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16  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: August 21, 2014, 04:40:22 PM
Apparently Steam was trying to update itself and so uninstalled itself, but didn't reinstall itself?
Or maybe what changed was a registry association? Zomg, so obtuse. >_<

Ok. I've got Steam, I've got a Steam account, I'm logged into my Steam Account, and it's offering to let me download Steam.
Yeah. Maybe a registry problem.
17  Community / Off-Topic / Re: [Civ: BE]Harmony, Supremacy, or Purity? [Discussion] on: August 21, 2014, 03:06:19 PM
For personal, ultimately religious, reasons, I believe humanity goes beyond supporting basic drives.  Thus, at the end of the day, we're probably simply going to have to disagree. 

Actually, now I'm curious.
If you'd be so generous please explain what specifically you believe and why you believe it.
I'm versed enough in the whole Mosiac Monotheism suite to have the general corners of it defined, but I'm interested to know what your specific take is. As desired I can also refrain from any personal commentary, and you are welcome to PM me if you'd like.

Tracker6, anyone else.
See above! Smiley

Thinking on what I said here's my general deal; independent of what anyone else believes, and posted because I try to lead by example.
(click to show/hide)

I am constantly interested in knowing not just what people think, but how and why.

Thanks for your time.  Cool
18  Community / Off-Topic / Re: [Civ: BE]Harmony, Supremacy, or Purity? [Discussion] on: August 21, 2014, 01:58:13 PM
So, any new thoughts from all and sundry?
19  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: August 21, 2014, 01:51:32 PM
Unwelcome tangent: anyone else's Steam just lose track of or uninstall 90% of their library? Angry
Seems like most of the titles are still there, but Steam has lost it's associations with them.
It's quite the "good-morning!" vexation, I tell you what...
20  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: August 21, 2014, 02:15:20 AM
WOW. Shocked
The War Pimp is STRONG with these ones!

Where's my tree-hugging, spore-smoking battle thingers at!? Grin

Just noticed the Aegis has a sash. Nice.
21  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: August 20, 2014, 10:15:01 PM
Speaking of things Civ: BE the Steam release date is 10/24/14.
I'm half tempted to go-a-Googling and see if that date holds an appropriate significance.
22  Community / Off-Topic / Re: The Idiot Box: TV News, Reviews & Reactions 2014 on: August 20, 2014, 03:52:05 AM
Netflix has a series called Generation War about 5 German friends and their lives over the course of the Second World War.
It is stark, brilliant, and utterly unsentimental.
It's about 5 hours in total, and hard to recommend enough.

That said, it also has a quirk.
For whatever reason ~70% or so of the German dialogue is unsubtitled.
If you are conversant in German or which to test your skills you'll probably get along fine, but if not you'll have to roll with the disappointing lack of some details and an eye towards context.
It ain't great, but for Generation War the effort is worthwhile. Bring your manly tears, because this ride is utterly without mercy.
23  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: So... Spycraft 3.0 is a bit down the road. What about that ol' 2.0? on: August 20, 2014, 12:28:46 AM
I wouldn't go back to 2.0 as written after the dramatic improvement Fantasy Craft / Mastercraft made to the game. The level-based restrictions and dripfeeding of benefits which were painful at the time are totally unpalatable now.

See, I'm with that but some of the simplifications that resulted make me itch.
Granted I can only think of one off-hand and that's the limiting of insta-kill Melee Supremacy tricks to 1/round, but the feeling is there.
FC is fab, sure, but fantasy gaming is such a saturated market that I really just want to solve my fictional problems with Autofire. And Dramatic Conflicts.
I was half-assing my way through a 4E TOG Modern Combat conversion back in the day, for one. Didn't finish it, barely even started really, but that was a thinger.
24  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Re: So... Spycraft 3.0 is a bit down the road. What about that ol' 2.0? on: August 19, 2014, 06:18:09 PM
You know... I'm not sure if we're the only ones guilty of "Oh!  Another Edition is coming out, let's put off playing Spycraft until we get 3.0!", but that was definitely our mentality.  And while we're still eager to see what the Crafty put out for 3.0, we just went full hog back into 2.0 while Ramrodding FantasyCraft into it.  

For those of us who haven't played SC2 lately, she's a good ship.  She belongs on the water.  She misses you.  lol.  We're using all supplements, and.. I literally forgot how crazy SC2 can get.  We've already got one guy who's Paranoid of Holiday Characters.  Easter Bunny, Santa, etc etc.  Terrified.


+200% Koalification to me because you nailed it mate.
We still love you, 2.0. Come back.

Also yeah, the edition anticipation thing. Totallly killed a pretty decent (C+ to B) 4th Ed. TOG scene unnecessarily. I miss it still. Undecided
25  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: August 19, 2014, 06:06:12 PM
Which leaves me wondering if you actually played the 8 and 16 bit games, or are being blinded by nostalgia because everything you're complaining about is there in them.

In spades.

Look at the character designs for VI. Emo pop stars galore. The devs spent massive amounts of time on the graphics, pushing the limits and more for the SNES. Samurai, ninja, and kung fu masters in a world without Japan or China.

Etc.

The XIII games have an excellent plot that isn't muddled at all. It is a complex plot though, with the motivations of actual gods involved left unclear because no one in the game understands the why of some things and Chaos et al aren't handy to explain.

The again, I understood what was happening in Xenogears and Xenosaga, so maybe I'm just weird.

FF4: Cecil is kind of emo, but goes through a transformative phase and is in turmoil for a good damn reason. Kain is also, but it's well hidden 'til the end when suddenly he's a flowing-haired blonde. Spoony the Bard is totally, but I don't like his ass so I don't care. He's also entirely alone in being so "that's what he's about," and it ends up being his superpower.
Edge is from Ninja Japan. Yang is from Kung-Fu China. Bases covered.

FF6. Celeste is emo, but she's growing up out of being a hot-housed career officer. Edgar is, but again it's not all he is. Locke could be, but is plucky and awesome for it. Whatsisname The Samurai, who actually lacks most of the samurai aesthetics (face mask, lamellar armor, bushido code, sake' gourd, kimono, etc) unlike Auron*, sees his family murdered, but powers through it (without gaining a love interest either, which is kind of a divergence). Whatsisface the Gambler is, but he's also down there with Mog and Gau for least liked characters.
Terra is surprisingly gritty. She has a breakdown, but unlike Celeste she's never shelved by her traumas.
Yeah 6 had flaws -I totally didn't get that Celeste was in a combat monokini 'til I saw out of game art, then I bwah'd a little. And the Opera scene really didn't live up to it's hype, and really doesn't age well.

Everybody's got problems they have to face and conquer, and this is hardly unique, but nobody is utterly defined by those problems. And nobody is invulnerable (hello Seifer!).

Well, Cid does survive rather implausibly in 4 but it's kind of rationalized as him being too leathery. It didn't bother me, and doesn't, because he's not a central player in the overall themes. He's the exception rather then the rule.
This may be some very selective reasoning. Grin

FF12 (or 13): Can you sum up the plot? I did it for 7 in a small paragraph, so fire away.

I never played the Xeno series, which I understand is to my detriment, so there's that. I did beat 7th Saga, but that was mostly a test of endurance. Grin
People I respect have raved about how good they were, so again, rock on. I can live with respecting that second-hand.

Unless you're implying that I just can't like a complex plot, at which point it's your pogo stick and my minefield -We can have that discussion. Cool Wink
I doubt that's the case though; we're discussing perspectives on the foibles and supposed decline of the the Final Fantasy series not me.


*Curiously said character in said kingdom is not from Fantasy Japan any more then he's strictly superficially Samurai, which is interesting to me. He's a knight, a medieval warrior elite, which is what Samurai are when one strips off the ancestor worship goggles. That's unusual, because typically in JRPG when they provide That Katana Guy he must guzzle sake' and bleed Bushido which goes hand-in-hand with subtexts about how shallow Western Knights are because they don't have magic horsemen's scimitars and codes for ritual suicide.
This is also the era of Final Fantasy Tactics, another frickin' amazing Square title, in which Samurai are not blindly and objectively better then Knights. They get cooler abilities -Hamedo is godlike when properly implemented, but they're not mechanically superior. See also Dragoons, for example.
Or shields. Shields also do well as a watermark of prejudices. When Nihon is really feeling it's superiority complex shields are utterly pointless. When it's not, you get Dark Souls.
Now, why I think that and why I think that matters is something I'm interested in chewing over, but not right now -I have a bus to ride.
26  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: August 19, 2014, 03:32:39 PM
Oh wait, it just hit me: here's where the real "Need to STOP" sign was.

Raijin and Fujin in FF8.
They are the point at which the character designers tacitly admitted "we just don't know what the FRACK we're doing, so let's add some Japanese folk legends!" They were out of creative ideas, and threw back out of panic.

I didn't finish FF9, which is sadly about all I need to know on that topic. Whatever it's retro charm was supposed to be I just didn't get it. Apparently I needed to unlock Fran. Tongue
FWIW people I respect fell completely in love with it, and especially Vivi's subplot, so rock on.

FF10 had Auron, who was kinda badass, but again was a cultural throwback. He was the Elder Samurai Authority Figure Badass in a setting that didn't have Japan. Pandering, ahoy.

After that it was all "youth designs" and carefully feathered haircuts, the twin hellions of The Pit.
27  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: August 19, 2014, 03:22:14 PM
* Sigh.

He's right about their interpretation of the sales numbers.

The rest is drivel.

XIII had it's failings (pacing of the first act/tutorial mostly) but XIII-2 and Lightning Returns were strong games.

If you don't believe me, you can go buy it on PSN or Steam or from Square and play it again. Do so completely objectively. The writing's just as (actually more) muddled. The characters are pretty flat. Combat's boring and gets tedious fast. Etc. Heck, the characters in VII are better written in the tiny snippets they have in the Kingdom Hearts games then they are in FFVII.

Hmm.
I agree somewhat. FF7 was the harbinger of the end. It had atmosphere to spare, but it was also the start of the giant word salad story concepts. I could tell you the general themes (if not the specific plot) without references* as that's not so complex, but I couldn't define what the origin of Cloud's schizophrenia was without some research^. Imo it was favored somewhat by it's obscurity -I remember the impact of everything becoming clear still, if a little distantly.

FF6 was my own fave. The vast but interesting cast, the globe-trotting scenes, the major late-plot twist, the villains, the rescues, the despair, the triumphs, the pacing, the everything. Even Gau, who wasn't exactly amazing, was still alright.

Also, the Squeenix Batman didn't rustle your jimmies even a little? I thought that metaphor was pretty directly illustrative in at least being a problem in that 40k's The Night Haunter way in that no matter what the price tag says being a large figure festooned in spiky gewgaws and hard angles just doesn't say "stealth predator."

FF7 Characters, in one sentence -with some hyphen abuse and no research.
Cloud's a moody dick because he can't face his own lies.
Tifa's an atrocity survivor who's buried it all deep.
Aeris knows she's going to die and is trying to enjoy life while she can.
Barret is angry at being powerless to protect his family and town despite being a tough guy.
Red 13 is a teenager -messed up but trying too hard to be angry at his father.
Cid is pissed at the abandonment of the space program and what he sees as a resulting general spinelessness.
Yuffie is ...kinda shallow, and I never got farther than that -Wutai doesn't really fit well in the rest of the game imo.
Vincent is emo -he and Barret are polar opposite reactions to similar traumas, but whereas Barret was always blustery and macho Vincent was a handsome posturing git who learned a very hard lesson about just how wrong things could go.
Whatisname the stuffed animal thing was one of the exceptions to the setting -a normal, faceless Shinra bureaucrat propelled by outrage to do something.
Zack is the other as pretty damn normal city kid too basically moral to be corrupted (small surprise he's Aeris's former beau).
Sephiroth was a self-important psychopath manipulated by Shinra (it occurs to me his dialogue could have be deliberately flowery and grandiose as a means of showing that off) who's world implodes when he discovers that his grossly inflated self-image is in fact a cultivated deception.
Hojo, Heidegger, Rufus and Scarlet are all various psychopaths.
The Turks are all my first exposure to the Evil Adventuring Party trope, but in suits.

The importance of the character designs was at least that I understood them clearly, as I think I demonstrated.
I'm not sure Cloud's clothes scream out "soldier!" (and his name makes little damn sense in any context), but I really don't know what Lightning is dressed to be. Or Snow -he's dressed like a street kid, but he's got a motorcycle that doubles as two gynoids? Hope is ...a little kid? With a boomerang? Fang's pretty clearly an inked-up badass; the gender flip did that idea no damage at least.

Or take the background characters. Consider whether all the disposable goons actually look like soldiers/cops/thugs and not extras from the courtly scenes of Eyes Wide Shut. Or maybe Carnivale.
It's true that coloration and military frippery vary from era to era, but there's a certain uniform (ho ho) necessity for functionality. Clothing has to be functional, if not protective. I haven't gone looking, but I'll wager (nothing, in candor) that they fail basic scrutiny in this regard.

Tanget: White Wolf licensed from Capcom the Street Fighter setting. They did a pretty uniformly crappy job, but they did have at least one good concept: run from guns. One goon, or maybe 3, with Uzis weren't super deadly, but more then that and it was run-or-die time. About the time the FF series started to strut out in front of potential volleys of fire like it was Dragon Ball Z I think they were losing their grip. FF7 had random encounters involving underwhelming firepower, but I remember FF10 featured Tidus and co interrupting whatsername's forced wedding (and presumed later ritualized rape) by cable-surfing through explosions and fire like they were hilariously aware that they were in fact in no danger from, y'know, weapons.

Cloud gets his ass kicked by falling, by random debris, and chapter one ends with Avalanche fleeing Midgar in disgrace. One of those clips showed Snow pimp-walking out in front of an armed, responsive squad of troopers and totally disinterested in the apparent possibility of an imminent ballistic perforation. Or that maybe other people will get shot. Or, anything. I'm sure I'm missing details that are probably important, but I also know that whatever was supposed to be happening there it was apparently as dangerous as Eldar cosplayers armed with broken Supersoackers.

My agreement with Jim Sterling is anything but blind, yet he is right about Square and graphic investment. They did actually have a trailer for that graphics engine, they have spent tons making the Final Fantasy series flashier and flashier and I agree that their general descent into gibbering decorative excess probably is to blame for finding worse ways to tell less coherent plots.

In closing I think FF8 was the real beginning of the end and of the new Square era when the rails got jumped on wanting to militarize children a bit too much -FF7's themes included adolescence, but in FF8 that was superseded by having half the actual entire cast that need to grow up, and it's been all downhill from there.

(Well, FF10 wasn't bad except for the whole "that reality devouring THING is my dad" And some of the costumes -"asymmetry is the new black", though I respect the drive of anyone who actually learned to speak whatsits Rikku's folk language).


*the world is dying because a) Shinra is removing and devouring Mako, it's life essence, and because b) Jenova is Giant Space Cancer that's been pursuing the Cetra, it's antithesis, with the purpose of finally exterminating them. It wins, except that Aeris is in fact a distant relative of Obi One Kenobi and death does make her more powerful then anyone could imagine.
The overall theme was the death of hope owing to blind industrialization. This wasn't exactly well concluded, what with the ending being infamously shite.

^Gene therapy using Jenova as a basis as an attempt to recreate Sephiroth except that Zack is just "too awesome" to be taken out by it? I think?
28  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Video game news and reaction on: August 19, 2014, 04:04:59 AM
Y'seen this?
Jimquisition on Squeenix being kinda batshit crazy.
This is good, and not just because I agree, but because perhaps like you I really want to love Final Fantasy again, and I just can't.
29  Community / Off-Topic / Re: The Silver Screen: Movie News, Reviews & Reactions 2014 on: August 18, 2014, 10:32:46 PM
A so far 2-movie concept in which an otherwise Rockwell-ian near future America has as single day in which all law is suspended.
Ostensibly this is a social pressure release valve, but in practice it's about population control as the poor and desperate cull themselves down.

A good review.

Edit: Krensky pretty much nail the first movie, but apparently the second is at least tolerably better.
30  Community / Off-Topic / Re: The Silver Screen: Movie News, Reviews & Reactions 2014 on: August 18, 2014, 08:47:33 PM
True.
I wanna chew on the contrary, but it's basically true. There are "societies" that are free-fire zones, but not legally. There are places that still allow legalized Slavery, for example, but that's by Koranic justification.
It's probably impossible to have a functioning society that does The Purge.
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