The State of the Writer: 2/23/20

<–The State of the Writer: 2/9/20         The State of the Writer: 3/8/20–>

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

Finished Projects: 3


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 252,492
Prior Word Count: 252,713
Word Difference: -221
Status: Editing
Progress: First edit of Chapter 22

This chapter has some interesting challenges, and I may end up with two versions of it.  I saw someone do that once on Fanfic.net.  I was talking with The Ink Garden about my wacky timelines/AU scenarios, but it was only scratching the surface.  There are more branches than a tree, which is…kinda fitting when I think about it.  I’m trying to add any additional text in my first edit instead of after, because it just doesn’t make sense to do any kind of editing prior to including additions.

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My Top 5 Games of 2019

I didn’t play a ton of games in 2019, but I did finish 14.  I don’t consider that a lot comparatively, but it’s better than zero.  Because not every game has an “ending” per se (think puzzle games and other non-narrative ones), that helped up my count.

Here are my Top 5.


5.  Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl

Cover of Etrian Odyssey: The Millennium GirlI played one other EO game before, Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth, and I really liked it, but I was worried Millennium Girl would have the same level cap…and it did.  You can only get to Level 70 until you defeat one of the elemental dragon emperors, which opens up the next ten levels.  Defeating another dragon will release another ten levels, and beating the last will open them all.  I understand it, but it still kind of annoys me lol.  It could just be a YMMV situation, though, as many people love these games, and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it.

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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
Title:
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
Title:
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
Genre: 
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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