 23, 2017
Recommended by: By Hook or By Book

Because I passed on Anne Bishop’s Written in Blood last week, Kim decided she was going to recommend some YA books I might enjoy.  I do enjoy some (in fact, I really should stop saying I don’t; I’m just particular when it comes to writing style), but I’m always game for recommendations!  While the main character Maya claims she’s ordinary, save for an odd paw print birthmark on her hip, the cover certainly has a mystical cast to it, an almost James Cameron Avatar vibe to be honest.  That’s more than likely due to the blue that’s supposed to imply night, but the dangling earring in her ear doesn’t help diminish this assessment.

Title: Dead Witch Walking
Series Title: The Hollows
Author: Kim Harrison
Date Added: March 23, 2017
Recommended by: By Hook or By Book

I swore I already had Kim Harrison on my TBR list, but apparently I didn’t.  Her name sounds really familiar, and I think my writer BFF has probably mentioned her a few times.  I know I’ve been in discussions about her writing before.  Anyway…this is the other YA book Kim from By Hook or By Book recommended.  It’s also an urban fantasy so I’m cautiously optimistic.

Title: Waiting for Godot
Author: Samuel Beckett
Date Added: March 24, 2017

I should’ve added this years ago when I randomly read something about how Yuffie’s father (from FFVII) was named after Godot, the absent character.  I think his name sounds close to it (is it Gogo?  Am I thinking of the mimic from FFVI or do they share a name?), but it’s a minor detail I don’t remember (it doesn’t concern Sephiroth, so it probably was replaced by something else).  Either way, it’s a play I should’ve read a long time ago, regardless of its connections with VII.

Title: The Spirit Within
Author: Sheila Renee Parker
Date Added: March 25, 2017

One of my recent follows is the author of this book.  I always try to check out my blog follower’s pages to see if we’ve like minded interests in our posts, and I’m almost guaranteed to follow any author.  Though the book’s title reminds me of the lackluster Final Fantasy movie, it seems anything but.  A tale of dealing with an abusive relationship with a supernatural twist, I’m quite excited to see what unfolds (yes, that was supposed to be a flower pun because of the cover).


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 443
Change from Last Week: +1


What are you currently reading and/or what’s on your radar to read next?  What would you recommend based on my current and recently added?  As always I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

<–The State of the Reader: 3/22/17          The State of the Reader: 4/5/17–>

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The State of the Gamer: 3/28/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 3/21/17          The State of the Gamer: 4/4/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.
I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!
Original source of the banner art is located here.

Games Finished This Week: 1

Title: Journey
Genre: Adventure, Art
Developer: Thatgamecompany
Original Platforms: PlayStation 3
Original Release Date: March 13, 2012
Current Platform: PlayStation 4
Current Platform Release Date: July 21, 2015
Date Purchased: January 21, 2017
Date Started: February 11, 2017
Date Finished: March 22, 2017
Play Duration: 39 days

journey-cover

I not only finished this masterpiece this week, I wrote a review for it, too.  I have serious intentions of playing through this again, and I’ve added it to my Let’s Play list when I finally gather all of the pieces together to do that (it’s a quest).


Games Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius
Series: Final Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Date Purchased: March 21, 2017

Platform: iOS/Kindle
Price: $0.00

Title: Unloop
Developer: Hexagon Blue
Date Purchased: March 26, 2017

Platform: PC
Price:
$0.00

Thanks to LightningEllen and…ugh, I’m going to kick myself.  There was someone else who posted about this game before Lightning, and I can’t remember who it was!  Ah iplayedthegame.  I knew I’d remember (no I didn’t go to his page and search for it.  How dare you?!)

Anyway, I downloaded this Sunday night, but I haven’t had a chance to install and play yet.  I’m told it’s short, so hopefully I can get through it in one sessions.


Currently Playing: 2

Title: World of Final Fantasy
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Date Bought: October 21, 2016
Date Started: November 5, 2016
Date Finished(?): February 19, 2017

world-of-final-fantasy

I’m just cleaning up the easy trophies right now.  I’m not planning on collecting all of them, since some are quite obscure.  Like there’s a hidden one where you have to “kill many enemies with any type of Magitek Armor.”  What constitutes “many?”  I’m probably going to go after another hidden one with a definitive goal: having Lann deliver the finishing blow to the Quacho Queen.  Then there’s a regular one for mastering 100 Mirage boards.  I’m already at 82.  I still need to look into that Balthier summon.

Title: Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform(s): iOS, Android
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Date Purchased: March 21, 2017
Date Started: March 27, 2017

I don’t know why I slept on this for so long.  It was free on iOS, though I downloaded it onto my Kindle since I have little to no room left on my phone.  I’d really like to throw Record Keeper on there, too, but it doesn’t seem to be available.

So far I’m really liking it.  The music is absolutely phenomenal, and definitely has that Final Fantasy feel.  The main characters are of course pretty.

There’s Rain:

If it starting “Raining” this man, I wouldn’t complain

And Lasswell:

Lass VERY well!I have no idea what that means…

Further supporting my theory that there are no ugly people in Final Fantasy (at least not the main characters).

I really love the way they speak and have been reading their dialogue aloud with an English accent (don’t kill me other side of the pond friends), because it seems the inflection to match their speech.

The story is typical Final Fantasy fare.  The Earth Shrine was infiltrated by an armored man (who looks a hell of a lot like Golbez) who *spoiler* shattered the Earth Crystal and slaughtered Rain’s men. *end spoiler*  He and his best friend Lasswell are now on their way to the town of Mitra to figure out what they’re going to do next.

I haven’t yet run into the issue of only being able to play up to a certain point, and I actually got around two hours of gameplay in last night.  I’m still a bit shaky on all the controls and am unsure whether or not I should friend the people I use as companions.  I don’t know if it’s rude that I haven’t.  I’d give you all my nickname, but it’s stuck on whatever was randomly picked, and every time I try to…oh wait!  I wasn’t making it long enough.  It’s AshRose777 if any of you play and want to add me 🙂

So far I’m enjoying it, and I’m curious about why it has such a low rating on Grouvee (2.38).  I suppose either I’ll find out or disagree with the less than stellar assessment.


Games Currently Watching: 2

Title: Phantasy Star
Series: Phantasy Star
Genre: RPG – Fantasy/Science Fiction
Developer: Sega
Original Platforms: Sega Master System
Other Platforms: Sega Genesis, Wii Virtual Console
Original Release Date: December 20, 1987
Let’s Player: Hungry Goriya
Date Started: March 24, 2017

It’s another 8-bit RPG for the Sega Master System!  This was already on my backlog and having HG do a let’s play of it just makes me want to play it more.  It seems to be in the science fantasy genre as it takes place on another planet, and there’s space travel between the main and two other worlds.  Typical fantasy fare of an oppressive regime that the hero needs to take down (…erm reality maybe, too?), and it seems to be a pattern with SMS RPGs that the main character starts off weak and alone needing to level up quite a bit before any progress can be made.  Though this was also a trait of early Final Fantasies, too, and if I’m not mistaken Dragon Warrior also threw you into the fighting pit.

Title: Mass Effect III
Series: Mass Effect
Genre: Action RPG – Sci-Fi
Developer: BioWare
Original Platform(s): Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3
Original Release Date: March 6, 2012
Let’s Player: Olizandri
Date Started: January 23, 2017

Slacking Narcissist is slacking.  I did watch another video this week, but I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it, because it was another combat heavy one.  Olizandri is in the midst of the Omega DLC.  I may see if I can skip past the combat to the story parts, since that’s what I’m most interested in.


Games Added to Playlist: 6

  1. Mass Effect – I’ve been talking about playing this on here, Facebook, and Twitter, so I added it to my backlog.  I probably should’ve included it in my “Purchased” section since we bought the trilogy a few weeks ago for $5 (thanks to Cheap Boss Attack for tipping me off about the PSN sale on that!)
  2. Suikoden II – I could’ve sworn I had this on my backlog already.  I do own it, but maybe I just forgot to click that other button.  Ah well.
  3. Horizon: Zero Dawn – Too many people to name have recommended this game, though the instant I saw the preview I was interested.  Aloy has a similar look to Ygritte from Game of Thrones, that same fiery hair and fierce mien.  I’m really curious why robo-dinosaurs are running around in what appears to be prehistoric earth.  At some point humans (or someone) had the ability to make such complex machines, but then something happened to bring us back to the stone age.  Going back to Game of Thrones/ASOIAF, many of Martin’s stories are about this very thing, too.
  4. NieR: Automata – I have Cheap Boss Attack to thank for this recommendation, nor did I know it was a Square Enix game until a comment discussion.  It’s an action RPG, but you can adjust the difficulty, which makes an unskilled noob like me very happy hehe.  This is another human/robot (or android) story, but the machines are more sentient to the point where they’ve developed philosophy and factions.
  5. Ori and the Blind Forest – Um, I am seriously scatter-brained this week.  I have no clue who recommended this nor do I know why I added it.  It sounds like something I’d enjoy.  The cover is exquisite.
  6. Braid – I added this due to Extra Life Reviews’ take on another game made by the same people, The Witness.  Braid was mentioned, and it sounded like something I’d like.

Total Games in Backlog: 97
Change from Last Week: -3

How did I add six games, yet still go down three?  I have no clue…I did do some clean up so it’s possible that it just worked out that way.

…Omg I had Brave Exvius in my Games Bought section last week *headdesk*  Well, I’m going to keep it as is above, because I like that description better.


Games Added to Watch List: 0

Total Games on Watch List: 22
Change from Last Week: -1

I. don’t know what I took off o.O


Miscellaneous

I tweeted about my first Amiibo purchase, but I didn’t reveal what it was.  Presenting…

Princess Rosalina

I figured I’d put her among young and older Elsa so that she’d be with other blondies (though Vincent is lurking in the back), and you can’t see them, but she’s standing in between Sephiroth on the left (you can his hand the Masamune) and Cecil on the right.  I guess you could argue that they’re both blond, though I put silver hair in a class all its own.

The Mario Galaxy princess was the only Amiibo at Target I had the slightest interest in.  I didn’t know you could use them with the game, which is cool, so I have more of a reason to get a Nintendo 3DS, though I’m perfectly happy just having them as collectibles.

I also received two posters today.

I just have to figure out where I’m going to hang them.  Hm, you know what’s funny?  They’re both holding symbols of death.  Lilies are associated with that (they’re also poisonous to cats, which is hysterical when I think about Northern Lights), and the Black Materia is an instrument of death and destruction.  Just another philosophical insight from your friendly neighborhood Narcissist/FFVII fangirl trash.


What are you currently playing and/or watching? Is it something new or old?  Is it a first time run or a replay?  What’s the genre?  Would you recommend it?  What’s on your radar to play next?

<–The State of the Gamer: 3/21/17          The State of the Gamer: 4/4/17–>

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The State of the Writer: 3/26/17

<–The State of the Writer: 3/19/17          The State of the Writer: 4/2/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 269,521
Prior Word Count: 270,139
Word Difference: -618
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st edit of Chapter 9

I couldn’t decide which pink, heart-shaped necklace I wanted to use either here or which one I now want to visualize for the story.  Prior to searching, I had a particular design in mind, but now that I’ve seen these, I’m left uncertain.  Sometimes visualization can bring more confusion than clarity.  Let me know which one is your preferred in the comments!

As declared in the progress report, I have started editing Chapter 9 after writing myself some extensive notes on how I want to proceed with not only this chapter, but the following.  Writers often write much more than they ever explicitly reveal, but they often use these shadow sentences to drive what winds up on the page.  It’s a way to avoid the dreaded “tell.”  You note your character’s fear of snakes then have them freeze at the sight of a serpent.  It makes the reader question if they have a phobia or if they’re assessing the situation.  Leaving some things up in the air makes for a more interesting read.  People can argue, debate and discuss and hope for more clues to be given.

I’m always wary to throw around the term “love” when it comes to any story.  In both life and writing it’s far better to show then just say words that fade into wind.  So by the time my characters do say them, it’s already been firmly established.  When the feeling starts is always amorphous just like in real life, but the speaking of it occurs long after it manifests.

Quote: A crack in the sky allowed light to fall so gleaming near Aeris’s throat.  Below the deep hollow framed by collar bones pulsed a pink diamond necklace.  It was shaped like a heart and bordered by smaller stones of similar type.  She fingered it, staring at the ghostly vision within the window pane.  It was one of a myriad, more than she could count, fashioned from finest jewels. 


Project: Game Review
Title: World of Final Fantasy
Status: Drafting
Current Word Count: 125

world-of-final-fantasy

Besides some missed trophies, I think I can declare this game finished (unless they release some DLCs), so it’s time to write a review.  If I can work on it this week, I’ll post it for Final Fantasy Friday, though I’m in no way running out of questions for that.  In fact with every one I post, discussions lead to more potential ones.


What are you currently working on?  Is it a creative writing project, essay, review, or something else?  Have you just started something new or are you wrapping up a long term project?

<–The State of the Writer: 3/19/17          The State of the Writer: 4/2/17–>

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Journey

Title: Journey
Genre: Adventure, Art
Developer: Thatgamecompany
Original Platform: PlayStation 3
Original Release Date: March 13, 2012
Current Platform: PlayStation 4
Current Platform Release Date: July 21, 2015
Date Purchased: January 21, 2017
Date Started: February 11, 2017
Date Finished: March 22, 2017
Play Duration: 39 days

journey-cover

This wasn’t just a video game; it was an experience and the retort to any fool who claims that video games cannot be art, because that’s all Journey was.  I’ve upheld the claim of games as an art medium for at least two decades.  Art is anything that evokes an emotional response; therefore, art can be anything.  Of course there are things that evoke emotional responses that aren’t considered art.  A particular door may cause an emotional response in a particular individual due to history fair or foul, and this portal if plain wouldn’t be art, but it’s safe to say that a creative work that evokes a general emotional response certainly is.

Like my Final Fantasy reviews, this will be broken up by Gameplay, Story, and Music.


Gameplay

Journey is an artistic adventure.  You control a robed and scarfed character as you traverse a vast desert landscape.

The Traveler

Nor is the scarf just for show.  You can use it to fly and float momentarily through the air, and the longer your scarf, the farther you can soar.  There are places with similar looking cloth scraps set in the ground where you can recharge for future flights.

The game is broken up into undefined chapters and each has a scarf upgrade, which lengthens it and your flight ability.  I, alas, only found one of them near the end, so I traversed the barren landscape with a woefully short scarf and very little flying ability.

While Journey is not a collaborative effort, you can still be joined by other travelers along the way.

Hello friend 🙂

Each traveler has their own symbol that appears when you “call,” and this calling is integral for progression.  There are only two actions you can do in Journey: jumping/flying and calling.  Calling will “awaken” certain parts of the landscape, streamers, bridges, shrines, and others that will allow you to continue on your way.

Continue reading

Final Fantasy Friday: Keep Your Options Open

A Final Fantasy (et al) post to welcome you to the glory of Friday (if you don’t have weekends off then may this hopefully brighten the midst of your work week) with more located here!

The side quest question stirred up many great conversations.  During one “side” bar with Mr. Panda, we started discussing optional characters, and I thought that would be an excellent question.  I suppose we should first discuss what the definition of “optional” entails.

FFVI had 12 mandatory characters (at least in the first part) and two optional ones: Gogo the mimic and Umaro the yeti; however, you could argue that even more characters were optional as it wasn’t a requirement to find them all in the World of Ruin in order to finish the game.  I could also argue that the fan favorite Shadow is an optional character, though in my opinion he’s more mercurial than anything else.  Though if you *spoiler* don’t wait for him on the Floating Island before Kefka moves the statues and destroys the world, you never see him again, which could be an argument for his optional status. *end spoiler*  It also must be said that Final Fantasy VI did an amazing job juggling so many characters.  Each one was not only had an individual skill, but also an individual characterization and narrative that fit seamlessly with the plot as a whole.  DC movies could take a tip from FFVI, as I’ve heard of (and seen) their struggles with maintaining enough story for their many characters (or they could take some points from Marvel.  Comic nerds, please don’t kill me!)

There’s also a selfish reason I wanted to propose this question, because I came to it prepared.  I don’t even have to think about it.

Behold my favorite optional character…

If it wasn’t for Sephiroth, Vincent Valentine would easily be my favorite Final Fantasy VII character and possibly favorite Final Fantasy character overall (he’d definitely be a contender).  If you looked up the definition of sob story, you’d probably find this picture.  Do I even need to go into it?  The woman he loved was not only married to a monster, but was arguably forced to give birth to one.  Vincent himself was turned into a “monster” by Hojo for daring to interfere, and his last name is just a cruel mockery.  I have absolutely no idea why my and a good deal of fans have a head canon about him being a vampire, but it exists.  It might because you find him in a coffin, but he also has that forlorn, “I hate what I am” vampire vibe that was really popular in the 90s (none of that sparkling bullshit either).

The fact that he’s an optional character also speaks to the silent, secretive nature of VII’s story line.  What Vincent saw and experienced is monumentally important to the foundation of the game, yet he’s an optional character.  What Lucrecia saw and experienced is the catalyst for the entire game, yet finding her is a side quest and GOD DAMMIT!  How the hell did I forget about the Lucrecia side quest????  Ooooommmmmggggggggg D: D: D D:  I put the Stellazio quest down as my favorite, but obviously finding Sephiroth’s real mom is it ;_;  I wrote an entire fucking story about this!  I…I…have no words.  The only defense I can give is that I don’t think of finding Lucrecia as a side quest, because it’s so integral to the foundation of the narrative, but ugh…I need to hang my head in shame for a while ;_;

So who is your favorite optional character?  I’m willing to accept arguments/justifications if the character is not generally considered optional.  Let’s discuss!

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Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter (Prospero’s Daughter #1) (DNF)

Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017
Date Unfinished: March 18, 2017
Reading Duration: 35 days
Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 352
Publication Date:
August 14, 2009
Publisher: Tor Books
Media:
Hardback
Progress: 38%/135 pages

More than four hundred years after the events of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the sorcerer Prospero, his daughter Miranda, and his other children have attained everlasting life. Miranda is the head of her family’s business, Prospero Inc., which secretly has used its magic for good around the world. One day, Miranda receives a warning from her father: “Beware of the Three Shadowed Ones.” When Miranda goes to her father for an explanation, he is nowhere to be found.

Miranda sets out to find her father and reunite with her estranged siblings, each of which holds a staff of power and secrets about Miranda’s sometimes-foggy past. Her journey through the past, present and future will take her to Venice, Chicago, the Caribbean, Washington, D.C., and the North Pole. To aid her, Miranda brings along Mab, an aerie being who acts like a hard-boiled detective, and Mephistopheles, her mentally-unbalanced brother. Together, they must ward off the Shadowed Ones and other ancient demons who want Prospero’s power for their own….


It’s well known I’m in love with the works of Shakespeare, though I haven’t yet read The Tempest this is based on.  Miranda and co not only inspired The Bard in the world of Prospero Lost, but they use the play as a mythology to in which to conceal themselves.  Since people believe Shakespeare made it up, the information therein is obfuscated by fable, and Prospero Inc., the family company, is allowed to do its good works unhindered.

The main character Miranda, her father Prospero, and most of her siblings are immortal and have been alive for 500 years, aided by the power of magic staffs the sorcerer crafted.  Of course like most magical objects, they’re coveted and sought after by nefarious agents, in this case the Shadowed Ones who are more than likely the cause of Prospero’s disappearance.  This is the catalyst for the story that sends Miranda on a worldwide search with only her mentally unstable brother Mephistopheles and her aerie servant Mab for company and succor.

The concept behind this story is interesting, but one of the major issues with the novel is how much is introduced.  Since the Prospero family has been prosperous (I’m not sorry) for 500 or so years, there’s a great deal of history there, and the author attempts to reveal it in exposition throughout.  However, this occurs as dreaded info dumps that take you out of the mise en scene far too often.  I’m usually okay with exposition/author explanation, but it was so egregious and long-winded in this case.  There’s obviously a huge history there, but the way it’s presented is it too haphazard and random.  Miranda will start to ponder something that happened in the far past for several paragraphs, and it messes with the flow of the story.  Ms. Lamplighter also uses exclamation points a bit too liberally.

I also wish there’d been more about the company, Prospero Inc., and the work they do in it rather than just brief mentions and exposition.  The blurb states that they use their magic for the good of the world, but there were no examples of this in the novel itself.  It’s another example of showing instead of telling.

Despite this I didn’t declare this DNF due to dislike, but rather because it wasn’t quite holding my interest at the time.  I’m hoping to finish it at some point in the future, as there were numerous plot points introduced that I’m curious about.  The author also did a great job differentiating the siblings (that were introduced), which can be a daunting task when you have multiple ones.

I may read Shakespeare’s The Tempest before I return, since it relies heavily on that narrative and having it in my mental lexicon might make the beat points in Prospero Lost more pronounced, easier to digest, and I may be more forgiving towards the extensive exposition.

No rating for this since it’s Unfinished and I intend to remedy that one day.  I do have a rating in mind (as I usually do with most novels by the time I get to a certain point), but I’ll leave it until such time as it’s complete.

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