Category: Games

Dragon Quest 1&2 SFC

I've occasionally been poking through the Super Famicom remake of the original Dragon Quest on my cell phone -- you know, when I've had downtime and haven't had my PSP or DS or suchlike with me.

First of all: man, onscreen D-pads suck, even for games that require as little precision as DQ. I have to savestate-spam just to get around the outside wall of Rimuldar without accidentally walking out.

Second: there's so much that's wonky about the interface of this remake. The stupid little half-steps you take instead of moving a full tile at a time, the bizarre decision to stick the action button on X and leave the menu on A (something they stuck with on up through 7 on the PS1!)...frankly I'm almost inclined to tip the Game Boy remake as the superior version of the game despite its inferior graphics and sound, just on its smoother interface.

(Also I recall the GB version having a more charming translation. I probably snorted out loud in class when I took the Princess to an inn and the keeper remarked the next morning that we'd sure been up late last night.)

(Yeah, I played Dragon Quest in class for most of CSE122. If you'd ever tried to sit through a lecture with that instructor, you'd understand.)

Fascist Theocracy

Zappa's legendary 1986 appearance on Crossfire -- pardon the audio quality.

I'd read a (maybe partial?) transcipt before but never actually sat down and watched it in its entirety. It really is quite astounding just how aggressively ignorant John Lofton is -- incest is a major problem in America because of Prince? Seriously? Jesus Christ. Good thing conservatives had their priorities straight -- not like there was anything more important going on in early 1986.

Douchebag of Liberty Bob Novak seems downright moderate by comparison.

Judging by the E-Mails I routinely get from the Washington Times (thanks to foolishly signing up for a mailing list from a local Republican politician I knew professionally in 2006), they have roughly the same journalistic standards today as they did then. But that's a story for another day. (A story titled Is Obama Ruled by Demons?)

The parallels to recent debates about adult content in video games should, of course, go without saying.

Ze Germans

Not sure if I'll stick with OpenSUSE for the long haul or not.

I quite like YAST but it doesn't have the level of package support that any given apt-based distro does.

And it's slow. I heard OpenSUSE was faster than other KDE-based desktops, but that hasn't been my experience, even switching from HDD to SSD. Firefox routinely pegs the CPU. So does Xorg (which I think is down to my keeping LibreOffice open most of the time). RSSOwl -- which does not have an OpenSUSE package and was a straight-up bitch to set up -- is frequently slow and unresponsive (good ol' Java).

So why RSSOwl, anyway? Well, I like to keep my RSS feeds synced across my desktop, my laptop, my phone -- wherever. At the moment I'm using Google Reader for that.

I used to use Akregator, but it doesn't sync with Google Reader.

I tried Liferea, but...well, it's coded by a guy like me. A power-user who wanted specific network functionality and isn't very good at UI design. It's missing such basic functionality as being able to rename a feed (a necessity when it chokes on as simple a thing as an apostrophe -- my feed list contains "Kurt Busiek's Formspring answers" followed by "Neil Gaiman's Journal"), and its syncing with Google Reader is spotty as well.

Also its name resembles "diarrhea".

So I tried RSSOwl.

Under Ubuntu, it was simple enough to set up RSSOwl -- had to add an external repo, but that was it.

There's no repo for OpenSUSE. There's a binary download, but here's the rub: it doesn't work out of the box. It requires xulrunner 1.x -- 2.x does not work. And OpenSUSE 12.2 doesn't have a package for xulrunner 1.x.

It took me ages to find, but I found a good RPM package of xulrunner 1.9. It's for Scientific Linux, but it installed fine under OpenSUSE, and worked once I symlinked libhunspell-1.3.so.0 to libhunspell-1.2.so.0 . It throws the occasional warning when I run updates, but I've been able to navigate those just fine.

And that's another thing about OpenSUSE: YAST's options, when it runs across a version conflict on a dependency, are pretty opaque and incomprehensible (and it frequently lists the same option multiple times), but at least it gives you options. Ubuntu's package management, in my experience, just throws an error and quits when it runs across that kind of conflict. So score one for OpenSUSE there. Sort of.

Still and all, for all I like about its configuration center/package management system, I'm having a hard time seeing OpenSUSE as Worth It. Maybe when I've got some time to do yet another damn reinstall, I'll give Mint a shot, or something.


Playing: Got in some good Arkham City and Mass Effect 2 time today -- after my job interview. Working my way down that list...

To-Do

Games I've Bought Individually and Haven't Played Yet

  • Tanglewood
  • Iconoclasts
  • The Messenger
  • Metroid: Samus Returns
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4
  • CrossCode
  • Disney Afternoon Collection
  • Divinity: Original Sin
  • Steamworld Dig
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X
  • Pyre
  • Hollow Knight
  • Overcooked
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Ys 7
  • Grandia 2
  • Trails in the Sky 2
  • Fallout
  • System Shock 2
  • FarCry
  • Eversion
  • Zissi's Island
  • Paper Mario
  • Shenmue

Games I've Bought in Bundles and Haven't Played Yet

  • Disgaea
  • Disgaea 2
  • Sonic Forces
  • Sonic Lost World
  • Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
  • Metro 2033 Redux
  • Metro Last Light Redux
  • Crayon Physics
  • Broken Sword 5
  • Tesla Effect
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Xenonauts
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera
  • Dreamfall Chapters
  • Affordable Space Adventures
  • Gauntlet '15
  • Civilization 3
  • Civilization 4: Colonization
  • X-COM: UFO Defense
  • X-COM: Terror From the Deep
  • X-COM: Apocalypse
  • X-COM: Interceptor
  • X-COM: Enforcer
  • Pirates
  • Starships
  • Ace Patrol
  • Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies
  • Chameleon Run
  • Hitman Go
  • Dropsy
  • The Banner Saga
  • Punch Club
  • Super Stickman Golf 3
  • Ys: The Oath in Felghana
  • Ys 6
  • Ys Origin
  • This War of Mine
  • Nuclear Throne
  • Renowned Explorers
  • Nova-111
  • The Magic Circle
  • Super Avalanche
  • Tailwind Prologue
  • Strikbold
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
  • A Boy and His Blob
  • Human Resource Machine
  • Retro City Rampage
  • Morrowind
  • Oblivion
  • Bioshock 2
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Orange Box
    • Half-Life 2
    • Episode 1
    • Episode 2
    • Portal
    • Team Fortress 2
  • Dungeons & Dragons Anthology
    • Baldur's Gate
    • Baldur's Gate 2
    • Icewind Dale
    • Icewind Dale 2
    • Planescape: Torment
    • Temple of Elemental Evil
  • Aquaria
  • Gish
  • Penumbra: Overture
  • Lugaru
  • Trine 2
  • Mark of the Ninja
  • Eets Munchies
  • FTL
  • Rocketbirds
  • LIMBO
  • Shadowman
  • Penny Arcade Episode 2
  • Shank
  • Shank 2
  • The Baconing
  • Plants vs. Zombies: GOTY
  • Fist of Awesome
  • Reaper
  • Super Comboman
  • Ascendant
  • Fist of Jesus
  • Windward
  • Ziggurat
  • Kentucky Route Zero
  • Beholder
  • A Story About My Uncle
  • Neon Drive
  • Double Dragon: Neon

Games I've Bought and Haven't Finished Yet

  • Tetris Effect
  • 20XX
  • Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark
  • Final Fantasy 15 -- Finished 2019-06-28
  • Theatrhythm Final Fantasy
  • SteamWorld Heist
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Sonic Mania
  • Spider-Man -- Finished 2019-04-16
  • Borderlands 2
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Wasteland 2
  • Shadowrun Returns -- Finished 2018-03-16
  • Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
  • Dragon Quest Builders
  • Breath of the Wild
  • Super Mario Maker
  • Mad Max -- Finished 2018-02-11
  • Shadow of Mordor
  • Tomb Raider '13 -- Finished 2017-06-13
  • Owlboy
  • Rayman Origins
  • Freedom Planet
  • Civilization 6
  • A Link Between Worlds -- Finished 2014-08-28
  • Majora's Mask
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening -- Finished 2015-03-14
  • Shin Megami Tensei 4
  • Devil Survivor Overclocked
  • Mario Kart 7 -- Finished single-player 2014-07-20
  • Super Mario 3D Land
  • Ys -- Finished 2017-02-04
  • Ys 2
  • Ys: Memories of Celceta -- Finished 2017-02-01
  • Axiom Verge -- Finished 2016-09-11
  • Stardew Valley
  • Mighty No. 9
  • Transformers: Devastation
  • Trails in the Sky
  • The Stick of Truth
  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
  • Shovel Knight -- Finished 2016-02-15
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown -- Finished 2016-03-17
  • Civilization 4 -- Finished a full game 2016-01-23
  • Civilization 5 -- Finished a full game 2016-02-14
  • Undertale
  • I Am Setsuna
  • Shantae: Risky's Revenge -- Finished 2016-08-07
  • Adventure of Mana
  • Witcher 3
  • Skyrim
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • Bionic Commando: Rearmed
  • Guacamelee -- Finished 2015-02-21
  • Valkyria Chronicles -- Finished 2014-12-20
  • Valkyria Chronicles 2
  • Walking Dead: 400 Days -- Finished 2014-01-05
  • The Wolf Among Us -- Finished 2014-07-18
  • Psychonauts
  • Super Mario Galaxy -- Finished 2013-06-15
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2
  • Xenoblade
  • Last Story -- Finished 2013-07-13
  • Red Dead Redemption -- Finished 2018-04-14
  • Gears of War
  • Crackdown
  • Dead Rising
  • Tactics Ogre
  • Star Ocean: First Departure
  • Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles
  • Dragon Quest 9
  • Etrian Odyssey 3
  • Retro Game Challenge
  • Mega Man ZX
  • WarioWare DIY
  • Half-Life
  • Cthulhu Saves the World
  • Bastion
  • DuckTales Remastered -- Finished 2013-08-22
  • World of Goo
  • Samorost 2
  • A Virus Named TOM
  • Fez
  • Brutal Legend
  • Ghostbusters
  • Penny Arcade Episode 1
  • Legend of Grimrock
  • Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril
  • Pier Solar
  • Metroid Prime 2
  • Persona 4
  • Mega Man X8

Games I've Received as Gifts and Haven't Finished Yet

  • Last Remnant
  • Portal 2
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Hatoful Boyfriend
  • Shower with Your Dad Simulator
  • The Walking Dead -- Finished 2013-02-17
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns
  • Kirby's Epic Yarn
  • Mega Man 10
  • Kirby's Canvas Curse
  • Dragon Quest 6

Games I've Borrowed and Haven't Finished Yet

  • Destroy All Humans -- Returned
  • Batman: Arkham City -- Finished 2012-12-02

Games I Got for Free and Haven't Finished Yet

  • AM2R
  • Spelunky
  • Batman: Arkham Knight -- Finished 2015-08-12
  • Batman: Arkham Origins
  • Game of Thrones
  • Monument Valley
  • GTA: San Andreas
  • Wario Land 2
  • Sonic 4 Episode 1
  • Ultimate NES Remix -- Finished 2015-05-24
  • New Super Mario Bros. 2 -- Finished 2015-03-18
  • Torchlight
  • Bioshock
  • Fallout 2
  • Bard's Tale (Android)
  • Mighty Gunvolt -- Finished 2014-09-11
  • Game Dev Story -- Made it to endgame 2014-03-29

Expansions I Haven't Finished Yet

  • Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
  • XCOM: Enemy Within
  • Shovel Knight
    • Plague of Shadows
    • Specter of Torment
    • King of Cards
  • KotOR 2 Content Restoration Mod
  • Final Fantasy 15 Royal DLC

Games I've Bought and Haven't Finished Replaying Yet

  • Batman: Arkham City -- Finished 2015-01-06
  • Valkyria Chronicles
  • Mega Man Legends 2
  • Mass Effect 2
  • Sonic CD
  • Mega Man: Powered Up
  • Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X -- Finished 2015-10-12
  • Crisis Core
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Mario Land 2
  • Zelda 2 -- Finished 2013-05-05
  • Final Fantasy 6 Advance
  • DuckTales Remastered
  • Skies of Arcadia

Remakes I Haven't Finished of Games I Have Finished

  • Final Fantasy (PSP)
  • Final Fantasy 4 DS
  • Final Fantasy 5 (Android)
  • Sonic 2 (Android)
  • Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection
  • Dragon Quest 7

ROMs I've Downloaded and Haven't Finished

  • For the Frog the Bell Tolls
  • Retro Game Challenge 2
  • SaGa 2 (DS)
  • Earth Bound
  • Earthbound
  • Soul Blazer
  • BS-Zelda -- Time limit ran out; unwinnable; not going to start over
  • BS-Zelda: LttP
  • Sonic 2 Delta
  • Phantasy Star Generation 1
  • Super Mario 3mix

ROMs I've Downloaded and Haven't Played

  • 7th Dragon
  • SaGa 3 (DS)
  • Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem
  • Soma Bringer
  • Tales of Innocence
  • Valkyria Chronicles 3

Games I Got for Free and Haven't Played

  • Obduction
  • Tacoma
  • Teslagrad
  • SOMA
  • Lego Hobbit
  • Lego Lord of the Rings
  • Full Throttle
  • Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion
  • Orwell
  • Hacknet Deluxe
  • Unreal Gold
  • Eador: Masters of the Broken World
  • Satellite Reign
  • Crusader Kings 2
  • Spec Ops: The Line
  • The Darkness 2
  • Alcarys Complex
  • F1 2015
  • Lethal League
  • King of Fighters 2002
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent
  • Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
  • Carmageddon TDR 2000
  • Oxenfree
  • Layers of Fear
  • Homefront
  • Grim Fandango Remastered
  • Company of Heroes 2
  • Sanctum 2
  • MDK
  • Syberia
  • Killer is Dead
  • Rising Storm
  • Jotun
  • Shadow Warrior
  • Lost Odyssey
  • GRID
  • DiRT Showdown
  • Dungeons 2
  • Saints Row 2
  • Corporate Lifestyle Simulator
  • Huntsman: The Orphanage
  • Fantasy General
  • Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate
  • Tropico 4
  • Bionic Dues
  • Divine Divinity
  • Sonic 4 Episode 2
  • Gothic 2
  • Ultima 4
  • Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire
  • Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2: Martian Dreams
  • Akalabeth
  • Shadow Warrior Classic
  • Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games
  • Wreckateer
  • Penny Arcade Episode 3
  • Star Command
  • Magrunner: Dark Pulse
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Aliens vs. Predator Classic 2000
  • Metro 2033 -- Bought Redux; not planning to play original
  • Teleglitch
  • Mount and Blade
  • Stealth Inc 2
  • Gabriel Knight: SotF20AE
  • Dreamfall Chapters
  • SPACECOM
  • Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
  • Outlast

Games I Got for the Multiplayer
(so finishing them isn't really the point)

  • Katamari Damacy Reroll
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • Super Mario 3D World
  • New Super Mario Bros. U
  • New Super Luigi Bros. U
  • Super Smash Bros Wii U
  • Splatoon
  • Mario Kart 8
  • Yoshi's Woolly World
  • DKC Tropical Freeze
  • Goat Simulator
  • Rocket League
  • Pac-Man 256
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime

Games I've Funded on Kickstarter that Don't Exist Yet

  • Project Phoenix

ParaNorman

It was a busy weekend! I had a friend in from out of town, then had my cousins over for cartoons and games, then had more friends out of town and went drinkin' with them.

Caught a couple movies, too, including ParaNorman at the cheap theater. I liked it!

First of all: it's a kids' movie that does shit you're not supposed to do in a kids' movie. My favorite gag involved the rather gruesome image of the ghost of a dog who had been hit by a car. It's funnier than it sounds.

The flick does some fun things with genre conventions, has the usual kids' movie message that it's okay to be different, adds the rather more complex message that bullying is caused by fear and begets more bullying -- but mostly it's just a damn pretty, weird, creepy, funny, unconventional kids' horror movie, from a couple of directors whose resumés include Flushed Away, Coraline, and Corpse Bride.


Playing: Oh so very many things. This weekend we threw down on Scott Pilgrim, Gears of War, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (purchased used -- my boycott remains unbroken), and most recently Batman: Arkham City, which my cousin loaned me. I was going to buy the PC version to use with my sweet PC graphics card, but on finding out it had SecuROM I decided not to pay for it and just borrow the Xbox version instead -- you listening, Square Enix? Of course you're not.

Rellenos and Republicans

Still can't quite get this beer batter thing right. 4:1 ratio of beer to flour is just runny liquid; 2:1 is pancake mix again. I'm thinking maybe next time I won't mix the flour in, I'll just dunk the chili in the beer and egg and then roll it in the flour.


I really do love that the Senate Conservatives Fund decided to say, "Hey, remember that guy who said that really offensive thing that made our entire party look bad who we said we wouldn't give any money to? Let's give him three hundred grand and see what happens." and he immediately turned around and said more crazy misogynistic shit.

First of all: instant karma is the best kind of karma. After all, if you wait an hour before you whack your dog on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, he will not make any connection between what he did wrong and the fact that you are punishing him. This way, even the dimmest conservative organization can't possibly help but think "I just made a huge mistake."

Second: It's always better to see right-wing organizations throw their money down a bottomless pit than contribute it to races where it might actually help their candidate. (Like all that money Sheldon Adelson threw at Newt Gingrich. You know, for a casino magnate he's really pretty terrible at predicting odds.)

And speaking of candidates who they could have helped, that brings us to #3: this is actually hurting other candidates who they've endorsed in close Senate races. The Dems in Massachusetts are calling for Scott Brown to give their donation back and they're going to try to hang it around his neck until the election.

(Now, in point of fact, I don't especially dislike Scott Brown; I think he may very well be the only Republican left in the Senate who might actually be willing to compromise to get laws passed. And I wouldn't be devastated if he were reelected. Nor do I want him to lose his seat because I care unduly about the numbers game -- the Democrats couldn't pass shit when they had 59 seats plus Lieberman; there's really not a hell of a lot of difference between 45 Democrats and 60 Democrats, thanks to the automatic filibuster.

But Elizabeth Warren is legitimately my single favorite person running for office this election, and I would love to see her win, not because she's a Democrat but because she's Elizabeth Warren.)


Playing: Decided to take a crack at Soul Blazer. So far it's pretty neat!

Another Migraine

Welp, stayed home with a migraine again today.

Hate that this happens right as my job's up in the air. Not so much because I'm worried that my bosses will think I've got a chronic condition that interferes with my work (I only miss a day every couple months, and they've always been pretty understanding, especially since I haul ass when I'm there), but because I don't get sick pay and every day I miss is a cockpunch right in the wallet.

(Look, my wallet has a cock. I don't really want to talk about it.)

Good news is that I pretty solidly whomped the headache with a full dose of codeine first thing this morning followed by going back to bed for six and a half hours. But that left me pretty weak and dizzy. Beats a migraine but still leaves me pretty much no good for a whole day.


Playing: Red Dead Redemption.

Old Habits

Today my fiancée bought a Kinect at Fallout Games, our local independent gameseller.

I tested out the Rally Ball game on Kinect Adventures. The main takeaway: it doesn't really play like any kind of real ball game at all.

Most notably, in this game, bouncing the ball off my face or crotch is okay!

Busiek and Mignola's Unfinished Final Fantasy

You know, I seriously considered just calling this post "Busiek and Mignola's Final Fantasy" and then opening with a "Before you get excited..." but ultimately decided that would have just been mean. (As it is, it's already misleading to say "Busiek and Mignola", as Mignola was just doing the covers.)

Can't remember what made me think of it -- maybe it was when I was going through my searches and saw a bunch for both busiek and final fantasy -- but I recalled that Busiek had alluded to a cancelled Final Fantasy project. Now, Kurt's been damned active over on FormSpring, so I figured I'd ask him about it -- but then I figured hey, maybe I should actually do some research first.

Didn't find much, but there was a bit of discussion about it in a CBR thread called Series that Never Saw the Light of Day -- which is also where I first heard Mignola was the cover artist, and Dell Barras (who I'm not familiar with) did the interiors.

Busiek showed up in the thread and explained a bit about the series and what happened to it: it was for Hollywood Comics, a Disney imprint that "either never got launched or was killed off almost right away".

Most interestingly, he gave a short explanation as to when this was and which Final Fantasy(s) he was adapting:

This was so long ago that when I was first assigned the project, I did a story outline, and the people at Squaresoft liked it a lot, but said, "Uh, well, this is good, but we're about to do a new version of the game, can you revise it to be about FINAL FANTASY 2 instead?"

It required a top-to-toe restart, because the characters in FINAL FANTASY are footsloggers, ordinary soldiers and adventurers, while the characters in FF2 are princes and leaders and such, which makes for a whole different kind of story.

But yes, it was based on FINAL FANTASY 2, though Dell Barras's interpretation of the Japanese designs maintained basic designs but spun it into a very, very mainstream-American style.

That'd be the American FF2, of course, AKA FF4. I'm sure it would have been fun -- and featured better dialogue than the original SNES translation of the game.

Anyhow, after finding out those tidbits, I decided to ask Kurt this:

How far along was the Final Fantasy adaptation (or adaptations, since you had to switch games partway through) before being scrapped?

His response:

The first version was a detailed outline. The second was a complete script for all four issues, I think, plus lettered art for at least one and penciled art for one more. Four nice Mignola covers, too.

Niiiice.

Wonder where all that stuff went and whether anybody has it now. All I've seen is this ad, in the above-linked CBR thread (and presumably from the FF1 period):

Image: Ad for the series

I haven't been able to find anything else, even any of the Mignola covers, which is a pity -- but hell, one more thing to add to my "things so obscure you can't find them on the Internet" list. (Course, if anybody can prove me wrong, do feel free to shoot me a link...)

(Update 2015-01-04: I now have the covers to issues #2 and #4; you can see them in the post Mignola Final Fantasy Covers. I still haven't seen #1 or #3, or any interior art.)

But via Robot Mutant here's a Joseph Dellagatta FF piece homaging Mignola, anyway:

Image: FF7, Hellboy style