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Yazu13 Blog

2 Years Since My Last Blog Post

I thought it was about time to write a little something again.  It's been 2 years and a handful of days since I last wrote in this blog, and a lot has happened to the gaming industry and myself since then.  I'm no longer super-addicted to Minecraft (Though I follow its development and keep fond memories), I'm still super-addicted to BlazBlue and waiting for the next installment to reach consoles, and I've built myself up quite a life in my career in the US Navy.  On the industry side of things, there's been quite a lot going on in the world of video games that I haven't chimed in on.  I might as well pitch in my two cents on some more recent matters as well as some interests of mine that you might find interesting yourself.

 

The next generation of consoles is revealed

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I'm more of a PC gamer nowadays; with a powerful desktop that has served me well for a little over a year now.  Still, I've come to realize that console gaming has a sort of community magic behind it.  If I want the best single-player experience around, PC is where it's at, but if you want to have fun with buddies on a couch then consoles provide what a PC currently cannot do.  Recently, a friend of mine has gotten into Borderlands 2 and plays it often in this little lounge area we have in the barracks.  I sometimes play with him too, but mostly I just go in there and BS with him, crack jokes, and generally have a good time.  I suppose you could do the same with a PC version of the game, yet somehow I feel like it wouldn't be the same. 

So with that unnecessarily long build-up, I come to my point.  Up until recently I've considered myself a bit of a PC elitist, and I thought that as long as I could keep my hardware up to date, I wouldn't have to bother with consoles again.  Well, now the new consoles are revealed, and since I've come to appreciate the magic of "the living room entertainment box", I find myself excited and genuinely hopeful for console gaming.  Sure I'll probably play most of my games on the PC still, but when my console of choice, the PS4, gets released, I'll probably have more fun with it than I have had in recent times playing on the PC. 

As for the future of games, the next generation of consoles brings with it new and improved standards that I look forward to.  Personally, I've been waiting for a time when games employed physics regularly as part of gameplay.  With Battlefield 4 allowing skyscrapers to be bombarded until they collapse, Infamous: Second Son allowing you to break walls apart and take out guard tower structures with enemies on them, and even Dead Rising 3's humble features of breakable fences and general clutter, gaming worlds are shaping up to be much more interactive and believable, which has me extremely excited.  One of my biggest pet-peeves is when I'm barreling at 70+ mph down a road and a fence stops me dead in my tracks when I crash into it.  Here's hoping we won't be seeing that ever again.

 

Indie developers get their time in the spotlight

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With the rise in popularity of Kickstarter, the indie crowd of game development has seen a breath of fresh air.  If a team puts forth a product that people wish to support on Kickstarter, an indie dev team can get all of the money they need for their project without ever having to reach out to a publisher.  This means that they can stay independent and not have to fear a publisher's deadlines or meddling.  This advent of crowd-funding fills me with a new-found hope for the video games industry.  Now talented dev teams can put their foot through the door of the industry all by themselves and make their visions come to life, all without compromise.  What this means to me, is that as long as there are people out there with talent and a vision in the video game business, our industry will never truly stagnate.  You gotta leave it up to the creativity and ingenuity of people, and as long as we support them, we'll always find ourselves with innovative and fresh games to enjoy.

One such indie dev team that I'm most hopeful for is Gears For Breakfast.  They are the developers behind a gorgeous and inspired little indie gem called A Hat In Time.  Much in the same vain as Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64, A Hat In Time is a charming 3D platformer with an emphasis on exploration and collecting things to advance in the game.  It looks downright brilliant and makes me feel a warm nostalgia.  I've been following it on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight, and it looks to be hitting a supernova of popularity.  The Kickstarter has 5 days to go as of this time, and with a humble goal of $30,000, the Kickstarter is now 600% funded.  If I ever needed proof of the triumph of the indie crowd and the desire of gamers' wanting something more than just another shooter, I would point you to this example sir.  In a gaming climate dominated by fatigued franchises and tired genres, the people have spoken and are welcoming indie developers and their imaginations with open arms.  Some people may fear for our industry that is loomed over by giants such as EA and Activision, but I say as long as the indie crowd has an outlet like Kickstarter, we'll never have to worry for the prosperity of our hobby.

One Week

Well guys, I have just 7 days left until I ship off to Navy Boot Camp until September. In this time I will not be able to have internet access and subsequently, I will not be around to enjoy video games or communicate with the friends I've made via the interwebz. This will be my last blog post for some time as well. I'll likely miss many tidbits of gaming news, not to mention some releases, but I'll be back before the big Winter gaming season starts so that makes me happy. :D

I still have some games from Gamefly I haven't finished that I'll have to return. L.A. Noire was good fun and I made it to Vice, and I haven't yet popped open Infamous 2 and Heavy Rain, so I'll get back to them when I have the freedom to do so. I've been playing lots of Minecraft these days and have made many friends and wonderful structures during my time on the SMP server The Divine Crusade (www.divinecrusade.tk). I am a moderator on this server and the proud creator of a gigantic underground hotspot called Valefore where a lovely town called Clearwater has recently been erected thanks to help from my good friends and a large wealth I have accumulated since March on the server. It's all quite a treat and you can find a few pictures below of everything, but if you own Minecraft I urge you to stop on by the place yourself. The server has been around forever and is planning on staying up, so my beautiful work will be preserved and should you decide to take up residence on this wonderful server, yours will too. It's a great place and I've made many friends there, so I'd love for any of you guys to join us.

Pictures now! I felt I was boring you. :P

A statue of my skin - As a testament to the fact that I will always keep the video game series BlazBlue close to my heart, I have erected a statue of my Hazama Minecraft skin at the entrance to my labor of love, Valefore.

Valefore - A picturesque entrance marks the first step to your journey into my masterpiece which has taken months to conceive (Still not done though. :P). My playtime on the Divine Crusade server is 15 days and nearly each moment was spent in one way or another working diligently on this masterpiece of free-time and sleepless nights. :P

Currently, I have a trading company I run from there lying behind an impenentrable doorway called The Valefore Trading Company. I have an incredible farm, bedroom and storage area beyond these doors where I house my astounding wealth which I often use to trade with other users should they need anything imagineable.

As well, Valefore holds a dark and terrible secret known as The Noctis Valenwood. An impressive and artfully crafted dark forest where even the strongest of minds may go insane therein. It's easy to lose your way among the overgrowth and only a few glowing Jack-O-Lanterns guide your way through the inky darkness.

Clearwater - A truly impressive town in Valefore built by the dedicated and talented hands of myself and Valefore's citizens (Blue_Sokz, Drone184, _Juiceboxes_, Mtgcostello, and Sinnz). Within this marvel of architecture there is a Police Station for dealing with the inevitable troublemakers that online interacting always brings out at times, a pleasing and cozy Bakeryfor hungry crafters with a sweet tooth, The Amber Moon Cafe and Town Hallfor hanging out and town business, a Public Library and relaxing shady spotfor reading fine literature among friends, and lastly, The Temple of Blue Flame, Burning Soul Dojo and Hotel Lockhartfor worship, sparring and relaxing after a long day of travel in luxury.

So yeah, I've been having fun and I'll be back in early September most likely. I wish you all well and I'll see you again in 2 months after I ship.

Okay, it's a lot sooner than I thought

Remember how I just made a blog stating that my ship date for the Navy was going to be in November? Yeah, I just got a call today from my recruiter saying that it is now in June. You see, I filled out some paperwork requesting an earlier ship date if one ever became available (in other words, somebody with my job designation got kicked out of the program), so the impossible has happened and now instead of havig to wait until Winter, I now have a scant2 months before I'll be off into the world.

Unfortunately, this means I will not have access to a computer for some time. 2 Months at the least after I go; possibly much longer. That could mean no games too! :P Howeer, there is a silver lining. When I'm all done with my training I'll be free to pursue interests in my free time the same as any civilian would be allowed to, so I'll be back eventually. I hope I'll have the time and means to be back to gaming by Winter for the big rush of AAA releases that always comes out around that time. Anyway, it's been fun and I'll be back sometime after I've shipped and completed training and whatnot.

November is the Date

A few weeks back I went through processing at MEPS and ran into a bit of a hiccup. I passed everything that they had to test me on medically and physically, but they caught an innocent heart murmur that I've had my whole life. It doesn't mean anything and it doesn't affect me, but if I couldn't provide documentation proving this I could have been permanently disqualified from serving in the military in any fashion let alone forming a career in the Navy. Well, that time has passed and the scare is over. I'm now in the Navy Reserves and my ship date for boot camp is in November of this year where I will finally start my career as an active sailor.

I got a good job too in the Advanced Electronics Computer Field (AECF) thanks to my impressive ASVAB score of 85. I have further aspirations of becoming an officer one day, but for now, I'm going into a field that's very selective and in-demand. Most of my training will count for college credit too, so things look bright. I'm planning to stay in the Navy until retirement, but if I chose to get out and get a civilian job, my AECF training would land me in a job that paid in the six figures easily. Still, it's not about money for me..........okay, it's kinda about the money, but I'm also incredibly attracted to the benefits and adventure that a career in the Navy will give me. About 60% of my assignments will be at sea or in an entirely different country, so by the time I start considering retirement I'll have seen more of the world than most people see in their lifetimes. Plus the salary isn't that bad if I take into account my housing allowance, food allowance, and other benefits.

I'm very excited for when I finally get to start down my career path, but my guaranteed ship date is still far away. I can leave earlier if someone with my job gets kicked out of the Delayed Entry Program, but I doubt that'll happen. They told me anybody who got my job probably has too good of a head on their shoulders and wouldn't do anything to get them disqualified. So, my ship date is likely going to remain nearly a year from now. Still, I'll get to play video games and hang out with friends until then so it's not allthat bad :P. Even so, I'm anxious to get out in the world and start earning my own bread, but until then I'm gonna do my best to enjoy being a kid for a little bit longer.

Navy on the Horizon

Some time ago I decided to join the Navy and made a blog post about starting my preperations. Well, I've lost quite a bit of weight since then and I've learned a great deal of information about what I'm getting myself into. Recently I've been meeting with a recruiter and this Wednesday I will go to MEPS and take the ASVAB to determine my job qualifications. I've taken two practice tests so far and scored 80 and above on each so I am quite confident that my initial high score wasn't a fluke and I should do fine. I'm hoping to get a position as a Computer Science Technician, but there are no guarantees even if I qualify. Some jobs just simply aren't available, in which case I can either wait for an opening or keep an open mind.

Anyway, I've been doing a great job so far. I've never touched drugs or alcohol, I don't have any medical problems, and the two test scores are good indicators of future success. I could see in the recruiter's face that this meant good stuff for me and that I was a unique case. I have no doubt that it does and I realize that self-control and maturity can go a long way in the military, especially when such a young, fresh recruit shows such discipline(I'm 19). This is the home stretch though. Thursday is the big "poke-and-prod" day where I get evaluated on some physical tests and medical examinations. After that I can sign the enlistment contract if I'm ready and have a date set for boot camp.

I'm really looking forward to it. I expect to have lots of fun and rewarding experiences during my time in the military. Nothing is set in stone, but I do wish to make a career out of it as well. Getting a 4-year degree and becoming an officer is a dream that I've had for a very long time, and thanks to the Navy's ridiculous benefits, financial troubles should virtually be a non-issue. Travel is another big benefit that I'm hoping to enjoy to its fullest. In due time, I'll have seen more of the world than most people get to seein their lifetime. I'm confident that this will turn out to be a great decision.

[Edit] - Apparently, the Navy is really picky nowadays. I was 3 pounds over the acceptable weight for my BMI, so I'm going to try again sometime later. It's only a matter of time though since I've been losing weight for months now. Discipline and a good plan go a long way and I'll be in the Navy in no time.

Got an Early Christmas Present!

Here's a pic!

http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/4299/dsci0032z.jpg

(Gamespot doesn't allow the word cla-ss to be written normally, so I'm going to have to put a stupid hyphen in-between the A and S. Sorry for the inconvenience!)

It's a Cordoba Solid-Top cla-ssical Guitar (with a hard carrying case), and I love it! It was a present from my parents that means a lot to me. I'm going into the Navy soon so I don't know how many more Christmases I'll be able to enjoy with the family since when I go into the service I'll be traveling a lot, or at least I won't be in Oregon anymore. My Sister is also coming home for Christmas from New York so I'll be able to see everyone before I go out into the world to make my own story.

Anyway, I'm still learning the guitar, so I'm not very good. My dad has a Yamaha that I would practice on every now and then, but I had a better feeling for a cla-ssical guitar because of its wider neck so I never got very proficient with his guitar. Still, I'm a pretty quick learner, so I'll get there eventually. The Cordoba my folks got me is a very nice guitar and I'll be taking it with me into the Navy. Though, here's a fun fact: You don't want to play a guitar where it's wet or very humid (ie: on the beach, while it's raining, on the platform of a naval cruiser :P) because it warps the wood and makes the guitar sound crummy. My Grandpa took his old Gibson to the beach when he was a kid (and didn't know any better) to play around a bonfire. He said that in that one night of playing he completely wrecked his guitar and it never sounded the same again. I'll have to be careful!

Even so, I'm very happy to recieve such a great, life-long gift. Here's some songs I want to be able to play eventually!

Blue Morgan by Clint Eastwood - Starts at 2:24

Life on Mars by Seu Jorge- I need to learn Portugese for this one. :P (I like the recording from The Life Aquatic Soundtrack a bit better, but I can't find it!)

1,000 Trophies

The big milestone in any trophycollector's quest: quadruple digits. Yes, today I've reached 1,000 trophies.

10 Platinums

44 Gold

186 Silvers

760 Bronze

A proud achievement indeed. Wrestling with some of my favorite games for their ultimate treasure, I have acquired Platinum trophies in BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Bayonetta, Resident Evil 5, Bioshock, Assassin's Creed 2, Uncharted 2, Fallout 3, and Batman: Arkham Asylum.

I'm currently working on Platinums for 3D Dot Game Heroes, Dead Space, Vanquish, and Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2. 3d Dot Game Heroes and Dead Space are extremely close to completion, but I haven't mustered up the energy to finally put them to bed yet. Certainly though, trophy hunting can be loads of fun. When I would normally be all done with a game, the allure of trophies to hunt down brings me back for more. Thank you trophies for making my games last longer! Now........reveal your secrets to me!

A Game that Makes Me Smile

Minecraft is a delightful little game for the PC that has been keeping me busy for the past couple of days. It's a game with virtually no point, but if you're creative then it has the potential to suck you in and keep you busy for as long as you have ideas in that brain of yours. It's a game where everything is made out of blocks and you can take apart almost anything in the world and place these blocks somewhere else. For example, you dig up a bunch of dirt blocks and make a crude house. Only, this is just the beginning. You can use these blocks to also craft blocks with special properties such as ladders, fencing, pictures, glass, steps, you name it. As well, natural blocks like sandstone that you come upon in the world have physics applied to them so if you pull one block out from under a stack of sandstone then they all fall one space down. It all sounds really simple, but like I said, this game only takes off if you know how to use what's in the world and turn it into something awesome.

Though, there's even more to the game. The world is huge and randomly generated as you go further out of your view. Lots of interesting stuff can be discovered and exploration is a major selling point. There's also a day/night cycle and at nighttime zombies and other such monsters hunt you down with their blocky fangs. However, a good stronghold will keep them at bay, though you can craft armor and weapons to combat the living dead if you so choose. Like I said, there's A LOT to this game.

Take a look at what I've been busy making:

My Mansion in the Sky (It's bigger than it seems since I'm quite far away when I took this picture. Still needs a little work, but the floor-plan is finished and the first floor is looking nice)

Cow and Chicken(They're staring into my soul 0__0 )

My Room (Still needs a little work, but it's home sweet home)

The Exit(The only exit in the house and it's a doozy. Hope you packed your parachute!)

Quite a Drop(The exit drops into a deep pool so you can escape quickly without being injured. Then again, anybody who can find their way into my near-impenetrable tower probably deserves to at least sit down to tea with me.)

Hell(We don't go there anymore............)

The game is still in it's early stages, but it should reach Beta soon. Multiplayer will be added somewhere down the line, so that's why I'm spending so much time and energy making my fortress so big and hard to access. I'll be living in luxury while little raiders scurry about miles below me like ants. I'll be like Alastair Tenpenny from Fallout 3, only instead of shooting passersby with guns for pure enjoyment I'll be using bows and arrows! :P

5 Year Anniversary

Today counts the 5th year that I've been a member of Gamespot and a part of its community. Somehow I've kept finding excuses to come back.:P The BlazBlue Union has been keeping me busy as I've worked on my passion-project, The Ultimate BlazBlue Guide. As well, the union is still kind of small but it has good people like our leader, Hazelnutman, and the other dedicated members that are fun to joke around with. It's good times trying to carry a niche franchise like BlazBlue into stardom!

In other news, I've been going on a bit of a gaming shopping spree. Within the last month I've picked up Dead Space, Mirror's Edge and 3D Dot Game Heroes. All of these games together cost me $80, so I got a pretty good deal for how much I'll get out of them. Dead Space you all know and love, with its creepy atmosphere and religious fanatics who worship an alien species bent on killing every last human in their sights.............good times. Mirror's Edge is also pretty fun as it's very unique compared to what I've played before. It certainly gets the blood pumping when you parkour!around the city with nothing standing in the way of your momentum. Now, 3D Dot Game Heroes is a brilliant little game that's worth its salt even compared to the good old NES Zelda games. Loads of sidequests and fun collectables abound in this quirky world of..........3D Dots......:|.

Anyway, you guys keep me coming back for more! Nothing like a good rant about the new Devil May Cry, or seeing Duke Nukem: Forever finally see the light of day, or even voting for Andrew Ryan for Greatest Game Villain only to have the top four baddies being the most popular choice instead of the best...........Anywho, I like using elipses, and you guys are alright. Here's to five more years!

The Horror!

I love a good scary game. Much more than a scary movie at least. The reason? Horror games are actually scary! Being in control of someone amidst the greatest horrors the human mind can conjure up is much more instinctual, exhilerating, and just plain scary than anything we can experience via any other entertainment medium..........unless, of course, you fall asleep in a seedy motel and wake up in a snuff film (God willing:P). Still, video games are awesome and each genre holds a special little nugget of joy. Horror games just happen to hold a nugget for the masochists out there; or if you're trying to conquer your fears and don't have the actual mental fortitude to spend a night in the old Jenkin's place.

Anyway, here's a little horror of my own. I love a good horror game, but some are more terrifying and memorable than others. Come probe my brain and experience the horror for yourself!

Dead Space (In space, nobody can hear you **** yourself.)

Oh snap!

Dead Space was a real treat when it first came out. It helped reinvigorate the horror genre with it's truly terrifying atmosphere, unsettling original score, and gruesome monsters that helped you get reacquainted with the tuna-fish sandwhich you had for lunch. It looks like a simple trek-through-space-gone-wrong on the outside, but on the inside it's a game that tries its darndest to drive you bat**** insane and play on fears many of you never knew you had. The developers were clever enough to make the creatures of the game seem almost human..........almost. See, most people have an innate uneasiness when looking at something that appears to be human but isn't, and the same is true for something that is human but doesn't appear so. The gruesome creatures of Dead Space take the dead bodies of the crewmen onboard the Ishimura and turn them into something......wrong. Often the creatures are featured with skin intact and arms that are longer than a person has any right having. They lumber towards you in a way only an unearthly creature would and even run at times trying desperately to turn you into this grotesque form. One of the creatures, seemingly a human head with tentacles, decapitates you and takes over your body by implanting it's tentrils into you through the newly acquired hole in your torso. Truly terrifying and unnerving stuff.

Don't want to sleep tonight? I knew you'd say yes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXtMGh3-UyU&feature=related

Penumbra: Black Plague (Clarence is watching you........he also is you.)

Penumbra is a series for the PC made by the demented minds over at Frictional Games. Haven't heard of them? It's probably better for your health that way. The Lovingly crafted sequel to Penumbra: Overture, Penumbra: Black Plague places you in the dark and dreary halls of an underground laboratory of sorts. Of course however, where there are underground laboratories there are hideous abominations ready to kill you dead. Much of what makes this game so terrifying is the mystery behind it all. You play a character you are barely acquainted with named Philip on his way to do something that someone else could not. You're also on the lookout for your lost father, but that's only important to the story........So, you are set loose in this place you know nothing about with creatures of some sort roaming around looking for your tasty man-flesh when they could just as easily look for the cafeteria. Still, Philip Arm tastes better than the crap in cafeterias anyway, so the reward outweighs the effort.

If Europe had this plague instead, we'd all be dead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy7WMKULQ_w&feature=related

SIREN: Blood Curse (You don't understand, and you never will.)

Nurse, you appear to need more help than I do.

A hidden gem on the Playstation Store, Siren: Blood Curse places you in a village/town in Asia that looks normal enough, until you catch a glimpse of something not entirely human. The creatures, called Shibito, look like you, walk like you, and even talk like you............if you were bleeding out of your eyes and possessed by some sort of demon. They almost seem human as they go about there business, but something is wrong and this is made painfully obvious when you notice that you don't fit in. This place doesn't want you, but you can't leave.

Wanna get to know this nurse? Me neither.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYYnhy3li9g