Tag Archives: final fantasy

Final Fantasy VII Remake Keeping Me Sane

The last two weeks or so have been more of the same while staying ‘safe at home’.  If it’s Monday through Friday, I’ll get up, I’ll get myself going and do yoga with Adriene (as of now, it’s been 56 days straight – go me).  Shower, then breakfast, and then I’ll head downstairs (I honestly thought the word ‘downtown’ in my head while typing, lol right – I honestly wonder when I’ll see downtown again) and get to work at my desk.   I’m happy that I did make my desk a standing desk via the on-desk Flexispot thing I bought and put on it late last year:

I’m using a webcam to then dial in to any meetings that we have, as that is now basically kind of our default way to do meetings, which is using video.  Before this, video calls were never really part of the paradigm and it was just voice and maybe sharing your screen.   Anyway, I’ll then continue that until around lunchtime, and by now I’ve kind of gotten into a rhythm of ordering a big family meal of El Pollo Loco, and then spread that out through the week.

They turned out delicious!

Then back to work until 5:30 or so, and then the excitement begins as now I can relax at home.   Home, which I haven’t left except for small things for nearly a month.  If I’m not ordering food in, I’ll probably make my chicken-rice-beans or broccoli combo, or if I have a particular meat in mind, I might grill that up.  It’s good.   The image above is how my pork chop turned out – it was spectacular (I even used Larry’s cast iron skillet to do it – intermediate level skills there).

Lately for fun, I’ve been continuing to rewatch Twin Peaks, as I’ve mentioned multiple times previously.  I’m right now right at the penultimate episode of Season 2, right before the crazy 2-hour season finale (now season instead of series!).   Or I may watch a Marvel movie in my rewatch – I just watched Age of Ultron this morning and that movie still is a slog.  Some fun stuff in it, but it’s just a big meh.  Or I play video games, and honestly, that’s a huge part of my time lately, as it just lets me get lost in something else besides crying over Larry, whether it’s thinking about missing him, thinking about him dying, thinking about if I’ll ever have another relationship again, thinking about if he loved me, thinking about if he’s watching me somehow (it sometimes feels like it when I dream and he’s there – this morning I dreamt I had come home and while trying to turn the alarm off, realized it was off already because he was there.   I didn’t think of him as dead, so I was in a rush and he told he had to talk to me, but I was in the middle of something and that I’d get right back to him in a sec but of course I woke up.  Fun.).  Anyway, some video games have helped me tune the world out.

The latest game is Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s a thrilling remake (I know, I know, that’s in the title) of the classic 1997 Playstation game that got everyone in the US excited over RPGs – Final Fantasy VII.  Indeed, I was amongst that group of folks who had our minds blown when playing this game – my UCLA roommates Ryan and Rolondo and I played this that year, and it was a blast.  I’ve replayed it throughout the years, but I don’t think I ever finished the whole thing again as well, it’s a lot.  But since 1997, there’s been talk of getting a remaster or a graphical update of this classic game whenever new video game hardware emerges, and every time, it’s always a no-show.   But in 2015, it was formally announced, and by golly, in 2020, we got it.   And hot damn, it’s amazing.   The early news back in 2018/2019 was the game would be episodic, and the first game is set only in Midgar.   That riled up a lot of people as episodic games can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.   And Midgar’s opening 5-6 hours in the original game are literally just an intro, as the whole world opens up to you after it.  And now this whole first game in the Remake is only there?   Potential concern – but the final product has shut my whore mouth.   It’s fantastic – the graphics are spectacular, there’s voice acting now, and the city of Midgar is immense.   A whole lot has been added to the game and it’s all been entertaining.   My first few hours though were spent gawking at the completely stunning and HAWT side-character named Biggs who is just….dayum…..

I didn’t make this image but it captures my feelings completely – thanks, Reddit.  Biggs’ looks and his voice performance are all so damn sexy, and honestly, this whole game is overtly horny and honestly, I’m here for it.  But yeah, Biggs.   Nice.

Anyway, I’m loving playing this game for just the fun of it and for the escapism.   I’ve continued getting through the end-game-ish stuff of The Division 2 as well.   I’m done with the main campaign (although they keep re-invading Washington DC and it’s annoying) so I now am playing the add-on episode content (National Zoo, Pentagon, Coney Island) and I’ll then get to the New York City expansion (which is where The Division 1 was set).   After that, I think I’ll be content to move on to other games.   Anno 2205 is also a background play for me when I need to zone out (you get to build on the moon, ffs!) as is No Man’s Sky (in VR this game truly is just spectacular; in non-VR it’s another addictive, zen game).

So yeah, that’s my life.   I chat with my friends over text and WhatsApp, we have occasional video calls, and it’s just who knows where this all goes.   I’m tired of it, but the alternative isn’t that great without treatment or a vaccine.   So yeah, great year 2020 is.   We manage to have birthday celebrations via Zoom video chat – earlier in April was Paras’ birthday, and it was fun, but it sucks that 2020 will be a do-over year. 

I bought a new Dyson vacuum as I wanted a cordless one so that I didn’t have to schlep the canister one I also have up and down the staircases.   I went all out on it and got the latest, nicest one, and I gotta say it’s pretty fantastic:


It even came with its own stand and a couple of attachments.   I also bought a film negative scanner that I will use to go through a lot of my old pictures as what else do I have to do?   And while I do love the Google Photo Scan app for a quick way to effectively take a picture of a picture, actual scanning of the negative will get really good quality.  That should come this week.

Some fun stuff is coming up – wine.com has virtual video wine tastings and the first one I signed up for (along with some coworkers and friends who I sent the invite to) is Tuesday – to taste a French Pinot Noir and a California Pinot Noir.   Wine is also what gets me through the day.  So there we are.  Other than that, no pictures I took are worth showing as it’s just sunsets and looking outside.  I look like hell, and what’s the point anyway.

E3 2015 and Video Game Excitement

Yes, E3 2015 was last week, but I forgot to process the pictures (ha, “process” – like I had to go to Walgreen’s or something) because of Disneyland excitement and such.  But because I had registered before leaving NBCU, my registration was still good and I took some time during an extended lunch break that past Tuesday to go give it a quick once-over.  As expected, the first day of E3 is a fucking overwhelming experience as it’s mobbed with people.  Mobbed.  I also was wearing my PwC clothes so while everyone else was comfortable in shorts or jeans, I’m in my khakis and button-down shirt – so not only was it mobbed, it was kinda sweaty.

Anyway, I made it through both of the main halls, first going to the Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft-dominated hall, which honestly wasn’t as cool as it has been in past years.  Nintendo has really done some cool boothing in the past but this time it was like a big ol’ eh.  Sony’s was basically the same layout as last year but just ridiculously mobbed, which was kinda the same story as Microsoft’s.

I enjoyed the game publisher’s setup in the other main hall much more.  That’s where the guys like Ubisoft, EA, Bethesda and more really put on a great show.  Again, I only was spending like an hour+ there, so I wandered my way around and quickly found some of the things I’m hyped about, especially the upcoming Fallout 4.   I wasn’t able to meet up with my fellow NBCU folks as they were spending most of the day there.  Even if I had caught up with them, I was on the turbo speed tour.

Honestly, you learn more details from online websites like Kotaku, as the real good stuff happens in those upfront presentations and closed-door sessions that mostly happen for videogame journalists.  But hey, it is still cool to walk around what is likely the best convention out there.  Especially if you love videogames.  Sidenote: I was hoping to get to the Dwell convention in late May, but due to our travels, that didn’t happen.  But it would’ve been awesome to be immersed in a fantastic modern design convention.

Pictures are here but I’m also going to link to some of the video teasers for games I’m particularly psyched for below the pictures…

June 16, 2015 – E3 2015 (Super Turbo Edition)

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

I love the Uncharted games so getting to play one on the next-gen PS4 will be exciting and hopefully a reason I’ll be happy to own one:

Final Fantasy VII – The Remake!

The remake that no one ever thought would really happen suddenly was announced to be happening!  Of course, the words being used are “in development” which means this isn’t going to be seen for years.  But still, how cool will this be to play again?

Mass Effect: Andromeda

I was a big fan of the Mass Effect series and knew that fourth game was under development – so it’s exciting to see an official announcement and name.  It’ll be interesting to see what the story ends up being about and what the timeline of the story is set in.  Holiday 2016 sounds promising, but I’m not holding my breath.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

I’m always in for a new Tomb Raider game, but the fact that it is XBox One exclusive for a while is wildly annoying.  Maybe a PC version will be released alongside it, but I’m guessing PC and PS4 ports will have to wait a little bit.  FEH.  I can be patient though, as there’s lots of games on my backlog to plow through.

and last but not least by a wide wide margin…..the game I can not wait to play later this year…..

Fallout Fuckin’ 4!!!!!!!

This was announced a few days before E3 actually started, managing to get a jump on the press cycle quite handily.  It’s so exciting to see as a real thing and the fact it’s coming out this fall is just….great.  I just will have to figure out a way to put in game time. Who needs sleep???

On The Videogame Roster

I’ve been finding time, of course, to play some great videogames.  For the sake of brevity, I’m going to focus mainly on ones I’m actively playing at the time, while maybe mentioning those I’ve perhaps finished or given up on and those I’m interested to eventually start.

Mini Metro (PC)

minimetroI saw this briefly highlighted on Kotaku one week and knew I had to try it.  It’s in “Early Access” mode still on Steam, meaning the developers charge a small price to you if you want to buy the game, knowing full well that it’s not really finished yet.  For one thing, there’s no sound at all in the game yet, which is sorta disconcerting.  But then you get sucked into the game and it doesn’t really matter – I imagine once sounds are involved, the game will became that much more difficult.

New York City (1750)
This is my NYC Metro system up until it suffered from overcrowding. I WISH the real NYC metro had gone to New Jersey!

The goal of the game is to connect the different shapes together with metro lines.  You have a finite number of Lines, Bridges/Tunnels, and Engines, but each week of gametime, you’ll be rewarded with more.  The challenge comes as the new stations pop up randomly throughout the world, so your subway lines have to go every which way.  I’ve not really figured out an optimal successful strategy yet as I seem to hit a wall around the point I’ve delivered just under 2k passengers.  By that point, there are lots of stations, lots of customers (who are indicated by the black dots, with the shape of the black dot indicating which station shape they can go to), and only so many trains.

It’s a freakin’ blast to play, and the gorgeous and minimal UI really helps to keep you focused.  The graphics and visuals look quite a lot like the NYC metro maps anyway, and as you may know, I do love my Subway Maps.

Final Fantasy X HD Remaster (PS3)

1363961501-x-x2-logoI mentioned playing this a few months back, but then I took a long break from it as I got the Wii U and was sucked into playing and finishing the Wind Waker HD for Wii U.  SO GOOD.  But I picked FFX back up and man, what a great game that was.  I’m still in the midst of it and just got to Zanarkand, but now is when things get really difficult.  The enemies get ridiculously hard and you end up trying to collect enemies for the Calm Lands’ monster hunter while also building your character up, finding all the Summons you can (I’ve still got to get Anima and Yojimbo, who I didn’t have enough money to convince to come with at the time; having survived Mt Gagazet, I’ve got TONS of money), and getting those super-sweet Celestial weapons for each character.  That’s a long run-on sentence to say that I’m hooked again on this game.  I just don’t play it as much as I maybe would since it’s thru the PS3 on the main TV.  It’s probably a good thing that’s the case.

Broken Age (PC)

Broken-Age-HeaderA Kickstarter-funded adventure game from the mind of Tim  Schafer, the genius behind other amazing games like Psychonauts and Grim Fandango?  Yes, please!  It took me a while to finally buy the game, but I did, and it’s great.  It’s a beautiful adventure game that runs super smoothly but has the total look and feel of the best point-and-click adventure games.  I’m still in the midst of the game, having seemingly beaten the Act with the girl who decides to fight against being sacrificed to the giant monster that will destroy her village – 2592260-broken+age+(6)hilarity and adventure ensue!  I’m now firmly in another Act which involves the boy who lives on a spaceship and is supremely bored, as it seems like he’s actually imprisoned.  I’m interested to see how these two Acts tie together, but in the meantime, the game is fun and the story is always entertaining.

Guacamelee! (PC)

GuacameleeI JUST started playing this game today and it’s a blast.   Another game that showed up on lists across many of the gaming sites I read!  It was Kotaku again in a listing of the 22 Best-Reviewed Games That Don’t Have Sequels Yet.  There’s a LOT of good games in that list, a lot of which I have.  But for some reason, Guacamelee! stood out as it was mentioned as having a Metroidvania feel to it but with a super Guacamelee2interesting theme:  Mexican Day of the Dead vs Mexican Wrestling.  You know what?  Sign me up!  After just an hour or so of playing, I’m hooked.  The visuals are highly entertaining and the gameplay is solid.  Plus, it’s like $15, which for an impulse buy isn’t bad at all.

Moving On, Lost Interest, Coming Up, Off & On, Donezo…

So the games listed up above are those I’m actively playing.  Here’s a list of those that I’m not…

Wind Waker HD (Wii U) – FINISHED:  I finished the game and loved every minute of playing it, yet again.  It’s gorgeous in HD and the Wii U control scheme with the Gamepad was a lot of fun.  I wasn’t compelled to search for absolutely everything in the game though, and I don’t feel like I missed anything.  Now it’s time to probably re-engage with some of the other Wii U titles I have so it doesn’t feel like a giant waste of money!

LIMBO (PC) – FINISHED, finally: This creepy yet minimal game is one I started playing back in 2011 on my PS3 as a Playstation Store download, but stopped for some reason or another.  I got it for cheap for PC a while back and vowed to one day complete it.  Totally worht beating, and it really doesn’t require a lot of time to do so.  Patience, and a willingness to see your character die horribly in order to figure out how to advance.  Beautiful and compelling, with a very weird and ambiguous ending.

Far Cry 3 (PC) – Moving On:  I was LOVING this game for what I guess is just the first half?  The island setting was beautiful and the game provided interesting missions to pursue while you could also take a break and hunt animals in order to improve your character.  Then you have this epic battle while hallucinating which leads to a real battle with who you think is the Big Bad, and then, nope, ANOTHER FUCKING ISLAND.  I’ve been trying to get back into it, but I just don’t care.  I think I WILL play Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon though.  That looks insane – like literally insane.

Tropico 5 (PC) – Lost Interest?:  I was addicted to Tropico 4.  Seriously addicted.  Maybe I burned out?  I just don’t find Tropico 5 as interesting.  There are interesting changes to the simulation engine but one gameplay change which I thought would be interesting proved not to be:  your island persists from one level to the next.  In T4, each level you’d get basically a brand new island to build from scratch.  It wasn’t “realistic” in the world of the Caribbean you supposedly were ruling, but I liked the blank canvas feel.  Now?  You better build your island wisely as you’re basically stuck with it.  And I’m getting pretty annoyed with how the publisher of the game nickel-and-dimes you on DLC.  So, I know I’ll dip into Tropico 5 again, but it’s definitely not got the same allure as 4 did.

UPCOMING:  Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (replay); Dishonored; Saints Row IV; System Shock 2; Civ 5 (truly an off & on title for me); XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within (another on & off title).

Damn, I Broke the Streak

It finally happened – I missed creating a post.  DAMMIT!   I was ready to go 365 days and humblebrag that I managed to write a post at least once every day of 2014.  But then, I ended up finally catching a cold and really feeling it on Wednesday morning.  THEN, I got home and after we had dinner and watched Survivor (Larry & I are both bummed that Spencer’s alliance keeps getting decimated by “Chaos Kass” but next week’s previews hold out hope that there’s a break in the majority alliance, even if it’s likely false hope), I went upstairs and got utterly absorbed in playing Diablo III.  Yes, this game came out over a year ago but now that Blizzard went and ripped out the Real-Money Auction House and seemed to redo the game to make it feel more like a Diablo II experience, I had to try it out again.  It’s a lot of fun.  So now I’m juggling replays of Final Fantasy VIII on my PC, Final Fantasy X on PS3, Diablo III on my PC and trying to keep reading on my Kindle.  There’s a lot to juggle.  So yeah, I wrapped up some Diablo III, thought briefly about posting, but immediately dumped that thought and went downstairs to take some needed NyQuil and go the fuck to sleep.  So I did.  DAMMIT!!!!!

Like it’s 2002 Up in Here

Square-Enix released an HD “remaster” of their 2002 classic Final Fantasy X (as well as X-2, the sequel) and you KNOW I picked it up.  It’s amazing how easy it is to get lost back in the world of Spira along with the compelling cast of characters like Tidus, Yuna, Lulu (oh, Lulu…always so dark), Wakka (so hot and close-minded) and oh so many more…. I remember playing the hell out of this game with Jason while we were living in the Azores house in Sao Sebastiao.  Such good times, especially persisting with the Blitzball mini-game.  The remaster looks glorious on my 65″ HDTV and the game is still so much fun and a massive time sink, but if it’s fun, I can’t say it’s too bad of a thing.  The best way to keep from getting too obsessed about it is that I play it in the living room and I’m doing my best not to drive Larry crazy with playing games there.  So there’s that.

Auron, Rikku, Wakka, Tidus, Yuna, Kimahri, and Lulu

Anyways, yay Friday!  This weekend looks to be fun, what with a hike tomorrow morning followed by finally seeing “Book of Mormon” at the Pantages!  Then on Sunday…..seeing Captain America 2, and then of course, Game of Thrones Season 4!!!!!!!  Should be a good weekend.