Monday, 31 October 2016

BLOG -- Recap in October

Well... looking at all the media I went through (which was very few), it seems like October was uneventful... but... it felt so busy! Lol... what happened to all my time???!! D: 

I will most likely blog every other week from now until the new year. I need to spend more time on finishing up my New Year's Resolutions. I highly doubt I'll be able to complete them all, but fingers crossed!

Outings/Events in October:
- Met up with my sister.

- Celebrated a friend's birthday x2 (two different friends, lol).

- Shopped at Uniqlo with friends. 

- Went to a new dentist, after about a year's hiatus, lol...

- Watched a movie for free for Cineplex's Community Day.

- Karaoked by myself + karaoked with a friend xD

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn achievements / news: 
-I finally unlocked Palace of the Dead.

- (Food place): Kaiju Restaurant -- My friend really wanted to try this place for her birthday and it was pretty good! It's very close to how curry is like in Japan. 

- (Movie): Inside Out -- I watched this for Community Day. It was an interesting idea. I like the end message I took from it. The short film before it (Lava) was sooooooo sweet. I cried more from that than Inside Out, lol.

- (Anime): Escaflowne: The Movie -- It was okay. I probably would have appreciated it more if I saw the TV series.

- Nothing this time.

- (Manga) Elemental Gelade by Mayumi Azuma -- I liked the first half of this. Then it kinda went downhill, at least for me. I like the anime way better

Playing (not all at once):
- (PS4): Dragon Ball Xenoverse
- (PS4): J-Stars Victory Vs+
- (PS4): Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and the Blight Below
- (PS4): iDOLM@STER: Platinum Stars 
- (PS4): Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X 
- (PS3): Borderlands 2
- (3DS): Story of Seasons
- (3DS): Fantasy Life
- (3DS): Shantae
- (GBA): The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition   
- (PSP): Persona
- (PSP): Patapon 
- (PSP): Corpse Party
- (PSVita): Persona 4 Golden
- (Wii): Fortune Street 
- (PS2): Atelier Iris 2 
- (PC): UnEpic  
- (PC): King's Bounty: The Legend
- (Mobile): Dragon Quest II

- (TV Show): The Walking Dead (Season 6)
- (TV Show): Orphan Black (Season 3)
- (TV Show): Criminal Minds (Season 10)
- (TV Show): Six Feet Under (Season 1 - Episode 3)
- (Anime): Yu Yu Hakusho (don't remember)
- (Anime): Log Horizon (episode 3)
- (Anime): K-On! Season 2 (episode 3)
- (Anime): Trigun (episode 3)
- (Anime): Get Backers (episode 3)
- (Anime): Black Butler 2 (episode 6)

- (Manga): Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori (Volume 9)

That's it for October. Here are some pics I took this month plus a YouTube video.

 Tuna avocado tar tar -- Lol... I ordered this during one 
of the rare times I felt like treating myself

Poutine that I got from Kaiju. The gravy is actually curry. Mmmm, I liked it!

A kinda dangerous sight, lol.

A funny screenshot from Persona 4 Golden. This just makes the 
amateur programmer side of me giggle.

The most funniest YouTube video I came across this month. 
It has movie spoilers of Neil Breen's movies, but... soo... funny, lol.

Thanks for reading! As usual, if you have any questions / comments about anything, feel free. :)

Happy Halloween!! :)

Sunday, 23 October 2016

BLOG -- Initial Impressions / Questions on the Nintendo Switch Video

So a few days ago I checked out the "First Look at Nintendo Switch" video. I'm sure millions of people have already shared their thoughts on it by now... but I will still add my own, lol. Please note that I haven't actively looked for any new information on the Nintendo Switch, nor on any information on the Nintendo NX (what it used to be called), so if any of my wonderings have already been addressed, I apologize. For those who haven't yet watched the video, you can take a look below:

First Look at Nintendo Switch.

My Initial Impressions
Well -- my overall impression is: It looks very sleek and very cool. Again Nintendo seems to be pushing towards innovation, and I can always appreciate them taking that leap. I think trying new things is often risky, so kudos! :)

I like the idea of the Nintendo Switch being a home AND portable console. It would satisfy both home-gaming and portable-gaming audiences (for those who may only play at home or those who only play on-the-go). I personally do both, so it is great that I will only need to buy one machine instead of two. This could also be great for developers if it means only needing to buy one development kit -- and having their games possibly reach a larger audience.

I know this is kinda old news, but I totally appreciate it being released in March. It just means I can wait in line overnight in a less freezing weather... lol. I don't know if I would really stand in line overnight for the Nintendo Switch (I did for the Wii), but just saying. 

I am not sure if I would get this at launch, since I still have sooooo many games on backlog and sooo many consoles already hooked up to my TV (two PS2s, PS3, PS4, Wii -- my Xbox360 is in a box in my room), but the Nintendo Switch does get me excited. Maybe I will just need to become more of a hermit and plow through more of my games so I can clear up a console spot by the time March comes around.

My Questions
Now that I've covered my initial impressions... it's time for my questions! Supposedly Nintendo won't share any info on the specs until 2017, so these will be in my head until then.

-Is home playing a single player experience only? This might be silly to wonder, but I noticed in the video that only one person would be playing when at home. That is personally fine with me since I often play alone at home, but if I was to ever invite somebody over, I'd probably end up wanting to play a game with the person (nothing beats playing video games together, lol! <3).

-Does portable gaming allow up to two players max for multiplayer? Again this is something that I observed from the video and it made me wonder.

-How long is the battery life? Being a home console that can also be a portable console, the battery life better be long! Haha. Would it last 11+ hours on a one-way flight to Japan? It would be awesome if it ran on batteries and was also solar powered or some other form of energy.

-Will the controllers be battery powered? I guess it's a minor thing, but I personally like controllers that do not require batteries. Just imagine you are at an epic boss battle and it's been hours since your last save. Then the controller dies and the boss then proceeds to wipe the floor with you.

-Is there region-locking? This is a major thing for me, as I've mentioned in an entry long, long ago. Some games I like (Daigasso! Band Brothers, Ouendan, iDOLM@STER, etc.) just don't get released here so if I can experience those games without having to import another console it would be great.

-Is there backwards compatibility? My friends had already told me that backwards compatibility was not possible back when this was called Nintendo NX. After watching the video, I believe them. I think the question is still here because I don't know if news about the Nintendo NX is to be applied to the Nintendo Switch.

Annd that's it for this blog! What were your impressions of the Nintendo Switch video? Do you have any burning questions that you hope will get answered in 2017? Feel free to comment whatever you think, lol. :)

Thanks for reading! Have a good rest of the week :)

Sunday, 16 October 2016

EXPOSURES (MOBILE GAME) -- Mystic Messenger

Well, after seeing one of my Facebook friends sharing fanart and then reading this Siliconera posting about it, I decided to try out Mystic Messenger, a mobile text-based game. At first I thought, 'I'm just going to interact with cute guy characters. It'll be cute and fluff', but there is more than just that. While I wouldn't say "You must experience this now!", I would say there is charm and more humour and tenderness than I would expect -- definitely things that would keep me playing.  

Mystic Messenger

Playtime Length (so far): About 11-15 hours each playthrough... I think?
Platform Played on: Mobile
Language: English
Type of Game: Visual Novel, Text-based Choices, Otome-ish
Game-specific Details: I've already played through Yoosung's route and Zen's route. I am currently going through Jumin's route.

My Impressions
In Mystic Messenger, you play a female character who somehow finds herself in the chatroom of RFA, an organization that hosts grand parties for charity. After some interactions with the RFA members, you end up taking the role of party organizer and are trying to convince guests to attend the party. So that's the premise on the surface. The real story comes from interacting with the RFA members leading up to the party date.

For me, I didn't care much for the party organizing aspect of the game. All it is is responding to e-mails from guests correctly three times for at least 15 guests. What I really enjoyed was interacting with the RFA members and seeing them interact with each other. Sometimes their personalities really clash and it's quite amusing to see how the conversations play out.

To get into gameplay technicalities, one playthrough, if played well enough, lasts 11 days in real time. After the 4th day, the game branches out into one of five RFA member story routes (four guy characters, one girl character), depending on which member has the highest "affection" (based off your responses) and if you are playing the Casual Route or Deep Route (the Deep Route starts out locked).

RFA members will interact with you in three ways:

This is the meat of the game and has to be experienced in order to progress the story. Chatrooms are 5-10 minute segments that become available through the course of a day. You can go into the chatroom and interact with RFA members so long as it's the most recent chatroom. If a new chatroom pops up, any previous chatrooms are missed and you will only be able to read snippets of the conversation but not have any interaction. So for example, if Chatroom A pops up at 9 AM, and Chatroom B pops up at 11 AM, you have until 11 AM to go into Chatroom A and interact.

Well... I will say I have a love/hate thing with the chatroom structure. I like that chatrooms pop up throughout the day so that I can spread out my experience with the game. But... if my day is busy, I could end up missing some conversations. However, I do understand that this is one of the ways for the developers to make money since you can re-activate missed chatrooms with 5 hourglasses (the in-game currency -- will talk more about this later).

The chatrooms themselves, well -- it's where all the amusing conversations happen. This is really where you get to see the different personalities of each RFA member and I enjoy this a lot. The chatroom is designed like a social messaging system (I've only experienced LINE and it is similar to that) and I like how it simulates that environment really well, with members using various emojis and text bubbles. Another thing I like are the varied pauses between each message. It really gives the feeling that the members are actually reading and responding to each other or are thinking about their next words.

At certain points of the conversation (if you are going through the most recent chatroom) you will be prompted to select one of two to three possible responses, and the RFA members will respond accordingly. If one of the members like your response, you'll gain affection points for them.

An amusing conversation.

 An amusing conversation, continued.

An amusing reaction to my response for another conversation.

Text messages
This sometimes happens shortly after a chatroom ends. One or some of the RFA members will send you a text message to go a bit further on the conversation that just happened. Most times you can respond. Then they will respond back and that's that. I think responding to text messages is entirely optional, but I'm not sure -- I've always responded when given the chance, lol.

Phone conversations
This sometimes happens immediately after a chatroom ends, and you will have 10 seconds to "pick up" the phone. The neat thing about a phone conversation is that the conversation is voiced! Since Mystic Messenger is originally a Korean game, the voicework is in Korean, but there are English text on the screen. Just like in a chatroom, you'll get prompted to give responses every so often. A phone conversation lasts about 3-5 minutes.

Now, you can also call the RFA members, too, but it costs 5 hourglasses to do so and there is no guarantee that the member will pick up. So far, I've tried calling three times. The first time I reached the member's voice mail; the second time the member picked up but was busy and hung up soon after; the third time I did have a conversation and was able to interact.

Now that I've talked about gameplay, I want to say that I enjoy the music in Mystic Messenger. Much of it sounds light, bright, and cheerful, but there are also sad or intense tunes during the more serious moments. Each RFA member has their own theme and I think it adds a bit to their character. My personal favourite is 707's theme, then Jaehee's, then Yoosung's, then either Zen or Jumin's.

As I mentioned earlier, there is in-game currency in Mystic Messenger. The in-game currency are in the form of hourglasses and you can get hourglasses either by spending real money, trading 100 affection points for one hourglass, or... have the game installed now and bank off the free hourglasses the developers are giving away due to making fixes/updates to the game. The latter method will of course disappear once all fixes/updates are done. So far I haven't spent any money on the game and I have over 300 hourglasses due to the fixes/updates.

Here are all the things that require hourglasses:
-Unlocking Deep Route (necessary for Jumin and 707's routes) -- 80 hourglasses
-Unlocking an RFA member's After Ending (aka epilogue) after going through their route -- 20 hourglasses each route
-Re-activating a missed chatroom -- 5 hourglasses
-Calling an RFA member -- 5 hourglasses
-Loading the last saved file -- 5 hourglasses (it is free as of this writing)
-Purchasing the next 24 hours' worth of chatrooms (I guess if you can't wait and want to play the next day all at once) -- 50 hourglasses

I would personally use hourglasses on the first three things, and then sometimes on the 4th thing.

Besides my love/hate thing with the chatroom structure, here are my couple minor gripes with Mystic Messenger:

1. The typos! -- Unfortunately typos often jump out for me, so these are pretty annoying. Thankfully most times I can still decipher what they are really saying.

2. That there is a recommended order for the member story routes -- So I had read in a guide that there is a recommended order to go through, so that each story could be enjoyed with the least amount of spoilers. This only bothers me because the story I want to go through the most, well, has the most spoilers and should be experienced last. Agggg, lol. Considering that I am just starting my 3rd playthrough, that means it will be over 11 days before I can even start the last route. Hahaha... so much waiting >_<!

Okay, I think I've blabbed enough about Mystic Messenger. If you enjoy text-based games, making choices, and watching amusing characters interact with each other, you may also enjoy this. For me, I enjoy all those things so I am glad I tried this out, lol.

Pic of 707 -- I really want to go through his route!

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to comment about anything. :)

Sunday, 9 October 2016

REVIEW/THOUGHTS [MOVIE-RELATED] -- Swiss Army Man (Blu-Ray/DVD Extra Content)

**I already blogged about Swiss Army Man back in August, but with its recent release on Blu-Ray / DVD, I just had to blog about it again. I'll be briefly covering the Blu-Ray / DVD Extra Content.**

Format Watched [Specific Edition, if any]: Blu-Ray
Approx. Runtime: 97 minutes (1 hours, 37 minutes)
Language Watched: English
Other Language(s) Available: No (Spanish subtitles available)
DVD Extra Content? Yes
Type of Movie: Comedy, Drama, Philosophical

After watching it in theatres way back in August, it took a couple days for Swiss Army Man to completely win me over. Now it is one of my all-time favourite movies. Now that I know what it's trying to express, I love it with every inch of my being. Ahhh ~~ I am so happy that a movie like this exists! <3

Here's the link to my "review" of Swiss Army Man. It is spoiler-filled except for the "Personal Standing" and "Overall Thoughts" sections:

While I enjoyed all the extra content on the Blu-Ray / DVD, I really could have done with more! What's there is quite standard stuff, but it is still very interesting, especially the "Behind the Scenes" and the "Audio Commentary". I just think a Swiss Army Man fan would want more -- of everything! lol :)

AUDIO COMMENTARY (movie length)
This commentary was done by both directors (Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan -- a.k.a. the Daniels), production designer Jason Kisardav, and sound mixer/fartist Brent Kiser. I really enjoyed this commentary. The Daniels have such a casual, laid-back tone when talking. Quite often, they would briefly describe how certain scenes were shot. It is totally worth checking out.

This segment really could have been much longer! Since most of the effects in Swiss Army Man are practical (i.e. not computer-generated), they could have talked about or showed at length all the "solutions" that kept the scenes practical. Granted, much of this segment was that, but -- I just wanted more, lol. I also would have liked more coverage on the various sets.

It was interesting to find out that four versions of the Manny dummy (Daniel Radcliffe's character) were created, each serving a different purpose in the movie.

Daniel Radcliffe carrying one of his dummies.

Various crew people prepping / checking one of the Manny dummies.

I've actually seen this months ago. It is a featurette on A24's Youtube channel. It is a quick look at the process of making the Manny dummies.

If you haven't yet watched the movie, I wonder if the very 
last part of this video would make you wonder, "What? Talk about what???" Lol.

There were only a couple deleted scenes, one shot scene but using an alternate music track, and footage of one actor coaching another actor with their lines. Thankfully none of the deleted scenes were vital plot points or character reveals, but they were interesting.

I'm not exactly sure when this took place (maybe during the Sundance festival?), but it is an interview with the Daniels, Brent Kiser, and the composers Robert McDowell and Andy Hull. The interview was done by Dolby, most likely because Swiss Army Man received the 2016 Dolby Family Sound Fellowship, a grant to assist with sound design / production.

Aside from the bits of praise for Dolby Atmos (since it is an interview from Dolby, I can't help but feel there could be some bias involved there), the interview was focused on sound design / composition, which was very neat.

One amusing bit was learning that some of the singing performances had to be "toned down" to be closer to the character's "singing potential".

This wasn't a special feature, but was an audio selection in the "Set Up" section. If you select this option and then play the movie, you will be able to watch the movie with ALL MUSIC TRACKS REMOVED. I personally would have missed this option if I wasn't curious what Swiss Army Man image was used in the "Set Up" section.

The intro from the Daniels just explains why they included this option: pretty much for the heck of it! Lol. They go on to say that watching the movie without the music is quite ruining, but also makes certain scenes very ridiculous and funny. They also say to experience the movie WITH MUSIC FIRST, lol.

I bit the bullet and tried this option out. For the most part, the movie was still okay since acting, writing, cinematography are still strong. Any scene where music was used to enhance the atmosphere, though, suffered a lot, and was pretty amusing. The montage scene is... hahaha.

I wouldn't say this is a must-experience, but I do like that this option is available.

Swiss Army Man -- I highly recommend checking out the DVD or Blu-Ray. There are some amusing Extra Content and the movie itself is just plain awesome. Below are a couple Swiss Army Man-related interviews that I really enjoy. They have spoilers so only check them out if you have already watched the movie.

An interview with the Daniels by Q on CBC. I think they describe 
the movie's origin and core very well here.

An interview with the Daniels by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. This is where 
I first learned of the term "fartist". I really like their story of 
getting permission to use John Williams' score.

Thanks for reading! Happy Thanksgiving weekend to those in Canada and till next time! :)