Areala

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Everything posted by Areala

  1. Just watch, don't play

    Yes, I love watching these! I generally use them for games I don't own, have little expectation of an ability to play myself, or for genres that I'm not very good at (I love RTS and turn-based strategy games, for instance, but I'm terrible at them so watching someone who's actually competent play their way through Command & Conquer or Gemfire is a treat). For games I am good at or just enjoy playing, I will occasionally watch speed runs just to see how badly some games can be broken without resorting to save states and cheat devices. Actually a little terminology may be helpful. A "long play" (or longplay) is generally a start-to-finish run of a particular game with no commentary. The World of Longplays YouTube channel is an example of this. Exceptionally long games like RPGs are often broken up into multiple multi-hour videos, and occasionally they will be edited for the purpose of slicing out random battles with enemies that have already been fought or 'grind' segments where a player is just powering up to be able to take on the next boss, but otherwise they are the full game experience. A "let's play" is also a start-to-finish run of a game, but with either the gamer or someone else providing voiced or text-based commentary and/or reaction. Kikoskia's YouTube channel is an example of this. There are two categories of Let's Plays, normal and Blind, and each are popular for their own reasons. Normal let's plays are usually done by people who already have experience with the game: they've played through it once, they know where to go, and they're like tour guides leading us through a specific title. The upside is there's little down-time in a normal let's play since the player is practiced and knowledgeable about where to go, and the commentator often telegraphs and foreshadows things so the viewer knows to pay attention to them. They're rarely caught by surprise unless the game itself is built on random elements, like Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Hack, and so on. Blind, on the other hand, means the person playing the game is experiencing it for the first time; these are especially popular with horror games, because half the fun is seeing the player shit himself after a horrible experience. The downside of a Blind let's play is that sometimes the players get stuck on a puzzle, backtrack because they missed an item, or simply don't know what the next step is. It's doubly frustrating when you can tell what they're doing wrong, but you have to sit there for twenty minutes before they realize where they missed a certain key or whatever. I much prefer normal Let's Plays for games I've already experienced, and because the player's knowledge makes them more entertaining. Truly fun Let's Players make you believe they're actually in the shoes of the character they're portraying, something Kikoskia's quite good at in, for instance, his Doom 3 Let's Play. A "speed run" is an attempt to complete the game as fast as possible, sometimes with conditions imposed to make it more interesting, but often it's a pure race from the title screen to the closing credits. Usually these runs are the result of people playing games to death and a community surrounding them coming up with new strategies that shave time off the current record results. I like watching Speed Runs of games I'm familiar with, because knowing the mechanics or what should normally happen makes it easier to understand just how (and how badly) the runner is breaking the game. There's a sub-category of speed run called the "TAS", or Tool-Assisted Speedrun, which uses emulators to play the game literally frame-by-frame to control the timing of button inputs and random number generation to produce optimal results that would be either extraordinarily difficult or impossible for a human player to pull off. TAS runs are amusing because the TAS player/programmer can showcase inhuman reflexes, show off hit detection boxes, earn critical strikes on every enemy, fire weapons so optimally as to never waste a single shot, and similar stunts (as showcased by this absurd TAS for Gradius on the NES). I often will have one of these open in a different window when I'm chatting with friends online, just like some people leave a TV running in the background while they're doing other things. *huggles* Areala
  2. This was what boned Wizards of the Coast when they released "The Dragon Magazine Archive", a CD-ROM compilation of the first 250 issues of Dragon Magazine, in 1999. Plenty of the magazine's content was either created in-house (in which case, TSR and then Wizards owned it and all the respective reprint rights), or purchased on a basis where all submissions became the property of TSR/Wizards. Their statement was printed in the masthead of the magazine as such: "All material published in THE DRAGON becomes the exclusive property of the publisher upon such publication, unless special arrangements to the contrary are made prior to publication." So far so good...except that a great number of contributions and submissions fell under that "unless special arrangements to the contrary" clause. Dragon, especially in its early years, published a lot of short fiction, and sometimes there were big-name authors like Gardner Fox who wound up between the covers. These were first NA serial rights, and carried no additional reprint clauses. The same was true of other things, like commissioned artwork or the serial comic strips that ran in the back of the magazine. Dragon used both, multiple times, in practically every issue. Wizards got hit with two different suits over this, one from a group of science fiction writers whose material was reprinted without permission, the other from Kenzer & Co. pertaining to the reprinting of a number of "Knights of the Dinner Table" comics that ran in the final dozen issues compiled in the archive. The associated legal hassles, along with a similar case that dragged out for seven years involving National Geographic's decision to publish their archives electronically and a photographer who sued over re-use rights, ensured the archive went out of print very quickly, was never coming back, and that we'd never see anything of the sort tried for TSR's sister publication, "Dungeon". It sucks, but it is what it is. *huggles* Areala
  3. PSX-Pro Issue 08 (July 1996)

    Excellent scan as always, Kitsu-san. Had a grand laugh at the fact the reviewer (who has been hogging the game for days, according to another editor) cocks up his review of Resident Evil on page 8 by saying the player picks between Jill and Barry. There's a screen grab of the player select menu on page 11, and while it's highlighting Jill's name, you can clearly see that's Chris Redfield's ID card behind hers. How much time did you spend on this game, Andy?
  4. New Release: PSX-Pro Issue 8 (July 1996)

    "It's the absolute finest, and the chicks love it!" Well, we'll just see about that... *goes to download* Thanks, Kitsunebi! *huggles* Areala
  5. Cracked the top 10! *waves her pom-poms around* *huggles* Areala
  6. Good call, Lieutenant Commander. I'll let the CPU job I'm on now run its course, then pause it and let my GPU take on the struggles. It's more valuable points-wise, as you pointed out. I'm only folding on Medium, so it's drawing on 2 cores. Full bumps it up to 3 cores, but that seemed excessive and I didn't want to strain my older computer. The PS3 used to have the Folding@Home app installed on it, but one of their updates must have taken it off, as I just checked and didn't find it. I'd used it in the past when I was folding for a different team, and it was an order of magnitude better than my PC at the time (something like 670 PPD as compared to 45-ish). *huggles* Areala
  7. My PC is 7 years old so I've no way to win, but have entered the fray just to move us up a few slots on the overall team top list. I can get roughly 6,000 points per day with my i5 cpu and Nvidia GT640 card. Pocket change in the grand scheme of things. *huggles* Areala
  8. You're familiar with the cliche "Hindsight is 20/20" right? Of course you are, that's why it's a cliche. But that doesn't mean that we can't have some fun with it anyway. So to get this party started, I'm going to pick on Flux Magazine for a little while. Flux was a magazine from the mid-90s devoted to comic books, music and video games. It didn't last for very long (a mere 7 issues) but it attempted to brand itself as the more "mature" alternative to EGM and the like. What this meant in theory was that it was for older readers. In practice, it just meant they showed more pictures of scantily-clad women and occasionally dropped a four-letter word or two between the covers. Not hard to see why they folded. In any case, I just got myself a copy of issue #4 and when I opened it up to the very first page, I had to suppress the urge to snort Mountain Dew out my nose at the editorial. Now again, I remind everybody, this was written in 1995 right on the cusp of the transition from the 16-bit to the 32-bit era and nobody had any idea how it was going to turn out. With that in mind, here are the editorial predictions for a few of our favorite systems: I'll pause while you stop laughing. As we all know, the 3DO failed in every market it tried to penetrate. While the launch price of this behemoth was $700 at the start, by the time the above quote appeared, it was down to $500. The M2 never materialized, DOOM wound up being an abysmal port, Myst didn't look any better than it did on your computer, and about a year after Flux predicted a $100 price drop would make it THE 32-bit system to own, bar none, Panasonic quietly folded 3DO and wound up restructuring the company as a whole to make up for the financial beating they took on their game console that wasn't a game console. The only thing this system killed was its own parents. Ouch! OK, so they got that one right, but that's like hunting cows with shotguns--pretty hard to miss no matter how far away you are. Another one? I just...wow... Yeah. Clearly written by somebody who never got the chance to actually hold a PS controller, as they would have realized it was a standard D-pad, just with the diagonals recessed under the casing to make it easier on the thumbs. I can't be positive, but at this point I imagine the two games they would have been looking at were Ridge Racer and Battle Arena Toshinden (which were very good looking games at the time). The US release included more than a dozen titles, many of which went on to become system staples or killer apps (in addition to the two above, there was also Wipeout, Destruction Derby, Doom, Mortal Kombat 3, NBA Jam Tournament Edition, Warhawk, Twisted Metal, Ace Combat, Tekken and Myst just to name the breakout hits), and the price tag was $299, a far cry from the $450 one guestimated by Flux. And, just to spite them, there were any number of successful fighting games released for the "system without a D-pad". Another try? To be fair, the inaccuracy of the launch date isn't Flux's fault, as Sega maintained a September release date for the Saturn up until the infamous May E3 speech where Kalinske surprised everybody by saying that you could get it "today" at select retailers. There never was a backwards compatibility problem with the Saturn since nobody expected it to happen anyway. Unfortunately, the price tag combined with the presence of the 32X and the impending release of the Playstation worked together to bite Sega in the posterior. Kalinske left Sega in 1996, and by 1997 the Saturn was no more as focus turned to developing the Dreamcast. Sadly, a lot of Genesis gamers did jump ship. Want more? Just a reminder, but this was written over a year before the system launched (hence the reason they were still calling it the Ultra 64) and reliable information was hard to come by. No matter though, we still see mistakes. For one thing, Nintendo did deliver on the "great graphics at a low price" promise: the N64 launched in the US with a $199 price point (but they were right about the software being expensive at $60 vs. $40 or $50 for Saturn or Playstation titles). Also, an arcade port of Killer Instinct never materialized on the N64 (despite promises in the arcade game's attract mode that it was coming). Killer Instinct Gold was a port of KI2 that added some features (team battle, anyone?) and dropped some others (most notably the alternate endings that were possible for the various characters). False advertising? Only your hairdresser knows for sure... So what we learn in the end isn't that the editors of Flux were idiots, they just didn't have access to a time machine and were predicting as best they could. Some of their predictions were spot-on (especially the 32X one which basically says that by the time Sega gets the 32X up to snuff there won't be anyone left to care), but most of them missed the bullseye by a ring or two. And that's OK; they're human. Doesn't mean we can't look back and laugh at them though.
  9. Issues 1-1400 of Famitsu! ONLY $25,250!

    27 grand is a bit much. I think I could convince EDay to flash you. Would that work? *huggles* Areala
  10. Issues 1-1400 of Famitsu! ONLY $25,250!

    Buy it! Buy it! Buy it buy it buy it!! *huggles* Areala
  11. kitsunebi77's random stuff

    I say "potato", you say "butt plug"... *huggles* Areala
  12. kitsunebi77's random stuff

    Niiiiiiice!! Four new Game Players PC Entertainment mags for your collection. *huggles* Areala
  13. kitsunebi77's random stuff

    What all did Whiskcat send you? I'm excited! *huggles* Areala
  14. Now Listening To.......

    Chara's voice is remarkably similar to Donna Lewis's! I really dig this song, even if I can't understand 90% of it. You always have the most awesome music choices, Kitsunebi. *huggles* Areala
  15. Now Listening To.......

    Thread Necromancy!! Donna Lewis was all over the radio world-wide in 1995 with "I Love You Always Forever" (the song which kept it from #1 for nine weeks was the Bayside Boys remix of "Macarena", which is both awful and hilarious). I fell in love with the song, bought the album, and it's been in my top 10 for decades. Even now, at forty, popping it in makes me feel like a teenager. I have very specific memories associated with this disc, but my absolute favorite song off it is "Agenais", a dreamy tune about the narrator's journey to a fantastical, magical place. Every song on this CD is beautiful and inspires different feelings in me. I cannot count the number of memories I have that involve this CD: riding in the car in the night as I sat in the back seat listening to it on my Discman, using specific songs to inspire certain scenes in the stories I was writing at the time, crying in my room at my mom's house with the door closed as I realized I was about to disconnect myself from that life and move out on my own for good, playing it as the unofficial soundtrack to countless nights I spent MUDding (back when that meant playing a text-based online RPG, not slogging through a bunch of slop and climbing over obstacles just to prove how miserable you can make running)... So this is my album of choice this evening, but since it would be crass to link the whole thing, I'm linking to my favorite song. Maybe you've heard it before, maybe you haven't, maybe you'll love it, maybe you won't, but that CD's been the world to me more times than I can count in my life. *huggles* Areala
  16. ( 。)( 。) Table of Bewbs

    I don't think it's population density so much as it is cultural response. For years it seemed like the US had no issues with domestic abuse because culturally such things weren't talked about. Then, when we did start discussing it, there was a giant backlash: "Sure, I spank my kids when they get out of line, but my dad whipped the hell out of me until I was eighteen and left home, and I turned out OK, so what's the problem?" or "I mean, yeah, I've smacked my wife a couple of times when she got hysterical, but I'm not some abusive asshole like some of the guys I know!" or "I might call my husband a nasty name every so often or make fun of him in front of my friends, but he's a man...isn't he supposed to take it like one?" Until we socially "have the talk" and get it all out in the open, issues rarely change one way or the other. There's a fine line between humor and insult, but it may be impossible to determine what crosses the line if the silent minority cannot speak up about it. Japan, much like the US, has areas where they have yet to socially "have the conversation" so they can figure out how to make things better. They're only just now discussing their culture of overwork, and realizing that forcing employees to work hundreds of hours of overtime every month is detrimental to health and morale. What changes will be interesting to see, but the shake-up may be starting here. *huggles* Areala
  17. ( 。)( 。) Table of Bewbs

    Dear lord...that's sexist as hell AND hilarious all at the same time.
  18. Any good techniques/hardware for scanning?

    Look at it this way though: we sacrifice one physical copy to preserve it for the days when one physical copy might well cost a small fortune on eBay. It's a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. *huggles* Areala