Count_Zero

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Count_Zero last won the day on August 28 2009

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About Count_Zero

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  • Birthday 02/03/1985

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    Oregon
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    CountZeroOr
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    Playstation 3
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    Nintendo Entertainment System

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    Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 and Madden 10.
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    The Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star series, as well as Shumps in general.

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  1. New Release: EGM2 Issue 8 February 1995

    The CBZ file isn't working for me.
  2. Book Review – The Hobbit

    A while back I reviewed the Silmarillion – this time I’m reviewing and discussing Tolkein’s first novel: The Hobbit. Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/ Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/ Filed under: Books Tagged: Books, middle-earth, video
  3. We take on our second loyalty mission, as we rescue the Asari Arc. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Video games
  4. Before moving on to our next Loyalty mission, we chat with some party members. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Video games
  5. Thoughts on Fantasy AGE

    I recently took a look at the Dragon Age RPG from Green Ronin, along with the more generic Fantasy AGE RPG, and I want to give a few thoughts on those. First off, I really like the task resolution mechanic. Two d6, with modifiers determined by relevant skills and attributes, with an additional separately colored d6, the stunt die, which you roll to put some english on the result by generating Stunt points – which can be spent to do, well, stunts, which affect the results. The books give some tables with possible results, but the GM and player can work to put together their own stunts. However, things fall apart with the variety of characters you can create in the game. Specifically, the game effectively has only 3 classes – Fighter, Rogue, or Mage, and each class has a very petite powerset, and in turn a petite degree of character customization options. They’re enough that with a 4-5 character campaign you shouldn’t have two characters built the same way, but things get trickier with 6 characters, and if you have a second campaign, then things will definitely become an issue. This is especially an issue with spellcasters. In Dungeons & Dragons, while spellcasters can become defacto gods at later levels, even at early to mid levels there is the fun of finding various possible spells and finding new uses and combinations for them. Fantasy AGE doesn’t provide that same option. I feel like Fantasy AGE, mechanically, would have worked better as an Effects-based system, like Green Ronin’s own Mutants & Masterminds, while using the existing resolution mechanic. It would have provided a wider range of customization for characters in the game, and avoided potential monotony when it comes to character types – and would have set up a good framework for people who want to adapt the AGE rules (in advance of any later iterations of the rules) for other types of settings. The other remaining issue I had – scarcity of monsters in the rules, is alleviated by the Fantasy AGE Bestiary, which came out last year and which is nominated for an Ennie. Ultimately, the current iteration of the Fantasy AGE rules are not my cup of tea. However, I really like the resolution mechanic, and I hope a later iteration of the rules allow for building characters that would let me, as a player and GM, do something neat with them. Should you decide to check them out anyway, you can pick up the Dragon Age RPG and Fantasy AGE core book at Amazon.com. They’ve also gotten PDF releases available at DriveThruRPG. Filed under: Role Playing Games Tagged: Dragon Age Series, Fantasy AGE, Role Playing Games, RPGs, Tabletop RPGs
  6. Keep on the Borderlands is a lot of people’s first experience with a pre-written D&D adventure. While it isn’t the first published D&D adventure, or even the first 1st Level D&D Adventure, it’s one of the first ones with a drawn out map and wilderness environment combined, and many people’s first D&D adventure – including mine. Since the first time I’ve played the adventure, I’ve played many more RPGs in a multitude of systems, and had an opportunity to GM a couple times. So, I’m revisiting the adventure. As far as adventure plots go, the plot for The Keep on the Borderlands is pretty straightforward – the player characters have come to the titular keep in order to seek their fortunes, and are basically directed to the nearby Caves of Chaos in order to take out the monsters within. The Caves of Chaos interestingly structured, as far as dungeons go. The caves are a series of monster lairs, built into caves around a U-shaped cliff-face. Each lair is relatively self-contained, and the lairs – on their own – make sense from a dungeon agricultural standpoint. Each lair has an entrance way, with decorations and warnings to intruders, social area with a selection of warriors, living quarters with any children and female monsters, and the chamber of the chieftain. This has the semi-unfortunate side effect of making the Caves of Chaos come across like Monster Condominiums. The adventure advises the DM to encourage their players to pit the various factions against each other, stating that the Goblins and Orcs don’t get along, with the Kobolds trying to stay under the radar and the Bugbears picking over the spoils of the conflicts. Considering the low survivability of low level D&D characters, this makes sense, but it only serves to call attention to the artificiality of the larger dungeon structure. I spent some time thinking about this, and I put together a few thoughts of how to slightly re-structure the adventure, from a narrative standpoint, to make the setup work from a dungeon ecology standpoint, without requiring a more dramatic re-write. The lynchpin of all of this is the Cult of Evil Chaos within the dungeon. I would recommend putting this in whatever setting you use, on the border between a more evil aligned country and a good aligned one. A group of priests of a Chaotic Evil God seek to take this fort, but they cannot bring the forces together for a direct assault (nor the follow-up that would come with starting a larger war), so they have a cunning plan – to starve the fortress out by ambushing the merchant caravans. Their larger goal depends on where you’re putting this. Maybe it’s to expand the reach of an Evil Empire. Maybe it’s to use the keep as a larger base for their cult. If you’re planning on feeding this into the Temple of Elemental Evil, this could be a lead in to that – to introduce the Cult of Elemental Evil. Now, the monsters the priests have gathered do not get along well, and consequently even if the Priests did want to attempt a more overt action against the fort, at present they do not have the strength of will or charisma to hold such a force together for a major battle. Thus, minor infighting has ensued among the major factions and should the PCs choose to take advantage of this, they can make their job easier by playing the factions off against each other to bring about open conflict. This also gives the PCs a possible route to do this – by posing as the priests. There are a few issues with the nuts and bolts of the adventure as well. The Minotaur’s lair exists under the influence of a spell which doesn’t particularly operate under any of the other rules of D&D, with only the party’s designated mapmaker being able to make a save, and saving only on a 19-20. I’d change this to using a more standard Save vs. Spell (or a Wisdom save if you’re using retro clones modeled after D&D 3e or 5th edition) The booze in the Gnoll’s treasure room should require a save vs. poison or a CON save before someone is intoxicated – Dwarves are immune to this poison. Before becoming possessive of the vessels in the Shrine of Chaos, characters should make a Save vs. Spell/Wisdom save. Paladins and characters under the influence of a Protection from Evil spell are immune to this effect. The vessels – in addition to being bloodstained – will show a slight magical aura if examined under a Detect Magic spell, but not a big enough one to say that the item is itself actually magic. For the medusa, the text says that the medusa was captured by the undead minions of the cultists. To provide more of a hint to the characters what the medusa is, if the PCs eavesdrop on the cultists before killing them, have a couple of them complain about the medusa and argue about what to do about it (including the logistics of sacrificing a medusa), without actually saying that it’s a medusa. It rewards players who are more willing to be cautious by not only giving them warning about an existing fight (the cultists) but also warning them about an upcoming one (the medusa). Aside from those tweaks, the adventure is very well crafted, and serves as a great introduction to players to the concepts of cautious dungeon delving, along with giving a rough introduction to dungeon ecology for new Dungeon Masters. Filed under: Role Playing Games Tagged: Dungeons & Dragons, Role Playing Games
  7. We finish up the “Vault” and get the Remnant Tiller online. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Video games
  8. We do our first attempt at the H-047C Vault, before we get our butts kicked. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Video games
  9. This time we’re covering issue #52 of Nintendo Power for September of 1993! Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/ Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/ Music: “Seven Songs for Seventh Saga: II. Water” Arrangement, Performance: AeroZ From: ~Inn~, ~Town D~ In: 7th Saga Composition: Norihiko Yamanuki URL: https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03097 Games Reviewed: Final Fight II – Capcom Super Mario All-Stars – Nintendo 7th Saga – Enix Rock & Roll Racing – Interplay Boxing: Legends of the Ring – Electro Brain Super Baseball 2020 – SNK NFL Football (SNES) – Konami Super Off-Road: The Baja – Tradewest GP-1 – Atlus F-1 Pole Position – Ubisoft Final Fantasy Legend III – Squaresoft Felix the Cat (GB) Hudson Pinball Dreams – 21st Century Entertainment Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade – Ubisoft Filed under: Video games, Where I Read Tagged: Game Boy, NES, Nintendo Power Retrospectives, Retro Gaming, SNES, Video games
  10. After the loyalty mission, we do some business aboard ship and chat with Vetra. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Video games
  11. We’ve arrived at the place where the hostages are being kept, but there’s something more to this than we suspected going in. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Video games
  12. Final Fantasy III had never gotten an official US release prior to the release of the DS remake of the game. The Famicom version had received an unofficial fan-translation, but there was no way to play it legally, until the DS release of the game. Even the somewhat controversial sophomore outing of the series had gotten by that point two updated remakes, for the Playstation as part of the Final Fantasy Origins collection, and for the GBA as part of Dawn of Souls. Final Fantasy III for the Famicom (as opposed to VI – which was released as III in North America) was the title that introduced the Job system as we know it (with the ability to change jobs almost on the fly), to the Final Fantasy series. The original Final Fantasy had a class system, with the characters upgrading to a more advanced class halfway through the game. However, in the original game, once you chose your class, you were fixed on that path for the whole game. With III, after you unlock a batch of classes, you can change your classes to any available class after that point. This is great, as it gives you an opportunity to change your builds based on what equipment you have at your disposal, what opponents you’re going up against, and what abilities do you need for the dungeons you face. Narratively, the game expands some on the story from the original game, with more narrative cutscenes expanding the game’s story and building up the supporting cast, and giving a personality to the members of your party, who would normally be just a batch of blank slates. Graphically, the game eschews using high-resolution sprites, as were used in the Playstation re-releases of the 8-bit and 16-bit Final Fantasy titles, and the PSP remakes of Final Fantasy I and II. Instead, like with the DS release of Final Fantasy IV, the game uses polygonal sprites and gameplay environments. However, from a gameplay standpoint, the shift from a console to a handheld isn’t quite optimized. While the game introduces some quality of life features for the a handheld version – like a single slot quicksave for use in case of a dying battery – there are innovations from other titles in the series where the game would benefit from their inclusion. Tents are completely absent (in spite of being present in the first two games, and almost every subsequent title). There are also no pre-boss or mid-dungeon save points, as was used in the 16-bit titles. For most of the game, this isn’t particularly an issue, as I didn’t have any issues getting through most of the dungeons in about 30-to-45 minutes. And then there’s the last dungeon. The last dungeon is about 3 hours long, if you know where you’re going, and don’t get screwed on random encounters or get lost. It also has at about 6 boss fights, and several long cutscenes. Once you get through those and reach the final boss fight, if you die, you have to start that entire dungeon all over again to find out if you were under-leveled, your strategy for the final boss was off, or if the RNG gods just didn’t like you that day. If you’re sitting down at a console, this isn’t as much of an issue, because you’ve basically blocked out a chunk of time to replay it, so this could basically be your next play session. If you’re on an emulator (or using an emulation based console like the Retron 5), you have save-states. However, handheld gaming generally gets broken into chunks – on the bus or train to and from work, in the waiting room at a doctor’s appointment, and so on. Having the final dungeon be that long, without any real way to break it into chunks causes some very real issues. Other than that, the game plays very well, and I found it really fun to play. However, “Skip the last dungeon, find a Let’s Play on YouTube and watch that” is not something I feel like I should be saying about a game that gets a recommendation. In short, this game does not respect your time. Also, the box art for the US version of the game is incredibly bland, compared to the European version, which looks beautiful. Should you decide to get the game anyway, it’s available from Amazon.com Filed under: Video games Tagged: Final Fantasy, Nintendo DS, Video games
  13. Anime Review: Dallos

    Dallos is an anime that reminds me a lot of what got me into anime in the first place. I came into anime as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, and I came in through OVAs and films like Akira, Demon City Shinjuku, Ghost in the Shell, and Record of Lodoss War. So, when I found out that Dallos, an anime considered to be the first OVA (or one of the first alongside the Cream Lemon series), and which was directed by Mamoru Oshii (who also directed Ghost in the Shell and Angel’s Egg – which I’ve previously reviewed), had been licensed by Discotek Media, and later made available for streaming on Crunchyroll, I put it on my to-watch list. As far as the premise of Dallos goes, it borrows a little bit from the concept of Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, in particular the book’s first act. The anime is set on The Moon. As with Heinlein’s novel, the moon has been built as a colony to provide needed materials (ore and other raw materials) to Earth. However, in Heinlein’s book, the moon’s colonists were political dissidents and prisoners, while in the original colonists were workers who chose to work to build the lunar colony, with the agreement that they would settle there. The protagonist of the series, Shun Nonomura, is a third generation inhabitant of the colony or “Lunarian”. While the first two generations have a distinct sense of loyalty to Earth – the first generations having gone to the Moon to work for the betterment of Earth, and the second generation having inherited their parents sense of obligation – the third generation Lunarians don’t have the same sense of obligation. They have never seen Earth – indeed, the colony is on the dark side of the moon, and the Lunarians are forbidden to travel to the moon’s near side so they could see the Earth. The main unified belief among the three generations is a reverence to “Dallos” a mysterious giant head, built with incredibly advanced technology, that was uncovered during the development of the colony. The lack of personal experience of Earth or ability to travel to Earth, combined with the poor treatment of the colonists by the administration, has lead to a revolutionary movement in the settlement, and this leads to the focus of the story, as Shun and his childhood friend Rachel, are caught up in the separatist movement lead by Dog McCoy, which is contending with counterinsurgency efforts by the civil administrator, Alex Leiger. The first half of the anime borrows a lot from films like Battle of Algiers, as it follows the efforts of the revolutionaries as things escalate further and further, and Shun is brought more and more involved, before the last two episodes in the series bring things into open revolt and almost into something resembling a real-robot anime. I can’t really review this show without getting into the ending. The ending of the series feels like the end of an act break, as opposed to an actual satisfactory conclusion. There has been a narrative arc, with rising action to a climax, and then some denouement, with characters being in different places than they were at the start of the series. However, it doesn’t really have any resolution. The moon is still under the thumb of Earth (and things are about to get worse), and in spite of Dallos itself becoming a major part of the conflict which changes things dramatically in the series final part, not only do we not know what Dallos is, no-one is taking this as an incentive to make a more concerted effort to find out what Dallos is. It feels like this show was pitched as a 12 episode OVA, and early in production they decided to make it a 4 episode series instead, and if it did really well, it would get another 4 episodes, but it never did quite well enough to get those final parts. Unfortunately, co-writer Hisayuki Toriumi passed away in 2009, so I don’t know if we’ll really get a resolution to this story. If you’re planning on picking this up, Dallos is available from Amazon and RightStuf. Filed under: Anime
  14. We head to H-047C for Vetra’s loyalty mission, and explore some of the planet on the way to the site. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Video games
  15. We make our way to Kadara, exploring a few systems on the way there. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Video games