The State of the Writer: 6/16/19

<–The State of the Writer: 6/2/18         The State of the Writer: 6/30/19–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 2

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction Novel
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Current Word Count: 253,610
Prior Word Count: 253,601
Word Difference: +9
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st Edit of Chapter 17

It’s funny how one chapter will need so much correction and tweaking whereas another will need minimum.  Chapter 17 has been one of the latter so far.  My biggest issue is thinking of a title for it, but that usually comes while I’m in the midst of editing.

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The State of the Writer: 6/2/19

<–The State of the Writer: 5/19/18         The State of the Writer: 6/16/19–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 253,601
Prior Word Count: 253,740
Word Difference: -139
Status: Editing
Progress: Third edit of Chapter 16

The third edit is going smoothly, and I was also able to make the chapter cover in these past two weeks.  I reached out to the artist for permission, and she got back to me quickly with a yes 🙂

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The First Tree Review

More video game reviews and analyses can be found here.

Title: The First Tree
Genre: Adventure/Exploration, Walking Simulator, Drama
Developer: David Wehle
Release Date: September 14, 2017

The First Tree cover

System: Nintendo Switch

The First Tree is a gorgeous, atmospheric game where you play as a fox hunting for her lost cubs through various seasonal landscapes.  In truth the fox and her search are the dream of the narrator as he attempts to work through childhood trauma culminating in one final blow.  As you, the player, control the vixen, the unseen storyteller talks to someone we assume is his wife about his father and childhood in the Alaskan wilderness, which the fox now explores.

Screenshot from The First Tree

Draped over the exquisite environment, the story intertwines with the vixen’s search in the dream.  Man-made artifacts and castoffs are strewn about, many of which the narrator will comment on if they hold some significance such as his sketchbook.  Others might be mentioned and discovered later like a lumberyard or abandoned police car, the latter which recalls a particularly offensive escapade.

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Piczle Colors

More video game reviews and analyses can be found here.

Title: Piczle Colors
Series: Piczle
Genre: Puzzle, Logic
Developer: Rain Frog
Release Date: January 31, 2019

Piczle Colors cover

System: Nintendo Switch

Piczle Colors is a puzzle game in the Piczle franchise that includes Piczle Lines and the update to that Piczle DX.  PC is a type of nonogram in the similar vein to Picross i.e. a picture logic puzzle in which cells in a grid must be colored or left blank in order to reveal a hidden image.  In the case of Piczle Colors, all the cells are filled with a particular color based on number clues in the the rows and columns.

Piczle Colors screenshotThe logic of the game is simple in theory but becomes complex in action.  Each row and column contain clues to help the player figure out how they should be filled in.  A number in a circle indicates that that particular color will be consecutive, so if we take the first column from the left, we know there will be three whites in a row.  A number that has no circle with not be consecutive.  Examining the same column once more, we know that blue will not fill up six adjacent spaces, and there must be another color in between to break it up.  If the player doesn’t put three whites in a row or does put six blues, an X will appear to indicate it’s not filled out correctly.

There were 300 puzzles at initial release and the developer just added 40 more that were part of one larger picture instead of individual ones.  They also included a way to skip the title screen, but they haven’t yet updated menu navigation, which comes off a bit dated.

Piczle Colors menu screenshotYou have to meticulously scroll through before clicking on arrows at opposite ends of the screen, as opposed to using one of the buttons to back out.

Another issue revolves around colors being either be too close to the background or another color, which can make for some confusion.  It’s possible to change the backdrop, and the colors are always in a particular order; however it can become frustrating, especially if you’re trying to best your last time and pick the wrong one.  The later pictures with more dimensions do come out looking more complex, but the developers could’ve explored options to forestall situations where colors are close in hue.

The initial puzzles are 5×5 then 5×10’s (and the inverse) are introduced before moving onto 10×10 and finally 15×10 puzzles with up to four colors.  There’s the option to do a randomly selected puzzle of the 300 or even an utterly random configuration using the player’s choice of 2-4 colors and any of the dimensions. This is by far the most difficult mode to play in as even 5×5 puzzles can be nigh on insurmountable with or without the optional clue.  The request for a clue can be turned on or off at your leisure or decided on an individual puzzle basis.  The game randomly selects a row and a column, filling out all of the cells there.

Between release date and current, 40 more puzzles were added that were part of one larger picture, and hopefully there will be more updates soon.  Despite its foibles, Piczle Colors is both entertaining and challenging.  It fosters logical thinking, and there’s a legitimate sense of accomplishment when a particularly difficult puzzle is completed.  Often I wasn’t certain or even concerned with what the picture was until I finished, and it’s never a bad thing to become totally engrossed in a game.

4 stars.

Note:  Just a quick reminder: I use the 5 star method for games.

Oxenfree: Review and Analysis

More video game reviews and analyses can be found here.

Note: Source for banner artwork can be found at this site discussing other potential media adaptations of the game.

Title: Oxenfree
Adventure/Exploration, Puzzle, Mystery, Horror
Developer: Night School Studio
Release Date: January 15, 2016

Oxenfree coverLet’s Player: ChristoperOdd
Date Started: 9/2/18
Date Finished: 9/5/18

A supernatural thriller about a group of friends who unwittingly open a ghostly rift.

With a heavy Stranger Things vibe and a female MC who’s a person of color, I couldn’t help but be drawn into this paranormal tale that starts out (like most) normally enough with a group of teenagers participating in a high school rite of passage that turns into a supernatural mystery involving secret subs, a lost crew, and a government cover up not dissimilar to The Philadelphia Experiment and Montauk.

Oxenfree, developed by Night School Studio and the brainchild of former Telltale and Disney employees, was released on January 16, 2016 accompanied by developmental documentaries and an alternative reality game (ARG), which allows players to interact with it in the real world, lending a creepier air to an already eerie narrative.   The atmospheric music, composed by scntfc, adds the perfect accompaniment to Alex and company’s exploration of the abandoned Edwards Island.  Along with the music, Morse code serves an integral part to understanding what happened here, though, as usual, the internet provides for those of us not savvy enough to be knowledgeable.

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Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy V

Final Fantasy Reviews

<–Final Fantasy IV Review                                                                      Final Fantasy VI Review–>

This is the part of a long-term project to play and review/analyze all the Final Fantasy games.  Whenever possible, I will play the original version, but in cases where it’s not available and/or there are time constraints, I’ll use a port and/or watch a Let’s Play, both of which contingencies will be indicated in the review.  Ideally, I will attempt to play a portion so that I can remark more accurately on the gameplay experience.  These will be long-form reviews with detailed plot analyses, so please be wary if you do not want spoilers.

I started my Final Fantasy journey in the 80’s with the legitimate sixth installment Final Fantasy VI, and though I did eventually go back to play Final Fantasy IV (which is now in my top 5 FF games), somehow or another I missed V.  While IV is known for being the first Final Fantasy to have a cohesive and intricate story, it had a static job system with only one character changing per the demands of the plot.  Final Fantasy V allows the player complete control over what jobs their characters have even more than Final Fantasy III, which required a certain amount of points to alter.  This was a huge advantage and helped distinguish FFV from its predecessors.

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The State of the Writer: 10/21/18

<–The State of the Writer: 10/7/18          The State of the Writer: 12/2/18–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 3

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 255,753
Prior Word Count: 256,723
Word Difference: -970
Status: Editing
Progress: Second edit of Chapter 12

If all goes well, I might be able to post Chapter 12 before I go on my November NaNoWriMo hiatus.  I’ve added everything I needed to the chapter and am currently doing the second edit, looking for any proofreading or flow issues.  So far things look pretty good.  I’ll probably do a third edit since I did make some changes, and I like to go over those with fresh eyes.

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