Baby Yoda being so cute is blinding us to the fact that The Mandalorian has a Xena vibe. That’s not a bad thing, but it really feels like a 90s fantasy serial.
Mario: jumps, delight. Zelda: puzzles and swords, epic. Fire Emblem: item management, horny.
I hope whoever built the Spotify end-of-year story gets a raise. That was a flex.
On the other hand, listens to Discover Weekly, oh, hey, this sounds like Wilco, oh hey, this is Wilco, oh, hey, there was a new Wilco album this year? Huh.
Gettin all my scared spouses peloton’s.
I pay for the Peloton workout app thing. I don’t have the bike or the treadmill or the stocks in the public square. It’s expensive for a home workout app but it’s way better at not being boring. Every other workout app is a quiet room with a lonely man or a JPEG of a sit-up
At least the grift of peloton is front-facing. They want lots of money. Giving them the money and your heart rate and they’ll maybe choose your name mid-ride. The cult part isn’t subtext. It’s right there the first time you even try it.
We constantly joke about the other people in the filmed workout room. How’d they get there? Are they employees? Interns? The chosen? My guess is it’s a reward for 5000 workouts. Twenty minutes in the chamber.
I just want my iPhone XR to last as long as some people’s iPhone 6’s. Five years is a noble life for a secret tiny hand computer.
Untitled Goose Game is a good date. Buy it for less than $30 and spend four hours with your significant other being very happy and causing nice mischief with the goose. It is a game you pick up once and probably never again. I would very much like video games to be more like this and less like that they generally are. Why spend 80 hours doing something when four will do? That’s fucking delightful.
I’m tempted to say that Untitled Goose Game is the game of the year, not because it does video game better than anything else, but because it respects the player’s time. No other game does!
Here are several very smart and funny things about Untitled Goose Game:
Apple TV says I can watch Season 4 of the Good Place since I have Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime says I need to subscribe to Stack. So I can watch The Good Place on Apple TV through Amazon through Stack TV. Except it’s also not allowed. This is the Bad Place. https://t.co/k0EhEGyEIW
Radiolab: Breaking News. “Today, two new technological tricks that together could invade our most deeply held beliefs and rewrite the rules of credibility. Also, we release something terrible into the world.”
the end of the decade is folding in on itself and in a month we’ll find ourselves right back at 2000. https://t.co/SBJ8dpQA1q
I know everyone’s moved on, but I finally picked up Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Quickest of takes: the teaching parts are stressful because they on purpose give you no real time or resources to help these kids. That’s accurate!
I know, I know. You can’t, like, finish a fighting game. Fighting games are like disciplines and some people go their whole life mastering a single character. It’s insane. I have no idea how anyone has that kind of focus.
What you can do, theoretically, is finish the single-player content in a fighting game. Usually that’s a tournament or a tower where you beat all the characters vaguely related to your own, and then you beat the boss that may or may not be a playable character. In Smash, that big bad was a hand, which stands in for you, the player, or God, or the player in reboot. It’s murky, Smash.
In Smash Ultimate, the single-player mode is a gauntlet of hundreds of specialty matches called Spirits. Each match turns up or down dials in the same. Some matches are faster, slower, harder, easier, windier, on fire, upside down, etc. It’s the classic Nintendo approach: take one simple concept and then mutate it over and over until you’ve wrung the whole thing dry. This takes a long time.
I imagine most people do not finish Spirits.
Using other characters
You begin Spirits with just Kirby, because he’s the best. Over time, you unlock everyone, and as soon as you unlock them you can play them. There’s nearly 100 unlockable characters but you’ll likely only use a few. Some matches require a stronger or faster character, and I ended up using a mixture of Toon Link, Richter Belmont, and Kirby as needed.
It took me thirty hours to finish Spirits. There are apparently 936 matches in this mode. God, that’s a lot. Probably too much. I remember very few of them individually. They really blend together. I liked that I collected the spirit after each battle, and they have their own strengths that help in subsequent battles. Near the end, I felt invincible. But I can’t say it wasn’t a slog at times.
There’s a light god and a dark god. I figured the whole thing was just about the light god, and figured after 13 hours or so I was done. And then I wasn’t, and that was annoying! It’s ostensibly about balance in the universe, but I kinda didn’t get it? The ending was an emotional let down. Maybe I don’t understand the lore here enough.
The last level, however, was great. Difficult, fun platforms and timed spots that I wish they’d done way more of.
Built for 5 minute sessions
I do not have the discipline to be a Smash player beyond casual parties. I’m ok at it at best, but the buffet of Nintendo and video game nostalgia is really what I’m here for. Smash is silly, but also amazing at times. It’s maybe impenetrable, like the story in Spirits. Don’t come here.
I’ve been playing around with this trick I learned. If you take off the lens of a DSLR and flip it around (and hold it properly), you can get some pretty cool macro shots. Here’s some practice shots using a Switch Pro Controller as the subject.
Why Everybody Needs Therapy, Licensed therapist John Kim (aka The Angry Therapist, author of I Used to Be a Miserable F*ck) discusses the stigma stopping many PoC to join therapy, the challenges of being vulnerable as a therapist, and how long it takes to get over a breakup.
I bought some games in an eShop sale: Ape Out, The King of Fighters 2000, and The King of Fighters 97
November 9, 2019
I watched Spider-Man: Far from Home, 2019 - ★½. There’s a good idea here. A bad guy takes advantage of a hero vacuum using CGI because people have seen so much fake shit they can’t tell the difference anymore. This is a good idea. I hope someone uses it again in a good movie.
I love a good platformer. I love clean design and well-thought-out experiences. I love a game that doesn’t waste your time. So Box Boy is perfect.
In Box Boy, you are a little square that can make more squares. The number depends on the level and the set of puzzle-obstacles in front of you. If you need three boxes, you can spit out three boxes. You never wonder if you need more because that’s all you have.
There’s a bunch of levels, more than you’d think, but it does not wear out its welcome. You never don’t feel clever. The levels are never too hard. If they are, there are hints, and you can restart any level at any time.
Bye Bye Box Boy is the third game. There’s a fourth one, on Switch, that I’ll buy soon and probably love.
In Box Boy, you can finish every level in less than 60 seconds and if you finish faster, you can get a new hat. The hats do nothing. It’s the one bit of flair in a game with literally no flair. It might as well be in black and white.
I finished Bye Bye Box Boy in, what, four hours? Yeah. That’s perfect. It cost seven dollars and was worth more.
So, like I said in my last post, I bought Chrono Trigger for the DS in 2009, and it remained unopened in a drawer for ten years. I had every intention of playing the game. I knew I’d love it. It was just a matter of getting through some other stuff first. Like adulthood, I guess.
Playing a 3DS in 2019
Apparently this is the preferred way to play this game anyway. It’s been released on iOS and PC, but both of those ports suffer annoying alterations that have left the fanbase cold. So I played it more or less the way it’s meant to: in standard definition on a Nintendo console.
Because it’s a DS game on a 3DSXL, I had two viewing options: pixel-perfect or blown up. Holding the start button while booting the game loads pixel-perfect mode, which leaves a pretty large amount of the screen black. It does look crisper, though. I spent about half the time in one mode and half in the other. I’m old, man. Sometimes I need things to be a bit bigger.
Playing Chrono Trigger ten years after meaning to
There were lots of games in the last decade I should have not played so that I could have played Chrono Trigger instead. That’s on me. I should have gotten to this sooner. But games like Chrono Trigger are why some of us have backlogs to begin with. If not for games we know will be good when we get to them, why would we keep things in a que at all? I know how to read a review.
Chrono Trigger is a turn-based RPG where you select your attacks from a menu and wait. You wait a little bit less in this game because you can select “fast” in the settings for battle speed. What that really means is that you wait less but so do the enemies. It was fast enough that I had to really move in the menu lest I get pancaked by a heavy. I saw the game over screen a bunch.
I was satisfied with the ending I saw. Apparently there’s lots of them and you can only get the true ending if you play more than once. Chrono Trigger is a game about time travel, so having multiple endings makes a thematic sense here that’s lacking in other games. That may mean I only played some Chrono Trigger and not all of it, but life is too short for multiple endings. I have a backlog to get through.
Chrono Trigger’s battle system is fun enough to keep you trying new things. Each character gain new abilities over time, just like in any rpg. The twist here is that some abilities require two or three party members, so you get this great juggling of extra power or extra turns. It helps that each battle is a little different. Enemies are either really resistant to certain attacks or just get pulverized by them, and this alternates with frequency. It doesn’t want you to get bored with menu-based combat, so its battles trick you into thinking you are both smart and buff. That’s what a video game should do!
It took around 25 hours to beat. I probably missed a few side-quests but not many.
Everyone is right about Chrono Trigger. It’s a touching story that isn’t too saccharine. The characters feel just fleshed-out enough that you trust them and want them to succeed. I found no main character so annoying as to never want them in my party. That’s extremely unusual for this kind of game.
Here’s a weirdly common problem: I own lots of games I’ve never finished. Until recently, I didn’t actually know the number but I figured it was in the low double-digits. They’re mostly from Steam sales, 3DS impulse-buys, and the Switch’s incredible port backlog, but some are games I bought at full price with every intention of enjoying. True story: I bought Crono Trigger for the DS in 2009, and it remained unopened in a drawer for ten years.
First up, Final Fantasy IX. I originally bought it for the PS1 in 2000. I think I got about halfway through. I don’t know why I didn’t finish it then (maybe I had homework?), but I eventually sold my PS1 and gave it to my brother.
I did play a little bit of it on iOS, though that’s really not the place to let yourself get lost in 50-hour epics. Finally, I bought it on Switch in 2019 for $20 or so.
The Princess Bride of the Final Fantasy world
This game’s story is so sweet. It has none of the gen-x whatever feels of the previous two Final Fantasy games and feels like it belongs right next to 80s fantasy stories like The Princess Bride or Dark Crystal. These heroes just want to do the right thing all the time.
Playing Final Fantasy IX on the Switch
I completely see why people bought the PSP now. Playing Final Fantasy games on the go has always been awesome (shoutout to Final Fantasy Adventure on the Game Boy), and people still carry around GBA’s for FF6. I’ve really come around to the “port everything to switch” bandwagon.
Here’s a creaky-old-man lifehack with the Switch. You’re on the subway with both elbows holding up the console. You can just take one joy-con off the side and lower one arm for a while and still play. That’s just nice.
Playing Final Fantasy IX in 2019
Final Fantasy games are turn-based RPGs that go back to 80s text adventures. There’s a lot of text. There’s a lot of menus. There’s a lot of running around and holding down the attack button for a while. But in 2019, all that’s optional. There are quality-of-life improvements here that let you speed up the game, give yourself boosts, and even turn off battles. This was the feature that encouraged me to play this game. I’ve always meant to go back and experience Final Fantasy IX’s story, but I absolutely do not care about its combat. I barely got good at its fighting style. I’m not sure I ever figured out its tech system. I’ve heard that it’s fine. Take all that stuff out, and it’s still a 20-hour game.
If there was a secret mega-boss like in VII and VIII, I missed it.
How it Feels to Finish Final Fantasy IX after 20 years of meaning to
I’m glad I bought it on Switch and played it. It holds up! It was a retro effort in 2000, which helps future-proof it. But because it’s got a timeless appeal, I don’t feel like I missed out by leaving it until way later. It’s like it was designed to be put on your shelf for decades.
I dug how each character had unique convictions. There is a whole world-ending god/calamity thing, but it was much less interesting to me than these seven people figuring out the proper way to care for one another. That’s the good stuff.
Final Fantasy IX is great, but I’m not sure how good a video game it is. I’m all here for the story, but nothing else really mattered. Square shouldn’t do it, but someone should pay them loads of money to turn this one into a three-season TV show.
I’d tell her that computers cost more than they did in the early 2000s, or even five years ago. You can’t get a good computer for 500. You couldn’t then, either, but we didn’t do as much with them anyway. Now we do everything. If your phone used to cost 300 and now costs 1300, it stands to reason other kinds of computers cost more too. The Canadian dollar is also super weak and that sucks but what can you do?
Still, computers today are incredible. They’re well-built, super fast, and will last a long time.
Lightness and Portability
Ease of Use
In my mind, there are only two computers right now that do these things. Every other computer on the market is either heavier, more complicated, or has other serious drawbacks.
You can save money on getting less ram and storage, but it will make the computer slower now, and way slower in the future. While I’d rather splurge on the 16gb of ram, it is likely that my mom’s computer usage wouldn’t actually require more than 8.
Keyboard and Mouse?
She has a good mouse. And because my mom’s last computer was a Surface 3, she can still use the keyboard and pen, so that’s a few hundred dollars saved on accessories. A new keyboard would be about $200 with tax, and a new pen is 150.
While 64gb of storage on an iPad is probably stingy these days, 512gb is overkill. It’s likely my mom will download movies and TV shows from apps, but those are all pretty good at auto-deleting files over time. The iPad Pro may be the easiest computer in the world, file-management-wise. It’s a way better deal to just get 2tb of iCloud storage than to pay for more local storage.
Is an iPad a real computer now, though?
Yeah. There’s a file app and USB-C and you can connect it to a monitor and use a bluetooth mouse. It runs Office 365 and you can connect it to an external hard drive and a server. It’s not really missing any major PC features anymore. And since it does a whole lot that a regular PC can’t, it’s actually the device I’d recommend for anyone not stuck with some legacy app they can’t live without. My mom is not one of those people.
Keyboard and Mouse
Yup. That’ll be $250 for a Keyboard Case from Apple. It’s a good keyboard, though, and arguably a much better typing experience than any Mac.